The General Discussion Thread

[Publish Date updated to restore to front page]

Okay as an experiment here it is. Discuss your favourite generals here!

Well perhaps… Really this is simply the place to post news-items, fun-items or whatever takes your fancy. In short just post what you want here.

It’s just another wee experiment – comments welcome.


[Image: General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett (Stephen Fry)]

17,284 thoughts on “The General Discussion Thread

  1. That horrible thing, it kept going after Bascule the Teller, whenever he got too involved down in the crypt(osphere). I’d have thought you’d have quite enjoyed that book, Squonk 🙂 I did.

  2. The fact that a friend of mine who was a big Banks fan really didn’t like it probably put me off to start with. Then when I started to read it I couldn’t stop thinking of the Clarke novels – at least initially. I’m not sure what Clarke version I prefer “City and the Stars” or “Against the Fall of Night” – may have to read them again as well!

    Bits of “Endjinn” also reminded me of Moorcock’s The Dancers at The End of Time but then so many things do.

    I really just wanted more Culture novels. Btw I’ve always thought The Business’s “Uncle Freddy” was a renegade (or not) Culture “Special Circumstances” agent.

  3. Yes, I’ll always want more Culture novels. I haven’t read the Clarke or the Moorcock novels. Yeah, good call on Uncle Freddy, who didn’t eventually go so mad that he thought he was a one of those bits of rag tied to a string that you use to clean a shotgun. ‘But doctor, do you think he’ll pull through?’

  4. ‘Ha-Da-Ba-Bag-Ha-Ba-Gag-Aa-Ga-Ga-Gag-Ga’ reminds you of someone, Clark? Who could that possibly be? Did the flayed head thing ask a lot of questions? Why was it flayed? Perhaps the Eminences could tell us why I believe everything I read in the Daily Express?


  5. Following on from HSBC’s recent efforts to restrict cash withdrawals and China’s imposition of a week-long bank holiday, we now have Barclays enforcing a travel ban on staff and two banker suicides (one from JP Morgan and one recently retired from Deutschbank):

    Sounds as though something is definitely up, hold on to your hats (and do make sure you don’t have more than 85k with any one bank).

  6. Ha-Da-BaDa-Ba-Da-Ba-Bag-Ha-Ba-Da-Ba-Bag-Ha-Da-Ba-Bag-Ha–Ba-Bag-Ha-Ba-Gag-Ba-Gag-Ba-Gag-Ha-Da-Ba-Ba-Gag-Ha-Gag-Ha–Da-Ba–Bagg-HBa–Bagg-Ha-a-Ba-Gag-Aa-Ga-Ga-Gag-Ga-Gag-Ga-Gag-Ga-Ga-Gag-Ga-Gag-Ba-Gag-

  7. As the UK Winter remains wet, windy and relatively mild for once the pressure on UK Gas storage is off. Over in the USA however storage is well below normal for the time of year.

    You’ve probably all heard that natural gas prices in the US are supposedly a quarter or a fifth of UK prices due to “fracking”. Well as of right now US Henry Hub for February delivery is $5.56 per million BTU (British Thermal Units). UK price at National Grid Balancing Point is 63p/therm (yes National Grid still give the therm price as well as KWh) or 2.16p /KWh). A therm is 100,000 BTUs. So the UK wholesale price is $10.40/ million BTU to convert to US units or now less than double US Henry Hub.

    If you look at New York physical (as opposed to Henry Hub February delivery) spot prices they’ve actually recently gone way above UK spot prices at times during the cold weather. With the vast majority of US drill rigs now drilling for oil and not gas the only thing that has kept US natural gas production on a slow rise has been the backlog of wells drilled years ago waiting to be fracked and connected to a pipeline. This backlog is coming to an end I believe. Some in the industry predict that US prices could be back at UK levels within 2 years and that US plans to export LNG are just a fantasy.

    Natural Gas Soars to Four-Year High on Outlook for Supply Drop

    Natural gas surged to a four-year high on the last day of February futures trading on speculation that a government report tomorrow will show a bigger-than-normal inventory drop as frigid weather eroded supplies.

