Archive for the 'TV' Category

Schoolboy Howlers and Dumbing Down from Stephen Hawking

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I just watched the first installation of ‘Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking’, and it contained a schoolboy howler that made me laugh out loud.

At the end of the programme, Mr Hawking suggests that travelling at near the speed of light is ‘Time Travel’, which of course it is not, it is time dilation, not quite the same thing as exiting the present and arriving instantly in the future at a point in time of your own choosing. The phrase ‘time dilation’ is not mentioned in the segment. Discovery dumbing down much?

In any case, here is a transcript of this lol inducing howler:

If we want to travel into the future, we simply need to go fast. REALLY fast.

And I think the only way we are ever likely to do that is by going into space.

The fastest manned vehicle in history was Apollo 10. It reached twenty five thousand miles per hour.

But to travel in time, well have to go more than two thousand times faster. And to do that, we’d need a much bigger ship. a truly enormous machine.

The ship would have to be big to carry a huge amount of fuel, enough to accelerate to nearly the speed of light.

Getting to just beneath the cosmic speed limit would require just six years at full power.

The initial acceleration would be gentle because the ship would be so big and heavy, but gradually it would pick up speed and soon would be covering massive distances.

In just one week, it would have reached the outer planets, gas giants like Neptune.

After two years, it would reach half light speed and would be far outside our solar system.

Two years later, it would be travelling at 90% of the speed of light speed, and passing our closest neighbour Alpha Centauri.

Around thirty trillion miles away from earth, and four years since launch the ship begins to travel in time.


Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking: Time Travel

My emphasis.

Now compare this with the words of a Scientist who has some understanding about this subject:

There have been a number of studies published showing that staged fission and fusion deep space propulsion systems are capable of round trips to near-by stars in a shorter time then an average life span. Chemical rockets would be used to launch starships into orbit or to the moon for re-launching from there because of the greatly reduced energy requirements on the moon. Clever design would be employed such as was used by the Lunar landing program. Full advantage would be taken of very “free loading” possibility just as the Apollo vehicle takes advantage of the earth’s rotation to the east near the equator and of the gravitational field of the moon and of staged rockets which fire in programmed succession on the way and on counting on earth’s atmosphere to slow it down rather then carrying and firing retro-rockets to slow it down on the way back.

The final weight and cost depend almost entirely on the design assumptions rather than (as academic calculations so often assume) being independent of those design features. An early study of the required launch weight of a chemical rocket capable of sending a man to the moon and back concluded that the launch weight would have to be a million, million tons. The launching was accomplished less then thirty years later with a chemical rocket weighing three hundred million times less.

Stanton Friedman

Oh dear me. Even with this example on the record and many others to hand, Mr Hawking makes this ridiculous howler of a statement that we would need a ‘really big ship to carry all that fuel’.

Here is Stanton Friedman again, making it even more clear how absurd Hawking’s idea is:

We can go to the scientific record (where) there have been loads of papers published… what a track record it is for the astronomy community!

Back in 1903 a great american astronomer Simon Newcombe (October 1903) published a paper in which he showed that the only way man would ever fly would be with the help of a lighter and air vehicle (a balloon); that was two months before the Wright Brothers first flight.

When he heard about the flight his comment was, “well, maybe a pilot but never carrying passengers”. We know how right he was.

Another great astronomer in the twenties said that (proved mathematically) that it would be impossible ever to give anything sufficient energy to get it into orbit around the earth. You do not have to look far to know how wrong that was.

My favourite though is a Canadian astronomer, Dr. Cambell, 1941; he was sick and tired of all this science fiction stuff about going to the Moon, so he did a scientific paper in which he tried to calculate the required initial launch weight of a rocket, just a chemical rocket, able to get a man to the Moon and back. Thats a legitimate question; how big would it have to be?

Pages of equations, bottom line; the required initial launch weight of a chemical rocket able to get a man to the Moon and back would be a million million tonnes. Now even for me, thats too big. But isn’t it interesting that less than thirty years later we got three guys to the moon and back, still with a chemical rocket, whose initial weight (one of the members of the Saturn family) initial launch weight wasn’t a million million tonnes, it was three thousand tonnes; he was off by a factor of three hundred million!

How could he be so far off? He made all the wrong assumptions.

How could such a respected academic professor be so far off in his calculations?

He wasn’t the first and he certainly won’t be the last.

His problem was that he made all the wrong assumptions, because he didn’t know anything about space travel. Thats what aeronautical engineers are for. For example, he assumed a single stage rocket; none of our manned launches have been done with single stage rockets. Two three stages, more like, saves alot on weight. He assumed a limit of one g acceleration for the rocket. How certainly we can all withstand one g but the astronauts who get on these babies are sometimes subjected to 5,6,7 Gs the escape tower on the old apollo spacecraft and the mercury and so forth, if the astronauts have to come off the rocket real quick because there was a problem down below, they would have to take 13 Gs. Without damage either, it was expected. That makes an enormous difference. He assumed we launch straight up; well anybody knows that you bend over pretty quick to launch to the east, you do alot of ‘cosmic freeloading’.

Another example of freeloading, something we do on all our deep space shots incidentally, is he assumed quirt correctly that when you came back to earth from the moon you would of corse have to slow down; you are going 25,000 miles per hour that not a good landing speed. But he assumed the only way you could do that would be to turn the rocket around and fire the retro rocket to slow you down, but of course every pound of propellant we use at the end has to be launched form the earth at the beginning, slowed down when we get to the moon launched from the moon, most of it slowed down back here. It takes at least ten pounds of propellant per pound of payload to move it from each of these steps.

What do we do?

We get smart instead of powerful.

We say the atmosphere is already here; lets use it. We convert the problem from brute force into hitting the atmosphere at just the proper angle; it doesn’t take any propellant at the end of the trip. So, he was far off, no question about that, but can you get here from there or not?

