Notification of Closure / Move

Firstly, may I thank all of you who have followed the posts on this blog. I hope you have found them at least interesting … even if you disagreed!

This blog WILL CLOSE on the 20th August 2023.

Most of the material will still be available on my own website – please bookmark this link.

I have posted on WordPress for some years and now wish to publish in a simpler format under my own copyright. There will be no cookies, or tracking pixels or any of the covert commercial surveillance of readers so favoured by other websites and platforms. I hope you will approve.

Thank you.

Posted in Change, Transition | Leave a comment

Cop27 – Climate emergency solved – breed less!

Yes, it IS that easy. Really …

“What’s the logic behind that statement?” I hear you ask …

Well, global warming and climate change is being accelerated by human activity. So, if there were no humans there would be no effects …

…. if there are more people, more change …

… less people means less change. Solved!

It’s that simple. All we have to do is have less children. Then the rate of global warming slows, climate targets met, everyone is happy! Hurrah?

“Just a minute!” I hear you say, “It isn’t that simple … you can’t just reduce the population overnight!” Well, that’s true. But surely there’s nothing stopping humanity having less children?

What’s the catch?

The catch is that there are serious issues getting in the way of population reduction. Here are some examples:

  • For a start, the world’s commerce is built on the assumption that there will be endless ‘growth’ . Rapid population reduction would cause economies to fail;
  • Also, there’s the feeling among parents that they are somehow entitled to have children, that having children is a right  – which it isn’t of course, only the child has rights.
  • Then there are social and cultural limitations. For example, the religions which either prohibit birth control or which actively promote the need for large families (citing, eg, the necessity of making more souls to save) these dogmatic beliefs overriding the imperative of preventing global warming.

Oh. Then we are not going to be able to reduce the population of Planet Earth, even in a managed way? No, it seems not …

Well, I thought my simple idea might be too good to be true. A pity.

Still, we know what’s coming. There has been both a Greenhouse Earth and a Snowball Earth in it’s history and the geological evidence is pretty stark of how inhospitable the planet can become.

But, of course, whether you accept this depends on your faith and what you believe about the past!

Meanwhile, humanity increases relentlessly … we’re about to hit 8 BILLION … this week.

The inevitability of it makes me feel ill.

[ Anyone in low-lying areas want a boat? ]

Posted in Adaptation, Beliefs and religions, Politics | Leave a comment

DOG ASBOs – Anti-social Barking Orders – why not enforced?


Woken at 7am this morning by dogs howling, others barking and later yapping and yipping. It went on all day … off and on … and every day of every week.

Why do dog owners think it’s OK to inflict this anti-social noise on their neighbours? Especially when they themselves would not tolerate teenagers saying “Shout shout shout” or “Me me me” at the tops of their voices in the street.

Surely it is time for dog ASBOs to be properly enforced?

Where I live dogs are let out into the (small) gardens 6, maybe ten, times a day. The dogs bark / yap whatever for a minute or so. That’s around 50 times a week and 2,600 times a year. There are about 10 dogs nearby, so citizens are assailed by this anti-social noise around twenty-five THOUSAND times a year. That surely is not acceptable?

Anyone feel the same? Incidentally, why are the usual immediate responses of dog owners ‘You’re a Dog Hater’, or ‘That’s what dogs do’ … as if we should put up with it.

What puzzles me is that the dog owners round here are very careful to clear up any dog faeces (crap) – for which I am very grateful. Maybe giving attention to endless barking would be good too?


[Next day]. Well, I should have done my research more carefully!

Dog ASBOs were brought into Law in 2014 (in the UK) with the controls and penalties available listed here. Responsible dog charities and veterinary surgeries provided practical advice for owners should their dog(s) prove difficult to control.

For the neighbours of noisy dogs (and their owners?!), local councils have provided online services which enable the public to report anti-social dog behaviour.

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Posted in Appropriateness, Influence, Rant, Social Media | Leave a comment

UK Tory Party Leadership Election fiasco

So there’s to be an election of a new leader to replace the “serial liar, fabricator and cheat” that is Boris Johnson … he’s always been untrustworthy

[Update 29 Aug] Also a back-stabber. He’s now deliberately undermining Truss. She says ‘Macron may be our enemy’, Jack-in-a-Boris says ‘No he’s our friend’. Truss says ‘No handouts for cost-of-living crisis’, he says ‘HUGE handouts soon after 6th Sep’. Why? He’s setting things up for his comeback – a vote of no confidence in Truss at the Tory party conference so he’s PM by December.

