Saturday, 17 March 2012

The sad facts about repression in China

(image by the Laogai Research Foundation)

European beggars in Beijing are not likely to remind the Chinese communist party leadership of the fact that 2011 was the worst year for human rights in China for a decade. Neither is it likely that Chinese leaders who are wined and dined in the White House will be reminded of the most extensive and repressive existing prison camp system in the world, the Chinese Laogai.

This is what the Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders says in its annual report:

A major crackdown on dissent following protests across the Arab world made 2011 the worst year for human rights in China in a decade, a pressure group said Friday.
Long jail terms, enforced disappearances and torture of dissidents amounted to a “downward spiral” in China’s record, Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) said in its annual report.
The study found more than 3,800 cases of arbitrary detention last year, as well as over 100 cases of individuals tortured specifically because of their rights activism.
“(The crackdown) marked yet another low point in the downward spiral of China’s human rights records, making 2011 the most repressive year since the rights defence movement began in the early 2000s,” said Renee Xia, CHRD’s international director, using a term coined by Chinese activists.
The group said it was particularly alarmed by the “widespread use of extralegal detention and enforced disappearance”.
“The crackdown impacted not only the individual activists, but also menacingly conveyed a warning to the ordinary Chinese citizens: anyone who challenges the government will be punished,” it said.
This is what the Laogai Research Foundation says about Communist China´s gruesome prison camp system:
Dictatorships throughout history have relied on fear and control to maintain power. The world has resoundingly condemned the atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps, the Soviet Gulag, and many other systems of repression around the globe, but has remained largely silent on one of the most extensive and repressive prison camp system in the world: the Chinese Laogai. Since the early 1950s, China has used the Laogai to crush dissent and root out potential sources of opposition, whether political, economic, or religious in nature, while simultaneously exploiting prisoners as a source of free labor.

Originally modeled on the Soviet Gulag, the Laogai of today is thriving, with millions of people suffering in more than one thousand camps. Although many of the Laogai's prisoners are incarcerated for ordinary crimes, there is little respect for due process, or the rule of law in general, within the Chinese criminal justice system, meaning conviction by a fair trial is, at worst, impossible, and at best, uncertain in China. Many find themselves in the Laogai for crimes that are political in nature, such as "subverting State power" or "revealing State secrets." The definitions of these crimes are so broad that the authorities can use them to justify arresting just about anyone for the most innocuous of activities, leading to a widespread chilling effect on all forms of expression.
Furthermore, the Laogai's role in economic production enables the Chinese government to profit from the imprisonment of its people, creating a perverse incentive to maintain high rates of incarceration. Since its inception in 1949, 40 to 50 million people are estimated to have been imprisoned in the Laogai, and untold numbers have perished under its brutality.
The Laogai is more than a place to detain and "reform" convicts and dissidents; it is inextricably linked to the Chinese economy. The Chinese government profits handsomely from the labor camp system by allowing goods made with forced labor to enter both domestic and international markets. The Laogai relies on prisoners to provide free labor in over 1,000 camps. Most Laogai camps operate a commercial enterprise, be it a factory, farm, workshop, or mine. Indeed, many camps have a number of Laogai enterprises producing a wide range of products. Prisons in China generally have two names: a commercial name used for trading and an official administrative name identifying the facility as a prison. Because prisoners are not paid for their work, these Laogai enterprises are able to reap huge profits.

New Study: Climate change models explain just about everything

Climate change models - which of course, as we all know, are extremely accurate  - now also explain the evolution of Homo sapiens - and all animals and plants.

Dr John Stuart of Bournemouth University, the lead author of the paper, entitled “Human Evolution Out-of-Africa: The Role of Refugia and Climate”, explains:

“We have tried to explain much of what we know about humans, including the evolution and extinction of Neanderthals and the Denisovans (a newly discovered group from Siberia), as well as how they interbred with the earliest modern populations who had just left Africa. All these phenomena have been put into the context of how animals and plants react to climate change. We’re thinking about humans from the perspective of what we know about other species.”
“One of the models we’ve formulated is that the adoption of a new refugium (an area of refuge from the harsh climatic conditions of the Ice Age) by a subgroup of a species may lead to important evolutionary changes, ultimately leading to the origins of a new species. In fact this could apply to all continental species, whether animals or plants” said Dr Stewart.

