Friday, June 19, 2009

Advertisements for debate

Looks like the Heartland Institute is trying to do some media awareness. Good adverts, but will the politicians and mainstream pay any attention? Probably not. Too many vested interests with an eye on the 'carbon' dollar out there for that.

Hat tip to A Dog named Kyoto.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What would happen......

Just idle musing you understand; but I wonder what would happen if you built eight, (or six, or four) Tokamak type devices and arranged them standing on their sides in a circle, with one side of each donut shaped device cut so that the plasma torus developed within each devices circular magnetic field intersected in a central magnetic 'pinch' chamber. Like in the two diagrams below.

Given that if the right conditions are created, Nuclear Fusion can and has been achieved within Tokamak type devices, but not enough to match the power input; if the plasma contained within each of the six toroids of plasma was run up to near fusion temperatures, by running six plasma streams together at a central point in a open ended 'pinch' type magnetic containment chamber, would that create conditions of heat and pressure sufficient within said magnetic 'pinch' chamber to induce a near-continuous Nuclear Fusion reaction without quite such a massive amount of initial energy input as ITER or other similar projects?

Supposing that the right hydrogen / deuterium fuel mix is injected into the eight (or six, or four) plasma toroids the rest is down to creating the conditions where such a reaction will make place. Heat, pressure, velocity, and leave the rest to the laws of Physics.

Of course my idea could be complete rubbish, but given what I've read recently, it sounds just as likely than some of the other concepts I've read about. In the words of Lewis Carrol's White Queen "If you can believe six impossible things before breakfast."

Back to Manuscript revision.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Cloud Mystery

I don't know about anyone else, but I find a lot of synergy with this clip;

I think Henrik Svensmark's theory has legs because it does show a link between cloud formation and cosmic rays which has been public since Wilson's work on cloud formation in the early 1900's. I find myself agreeing with most of the content for the following reasons;
  1. The 'greenhouse effect' of water vapour makes the minimal effect of CO2 look positively ineffectual.
  2. The Sun is a variable star and is apparently heading into a prolonged minima.
  3. Svensmark is experimentally demonstrating his postulation, not just using speculative computer models and 'adjusted' data which do not accurately reflect reality.

Interesting stuff. Certainly more credible than the CO2 lobby's "We can't think of anything else it might be".

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Misleading headline

As an occasional big game fisherman who has handled live sharks of eighty pounds and upwards during a tag and release programme; could I make the suggestion that any one (Or at least their executors) who reads and acts on the following headline; "Sharks can be cuddled like dolphins, say scientists" should sue the media outlet responsible in the case of injury or death whilst trying to mishandle a shark.

Whilst it is true that there is little chance of injury whilst handling some of the smaller species, up to and including the tropical Zebra Shark, there is a significant risk factor associated with trying to anthropomorphise some of the larger species. Sharks are like any other wild creature, and react badly to being crowded by humans. They have a tendency to bite, and even small to moderate sized specimens of the Blue Shark (Prionace Glauca) have teeth resembling that of a circular saw. I've seen said teeth close to, you won't catch me trying to get all Walt Disney with them. Christ on a bike! Some people do make misleading statements.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Current reading

I'm currently reading "Sun in a bottle" By Charles Seife which is the story of the various failures of nuclear fusion development since the mid 20th century. Having read the comments I think that many of the detracting reviewers missed the books whole premise. It isn't about the successes, it's about the failures, which is how we learn what not to do things.

My own thoughts are that the book is an interesting and informative look at past mistakes in the development of Nuclear Fusion, what went wrong, and also how fusion has been made to work, albeit very inefficiently. What it isn't is an 'attack' upon those working in the field of Nuclear Fusion research. It rightly criticises those who have been fanatical or fraudulent, but in a roundabout way also points the way forward.

Am making alterations to my MSS 'A sky full of stars' to take on board this new information.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

You want a what where?

Living where I do and fishing as a hobby, I think I've cultivated a reasonable understanding of the locale. Tides, wildlife etc.

There is a company from Alberta which wants to develop the Cable Bay area, which covers a piece of currently unmanaged woodland from the Cable Bay Trail in the West, to the Eastern shore of Dodd Narrows across from Mudge Island. No problem so far. New developments going in all the time around Nanaimo. It's a growing place, even with the world economy in the state it's in.