    Gas jumped as much as 13 percent as the Energy Information Administration may say stockpiles slid by 232 billion cubic feet last week, compared with a five-year average decrease of 162 billion, according to the median of 12 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. WSI Corp. in Andover, Massachusetts, said the weather may be colder than usual in most of the contiguous U.S. from Feb. 3 through Feb. 7.

    “The storage number is going to come in pretty big,” said Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA Inc. in New York. “Inventory levels at the end of the heating season are going to be knocked down even further.”

  8. Well I’ve been staying at a friend’s place and I’ve just now caught up with this thread; BrianFujisan, thanks for your kind thoughts. I’m going to be busy for a while but I’ll drop in when I can.

    I was staying round a friend’s place last night, and thus had the misfortune to watch The Paxman Show (whatever that’s called) on BBC Propaganda Television. Apparently, I’m still supposed to take Alistair Campbell seriously, and not feel utterly outraged that he’s still allowed to appear on national television at all.

  9. That must have been ‘Newsnight’ Clark, the programme that squelched the Savile item.

    Campbell is on a mission to rehabilitate his image with the public. An impossible task I would think.

    Did you know that a mental health charity has an association with him? Outrageous.

    I put a link up on Craig to this poem on Dissident Voice.

    Spin Doctors
    by Charles Fraser / January 29th, 2014

    Post modern soothsayers
    turning lies into truth
    Incompetence into
    misunderstood genius
    spinning, spinning, spinning,
    day and night
    weaving mixed messages and half truths
    spinning common straw into uncommon gold
    Corporate owned media
    angling, fishing, predicting, 24/7
    non-stop, over clover and under cover,
    finally, a metamorphous achieved:
    From bungling idiot, into mistaken, taken for granted
    Good ole boy, president Bush.
    Died in the wool,
    insightful complex visionary
    from shame to fame….
    and lame to gain, it is a miracle!!
    Lead to gold
    Democracy merely an illusion
    the truth, what about the truth?
    Spin doctors watch their spinning wheel go round and round
    never touching the ground
    quick silver spin
    They really like to watch them spin
    There’s much spinning to do
    They are tops at spinning the truth.

    Charles has been a social activist for 35 years. He can be reached at : [email protected]. Read other articles by Charles.

  10. Mary, the friend I was staying with actually wanted to listen to Campbell. I asked what point there was, since Cmapbell proved himself to be an utterly shameless liar over the destruction of Iraq.

    But this is the effect of propaganda; it legitimises the unthinkable. I asked my friend, would he find it acceptable for Joseph Goebbels to be given a prominent place on national television? My friend couldn’t see the similarity. He made excuses, said the Labour party had no choice but to destroy Iraq, or they’d have lost an election! I said, yes, that’s a choice. I reminded him that some politicians had resigned, and that was a choice, too. At times he tried to cut me off by interrupting me; when I spoke louder to finish my sentences, he spoke louder too, so I got louder and he told me not to shout at him!

    Seeing the corporate media for the propaganda it is, and saying so, contributes considerably to my loneliness.

  11. Good to hear you’ll be keeping Busy Clark.

    And Aye…i know exactly what you mean by trying to tell people whats going on

    I’ve had friends Actually Throwing arms in the air …Total Flapping Lol… if i remember that episode was over The Bin Laden execution Nonsense…but the worst of it is the attitude…” it’s not affecting Me so why should we be concerned”
    It’s already affecting you
    ” Well, when it starts to affect us, and my pocket, then
    then i’ll start to worry ”

    Stay Safe Clark…

  12. Clark I think he has to be SC as somewhere or other in one of the books we are told that the Culture are aware of Earth but Contact are officially leaving it alone during this period. That wouldn’t apply to “Special Circumstances” of course 🙂

  13. Clark,

    Craig’s video plays for me on Youtube if I switch to HTML5 video interestingly enough. It will not play for me using the default settings.

    I’ve downloaded it now in any case. Will put it up tomorrow.

