Thursday, July 31, 2008

Is there ice on Mars?

The news has broken that the white patch observed underneath the jets of the Mars Phoenix lander is water ice. There is ice on Mars. Frozen water. Good old solid state Dihydromonoxide.

Now while this is a long way from even the slightest proof that there ever was life on Mars, it is very heartening. It means that if or when the first manned mission ever goes there, that there will be available water which can be used to electrolyse oxygen for breathing and Hydrogen for fuel to power any putative future base.

Maybe once we manage to get a significant presence off this planet, we might convince the many crazy people on this world that we were actually meant for the stars. The raw elements within us such as carbon etc (Since we are a carbon based life form) were born in the heat of suns and supernovae, so maybe instead of myopically hunkering down on this overcrowded little blue green planet and continuing our endless squabbling, future generations might get out there and expand. It's what the rest of the Universe has been doing since the big bang, so who are we to argue?

Cool for July

Having not been in BC for long, I'm not sure whether or not the current cool spell is normal for late July. True, the rain has come as a welcome relief, but then the temperatures never popped much above twenty-eight degrees celsius around here in the past month. Despite all the doom mongering about large chunks of ice breaking away from the Arctic Ice pack, this is perfectly normal and nothing to get all excited about, no wonder what any panicmonger says. All the mainstream media pundits with few exceptions seem to ignore the larger than usual ice growth of last winter and just focus on this years melt. No doubt anything that doesn't fit the fashionable AGW theory will be sidelined as usual.

That little observation moves me to remark that there's more than one way to be a 'denier'. One year may not make a trend, but while the Solar minimum continues, we can expect cooler weather. Like in the 1950's, things may bounce back, but as we can no more accurately predict the sun's behaviour in the short to medium term than we can accurately predict the Weather thirty days hence, I won't be holding my breath.

However, in my searches I found this very cool solar site which is definitely going on the sidebar. When Winter sets in again I shall keep warm just by watching it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Criminal behaviour

Reading the news and various blogs as I do every day, I'm perplexed about the term 'Climate Criminals'. How can you criminalise something that isn't proven? Just goes to show how many people in this world are absolutely barking mad over the whole issue.

Like this UK site for example. Completely looney (and I'm not talking about Canada's one dollar piece).

This site appears to brand Mountaineers as 'Climate Criminals'.

Not to mention the accusation that those who do not believe in the new religion as preached by Al (Hey Honey, look at my big carbon footprint) Gore, James (GISS) Hansen et al are all supposed to be in the pocket of 'big oil' or 'big coal'. As if.

A number of these sites appear to be calling for the arrest, fining and imprisonment of 'Deniers'. Well, that's me in treouble if I ever go back to the UK then. I can expect summary arrest from the Police ("Excuse me sir, is that your cloud?") and 28 days in the chokey without charge because no doubt the howling AGW mob will demand that being a 'Climate change denier' is a terrorist offence. No trial, no bail, just punished for saying that you don't believe in something. Wonder if I can claim political asylum over here?

As the evidence mounts up against many anthropogenic arguments, the pro lobby grows more shrill and aggressive. Their whole fragile belief system is threatened, and like others who are weak of faith, they become ever more aggressive to those who simply and rationally will not agree with them. Taking this into account, the pro AGW lobby look ever more like sad, crazy people who need to go out and get lives.

Friday, July 25, 2008


All over the place I keep on reading about the Democratic nominee for the Presidency of the USA. Obama this and Obama that. The way the press go on, you'd think Barack Obama was President already.

Pardon me for thinking this, but isn't there supposed to be something called an election to decide these things? For myself I can't help thinking the media cheerleaders are being, in the words of an old friend of mine, 'A little bit previous'.

