Quote of the week

“The central irony of the financial crisis is that while it is caused by too much confidence, too much borrowing and lending and too much spending, it can only be resolved with more confidence, more borrowing and lending, and more spending.” Larry Summers (United States Secretary of the Treasury from 1999 to 2001)

Glenn Greenwald on Two-Tiered U.S. Justice System, Obama’s Assassination Program & the Arab Spring

The US imprisons a higher percentage of its population than any other country on the planet including China and any dictatorship you can think of.  The majority of those imprisoned are poor and black. 50% are for non violent crimes and 20% are ‘guilty’ of minor drugs offenses, often as a result of police forces enthusiastically achieving or exceeding their ‘targets’. At the same time the rich, powerful or simply those with the right friends are able to commit crimes with impunity.

This is not a political issue.

It is not a right or left issue.

It is simply a right or wrong issue.

A moral issue.

If you have 30 minutes to spare find out more by watching this interesting interview with Glen Greenwald on US TV programme ‘Democracy Now’  (Includes our own Billy Bragg) But be prepared to be outraged.

or take a look at Glen Greenwald‘s Blog.

Please let me know if you think that Glen’s interview comments were inaccurate, unjustified or even just rubbish. Just use the comments box/link.

Breaking News: The Earth Still Goes Around the Sun, and It’s Still Warming Up

“The scientific community has known — and been saying for decades — that the earth is warming up. Except for a small cadre of highly vocal, ideologically stuck, but increasingly marginalized people, there is no dispute about this among scientists. The data are extensive – covering the globe – and they have been vetted, reanalyzed, corrected for error, compared with satellite data, and subjected to every known criticism. And independent group after independent group has found the same thing: the earth is warming.”  So begins an article in Forbes magazine by Peter Gleick prompted by the latest confirming evidence for global warming. Continue reading “Breaking News: The Earth Still Goes Around the Sun, and It’s Still Warming Up”

The US may be about to self destruct.


The US may be about to self destruct and take the rest of us with it. If you are surprised about this you have not been paying attention.

There is nothing new in this observation but we are witnessing the climax of a process where religious and political fundamentalists with virtually no grounding in reality or rational thought have managed, with the self serving support of corporate sponsors, to take a strangle hold on government. These forces are preventing any attempt to overcome the serious problems faced by the US and its population and are prepared to bring the US government and the world economy to its knees in pursuit of their ideological beliefs. Continue reading “The US may be about to self destruct.”

The illegal trade in confidential personal information

In her testimony to the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee (20th July 2011), Rebekah Brooks mentioned that the Guardian was near the top of the list of newspapers using  private investigators to illegally gain personal information as published in “What price privacy now?”, a report by the Information Commissioner.  Tabloid editors have a habit of making up their own facts and this was no exception.  The Guardian is not on the list at all. See below (from the report): Continue reading “The illegal trade in confidential personal information”

“The earth is warming”

A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems….
Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested, and supported by so many independent observations and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found to be wrong is vanishingly small. Such conclusions and theories are then regarded as settled facts. This is the case for the conclusions that the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities. (US National Academy of Science) Continue reading ““The earth is warming””

The Guardian’s reporting of the leaked climate change emails

Below are links to criticism of the Guardian’s coverage of the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia and the response to the criticism from James Randerson at the Guardian .

I must add that the Guardian’s reporting of science issues is normally excellent and they have an experienced team of science writers, who also produce excellent science podcasts.  The problem only arose due to a series of articles by Fred Pearce who seems to have been less than thorough in his research with the result that a number of serious factual inaccuracies appeared in his articles.  The issues are so important that any mistakes will be exploited by other papers and commentators who are only interested in furthering their own politcal agenda.

The Guardian Disappoints

The Guardian responds

Institute of Physics and the Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into the disclosure of climate data

Here are three emails that I sent to Dr Beth Taylor (Director of Communications and External Relations) at the institute of Physics (IoP) following the submission of a memorandum to the Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into the disclosure of climate data. (To be compliant with Dr Taylor’s desire for openness and transparency I have taken the liberty of posting her replies).


Subject: IOP and the Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into the disclosure of climate data

Dear Dr Taylor,

As a member of the IoP I am very concerned at the way the Institute has handled the recent memorandum submitted by the IoP to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.  I will not go over the serious failings of this document or its factual errors – these have been extensively discussed elsewhere. However I must emphasise that the criticism of the memorandum is not connected with the IoP’s commendable desire for greater transparency and openness but is directed at the memorandum’s unfounded pre-judging of independent inquiries, based on apparently no more than what the writers of the memorandum had read in the media. Continue reading “Institute of Physics and the Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into the disclosure of climate data”