We are now eagerly awaiting the "sequel" to the study, showing what kind of new species will replace Homo sapiens as a consequence of human caused global warming. With the help of  a little "human engineering" by professor S. Matthew Liao´s team, the arrival of the new species probably could be speeded up considerably.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Human engineering study co-author: Humanity should be "like a forest of quiet semiconductor trees"

The co-authors of professor S. Matthew Liao´s paper "Human Engineering and Climate Change" think that online critics have misunderstood what they really mean. One of the authors, Dr  Anders Sandberg, James Martin Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford Universitywants people to know that "human engineering on its own is unlikely to fix climate change. The methods we mention are all too weak, indirect and slow."

Sandberg then refers to his "little essay" in order to understand what he really means.

Here are a few highlights of Sandberg´s "essay":

Postbiological and green

My favourite long-term solution is simply to aim for not just a post-industrial civilization but a post-biological one. We can currently roughly foresee how we could go about it. We would fixate our brains (presumably when near biological death), scan them in detail, reconstruct the functional structure and recreate it as software. The successor version would then go on living in virtual reality, with occasional visits to the physical world using a robot, android or just remote controlled human body.
How efficient could a postbiological civilization be? The current IBM roadrunner does 376 million calculations per watts. If we take my mid-range estimates of computing needs, 10^22 to 10^25 FLOPS, then a single emulation would need 10^13 to 10^16 watts. The total insolation of Earth is about 10^17 watts, so this won't do - there would be space for just a few minds on the entire planet. But current research on zettaflops computing suggest we can do much better. A DARPA exascale study suggests we can do 10^12 flops per watt, which means "just" a dozen Hoover dams per mind. Quantum dot cellular automata could give 10^19 flops per watt, putting the energy needs at 200-2000 watts.
That is between 2 and 20 times the current wattage of a current human. However, we bio-humans get our energy through the inefficient method of having plants collect sunshine (at about 3%) efficiency, then we either harvest them and eat a small part of them (expending a lot of agricultural energy) or have animals eat them (at a few percent efficiency) and finally we eat the result, again with a few percent efficiency. A brain emulation of this type would just need a few square meters of solar panels (plus night-time energy storage). In terms of area and energy required, these postbiological humans would have far smaller material requirements than we do. They could also run slower to save energy.
Maybe the most sustainable thing we could do would be to aim at a future ensconced in cold datacenters under the subtropical deserts of Earth. Humanity would largely look like a forest of quiet semiconductor trees. We would indeed have become plants.

We should probably congratulate Oxford University for hosting such eminent scholars as Dr. Sandberg. The future of humanity seems to be in safe hands!

"Green" Germany - myth and reality

The myth:

"It's ambitious, but Germany can be running on renewable energy by 2050 if there is the political will," said David Wortmann, Director of Renewable Energy and Resources at Germany Trade and Invest, a government body supporting the country's renewable energy sector.

"Electric powered cars will be racing down the country's Autobahns using batteries charged from renewable energy sources, slashing the need for oil and reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

The reality:

Welcome to the new "green" Germany! A must read article in Der Spiegel:

The energy-saving light bulb ends up as hazardous waste, too much insulation promotes mold and household drains are emitting a putrid odor because everyone is saving water. Many of Germany's efforts to protect the environment are a chronic failure, but that's unlikely to change. 

