Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Can You Get Geo-Thermal Powered Range Rovers?

The Telegraph reports that:
Novellist Winterson in 'screaming rant' with neighbour

Best-selling author Jeanette Winterson has been embroiled in a confrontation with a neighbour after accusing him of damaging her Range Rover, it is claimed.

This is obviously a bizarre mistake. Jeanette Winterson would hardly own a gas guzzling Range Rover given her passion for saving the environment, as she has explained on BBC Radio 4's Any Questions:
I think everything that we're talking about tonight keys into much larger questions about what these so-called values are that we want to uphold, how exactly we want to live, what sort of people we think we are. We said we want a good health service but do we want to pay for it? We want to reduce our environmental footprint but we don't want to have bin collections every fortnight, we want them every week, so that we can go on making as much rubbish as we've always made, and piling it up outside the front gate. If anybody suddenly says make less rubbish we say but that's interfering with my civil liberties, I must make as much rubbish as I like because I live in the rich West. So some where there are a lot of contradictions which need to be straightened out and we do need - we need less packaging, we need less rubbish, we need to be a lot more conscious about what we're doing to the planet, to the environment. But in order to do that it can't just be about us putting stuff out in the bins at night it has to be about supermarkets and packaging which is a huge issue [CLAPPING]. I've been a member of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth for the last 25 years and we used to do those symbolic protests where you unpack everything at the checkout and just chuck it all back at them and you have at least two bin bags worth full before you've even eaten anything. That is a big problem and I think we should all start addressing that and be going in there and saying we don't want all this crap and then we could have fortnightly collections but it's up to us to change things and no you can't keep putting your rubbish out every week you know, we're all in here going to have to change our ways. [CLAPPING]

This is a very tricky question and James Lovelock, a scientist whom I have a huge amount of respect as you know, is a proponent of nuclear energy and really thinks it's the only way forward. And it is someone we have to take seriously. I am trying to wade through the mass of evidence information on this to make up my own mind because it's tricky. However unlike James I do find wind farms rather beautiful. And I would rather see as much power as we can get coming from renewables rather than go down the nuclear route. But again it's back to what - how much are we prepared to give up, will you use less power, less electricity? I've just put in a geothermal system underground for my electricity which is fantastic but it costs £12,000 and Gordon Brown took seventeen and a half per cent VAT off me in order to put it in. That doesn't help the householder to help the planet. But there's a lot that we can do ourselves but we are going to have to rein in, pull back a little bit. We can't just say this is a problem for politicians, it's bigger than us, it's not bigger than us, it's about us in our homes tonight, so switch the light off. [CLAPPING]

Jeanette is a passionate environmentalist who spends £12000 on geothermal energy systems (more than you peasants spend) and has been a member of both Greenpeace & Friends of the Earth (not just one or other) for over a quarter of a century yet the Telegraph expects us to believe that she has a carbon spewing Chelsea Tractor. They should apologise.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Amnesty International Continue To Morph Into Socialist Workers Party

Does anyone still take Amnesty International* seriously?
Amnesty International called on Canadian authorities Wednesday to arrest and prosecute George W. Bush, saying the former U.S. president authorized “torture” when he directed the U.S.-led war on terror.
The former human rights organisation has also described the system by which the USA detains enemy combatants as "the Gulag of our times". There are flaws with Guantanamo Bay- it seems likely that some of the detainees are innocent and they fall into neither the category of prisoner of war or standard criminals. However to compare a  detention camp with a few hundred individuals suspected of terrorism- which two US administrations have found no adequate alternative to- with the Soviet system of  gulags under which millions of people were sent to their deaths is a lie. Not only a lie but a trivialisation of genocide that David Irving would be proud of.

Perhaps if Bush had instituted a system of public executions, stopped the education of women etc, Amnesty would not only not condemn him but invite him to be an official partner of the organisation.

* To my great shame I actually joined the organisation for a year about a decade ago.

Image Of The Day

From Cracked:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Talentless Scions

On another site I was discussing children following in the footsteps of their famous parents- with reference to various musicians with more famous parents. A handful have lived up to or excelled their parents- Jeff Buckley, Norah Jones & Kirsty MacColl spring to mind but by far the most.

With actors though it is another story- many in that profession equal or exceed the success of famous parents- Kate Hudson, Michael Douglas, innumerable Redgraves, Baldwins, Sheens, Fondas etc spring to mind. Not to mention thespians who are the children of non-actors involved in the entertainment industry.

Dynasties are much more likely to emerge in fields where talent is difficult to distinguish. Talent wise there is not much to separate a Hollywood A-Lister and the average jobbing actor on the stage in provincial theatres, because fundamentally acting isn’t a tremendously difficult task.

Being connected to directors, writers and producers is much more critical than mere ability in achieving success.

Song writing on the other hand is very difficult and it is quite easy for a layman to tell the difference between a brilliant song and a perfectly competent but unexceptional tune. The children of the Beatles and Rolling Stones are not going to achieve more success as song writers than someone born to a builder and a shop assistant in Preston if they cannot write a catchy tune.

Therefore the children of successful actors have a much easier time following in their parents footsteps than those of song writers.

Dynasties exist in all fields, even intensely meritocratic pursuits like sport, but are most noticeable in areas where talent is the least critical and connections matter. Based on that idea it can be concluded that other areas where talent is not very important include politics*, media** & fashion.

* Assorted Bushes, Kennedys, Benns, Prescotts, Hurds, Maudes.
** Various Milnes, Corens, Toynbees & more.
*** Multiple daughters of Beatles, Stones as well as the odd Geldof.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Foxy Knoxy & Faily Maily

The Daily Mail has been caught out publishing a story that Amanda Knox had been found guilty when she was of course released (even though it is fairly clear that she is as guilty as sin).

In itself that would only be slightly embarrassing- I am sure most newspapers had two versions of the story written up and waited on the verdict to see which one to use. What makes the Daily Mail's story interesting is the use of quotes in their since retracted story:

Prosecutors were delighted with the verdict and said "Justice has been done" although they said on a "human factor it was sad two young people would be spending years in jail"
Now because we now know Knox and her male accomplice no one cares about were in fact released it is clear that the prosecutors did not say any of these things. The Daily Mail was intending to use a piece with fabricated quotes in other words- doing a Hari as it were.

So either the reporter- Nick Pisa- made them up off his own bat or the Daily Mail routinely make things up for the sake of a better story. I do not believe that we are going to hear about an investigation into Pisa's work by a shocked Daily Mail editor any time soon.