From Stanton Friedman’s Flying Saucers are Real

And so there you have it. Stephen Hawking could not be more wrong about this, just as Simon Newcombe and Dr Cambpell were so very wrong. Travelling to other star systems in a timely manner does not mean pushing a space craft like an oarsman rows a boat on the Cam. How do we know this? Because we pay attention.

Another howler was the idea that worm holes are impossible because of ‘feedback’. The first feedback example he gave involved an amplifier. Then this was transposed onto a wormhole in a scientist’s lab. What he failed to explain was where the amplifier was (is) that prevents worm holes from being possible. In fact, we know that entropy causes everything to lose energy; that should prevent worm holes from getting into a screeching feedback loop. Also, if the worm hole was far away from the point of origin, there would be no feed back at all if we use his speaker, amplifier, microphone analogy; it is only when the speaker and the microphone are in close proximity, with an amplifier, that you get feedback. Move either the speaker or the microphone away a sufficient distance and the feedback stops immediately. Presumably you could move the exit away in either space or time to stop this problem.

What these conventional thinkers hate when they address this particular subject are predestination paradoxes and other ‘problems’ that are not really problems at all, but states arising from bad assumptions.

It is the same with the UFO problem; they just cannot bear the idea of extraterrestrials coming here and usurping their positions in this backward society. To stop this from happening, they create all manner of false barriers to aliens getting here to make themselves feel good. It was the same motivation that caused the deniers of the heliocentric system to reject the truth that the Earth orbited the Sun.

That is not scientific thinking!

California outlaws large, power-hungry TVs

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

In a move that could spell the end of the plasma TV industry as we know it, the state of California agreed today to enact strict regulations on the amount of power televisions can consume, effectively outlawing most large plasma TVs as of January 1, 2011, with many more televisions set to be banned beginning January 1, 2013.

The state had been concerned that 10 percent of a home’s energy use is typically devoted to the TV and its related equipment, and that percentage has been increasing as consumers gain access to larger and larger (and cheaper and cheaper) televisions, which command an ever-increasing hunger for power.

The new rules go into effect a little more than a year from now: On January 1, 2011, televisions will be required to reduce energy consumption by an average of 33 percent. In 2013, a second tier of restrictions will go into effect, with average energy consumption required to be reduced by 49 percent vs. today’s levels.

Rest assured, this doesn’t mean the end of the television as we know it. As the California Energy Commission notes, as of now, over 1,000 televisions already meet the 2011 standards, so many manufacturers won’t have to panic in order to comply with the regulations, at least for now.

Those who will be heavily affected are manufacturers who make televisions that draw more than their fair share of juice. A formula related to the size of the TV’s screen in square inches will be used to determine the maximum power draw allowed by a TV. For example, Panasonic’s 54-inch VIERA plasma TV would be allowed to draw 281 watts of power in “on mode.” Today that set is rated to draw 293 watts of power. Smaller plasmas are generally OK under the 2011 specs, but virtually all of them fall short when put up against the 2013 rules. That same 54-inch plasma will be required to draw only 175 watts once 2013 arrives, a power reduction that just might not be possible.

Bottom line: Most LCD televisions will be safe under the 2011 law, and many plasmas will as well, but come 2013, everyone’s going to have to do some serious belt-tightening.

All told, the new rules are expected to save 6,515 Gigawatt-hours annually in the state, save the state $8.7 billion in costs for additional power plants, and save consumers $8.1 billion a year in lower energy bills.

One additional point of note: The new rules currently don’t apply to very large TVs, those of 1,400 square inches or larger (roughly a 58″ set), although rules are likely to be enacted against these ultra-large sets in the second phase of this legislation.


Lets get this straight.

You buy an electricity supply from a company, or make it yourself with your own solar panels or windmill.

The state says, “you cannot use that TV because it consumes too much electricity”.

Too much of WHOSE electricity?

Once that electricity enters your house, or you make it yourself, it is completely up to you what you do with it. Why should someone who lives ‘off grid’ (or on grid for that matter) be stopped from spending his own money on electricity?

This is all part of the same core idea; that the state can get into your home and tell you what you can or cannot do there. Wether it is running a certain type of electricity consuming equipment, washing your clothes, heating your house, cook your food, flushing your loo or bathing, or eating, they are trying to regulate absolutely everything that you do, no matter where you do it.

And note the language in this piece, “more than their fair share of juice”. What does this mean exactly? Electricity does not come from a collective pool that is distributed free to everyone; it is a product that is purchased by a household for personal use. There is no ‘fair share’ in any aspect of electricity generation, distribution or consumption. And no, global warming is not a result of electricity generation.

No doubt, if america is even still there, there will be a ‘cash for plasmas’ where people are encouraged to trade in their perfectly good televisions for new ones, none of which are manufactured in the USA.

State your preference

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Yet another politician fails to understand the problem of the BBC:

BBC ought to ‘actively look for some Conservatives to be part of their news-gathering team’, says shadow minister

The shadow culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, […] speaking at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch today, said the BBC had acknowledged that those who wanted to work there had centre-left views and quoted its former political editor, Andrew Marr, who in 2007 described the corporation as having an “innate liberal bias”.


Any political bias from a publicly funded broadcaster is a bad thing, but inevitable. The real issue is not that the BBC should engage in discrimination to ensure ‘balanced reporting’ but that a broadcaster is funded by a coercive licensing system and there is still a State broadcaster (i.e. one mandated by a Royal charter).

In fact as part of a broadly market based nation any sense of balance or ‘reality’ is compromised by reliance on what is essentially tax revenue – and it shows in the broadcasting.

As the State broadcaster it is no wonder that people with a bias towards State provision of services work there. Its governing structure is like a mini House of Lords; Government suggested officials being appointed with no public accountability.

The funding of the BBC through coercion has a noticeable effect on its broadcasting which is, especially the news, broadly antagonistic to private enterprise and supportive of governmental intervention in peoples affairs (viz. any article in the last year on economics).