One of the things I've heard is that the company wanting to develop the area want to put a Marina in the area. My brow furrows in perplexity because the narrow channels in the area make for some quite tricky navigation at certain states of the tide. I know this from trying to fish in Dodd Narrows, which at anything but the brief period of slack water is troublesome to say the least. Mostly the tidal flow jogs along at around four to six knots (just under 7mph or slightly over 11km/h). During neaps and springs the tidal flows are reputed to reach sixteen and a half knots (Just Under 19mph and around 30.5km/h) in the neck of the narrows, which is well above the 10km/h coastal speed limit in BC. Certain types of craft can zip through without noticing if they give it some serious welly. On the other hand, trying navigate against the tide, or even with it in say a sail boat with a relatively small auxiliary engine at the wrong time can prove at best embarrassing, or at worst, alarming, although no one has been killed down there for quite some time. At times (about twice a day) the Narrows look like a set of white water rapids. Even further down where we live, some rather ugly looking vortexes form and you can hear the tide as a sort of background roar.

Local opinion goes that the developers of Cable Bay will try to 'flip' or sell on the land when permission to develop has finally been approved. I have no axe to grind one way or another, but my own thoughts are; they want to put a Marina where?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pollen & Wolf

Now we're finally seeing some vaguely springlike weather, the Birch buds have broken and there's grainy pollen all over everything. Cars, windows the lot. We had a small Herring run, but a month later and much smaller than last year, although it was big enough to bring both Steller's and California Sea Lions into Dodd Narrows. A few days ago there was one California Sea Lion (Steller's don't bark) barking away somewhere North of Round Island at about eight in the morning. Then there was a shot and there was no more barking.

At Easter we were graced with a raft of Surf Scoters ululating as they took a break on their way somewhere; they're later than last year too. Local legend has it that everything is much later than usual. Although this year we haven't had the Black Tail Deer plundering our tulips like last. Little sods. I've been getting in a little fishing, although I seem to keep missing the right state of the tide. Neighbours have suggested I try my luck at a place a couple of miles hence where there's a nice steep drop off close to shore.

Oh, and there's been a couple of Wolf sightings so local gossip informs me. I wondered why Dog has been kicking up these last few nights. He must have been hearing the call of the wild.

Have purchased a copy of the Writers Market Guide, and the next month or so will be punting my MSS around Vancouver and Toronto, see what turns up. If nothing, then I'll try further south and see if I get a bite from there.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Reject slip

A letter of rejection has arrived on my doorstep all the way from a literary agency in London, England. I was half expecting it, but the Agency concerned spoke well of the quality of writing, but used the old chestnut that the subject matter was not in a genre they dealt in. I knew I was taking a long shot, but the result is not wholly displeasing.

Maybe I ought to try an Agency in the same time zone and see what happens. At the very least the postage will be a lot cheaper.

I'll revisit the 'Cerberus' and 'Sky full of stars' MSS over the long weekend and get myself a copy of a Writers handbook that lists reputable literary agencies in BC or the Western USA. See what happens there.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Just had a look out of my kitchen window while making a cup of well-earned tea and noted a lot of bird activity over on the shore of Mudge Island. I'll go and have a look with Dog in a while and see if there is an early April Herring Run going on. It's a month late but what the hell.

If this proves to be the case, tomorrow I will purchase that new fishing rod I've been promising myself and renew my salt water fishing licence.

Anarchists, an observation

Have been following the news from G20 in London with a wry twist of my mouth.

Two main observations;

First upon the protests;
Is it my imagination or was there a bigger press pack then there are protestors? There seemed to be a small (50 or so, no more) bunch or rioters and another 4000 'others' which I believe ran the political gamut from left to right with another 1000 or so hangers on and the addition of several hundred reporters of one sort or another.

Second upon the venue;
Why central London? You could just as well have used a better venue with a more easily secured perimeter. Helicopter the delegates out from their various pads for the beano at the more easily secured venue, and back again when they were replete with fatted calf and taxpayers dollars etc. Job done.

Secondary observation;
The soi-disant 'Anarchists' wouldn't last five seconds in a real world 'Anarchy'. People like me would have seen them coming and shot the bastards, or they would have crossed one of the more forceful members of the 'business' community and ended up doing something useful for once in their wastrel lives, like feeding hungry animals. I used to know a few self styled 'Anarchists' many years ago, and all of them were pretty sad and not terribly bright specimens of humanity.

No matter; life over here goes on, and I have work to do.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Current weather & current reading

More 'global warming' in the shape of snow and sleet today. Having seen the stupid people who insist that man has any appreciable effect on the worlds' climate, despite clear cut evidence to the contrary, (Polar Bears fine, No predicted cataclysmic climate effects evident, rather chilly don'cha think) are so blinded by their own scientifically illiterate dogma that they think anyone with an alternative opinion is mentally ill; I've given up commenting on other climate related blogs. Only a new ice age will convince the pro AGW crowd, but even if that were to come to pass I have the horrible sinking feeling that even when the last of them is being hunted by hungry Polar Bears across the Icy Tundra of just for the sake of a laugh, let's say Florida, they will still think that the climate is all the fault of those nasty SUV driving bunch of 'deniers'. Oh gawd.