Last time people were told lies, believed lies, voted for lies and, yes, the UK has had its reputation trashed by, you guessed it, lies.

Maybe either Truss or Sunak will be better?

At present they are trying to woo the Conservative Party members who will vote for them. A membership of 160,000 or so people who are utterly unrepresentative of modern Britain, leaving over 46 million British voters disenfranchised.

So what are Truss and Sunak promising? ‘Policies’ which some would say amount to naked bribery? Shame on them! Taking directly from Trump’s ‘playbook’.

Lying is a great crime; without Truth there is no Trust; without trust there is no Freedom; without Freedom there is only Tyranny (as in Russia).

The cartoon below makes the point … maybe you’d like to share a link to it?

[NB The quote from Trump is in full is in the ‘fake news’ post on this site. ]

Posted in Humour, Influence, Politics, Social Media, The marginalised | Leave a comment

On Mulling – an April 1st Lexicon

In response to a comment from a mathemagician (see Note 1) I know, I offer this short lexicon on ‘mulling‘ (q.v. – see Note 2):

  • miller: one who engages in mulling (q.v – see also muller NB: there will be lots of qvs, don’t be alarmed, I’ll ‘keep your safe’). ;
  • mule: an ass … nothing to do with mulling, no idea what it’s doing here;
  • mull: a deep contemplation. Often where the miller (q.v. – I told you there would be) is convinced that the mull is of a deep significance which will make them famous. Example, the ‘Mull of Kintire’ where Professor Kintire spent three months working on formulae and ended up, unintentionally, proving that Zero = Zero;
  • muller: a food manufacturer. Not to be confused with müll (German for rubbish, which a mull can be, or with Mühle meaning ‘mill’ – see miller – confused?);
  • mullet: the hairstyle resulting from a mulligatawny (q.v.);
  • millet: a misspelling of mullet (q.v. – do we have to!), not in alphabetical order;
  • mulligatawney: a particularly spicy mull (often accompanied with a little sherry leading, over time to Professor Kintire’s state);
  • mulling: the act of carrying out a mull (q.v. – oh, leave it out);
  • mullock: an expression of frustration by a mathemagician (see Note 1, haha no q.v.!).

Note 1: Mathemagicians are people whose skills in mathematics in all dimensions seem like magic, eg DJM, Brian B and a, very few, others.

Note 2: q.v. – A fancy way of saying ‘see also this term elsewhere in this text’.

[ Post dated 1st April 2022 – well, on a day like today, a smile does no harm ;-]

Posted in Academic complexity, Humour, Learning, Unintended consequences | Leave a comment

Chernobyl – Will Putin release nuclear material?

If he is going to do so then the next week or two gives him a perfect opportunity.

[Updated 21 April 2022] A new weather system is devloping such that a release of atomic material from Chernobyl would be blown west over Europe – affecting from France, Germany, the UK and Scandinavia. The Met Office surface pressure chart below shows the wind direction. It is a perfect opportunity for him to show resolve … whilst his forces are faltering in the east of Ukraine.

Why would he do this? Several reasons:

  • To threaten it would give him a strong bargaining chip in his war;
  • If he actually did it then Putin could humiliate the West without having to enter NATO territory;
  • He could aim, possibly, to make the western parts of Ukraine unliveable – as a buffer between the Russian Federation and the rest of Europe.

An unwise post?

You might say that it is irresponsible to suggest this. Maybe. But IMHO, it is time for us all to grow up and show the same kind of courage and fortitude as the Ukrainian people.

In Britain, from Tony Bliar’s time onwards, the people have been treated like children … and have allowed themselves to be treated like children. Shame on us all! So called ‘Project Fear’ started long before Brexit happened. Face a hard reality:

Vladimir Putin has declared war on us and we need to adopt a tough war mindset:

Prepare, be resilient, take responsibility and cope with it!