If the BBC financed itself through a market mechanism (subscription, pay per view, commercials, syndication, investment options, etc.) then there would be no need for it to be ‘balanced’ or to address MPs concerns that their party is not fairly represented – it would be freed from the need to make checks and balances to its reporting and it would be free to interrogate politicians to a greater extent.

Naturally the BBC points to the poor programming by ITV and obvious bias of SKY when you make these points and it says it would degenerate to their level. There is no reason to expect this to be true unless their journalists and programme makers are so woeful they cannot survive competitively.

A report commissioned by the corporation in June 2007 found that while there was no evidence of conscious bias, “individuals exercise on occasion a largely unconscious self-censorship out of a misguided attempt to be ‘correct’ in their thinking”.

The problem with self-censorship and attempts at ‘impartiality’ is that these attempts are based on the perception of the broadcaster/journalist (and their working environment) and so the process is flawed. It is far better for journalists to report fully as they see the situation and any bias to be apparent and ripe for criticism (as in print media). A self-censoring mind is not one that can take on board new information unless it fits with the prepared template it cannot evaluate new information correctly – it cannot learn and therefore it cannot enable learning. Hence a self-censoring reporter censors not just themselves but against their whole audience.

“I think the important thing with the BBC is that it belongs to all of us. We have these debates because it is very important that the BBC is representative. […]

The BBC does not ‘belong’ to all of us, the public cannot sell their ‘share’ or demand changes of its content, it is not ‘property’.
The BBC cannot be representative (of the public) because individuals cannot truly represent others, it should stop trying and it should raise money in a way that its bias can be accepted, i.e. privately and without coercion.

Who Will Control Your Thermostat?

Monday, January 7th, 2008

Joseph Somsel
American Thinker
January 4, 2008

“There is nothing wrong with your thermostat. Do not attempt to adjust the temperature. We are controlling your power consumption. If we wish to make it hotter, we will turn off your air conditioner. If we wish to make it cooler, we will turn off your heater. For the next millennium, sit quietly and we will control your home temperature. We repeat, there is nothing wrong with your thermostat. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to… SACRAMENTO!”*

Building codes and engineering standards are generally good things. Updating and improving codes and standards better protect us against earthquakes, for example, as we better understand the weak points and failure modes of existing construction techniques. Requirements that ensure proper handling of sanitary wastes can be largely credited with the increased life spans in industrialized countries through the reduction of communicable diseases.

In California, we have 236 pages of state-mandated standards for building energy efficiency, known as Title 24. This prescribes methods for calculating the sizes of your home windows, the capacities of your air conditioner and heater, the thickness of the insulation in your attic. A small cottage industry has sprung up to perform these engineering calculations that are required for any new commercial or residential construction or major change to existing structures. While I’ve never personally been involved in this branch of retail professional engineering, I’ve had colleagues who would moonlight doing Title 24 calcs. It is now just part of the mandated paperwork involved in the construction business these days in California.

A new revision to Title 24 is in the works for 2008[2] and it includes a number of improvements and enhancements that are largely good sense items and should be non-controversial. For example a new swimming pool will probably need larger diameter pipes between the pool, the filter and the pump than was former practice. This will reduce the fluid friction losses that your pump must overcome and hence reduce the pump’s consumption of electricity, albeit at a minor increase in first cost for the larger pipes and fittings. Another good idea is a requirement for lighter colored shingles, the “Cool Roof Initiative.” That is intended to reduce heat loss over cold winter nights by emission and heat gain on summer days by absorption. My neighbor and I both recently discovered that it is difficult to get roofers to NOT use dark colored shingles for some reason. Having a little state muscle behind us will help, especially for renters.

What should be controversial in the proposed revisions to Title 24 is the requirement for what is called a “programmable communicating thermostat” or PCT. Every new home and every change to existing homes’ central heating and air conditioning systems will required to be fitted with a PCT beginning next year following the issuance of the revision. Each PCT will be fitted with a “non-removable ” FM receiver that will allow the power authorities to increase your air conditioning temperature setpoint or decrease your heater temperature setpoint to any value they chose. During “price events” those changes are limited to +/- four degrees F and you would be able to manually override the changes. During “emergency events” the new setpoints can be whatever the power authority desires and you would not be able to alter them.

In other words, the temperature of your home will no longer be yours to control. Your desires and needs can and will be overridden by the state of California through its public and private utility organizations. All this is for the common good, of course.



Stupid Blanco

Friday, September 14th, 2007

Many years ago, fourteen to be exact, I saw an episode of a science fiction programme that shocked me. I couldn’t remember anything about it other than the words in a single scene that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It was a scene in a police station where one officer called one of his colleagues a “Stupid Blanco”.

What triggered my memory about this phrase and the series was the all the recent heated talk about the invasion of illegal immigration in the usa, the proposals for amnesty etc etc.

Thanks to The Internets I managed to find information about the series where this scene came from by searching for the phrase “Stupid Blanco”; the series was called ‘Time Trax’ and it is (was):

a Prime Time Entertainment Network[2] American/Australian co-produced science fiction television series that first aired in 1993. It is about a police officer who has been sent into the past to track down and return convicted criminals who have escaped into the past. This was the last new production from Lorimar Television.


In the year 2193, over a hundred criminals became fugitives of law enforcement by travelling back in time two hundred years, using a time machine called Trax. Darien Lambert (Dale Midkiff) was a police detective of that period who was sent back to 1993 in order to apprehend as many of the fugitives as possible. He was assisted by SELMA (Elizabeth Alexander), an extremely small but very powerful computer (described as equivalent to a mainframe)—disguised for the mission as an AT&T MasterCard—who communicated through a holographic interface which took the visual form of a prim British nanny (SELMA was an acronym for Specified Encapsulated Limitless Memory Archive). Lambert was also equipped with a MPPT (Micro-Pellet Projection Tube) disguised as a keyless car alarm remote, which could stun the target or engulf the target in an energy field which would render him transportable to the future, at which point Selma would execute the transmission sequence to send the criminal on his way. Lambert’s biggest enemy was Dr. Mordecai Sahmbi (Peter Donat), who was responsible for sending the fugitives to 1993, and who tried several times to kill him.