North of the forty ninth we've got three by-elections due and the Tories are running on a tax cut campaign. With the federal tax surplus, that doesn't sound such a bad thing, boost the economy, ride out the burgeoning world recession in comfort style of thing. All the other parties seem to be talking about the environment, although a lot of Canadians are looking at the reduced cash in their wallets due to speculators pushing up the price of gas, as well as the 2.4 cents extra tax a litre. Then they look around and see that stuff isn't changing like the doomsayers predicted. Well, we'll see.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Silly Boats

A pleasant Sunday Afternoon was spent wandering down to Swy-Y-Lana lagoon at Nanaimo for the 'Silly Boats' festival. This is a series of races in home made boats built out of anything you can find in your garage. The only snag is that all construction has to be completed in four hours.

Wife and I watched the horseplay and duckings and one heat (Won by one of the local 'So Serious' Coffee Shops) before ambling off out of the heat of the day.

I also took a couple of shots of the local Seaplane Terminal. Although only one company is represented here, a total of three use this facility, flying to and from Vancouver, and anywhere you care to charter them. Never fails to amuse me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My Boyhood heroes

As today 20th July 2008 is the 39th Anniversary of the first manned Lunar landing. I thought I'd post a little unsung tribute to my boyhood heroes, Astronauts all.
Mercury Programme:
Alan Shepard
Gus Grissom
Gordon Cooper
Walter Schirra
Deke Slayton
John Glenn
Scott Carpenter

Apollo 1 Requiescat in pace guys.
Gus Grissom
Ed White
Roger Chaffee

Apollo 11
Neil Armstrong
'Buzz' Aldrin
Mike Collins

Please note; The ashes of Gordon Cooper who died in 2004, are to be 'Buried in space' with those of James Doohan of 'Star Trek' fame 29th July 2008 in one of the first privately funded 'Space burials'

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Not that anyone is going to read this but........

Lord Monckton’s paper highlights – Sarcasm mine

The IPCC’s 2007 climate summary overstated CO2’s impact on temperature by 500-2000%. Despite being told to stop exaggerating ‘a million times’ by their Mothers.
CO2 enrichment will add little more than 1 °F (0.6 °C) to global mean surface temperature by 2100. If that. What about the impact of water vapour and ‘urban heat island’ effects? What happens if the current solar trend continues for another two or three years? Jeez.
Not one of the three key variables whose product is climate sensitivity can be measured directly. Which conveniently throws a cloud around the whole issue so it conveniently cannot be disproved. Even if nothing happens
The IPCC’s values for these key variables are taken from only four published papers, not 2,500. Yet the AGW crowd accuse us skeptical souls of ‘cherry-picking' the data we use.
The IPCC’s values for each of the three variables, and hence for climate sensitivity, are overstated. What else is new?
“Global warming” halted ten years ago, and surface temperature has been falling for seven years. Before anyone really signed up to the Kyoto protocols either. Not that the temporary increase which spiked with the 1998 'super El Nino' had much of an anthropogenic component anyway.
Not one of the computer models relied upon by the IPCC predicted so long and rapid a cooling. Or anything else that has happened either.
The IPCC inserted a table into the scientists’ draft, overstating the effect of ice-melt by 1000%. Tsk, tsk. What a bunch of rascals these politico’s are eh?
It was proved 50 years ago that predicting climate more than two weeks ahead is impossible. Still fairly true. Although that’s more an assertion about the ‘Weather’ than the ‘Climate’. Too many variables.
Mars, Jupiter, Neptune’s largest moon, and Pluto warmed at the same time as Earth warmed. Which the AGW crowd have steadfastly ignored / rubbished.
In the past 70 years the Sun was more active than at almost any other time in the past 11,400 years. Ergo the @75ppm atmospheric CO2 increase more likely to be caused by ‘outgassing’ because of increased solar output than purely human activity. This is why CO2 levels lag global temperature increases and not vice versa.

Of course the various ‘carbon trading’ schemes upon which certain people hope to make their fortunes and paupers of the rest of us peasants depend upon the rigorous implementation of Kyoto and all its associated ‘green’ taxation. All on the back of the IPCC’s report, a report which is proven as full of holes as the proverbial Swiss Cheese. Inconvenient, the truth, isn’t it?