[ Getting iodine salt or iodine tablets might be wise – it reduces the effects of radioactive material, though the effects on people in Britain would be minimal, as in 1986. ]

Putin the Cowardly Child Killer

As to Putin himself, and his bombing of children, we can only ask: “Do you like killing children? Do you like seeing their little squashed bodies? Are they the ‘scum and traitors’ that you call your opponents? Why don’t you go to Mariupol and look at their poor little bodies on the ground? Ah, no, you’re too much of a coward to go there … after all, four of your generals have already been killed …”

— [ Modified 22 March 2022 and on 21 April ] —

Posted in Conflict and War, Federation, Social Media, Uncategorized, Unintended consequences | Leave a comment

Support Ukraine – Support Democracy …

… while you still can …

Everybody has their take on what the Dictator of the Russian Federation wants.

Everybody wonders what winning looks like.

Many people have assessed how far he might go and when he might stop in his war, his invasion of Ukraine, his genocidal actions.

Here’s my take on Putin’s options and what risks and threats he faces – and who is in the best position to stop him … and is he doomed to failure by not knowing that

… his Biggest Enemy is Himself …

[As at 12 Mar 2022]

Posted in Agility, Appropriateness, Change, Conflict and War, Federation, Influence, Learning, Possibilities, Prediction, Probability, The marginalised | Leave a comment

When technology alienates people

A friend sent me an email this week expressing his rage at the way we are treated by big tech – that reasonable people are being made into ‘cyberoutlaws’. He said:

“… everyday someone’s b**tard web site changes or there is an update imposing itself when I want to do something or last years computer now has inadequate memory … never mind two years living under a stone and now being told we are going to be nuked by Vlad the genocidal …

Why are we treated like dirt and out needs as irrelevant! My technology works, it does what I want! I don’t want the latest thing. I don’t want to have to spend my hard-earned money just some someone elses bliddy app works better! Give me e break … grrr …”

People are now being marginalised as changing technology imposes unacceptable constraints on them – and there is beginning to be a noticeable backlash. For example:

Expert users enraged at Firefox change. In September 2018 Mozilla updated its Firefox browser to version 62 and, with notice, removed the ‘Notes’ field – becuase ‘most people don’t use it’. Many people actively used this field in an advanced manner and were outraged at the change and felt disenfranchised and marginalised, eg:

  • “The way FireFox used to do bookmarks was one of its best features. I could care less what happens on a phone. I use my phone to make phone calls. Tired of being pushed around by people who can’t chew their food without GPS and an app.”
  • “What a disastrous and stupid upgrade.  As you can see, I’m fighting with myself not to descend into a string of obscenities.  Who decided nobody needed anything they personally weren’t using?  A guy in a cave?”
  • “Chrome can’t do bookmark properties so it is inferior. Oh, wait, neither can Firefox anymore, it’s incompatible with coders who think everybody uses the browser the way they do. I’m so frigging sick of ‘progress’ that makes stuff worse.”

Vulnerable people outlawed for wanting to use cash. The Slashdot website has reported on the increasing trend to ban the use of cash in certain mainstream shops, businesses and service providers. It featured a Wall Street Journal article from 28 Dec 2018 highlighting the consequences for some of the most vulnerable people in society. Also, not only are local banks and post offices closing, but now they cannot use the little cash that they have – and they are treated like some kind of misfit.

There’s more to come of course …

[12 Mar 2022]

Posted in Appropriateness, Change, Experienced complexity, Relationships, Risk, Social Media, The marginalised, Unintended consequences | Leave a comment

Coronavirus (COVID-19) A unique response – Why?

[Updated March 2022, see square brackets]

Coronavirus analysis:

The world response makes no sense – it’s unique in the last 150 years of human history.

Why would countries cripple their economies and shut down their populations? [Setting up conditions of weakness which Russia’s Putin and China’s Xi Jinping are now exploiting].

One reason that seems plausible … is that there’s something more serious about this ‘RNA virus’ that we are not being told (see the section on virus mutation and amplification below).