Germans support protecting the environment, and they have a special relationship with nature. They like animals and plants, blue skies and the ocean. They want their children to grow up in an intact environment, and try to set an example for others. When it's time to save the world, the Germans are there, doing their utmost. They are determined that conservation efforts won't fail because of them.
Our newest goal is to minimize our ecological footprint. Thursdays are veggie days, and old-fashioned, hand-cranked washing machines are back in vogue. Websites offer environmental tips for all kinds of situations, from cosmetics based on the phases of the moon to vibrators made of plastic without toxic chemical softeners. There are urns made of cornstarch and coffins made of cardboard, so that we can embark on our final journey in an environmentally correct manner -- a final good deed before everything turns to compost.
When something benefits the environment, the need to justify it suddenly disappears. The green label eliminates all controversy. And political parties are essentially in agreement that society cannot do enough for the environment. No progressive politician wants to expose himself to the career-ending suspicion that he lacks environmental consciousness.

And remember, all this happens in Germany at a time when the country is led by a supposedly conservative chancellor!

Tell me who your friends are ....

William F. Jasper, writing in The New American, looks at the friendship between Vladimir Putin and former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi:

Rather than merely calling Vladimir Putin on the telephone to congratulate him on his March 4 election victory for a new term as president of Russia, Silvio Berlusconi hopped in his jet and headed for Sochi, the Russian resort town that will be the site for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The Italian billionaire and media mogul, who resigned his position as Italy’s prime minister last November, is embroiled in legal battles over charges of bribery, corruption, illegal wiretapping, and sex with an underage prostitute, but those concerns took back burner to his party time with Putin.
Whatever his legal troubles may be, it was all smiles as Berlusconi was photographed hugging his longtime pal Putin and current Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the Krasnaya Polyvana ski resort. London’s Daily Mail featured a photo slide show of the trio on the slopes and dining at a café in Sochi.

Russia Today (, the Kremlin-run Putin propaganda channel, also featured a
video of the three amigos.

The Berlusconi/Putin relationship has been a source of speculation and gossip for years. Berlusconi has made many trips to Putin-land and the former KGB/FSB chief has reciprocated, visiting Berlusconi’s huge luxury estate in the exclusive Porto Cervo enclave on the island of Sardinia’s Emerald Coast. Putin has even sent his teenage daughters to vacation at Berlusconi’s villa, a move that certainly calls into question Putin’s parental wisdom, considering the 75-year-old Berlusconi’s notoriety for bacchanalian orgies (as widely reported, for instance,
here, here, and here) with young women, known as his “Bunga-Bunga Parties.”

And, as we
reported last year, the Putin-Berlusconi plot thickened when Putin bought a neighboring luxury villa (albeit much smaller than Berlusconi’s) at Porto Cervo for 10 million euros. Where did Putin acquire the resources to buy a vacation domicile on one of the toniest pieces of real estate on the planet? He surely couldn’t have swung such a deal on his official KGB pay alone, or his salary as president or prime minister. The fact that that question was not even an issue in the Russian elections speaks volumes about the business-as-usual attitude toward institutionalized political corruption in Russia. Putin is, after all, the chief don or godfather in the Mafia State known as Russia, and it is more or less expected that he will partake of the same benefits that he and his Kremlin cronies have showered upon their favored oligarchs.

Mr. Berlusconi, of course, already boasted a huge personal fortune before assuming political office. That does not, however, make him immune to temptations to use his political connections to boost his business investments. The French television channel, France 24, reported recently:
Berlusconi was one of Putin's closest European allies before falling from power last year. He frequently came to Russia not just for diplomatic business but to celebrate his friend's birthday and other personal visits and clearly shares Putin's penchant for a macho lifestyle.
Diplomats in the US cables leaked by Wikileaks also described Berlusconi as acting as Putin's "mouthpiece" in Europe as well as "profiting personally and handsomely" in exchange.
One of the main targets of concern has been the Berlusconi/Putin-brokered South Stream gas pipeline, a massive joint project of Italy’s largest energy company, ENI, and Russia’s state-owned Gazprom.

Another close friend of former KGB agent Putin´s is, as we have previously pointed out, former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who has made his fortune thanks to his support of the Russian de facto dictator.


