Friday, April 24, 2009

Deny

Ian O'Doherty today, in a rage at 'intolerant' Liberals, included the statement:
'when you have some idiot like the Green Party's Ciaran Cuffe asking the Indo's John Meagher "are you a denier?" simply because Meagher pointed out that thousands of scientists signed a letter rubbishing the accepted myth of global warming, you can see the levels of arrogance and hubris held by these people.'
Of course, unless there's something I don't know, Ian O'Doherty is not an Earth Scientist. So basically he's choosing to believe one side over the other. And he's wrong.

I’m guessing he means this report: “More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims”, which isn’t thousands, but that’s a minor quibble.

A well known ‘Denialist’ tactic used by a lot of people who, for whatever reason, choose what they want to believe when it comes to scientific enquiry – is the use of ‘Fake’ experts. Genuine experts have experience in their field, and they can provide answers that are consistent with the state of knowledge in that field. ‘Fake’ experts are relied upon for their credentials rather than any real experience in the field at issue. They promote arguments that are inconsistent with the literature and that aren't generally accepted by those who study the field in question.

With regards to the specific list it has been debunked here and here. Why? Because while most of these individuals can (loosely in a lot of cases) be termed ‘scientists’, their credentials simply do not warrant their opinions been taking seriously unless they can point to literature or research that shows that they have earned a right to have their opinion on the matter respected. And as for the economists on the list? Well their continued inclusion is frankly laughable all things considered.

Climate modelling is difficult to understand, difficult to follow and, unfortunately, is ripe for charlatans of whatever hue to draw any conclusion that will get them headlines. None of them help. A good start, however, is to realise that weather and climate are not the same thing and that meteorologists are generally no more qualified to comment on climate change than Astrophysicists. How many Earth Scientists contributed to the list? And what percentage of the total number of affiliated Earth Scientists (members of, for example, the American Geophysical Union) is that number? ‘Fuck all’, and ‘iconsequential’ are the answers.

It is a shame that Humanities graduates in the media who think the ‘science bit’ is too boring for Ordinary Joes and that all ‘scientists’ are an equivalent bunch of geeks and eccentrics in white coats, split down the middle on every issue (because, of course, there are ‘two sides to every story’ and there should be ‘balanced discussion’) are able to so dictate public opinion and public understanding on scientific issues.

Anyway consult Real Climate. In there, somewhere, probably every prejudice against the facts of man-made global warming you have heard is debunked with real science.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

In God's Country

The first slamming of President Obama (not counting bitter ex-Cheney sorts) I have read. It's by Bartle Bull, the journalist who first dared to call the 'surge' a success and the war in Iraq turned.

There's some interesting stuff in it, but when he says something like: 'The US stock market has lost a quarter of its value since Obama’s election' you know he's on a bit of a mission.

One More Time

EDIT: This was my goodbye post earlier today after I broke my blog yesterday but a good friend helped me rescue most of what I had so feck it, I'll keep going.

Besides, I see Royston is back in management...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I broke my blog

Bollox

Silver And Gold

So the Brits have put 2% on booze and fags, 2p on fuel, introduced a £2,000 car-scrappage scheme and... fuck all else, really.

They're basically doing the opposite of us and borrowing their deficits. They're not hitting the middle classes at all, and giving a few bob to home-owners losing their jobs

I'm watching Sky and BBC and both are scrabbling to find angry Joe Soaps, yet there's really no news in this budget for Joe Soaps bar some deckchair shifting

Poor old live media...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Somebody Got Murdered

In fairness to the Brits the ones that don't drag their knuckles really don't like it when their police kill innocent people. Shame the same generally can't be said for yanks.

Silver And Gold

In March I made two investments. One to spread my money and one 'bounce' bet.

I bought the Eurostoxx50 ETF at €19.45. Today it's at €23.41, a 20% rise.

I also bought MAN Group in the FTSE100 at stg£1.98. Today they're at £2.74, a 38% rise. I bought them because they specialise in hedge funds and I figured that, when the recovery comes, they should out-perform the market. They have, after all drastically under-performed the FTSE over the previous 12 months, which is saying something when the FTSE fell 34%! Furthermore I took a gamble that they'd maintain their dividend, which they have done, of 24.8p per share - a yield of 12.5% on the price I bought them at.

I'm very tempted to leave the Eurostoxx alone but sell MAN now and take what is an excellent profit in one month, just in case the current rally is another dead-cat bounce and they get dragged back into the mire. But then you end up with the temptation to get into quasi day trading, given the volatility in the market, so I'll have to resist it. I don't understand trends enough to get into that game. I actually expect the price to drop by about 10% next week as there will probably be some profit taking but I'll do just fine if I hang onto what I have for the medium term.

However I was also worried about sterling but there are indications that inflation is starting to hit the UK because of sterling's weakness. The price of food, in particular, is flying up, which is great news for traders on the southern side of the border (or 'this country' as I like to call it) and the deflation that the British thought was coming hasn't happened.

Instead they're in severe danger of stagflation if their stimulus packages don't work out. But whether Britain recovers quickly or not the Bank of England is going to end up raising interest rates sooner than it would like, which will strengthen the pound again. Good for Ireland and good for me.