H/T Kate at Small dead animals

Stuff this, I'm off fishing.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's fun to charter an accountant....

My favourite part of the old Monty Python Movie "The meaning of life"

Ice cap? what ice cap?

H/T Anthony Watts blog

So the North Pole is going to be ice free this year is it?

In addition,the cracks appear to be showing in the so-called 'consensus' about Anthropogenic Climate Change. Not that there ever was a true consensus, one might be tempted to add. More a minority report.

Methinks the much heralded demise of the Arctic may have been both premature and wildly inaccurate. Yes, I know that Ice minimum generally occurs in September, but you aren't going to melt that much ice in two months, especially during a Solar Minimum. Hells bells! is Winter that close? Time to order my snow tyres.

Update: The politicians and establishment will keep on pushing the false 'Climate Change' warmist agenda which threatens to make paupers of the rest of us unless we somehow get them to put their money where their collective mouths are; like in this piece from the Daily Mash.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The news from my one time home

Keep on feeling that selling this manuscript of mine is going to be a tougher job than previously. All of my enquiries to date have been met with a deafening silence, not even a 'send it and it'll go in the slush pile' response, which is odd. I'm putting it down to the economy. When the credit goes crunch then there is less money about as the economy is shrinking back to a more sustainable level. Less money for luxury items like magazines and books, so all the publishers are counting all the baked beans in every tin, and only staying with the trusted and proven moneyspinners.

Relative newcomers like me without an inside track are basically going to have to wait until the market improves. Unless of course a publisher gets desperate enough to take a chance on a nobody. Even a published nobody like me.

Have stopped getting upset about the reduction in civil liberties and increasing taxation back in the UK. I have a job, a Canadian Driver's License, and as far as I am concerned, this is going to be home for the rest of my life. I'm here legally, and intend to stay that way come hell or high water.

I often get asked by other ex-pats, and a few native born Canadians if I'll ever go back to Britain. My general response, after looking around at the calm waters, distant snow capped peaks and blue skies of Vancouver Island, is so far "No. not if I can help it." Whenever nostalgia about bright early mornings and open roads on the old Fosse Way bites, I recall rush hour traffic on the M25, grey skies and drizzling rain, the incessant background whining (From the people, not mosquitoes), 'people jams' and the, well not specifically rudeness, but the sense that you, as an individual do not count.

The general claim round here is that British Columbia is the best place to live on Earth. Having travelled throughout the world, I would heartily endorse that assertion. God bless Canada.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dragon Boats

Last weekend, Wife and I pootled off to the harbour to watch the Dragon Boat heats. Quite a pleasant way to spend a lazy Saturday, watching other people get all lathered up and sweaty paddling like the furies of legend were after them. The Dragon Boats actually move quite quickly with a crew of twenty all digging in and paddling in unison with a determination and vigour that might make Oxford and Cambridge look to their laurels. I took a couple of pretty rough video's which are going up on Youtube. Still haven't invested in a decent camera, so the sound is non existent.
What really tickles me about this place is that the air is so clear you can see snow on the coastal mountains on mainland BC some forty or fifty miles away. Truly gorgeous.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A theory of Human remains

Whenever I walk Dog along the local shoreline it’s easy to think of all the recent news stories about human feet being washed up on the beaches of local islands, wondering if such an item would end up under my eyes.

What occurs to me is that BC has a lot of relatively fast flowing rivers that dump everything west of the Rockies into the currents that flow along and between the coastal islands. Where the gap between landmasses is relatively narrow, stuff gets washed up in tidal estuaries, isolated shorelines and more commonly in increasingly populated areas.

One of the things you are also constantly reminded of is that BC is still mainly wild country. Less than 100 metres from where I sit typing this throwaway prose is completely unmanaged woodland. In parts of the province that’s all you’ve got for hundreds of miles. Trees and game trails without a trace of man’s influence. Most of the forest sloping hundreds, or in some cases thousands of feet down to the nearest creek or river. Raw creeks and unclimbed bluffs, which are at first sight a rock athletes wet dream. Did I mention that the Canadians are an outdoor people?