Thursday, 15 March 2012

Obama´s and Cameron´s silence on global warming says more than a thousand words

 "global warming is not just the greatest environmental challenge facing our planet—it is one of our greatest challenges of any kind."

Barack Obama

Climate change is one of the "most pressing threats to [a nation's] prosperity and security". "I have always been clear that in order to tackle it [climate change] effectively, all major economies will need to take robust action to curb their emissions and put their economies on a more sustainable, low-carbon footing"

David Cameron

David Cameron has been wined and dined in the White House by his host Barack Obama. In their dinner speeches both leaders did not spare words when praising each other.

Obama and Cameron of course also had the usual political discussions, followed by a press conference. Considering what they both have said about the seriousness of the global worming/climate change issue, one would have expected that the subject was high on the agenda both in the discussions and the press conference. But a look at the official White House transcript of the press conference reveals the reality:

Not a word on this "most pressing threats to prosperity and security". Not one reporter even bothered to ask a question about this "one of our greatest challenges of any kind".

David Cameron´s and Barack Obama´s complete silence on the (bogus) threat of human caused global warming says more than a thousand words.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Princeton bioethics professor: Heavy people exacerbate global warming

Professors of bioethics seem to be a breed of their own. NYU bioethics professor S. Matthew Liao is suggesting that the human body should be engineered to combat global warming. Now, Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne is demanding that heavy airline passengers, who cause an "environmental cost, as higher greenhouse-gas emissions exacerbate global warming",  should pay more for their flights:

Is a person’s weight his or her own business? Should we simply become more accepting of diverse body shapes? I don’t think so. Obesity is an ethical issue, because an increase in weight by some imposes costs on others.
An increase in the use of jet fuel is not just a matter of financial cost; it also implies an environmental cost, as higher greenhouse-gas emissions exacerbate global warming. It is a minor example of how the size of our fellow-citizens affects us all. When people get larger and heavier, fewer of them fit onto a bus or train, which increases the costs of public transport. Hospitals now must order stronger beds and operating tables, build extra-large toilets, and even install extra-large refrigerators in their morgues — all adding to their costs.
Many of us are rightly concerned about whether our planet can support a human population that has surpassed seven billion. But we should think of the size of the human population not just in terms of numbers, but also in terms of its mass. If we value both sustainable human well-being and our planet’s natural environment, my weight — and yours — is everyone’s business.

Read the entire article here

Maybe somebody should take a closer look at what professors of bioethics are teaching students these days. One has a feeling that something has gone seriously wrong in the academic ivory towers of this scientific discipline.


This is what the same professor Singer thinks about abortion:

"we should recognise that the fact that a being is human, and alive, does not in itself tell us whether it is wrong to take that being's life".

Singer states that arguments for or against abortion should be based on utilitarian calculation which weighs the preferences of a woman against the preferences of the fetus. In his view a preference is anything sought to be obtained or avoided; all forms of benefit or harm caused to a being correspond directly with the satisfaction or frustration of one or more of its preferences. Since a capacity to experience the sensations of suffering or satisfaction is a prerequisite to having any preferences at all, and a fetus, at least up to around eighteen weeks, says Singer, has no capacity to suffer or feel satisfaction, it is not possible for such a fetus to hold any preferences at all. In a utilitarian calculation, there is nothing to weigh against a woman's preferences to have an abortion; therefore, abortion is morally permissible.
Similar to his argument for abortion, Singer argues that newborns lack the essential characteristics of personhood—"rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness"[20]—and therefore "killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living."[

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The proposed EU´s financial transaction tax - Another looming failure

Der Spiegel reports about another looming EU debacle:

European finance ministers are discussing a proposed EU financial transaction tax on Tuesday, but the bloc is hopelessly divided on the issue. Not even Germany and France's plan B, to only introduce the tax in the euro zone, has much chance of success. Key euro-zone members such as Ireland and the Netherlands are afraid of losing out.