    Anybody else wants to see it

    go to and select use html5 player

    then go to

    and it will play fine. If it stops playing fine that’s pretty much 100% proof of censorship as opposed to technical problem.

  14. Thanks Clark and Squonk for doing that. Sorry for the bother.

    I did know about the choice of player but did not think of it. I assumed the fact that it would not play was due to some outside interference but how many others going to it would know about the player choices?

  15. Squonk, thanks.

    I thought I’d tried playing it in HTML5 by appending “&html5=true” to the URL. It didn’t work, but I hadn’t visited YouTube’s HTML5 page; presumably you need some cookie from there.

  16. Mary, you need never apologise for reporting errors; doing so is a service to the public. It’s part of the hacker ethos; keeping the ‘net working well is everyone’s responsibility.

  17. Youtube.

    Video, on default player:

    “an error has occurred…”

    Did the HTML 5 routine:

    “This video is currently unavailable”


    You tubes.

  18. Komodo, I get that message, too. But behind it the video is still there, or rather on my system a place-holder from NoScript is there, and clicking on that makes the video play. Very badly, at about two frames per second.

  19. If it was censorship by YouTube, I’d have expected the video to have been removed, rather than playing on some systems and creating error messages on others, thus making YouTube look bug-ridden.

    I suppose it could be that a YouTube employee who’s working for Israel has deliberately induced some technical fault. That sort of thing happens quite a bit, I think; I read that a lot of privacy breaches at Facebook were caused because so many of Facebook’s employees had unnecessarily broad access to Facebook’s system.

  20. No comment. Not enough information. You sometimes have to enable other scripts to get the advertised one working…some sites are fly to Adblock for instance, and don’t display until you have enabled…

  21. To play a video at YouTube, I usually only need to enable scripts from and then click NoScript’s place-holder for the video. Some videos also need scripts to be enabled from Scripts from (YouTube Images?) have to be enabled to display the thumbnails in the column on the right, and scripts are needed for YouTube videos embedded on other sites.

  22. the video plays ok for me at first click….sound aint perfect but one can hear what’s being said… it work also after clicking on Fred’s link…well done indeed everyone for that…great work, for a very important speech.

  23. Cross-posting significant update.

    US Attorney-General Eric Holder is visiting Sweden on 4 February, Prof. Ferrada de Noli reports.

    Amidst discussion in Sweden on dropping the case VS. Assange, arrives US Justice Minister Eric Holder. Meeting Swedish counterpart & lectures in Parliament

    This is in the context of a week of high-profile media “debate” about the case in Sweden leading up to this. There will be a full Agenda programme broadcast tonight on SvD, Sweden’s state-run broadcaster. It will pit Thomas Olsson (one of Assange’s lawyers) against Claes Borgstrom (lawyer to one of the women and somewhat disgraced in Sweden nowadays, due to his role in the Quick scandal).

    Here’s the Swedish announcement of Eric Holder’s visit. Only announced on 31 January. He’s doing an invite-only speech in Swedish parliament:

    And, verrrry weirdly, here’s the US State Department press department fielding questions – also on 31 January – about how State co-ordinates with the US Justice Department Office of International Affairs about extradition, and saying that they cannot comment on individual extraditions:

    Meanwhile, the Justice Department OIA’s weekly press release of officials’ schedules for this coming week is not up yet. Here’s the page to keep an eye on, for anyone here who’s interested in this development. If Holder’s 4 February visit is not included in the weekly schedule tomorrow (Monday) then they are definitely trying to keep this visit quiet.

  24. Here’s Swedish radio’s announcement of tonight’s Agenda debate on whether Sweden should dismiss the investigation against Assange (Google translate required):

    Here’s Johan Pehrson, Swedish Liberal Party spokesman, saying that it should:

    Sounds like Holder’s visit might be a case of attempted damage-limitation (with a touch of the usual US strong-arming bully tactics thrown in too)

  25. Arbed I saw your links on Craig for which thanks. Do you think we can now hold out some optimism that Julian will be given his freedom?

