Friday, 27 May 2011

Blogger and Firefox, a match made in Hell?

A week or so back Blogger went seriously wrong, most of us probably noticed! For me it came back for a couple of days but has been unreliable ever since, up and down like a fiddler's elbow, as they say in polite circles. It's been permanently unavailable now for 2 days.
I could read Blogger blogs but couldn't log into my own or add any comments to others - all I got was a login screen that just recycled back so I couldn't even be anonymous.
Having cleaned cookies, reset histories and the like to no avail I tried Internet Explorer, and bizarely it seems to work under IE. Someone else commented on the Blogger help site that they could only make it work under Opera or on an Android phone. Something is presumably being mis-cached or has been messed up in the browser (if so what were Google doing to the browser?).
So I'm just just passing along the tip, if Blogger fails again for you try a different browser.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

People depress me.

Yesterday I got around to looking at the recent government red tape site.

Yes I know it’s probably a waste of time, just a rerun of the previous ignored attempt to divert people’s ire at the system, but I looked anyhow. This month it is about aspects of road transport, something that affects me as I run a couple of classic cars. Maybe someone will read it and take notice, you never know?

When the road tax concession for historic cars was introduced it was set at 25 years old. One of Gordo Browns first vindictive acts as chancellor was to stop the clock, so now only pre 1972 cars get any concession. This has resulted in a whole era of cars from the 70s almost disappearing because ordinary hobby enthusiasts get no inducement to renovate and preserve them. Indeed they are more expensive to tax than many modern cars. The 70s was hardly a high point for English engineering, encompassing such unloved marvels as the BL Allegro (with built in nanny and square steering wheel), the Maxi etc, but even iconic cars like the coke bottle Escorts and Cortinas, Sweeny type Granada and early Saab99 have all but vanished, so it would be sensible if people could be encouraged to preserve them.

Then there are MOTs. Notwithstanding that there are some potentially dangerous high performance old vehicles most are not. Old girls like mine struggle to breach 50mph and cover a few hundred (or fewer) local miles each summer yet have the same MOT regime as a high mileage car in daily use. We even have to pay for overheads and costs of sophisticated equipment (like emissions testing) that are inapplicable to an old car. A simple test of structure, brakes and steering is all these old cars were designed for.

Next we have SORN and now continuous insurance regulations. These are simply a nightmare. My classic car insurance is conditional on having an ordinary ‘daily car’ and the classic is restricted in mileage and to non commercial non commuting use.  With just two classic cars, generally only one in use at a time, and neither on the road for more than a few summer months each year, I am forever getting MOTs, SORNing one, claiming free road tax on the other. I really can’t see any young uninsured scrote choosing to drive round the estate and do wheelies in a 50 year old Morris Minor, they would be in for serious disappointment! In any case all vehicle details, tax status, MOT dates, are on a database and checked by omnipresent cameras so what’s the point of these regulations other than as a stick to beat up ordinary people? My guess is that they will soon start charging an ‘administration fee’ for making a SORN declaration, the ultimate aim being continuous taxation of car ownership.

The depressing stuff is because so many of the site commentators don’t want to remove red tape at all but on a site asking for reduction ideas they are arguing for more of the damn stuff! There are almost howls of protest that the government should even consider lessening the MOT rules on ordinary cars. Suggesting an MOT after 4 years instead of 3 and a two year MOT period is tantamount to suggesting the end of the world to these imbeciles. They seem to think that every vehicle becomes a death trap 366 days after the MOT or when 3 years one day old. Classic owners tend to recognise reality, every vehicle is a potential death trap from day 1 unless looked after properly. The MOT is a useful reminder to look underneath at things hidden so even I wouldn’t want to abolish it completely, even for very low mileage classics, but needing one every 200 miles is ridiculous when a classics is essentially under permanent ongoing maintenance.

Not content with the current 3 year old then every year MOT cycle some of the commentators actually want to tighten it. Suggesting a regularly stamped service book should be mandatory for a pass and that dealers could do the annual service and MOT together.  Perfectly fine if you have a newish car and the anniversaries line up and you are incapable of wielding a spanner yourself, but such people clearly have no idea whatsoever of the real world. My service manuals ran out in about 1970 and annual servicing is a meaningless exercise on a 50 year old car, indeed they were 6 monthly because in those days winter oil and summer oil were different viscosity. And you were advised to change to or from winter tyres at the same time, something we could usefully relearn perhaps?

But where do these idiots come from, who live in a tiny bubble of reality and long for more authority and more rules to command their lives? Do we breed them nowadays or is this the result of a decade of nanny state and authoritarian brainwashing? It’s depressing wherever they come from!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The vanity project to beat all others.

So we are to be a leading edge exponent of a low carbon economy and a moral leader in decarbonising! God help us, nobody else can!

I really had hoped that even Cameron’s team would have had enough sense to block this nonsense. Even if they are brainwashed by the IPCC into believing the AGW myth and even if they were really so deluded as to think “green jobs” were in any way productive I had hoped they would realise that current forms of “green” energy cannot sustain a modern nation in a cost effective manner.