Captain Lambert, fearing the possible consequences of altering the timeline, did not actively attempt to interfere with the natural flow of history, although he frequently left messages for his colleagues in 2193 (via the ‘personals’ sections of assorted newspapers). The series made occasional allusions to a theory of parallel timelines as a way of skirting the issue of temporal paradox; essentially, it implied that the time travellers went into an alternate past so that their actions there had no effect on the 2193 “present.” However, the series rarely pursued this point – probably because if Lambert was really in a parallel timeline, he would be unable to leave messages to his colleagues. Also, fugitives are sometimes seen using knowledge of the future to their own ends, which would also be impossible under the ‘parallel’ theory. The series did not have a proper ending – as of the final episode, Lambert was still in 1993 and had not yet completed his mission.



Under the section named Terminology & Technology, you can find the phrase that sent my head spinning:

It is the 22nd Century’s most abrasive racial slur. It is a reference to Caucasians, who are now a minority.


All the ‘European Americans’ who are shouting at the top of their lungs against the tidal wave of mass unchecked illegal immigration from Mexico and the abominable ‘North American Union’ will be frightened to death of a future where the most abrasive ‘racial slur’ applies to them.

It is destined to be called ‘the ‘B’ word’ no doubt.

This was the first time (on television) that I ever saw the issue of America becoming a Spanish speaking country treated in any serious way. I imagine that it is something, an idea, so repugnant to the current majority American English speaking public that no television company would normally finance its production.

The fact is that unless something is done to stop it and American English is legally adopted as the language of the nation and the Spanish language is actively rejected and suppressed, then america WILL become a spanish speaking nation from coast to coast. Already it is the case that over one third of the people in California speak spanish.

Then again, thanks to the internets, we learn that Spanish in america is in fact, nothing new, and as far back as 1870, California enshrined Spanish as one of the languages that the law is delivered in:

California’s first constitution approved an important recognition of Spanish language rights: “All laws, decrees, regulations, and provisions emanating from any of the three supreme powers of this State, which from their nature require publication, shall be published in English and Spanish.” By 1870, English-speaking Americans had become a majority in California. In 1879, California promulgated a new constitution under which all official proceedings were to be conducted only in English; this clause remained in effect until 1966. In 1986, California voters added a new constitutional clause by referendum stating that “English is the official language of the State of California.” However, Spanish is still spoken widely throughout the state, and many government forms, documents, and services are available in both English and Spanish.

This is an issue that has a long history. It can be a source of humor if the population is intelligent however.

On a trip to Quebec in the 80’s I saw a red octagonal ‘STOP’ sign that had been altered with red spray paint (identical in colour to the red of the sign so as to render the spray indistinguishable from the original paint) so that the ‘S’, the top sides of the ‘T’ and the curve of the ‘P’ had been sprayed out to make the sign read ‘101’.

This, which I didn’t know at the time, was an absolutely brilliant piece of political defacement.

I started to see the number ‘101’ grafittied all over the place, and of course, being the curious sort, asked my kind hosts, “what the heck are all the 101s all over Montreal?!”.

It transpired that the state of Quebec was going through a language war between the French speakers (“luh”) and the English speakers (“ay?”).

The ‘101’ refers specifically to:

The Charter of the French Language (also known as Bill 101 and Loi 101) is a law in the province of Quebec, Canada defining French as the only official language of Quebec.


And so, that red octagonal ‘STOP’ sign was brilliantly, and with utter inspiration, transformed from being just a ‘STOP’ sign into a ‘STOP Bill 101’ political statement.

Pure unadulterated Genius!

The French of course, with a beautiful language as their deadly weapon, were not outclassed.

I saw something that made me laugh out loud one day; someone, someone stupid, simply grafittied ‘101’ on a wall somewhere, as so many dumb people did back then, to which the following text was subsequently added by another, more inspired artist:


Oh how we laughed!

Despite the inspiration of the graffiti artists, this was a deadly serious problem and people felt very strongly about the whole issue. Emotions were running high, and there was a noticeable split in Montreal between the French speakers and the English speakers.

and it got serious:

The Charter of the French Language, though popular among a majority of Francophones, has been poorly received by many anglophones and allophones. The enforcers of the Charter, widely derided in English media as the “language police” or “tongue troopers”, are able to levy fines of up to seven thousand dollars per offence to punish those who are not in compliance with the law (“Titre V”, 2004). The charter is claimed by opponents to have caused up to 244,000 people to emigrate from Quebec to other provinces since the 1970s. [21]. Many companies most notably Royal Bank and Bank of Montreal (which even considered removing “Montreal” from its name), moved their major operations to Toronto. Many angrily blame the Charter for hindering Montreal’s economic development, arguing about the status of English as a language of international business.

The Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) (which is commonly referred to as l’Office) provides several warnings before resorting to any legal sanctions. Alleged abuse of its power has led to inflated charges of racism and harassment being levelled against them by members of minority groups (Martin 2004). The OQLF urged stores to remove imported kosher goods that did not meet labelling requirements, an action perceived in the Jewish community as an unfair targeting that coincided with a high-profile case against the well-known delicatessen, Schwartz’s (B’nai B’rith, 1996). In 2002, unreliable media accounts reported cases of alleged harassment of allophone merchants who refuse to speak French. (Gravenor, 2002).

and very silly:

One of the specifics of the Charter is insistence of French instructions for all products. During the 1990s Pokémon craze, the then PQ-led government pushed for the publication of French-translated Pokémon cards, lest Wizards of the Coast and the various stores selling the cards be fined. A line of French cards was produced, but did not gain as much value among collectors as the original English and Japanese versions. However, the cards used the Pokemon names from France, because they were merely imported from France or reprinted from France’s cards and not produced for Quebec (most Quebecers knew the Pokemon from their English names, because the video games in Quebec were in English, and the Quebec French dub of the Pokemon anime used the English names).[22]A line of French Yu-Gi-Oh! cards was also produced for Quebec, but it sold rather poorly despite high demand, and only the first two starter decks, first expansion set, and promotional movie cards were released. Other French versions of games (such as Axis & Allies) were merely imported from France, like Pokemon. Some, such as Dreamblade, Heroclix and Star Wars Miniatures, do not have French versions at all, but only short French product descriptions on the package.