  26. Hi Mary,

    I don’t know how closely you’ve been watching the Why I’m Convinced Anna Ardin is a Liar thread, but we’ve more or less established there two things:

    1. Woman SW had already received HIV treatment herself three days before going to the police, she says “to seek advice about forcing Assange to get a HIV test”. Clearly, the reasons she gives publicly for her police visit don’t hold up.

    2. BOTH women each handed in a “torn used” condom. Forensics found BOTH had been manually torn in the same way, but also that one condom had no DNA at all on it – so one is clearly faked evidence, and the other likely to be.

    We also know that SW made a third visit to the hospital on the morning of the police visit, but AFTER she spoke to the older woman for the first time. There’s no reason for this trip, given that she had already had HIV tests and “rape kit DNA examples” done at a hospital three days earlier. The theory is she probably claimed “rape” at the hospital on the Tuesday evening in order to be given PEP treatment (precautionary post-infection HIV treatment that is only effective within a 72-hour window). So the Friday morning hospital visit is purely to do with her conversation with the other woman (the first time she discovered Assange had slept with someone else) and may be when she handed in her OWN version of a “torn during sex” condom (there’s no proper police chain-of-custody document for it; nevertheless it appears in the forensics report) – a fragment she apparently told police she heard, but didn’t see in the dark, being deliberately damaged – she “heard a noise like he was pulling on a balloon” and “found the fragment under the bed on the side where he lay”. However, she never mentioned this incident to any of her friends, or in text messages, or to police in her FORMAL statement. She’s been re-interviewed by police a total of 8 times, as far as we know, up to February 2013.

    There’s no case. There never was. The Swedish prosecutor had that forensics report for a month before she issued an extradition warrant for Assange, on which she lied. As she also did to the UK court (by fax; she refused to appear for cross-examination) during the first extradition hearing.

    I think this very quickly arranged trip to Sweden shows panic at the US DoJ that they are losing public support in Sweden for extraditing Assange (and that Assange is gaining public support to have this travesty of injustice finally laid to rest). The Swedish Prosecution Authority has issued a statement this morning about the Agenda debate to be broadcast this evening, saying the prosecutor was asked to take part but declined; that nothing in the case has changed; that she’s in sole charge of the prosecution and therefore no one else can act as spokesperson in her place:

  27. Arbed; DOJ is scrambling to find a consistent identity for the Rule of Law, which has suffered wrt 4th Amendent issues and Snowden is the fly in that ointment.

    Last year two states (Washington and Colorado) legalized marijuana with Holder making some flaccid comments, and Obama has handed the issue to Congress.

    I suspect Holder’s visit is one of temperance, because he is the most tepid of all bureaucrats. It’s a fig-leaf he postures for Sweden and that requires a personal visit, mea culpa.

  28. Should be a good watch. Jowell is dire. She does the paper review once a week on Sky News.

    Question Time BBC 1 Thursday 6.2.14
    Duration: 1 hour

    David Dimbleby presents the topical debate from Gillingham in Kent, with a panel including former Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa Jowell MP and Respect MP George Galloway.

    Wonder if she will defend BLiar? GG is producing a film entitled The Killing of Tony Blair.

  29. Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet recently. This isn’t my favourite time of year. And this winter I have almost forgotten what weather other than wet, windy and grey feels like. Long range weather models have more of the same lined up.

  30. Indeed very depressing AlcAnon. Strange weather all over the planet.

    A pic of the puppy would cheer us all up!

  31. Dude; You seem like a highly structured guy. Break some routines. Find a steam or sauna or get a massage (no, a real massage). If you don’t normally eat breakfast make a huge breakfast. Clark’s idea is good. Any change of scenery might break the closed-loop.

  32. Alcanon

    i hear your heart…only upside is that we have an extra hour of light already…and some kind of Summer is on the way…lost count of how many aurora alerts i have went hunting to be robbed by effin clouds……i have had far more luck with the Noctilucent clouds… of High Summer…

    We all….Appreciate this Friendly Blog space you have Provided…Big Pat on The Back to ya…. Cheers…if you can’t make it South to Clark’s maybe we could meet somewhere (halfway ) for a bite n Blether

  33. Okay folks. Took a few puppy photographs earlier to cheer me up and you lot as well hopefully 🙂 Will sort out a couple for posting tomorrow.

