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`Perceptions' ITEM
Copyright © 2009 Ray Dickenson
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'15 & '16 Mail

LATER Genocide? Hitler's EU US Gangsters Tall Girls Gay Cake! GM Zika? Why Dumber?
Real Secrets Single-sex? Provocation? Cold Snap Lili Marleen Bee Thanks Robot Guns Vesuvius
Wealth (+G) KGB Rules Longbows? Early Humans F-o-I News Fundy Pervs Large Pervs Small Pervs
Pervs in Power Linda stuff Typical! China Brunei Dead Peds Libel Old Solstice
True Norse bribe Weirdness F-o-I Reply Bad TV? Justice? Corruption EARLIER


plse use "MAIL PERCEPTIONS" to input

Date: Sun, 7 Feb 2016 01:58:05 -0000
Subject: "Jim Marrs on `Depopulation'

Jim Marrs on `Depopulation'

I like Jim, he's a great down-to-earth old-time journalistic researcher - here's some of his conclusions:
Ray D
PS set to start at 9 mins 20 secs

Date: Sun, 7 Feb 2016 01:54:31 -0500
Subject: Re: "Jim Marrs on `Depopulation'

1) more than 7 million children in the US are prescribed amphetamines (Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta), Anti depressants, anti anxiety and anti psychotic drugs.  The fact that parents buy into this horrific dynamic, brainwashed into believing there is something wrong with their child's normal developmental behavior, is criminal.  I feel like Kassandra, having warned parents, the public, in my community, for more than 15 years, and few people heed the warning or even have the propensity to do their own research into the dangers of these medications or the reason for prescribing them in the first place.

The dumbing down of America's brightest stars, our young people, is a tragedy that will affect our society for the next 7 generations. ADHD is a contrived, fictious, "disorder" that is a multi billion dollar business.

2) Genetically modified foods harm DNA, the intestines, immune system and create all kids of sickness and disease.

3) The Jim Marrs video is bang on target.  EVERY school shooter was previously prescribed psychotropic drugs.  The killing spree is the negative side affects of long term pharmaeutical drugs.  Suicide ideation, hyper sexuality, and homicide ideation are prominent.  All of these drugs harm the developing brain and developing personality, causing all types of personality disorders, with lack of empathy and compassion, which are cornerstone characteristics of sociopath behavior.

It is my wish for these children to form an alliance, a class action suit against their prescribing physicians and parents.


Date: Sat, 6 Feb 2016 20:34:44 -0000
Subject: Hitler planned the EU! (Joseph P)

Hitler planned the EU! (from Joseph P)

I like Joseph P quite a lot - he's erudite and believes in collecting all the data before speculating, and when we say data it means masses of facts from all sources.
This short piece is set to start at 30 mins 39 secs (before that he was talking about NASA and Von Braun).
Ray D
Nazi Alien Religion & East vs. West Bloodlines with Joseph P. Farrell (2/2)

Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2016 10:46:42 -0000
Subject: "WikiLeaks founder faces arrest regardless of U.N. panel ruling

This stinks!   Informed folk know that these public statements from UK and Sweden are hypocrisy - in fact downright lies.

What is really happening is that the USA has pressured Sweden to concoct a `rape' case (with help of a couple of Swedish floozies out for the main chance), and that the UK is willing to go along with the pretence.

So if Assange steps out of that embassy he'll eventually (and illegally), end up in a US jail (being tortured most likely).
Britain: WikiLeaks founder faces arrest regardless of U.N. panel ruling

LONDON - A U.N. panel views WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as being `arbitrarily detained' by fleeing to diplomatic sanctuary to escape arrest, a Swedish statement said Thursday before a potential confrontation in the long standoff in London.

British officials say Assange faces arrest and extradition to Sweden if he leaves the diplomatic compound regardless of the declarations from the U.N. group, which has no legal authority but whose decisions often carry weight in international disputes.
(more ...)

Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2016 12:10:55 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Re: "WikiLeaks founder faces arrest regardless of U.N. panel ruling

Yep.  We know he is innocent Down Under.  The "rape" is based on unprotected sex with consensual partners.  I think Sweden has bigger problems with all the real rapes going on from illegal immigrants these days.


Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2016 19:37:42 -0000
Subject: Re: "WikiLeaks founder faces arrest regardless of U.N. panel ruling

Right Coralie, you can bet, like in the case of Snowden (see admission below), that an anonymous US jet was on call to UK to (illegally) grab Assange just as soon as he was out of the embassy and in UK police hands - they probably wouldn't even have bothered with Sweden, although Sweden was primed and willing to bend over backwards as well.
Ray D
P.S - "The great nations have always acted like gangsters" - Stanley Kubrick
US government jet lay in wait for Snowden in Copenhagen
Danish government reveals agreement to cooperate over extradition in the event whistleblower arrived in Scandinavia

Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2016 18:55:43 -0000
Subject: "Tall women rarely fancy small men"

Ha!  Feel some sympathy for those guys - being the center of attention and all that.  For a year or two I was with a tall girl from N Carolina, more or less fresh from college (her baseball trophy statuette was in her living room).  Our heights were: me 5ft 9ish, Carolina 6ft 2 1/2 (in stockinged feet).  As she looked like a pretty Naomi Campbell (only with longer legs), and I looked like a dropout from Viking school, you can imagine we stood out a bit in southern Italian society - and they couldn't get enough of us.

On Fridays we would drive twenty miles or so to the beach and dine at a certain restaurant, which kept a central table for us (because everybody wanted to look).  The aperitifs, horses doufers and first course (sometimes the vino and digestivos also) were on the house.  Initially I'd protested when that started - but the husband (his wife actually owned and ran the place) told me we were very good for trade - the place was always packed on Friday.
Tall women rarely fancy small men - that explains my traumatic dating years
Chris Windle | Wednesday 3 February 2016 14.36 GMT

As a short man - 5ft 6.5in (1.69cm), the half inch is vigorously debated - I was interested to read that researchers have discovered humans are genetically predisposed to fancy people of the same height.

Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2016 19:35:20 -0600
Subject: Re: "Tall women rarely fancy small men"

?I wouldn't call 5'9" short, but there is a notable difference with a girl like that. ;) I don't remember dating a taller woman, but one my size of 5'11", yes. ?  I really liked Margaret.

People-watching is such fun when you have the time.  I loved days like that.?

Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2016 12:14:22 -0000
Subject: Confusion "'Gay cake' case

Heck - both sides, and the courts, have missed the point of this case.

The Xtian bakery can't refuse to bake and sell a cake to a gay (couple?), but that Xtian bakery has every right to refuse to `say' something they don't believe in.  That "pro-gay" wording demanded would offend against the Xtian bakery's right to free speech.  Case closed!

So the bakery should sell them a plain cake and they can decorate it anyway they wish - as is _their_ right to free speech.

'Gay cake' case: Ashers bakery appeal adjourned
An appeal by a Christian-run bakery at the centre of a discrimination case over a so-called 'gay cake' has been adjourned for three months.
Last year, Ashers bakery was ordered to pay £500 for refusing to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan on it.
A Belfast court found that customer Gareth Lee had been discriminated against on the grounds of his sexual orientation.
(more ...)

Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2016 10:08:45 -0600
Subject: Re: Confusion "'Gay cake' case

I agree with you here.  They must make the cake, but don't have to decorate it.

Date: Mon, 1 Feb 2016 15:03:05 -0000
Subject: "GMO mosquitoes could be cause of Zika outbreak, critics say

If true, and if, heaven forfend, the Zika outbreak spreads, as it looks like doing, then I and others can only say "Told you so!" :

See my excerpt, written a decade or more ago: -
Scientists have yet to learn even 1% of the data, much less the vital knowledge, needed to guarantee safety for even one genetic manipulation or nano-release.
An obvious conclusion is that any genetic manipulation _will_ have unintended consequences.
And all genes are capable of being transmitted and absorbed eventually - to a greater or lesser extent - by all organisms.  There is no sure, safe insulation - see reviews & reports and `2007 / 2008 Gene Transfer Shocks'.

which doesn't help, because our greedy uninformed `scientists' and their even greedier and even less informed politico bosses hold all the power.

Ray D
GMO mosquitoes could be cause of Zika outbreak, critics say
Published time: 30 Jan, 2016 17:12 | Edited time: 31 Jan, 2016 12:11

The latest contagious virus freaking out the globe, particularly women worried about birth defects, may have been caused by the presence of genetically-modified mosquitoes (GMMs) in Brazil.
With international health experts convening in Geneva to discuss possible cures for the Zika virus, questions are being raised as to whether they are actually to blame.

In mid-2012, British biotech company Oxitec released the super bugs with the aim of reducing the overall mosquito population that spreads dengue fever, the Zika virus, and chikungunya in northeast Brazil.

At the time, concerns were raised about the release of GMMs without further studies into possible side effects.