It's being greeted as a breakthrough. When the 27 European Union finance ministers meet in Brussels on Tuesday, they plan to discuss the introduction of a financial transaction tax in Europe. It's the first time that the issue has been on the agenda at such a meeting. Supporters of the tax argue that is evidence that the tax is making progress in its long journey through the EU's institutions.

Indeed, a certain amount of progress can be seen in the ongoing battle over a tax on financial transactions -- at least on paper. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the EU's two most powerful leaders, have made the issue a priority. And in September 2011, the European Commission presented a draft directive which foresees a financial transaction tax on all stock, bond and derivative transactions within the EU. The tax could come into force in 2014 -- provided all 27 EU members agree to it.

Therein lies the rub. There is little chance of such an agreement. Officially, supporters of the tax are still aiming for the "comprehensive solution," as the Commission's proposal is dubbed. But an agreement is already regarded as a pipedream. A whole row of naysayers, led by Britain and Sweden, are opposed to the tax unless it is introduced globally. They consider it to be detrimental to growth and fear that they will become less competitive on the international playing field if they introduce a tax. The unanimity principle applies to tax matters within the EU, so even a single veto would be sufficient to derail the plan.

Read the entire article here

The question is, is there anything at all in which the European Union has been succesful recently?

Can´t think of much.

Oh yes, there are actually a couple of "succes stories" coming out of Brussels:

The President of the Commission, Mr Barroso, receives an annual salary of EUR 300 000, plus EUR 50 000 in allowances to cover accommodation and entertainment costs; moreover, when his term of office comes to an end the Commission will award him a mega-allowance of EUR 190 000 per year for a full three years.
Does the Commission not consider that, particularly at a time when the whole of Europe has been plunged into financial crisis, there is an urgent need to bring down to an acceptable level both this princely remuneration, which is far higher than anything any European Head of State — or even President Obama — receives, and the Commission President's massive end-of-service payment?

WRITTEN QUESTION by Mario Borghezio (UEN) to the Commission (2010)

And the EU "president" Herman Van Rompuy, of course, enjoys the same conditions as the President of the  Commission":

A basic salary of 138% of the highest civil service grade: that would be €24,874.62 per month (not including family and other allowances).

The President receives a chauffeured car and around 20 dedicated staff members. He also has a housing allowance, rather than an official residence which was considered "too symbolic". Likewise, the idea of a private jet was also rejected for being symbolic and, as one diplomat pointed out, a discrepancy in privileges between the European Council and Commission presidents may only fuel rivalry between the two.

The Express adds:

HERMAN Van Rompuy was anointed European Union president last night, scooping an eye-popping salary of £320,000. Herman Van Rompuy's massive pay package, revealed yesterday in leaked EU documents, will make him the highest paid leader in the Western world, earning more than US President Barack Obama.

The salaries menioned above were paid in 2009. Today both Van Rompuy and Barroso are even better paid.

Greenpeace activists brainwashed at "direct-action" training camps

Greenpeace activists are brainwashed and trained at "direct-action" training camps

Greenpeace, the darling of the liberal and leftist media, is spearheading its eco-fanatic anti-growth, anti-business agenda on all continents. Here are just a couple of recent examples:


"Our strategy is to disrupt and delay key projects and infrastructure while gradually eroding public and political support for the [coal] industry. We urgently need to build the anti-coal movement and mobilise off the back of the community backlash to coal seam gas.”

This call to arms was in the Australian Anti-Coal Movement’s Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom document, exposed last week and met with wide condemnation by state and federal governments, the union movement and business. The aims of the anti-coal movement contained in the secret plan were reported as “severely reducing” coal exports by “some hundreds of millions of tonnes per annum” using disrupt and delay tactics.

New Zealand:

Actress Lucy Lawless and other Greenpeace activists last week boarded the drill ship Noble Discoverer in New Zealand before it left for the West Coast, where it will undergo cold-weather modifications. The activists were arrested Monday and charge with burglary.

U.S. :

Six activists from Greenpeace — including the head of its Charlotte office — face charges after a protest Wednesday morning in front of Duke Energy Corp.'s headquarters.