  34. Only had the phone’s camera and it was low light but here’s a few pics. Asleep in the first pic. Chewing at a bone-like thing in the other two.

  35. I just love dogs. I think the linguistics of ‘god’ spelled backward is Nature’s subtle way of teaching humans the concept of genuine love; the kind that neither expects nor demands anything in return.

  36. Thanks AlcAnon. He’s lovely. ‘ Hasn’t he grown’ as they say. I like his markings.

    I also love cats and esp. Brian’s big cats at play. In fact I love all animals. All God’s creatures and all marvels. Plus the two legged variety too but some of them leave a lot to be desired as we all know!

    Had a sad evening last night. My friend who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease joined us at a pub. Since I saw her at Christmas she is now unable to speak and can just swallow food if it is minced. She can still walk and uses a wheeled frame for support. Still brave though and seeing the funny side of life.

    We had a lovely waitress called Vilma. I was the clever clogs who guessed she was from Lithuania. She made us laugh a lot. So much personality. She told us about her home and family and that she has a Masters in Engineering. She studied this subject to please her father but now realizes that this was a mistake and that one should always follow one’s heart and inclination. She is such a good people person I am sure she will succeed in whatever she does. She has loved being in the UK and thinks the country is wonderful, especially the beautiful countryside. She returns to Lithuania in March.

  37. Some less pleasant images. This Saturday. Eeek!

    The first is max wind (km/hr) and the second a measure of how cold the air mass is. Min pressure modelled at 948mb. Click image to see full size. Forecast from US GFS model 12 noon run today for noon Saturday. (Met Office don’t supply full output of their models for free).

    Loads more rain,extremely high winds and probably horizontal sleet for some.

  38. I can take the rain now that the roof is hopefully fixed but I find the high wind and gusts quite scary.

    Met Office website.
    UK forecast
    Day 6 to 30

    UK Outlook for Monday 10 Feb 2014 to Wednesday 19 Feb 2014:

    It looks like the weather will remain very unsettled through next week with a continuing risk of gales or severe gales, especially in the south and west. There will be spells of rain, which will be interspersed with brighter but showery intervals, these occasionally heavy with hill snow in the north. The best of any drier and brighter interludes are most likely towards the east and southeast of the UK. Temperatures are likely to be near or rather below normal, with the risk of frost and ice. Towards the end of the period, although it is likely to remain unsettled, there could be longer drier spells between weather systems, as well as a greater chance of some colder interludes.

    UK Outlook for Thursday 20 Feb 2014 to Thursday 6 Mar 2014:

    Current indications point towards early February’s unsettled conditions persisting through the rest of the month and into the start of March. The most likely scenario during this period would see northwestern parts of the UK affected by the most frequent spells of unsettled and windy weather. Meanwhile southern and eastern regions should tend to see longer spells of drier and brighter weather than previous weeks, although still with some rain-bearing systems. This would mean that temperatures are likely to be close to or slightly above the seasonal average, but with some colder periods possible, and the risk of frost and ice, and hill snow, especially in the north.

    Issued at: 1600 on Wed 5 Feb 2014

    Emigration anyone?

  39. Ahh Storm Chasin Weather

    Sometimes myself and a hardy lady Friend go out Storm chasing… Big waves n Such….and Sometime we have to wind our way around fallen trees…And Sometimes i think… This might not be a Good idea Lol

    Thats a shame about your Friend Mary… wee soul

    But nice story about the Happy Vilma… sounds like she is an interesting Lady.

  40. Squonk, thanks for the puppy pics. I love the ‘inside-out’ ear in the first one; I’m reminded of the Hell Hound in Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens.

    Thanks for the Met Office data too. Looks like me and Mary will be copping it worse here in the south than you lot in Sconny Botland.

  41. I am looking forward to Sunday and Monday Clark. There are some symbols for ‘sunny intervals’ and no black blobs for ‘heavy rain’ or yellow/amber warnings for rain or wind on the Met’s 5 day forecast in this area.