"It's a very experimental approach which has not yet been successful and may cause more harm than good," Dr Helen Wallace, director of GeneWatch, told the Guardian in 2012.

The first cases of Zika in humans were reported in the south American country last May with up to 1.5 million now thought people affected by the virus, which Oxitec's critics note is the same area where the GMMs were released.

Since the outbreak, there have been over 4,000 cases of babies born with microcephaly in Brazil, although various others causes can also be attributed to the rise.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito sub-species that carries both the Zika virus and dengue is the very type Oxitec targeted with its GMMs.

Date: Fri, 29 Jan 2016 13:39:25 -0000
Subject: UK: Teens have lowest literacy / Oldsters have highest

Yup  - you can ignore gov't waffle.  This report tells the truth on long-term dumbing down of UK's population.

Literacy and numeracy are bottom of the OECD league - so no-one's able to realize corruption of UK's taxes, and despite ten years of lying promises to teach foreign languages properly (from age 7 instead of 11 or 12 as still done), UK is worst in EU at second languages - so the population are kept prisoners by lack of ability to communicate.

maybe check for EDU lowdown, and maybe check earlier evidence of dumbing-down and evidence for mind-control - RD
Young people in England have 'lowest literacy levels' in developed world says OECD
Brendan Cole | January 29, 2016 02:27 GMT

The OECD report described low levels of literacy even among graduates - Reuters
Young people in England are the most illiterate in the developed world with many students graduating with only a basic grasp of English and maths, an in-depth analysis by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has found.

The OECD report rated English teenagers aged 16 to 19 the worst of 23 developed nations in literacy and 22nd of 23 in numeracy. In contrast, pensioners or those close to retirement were among the highest-ranked of their age group.

England had nine million people of working age with low literacy or numeracy skills, it said.

The number of low-skilled people aged 16 to 19 was three times higher than in top-performing countries such as Finland, Japan, Korea and the Netherlands. South Korea came top of the list for literacy - assessed by the ability to read and answer questions on a text - and numeracy.

The report, based on 2012 data, said although half a million students had started degrees last autumn, money would be better spent cutting the number of undergraduates and investing in basic education.

About one in five young university graduates could manage basic tasks, but struggled with more complex problems. The report concluded: "University teaching gives limited attention to low levels of literacy and numeracy. Graduates with low basic skills gain modest returns from their qualifications and will often not be able to repay their student debts. England has a large university system relative to a poorly skilled pool of potential entrants."

The study concluded that 7% of 20 to 34-year-old graduates in England have numeracy skills below level two, while 3.4% have literacy skills below this level. This means that they struggle to estimate how much petrol is left in a tank from looking at the gauge, or have difficulty understanding instructions on an aspirin bottle.
(more ...)

Date: Thu, 28 Jan 2016 10:14:18 -0000
Subject: "People can't keep secrets: Oxford study

A typical and commonplace failure of mathematical models. I.e. all such models _must_ rest on assumptions fed in as starting points.

In this case the `scientist' has assumed:
a) that his prime examples _are_ all fake conspiracies; and
b) that there are _no_ long-running conspiracies which are still effectively secret.

Given those (probably false) assumptions it's inevitable that the model will give him the result he wants (and needs for his research grants and tenure).
BTW - he's clearly not heard of `need to know', whereby many / most active members of a conspiracy are kept ignorant of details, actions and even of true motivations.
People can't keep secrets: Oxford study uses math to show most conspiracy theories untrue
Published time: 27 Jan, 2016 13:16 | Edited time: 27 Jan, 2016 13:46

An Oxford scientist has used mathematics to make the claim that certain conspiracy theories - like that the manned moon-landing was faked - would have been exposed by now, owing simply to the number of people believing in them.

This has to do with the simple fact that a certain number of people can only keep a secret for a set amount of time.

Dr. David Grimes believes his formula for figuring this out works, and is basically this: a secret that would last over a century can be kept by no more than 125 people. By contrast, one involving 2,521 people would hardly last longer than five years.
(more ...)

Date: Thu, 28 Jan 2016 09:48:14 -0000
Subject: "Girls at single-sex schools outdo those in co-education

Ha!  As usual they're missing the point (already established by earlier research).  That is, single-sex CLASSES improve girls' learning for two obvious reasons: a) teachers give greater attention to `noisy' boys so girls tend to get de-motivated; and b) girls themselves are distracted by `noisy' boys' domination of the classroom.

Apart from that, both boys and girls in mixed SCHOOLS (not classes) emerge as better educated and more balanced social humans.  We see that from historical and modern facts: that boys-only prep school and further college tends to disproportionately produce (anti-social) homo-pedos.

For the female equivalent will only note that a girlfriend, who claimed to have been at Roedean (supposedly the UK's top girls boarding school), once told me during pillow-talk that all her schoolmates were now either lesbian or nympho.

Ray D
Girls at single-sex schools outdo those in co-education - analysis
Study of 2015 results in England shows 75% of pupils in all-girl secondaries received five good GCSEs compared with 55% going to mixed schools

Press Association | Thursday 28 January 2016 05.11 GMT Last modified on Thursday 28 January 2016 05.29 GMT

All-girl secondary schools slightly outperformed those for boys, an analysis of results in 2015 by education website SchoolDash said.

Some 75% of pupils at single-sex schools achieved five good GCSEs including English and maths, compared with 55% at mixed schools.

It follows comments by a leading headmaster that pupils at all-girl schools could be at a `huge disadvantage' in later life because they had not socialised with boys.

The research looked at results for England's 378 mainstream single-sex state schools, including 161 which are all-boy and 217 all-girl. Around a third are grammar schools.

The analysis showed the advantages for girls-only schools remained when results were adjusted for other factors including social background and selective intake.

Single-sex school pupils from poorer backgrounds outperformed those at mixed schools, with 61% of disadvantaged students at all-girl schools gaining five good GCSEs compared with 55% in `similar' mixed schools and just 38% across all mixed institutions.

Meanwhile those with low attainment at primary school made better progress at single-sex schools than their co-educated counterparts - 11% compared with 7%, and with girls marginally ahead of boys.

SchoolDash founder Timo Hannay said: "The overall picture that emerges is one in which single-sex secondary schooling for girls does seem to have some benefits, at least when it comes to these particular measures of GCSE performance.

"Though it's less clear cut, the same may also be true for poor and/or underachieving pupils - ironically the target groups that single-sex schools tend to avoid.

"On the other hand, if you've done all right at primary school, come from a reasonably well-off family, and particularly if you're a boy, then going to a single-sex secondary school is unlikely on its own to improve your grades."

He added: "It also raises the interesting question of why girls, perhaps among other groups, seem to benefit more than boys from single-sex schooling - and what, if anything, the majority of mixed schools might be able to learn from this."

Earlier this month Richard Cairns, head of Brighton College, said young women could face difficulties if they did not learn to socialise with the opposite sex as children.

Date: Tue, 26 Jan 2016 13:40:18 -0000
Subject: 'Still not asking for it': Powerful photo series

Ha!  Wouldn't usually quote the `Mail' but this is amusing in a way - when I was a youngster (in a hot country) would sometimes wake up in my girlfriend's place.  Often she would already be up and playing cards with her friends, sat in a circle on the floor near the bed.

Due to the humidity all the girls were wearing just small towels, or maybe brief panties - and I didn't even look at them twice.  Because my girl would've killed me.
'Still not asking for it': Powerful photo series of nearly nude women aims to prove that 'regardless of what they're wearing, there is no justification for sexual assault'
(more ...)

Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2016 08:49:04 -0000
Subject: "Fifty dead and thousands stranded as cold snap hits East Asia

Climate change?  Recall, more than a few decades ago (maybe mid '60s), one night in Singapore when the temperature fell to maybe 60 - 65 degrees (F):  that's about twenty or thirty degrees lower than usual!

Locals, taxi-drivers, Sikh guards etc. were all shivering and wearing layers of two or more shirts etc - useless because Singapore clothing was necessarily thin and light.
Fifty dead and thousands stranded as cold snap hits East Asia

A cold snap sweeping across East Asia has led to more than 50 deaths in Taiwan and stranded at least 60,000 tourists in South Korea.
Taiwanese media reported a rash of deaths from hypothermia and cardiac disease following a sudden drop in temperature over the weekend.
Meanwhile heavy snow forced the closure of the airport on the Korean holiday island of Jeju, cancelling flights.
The cold spell has also hit Hong Kong, southern China and Japan.

Unusually low temperatures
Many of those who died in Taiwan were elderly people living in northern regions such as Taipei and Taoyuan, as well as some living in the southern city of Kaohsiung.
The north saw an unusually low temperature of 4C (39F) on Sunday, and many homes in Taiwan lack central heating.
In the capital of Taipei, many victims reportedly had heart trouble and shortness of breath.
"In our experience, it's not the actual temperature but the sudden drop that's too sudden for people's circulatory systems,'' said a city official quoted by AP news agency.
A 56-year-old man surnamed Chen was found dead on the street Sunday morning, reported Focus Taiwan, but most of the victims in the city and its surrounding region, known as New Taipei City, were found indoors.
Authorities have warned people, especially senior citizens, to keep warm and stay out of the cold.