As of 2003, all video games sold in Quebec must include French instructions. Stores holding unused games with English-only instructions will be fined for each individual offending copy and see their merchandise seized.

Now, I use the word ‘silly’ but the fact is that these people are taking the threat of the destruction of their culture seriously, and are taking steps to stamp out or at least control English.

There are still Americans who say, “this is america, speak it or beat it”…cough… and essentially, that is what the Royal Bank of Montreal did; they beat it.

And there you have it. If you want to preserve English as the language of the USA, you have to introduce legislation to mandate it, and then get ready for a war over it.

Of course, in a truly federated country like america should be and was designed to be, if New Mexico goes 100% Spanish that is their business, and not the business of the Federal Government.

What a life!

Bill Maher “You can’t handle the truth”

Monday, September 10th, 2007

“My love/hate relationship with Bill Maher fluctuates wildly from episode to episode. Though I love his politically incorrect sense of humor and the fact that he provides a forum for people with differing views to debate, I do hate his scapegoat arguments and constant contradictions. Still, last night’s Real Time with Bill Maher was a classic episode, mostly due to the always charismatic Mos Def, whose off the cuff bluntness drew applause and laughter in juxtaposition to Maher’s counterproductive defense of the establishment.

While skeptical of the Bush administration, Maher’s unwavering centrist beliefs often fall short of providing genuine insight. My beef is that he’s simply not radical enough. For example, he dismisses even the possibility that our government had something to do with 9/11, he clings to the fallacy that religion is to blame for the instability in Iraq, and thinks that corporate candidates like the Clintons are good for America because of their extensive experience in screwing us over. Luckily, Cornel West was also present to elaborate upon Mos Def’s arguments. Regardless of what religion any particular empire happens to subscribe to, Professor West correctly states that the problem is actually with the economic desire to create those empires. Throughout history, religion has actually had little to do with conquest, and is simply an easy scapegoat for capitalists who want to displace proper blame.

Later on in the show, the greatest consumer advocate, Ralph Nader, was on to talk about the regulation of imported goods and plug his new book, “The Seventeen Traditions”. Nader also spoke the truth about Hillary Clinton, the need for universal healthcare, and the need for an end to imperial wars. Maher did redeem himself though by highlighting the conventional wisdom of Americans who like what Nader has to say, yet hate the idea of voting him into office where he could actually make a difference. Dennis Kucinich faces the same hurdles during this election.

I’m afraid of having my account deleted for posting the full episode, but Tullycast seems to have it all if you’re interested:”

This is a truly wonderful and vivid example of the slavery inured, corporate brainwashed, ostrich posturing american who despite everything, every piece of evidence, every vibration of common sense, still believe that 2 + 2 = 5.

This Bill Maher, who makes the right noises, appears to do so only because it is in vogue to be ‘alternative’, because there are ratings in it. This is why he believes Islam is a religion of violence above all others, and refers to some author to back up his nonsense. Bill Maher is part of the problem, not only because he has a popular TV programme and is himself asleep and therefore no threat, but because he is an ordinary citizen that cannot wake up, and it is people like him that keep the nightmare going, individuals believing the nightmare is reality, that day is night, that hot is cold, that water is dry…people like him who have their finger in the Dyke, believing that if they remove it thy will die and every thing will end when in fact, they are on the wet side drowning and taking their finger out will release and violently launch them them into dry land and the world of the waking.

Note Bill’s posture (leaning away from his guests like they are going to explode) as he speaks to these two men, and note also how his english deteriorates when he talks to them…I’m sure its all completely involuntary.

BBQ gets Owned

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Panorama, that thin grey shadow of what was once a decent current events programme decades ago, has got itself completely owned, busted and exposed as fabricated garbage by some VERY organized people.

Take a look at this episode of Panorama (three parts)

And then look at this rebuttal of that programme (three parts), and witness the dirty tricks, rule breaking, scubaggery and vile behavior of John Sweeny, dyed in the wool BBQer.

The difference between this event and all the other BBQ hatchet job, tabloid ambush affairs is that this time, they got caught red handed.

If everyone who was interviewed by BBQ had access to this level of counterintelligence, they would never be able to get away with the utter garbage (in six parts) they regularly trot out as ‘journalism’.

BBQ is toast in teh internet age. YES ‘teh’. Eventually, everyone will instantly be able to see the other side of the story every time a programme is made, and ‘journalists’ like the grotesque toad Sweeny and the nauseating and nasal Louis Theroux and their revolting style of cheap, inferior, insulting, LCD, propagandistic and simple minded programme making will be put to rest.

BBQ is getting smashed alot recently. We noted the ‘filesharing is piracy’ lie and retraction and laughed out loud at the ‘911 Conspiracy Files’ debacle and the Building Seven has fallen but not fallen episode. So enormous is this epidemic of untruth at the BBQ that there are sites dedicated to documenting the lie spreading machine that is BBQ.

That these people still think they can get away scott free with transmitting garbage is the most astonishing thing of all.

New Adam Curtis Documentary, ‘The Trap’

Monday, March 12th, 2007

Adam Curtis, who made the documentaries ‘The Power of Nightmares‘ and ‘Century of the Self‘ has his new work broadcast by BBQ2: ‘The Trap’. This first installment is up to his usual high standards.

Its thesis is fascinating, and is similar to ‘Century of the Self’; a clutch of academics come up with ways of explaining the world that can be applied directly to human affairs, inagination-less politicians read their works, become enamored by them, implement them, and the side effects are entirely negative.

In this installment, the academic is John Nash, (who the insightful Mimi Majick immediately identified as being Autistic), whose work at The Rand Corporation and his “Nash Equilibrium” equations helped form the policy of Mutually Assured Destruction.