Even if they had AGW belief imprinted through them from birth like words in a stick of rock I thought they would at the very least have more sense than to add red tape and energy costs at this particular moment in time when all our resources should be geared towards economic recovery. They surely wouldn’t add that economic stupidity on top of their infantile credibility in AGW?

They must realise that in global terms we produce barely a gnat’s fart of CO2, so whatever we do will have no effect on the globe. Yet we will be forced to spend vast amounts of our money on a hugely inefficient generating system that will have no discernable effect on a problem that in all likelihood doesn’t exist in any case. Taking a moral lead is simply an apology for a vanity project. The last thing we should be spending money on at the moment is a useless vanity project that gambles the well-being of everyone in the country, and this, attempting to show 'moral leadership' to the world, is the ultimate in expensive vanity projects! And it will be the bigest backfire ever when the truth sinks in that it's all in aid of nothing.
Don’t they realise that ‘green jobs’ are simply makework? Instead of today’s reasonably efficient energy system we must pay for millions of new jobs in order to build and maintain a less reliable energy structure using a different and unreliable generating method. It would be far less harmful to pay people to dig and refill holes. Or maybe we could cure unemployment by banning all labour saving devices then paying people to do everything by hand, that makes as much sense. But hang on, sorry, that's what they are doing, except we don't get paid for doing it, we pay for the privilege of the extra hardship.

If they are keen on green energy then why not put the money into research? Not into an experiment with big toys that has a good chance of causing poverty and hardship for generations to come but into honest scientific research into alternative power sources, thorium reactors and shale gas would make a good start.. If they want to help the real environment and protect our countryside, wildlife and biodiversity then they should do so, I would entirely support such efforts, but they are not interested in real issues.

But no, once again I am totally dumbfounded by the absolute and total idiocy, arrogance and vanity, combined with breathtaking scientific and commercial illiteracy, shown by our political cabal. Their complete and utter dedication to the chasing of rainbows and their unshakeable expectation of finding pots of gold at the end is quite beyond my comprehension.

Words fail me.

I notice there is now a petition to repeal the act, go here and sign it! 
There are more details here at the Max Farquar blog

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Interesting use of language.

In a recent Guardian article headed “David Cameron in danger of breaking greenpledge, warn green groups” I found the following paragraph:

“In an open letter to David Cameron on the first anniversary of the speech in which he made the promise, the chief executives of 15 campaign groups including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Christian Aid, Oxfam and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said he….”

So the Guardian now accepts and admits that Greenpeace, FOTE and the others are exactly what we accuse them of being and describes them as campaign groups.   

What has to happen before the Charity Commission start doing their job and following the New Zealand example of stripping charity status from political organisations? It seems to me that threatening schools with loss of charity status if they are not inclusive enough is quite absurd when political activist groups can claim it.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Douane

It’s noticeable when travelling to and from France that the french don’t bother too much about border controls as such. While UKBA will happily spoil the end of the holiday experience by creating vast queues of British folks trying to get back home the French booths at the Channel Tunnel or ferry port often have nobody in attendance, the only check they make frequently is a chemical security swab.

Where one sees French Douane is on the autoroutes, often armed groups around toll booths where all the traffic has to briefly stop to pay the road toll. It happened today that we received their attention. As we made our way north from Rouen up the autoroute towards Calais a motorcycle escort, one in front and one behind, lights flashing,  appeared from the trees at the side of the road and signalled us (somewhat confusingly) and shepherded us into the next service area where there was a large crowd of uniformed personnel and a sectioned off area.  

Clearly a major check was going on and their primary questions concerned whether there were any other people in the camper van and where had we come from? In particular had we been in the south of France? And they wanted to see our passports. Most of their 'catch' at the checkpoint seemed to be trucks from southern France or southern Europe but being a camper van I guess we could have been hiding a few illegals. I assume that’s what they were looking for. Anyhow, we weren’t and they soon lost interest.

I have to say they were perfectly polite and reasonable, even to the point of noticing that Mrs was driving and specifically calling a female operative over to talk to her. They didn’t even comment on the tray of garden seedlings that get a much faster start if planted in France and didn't hold us up more than a few minutes.

Interestingly their only other question was whether we were carrying tobacco. Make of that what you will, I had to disappointment them with only two small half used pouches (although they didn’t look except a glance in through the van door).  What is the present obsession with tobacco all about? 

I don’t smoke enough to want to import quantities when the stuff grows in the ground almost for free but I enjoy trying different mixes and types. As an aside I recommend Gauloises ‘melange original ’ if you want to give any hand rolling enthusiasts a surprise!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Are the BBC losing their way?

Being away in France for a week means a choice of only the free TV channels available via an old sky system without a card so it happened that last night I sat through two BBC programmes.

First up Countryfile, a strange experience because they kept going on about the dry sunny spring weather, even saying how good it had been for early crops, lambs and suchlike and I kept waiting for the global warming mantra to explain this occurrence and introduce the problems of lack of water on crops and imminent end of civilisation as we know it. But it wasn't mentioned!