In South Korea, more than 500 domestic and international flights have been cancelled in Jeju as the island, known for balmy weather and beaches, saw -6C weather. The airport is due to reopen on Monday night.
Thousands of tourists were left stranded over the weekend. Yonhap news agency reported that local officials were scrambling to find transport and accommodation.
In Hong Kong, residents shivered in 3C, the lowest temperature there in nearly 60 years.
Parts of Guangzhou and Shenzhen in southern China have also seen the rare appearance of snow, while the southern Japanese island of Okinawa has seen sleet for the first time ever, report Chinese and Japanese media.

Snow storms have hit large parts of Japan as well, with more than 600 domestic flights cancelled across the country on Sunday and Monday, reported NHK news.
At least five people have died from the snow so far and more than 100 have been injured in Japan.
Temperatures have dropped in some parts of South East Asia as well, including Vietnam and Thailand.
In Bangkok, which rarely sees temperatures below 20C, temperatures dropped to around 16C on Sunday, while Vietnam saw the coldest weather in about two decades over the weekend with Hanoi experiencing 6C weather.

Date: Sun, 24 Jan 2016 18:24:00 +0800
Subject: Re: "Lili Marleen"

Hi Ray, incidentally I has mentioned about this war movie too in the 90s when this forum is known as Galaxy Cabal back then, Lili Marleen along with that "hauntingly" cognizant feel of the theme song along with classical movie making style of the era made in a classical collectors stuff and for this movie I first watched it on VHS tape at that time.

On 24-Jan-16 3:40 PM, Ray Dickenson wrote:

Just had a bit of a musical reverie, and enjoyed the great conjunction of Amira Willighagen & André Rieu (it's on You tube - notice many of the audience are crying before the end), and then Leon Redbone in several of his incarnations (a great bloke and a great musician), but couldn't resist going to "Lili Marleen" for the finale - maybe because it somehow describes many (most) of my own romantic trials and tribulations as a young soldier (she'd be waiting at the barrack gate but I'd probably be on duty - somewhere).

If you want the most evocative version [whether it's Lala Andersen or Marlene] choose the one with a picture of a girl standing in the cold rain under a lamp-post outside a severe-looking barracks building - because that's what it was really like.


Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2016 02:23:02 -0000
Subject: "Bumblebee appears to thank man

Despite the nay-sayers in the article below, I've good reason to think that bumblebees _do_ seem to recognize a good deed from another animal, confirmed over several years.

The account - of two bumblebees' gratitude - is at bio3.html
Ray D
Humble bumblebee appears to thank man who saved it by WAVING
11:25, 24 JAN 2016 UPDATED 11:25, 24 JAN 2016 | BY ROSS LOGAN

The clip has gone viral after appearing to show the flying insect waving its gratitude to a man who saved it from a bucket of water

A grateful bumblebee rescued from a bucket of water appears to thank his saviour by waving at him in this heartwarming clip.

Dylan Jermaine Trayez uploaded the adorable video to his Facebook page with the message: "Just saved this bumble bee from a bucket of water in my greenhouse, and put him on my sunflower to dry out.

"He was very appreciative."

In the clip, the bee can be seen clinging onto the flower with one arm while raising another in apparent recognition for Dylan's heroics.

A delighted Dylan can be heard saying: "Yeah! What's up mister bumblebee?

"Hey bro. Yeah! You're the man! Yeah What's up?"

The video has been viewed more than one million times.

However, some people writing beneath the video have pointed out that a bee raising a leg like that is a sign of aggression, and that Dylan, from Auckland, New Zealand, was lucky not to get stung.

However, the nature-loving bee saver was not put off by the remarks.

A few days after posting the viral video , he uploaded another picture of a different bee he saved from a similar fate.

Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2016 00:22:37 -0000
Subject: "Maybe too late?" Weaponized Artificial Intelligence Robots Are Dangerous

Am a bit suspicious of all the coverage this subject is getting recently - don't forget the MSM is controlled by military/industrial corporations NOT directly by government.

So I'm maybe deciding between `distraction from other concealed events' and `purposeful fear-mongering' and maybe even `deception of other (national / international / extra-national?) groups'???

Ray D
Experts At Davos Say Weaponized Artificial Intelligence Robots Are Dangerous
BY: MATT DAYO | January 24, 2016 @ 3:03 PM

Scientists say smarter autonomous robots are dangerous and may start new era in warfare.
This may sound like science fiction, or the plot of a Marvel movie, but AFP is reporting that scientists and arms experts in attendance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland have issued a dire warning saying that robots with advanced artificial intelligence (or AI robots) could one day join wars and kill many people.

A former United Nations Disarmament Affairs representative, Angela Kane, has told a forum in Davos that there are many countries that don't understand what is involved and the development of such technology is limited to a certain number of rich and advanced nations.

Kane and other experts at the debate say rules must be agreed to prevent the development of these killer AI robots.

But at one point during the debate, Kane said "it may be too late."

The deployment of these advanced autonomous weapons would represent a dangerous new era in warfare, scientists have underscored.

Professor Stuart Russell of the University of California, Berkeley said they're not talking about human-controlled drones.

"We are talking about autonomous weapons here, which means that there is no one behind it."

Meanwhile, electronics engineer professor Alan Winfield of the University of the West in England has told the publication that removing humans from war decision-making would have grave consequences - because it means that humanity is "deprived from moral responsibility.

" Hawking's Warning: AI Is Double-Edged Sword
Famed British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking told BBC last year that the development of smarter, full artificial intelligence "could spell the end of the human race."

"Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded," he explained.

On his piece for the UK paper the Independent written last year, professor Hawking also said that success in creating artificial intelligence "would be the biggest event in human history," but it might also be the last - unless humanity learn how to avoid the risks.

Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2016 09:11:53 -0000
Subject: "Volcano red alert: Vesuvius danger zone swallows up an extra million people

Used to drive the 100 or so miles to Naples about once a month, to do admin and get supplies at the two very large US & NATO bases there - all that area is well inside the danger zone.


BTW - also used to climb (w/small tent + dry rations) and sleep out on Monte Semprevisa, especially in the winter (didn't use any yellow snow for cooking) and once got a shock by underground rumbles and roars (magma moving?) when my head hit the sleeping bag - that whole mountain chain is connected and it's all volcanic. - RD

Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2016 13:57:41 +0000 (UTC)

Hi Ray,

I know this might sound strange but I love volcanoes and everything about them. Your camping experience would have been quite an adventure. No doubt this wee beastie will erupt again sometime. Hope they manage to get everyone out and have plenty of warning.


Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2016 15:40:31 -0000

Yes it was a bit of a surprise.  It was wintertime and I'd been climbing most of the day so was high up the mountain and in deepish snow.  Had a hot meal (stew or soup + bread) and got into sleeping bag and put my head down and heard that deep grinding and roaring noise - so looked up and around, the night was clear, frosty and sky was bright with stars - but no planes up there and no roads for miles.  Put my head down and the noise was there again - so concluded it was magma moving deep underground.

Later that year (I think) there was a big quake about a hundred miles to the south-east? - about level with Vesuvius.  Lots of people made homeless.
Volcano red alert: Vesuvius danger zone swallows up an extra million people
Experts have placed 63 towns and villages in the provinces of Naples and Salerno in a new 'yellow zone'
Michael Day | Rome | 13 hours ago

It has been called Europe's time bomb. And with good reason: half the population of Naples, a sprawling city of three million people, is at risk from Vesuvius, according to a new assessment that has added 63 towns and villages to the list of municipalities that lie in the danger zone.

The 63, in the provinces of Naples and Salerno, have been placed in a new `yellow zone' by experts because they would experience falling ash and rocks in the event of significant eruption.

That is in addition to the 600,000 residents in a `red zone' closest to Vesuvius, who have already been warned they are most at risk. People living this near face pyroclastic flows - 200mph waves of scalding gas, ash and rock that would rip down the sides of the volcano and burn and blast everything in their path.

A spokesman for the city council, Domenico Annunziata, said that based on expert advice, it had been decided to establish a yellow zone containing a million people.

"The experts have said that in the event of an big eruption and in certain atmospheric conditions, the ash and powder could reach these places further away," he said. "But there's no need to be alarmist. We're talking about falling powder, so it wouldn't be devastating."

A civil protection agency document published this week warned, however, that even a relatively modest eruption, significantly smaller that the explosion that devastated nearby Pompeii in 79AD, would affect a vast area surrounding Naples. A pyroclastic surge might throw enough ash and powder into the area around the red zone to destroy property, with one building in 20 having material dumped on it able to cause its collapse.