By the by, Have picked upon this Ayn Rand meme that is going around and begun to read her work to see what all the fuss is about. Have completed 'We the Living' (Movie link here) and 'Anthem' and heard her speaking in old interviews about her philosophy of 'Objectivism'. I find her work surprisingly easy to read despite it's literary reputation, and extremely hostile to any authoritarian collectivist doctrine such as communism or socialism, yet I do not feel so far that the policy of enlightened self interest as espoused in her novels is any more attractive than Anarchy. This opinion may change.

Current book open on the bed stand is 'Romanitas' by Sophia McDougall. Like the story, but her style is a little opaque for my tastes. Still plugging away at it nonetheless.

Friday, March 13, 2009

But what about....?

The less evidence the advocates of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change have for their case, the more their fellow travellers seem to want opposition to their views sidelined or muzzled. A sensationalist media and a distant political elite throughout the western world seem to be obsessed with the meme that the fact that the climate is in a near constant state of minor fluctuation is it's-all-our-fault-and-we're-all-gonna-die-won'cha-think-of-the-children! One would highlight the following; The IPCC conference gets almost all the mainstream coverage, and the resultant sensational assertions of things that might happen if their base premise that man made CO2 is to blame for all the changes in the world's climate were true. Yet a conference attended by 600 people with more Ph.D's in climate science (and therefore more highly qualified to speak on the subject) over the water in New York gets labelled dismissively as a bunch of redneck 'Deniers'.

Look guys, the climate changes and no-one is precisely sure why it does what it does (Although I get ever more convinced that solar influences are a pretty hefty component). That is not under dispute. It's this big expensive eco-guilt trip I don't understand.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

An important comment on the scientific method

As reported in the mainstream media. Draw your own parallels.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A picture speaks a thousand words

Wife managed to get into work this morning despite several inches of snow. I'm working from home today, but it might be worthwhile dragging our little 4x4 up and down the road a few times to help keep things clear for her on the way home this afternoon. Neighbour prophesised blandly that 'this crap' will be gone by tomorrow. I hope so. My diary is full of meetings and schedules this week, and all this white global warming stuff is inconvenient to say the least.

Image taken of our view over the southern end of Dodd Narrows at 10:50am PST.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Telegraph website

News that the UK Daily Telegraph website has been hacked, allowing those who broke the security to see 700 people's e-mails and passwords does not bother me overmuch, as the moderators there have been blocking my comments for the past four weeks. Not really for four weeks, as I noticed that even quite innocuous comments weren't getting past the moderators. Perhaps it was my propensity for pointing out the blindingly obvious that they didn't like.

Who cares, I never use the same username and password for more than one site at a time. Whosoever hacked the site are welcome to do what they like with the ID they find there. I've already changed the password for this and my e-mail.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

All seasons in a day

This morning when I took Dog for his tri-yearly shearing, I was wearing sunglasses and the sky was a brilliant blue with nary a cloud in sight. When I drove to pick him up from the dog groomers at lunchtime, the sky was a solid light grey. Two hours later, it was raining, then the sky closed down and it snowed. It is now 3:30pm PST and the sun has just come out again.

Dog has been defurred, the house has been cleaned top to bottom, and Wife is currently sitting reading Ayn Rand's 'Anthem'. Not so much a novel, more a long polemic poem against the evils of collectivism. A Good read, and despite her 'literary' reputation, pre-eminently readable. Have yet to read 'Fountainhead' and 'Atlas Shrugged', but was impressed by the power of 'We the living'.

Me, I am struggling with the theme of mental infidelity against the backstory of burgeoning space colonisation. Time for tea and a break from the keyboard methinks.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Life's a beach

Still winters day down in the Narrows this afternoon after a good mornings work. Dog and I went to stretch our legs down by the cold clear waters. Me to watch the Grebes. Buffleheads and occasional Blue Heron, and Dog to find any old bone he fancied crunching.

I often think that a Beach is the charnel house of the sea. It's where all the odds and ends cast into the deep tend to wind up. We get a lot of logs because they escape from the daily log boom traffic. The whole foreshore is made up of pulverised shells and larger rocks, periodically resculpted by a stormy night. No analogy, just an observation.

Still plenty of snow lying about closer towards town. Just when you think you're about to get rid of the last batch, down comes another. Fortunately the new all weather tyres on the van cope very nicely thankyou.

An Austrian researcher thinks he has found the cause of belly button fluff; but quite frankly I'm not shaving my belly, which he claims is the 'cure'. It's like all this anthropogenic climate change' nonsense that keeps on popping up in the news. Fluff. Fluffy news about fluff all.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day at home

Worked up until ten last night, and find this morning that I've done everything I should. No meetings to attend today, and I'm told that town (Nanaimo) is a bit chaotic right now with last nights snowfall.

