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Friday, February 24, 2012

Wise words from a wise man


I was over at wattsupwiththat and he drew my attention to an article first published over 60 years ago. Bertrand Russell wrote it, and you can find it here:
http://www.panarchy.org/russell/decalogue.1951.html

As someone commented, some of it can be summed up simply:
Be sure your sins will find you out.
Or as Blanchard & Peale wrote in their book "The power of ethical management":
There ain't no right way to do a wrong thing

Russell wrote:
The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows:

1.
Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
2.
Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
3.
Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
4.
When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavour to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
5.
Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
6.
Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
7.
Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
8.
Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
9.
Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
10.
Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

The wheels are falling off the Man Made Global Warming bandwagon. Mr Gore and his cronies might wish to look at what a very wise man wrote all those years ago..

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quote of the day


“The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”

—George Orwell, “In Front of Your Nose“, 1946

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Water water everywhere...



" Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink."

Coleridge wrote this poem over two hundred years ago, and yes, I studied it for English Literature at grammar school back in the 60s. Back when grammar schools served an important function- that of educating the lower classes so that they could run the Empire and the Civil Service. The upper classes run the country, but needed useful idiots like me to do the actual work. These days there is no Empire, no industry and computers do all the donkey work so that all that is needed are box tickers and paper shufflers.

The papers are full of the news that our reservoirs are empty, despite the fact that we sit slap bang in the path of the Gulf Stream and tons and tons of rain fall on us every year. Every year we have floods, yet we also have constant drought. Why?

Two hundred years ago a ragged band of labourers armed only with picks, shovels and wheelbarrows transformed the land, making it possible to travel by boat from one end of the country to the other. They were called Navigators, shortened to navvies, and their efforts were ultimately doomed by the coming of the railway age. However, by and large, their canals and waterways still criss cross the country.

It's become a modern fad for the Prime Minister of the day to leave a legacy, a mark.
Bliar built a white elephant by the Thames. It was called the Millennium Dome and when it was announced what was going to be in it, some nonsense about the Body Zone etc, I realised that it was the reincarnation of Corby's Wonderworld project that was going to be the tourist attraction to draw millions to a former ironstone quarry.

(Read about it here- http://h2g2.com/dna/h2g2/A787809)

The government spent millions and millions on the Dome, then gave it away.
So much for Bliar's legacy.

We all know Brown's legacy. He promised an end to boom and bust, and them presided over the biggest financial meltdown in history, all the while proclaiming that he'd saved the banks (and in a famous slip of the tongue- saved the world).



Cameron has put his name on the planned HS2 rail line, an idea that would appear to be European in origin. The route chosen has caused uproar, and according to Wikipedia
"Arup, which did the engineering work to identify routes for HS2 Ltd., has opposed the chosen route for HS2 (route 3) calling it "deeply flawed" It says the route should link to Heathrow and then follow the M40 motorway and Chiltern railway line, improving the business case, lowering construction costs and creating less impact on the countryside."
Another flawed idea chosen by a flawed man looking for a legacy project.

There is no justifiable excuse for our reservoirs to run out of water- ever.
If a few navvies can create a network of waterways with a few simple implements, whay can't this once great country use those same waterways, with a few extra pumping stations and some underground pipeline, move the water around the country from where it falls in abundance to where it is used?

Now wouldn't that be a legacy?