The last eruption of any magnitude occurred in 1631, killing 6,000 people. There was a smaller explosion with some ash clouds and lava flows in 1944.

An emergency plan for the region calls for the evacuation of all 600,000 residents in the red zone within 72 hours if warning signs of a major eruption are detected.

Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2016 08:11:52 -0000
Subject: Wealth - & Google

Just heard a World Service prog on `Wealth' and also a news item on Google agreeing to pay (nearly) £200M in back taxes for last ten years.

Well, looking to the only fair tax (hopefully inevitable in future) set at 10% of income (it's the only fair way to tax corporations AND citizens - level playing field and no accountants needed) that means Google should have been paying £400M PER YEAR (on gross annual UK income of £4Bn)

The `Wealth' programme went on to question where the mega-rich from around the world are taking their wealth - for physical, legal and political security.  Surprisingly it seems London _was_ the old first choice but now it's Singapore.

Finally there was coverage of charitable-giving a la Gates etc. and that motto of Carnegie came up:  "The man who dies rich, dies disgraced" - Andrew Carnegie

No danger for me then.

Date: Fri, 22 Jan 2016 02:40:03 -0000
Subject: "UK judge: Putin 'probably approved' killing of ex-KGB agent

Nope, I doubt Putin was even told of any assassination plan, because it was KGB routine, and even the service chief wouldn't have needed to OK the operation.

If you read `Too Secret Too Long' by Chapman Pincher (an insider commentator on CIA, MI5/6 & KGB and its successors) you'd know they each have their `modus operandi' for dealing with renegade or whistleblower agents.  The CIA and MI5/6 usually attempt a frame-up of the agent(s) to discredit them, but the KGB has a iron rule of pursuing and assassinating the agent - this has been known for many decades, which makes attracting spy-defectors from Russia quite difficult

So although that UK judge has made (been told to make) hypocritical charges against Putin - I suspect that folk with knowledge of the espionage world will only shrug and say "What did you expect?"
UK judge: Putin 'probably approved' killing of ex-KGB agent

Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2016 07:02:16 -0000
Subject: "Longbow Puzzle": why did France and Scotland keep their inferior crossbows?

Right:  sounds like the difference between Switzerland - which has the confidence to issue its citizens with rifles for the national defense - and the rest of namby-pamby Europe which tries to limit its citizens' rights to hold weapons.

Have seen the Swiss `citizens army' exercising in the mountains and respect their abilities, and, having carried a loaded rifle (without mishap) for much of my working life, think the Swiss approach will probably be proved the best in the long run.
Ray D
Solving the "Longbow Puzzle": why did France and Scotland keep their inferior crossbows?
The longbow was vastly, demonstrably superior to the crossbow, but only England adopted it as a common military weapon; the Scots and French stuck with the inferior crossbow for nearly a century - why?

This riddle -- "the longbow puzzle" -- has dogged historians for decades, and now two economists, Douglas Allen from Simon Fraser and Peter Leeson from George Mason, have published a paper in The Journal of Law and Economics that proposes a solution.

The authors hypothesize that the French and Scottish monarchy were too afraid of being overthrown to allow their citizenry to possess and train with longbows, while the relative social stability in England gave the state the confidence to adopt the weapon, giving it an advantage in its wars with other, less-equipped powers.

For over a century the longbow reigned as undisputed king of medieval European missile weapons. Yet only England used the longbow as a mainstay in its military arsenal; France and Scotland clung to the technologically inferior crossbow. This longbow puzzle has perplexed historians for decades. We resolve it by developing a theory of institutionally constrained technology adoption. Unlike the crossbow, the longbow was cheap and easy to make and required rulers who adopted the weapon to train large numbers of citizens in its use. These features enabled usurping nobles whose rulers adopted the longbow to potentially organize effective rebellions against them. Rulers choosing between missile technologies thus confronted a trade-off with respect to internal and external security. England alone in late medieval Europe was sufficiently politically stable to allow its rulers the first-best technology option. In France and Scotland political instability prevailed, constraining rulers in these nations to the crossbow.

Date: Sat, 16 Jan 2016 19:13:14 -0000
Subject: "mysterious humans left these tools in Indonesia over 118,000 years ago

Ha!  See they're still trying to cling to that "Out of Africa 60,000 years ago" text-book myth.
A group of mysterious humans left these tools in Indonesia over 118,000 years ago

Over 118,000 years ago, on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia, a group of humans settled down and made a home. The only evidence of their existence is a large collection of stone tools, carefully crafted, preserved in the sediment at the edge of a river. A group of archaeologists recently spent several years excavating in the area and dating what remains they found. Astonishingly, their work suggests that humans may have arrived on this island as early as 195,000 years ago. And it's extremely unlikely they were Homo sapiens.
(more ...)
Mammoth kill linked to earliest Arctic settlers
By Jonathan Amos | BBC Science Correspondent | 15 January 2016
A well preserved mammoth carcass pulled from frozen sediments in the far north of Russia proves humans were present in the Arctic some 45,000 years ago.
This is 10,000 years earlier than previous evidence had indicated.
(more ...)

Date: Date: Fri, 15 Jan 2016 18:49:15 +0000
Subject: Campaign for FOI news
secrecy stampsCampaign for Freedom of Information
15 January 2016

Campaign news
Commission on FOI latest

The Commission on Freedom of Information has announced further details about its two oral evidence sessions on 20 and 25 January.  The Campaign has been asked to give evidence on the 25th.  Both sessions will be open to the public on a first come first served basis.  The sessions will not be live-streamed, but a transcript will be published afterwards.  The Commission has also published further minutes of its meetings.

Submit your views to the Labour-led cross party review
The Labour led cross party review of the FOI Act has published a call for evidence inviting responses to six questions.  The deadline has just been extended in order to ensure it reaches as wide an audience as possible.  The website states that the closing date is the 20th January, but we understand responses will be accepted until the end of the month.

Write to your MP
Caroline Lucas MP has tabled a Parliamentary motion (known as an `Early Day Motion') calling on the government `to drop its plans to amend the FOI Act on the basis that there is no value in fixing something that is not broken'.  Please ask your MP to sign the Motion if they haven't already done so.  You can check which MPs have signed here.  The Green Party has set up a tool you can use to email your MP and ask them to sign Caroline's Motion.  You can also email your MP via the WriteToThem website or write to them at the House of Commons.  Ask them to sign EDM 930 on the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Tom Brake Freedom of Information Bill
Lib Dem MP Tom Brake will present a Freedom of Information (Public Interest and Transparency) Bill in the House of Commons on Tuesday 19th January.  The Campaign has helped Tom draft two previous Ten Minute Rule Bills, which have included measures to strengthen the FOI Act.  He will speak in support of the Bill for ten minutes, after which an opposing speech may be made.  Such Bills normally fail to make further progress.

Using the FOI Act training, 14 March 2016
The Campaign's next training course for requesters on using the Freedom of Information Act and related Environmental Information Regulations is on Monday 14th March at the Free Word Centre in London.  Details about the course can be found on the Campaign's website.  Places can be booked on the Free Word Centre's website.  Please circulate the details to any friends or colleagues you think may be interested.

Our mailing address is:

Campaign for Freedom of Information
c/o ARTICLE 19, Free Word Centre
60 Farringdon Road
London, EC1R 3GA
United Kingdom

Date: Wed, 6 Jan 2016 11:11:30 -0000
Subject: "Cologne attacks: mayor lambasted for telling women to keep men at arm's length

Hmm, we seem to have a problem with (men)folk arriving in the West who don't know how to behave in civilized society.  And a bit of analysis shows why this is a problem at this time in history.

Just now several of our patriarchal religions are in a fundamentalist phase in many places (mainly Mid-East, Africa and India) around the world, and, being patriarchal religions, that means the subjugation of women and resorting to physical (and sexual) violence when reason fails.  Both modes provide easy gratification for males, for the psycho perverts who tend to lead the cults, and for the ignorant, fearful (and sex-starved) younger males who tend to be their recruits.

We in the west shouldn't feel superior, except in a purely temporal or chronological way, because our own patriarchal religion (Xtianity) has been equally repressive, cruel and abusive towards females (up to the fairly recent past), at times when our own young males were also more ignorant and fearful.

You can see that the long-term cure is education - the eradication of ignorance and fear.  However, in the short-term, because the offenders' leaders insist on inciting violence (inc. sexual violence), the solution must be a generation of duress (e-tags and curfews) and maybe incarceration (compulsory re-education camps) for incoming fundamentalist males.

Ray D
PS - Have had some experience of non-western males going out-of-control when seeing western girls (air-hostesses etc.), sometimes having to intervene;  my own conclusions re: inadequate males' abuse of women, are at answers035.html#b-g-r and more recently at answers039.html#small-p - RD
Cologne attacks: mayor lambasted for telling women to keep men at arm's length
Henriette Reker, mayor of Cologne, who also advised women to `stick together in groups, don't get split up, even if you're in a party mood'.