Please watch this installment for the background.

Curtis explains clearly how the “Nash Equilibrium” works, and my first thoughts were these:

Equilibrium is a state that can be found at a large number of points in a dynamic system. Some we want, and some we do not want. If M.A.D. were carried out, we would reach equilibrium where no one had nuclear weapons and the threat would be over. There could be described as the equilibrium of unburied death. But that is just one possible outcome, one possible point of equilibrium, out of a near infinite number of possibilities.

We are all familiar with coupled pendulums, and multiple magnet toys. These dynamic systems take a very few elements running on simple rules which when coupled together, create a system that is impossible to predict, yet which operates within a gamut that can be unambiguously written out and expressed as a formula.

Human beings, when they are left to their own devices will interact in the same way and out of this will emerge a dynamic system. We can loosely predict the states generated by the result of huge human populations interacting as individuals, and we can cause changes in the states of these populations by increasing or decreasing inputs like V.A.T., propaganda or legislation.

Think of a stream of water coming out of tap. We have all played around with them. the shape of the falling water is constant when the speed of the water is not varied and the slightest increase or decrease can change it from drips a braided stream a spluttering gush or any one of an infinite number of variations in between. The point is that there is no one way to achieve any particular state of equilibrium, and we have to strive for an equilibrium that is desirable, not undesirable.

Nash did work that expressed in a formula how people could always make an optimum decision when they are interacting in an adversarial game. His theories work from the position that people are selfish, that they are adversarial, suspicious of each other trying to ‘figure out’ what their fellow man is going to do at any time, by nature. This is where Mimi Majick chimed in with, “That guy is AUTISTIC!“.

If Nash is autistic (at the very least, the documentary says that he was suffering from Paranoid Schizophrenia when he did his award winning work) then it would make perfect sense that this is how he saw other people; sufferers of Autism cannot put themselves into the minds of other people; they cannot read other people’s faces or emotions; they live in a confusing world where other people’s behavior cannot be predicted. It is a frustrating world for them, and the have to devise their own strategies and rules of thumb to get along in situations that we all take for granted.

Nash, being a gifted mathematician will have applied his powerful skills to this ‘problem’, as it would have been very troubling to him that for all his life he could never read the emotional states and more importantly, the intentions, of other people.

The implications of this are frightening. Following Nash’s work was wrong not only because there are an infinite number of points of equilibrium in human interactions that are all possible (and more preferable), but because policy has been built around the affliction of an Autistic man, whose world view is totally abnormal and in fact, inhuman.

I can give two examples of humans reaching mutually beneficial equilibrium through the opposite of Nash’s distorted world view of inherent human distrust and selfishness.

The first is amongst the rough diamond dealers in Antwerp. Orthodox Jews in Antwerp can do diamond deals worth any amount of money and pay with slips of paper in exchange for goods. These ‘IOUs’ are as good as money. They all trust each other totally. This community has less friction than communities where there is distrust; you can do a deal anywhere and with confidence. You don’t have to run security checks or any of the high friction malarky that distrustful communities and relationships are burdened with. Everyone trusts each other, everyone makes a profit. No one is cheated. The community is in equilibrium, and the only way it can work is if everyone trusts each other.

The other example is that of Free Software and Open Source Software. In these software communities, everyone is generous and not selfish. We have all seen (and you are reading this on the results of) this approach. It has literally changed the world, for the better, and we are moving toward an equilibrium state where everyone has free software, all are benefitting, and anyone can make money off of the free software.

Imagine if Eric S Raymond worked for The Rand Corporation, and instead of the literally sick and abnormal world view of Nash, we had a variation of The Cathedral and the Bazar as the starting point for the position that we are in now. I think we would all be better off.

Perhaps in the future we will see a documentary describing how little know men like Richard Stallman implemented radical ideas that spread throughout society, changing it for the better.

I’m looking forward to the other parts of this documentary.

Afro Samurai

Friday, March 9th, 2007

You must watch Afro Samurai. The music is by The RZA. It is a stone cold classic.

France bans citizen journalists from reporting violence

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

By Peter Sayer, IDG News Service

The French Constitutional Council has approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists. The law could lead to the imprisonment of eyewitnesses who film acts of police violence, or operators of Web sites publishing the images, one French civil liberties group warned on Tuesday.

The council chose an unfortunate anniversary to publish its decision approving the law, which came exactly 16 years after Los Angeles police officers beating Rodney King were filmed by amateur videographer George Holliday on the night of March 3, 1991. The officers’ acquittal at the end on April 29, 1992 sparked riots in Los Angeles.

Dear oh dear; France is not in the USA you simpleton. They have their own problems, their own anniversaire mauvaise; why on earth do you think that Rodney ‘cant we all jus get along’ King has anything whatsoever to do with FRANCE.

If Holliday were to film a similar scene of violence in France today, he could end up in prison as a result of the new law, said Pascal Cohet, a spokesman for French online civil liberties group Odebi. And anyone publishing such images could face up to five years in prison and a fine of €75,000 (US$98,537), potentially a harsher sentence than that for committing the violent act.

There you are. I found one for you and linked it for you. No need for a bogus transcontinental Rodney King anniversary after all.

Senators and members of the National Assembly had asked the council to rule on the constitutionality of six articles of the Law relating to the prevention of delinquency. The articles dealt with information sharing by social workers, and reduced sentences for minors. The council recommended one minor change, to reconcile conflicting amendments voted in parliament. The law, proposed by Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy, is intended to clamp down on a wide range of public order offenses. During parliamentary debate of the law, government representatives said the offense of filming or distributing films of acts of violence targets the practice of “happy slapping,” in which a violent attack is filmed by an accomplice, typically with a camera phone, for the amusement of the attacker’s friends.

‘happy slapping’… a British Invention I believe.