When mishaps occur this can be a place where help can be slow in arriving, if at all. In most of the province there is no mobile phone signal because there are no towns and suburbs to serve. Ergo, no phone masts, and in many deep valleys, even on the Trans Canada Highway, no radio coverage or reception. You screw up in the wrong place, and help may be a long time coming.

Every other month there are plane crashes where the victim’s bodies are never recovered, boating accidents that never get reported. Walking ‘off trail’ is very popular, and occasionally people get lost, are attacked by wild animals, or simply walk over a cliff and are killed. Flash floods or the deep chill of the Northern Winter claims others. Some commit suicide, and occasionally someone is murdered. Some die of natural causes. Their mortal remains often lying where they fell, and where the moods of wind and water send part of their bodies tumbling downstream. Down the rivers and into the sea where the natural process of decomposition reclaims the various chemicals of the organic soup that goes to make a human.

Body parts protected by slow to decompose artificial materials, such as sneakers etc, will float, buoyed up by their lighter than water components. Disarticulated by decomposition, they bob along the currents and tides, nibbled at by passing sea and river creatures, until they arrive on a beach, and if found by someone walking the shoreline, instantly become a tabloid headline.

There you have it, my personal theory about the body parts appearing on British Columbia’s beaches. No serial killers, no massacres, no drug lords with a bizarre fetish for tossing away the amputated feet of their executed rivals, (Well, perhaps not as many as the sensationalizing media would have us think) but simple human cock up, and the occasional hoax.

Update: Paragraphs 5, 6 & 7 corrected. I really should proof this stuff like a short story before hitting the 'publish' button. Apologies to anyone offended by my glaring grammatical errors. I have kicked myself.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Is your Toddler a racist?

Have been busy preparing for a visit from my Mother, who is travelling half way across the world to see how her youngest child (Me) is getting on. Wife and I have a new 'pooter which outperforms my scaggy old laptop by several quantum leaps. Nothing back from the first Agent I contacted so far, so my next move is to approach a number of them and hype the pitch a little.

Browsing through the dear old Torygraph today, Wife drew my attention to an article that toddlers who say 'Yuk' to spicy foods are to be counted as 'racist incidents'. Oh dear. Just when you think life in Britain can't get any more stupid, something like this pops up. What are they going to do, prosecute the parents for 'hate crimes'? Use it as an excuse to haul children into state nurseries where parental love is rationed or horror of horrors, forbidden? One can safely predict that such insanity will create more racism than it solves. Children of this age don't do prejudice. According to Wife, who is a seasoned professional in handling children's misdemeanour's and shenanigans says children at this age can't tell the difference between races. Anyone who says different is a complete idiot. Yes they are. Failing that they have another, more sinister agenda for thought control of future generations.

My kids never used to like spicy foods, but I swear neither of them are racists. Now they are students they virtually live on curry and pizza. Both of them would be horrified at the merest thought of racism. Still, I am determined that my grandchildren will live free of such appalling tyranny and be free to like who they like without hindrance or interference from anyone. Including me.

Anyway, tonight's reading material is Plato's 'Republic'.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Moron CO2

All this talk about 'sequestering' CO2 and reducing emissions of what is really a handy dandy gas for the environment (Really good for improving particular crop growth at concentrations of up to 1000ppm) has had me thinking recently.

I mean, how much CO2 is put into the atmosphere by carbonated drinks? Like Coca and Pepsi-Cola for example? Back in my very mis-spent youth, I worked in a soft drinks servery for a couple of months between college terms, and one of my duties was changing the CO2 and syrup cylinders every so often. Now I find myself wondering how much Carbon Dioxide is released every hour of every day by various man made processes, not just cars and power stations. What about brewing and baking?