Wednesday 6 January 2016 09.48 GMT Last modified on Wednesday 6 January 2016 10.14 GMT

Cologne's mayor has been widely criticised for suggesting that women "keep at an arm's length" from strangers to avoid sexual harassment, after scores of women were sexually abused and mugged in the city during new year celebrations.

Asked by a journalist how women could protect themselves, Henriette Reker said: "There's always the possibility of keeping a certain distance of more than an arm's length - that is to say to make sure yourself you don't look to be too close to people who are not known to you, and to whom you don't have a trusting relationship".
(more at page ...)

Date: Sat, 2 Jan 2016 13:59:40 -0000
Subject: "The diner not the cook - Aristotle

Finally getting around to reading Aristotle's `The Politics'  (many years ago had been disappointed by Plato's `Republic', which I'd found to be full of pompous circular reasoning, contradicting common sense which even a young soldier could see in real life).

Initially thought Aristotle was equally guilty of circular arguments ("It is because it is") in his apparent acceptance of slavery, female subjection etc. so was surprised to see him making a daring hypothesis which would obviate all that: [Bk I, Chap 4]

"For suppose that every tool we had could perform its function, either at our bidding or itself perceiving the need, like the statues made by Daedalus or the wheeled tripods of Hephaestus, of which the poet says that `self-moved they enter the assembly of the gods' - and suppose that shuttles in a loom could fly to and fro and a plectrum play on a lyre all self-moved, then manufacturers would have no need of workers nor masters of slaves."
I.e. sort-of forecasting automation, robots and A.I., more than two millennia ago (maybe he knew something we don't?)

Was also interested by the editor's note [Bk II Chap 8]: "it is noteworthy that Aristotle takes it for granted that possession of arms is a prerequisite for full citizenship and full eligibility for office."

Later [in Bk III Chap 8] found the more detailed quote directly from Aristotle, talking of expertise:
" ... while it is possible for one man or a few to be of outstanding ability, it is difficult for a larger number to reach a high standard in all forms of excellence.  But it may be reached in fighting qualities by the general run of people.  And that is why in the `constitutional constitution' the citizen-army is the sovereign body and only those who bear arms are members of it."

All in all, now have a better opinion of Aristotle's common sense than I'd expected.

Ray D
BTW - regarding the slavish belief in the opinions of `experts' Aristotle is scornful:
" ... the builder certainly can judge a house, but the user, owner or tenant will be a better judge ... and it is the diner not the cook who pronounces upon the merits of the dinner."


Date: Sat, 2 Jan 2016 22:46:48 -0000
Subject: Re: Re: "The diner not the cook - Aristotle

Hi Roy,
well, as said I think he was much less hypocritical / pompous than Plato and used common sense even when it went against his `patriotic' or `religious' ideals.

And then found you could translate his writings into pertinent modern political / social sense if you wipe out the male/female, master/slave assumptions (as Aristotle himself hypothesized in his `automata' theory), so reading `humankind' instead of `man' and reading `robots' for `slaves'.

PS - it might help to read Xenophon to get an appreciation of the opposing constitutions of Sparta (Laconia) and Athens - but bear in mind that the extremes only existed for a couple of hundred years, both societies evolving and becoming more corrupted in quite a short time.


Sent: Saturday, January 02, 2016 9:52 PM
Subject: Re: "The diner not the cook - Aristotle

Hi Ray,

I never got round to reading any of Aristotle - the very thought reminded me so much of Plato that I became disinterested almost as a reaction that was automatic.

What would you say was the most valuable thing you learned from reading Aristotle that might encourage me to consider reading any of his stuff?



Date: Sun, 3 Jan 2016 21:23:38 -0000
Subject: Re: Re: Re: "The diner not the cook - Aristotle

Right again Roy, have a similar opinion.  Seems Aristotle was generally critical of Plato's opinions, although he often only alluded to Plato indirectly.  Here's a maybe more direct example, in Bk IV - Chap II, when discussing states of (or deviations from) kingship: - tyranny, aristocracy, oligarchy democracy etc..

"Kingship ... must exist in virtue of the supreme excellence of him who exercises the kingly office.  Accordingly, tyranny is the worst and is farthest away from polity; oligarchy comes second, for aristocracy is very different from this kind of constitution; democracy is the least objectionable of the deviations.  One of my predecessors [Plato: Politicus 303A] has expressed his views on these matters, but he takes a different view from mine.  He thinks that where all are reasonably good, oligarchy and the rest being quite workable, then democracy is the worst of them; but when all are bad, democracy is the best."

Ray D

Date: Thu, 31 Dec 2015 21:03:20 -0000
Subject: "Archbishop and MPs wrote in support of bishop later convicted of sexual offences

Clearly, as I've been stating for some years, the pedo-homo network conspiracy permeates the judiciary, parliament, churchmen, senior civil servants and maybe senior `royals'.

Ray D
N.b. you can see the network is powerful enough to keep some names secret, even in a F-o-I response.
Archbishop and MPs wrote in support of bishop later convicted of sexual offences
Raft of public figures stepped forward to defend Peter Ball in letters revealed after freedom of information requests

Harriet Sherwood - Religion correspondent | Thursday 31 December 2015 20.18 GMT

Letters written by a former archbishop of Canterbury and a coterie of establishment figures - including a former government minister and a high court judge - in support of a bishop accused of sexual abuse more than 20 years ago have been disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act.

The confidential letters to police and prosecutors springing to the defence of Peter Ball, the former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester, are likely to fuel accusations by survivors of sexual abuse of a cover-up at the heart of the Church of England and wider establishment.

Ball escaped prosecution at the time, resigned his post as bishop and retired to a rented cottage on the Prince of Wales's Duchy of Cornwall estate. After a fresh investigation was opened in 2012, Ball, now 83, was sentenced to 32 months in prison in October 2015 after pleading guilty to abusing 18 vulnerable young men between 1977 and 1992.

George Carey, who was archbishop of Canterbury at the time when police were investigating claims of sexual abuse by Ball, wrote to the director of public prosecutions and the chief constable of Gloucester police in February 1993. While repeatedly stressing he was not trying to influence the outcome of the investigation, Carey wrote of Ball's `excruciating pain and spiritual torment' and the implications for the state of his mental health.

A separate letter from Tim Renton, then the Conservative MP for Mid Sussex and a former government minister, spoke of Ball `suffer[ing] terribly' during the investigation while implicitly acknowledging that the bishop may have broken his vows of chastity.

At Ball's trial, the Old Bailey heard that a string of senior establishment figures, including a member of the royal family, had written letters and made telephone calls supporting Ball at the time of the original investigation. No details were given.

On Thursday, the Crown Prosecution Service published a series of letters, written by `significant' figures of society at the time', in response to an FOI request. It declined to publish further letters in support of Ball by `non-senior individuals'.

The CPS said that "whilst we appreciate some embarrassment may be caused by the release of these letters, we believe this is outweighed by the public interest in accountability under their respective titles".

The published letters were sent by two archbishops of Canterbury and a bishop, a former high court judge, two Conservative MPs, three former heads and two chaplains of leading public schools. No correspondence from a member of the royal family was disclosed.

In his letter to the chief constable of Gloucester, dated 5 February 1993, Carey wrote: "I have been keeping an anxious eye on developments concerning my colleague Peter Ball, whilst being keenly conscious of the need to avoid any suggestion that I might be attempting to influence the police enquiries."

Saying that he wished to offer a "few personal reflections", the then archbishop of Canterbury wrote of Ball's "wholehearted commitment to his Lord and the Christian Church". The sexual abuse investigation came as "a terrible shock to me" and "seemed to me at first most improbable". He added: "If he is guilty of unprofessional behaviour it is quite unrepresentative of his style."

He acknowledged that "`special pleading' would be entirely inappropriate; at the same time ... I believe I am justified in drawing to your attention the excruciating pain and spiritual torment which these allegations have inevitably brought upon a man in his exposed position and with his sensibilities".

Carey's letter to the DPP, written almost a month later, referred to "disturbing impressions of the bishop's state of health" and enclosed a psychiatrist's report on Ball. The letter urged the DPP to come to a speedy decision about prosecution, saying a delay "may endanger further his already fragile health".

A handwritten letter from Donald Coggan, the archbishop of Canterbury who consecrated Ball as a bishop in 1977, referred to his regard and respect for a "godly man, totally devoted to his church and to the people whom he has loved and served since his ordination".

Renton, who was arts minister in John Major's government until 10 months before writing to the DPP in support of Ball, said the bishop had "suffered terribly over the past six weeks" of police investigation.

Renton said he had never heard a "breath of any suggestion of impropriety" regarding Ball's behaviour while bishop of Lewes in the MP's constituency. He continued: "However, I know him well enough to be certain that no punishment will be greater for him than any knowledge that he has broken his own vows of chastity. This alone will make him suffer for the rest of his life. To add the further shame of criminal action seems far too great a punishment."