The broad drafting of the law so as to criminalize the activities of citizen journalists unrelated to the perpetrators of violent acts is no accident, but rather a deliberate decision by the authorities, said Cohet. He is concerned that the law, and others still being debated, will lead to the creation of a parallel judicial system controlling the publication of information on the Internet.

The government has also proposed a certification system for Web sites, blog hosters, mobile-phone operators and Internet service providers, identifying them as government-approved sources of information if they adhere to certain rules. The journalists’ organization Reporters Without Borders, which campaigns for a free press, has warned that such a system could lead to excessive self censorship as organizations worried about losing their certification suppress certain stories.


France has a long history of getting the internets wrong. They banned 128bit crypto, and then reversed its policy when someone pointed out to them that it was the basis of all e-commerce.

There are lots of other stuff too. Google it. France is not perfect. No country is. But I can tell you right now that France, and in particular Paris as a place that welcomes people and that is human in its feeling is about ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND TIMES SUPERIOR to anywhere in the us or the uk.

I am loath to take the side of Paris bureau chief Peter Sayer who Reports on ‘Services; Enterprise hardware; Apple’ when it comes to pointing the finger at a country for passing repressive laws. Interesting; Sayer is in Paris, but cant find an example of french police repression being filmed. hmmmm anyway, I have no idea wether this guy is an american or not. If he is, he should STFU about france and go drink a tizane. He is in one of the most beautiful cities on earth, in a country that is one of the last decent places in the west. Concentrate on your own myriad problems.

In any case, as we have seen, France can change its mind for the good. They will do it, so lay off Bon à Rien american!

Saint Patrick Moore, Lord of the Heavens

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

The Sky at Night.

For whenever you have a spare 20 minutes, discover a beautiful little part of the universe.


Thursday, October 19th, 2006

It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t have left you… I’ve been reading from afar, but haven’t really had much to say, as you all say it much better. I just came across this though:

Conet mentioned on Wil Wheaton’s blog

Hello again.

The Twilight Zone

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

Oberman sums up why we loved America

Crooks And Liars

Here is a sketch for a short season of tv programmes focused on surveillance. In it, there is an episode of ‘The Outer Limits’ called O.B.I.T.. You REALLY need to see this. It is of the type that Oberman talks about, from the era when america was America, and the people there were really different than they are today.

And this is the episode that Oberman is referring to in is piece, ‘The monsters are due on Maple Street’:

“Understand the procedure now? Just stop a few of their machines…throw them into darkness for a few hours and then sit back and watch the pattern. They pick the most dangerous enemy they can find and it’s themselves.”

“The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts… attitudes… prejudices. To be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill, and suspicion can destroy, and the thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to The Twilight Zone.”

Rod Serling. A smoker.

Would you like to know more?

Friday, August 25th, 2006

reported by ChrishAugust 24, 200639 comments

Just think about that for a moment. It’s simple, it’s concise, it’s scary, and it’s a warning. Are you good and scared? Enough to support the administration in another pre-emptive attack against another country that poses no threat to us? That’s what the drill is and has been at FOX News for months and months now.

William Rivers Pitt wrote in January that

“The intelligence specialists in the United States, Germany and Israel all agree that Iran is between three and five years away from being able to manufacture nuclear weapons. This, of course, is based on the premise that such manufacture is Iran’s goal. Take it as a given that it is, and we have at least three years to use diplomacy, economic pressures and possibly sanctions to keep them from creating these bombs.But “three to five years” isn’t going to help the GOP win the midterm elections. They need things to be scary, and they need things to be scary now. The same right-wing groups that ginned up the fantasy that Iraq was laden with weapons of mass destruction, and was an imminent threat, are now at work building up a martial froth about Iran. They did this in time for the midterms last time, and are preparing to do it again.

United Press International carried a story last Thursday about a group called the Foundation for Democracy in Iran. This group, according to the UPI story, claims that, “Tehran is planning a nuclear weapons test before the Iranian New Year on March 20, 2006.” FDI, according to the story, offered absolutely no proof to back this claim. But that’s not three to five years. That’s less than ten weeks. Scary stuff, right?

Take a closer look, however, and you can see the fingerprints of the architects of our current Iraq boondoggle all over this. The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is run by a man named Kenneth Timmerman. Timmerman is umbilically connected to the godfather of right-wing think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute. It was the American Enterprise Institute that spawned the Project for the New American Century, the think tank that gave us Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, the original noise about Iraqi WMD, and the idea that a military takeover of the entire Mideast is a bully idea. The same people that terrorized the American people into unnecessary war in Iraq are preparing to do the same with Iran, and all in time for the midterms.”

And Larissa Alexandrova of has written for :

” The Bush administration continues to bypass standard intelligence channels and use what some believe to be propaganda tactics to create a compelling case for war with Iran, US foreign experts and former US intelligence officials have said.One former senior intelligence official is particularly concerned by private briefings that Vice President Dick Cheney is getting from former Office of Special Plans (OSP) Director, Abram Shulsky.

“Vice President Cheney is relying on personal briefings from Shulsky for current intelligence on Iran,” said this intelligence official.

Shulsky, a leading Neoconservative and member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), headed the shadowy and secretive Department of Defense’s OSP in the lead-up to the Iraq war — helping to locate intelligence that would support the Bush administration’s case for war with Iraq.Several foreign policy experts, who wish to remain anonymous, have expressed serious concern that much like the OSP, the ID is manipulating, cherry picking, and perhaps even — as some suspect — cooking intelligence to lead the U.S. into another conflict, this time with Iran.

“Cheney distrusts the information being disseminated by CIA on Iran,” said one former senior intelligence official. “The reports assembled by the Iranian Directorate at the Pentagon differ significantly from the analysis produced by the Intelligence Community. The Pentagon Iranian Directorate relies on thin and unsupported reporting from foreign sources.”