Wife is road testing new all weather tyres on the van and just phoned home to let me know that she got to work safely. Dog and I have been for a walk in the three or so inches of snow lying on the ground. I've read the online papers, had breakfast but right now I'm not in the mood for anything serious.

Outside, the Narrows are a steely blue and the trees and hedges lumpy whiteness. No more snow is falling.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Snow falling on Cedars

The sound of snow falling on Cedars makes is a crackling, pattering sound like rain on high voltage lines, but less harsh and with a pattering as the flakes dust down onto the fragile leaf litter from last fall. That is what I learned today. It has a calming effect.

Busy day. Finally got my correspondence and notes organised. Which as Wife might be heard to remark; "Blood and sand Jones?! You, organised?" Such is life.

There's fish out there

Walking Dog this morning, I cast my eyes down to the waterfront at the choppy tidal vortex that forms every high tide half way down Dodd Narrows opposite Mudge Island. Flecks of white scum, like petals, floated in five or six metre long stringy slicks up the channel. The shallows were a particular shade of turquoise.

Could all be a trick of the light of course, but conditions do seem to mimic the early stages of last years Herring run. May be worth getting my fishing kit out.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Standin' in the rain

A bit of musical nostalgia from the days I used to do 150 mile commutes in the deep damp deadness of an English Winter. Headlights framed by pitch darkness and lots of late lonely nights driving to and from jobs all over the country (and sometimes out of it). "Out of the Blue" blasting out of the cheap cassette recorder in the dash of whatever pile of junk I was driving, that leaden feeling in the gut from too much Red Bull and junk food. Sometimes I miss those times, but then my sanity returns.......

Monday, February 16, 2009

How do they get away with this....

The UK Daily Telegraph goes downhill even further with this piece of pseudoscientific bullshit.

As global warming worsens, the idea of vast projects to alter the Earth's environment is moving from fantasy to necessity.

When are the media going to concede that the Earth isn't really warming, and all the calls from the alarmist faction are just that; alarmist. Oh well, what the hell, they wouldn't sell so many newspapers then would they? My pet peeve is that they actually paid someone to write this.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

To paraphrase the bard...

I see the zealots are at it again on the BBC with more dogma driven drivel. We're all going to die the heat death of the universe blah-de blah ad nauseum. With a solar minima shaping up, and Earth's global temperature dropping (Although not by that much, but it is unseasonably chilly outside) you'd think the 'climate change' guilt-trip mob would give it up. Little or no correlation with rising CO2 (Should be good for the plants when things finally get round to warming up), Polar Bears fine; coral reefs in fine fettle; currently a bit too much arctic ice, but then that's just me. So where's the warming? Apart from inside incomplete computer models and the heads of the 'true believers'?

To paraphrase William Shakespeare in his Scottish play;
"And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: man made climate change is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Demonstration of failure

I'm not normally a combative sort, and generally speaking would walk ten miles rather than pick a fight, but there are some people who just sit up and beg to be taken down a notch. Today's stressor were a bunch of noisy people who marched into the Bay store at the Woodgrove Mall, North Nanaimo shouting "Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! How many animals died today!" loudly and repeatedly as they paraded around the ground floor waving lurid placards of skinned animal carcases (Yes I did see, and no, they didn't impress me) amusing the staff, and giving security the runaround.

This was a demonstration by supporters of PETA, generally referred to by those who know what goes on at one of their 'animal shelters' as People for the Elimination and Termination of Animals. I think because the Bay store occasionally sells a fur coat, the six or seven people who marched around the store with one person yelling the same tired slogan over and over thought they were justified in doing so.

Now I'm a keen supporter of free speech and the unfettered (Within reason) right to make your point publicly, but quite frankly these few people made the organisation and cause they purported to hold dear look like a bunch of right unwashed wallies. They startled around a dozen shoppers, because that's all there were in the store at that time. As demonstrations go, it was pathetic, both in numbers and effect. Had there been a hundred people outside the store protesting, now that would have made their point far better. However, knowing Nanaimo, with it's relatively high proportion of hunting and fishing types isn't quite ready to be included in the confused muddle of modern metropolitan thinking. Did the demonstrators wish to end the wanton slaughter of animals? If certain web sites are to be believed, then the members of PETA would be better off visibly demonstrating that their own house was in order before further campaigning devalues their cause further.