Former high court judge Anthony Lloyd wrote that the bishop was "the most saintly man I have ever met" and that "if there is a latter day St Francis, then Peter Ball is him".

He added: "And now he finds himself in this appalling situation ... He has obviously suffered far more already than any of us can imagine, and far more than a more ordinary human being would have suffered."

None of the correspondents made any reference to the suffering of those who had made allegations against Ball.

The other correspondents were Tim Rathbone, then Conservative MP for Lewes; Peter Nott, then bishop of Norwich; James Woodhouse, headteacher of Lancing college and former headteacher of Rugby school; Ian Beer, former headteacher of Harrow school; Richard Morgan, former head of Cheltenham college; and the Reverends A J Keep and N A T Menon, both chaplains at Cranleigh school.

After Ball retired as a bishop, he was permitted to continue officiating in the C of E by Carey.

At his trial, Bobbie Cheema QC, prosecuting, said that the police had received letters and phone calls of support from many dozens of people, including a member of the royal family.

Clarence House issued a statement at the end of the trial, saying that the Prince of Wales had "made no intervention in the judicial process on behalf of Peter Ball".

Responding to the FOI request, the CPS said it had "not received any correspondence nor seen any correspondence to others from any members of the royal family".

Neil Todd, one of those who accused Ball of abuse in 1993, killed himself three years ago after three earlier attempts to take his life. His sister, Mary Mills Knowles, said in a victim impact statement: "The church wanted to sweep this under the carpet. They had no concern for Neil's wellbeing. He was very distressed, vulnerable and distraught. He felt nobody believed him."

Responding to the publication of the letters, a C of E spokesperson said: "It is a matter of deep shame and regret that a bishop in the Church of England was sentenced earlier this year for a series of offences over 15 years against 18 young men known to him. There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place, nor for the systematic abuse of trust perpetrated by Peter Ball."

Date: Thu, 31 Dec 2015 15:40:17 -0000
Subject: Labour MP Simon Danczuk suspended over explicit text message allegations

Ha!  A problem with politicos (apart from the fact they're mostly ugly sods) is they've never lived in the real world so have fantasies dominating their thought processes (especially sexual).

Won't pretend to be an `adonis' (the opposite if anything), however my youthful friendships were essentially realistic, usually initiated by strong-minded women, of various ethnic groups and maybe out of curiosity (me being blond, blue-eyed, working mainly in Asia or Central America - maybe see cool-facade.html#memory for details).

And even in middle-age (apparently a risky time for many males), realistic humour and `personal space' preserves a rational outlook - see answers038.html#space and maybe answers038.html#russ (in that order).

Labour MP Simon Danczuk suspended over explicit text message allegations

Labour MP Simon Danczuk has been suspended by the Labour party after it was alleged that he had sent sexually explicit text messages to a 17-year-old girl.

According to a report in the Sun, Danczuk, who has been the Labour MP for Rochdale since 2010, sent the messages to 17-year-old Sophena Houlihan after she asked him for a job as a case worker in his constituency office.

The MP has been a prominent campaigner against child sexual exploitation and played a leading role in exposing his predecessor as MP for Rochdale, Sir Cyril Smith, as a paedophile.

A Labour party spokesperson said: "The general secretary of the Labour party has today suspended Simon Danczuk's membership of the party, pending an investigation into allegations published in the media today.

"A full investigation will now take place under the authority of the national executive committee, which will be responsible for determining any further action."

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, speaking on a visit to see flood damage in York, said: "Simon has had his membership of the party suspended. He will now be investigated by the national executive.

"The decision was made this morning. The reasons are his conduct, which will now be investigated. I don't want to say any more than that because I don't want to prejudice the independent investigation. It is today's incident, nothing else."

Date: Sun, 27 Dec 2015 15:57:25 -0000
Subject: "Fired Idaho lunch lady offered job back after social media storm

So someone made a `rule' that when a hungry child hasn't the credit or can't pay for a meal that meal has to be destroyed in front of them!

That `rule-maker' is clearly a pervert - there is no other explanation.

We should know who that person is - so they can be barred from all public office or authority.  There are too many perverts in power as it is.

Ray D
Fired Idaho lunch lady offered job back after social media storm
Published time: 24 Dec, 2015 18:25

An Idaho school district has offered to hire back a cafeteria worker fired over a $1.70 school lunch which she had given to a hungry student, after international news coverage of her plight and a backlash on social media.

Dalene Bowden, who worked at Irving Middle School in southeastern Idaho, was fired last week after serving food to a 12-year-old student who said she could not pay for the meal. Bowden offered to pay from her own pocket, but her supervisor refused. She was fired shortly afterwards for "theft of school district property."
According to Howell, about 6,500 children in District 25 - more than half the students - receive discounted or free hot meals daily. The federal school lunch program is strictly regulated, and schools could lose funding if procedures are not followed closely, the superintended added.

One such procedure requires cafeteria workers to take the food and destroy it in front of the student, a practice that has caused problems elsewhere in the US. Most recently, a kitchen manager at a school in Aurora, Colorado was fired in June after she gave food to students that could not afford to pay for it, paying for the meals out of her own pocket.

According to the Journal, the girl who received the free lunch had not in fact exceeded her $11 weekly limit on meals, but did not know that, and was `too afraid and embarrassed' to ask about her balance.

"What are you supposed to do when the kid tells you they're hungry and they don't have any money?" Bowden said. "We're supposed to take the tray away and dump it, right there in front of them, and I couldn't do that."

Date: Fri, 25 Dec 2015 19:29:01 -0000
Subject: Linda Ronstadt and the tough guys

Long been an admirer of Linda - in her C&W persona - and have a disk of her and Dolly Parton & Emmylou Harris.  Just now got to wondering if it was on-line (to save the trouble of looking for it and firing up the Hi-Fi) and a simple search found the weepy single I was thinking of:
Linda Ronstadt - I've Had Enough

and here's the whole disk (I think) - `The Trio - Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris & Linda Ronstadt' w/some selected (weepy) songs:
Hobo's Meditation
Farther Along

And if you've never had the chance to rate Linda as a singer, here she is in operetta:
Pirates of Penzance - Poor Wandering One

There's a story behind knowing that - in Saudi I was naturally accommodated in a walled villa with the "hard guys" (ex-mil and tough contractors, some ex-criminal) because we could make our own booze (the law-abiding academics who chose to live in `open' hotels obviously couldn't do that).

As I was also a fast driver and well able to avoid the daily smash-ups and snafus in Riyadh, they eventually asked me to get the fortnightly batch of videos from the distant shop  (they also eventually asked me to pick up the nurses and secretaries [using our long limo] who came to our weekly or fortnightly parties - that's all "illegal" in Saudi but as said I was a fast driver and the girls trusted me).

So one time was in a hurry and dashed around the video shop just picking up stuff more or less at random and one was `Pirates of Penzance'.  When the guys back at base saw it there was growling and snarling,  but - during the next two weeks I noticed many of them sneaking off to watch and re-watch the movie.  Seems they got attached to it.

Date: Fri, 25 Dec 2015 11:39:24 -0000
Subject: "Tim Peake says sorry for dialling wrong number

That's better!  I was a bit unsure about his credentials during the run-up and ballyhoo but am now reassured:- he really _is_ a typical English Army officer!
Ray D
British astronaut Tim Peake has apologised after calling the wrong number from the International Space Station.

Major Peake gave an unsuspecting woman a shock after calling her by mistake and asking "hello, is this planet Earth?" when she picked up.
(more in all papers ...)

Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2015 22:01:38 -0000
Subject: China not fearful (like Brunei)l

Ha!  Can see the Chinese Gov't doesn't worry about their folk being `led astray' or `subverted' by Xmas ideas.  These pics show a whole mall disguised as Victorian London +/or Santa Claus land (actually Pagan, like the Yule log, Holly and Ivy, Mistletoe etc).

People visit a Christmas theme park at a shopping mall in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, Dec. 15, 2015. A Christmas theme park attracted visitors at a shopping mall in Qingdao on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Wang Haibin)

Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2015 20:48:54 -0000
Subject: "Brunei cancels Christmas

Ha!  This announcement accidentally reveals the weak spot of all extremism, by using the words "over fears".

I.e political or religious `fundamentalism' recruits those who are fearful due to ignorance or stupidity, allowing them to be easily led by devious perverts - psychotic males usually.

This has been proven by extensive research.
Ray D
Brunei cancels Christmas: Sultan warns those celebrating could face up to five years in jail

The punishment for celebrating Christmas is a fine of $20,000, up to five years in prison or both.

Anyone found illegally celebrating Christmas in Brunei could face up to five years in prison, according to a reported declaration by the Sultan of the tiny oil-rich state.

Brunei introduced its ban on Christmas last year over fears that celebrating it "excessively and openly" could lead its Muslim population astray.
(more ...)

