Monthly Archives: January 2010

Tony Blair’s War

I remember Bryan Gould from the early 1960s and liked his approach when he became an MP. Here he has come up with something that I gave my view on in this blog some weeks ago. He has had some insider experience so it is comforting to know that his view is the same as mine – Tony Blair saw himself as a World Statesman and wanted to consolidate that position: The real reason for the Iraq war. We never escape our inner nature. Here is a small comment on the outer natures of some politicians that relates to Brian’s point: Don’t give up the day job – how artists make a living, ‘ A recent waitressing shift at the Houses of Parliament didn’t go quite so well: “It was one of the most ­horrendous days of my life – everyone treated you as if you were scum. I wanted to cry, and on my way out I said, ‘I’m afraid I can’t make tomorrow’s shift.'” ‘. This points to the same inner natures that lead to some making unjustified expense claims.

I wonder what inner nature drives the target policy: This social work by computer system is protecting no one. I think we need more human-human interaction than human-machine interaction [message to myself!] The two humans can also both be oneself in introspection.

Yet some tick boxes can be good: The doctor taking safety to new heights. The problem is that we cannot avoid having to make judgements; there are no eternal rules. Some religions think there are, some don’t. My favourite Buddhist story is where Gautama is told by people that some come and tell them one thing and others come and tell something different so what does he think they should believe. He tells them to think it out for themselves.

Scientists correct results

See what difference a headline makes World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown. This comment ends with “The revelation is the latest crack to appear in the scientific consensus over climate change”. I think that the consensus is that still glaciers are melting and the long-term temperature of the earth is increasing. The timescale of the Himalayan melting has been corrected. It did seem to me that it was faster than seemed likely when I read the report and it does disappoint that the IPCC passed this estimate, but the big message is: if something is wrong it will be corrected because that is what scientists do. This is to be compared to the continual evasion of people who try to trash the evidence for CO2 caused global warming: Please, show us your code is remarkable exchange on the idea that the recent warming is due to changes in the sun, rather than greenhouse gases.

An example to be followed

I have been reading David Colquhoun’s blog for some time, and this entry is brilliant: Queueing for beds, Andrei Andreevich Markov, and why I still love the NHS. This shows the real scientist – a personal experience is turned into a small investigation. I am thanking David for the example to follow; there is a lot to learn to write a good blog.

I have to evolve; even prions do it: Prion evolution takes lessons on diversification from viruses.

Resource Politics

I have always thought that each region in the world should be mostly self-sufficient. Again a few benefit from unregulated globalization, but most of us don’t. I remember the rare-earths being a part of the periodic table that we did not bother with when I learned chemistry, but now they have become crucial substances. Forget oil. While people were distracted with peak oil and CO2, rare-earths sneaked in. They are not as rare as the group name suggests but we need better ways of extracting the metals both to reduce energy use in the process and to reduce the environmental mess the process has traditionally caused. Maybe there is scope for genetic engineering of bacteria to do the extraction for us.

The “good” news: Precious metals that could save the planet.

The “bad” news: Concern as China clamps down on rare earth exports.

The good news: New solar-cell efficiency record set. The opening fact sets the scene: we need only a little more than 0.01% of the energy the earth receives from the sun to cover all current energy needs. I will keep arguing for solar power.