However, these demonstrators did succeed in one aspect; they made me want to go all Clint Eastwood on them with a 12-guage.
"Get off my lawn!" Great line. Must go see Gran Torino.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Old tech, but good tech

Steve Winwood always was a genius with that old electric piano. Two of my all-time favourite songs, 'Valerie' and 'While you still see a chance' . Utter, unadulterated brilliance.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Other times, other places

This afternoon, after progress chasing a couple of things, I visited a blog I used to write for when Ilived and worked in the UK. Although there have been no new entries for the last year, it still receives over sixty specific visits minimum, per day. Go figure, as they say.

Mind you, I did used to spend over three hours a day on it in addition to the day job which inspired the blog. This blog, by way of a contrast, gets less than half an hour a day on average. The thing both blogs have in common is that they are simply brain dumps of my febrile ravings.

Am also getting mildly teed off with the pop up adverts that say "Barack Obama / Stephen Harper / Paris Hilton's IQ is 120+; how about you?" For the record; my IQ was once 'officially' measured at 147. More generally my usual spatial / language / mathematical object handling ability runs around the 136 marker. Reading rate measured at 1250-1700 words per minute with 70% recall. That and a memory which Elephants can be heard commenting on as follows "Watch what you say around that Jones character - he remembers every word". Which often makes me ask the question; "If I'm so smart, why ain't I rich?" Which I am not very (Although definitely not poor). Yet I would concede that most of my own lack of millionaire status boils down to a lack of confidence. Ergo, one is drawn to the conclusion that when it comes to smarts, IQ is not the only measure.

Back to work.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Have begun work on a new MSS while the interminable wait for Agents and Publishers to actually read what I've sent them goes on. Frankly I've gotten past the point where I'm worried about how good any of the MSS samples and screenplay I despatched are; that's all old news as they say. I'm busy on the next one in the series.

In 'Falling through the stars' I'm busy outlining a post apocalypse northern Europe and the survival of one of the novel's key characters; this time it's the younger sister of the lead character in 'A Sky full of stars' and her journey out of the remains of the Gaian European prison-state to find her elder brother, a now publicly disgraced North American Space Corps pilot. There is another sister in the story arc, but I won't bring her into the tale until the demands of narrative warrant her appearance. Tell the story, and let the characters play their parts.

Back in the outside world, I see that the eco-insanity proceeds despite the climate and weather naysaying every argument the Warmista's put forward. Face it guys, the Earth isn't doomed, but humanity might be if the media keep regurgitating the statist soviet-like agenda of the boneheaded greenies. How many times does humanity have to try the 'top down' approach and find it failing? Idiots.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Volcano Alerts

Having a look at the current status of volcanoes around the world, and found this handy page.
Chaiten in Chile is erupting away at Red or level 5 status
Redoubt in Alaska, not so far from the currently quiescent Mt Kasatochi to the West that blew it's top in 2008, is at watch alert Orange (Eruption due soon)

Other, less newsworthy eruptions are as follows.
Galeras 01.22N 077.37W COLOMBIA LEVEL III E
Karangetang 02.78N 125.40E SANGIHE IS. ALERT LEVEL 3 E
Soufriere Hills 16.72N 062.18W WEST INDIES LEVEL 4 E
Yasur 19.53S 169.44E SO. PACIFIC ALERT LEVEL 3 E

A quick google at about 3pm PST turned up nothing in the English language media for the Galeras and Yasur eruptions (Well it has been erupting almost continually for the last 800 years), and nothing at all for Karangetang.

Hmm. will be adding to the sidebar as well.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Another set of isolated weather events

Snow in Saudi.

Hail and snow in Dubai last night.

Did someone say it was getting warmer?

Reality bites.

Update: Oh yes, and it snowed this morning outside our house. All melted by midday.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The debate is not over

"Science should be an open debate, with all valid research getting equal display. Consensus can't be claimed when many questions continue unanswered. Silencing those who question popular culture does not benefit the truth sought by science." Baltimore Examiner.

"With statistics you can make numbers go to almost any conclusion you want. It saddens me to see members of the scientific community do this for media coverage." H/T Anthony Watts.

I've said it before; man made climate change is a political phenomenon, not a real one. The world has warmed, but now it appears to be cooling. Driving the populace into penury on the back of a politically popular fiction therefore promises to create more problems than it solves.

To get old testament for a moment, Pharaoh's dream interpreted as seven good years followed by seven lean years would appear to be an object lesson. Hunker down, it's a-gonna get chilly round here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

BBC bias

Not having watched TV for a good while, I've been out of touch with things back in the UK. Even before travelling over the pond to find a new life, I was aware that the BBC regularly misrepresented factual information to support some form of political agenda. Now it appears that they have been caught red handed fiddling with historical documents, to wit; President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration speech. You cannot defend this. Whilst holding no brief for or against the politician in question I find myself quite shocked, but not overly surprised, that certain parties would warp his meaning to suit their own bias. Who the hell do the BBC think they are?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More classic Python

What can you say? Scientifically accurate and funny.