Just as a certain other wellknown international organization, also Greenpeace is brainwashing and and educating its activists at special "direct-action" training camps, like this one in Florida:

The camp was held this week at Camp Flying Eagle in the wilds of eastern Manatee County, near the headwaters of the Manatee River. There, about 60 activists from different organizations across the country camped in tents scattered throughout the property and attended classes and workshops from 9:30 a.m. until, sometimes, after 10 p.m.
On a sunny afternoon this week, about two dozen campers donned helmets and harnesses and were taught the correct way to use ropes to climb. Not rocks or mountains, but the sides of buildings or other structures.

Elsewhere, activists were taught how to chain themselves to various objects and how to react when police arrive.

Down the river, a group was learning how to handle an inflatable boat.

All are skills that can be used during a ramped-up protest, courtesy of Greenpeace, perhaps the pioneer in such methods.

The direct-action training camp wasn't attended solely by Greenpeace members. Matthew Almonte, a 21-year-old junior at the University of South Florida, isn't a member, but he does want his voice heard. He figured the skills he was learning at the Greenpeace camp would help.

"I wanted to learn skills here that I can utilize in the real world," said the political science major.

He wore cumbersome harnesses with carabiners, nylon straps and other hardware.

His partner in the climbing exercise was Kathleen Riley, 20, of Tampa, who is in her third year at St. Petersburg College and a self-described activist. "I want to learn and take home a skill," she said.

Campers came from 22 states, said Joe Smyth, spokesman for Greenpeace. Some are environmental activists; others hail from labor movements. "There are Occupy members here, too," he said.
The six-day camp was free, though campers had to pay their own way to and from the site. Food — a vegan and vegetarian menu — was provided.

Read the entire article here

(image by wiki)

Monday, 12 March 2012

Criminals protecting each other

Today´s death toll:
In Syria, activists report that at least 47 people were killed in an attack by government militia in Homs

Syria´s criminal dictator Bashar al-Assad is defying international pressure to stop killing civilians. Assad is able to continue his crimes against humanity because of protection offered by other criminal dictators and authoritarians - Russia´s Vladimir Putin and China´s communist leadership.

The tradition of protecting each other, as long as there is no competition within each other´s sphere of influence, is wellknown in criminal circles all over the world.

It does not matter how well dressed they all are in their tailor made business suits - they still are nothing but thugs.

New York University professor: Humans should be genetically engineered to combat global warming

This is what we have all been waiting for: Engineering the human body to combat global warming!

A must read article in the Atlantic:
The threat of global climate change has prompted us to redesign many of our technologies to be more energy-efficient. From lightweight hybrid cars to long-lasting LED's, engineers have made well-known products smaller and less wasteful. But tinkering with our tools will only get us so far, because however smart our technologies become, the human body has its own ecological footprint, and there are more of them than ever before. So, some scholars are asking, what if we could engineer human beings to be more energy efficient? A new paper to be published in Ethics, Policy & Environment proposes a series of biomedical modifications that could help humans, themselves, consume less.

This is how the lead author of the paper, S. Matthew Liao, professor of philosophy and bioethics at New York University, explains some of the "solutions" presented in the paper:  

One human engineering strategy you mention is a kind of pharmacologically induced meat intolerance. You suggest that humans could be given meat alongside a medication that triggers extreme nausea, which would then cause a long-lasting aversion to meat eating. Why is it that you expect this could have such a dramatic impact on climate change?

Liao: There is a widely cited U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization report that estimates that 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and CO2 equivalents come from livestock farming, which is actually a much higher share than from transportation. More recently it's been suggested that livestock farming accounts for as much as 51% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. And then there are estimates that as much as 9% of human emissions occur as a result of deforestation for the expansion of pastures for livestock. And that doesn't even to take into account the emissions that arise from manure, or from the livestock directly. Since a large portion of these cows and other grazing animals are raised for consumption, it seems obvious that reducing the consumption of these meats could have considerable environmental benefits.
Even a minor 21% to 24% reduction in the consumption of these kinds of meats could result in the same reduction in emissions as the total localization of food production, which would mean reducing "food miles" to zero. And, I think it's important to note that it wouldn't necessarily need to be a pill. We have also toyed around with the idea of a patch that might stimulate the immune system to reject common bovine proteins, which could lead to a similar kind of lasting aversion to meat products.
Your paper also discusses the use of human engineering to make humans smaller. Why would this be a powerful technique in the fight against climate change?