Normally a ‘novel virus’ takes weeks or so before the specialists have a handle on it, and maybe a few months before response comes into play. Whereas China had locked down three cities, each bigger than London, in weeks. [And is now strugging to control Omicron’s spread]

Now, Wuhan is where China has two of it’s bio warfare centres ( see attached article ). So, if they knew what had escaped and what it could do then that might explain the sharp and firm response? [Though unlikely, this has not been proved absolutlely one way or the other]

On masks. [They are not foolproof, but protect other people from aerosol droplets you breathe out. However, if you can smell someone’s scent through a mask then you are inhaling their viruses]. Without proper training in use, handling (when eating), disposal and frequency of changing them (daily) masks just become a vector for transmission. Apparently, enterprising folk are rescuing used ones, ironing them and selling them as new!

On risks. My view is that time will show that smartphones / tablets were an important factor in transmission. [Wrong on this, but Covid has been shown to live on surfaces for more than 24 hours – that’s how it got to New Zealand, on the surface of some frozen goods (looking for reference)]. Watch people in public, phone in one hand, itchy nose wiped on the other hand and then used to touch the screen. Then people say ‘Come and look at this’ (huddle together), ‘let me zoom in’ (touching other person’s phone) – guess what, virus spreads.

On likely deaths. Current CFR (Casualty Fatality Rate) published by WHO (World Health Organisation in their Situation Reports) indicates between 1 in 20 and 1 in 5 of over 65’s will die. Across all age groups in the world that’s up to 200 million (worse than so-called ‘Spanish ‘flu’ after the First World War). I assume that is why governments are implementing these measures. However, the data are incomplete at present. Many people will get coronavirus and never know they have had it, so not on the stats. We’ll see. [Indeed, most cases have proven to be asymptomatic – defeating the UK’s useless ‘test and don’t trace properly not-world-class’ multi-billion system. The current CFR (statistics today from WHO) is around 1.3% meaning that in time about 90 million people might sadly die. To be blunt, given that about 80 million people are added to the population each year, then Covid is not keeping humanity under control … we are still smothering Planet Earth. As they say: ‘There are no pilots on Spaceship Earth, we’re all Crew’.]

On sources: It’s been called an information pandemic – disinformation spreading faster than the virus!

Part of that is to do with people being ‘fed’ unreliable information via their (personally customised) social media accountsThey get ‘pushed’ [by so-called ‘Artificial Intelligence‘ … which is just algorithms – remember those from the 2020 examination fiasco!] skewed information and ‘click-bait’ based on their Likes. Alexa one of the worst.

I have been shocked how passive people are being content to be mere receivers of what’s trending.

Few people seem know how to seek out unbiased information, eg by manually putting in URLs to reliable sources such as:

Instead, they type something into a search and take whatever it puts up. I heard recently of someone who had been scammed financially because they thought that the financial package at the top of Google’s search must be the best – otherwise why would Google have put it at the top! I’ve heard others say ‘But Google IS the Internet, isn’t it?’ [Humanity! Get a grip …]

Virus Mutation, Amplification and New Variants

[This section still needs a full check, but is a reasonable first draft]

1. Mutation. Virus breed by hijacking the mechanisms within affected cells to make copies of themselves *within one species of host*. Eventually the cell dies, bursts and the virus spread, eventually leaving the host body. But virus have only RNA which does not have ‘error correction’ (which the double helix of our DNA does have). Hence it is common for virus to mutate. Analysis of these different variants of same virus generates a ‘family tree’ – once you have a vaccine for the grandmother virus, all the descendants can therefore, usually, be treated (Los Alamos has done a lot of work on this down the years, open source).

2. Amplification. This is where the virus is breeding in a species whose replication mechanism enables the virus to turn into a new type which is able to jump species (as happened in this case, maybe from bats as food in China). This is Amplification (-ish), the bats amplified the virus’ ability to spread beyond the species it was in before. Now, if amplification happens in humans the new-new type may also infect humans, but with different symptoms from the current coronavirus. For the epidemiologists this would be, in effect, an entirely new outbreak.

3. Host self-induced infection (not the correct phrase). This is the scariest and is what Greg Bear’s ‘Darwin’s Radio’ is mostly about. OK. Sorry, getting a bit long … I’ll break it up:

– In our DNA we have what used to be called ‘junk DNA’. It is becoming apparent that it is anything but junk. A lot of it codes for virus / bacteria (and other things, beyond this scope) that mammals / humans suffered from in the past but which eventually became part of our biology (eg friendly gut bacteria – in the same way that the mitochondria energy generators in our cells were once free-swimming but are now symbiotic with our cells). The archaic virus are called ERV (endogenous retro-virus), the human ones are HERV (human-ERV).