What I did today

While some people were bunking off to watch a US politician make a speech, I was doing voluntary work. As were a lot of people. Having no TV I went through the whole of today not hearing a word (Despite doing a lot of walking and talking to people) about today's events in Washington DC. Well, this is Canada.

Came back home and checked out the news, and found much of it deluged in what can only be described as open verbal masturbation. The mainstream media have been behaving like it's the second coming.

Now I'm willing to cut a man some slack, even if I disagree with his policies, but I have the distinct impression that a lot of people are in for a bit of a let down. I actually feel sorry for the poor guy. So many people have pinned so many hopes to his coat tails that the first time circumstances force him into a turnaround, the very people who sing his praises now will be the ones to bury him.

Besides all that, got through a lot today. Still a little more to do, but we broke the back of the job today. Will finish off tomorrow, day job permitting.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Foggy bottom

Todays little sojourn down to the waters edge saw me entering the set for a Hammer Horror movie. Thick layer of mist up to two metres above the water flowing down and dispersing from the neck of the narrows, then a thin haze up to about sixty metres or so. Dog splashed happily in the shallows like a two year old with his first pair of galoshes, and I inadvertantly upset a couple of the local Blue Heron population that flapped away croaking complaints. A Stellers Sea Lion was snorking and snuffling while it hunted in the middle of the channel, with no signs of human activity but the far off mournful klaxon at the Duke Point ferry terminus. Very peaceful.

Yesterday I was happy to see the return of our local Bald Eagle population. I was within fifty feet of them when we simultaneously spotted each other. They cussed me in fluent Eagle, and I just stood there marvelling at the sheer size of the damn things. Wingspans broader than I am tall, and talons the size of my hands. This means there's fish out there. Wonder if we'll get a repeat performance of last years Herring run when fish were being sold at five dollars a bucket?

Continually watching the exchange rates. Looks like we'll be moving the last of our funds out of sterling, but I want to see how the markets react when the reality of the new US Presidency hits home. Maybe Barack Obama will do the smart thing and keep fobbing off the wilder assertions of the environmental lobbyists, and look after his country first. As for the country of my birth, I have the horrid feeling that the UK economy may end up doing a Weimar because the pillocks in charge know less about sound economic management than a lightly stunned Lemming. Either way, we have to be prepared to shift our funds to where we lose the least. If commodities drop a little more, it may be worth buying gold again. Although the best time to do that was last year.

Anyway, back to the grindstone, I have work to do, and may even get some plot mapping done on the sequel MSS.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fog in the Narrows

Woke up this morning and did a bit of a double take. Down in the Narrows, a dense ribbon of sea fog obscured our view of Mudge Island, the water, and everything up to sixty metres high over the water. It was flowing North to South down the channel at about 15 knots (My estimate)like a slow river of indistinct grey slurry. Above this line the sky was totally clear.

Very strange, but we've had a lot of low cloud and fog recently. The past two days have had sunny periods where it looks like God unzipped the clouds over the city for a few hours during the day just to see if everything was okay with Nanaimo, then zipped them right back up again at night.

Price of Gas is perplexing. Most Gas stations are selling it at 93.9, a rise of 19 cents from two weeks ago. Oil prices haven't gone up that much, so what in the hell is going on? Are the Gas companies trying to make some extra bucks before that idealistic fool the Americans have elected screws them with extra taxes to prevent the non existant 'global warming'? Shut up Jones, you've MSS to write. You promised Wife you would ignore the issue for a while and took a serious work break.

Today the Weather is a side issue, we're going to the movies to see 'Defiance' starring Daniel Craig.

Update: Gas prices seem to be associated with currency fluctuations affecting the Canadian Dollar....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Woke up this morning a bit fuzzy headed. Had no idea what I was going to do now that work on the submitted MSS has been discontinued for the sake of the whole households sanity. Picked up and read the introduction of 'Ringworlds Children' by Larry Niven and the opening line of the sequel to the 'Sky full of stars' MSS came to me;
"The question is." Said Weissman, tapping tombstone teeth perplexedly. "How come he's still alive? We all saw the explosion."

To work.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ink capable

Much as I am enamoured of Inkjet printers for their versatility and economy, the one I have has an unerring sense of bad timing. Yesterdays farce saw me running out of ink twenty pages into a fifty page document. Result; I have to spend valuable time away from day job getting refills done. This entails a fifty kilometre round trip and over a valuable hour out of my working day. It also meant that the MSS samples due for despatch yesterday didn't go until lunchtime today.

The upside is that it got me away from my desk for a while. Wife remarked at how crabby I've been getting lately and that it was a good thing for the whole household that Mr Grumpy had got off his backside and away from the keyboard.