Then a documentary on the national grid. OK much was historic so I waited until the end for the propaganda about renewables but no! Not a word, and even quite some time spent on the economic advantages of cheap power for the post war 'rebuild' and time spent explaining the problems of balancing loads from traditional generation and the problem that elecricity could not easily be stored, except in a few pumped locations, to make balancing easier.

The experience left me quite disorientated, where was the propaganda?

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Why I won't be voting today

Had life been rather less complicated over the past months I had intended going away for a week at the end of April, some french hideaway maintenance work to be done, and I would have returned before today’s referendum. I know it's only a diversion for the politicians to play with but I would have voted.
But it soon became obvious that my trip wasn’t going to happen as planned and would have to be moved back a week, so to my rescue the postal vote! I downloaded the application form and it was posted to the council election people first class the day before the application deadline.
The postal vote form needed to be sent back to me by Tuesday the 3rd, not only was I leaving late on the 3rd but that was also the last day possible for me to fill in my vote and return the form.
It didn’t arrive.
So apart from a useful way to rig elections what’s the point of the postal vote system if it can’t cope with ordinary life events at reasonable notice?

Monday, 2 May 2011

Should this nonsense make sense?

Following the news nowadays always leaves me with lots of facts and steadily increasing confusion, so much of it makes no sense whatsoever. The confusion ranges all the way from the trivial to the important.

For example the trivial: Why on earth would the Bristol Police move into a squat to make arrests at the hour they did with the approach they used then leave the anti-Tesco protestors, plus loads of their hangers on and bystanders, outside the very store which created the unrest in the first place with an added bonus of a brand new £100,000 worth of police vehicle and trailer of police equipment to play with? It seems inconceivable, even allowing for the grossest bureaucratic incompetence, that the police are really that stupid, yet it doesn’t seem to fit any sensible or rational agenda that would explain what went on.

An important example: At a moment when our military and our defences are being drastically cut why are we getting so militarily involved in Libya ‘to topple a tyrant’ and why are we playing a part in other North African countries to push for the rebels when the rebels are obviously no more friends of ours than their leaders were. Yet we have totally ignored despotic regimes and tyranny in other parts of Africa even where the tyranny, as in Zimbabwe, is directed against people with a European background.

Obviously the mainstream media no longer report the news in any sort of even-handed manner. The BBC has descended into a left-leaning Common Purpose, EU and UN directed propaganda organisation obsessed with eco-fascist authoritarianism, and now at best they provide only biased coverage of those selected news events that can be spun to support their world view, anything else is ignored.

The newspapers are occasionally somewhat better, except they only ever scratch the surface of real news in between the vapid celebrity nonsense that fills their pages, there is rarely any depth, background or comprehension attached to what they report. Those that do report politics appear more concerned about losing their Westminster access privileges than the truth or sense of their reports.

Much of science doesn’t appear to work at all. Instead of scientists following up their interests and directing what they want to investigate and finding where their ideas lead we now have grant bodies that publish a list of topics they want investigated, together with the pre-ordained answers they expect their ‘bought science” to reinforce. Any scientist with a novel idea or a non-mainstream outlook is almost guaranteed no research income and a complete lack of support from an academia scared to question any consensus. Long gone are most of the radical thinkers and inventors who brought exciting and useful new discoveries to society, moved aside to make room for the yes men and the uninspired modellers and people who think science involves molesting  statistics until they provide the right answer.

Most UK politicians look and behave increasingly like an infantile, inward looking, self-serving clique of people with little or no concept of, or concern about, life’s realities for ordinary people outside London. There are a few principled independent thinkers left but they are drowned out by those whose interests are their personal wealth and who play everything to that end. It suits their purpose to continue to distort the science doctrines of climate change, medicine, psychology and sociology as they dictate to the ‘scientists’ what they want to hear, then they can swallow the ‘scientific’ results with the critical and analytical abilities of a goldfish, to enact the laws they bought the science to support in the first place. 

Anything the EU wants, whether tobacco control, votes for prisoners, green power subsidies, multiculturalism, propping up the Euro, invasions of countries that don’t want to cooperate with EU central, they jump instantly, with only occasionally a mutter of faux-dismay to try and fool the electorate. But so many futures are dependent an a nice cushy EU or UN feather bedded position after leaving MP service at Westminster that they dare not object or obstruct the United Nations or EU socialist juggernauts so they don’t even pause to question the pseudo-scientific quackery and fakery of bodies like the IPCC, WHO tobacco activists, bio fuels lobby, carbon tax groups and the like. 

So I don’t know what to make of it. Are our politicians simply self-serving or are they so incompetent and so good at being ‘useful idiots’ that they have no idea what a mess they are sleepwalking into? Are their strings being pulled by the EU or the UN’s agenda 21  (this is  a truly frightening  plan for the control of humanity that makes communist Russia look like the land of the free!).

The most worrying thing is that it’s not just our UK politicians who are doing such stupid things. Most of the nonsense in the UK is being carried out in parallel by the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and most of the ‘western’ developed world.  It makes so little sense that even the most crackpot conspiracy theorists sound sensible.

And as for their "Arc Manche"  they can go forth and fornicate, I shall be carrying a spray can to decorate any such signs I see!

Sorry, it’s been a bad week!