Deny

A science blogger detailing how the Daily Mail in England has been running scare stories about the cervical cancer vaccine (e.g. 'How safe is the cervical cancer jab? Five teenagers reveal their alarming stories'), while simultaneously running a campaign in the Irish edition to 'shame Fianna Fáil into into providing Ireland’s life-saving cervical cancer jabs'.

Newsarse. Wonderful stuff.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Complete Control

The teachers have been attempting to focus public attention on cutbacks in the education sector. Whether or not this is a smokescreen for 'leave our pay and conditions alone' we'll have to wait and see. However one stat that gets churned out ad nauseum is that our spending on education in relation to our wealth is 'next to bottom of the OECD table' or some such shocker.

Well you can have a gander at the OECD report Education at a Glance 2008

And, with a bit of browsing, you'll discover some of the following:

1. In terms of education spending as a percentage of GDP Ireland is ranked third last behind Greece and Slovakia. However if you strip out privately sourced expenditure there are actually nine countries ranked lower than Ireland.

2. In the section “Cumulative expenditure on educational institutions per student over the theoretical duration of primary and secondary studies” 18 countries rank below Ireland.

3. In the section “Total public expenditure on education as a percentage of total public expenditure” Ireland is ranked tenth, with 21 countries ranked below.

4. Still, in truth, Ireland remains below the OECD average in most categories in the report. However one place Ireland is not below the average is teachers' salaries. For the category "Teachers' salaries in lower secondary education, 2006" Ireland ranked sixth, with 25 countries ranked lower. In fact Ireland is above the OECD average for teacher’s salaries at every point measured – entry level and top of scale in Primary, Secondary and Third-level.

You see the problem with all the complaining about the cutback in services is that the cutbacks are as a result of an explosion in public sector pay. If all public sector workers want to keep their jobs and their current salaries then front-line services will get cut.

However if the unions in the education and health sectors really care about our children and our infirm as much as they claim they do, then they will facilitate the government in a programme of removing dead-weight employees from the workforce and they will offer to tear up their bibles of restrictive work practices. Maybe secondary school teachers could offer to do a whole 20-hours of class time per week?...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Safe European Home

Accepting that everyone's point of view is equally valid or that 'there are two sides to every story' is an intellectually retarded attitude to life. By extension, then, I have the same attitude to the opinion that all cultures and beliefs are equally valid and worthy of respect.

Horseshit.

Any culture that even attempts to excuse marital rape let alone legislate in its favour is uncivilised, backward and of no value to the human race beyond showing us how repugnant we are capable of being when religious dogma is allowed to flourish unchecked.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

You'll Never Walk Alone

Twenty years ago today I was in a pub in Forkhill Co. Down, ready to watch the FA Cup Semi-Final. I was 11 and all I really remember about the day is that they cut the live feed from Hillsborough on BBC1 and went to the News studio. Then the death toll seemed to rise by the minute - 'two', 'seven', '15' I think, 30-something, 50-something, 'over 80', '94'. I remember, too, that at the time I had always been a bit scared of the cages in football grounds and instinctively blamed them for the whole tragedy...

Last night's match was some game of ball. Ecstasy to agony to hope to resignation. Unreal to watch. The more deserving side came through the tie, no doubt, but the spanners praying that Liverpool were going to fall apart like ManYoo after last week's match hopefully know better now.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Somebody Got Murdered

I don't want this to read like I rank murder in some sort of League table. But despite the cowardly, disgusting, pointless shite in the North, and the vile nature of the 'mistaken identity' murder of Shane Geoghegan, there's just something about criminals murdering those who stand up to them in a court of law that turns the blood cold.

I've had conversations in the past where people have said they wouldn't testify in court against violent criminals because the Gardai would never be able to protect you. I always said that if everyone in society had that attitude law and order could completely break down. I usually pointed to Limerick as the case in point. Those cunts roam the streets because everyone is too afraid to give evidence against them.

And now this happens.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Silver And Gold

So I'm reading today's Irish Times online and I get to the Opinion section. 'What's this', I muse, stroking my chin (forgot to shave y'see):



'Interesting', I think, 'an economist who actually thinks that gutting the spending power of the middle classes is a good way to kick start an economy. Who's this lad and how has he come to that conclusion?':



'Ah for fuck sake...' I'll tell you I was actually depressed.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Silver And Gold

So today is Budget B, after they ballsed up the last one.

But I'm bloody sick of people going on about 'fairness'. Every single twat in the country that wants fairness is just saying that they expect mythical others to get screwed while they remain unscathed.

My personal biggest fear is the PRSI ceiling and the income levy... let's see...


EDIT:

Ouch! PRSI ceiling AND the Income Levy AND the Health Levy!

I won't really know 'til I compare my April and May payslips, but I'm guessing I'll be down about €300 per month. Plus my fiancée is being made redundant at the end of April.

Some hard times ahead.

Complete Control

Gotta love Paxman:




I was reminded of this clip while watching Charlie Brooker's class new show, Newswipe.

Watch this section about the Jade Goody coverage:

A Sort Of Homecoming

Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
We drew with It-aly!
Que sera, sera....


Pretty sure I'm better off not seeing much of the post-match analysis. I'm guessing that Italy, the World Champions in the world's most popular sport, are, in fact, crap and that celebrating draws against teams with demonstrably better players than ours remains a heinous crime.
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