– OK, so what? Well, it has been shown that when the wider human context changes in some fundamental way signals are sent which trigger the HERV to express. They go from junk DNA into active virus / bacteria (what the exact triggers are is not yet known, but triggers cause the DNA to ‘dance’, a writhing which brings unusual parts of the DNA close together). Potentially, activating an archaic HERV could be as bad as bringing back the dinosaurs (no natural predators etc).

– So! Maybe the BioWarfare lab in Wuhan was working on a virus which would deliberately trigger HERVs? (Wuhan is China’s main lab – according to one of the Chinese doctors who blew the whistle early on and died in Jan).

If so, then we are in trouble … it would explain the following.

SUPPLEMENTARY Re China ‘Protesteth too much’

It all just doesn’t add up …

Why would China’s **immediate first action** be to lock down two cities of 10 million plus people?
Historically, new outbreaks don’t happen like that – it takes time to work out what is happening and why, **then** the action comes in – not first.

Conclusion, surely, is that somebody knew something up front … (apparently Xi Jinping knew in Nov 2019)

Is that why WHO and others (seem to be) so alarmed about this one. Measures now in place are the same, if not more stringent, than those for Ebola or Anthrax. Is this going to be as deadly as Ebola (CFR of about 50%)?

Current CFR (Case Fatality Ration in %, proportion of cases that die) data suggests not …

BUT, Italy / Iran has just notified of cases which have died – with a CFR of over 10% -which would be very alarming.

For info: the post WWI Spanish ‘flu had a CFR of about 3%, and millions died – mind you, a third of the European population was infected.

Posted in Medical, Prediction, Probability, Risk, Social Media, Unintended consequences | Leave a comment

Populism ‘Fake News’, ‘Alternative Facts’ and Democracy

In early 2016 we predicted that the Leave voters would win the UK’s EU Referendum (BREXIT). Incidentally, we also predicted that Donald Trump would win. How did we know? Because we could see that social media realised the democracy of the ‘mob’ that the Greeks feared – where the ill-informed majority could be easily influenced.

As Jose Ortega y Gasset said in his visionary 1930s book ‘The Revolt of the Masses’:

The characteristic of the hour is that the commonplace mind, despite (maybe) knowing itself to be commonplace, has the assurance to proclaim the rights of the commonplace and to impose them wherever it will” …

What does this mean? As Thomas Jefferson said “The greatest threat to democracy is an uneducated citizenry“. Donald Trump, in his victory speech in February 2016, preened and affectionately recounted the numbers that added up to his huge victory:

We won the evangelicals. We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.”, he said.

For Trump, the Fake News and Alternative Facts spread by social media were his key cards. Of course he loves the poorly educated, they don’t trust experts or academics or professionals in authority because some of those people have been found cheating or misleading the public at some time. Instead, they trust their online friends more.

The conclusion in the mind of the populus seems to be, via confirmation bias, that therefore all these people are liars. Social media accelerates this bias in ways that society in general does not understand (there are a few that warn about the risks but they are treated as Cassandras, or as ‘cyberoutlaws who dare to be different‘).

This is the new democracy at work – through social-media – where one ill-informed person’s vote is as good as any other and millions can say ‘”If this many of us think X, then X must be right – ours is an Alternative Fact! Anyone who disagrees with us can’t be trusted … they are telling us Fake News.”.

Some people might say that, in the UK in 2016, “The commonplace mind did not, and probably still does not, understand how the EU works, yet affirmed its misunderstanding of things in the BREXIT vote, and has imposed it on all.”

In the longer-term, the trend seems to be towards assuming that the mass view must be correct. Why? Because it’s a majority view and ‘That’s democracy, right?’. This may undermine humanity’s ability to take decisive, often unpopular decisions, in the face of existential challenges. Correction … it will undermine our ability.


Posted in Change, Influence, Learning, Possibilities, Prediction, Probability, Reflection, Relationships, Social Media, Unintended consequences | 1 Comment