Surely if we're that gosh-darned keen to cut global CO2 we shouldn't be just talking about putting more of us peons into the people packed hell of public transport and eating godawful Tofu salads, we should be talking about stopping people drinking mineralised bottled water, carbonated soft drinks, Beer, Champagne etc. Not to mention any product which has fermentation as part of it's production process. Even spirits require fermentation before distillation can take place. No more Malt Whiskey? Oh the horror. Hand me the shotgun now. Life simply won't be worth the candle. I mean, who in the green lobby is going to have the courage to tell the middle classes to give up Perrier?

In addition, are we going to have to give up foods which are dependent upon yeast reactions in their production in pursuit of reducing CO2 emissions? No more risen bread for example. No Sliced loaves, white, wholemeal or Sourdough. No more buns or bagels. No more doughnuts. Bakery would have to become a criminal offence. The sandwich as we know it would cease to be. Unleavened bread as a once in a while alternative is okay, but even so can't really take the place of a good old doorstep slice butty.

Right, so in order to 'save the planet', we have to give up everything that gives us even the teensiest frisson of pleasure. All in the ineffectual pursuit of reducing world wide levels of atmospheric CO2.

My verdict;'tain't worth it. Screw the greenies. I'll have a beer with my burger.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Earth is fine

I'm with George on this one. The planet is fine. It could shake us off as a species all too easily.

A bittersweet post this; George Carlin, comedian died June 24th, 2008. I never got to see his act live. This is both a source of much regret and relief. Regret that I never got to see his full act, and relief in the knowledge that had I done so, I would probably have died laughing shortly thereafter.

RIP George, and thanks.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Nature notes

Man goes into a gun shop.
Gun shop owner; Good morning sir, how can I help you?
Man; I'd like to buy a hand gun.
Gun shop owner; We got plenty of hand guns, what do you want to use it for?
Man; I want a hand gun for shooting bears
Gun shop owner; Shooting bears?
Man; Shooting bears.
Gun shop owner; Why?
Man; I go hiking a lot and I'm worried about being attacked by a bear. I want something to use if a grizzly or black bear attacks me. Will a .357 magnum be any good?
Gun shop owner; I have one which might fit the bill.
Man; Great! What is it?
Gun shop owner; It's a Grock .357 magnum revolver. Great balance. Six shots. Double action and easy to obtain centre fire cartridges. Hand carved no-slip walnut stock with a super smooth chromed barrel and easily removable foresight.
Man; So that'll kill a bear then.
Gun shop owner; No, but it won't hurt so much when the bear takes it off you and rams it up your ass.

What do Bears call mountain bikers?
Meals on wheels.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Canada Day

Today, July the first has been a very nice Canada day. Not too hot but very sunny. Popped down to Maffeo-Sutton Park on the seafront and mingled with the crowds, dribbled ice cream, mended fences with Wife, of whom I have been neglectful of late.

Unlike a British event it was populated mostly with relaxed smiling people, apart from the one heavily tattooed guy we saw the RCMP leading away. He looked pissed off, but everyone else simply got on with enjoying the music and the day. There was a local Kayaking club recruiting new members, the Army, RCMP, local utility companies, and some community and conservation minded folk garnering support for their objection to the Cable Bay development, which will take badly needed funding away from downtown Nanaimo and spend it building a new suburb instead of tidying up the city. Downtown needs a bit of cosmetic treatment if they want the tourists to come.

A few of the local Beauty contest winners were handing out free flags and badges, and just generally being real people. Noisy, but well behaved kids all over the place. A really good humoured affair. Nanaimo is that kind of place. I found myself wryly reflecting that if this were Britain, and Union or St Georges flags were being handed out to all and sundry, then the local council would be round in a jiffy to nip all this damnable subversive patriotism in the bud matey, citing 'elf & safety' or a complaint from someone who is basically in the wrong country.

For myself, I believe that when in Canada, do as the Canadians do. Which is very nicely thank you. Happy Canada day.