Date: Sat, 19 Dec 2015 18:42:13 -0000
Subject: Lord Janner avoids trial

Well, well - seems Janner has died, before being tried for multiple pedo-homo offences.

What a coincidence!  You might remember my first post on the subject re: Brittan's death and `Royals'), then on the surprise death of a `Vatican envoy' before _his_ pedo-homo trial - followed by a note re: pedo-homo cover-ups by Blair & Thatcher (and Heath?).

A worldly-wise person might suspect that elite pedo-networks' clean-up squads are mopping-up evidence and getting rid of weak links.
Ray D
Greville Janner has died, his family has said.
Lord Janner was the Labour MP for Leicester West for 27 years from 1970 and had been accused of 22 sexual offences against nine boys and men between 1963 and 1988.
He was likely to have faced a "trial of the facts", with a jury hearing evidence from alleged victims and decide whether he committed the physical acts of abuse of which he was accused.
His family has insisted he was innocent of any wrongdoing.
(more at page ...)

Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2015 13:49:19 +0000
Subject: Successes and challenges for the Libel Reform Campaign

Dear friends of the Libel Reform Campaign

As 2015 draws to a close, the Libel Reform Campaign is celebrating its successes and also looking ahead to new challenges.

The Defamation Act 2013 is making a positive impact and the law is working just as Parliament intended. Recent judgments concerning the `serious harm' test show that trivial claims are being discouraged.  Judges have affirmed the politicians' intent that claimants have to prove they had been harmed or prove that harm will result in the future.  This is not an insurmountable hurdle for those with a genuine case, but lawyers tell us that it has resulted in fewer trivial claims being launched.  We campaigned hard for this measure and we're delighted it is making a difference.

Libel tourism is being discouraged too. In March, a claim was brought to the High Court in London by a Serbian citizen, against another Serbian citizen, over an article written in a Serbian newspaper... in Serbian.  But just last month, Mr Justice Tugendhat threw out the claim under section 9 of the Defamation Act.  Before the Act, these cases were routinely allowed in the High Court.  Now it looks as if they're on the wane.

These developments are exactly what we had hoped for and mean we have a very strong hand as we take our campaign to Northern Ireland and Scotland, where the law has yet to be reformed.

In Scotland, calls for reform have been increasing. In November, our colleagues at Scottish PEN published a letter co-signed by dozens of prominent Scottish writers including Ian Rankin, urging an update to the law:  `A modern and open nation like Scotland deserves a defamation law that is fit for purpose in the 21st century.'  The same month, The Herald, the world's longest running national newspaper, launched its own campaign to reform the defamation laws in Scotland.

The Scottish Law Commission has already promised to review the law.  Lord Pentland, chair of the commission, is leading the review personally and has welcomed the public support for and interest in reform.  A major project for the Libel Reform Campaign in 2016 will be to make a submission to the Commission's consultation and to build political awareness of this issue.  We will need your support to make this happen.

There is good news in Northern Ireland too.  The Law Commission ran a consultation on defamation in February, but its response was delayed when the commission itself was abolished as a cost-cutting measure.  However, we have heard that the Stormont Executive will finally be publishing the commission's report, and we expect a draft Bill to be included, too.  In the New Year we'll be continuing our campaign to ensure that Stormont Assembly members debate the issue and keep the process of reform moving.

The Libel Reform Campaign cannot work without the activism of our supporters.  Please continue boosting the #LibelReform signal on social media.  Thank you for your support.

With best wishes,

Mike, Sile, Stephanie, Rob
The Libel Reform Campaign

Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2015 17:52:04 -0000
Subject: "What's wrong with Christmas? Just about everything, argues the late Christopher Hitchens

Ha!  Maybe felt that way in distant past, but now it's just humorous, in view of its actual significance:  the Solstice (i.e. the real `New Year' - originally on the old 25th Dec.), the eve of which was known, in pre-Xtian times, as Modranecht.

I.e. - "Mother's Night" - named for the matriarchal form of the `Great Goddess' - Easter or Eostre being her Spring Maiden form [note the `eggs' worn by her Cybele/Artemis persona, signifying fertility + now `Easter'].

Maybe check the calendrical evidence from the Venerable Bede.
How the late polemicist Christopher Hitchens vented seasonal spleen

What's wrong with Christmas? Just about everything, argues the late Christopher Hitchens in this peerlessly grouchy extract from the final volume of his collected essays
Ever since Tom Lehrer recorded his imperishable anti-Christmas ditty all those years ago, the small but growing minority who view the end of December with existential dread has had a seasonal `carol' all of its own:

"Christmas time is here by golly: disapproval would be folly.
Deck the halls with hunks of holly, fill the cup and don't say when.
Kill the turkeys, ducks and chickens, mix the punch, drag out the Dickens.
Even though the prospect sickens - brother, here we go again."

And the word `Yule' must be significant here as well, since pagans of all sorts have been roistering at the winter solstice ever since records were kept, and Christians have been faced with the choice of either trying to beat them or join them.

In their already discrepant accounts of the miraculous birth, the four gospels give us no clue as to what time of year - or even what year - it is supposed to have taken place. And thus the iconography of Christmas is ridiculously mixed in with reindeer, holly, snow scenes, and other phenomena peculiar to northern European myth. (Three words for those who want to put the Christ back in Christmas: Jingle Bell Rock.)

Then there's another consideration, again deftly touched-upon by Lehrer:

"Relations sparing no expense'll
Send some useless old utensil.
Or a matching pen-and-pencil:
just the thing I need, how nice . . . "

Extracted from `AND YET... Essays' by Christopher Hitchens, published by Atlantic Books, £20 (Order at the discounted price of £18 inc. p&p from the Independent Bookshop).
(more at page ...)

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 2015 00:03:17 -0000
Subject: Climbing Towers Free-hand

Climbing Towers Free-hand

Yup, many times been forced (cajoled) to climb pylons and even higher towers (comms, not power lines), often using only outside bolts or rivets for footholds.  Reason was, I was a young soldier in Far East and suddenly there was a need to put our aerials on towers to maintain contact between various HQs in Singapore and Malaysia.  Problem was: the guys qualified to do those climbing and rigging jobs refused to do it (probably quite rightly) because the eqpt. (belts etc.) was ancient and rotten.

So was asked to volunteer - which is a challenge - and then did it many times, sometimes climbing 300 ft or more, free-hold, without belts or fail-safes and indeed became a bit hooked on climbing towers.

Sci-Fi Movie

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2015 17:54:55 -0000
Subject: "Northern Lights: True Norse

Knew a few Nordics while working in Europe, one the sweet younger sister of Sven Leo, a good Danish pal and colleague.  And from many conversations with Gunhilde - girlfriend and eventually wife of another good Danish friend Tauben, would opine that most Nordic girls have a frank view of life - perhaps painfully frank, as seen by more hypocritical Southerners
Northern Lights: True Norse

They are the happiest, most successful societies in the world. Their schools the envy of every politician; their elegant flat-pack furniture invading every British home. For some in Britain, they are our nearest neighbours. Yet the culture of the Nordic countries is curiously opaque to many Brits, papered over by a generalised sense of Ikea furniture and snowy forests.

So what's really going on up there? Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough takes us behind the elegant, minimal façade, on a journey to the heart of Norse culture.

In Copenhagen she visits the Little Mermaid - a modest tourist attraction - and discovers that behind it lies guilt about the Danes' war-mongering past. In these highly secular countries she finds the Lutheran church living on in Scandinavian design. And with Lars Mytting - wood fanatic - she takes tentative steps into the Taiga, the vast forest which starts in Norway and encircles much of the world; a perfect place to explore the Nordic ideas of nature and solitude.

In Oslo, Asle Toje from the the Norwegian Nobel Institute explains the power struggles which have riven the Nordic countries for centuries. These live on today: the smell of whale-blubber drifts over the Copenhagen docks as Eleanor discusses Greenlandic independence from Denmark with one of its greatest proponents - former Greenland PM Aleqa Hammond. Immigration, the big news story in Sweden and Denmark, is discussed with provocative journalist Mikael Jalving from Jyllands-Posten - the paper which printed the Prophet Mohammad cartoons.

And she talks to the man who, five years ago, was asked to re-brand Finland. Apparently being 'a bit like Sweden' is not enough.

Part of Radio 3's Northern Lights season.

Date: Fri, 11 Dec 2015 19:50:54 -0000 Subject: [TheTenthPlanet] FWD - Two senior British politicians ... "found places at major investment firms"

Two senior British politicians ... "found places at major investment firms"

Ha!  We never learn do we?  It's obvious that an elderly politician is not _actually_ worth employing - so why do it?

