Day: October 5, 2019

Clarkson explains why cycling is bad for the environment

Was It Good Fortune to be Enslaved by the British Empire?

Wind Power Fluctuating Wildly Today


By Paul Homewood

Just a quick snapshot of the electricity mix over the last 48 hours:


Wind power has swung wildly from next to nothing on Wed night to 11 GW last night.

And, of course, it is CCGT which has taken up the slack, ranging from 3 to 17 GW. Nuclear, by necessity, sends all of its available power to the grid, and other sources are too small to make a difference. (Other than coal of course).

I have yet to see a rational explanation as to how CCGT can be replaced in this role of grid balancing from anybody in charge of our energy policy.

Am I missing something?

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Pinker on free speech and academic freedom

Why Evolution Is True

Here’s a short Big Think talk by Steve Pinker, much demonized by the success-hating Pharyngula crowd as well as those who make their living by prognosticating the demise and degradation of humanity or our lack of social progress. Here Steve advances the well-known arguments for both free speech and academic freedom, which is simply free speech (as well as freedom of inquiry, the right to pursue what interests you) in a university setting. The arguments may not be new, but in this generation need to be repeated endlessly, for many young people and Leftists are beginning to mutter darkly that free speech is overrated.

And so Steve’s rationael for free speech is worth hearing again:

“We just don’t know any route to knowledge other than what Karl Popper called ‘conjecture and refutation’: throwing an idea out there and seeing if it withstands attempts to falsify it.”

This of course refers…

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It is only cheating if you get caught – Creative accounting at the Bank of England in the 1960s

Fascination of fraud by a central bank

The Long Run

by Alain Naef (Postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley)

This research was presented at the EHS conference in Keele in 2018 and is available as a working paper here. It is also available as an updated 2019 version here.

Naef 3 The Bank of England. Available at Wikimedia Commons.

The 1960s were a period of crisis for the pound. Britain was on a fixed exchange rate system and needed to defend its currency with intervention on the foreign exchange market. To avoid a crisis, the Bank of England resorted to ‘window dressing’ the published reserve figures.

In the 1960s, the Bank came under pressure from two sides: first, publication of the Radcliffe report ( forced publication of more transparent accounts. Second, with removal of capital controls in 1958, the Bank came under attack from international speculators (Schenk 2010). These contradictory pressures put the Bank in an awkward…

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What lies behind Corbyn’s difficulties with “left-wing antisemitism”?

Shiraz Socialist (Second Run)

Image result for mural anti-semiticAbove: ‘that’ mural

Jeremy Corbyn has apologised for “pockets of antisemitism” in the Labour party as he attempts to deal with renewed claims discrimination against Jewish people in the party. The accusations flared up again at the weekend when it emerged that he had supported the retention of an antisemitic mural in the East End of London six years ago (for which he has now apologised, saying he “should have looked more closely” at the mural).  But Jewish leaders have issued an unprecedented open letter accusing Corbyn of “siding with antisemites” and being “ideologically fixed within a far-left worldview that is instinctively hostile to mainstream Jewish communities”. They also asked supporters to stage a show of solidarity outside parliament today as Labour MPs hold their weekly meeting. In his own statement on Sunday night, Corbyn said he was “sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused” and said Labour was campaigning “to increase support and confidence among Jewish…

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Labour conference motion on Israel-Palestine: both unachievable and reactionary

Shiraz Socialist (Second Run)

Above: Jews celebrate the declaration of the state of Israel in 1948

Labour Party conference passed a motion on Israel-Palestine, but shoehorned into the same session as Brexit, with no debate, and even less understanding of the issues.

The motion supports a majority-Palestinian state within the territory of Israel-Palestine, but in a fashion suffused with political dishonesty, written to hide rather than explain the issues.

The motion is premised on an “internationalist Labour Party” having particular responsibility “because of the role Britain played as a colonial power during the 1948 Nabka when Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes.”

That is nonsense. From the end of World War 2, Britain refused entry for Jewish refugees into Palestine, already heavily restricted during the war and the Holocaust. An increasingly violent Jewish insurgency in Palestine fought the British.

In 1947 Britain handed the problem to the UN, which proposed the partition of Palestine into…

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