Writing the initial manuscript is the easy bit. The thing I find frustrating and what drives everyone else completely crackers, including Dog, is my tendency to revisit every damn paragraph in 240,000 words and fiddle with them. Change the metaphor, delete a simile, tone down the hyperbole, alter the key descriptive terms, and occasionally even delete a character while generally behaving like an obsessive compulsive with a bad case of the fidgets and attention deficit disorder. The MSS samples are now, for better or worse, out of the door and I am forbidden by Wife upon pain of agony to revisit them until I get a reply from the agency that wanted to look over my work.

"Get on with the next one Jones." Wife has laid down the law and I defy her at my personal peril. Just as well she keeps me on the straight and narrow because I'd never have gotten even this far without her.

The other edict Wife has decreed is forbidding me to write about the Weather, as I only get uptight about the whole global warming bullshit. "Everyone around knows it's a load of crap to line politicians pockets." She vouchsafed unto me. "You have better things to do with your time." She's right of course. I have a trilogy to finish. One must complete the tasks one begins, or what's the point?

We were promised sunshine today but I didn't see any.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I submit

This weekend has been dedicated to preparing MSS samples for submission to a UK literary Agency. I'm not holding out much hope, as by the look of their listings, most of their current list of authors are middlebrow literati who write novels about the human condition, and little else.

My stuff does pay slightly more than lip service to the vagaries of love, hate, betrayal etc, but I do try and make the characters part of and drivers of the events they are involved in. I suspect a rejection slip will be the result, but that's just my naturally ingrained pessimism. There isn't a single slightly futuristic or fantasy writer on their books.

Oh well, here goes;

Sample list:
Short Screenplay 13 pages plus 1 page character notes
1st MSS 50 page sample & 1 page synopsis
2nd MSS 50 page sample & 1 page synopsis

Who knows, maybe in these economically straitened times they are looking to branch out of their existing list of genres. One can but try.

Friday, January 9, 2009

We're all doooomed (Not) again

Forgive my scepticism, but that's becoming more and more of a conditioned reflex. If it's not one thing it's another. Was pootling around my reading list and had a look at Anthony Watts blog, which carried the following headline:“The good news is, if this sucker blows, global warming is not going to be a problem.“ About news items regarding the recent swarms of earthquakes in the Yellowstone Caldera. Previous observations in 2004 indicate that a similar bout of Earthquake 'swarms' were due to the movement of Hydrothermal fluids rather than Magma. Doomsday looks like being postponed again. Ain't that a bitch?

I seem to recall a Horizon 'Documentary' on the BBC back in 2000 which gave you the impression that Armageddon was but a heartbeat distant. Had the programme makers faithfully reported what the USGS researchers at Yellowstone were saying they would have gotten a slightly less than sensational story; but the headline 'World might end one day - but not just yet eh?' might not be conducive to increased viewing figures. Just like that other load of complete and utter garbage 'An inconvenient truth'. The Western world passed the edge of an all time gullibility event horizon with that pile of deeply flawed crap. You can tell I wasn't impressed with the movie or its 'science' can't you?

What is it with all these 'the world is going to end' scenarios? There is so much good stuff going on out there in life that we have to ill wish and frighten ourselves into misery just for a change? Like teenagers going to watch schlocky horror movies. This is the part of the human condition I've never been able to fully comprehend; so many people would rather believe a thousand over sensationalised negative fictions rather than one rather mundane positive fact. 'Millions of people no longer starving'; 'Living standards better than twenty years ago'; 'Fewer than ever not dying of infectious diseases'. Maybe the people who regurgitate negative nonsense just want to make themselves look important. In the words of the old Cole Porter song;

Have you heard,
It's in the Stars,
Next July we collide with Mars

Stuff it; I have other things to do, and a nice large measure of Malt Whiskey beckons. Time to feed Wife a sizeable Vodka and Orange. She's earned it for putting up with an old grouch like me.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Alternate beginnings and endings

Have been trying a new tack with the "Sky full of stars" Sci-Fi MSS. In order for the backstory to work more smoothly with the rest of the narrative I've changed the beginning, adding a four thousand word section that makes for a more dramatic opening. At the other end, I've found myself writing another section to wrap up all the loose story threads yet leave scope for a follow up.

Haven't decided whether to kill the hero off or not. Rather like one of those eighties soap operas where characters come back from the dead to satisfy audience demand. Well I haven't really got an audience yet, but I live in hope. Upbeat or downbeat ending? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Laws of nature

Arthur C Clarke, Science Fiction Writer and man credited with the idea of Orbiting communications satellites once laid down three laws of prediction;
1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

I was browsing through Wikipaedia this evening and found out about a gentleman named Dr Paul Ehrlich. Some of his predictions may be of interest. I make no other comment apart from how wrong can a man be? Looks like Clarke's first law of prediction is in serious need of revision.