Liao: Well one of the things that we noticed is that human ecological footprints are partly correlated with size. Each kilogram of body mass requires a certain amount of food and nutrients and so, other things being equal, the larger person is the more food and energy they are going to soak up over the course of a lifetime. There are also other, less obvious ways in which larger people consume more energy than smaller people---for example a car uses more fuel per mile to carry a heavier person, more fabric is needed to clothe larger people, and heavier people wear out shoes, carpets and furniture at a quicker rate than lighter people, and so on.
And so size reduction could be one way to reduce a person's ecological footprint. For instance if you reduce the average U.S. height by just 15cm, you could reduce body mass by 21% for men and 25% for women, with a corresponding reduction in metabolic rates by some 15% to 18%, because less tissue means lower energy and nutrient needs.
Read the entire article here
George Orwell could not have said it better! Welcome, Brave New World of eco-loonies!

Angela Merkel´s two great failures

We have said it before on this blog: Angela Merkel is a failed politician, in spite of still being rather popular in Germany and fairly highly regarded  in many other EU countries.

This reason is quite simple: Merkel´s two most important projects - the energy transition and the rescue of the euro - are proving to be huge failures:

Germany's grand and ambitious aim of transforming itself into a bastion of green energy is now in jeopardy -- and, with it, the largest and most important project of Merkel's chancellorship besides the euro-rescue efforts.

Read the entire Der Spiegel article here:


The fact that Merkel seems doomed to failure does not mean that the German opposition would offer better alternatives; no, a social democratic, or even worse, a green chancellor would be disastrous for Germany. Let´s hope that the next German chancellor will come e.g., from Bavaria, where the CSU people usually support traditional conservative values and policies that Germany, and Europe, are in need of.

Lord Lawson on his 80th birthday

Lord Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer in Margaret Thatcher´s Cabinet, yesterday turned 80. The occasion gave the formidable Nigel Lawson an opportunity to write about why he embarked on a completely new career after leaving the House of Commons 20 years ago:

After leaving the House of Commons, writing my memoirs, and going on the customary ex-ministerial talk circuit, I observed increasing interest among our new leaders in the subject of global warming, aka climate change, and in particular in policies to combat this new and allegedly existential threat. So I decided thoroughly to inform myself about it. Having been Secretary of State for Energy 30 years ago, I had the advantage of some familiarity with at least one of the dimensions of this multifaceted issue.
It did not take long to detect all the signs of collective madness, of which fanaticism is one telltale symptom, and an absence of rationality another. So, at the age of 76, I brought out a book which, politically incorrectly, sought to bring the searchlight of reason to the subject. My book, which had the greatest difficulty in finding a publisher, proved surprisingly successful, no doubt because of its scarcity value.

Urged by enthusiastic readers to follow it up in some way, I did so by founding a think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation. I had never had anything to do with think tanks before, nor felt the slightest inclination in that direction. But it has proved a considerable success, thanks in particular to the excellent full-time director I was able to find and appoint.
However, it still involves a considerable amount of work for me, and not simply in fund-raising, as a very hands-on chairman. It is, in fact, one of the few areas where there is a positive advantage in having an old man at the helm. Young scientists and young politicians feel obliged to keep their heads down and toe the line: research grants and promotion prospects are withheld if they do not. Anyone who dissents has to expect vilification. At my age and stage I am inured to vilification and, more importantly, I am able to speak truth to power, as they say, because my career is behind me.
There is another way, too, in which old age probably adds clarity and perspective. Part of the global warming madness is the conceit that we can know what the temperature of the planet will be, and where technology will be, in a hundred years’ time. The notion that the magic of computer models provides us with a reliable crystal ball is not science but one of the great superstitions of our age. The somewhat self-contradictory mantra of the warmists appears to be that, while the science is certain (which, in fact, in crucial respects, it is not), the consequences are highly uncertain, but bound to be bad; so we must fear the worst. This is simply irrational catastrophism, the explanation for which is most likely to be found in social psychology.