The answer is obvious too - because almost _all_ politicians in positions of real power later get highly paid sinecures in banking (usury) concerns:  I.e. these huge payments are post-dated bribes.
Details of how + why were first posted back in 2011:- see answers023.html#dom-gr
Two former senior British politicians who steered the country through the worst of the global financial crisis have found places at major investment firms.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was named to a five-member advisory board at Pimco, one of the world's largest bond funds. He will serve alongside Ben Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve chairman, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former director of policy and planning at the U.S. State department.

Former Treasury chief Alistair Darling has been named to the board of bank Morgan Stanley.
Darling, who headed the Treasury between 2007 and 2010, is one of the most prominent leaders in the campaign to keep Britain in the European Union.

Morgan Stanley said Tuesday that his appointment is effective in January. ---

Date: Sat, 5 Dec 2015 15:44:56 -0000
Subject: "Americans are `weirder than Brits' and think `it's a good thing', says new research

Maybe we have different definitions of weird.  As a long-term soldier, think our definition was just someone you would watch keenly if he was holding a machete, spear or gun.

Anyway the difference reported here is fairly slight and might be down to differing readings of the term.
Americans are more likely to think it is better to be a 'distinctive individual'
Alexandra Sims | 5 Dec 2015

American people are significantly more likely than British people to say they are weird - and see it as a good thing.

According to YouGov research, which surveyed people from a range of age groups and voting persuasions, yanks are far more likely to say they are `quite weird'.

When asked to place themselves on a weirdness scale, where zero is `not weird at all' and 10 is `completely weird', 34 per cent of Americans admitted to being `quite weird', ranking themselves between seven and 10, compared to 20 per cent of Britons.

At the other end of the scale, 42 per cent of British people said they were `not weird', ranking themselves between zero and three, while 34 per cent of Americans ranked themselves low in the weirdness stakes.

The difference in how weird British and American people see themselves is even starker in younger age groups.

Forty-eight per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds confessed to being weird in the US, whereas only 30 per cent of Brits in the same age group do.

Over half, or 52 per cent, of Americans said being weird was an asset, compared to 42 per cent of Brits.

As is appropriate for the founding home of individualism, Americans are far more likely to think it is better to be a distinctive individual, with 78 per cent of people in the US valuing an idiosyncratic character compared to 63 per cent of British people.

Despite this, British people who proclaimed to be weird were more likely to think it is "better to be distinctive", suggesting weirdness has become a mark of originality rather than a sign of oddness.

British people who voted Conservative in the 2015 general election are more likely to say they are `not weird'. They are also more likely than Labour voters to think being weird is a "bad thing".

Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2015 09:20:48 +0000
Subject: Campaign publishes response to the Commission
secrecy stampsCampaign for Freedom of Information
4 December 2015

Response to the Commission on FOI

The Campaign has published its submission to the Commission on Freedom of Information.  It analyses all Tribunal decisions affecting central government over the last 3 years involving the FOI exemptions for policy formulation or internal discussion.  The Campaign's view is that the way these exemptions are applied provides more than adequate protection for sensitive discussions.

It says "The suggestion that these exemptions might operate without the public interest test, whether for 20 years or some shorter period, would be an enormously retrograde step entirely at odds with the public's expectations, the requirements of accountability and the government's own declared commitment to openness."

The Campaign also challenges the view that the Supreme Court's ruling on the veto, in the Prince Charles correspondence case, overturns Parliament's intention.  And it opposes the introduction of charges for information, or changes to make it easier for requests to be refused on cost grounds.

All-party briefing on the Commission and future of the FOI Act
The Campaign and ARTICLE 19 held an all-party briefing in the House of Commons on Monday 30 November.  The speakers were former Home Secretary David Davis MP (Conservative), Shadow Minister for Civil Service and Digital Reform Louise Haigh MP (Labour) and Constitutional & Political Reform Spokesperson, Lord Tyler (Lib Dem).  Read a report of the meeting by the Society of Editors and some of the press coverage in the Guardian and Daily Mail.

Commission publishes minutes and background papers
The Commission has published minutes of a series of meetings that its chair, Lord Burns, has held with external stakeholders (including the Campaign) and two background papers on the development and passage of the FOI Bill and international comparisons.

The Commission announced that it received 30,000 responses to its call for evidence.  It has decided to hold two oral evidence sessions on 20 and 25 January 2016 and intends to report as soon as possible afterwards.

Our mailing address is:

Campaign for Freedom of Information
c/o ARTICLE 19, Free Word Centre
60 Farringdon Road
London, EC1R 3GA
United Kingdom

Date: Thu, 3 Dec 2015 12:38:29 -0000
Subject: "Too much TV may damage cognitive function in midlife: study

Over the past decade or so have seen quite a few investigations agreeing with these findings.
Maybe check the data listed at self.html#codicil

So I'm happy we didn't have much TV in childhood, and that during teens and later didn't have _any_ regular exposure to TV, first living in a bed-sit, then being mostly in hot countries and mainly outdoors in daytime (and w/girlfriend at night) or on `exercise', travelling and living in jungles, mountains or deserts.

And of course, don't have a TV today - it would only waste my time, which I much prefer to use for research or just reading / thinking.
Too much TV may damage cognitive function in midlife: study 2015-12-03 01:04:34
WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Too much TV and not having enough physical exercise as a young adult were associated with worse cognitive function 25 years later in midlife, showed a study published online Wednesday by U.S. journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Researchers at the Northern California Institute for Research and Education and the University of California, San Francisco, looked at the impact by examining 3,247 adults between the ages of 18 and 30, who are followed for over 25 years.

TV viewing and physical activity were measured by questionnaires during repeated visits, while cognitive function was evaluated at the year 25 using three tests that assessed processing speed, executive function and verbal memory.

Of the 3,247 participants, 353 participants reported having high TV viewing, which was defined as watching TV for more than three hours per day for more than two-thirds of the visits.

Low physical activity, measured as units based on time and intensity, was reported by 528 participants.

A total of 107 people reported having both high television viewing and low physical activity.

It found that those with high television viewing were more likely to have poor cognitive performance on processing speed and executive function while low physical activity was associated with poor performance on processing speed.

And compared with participants with low television viewing and high physical activity, those with both high television viewing and low physical activity were almost two times likely to have poor cognitive performance on processing speed and executive function.

"Our results indicate that the lifestyle behaviors in early adulthood that were evaluated in this study could have an effect on the risk of cognitive impairment in midlife and support a potential role for both physical activity and sedentary behavior as modifiable risk factors for prevention," the study concluded.

"Individuals with both low physical activity and high sedentary behavior may represent a critical target group," it said.

Date: Thu, 3 Dec 2015 10:20:04 -0000
Subject: "Poll shows Brits' lack of trust in justice system

Well, suppose it's good to see a glimmer of truth surfacing, but the mass of the ice-berg is still hidden.

A few years ago began collecting data on the `justice' system - and found not only cans of worms but nests of vipers (privileged thieves and perverts) in abundance - check laworjustice.html and maybe use that yellow navigation table at top.
Ray D
`Damning indictment': Poll shows Brits' lack of trust in justice system
Published time: 2 Dec, 2015 17:01

The vast majority of Britons feel they cannot trust the nation's justice system, with a meager 24 percent of the population believing the system is `fair and transparent,' a survey has found.
The poll, commissioned by law firm Hodge Jones and Allen, found that in Scotland and the North East the figures were even more damning, with just 15 percent claiming to trust the system.

Nearly 7 out of 10 Britons believe wealth plays a larger part in accessing justice than it has in the past, while 9 in 10 of those working in the legal sector agree.

Research consultancy Populus interviewed 2,000 members of the public as well as 500 legal professionals in September. The statistics were published in an annual report released by the firm on Wednesday.

Patrick Allen, senior partner at the firm, said: "These statistics represent a damning indictment of the UK justice system. If millions of people across the country are intimidated, alienated and confused by the prospect of seeking justice in 21st-century Britain, then we should consider our legal system to have failed in its fundamental duty to provide justice for all.

"By acknowledging the gravity of the situation, we can put these issues on the public, media and governmental agenda and find the momentum for change," he added.

Date: Thu, 26 Nov 2015 14:06:22 -0000
Subject: Re: Autumn Statement

Re: Autumn Statement

Hello, while [your] analysis was appreciated, the fact is you, and all mainstream media, are ignoring the true ratios of taxation paid by ordinary folk compared to the tiny amounts paid by the seriously rich.

The first trick used is to make the high _cost_ of indirect taxes (VAT, fuel taxes - taxes on necessities) payable in full by those who have to spend all their income on necessities.  Those richer pay proportionately less - at the highest layer they pay less than 1% while the poorest are paying 40% and more, even on food and children's clothing.
See: VAT / Indirectect Taxes (taxes on necessities):  skids.html#real.

The second trick is a _banded_ property tax.  Why?  So those on the bottom rungs of the housing ladder, including those renting, are paying much more than the total worth of any real property's value (in a lifetime), while the seriously rich pay less than 1%.
See: Council Tax (property tax):  tax4.html#in1.

Best regards
Ray Dickenson


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