If asked, I would amend Clarke's first law to read; When a distinguished scientist states that mankind is somehow doomed, he is almost certainly wrong. When he states that humans might muddle through somehow, he is very probably right. The other two of Clarkes laws appear not to need such amendment.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Outlook changeable

"There do be a change in the wind me hearties. A change do be a comin'" (In my best Geoffrey Rush impersonation). Well not so much in the weather, as that always manages to catch you off guard on the Island. Sudden thick snow shower this afternoon had a number of people (Including us) forced to make a quick dash into the big Canadian Tire store, several making sharp wisecracks about "this goldarn global warming eh?" as sleet and snow began liberally coating everything in sight.

I just had to laugh. Wife has often told me off for being an "obsessive old grouch" about the whole issue, and I've been forced to silence by my dear spouse upon pain of torture. This is not a vain threat. Wife knows where all my sensitive little places are, and kitty has sharp little claws. Ow.

Notwithstanding, all of a sudden the 'Global warming' bandwagon looks like the wheels are finally beginning to come off. Dishonesty and / or outright incompetence from unregulated 'Carbon trading' companies. Articles in the mainstream and online media casting doubt upon the dogma of man made climate change springing up like Hydra's teeth. It's not just the long time sceptical commentators like Christopher Booker. The climate change bubble bursts as the weather refuses to comply with the doomsayers predictions.

Couple of additions to the sidebar along with a little tidying up. Roy Spencer, Climatologist, Author, and former NASA scientist, and Skeptics Global Warming. Oh, and a dog, named Kyoto of all things.

What I'd like to see now is all those scientists and other people who have had their careers ruined by the warmista's shrill demands given some form of recompense, and some long overdue impartiality returned to academia. Perhaps the jailing of a couple of the leading lights for the fraud they have attempted to perpetrate upon us all. Which would be poetic justice after their calls for "denier's" to be treated like criminals and locked up. Although, he said thoughtfully to himself, I won't be holding my breath. I'll just be happy when all the extra 'green' taxes are dropped.

Back to Sci-fi MSS editing. Second draft almost finished. It's looking good.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Global cooling?

Quiet start to the New Year, with much to do come Monday morning.

Am getting increasingly peeved with the "Global Warming Denier" tag, although there is an element of perverse pride in being identified as one not taken in by the whole alarmist nonsense. Notwithstanding, I'm not one of the "coming ice age" faction either, although the Weather phenomena would suggest that we are in one of those cooler cyclic climate events. To be honest, there's so much delusion, obfuscation and downright dishonesty going on that it's hard to know what the damn truth of the matter is anyway.

Being a cynical soul, I try not to 'believe' in much at all when it comes to the climate. Cooling or Warming, it's all the same, and that humankind has precious little to do with the global climate, the main drivers of which appear to be Solar activity, volcanism, the water cycle, and electromagnetic variations. To suggest that an atmospheric trace gas currently measured around 385 parts per million is responsible for it all sounds very shaky from even my limited layman's perspective. Especially when the estimated total human contribution of this gas is a mere 19.25 parts per million. By comparison, there's much more Argon in the atmosphere, just under three times more. CO2, I would say, is the least of our worries. As it gets cooler, if my reading of physics is right, then we should see Atmospheric CO2 levels begin to drop in the next few years as the oceans cool.

My concerns regarding current weather trends are being raised by the number of incidences of ice crystal related phenomena being observed around the world; Nacreous clouds, icebows, and various other ice crystal refracted phenomena. Norwegian observers I am reliably informed, are seeing far more Nacreous cloud formations this year, and Icebows have been reported in the national and international media quite late in the year. Using the simple logic that says "Ice crystals are evidence of cooling" I tend to be swayed more towards the viewpoint that we are currently in a cooling phase of the Earth's climate cycles. Although I fervently hope we are not in for a Dalton type minimum. That would be worse than everything the doomsayers predict.

Those who still deny that these cooler weather phenomena truly exist really need to step away from the keyboard and get out a bit more. Rather like those observed trudging along in the snow holding banners reading 'stop global warming'. The past two years have been cooler than usual, and rather give the lie to the 'Man is responsible' standpoint. They cling to inaccurate assertions like CO2 rise leads temperature change (Which it doesn't), and think that applying political logic in a scientific debate will change the weather (It won't). In addition they seem to be suffering from the delusional belief that Man as a species has much significance when it comes to the weather (We don't).

Anyway, no-one's going to read this. Humans as a species don't like logic much. Fantasy appears far more preferable. That's what it looks like to me.