FOX is doing their part in preparing the American public for the necessity of a strike on Iran with an incessant, literal drumbeat of war, evidenced here in part:











The tactic of drilling and repitition has been well documented on this site. Remember the “flip-flop” segment in “Outfoxed“? Tax and spend? Cut and run? This is more of the same, seen regularly on most of the major shows. Viewers are indoctrinated to believing there’s a “showdown” (great, I thought we were done with failed cowboy diplomacy) and Bush is going to swagger into Iran and save us, like he did in Iraq.

I’ll give these people one thing, no matter how horribly things are going they don’t deviate from Plan A. Some people say that’s resolute but more and more people say that’s just dumb. Maybe even insane.

Taken with the recent blatant media manipulation of declaring terror threats for political purposes, this administration retains no credibility to skeptical, tired Americans. Only the ideologically blinded cannot see (or will not see) that they are being yanked around – again. […]

To defeat the bug, you must understand the bug.

Is this really happening? I mean honestly, when we used to see examples of this sort of TV in the movies,  we laughed our bollocks off, and now, its REAL and RIGHT IN OUR FACES.

Would you like to know more?

Ex Prime Minister of Malaysia “Bliar: Liar and Poodle”

Friday, August 25th, 2006

You should take a look at:

MEMRI’s recording of an extensive Islam Channel interview with former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad, who sounds in parts like a BLOGDIAL reader and 20AC pumper.

The Islam Channel is an amazing resource; it covers all of Europe and its footprint stretches much further afield. Its news shows everything that BBQ wont, and its pundits are down to earth and go for the jugular every time.

‘The death of what you love’ I MEANT what I said, and this is what it mans.

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

Strict security measures at UK airports are having a “devastating impact” on musicians, says the Musicians’ Union. It says its members “are reporting significant lost earnings” because they are unable to take their instruments on board aircraft as hand luggage.

Many instruments are too fragile to be placed in the hold of an airliner, the union told the BBC News website.

But the Department for Transport said the security regulations will “be in place for as long as they need to be”.

Under the rules, passengers are allowed one item of cabin baggage, which must be no larger than a laptop bag.

A spokeswoman at the Department for Transport said instruments would have to be checked into the hold until the security situation is downgraded. […]

Your comments on this story:

It’s the damage inflicted by temperature which is a major issue
Simon, London

It’s not only the danger of damage from the instruments being knocked about, it’s the damage inflicted by temperature which is a major issue. Extreme cold will more than likely split the wood, or possibly damage the valves of many instruments. Then, going from the cold to the heat will more than likely warp the wood, making them unplayable.

Sadly, it isn’t as simple as packing instruments in a flight case.

There was a cellist on my flight to Belfast on Monday who had no problems getting it in the cabin, and stored at the front of the plane. For those travelling to the States I’d probably suggest flying out to Schipol/Charles De Gaule and then back over to America. OR fly to canada and then a local flight into the states.
Steve, Belfast/London


I am a professional violinist living in London and would like to point out that although it is a similar situation for other professions, I would be very surprised if any other equipment that people carry on to a plane can be valued in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds. Optical equipment such as cameras etc. are factory produced and made in numbers. Our instruments have an intrinsic cultural value and uniqueness that make them an exception.
JM, London


Lots of comments on this story at BBQ.

As we can see from the comment above, people are already avoiding the US and UK to play and work and live in places that are not in thrall to this mass hysteria. It is the loss of the people of the UK and the USA to not have these great performers and their instruments, and they deserve this fate, because they are sheepishly going along with this total farce, the only person standing up against it being the boss of Ryan Michael O’Leary…. who is Irish!
These ‘security’ arrangements are absurd. Everyone knows it, and yet, they go along with it, and whine like children on BBQs comments instead of attacking the root cause of the problem; Bliar and the wholley owned Mass Murder Cabal Murder inc. .
I will say it again. If you do not want everything you have loved to be destroyed by Murder Inc. you had better WAKE UP and PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN and refuse to finance this insane cabal of villains, who lie to your face, with absurd double talk, platitudes and nonsense that not even a child would believe.

And as for an example of instant self contradiction:

I would like to reassure the public that we are doing everything we can to keep you safe, for you to live your lives without being in constant fear.

However, we must be realistic. The threat from terrorism is real, it is here, it is deadly and it is enduring.

You cant make shit like this up. And as for the rest of that article:

I shall try to give you an idea of the size and complexity of this investigation.

There have been 69 searches.

These have been in houses, flats and business premises, vehicles and open spaces.

As well as the bomb making equipment, we have found more than 400 computers, 200 mobile telephones and 8,000 items of removable storage media such as memory sticks, CDs and DVDs.

So far, from the computers alone, we have removed some 6,000 gigabytes of data.

The meticulous investigation of all this material will take many months. All the data will be analysed.

This is TOTAL HOGWASH. If they have charges to bring, then they have enough evidence to charge, and all of this garbage is totally irrelevant. They have, by their own admission, been monitoring these people for over a year. During that time it must be an absolute fact that they have VOLUMES of information about these people. This is just pathetic window dressing to try and keep the hysterial level high. They say they have found 200 telephones. So what? They have been bugging those phones for over a year, and have built up social networks for all 200 of those numbers, guaranteed. To list that they have these telephones is just grandstanding. And as for the computer equipment, all of it is irrelevant. These people were caught because they communicated, and they (so they claim) were arrested with incriminating items in their posession, enough to bring a charge. This dirty washing list is simply nonsense, and no one is buying it…at least no one that can think is bying it.

Note how nothing is being said about the people released without charge. How is it that they can have a group of people under ‘unprecedented surveillance’ for over a year and then STILL arrest innocent people?! What would they have had to say in the cells that could have exhonerated them that could not be gleaned during the extreme surveillance? The mind boggles at these people’s incompetence. But I digress.

We would not be discussing this at all if this great country was being run on the behalf of and in the interests of its citizens. England would not be the second nation listed every time people talk about war crimes and injustice.

None of this should be hapenning in the first place.

The life that you loved and drank down like free mountain water is being eroded on a daily basis. The knock on effect, the erosion of culture, free exchange of ideas, meeting people EVERYTHING is going to be shut down and then ground into dust before your very eyes.