The idea that we can intelligently take major, and very costly, policy decisions now on the basis of what the world is going to be like in a hundred years’ time is arrogant folly.
Part of the problem is the degradation of politics which has occurred since my time. I refer to image-led politics, driven largely by the belief that this is what goes down best with the media. “Saving the planet” is a great image, and can readily be illustrated by sentimental nonsense about polar bears and the like. The fact that the policies it spawns are both intellectually incoherent and economically harmful is, nowadays, neither here nor there.
Another part of the problem is that the disastrous conventional wisdom on this issue is embraced by all three political parties. Over many years I have observed that when all three parties are agreed on something they are more than likely to be wrong. There is a very good reason for this. When an issue is not subject to vigorous debate it is not properly examined, and there are few surer sources of costly error than this. Margaret Thatcher, who believed firmly in the merits of vigorous debate, detested the very idea of consensus. She had a point.

The question is: Why oh why are there so few - if any - contemporary politicians of Lord Lawson´s calibre around today?

(image by wikipedia)

Sunday, 11 March 2012

The failure of the EU carbon agenda

Walter Russel Mead summarizes the latest EU "greenfail":

The European Union’s ambitious low carbon plan collapsed yesterday when Poland vetoed plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions drastically after 2020. The move is the latest stage in the ignominious failure of EU carbon policy that has seen a grandiose carbon trading system bog down in a quagmire of scandal and price collapse. Europe will meet its current carbon reduction goals less because of any serious action than because the continent’s economic crisis brought on by the poorly constructed euro experiment has stalled economic growth.

Now the post 2020 picture is in near total disarray as EU law requires unanimous consent for new carbon targets to be set. Poland, which depends on coal for much of its energy production and has neither the money nor the desire to turn to Russian gas or oil, will not accept any European carbon policy that undermines its drive to raise local living standards.

Back in those halcyon times when the Davoisie were convinced that a global green carbon treaty was just around the corner, EU diplomats and journalists used to boast incessantly that climate activism was the centerpiece of a new and dynamic European diplomacy. Now both Europe and the climate agenda are in near-total disarray, and the EU has been unable to legislate for itself, much less for all mankind. 

Read the entire blog post here

The Brussels eurocrats still speak and behave like nothing would have changed, although they must know that they have lost the game. And the failure involves much more than the carbon agenda.

Excellent news from Cornwall: Illegal wind turbine to be removed

Here is a truly important piece of news - although widely ignored by the warmist MSM:

Illegal towering wind turbine to be removed

A £1.3 million wind turbine which was illegally installed last year is facing removal after councillors voted for enforcement action.
The 250ft (76m) structure at Callywith Farm at Bodmin in North Cornwall, was put in place last November, despite a stop notice issued by the local authority after it had earlier refused permission.

Graham and Ron Dingle, whose firm Dingle Brothers owns the site, could also face fines of up to £20,000 after Cornwall Council decided to launch legal action.
At a meeting behind closed doors this week, the council's east sub-area planning committee voted unanimously in favour of taking enforcement action to secure the wind turbine's removal.
They also agreed to take legal action with regard to the failure to comply with the terms of the stop notice.
The Dingles run an agricultural supply firm and recycling facility at the site, and said they would have gone out of business if the giant turbine had not been installed.
They argue that the renewable energy generated by the turbine has prevented 632 tons of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere.

The wind energy people seem to think that they can get away with anything, because of their supposedly noble cause. Fortunately, the Cornwall Council sets an example for other decision makers on how to put an end to the worst type of wind power lawlessness.