    I still think about what it must be like for the folks in Somerset and in the SW coastal towns. Terrible damage.

    I think Gaia is trying to tell us something.

  42. Broken Britain? Yes.

    I have just been reading about heating oil, quad bikes and other property being stolen from abandoned homes in the Somerset Levels. Strange cars are being seen in the area.

    This in Chertsey last month.
    Sports car which was abandoned after it got stuck in floodwater was stripped of parts
    A sports car caught in flooding and left by its owner was rapidly stripped by thieves.
    The £60,000 Audi RS5 was swamped near a rail bridge in Chertsey, Surrey, last month.

    Leaving behind this

    Opportunist crooks smashed its windows within hours, then took everything from the engine to the interior and steering wheel.

    All the above crime taking place in a country where some people are driving around in high priced cars like the Audi. A fractured society. Sorry. ‘There is no such thing as society’!

  43. Train at Dawlish before the line got washed out. Looks like it is filmed from a boat not a train.

    Also video overlooking the railway line as it is battered by the waves. Astonishingly a passenger train (possibly the same train seen in above video) trundles through the waves in the midst of the storm. Lucky there wasn’t a train on the line when the sea wall collapsed.

  44. Travelling along that line along the Exe estuary through Dawlish is usually a very pleasant experience. Just a mistake by Brunel building it there but he must have had his reasons. There is apparently a Teign Valley line from Exeter to Plymouth but I don’t know anything about it.

    We like our doggy stories here. How about Reqs locating Cayyad? Bless.

    Clacton explosion: House explosion dog is found alive

  45. Forget that bit about the Teign Valley Line. It’s gone. Some of it even lies under the A38.

    The last line reads

    Revival of the Teign Valley Line is an option that might be considered in the wake of widespread disruption caused by damage to the mainline track at Dawlish by coastal storms in February 2014. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin ordered a review of alternative inland rail routes.[speculation?]

  46. I remember reading about that MJ. It makes the geographical location of Hinckley Point critical should that event ever happen again. In fact all the present nuclear power stations located on coasts are vulnerable.

  47. MJ, thanks for that Interesting Wikipedia link.

    a tsunami would most likely have been caused by an earthquake on a known unstable fault off the coast of Ireland


    the same original sources make it clear that flooding occurred in Norfolk on the night of the same date (at local high water)

    So perhaps gravitational tidal forces triggered an earthquake, which added a tsunami to spring tide high water.

    Mary, I agree; the nuclear power stations are vulnerable. Reactors that can fail catastrophically need to be dismantled. Economic concerns have to become secondary to environmental concerns.

  48. I wrote:

    Reactors that can fail catastrophically need to be dismantled.

    So far as I know, that includes all of our current power generation reactors. Research and educational reactors are probably small enough to be an acceptable hazard.

  49. Squonk, classic! 07:22; referring to Eric Pickles. “I’m tryin’ to be serious, man… Cobra, from GI Joe, is led by a pickle?!”

  50. I find Pickles quite scary. Something menacing about the visage? I think it’s the apparent inscrutability.


    There’s an awful lot of purgin’ going on in this.
    Going back to the ’80s in Bradford.

    ‘Whilst at Bradford, Pickles announced a five-year plan to cut the council’s budget by £50m, reduce the workforce by a third, privatise services and undertake council departmental restructures, many of which proved controversial.[4] A book, The Pickles Papers by Tony Grogan, was written about this period in Pickles’ life.[5]’

    It was ever thus.

  51. This writer argues that the flooding in Somerset is a deliberate act. I wouldn’t care to comment on that but the following prediction is clear and unambiguous:

    “What will happen next is that the carpet baggers will move into the Levels to buy up the land at rock bottom fire-sale prices, which is all the farmers will be able to charge now that the land has been contaminated from overflowing sewerage and their farms are virtually uninsurable. The carpet baggers will probably make a killing in selling that land on to the frackers, as it stands over a huge shale gas field which they’ve been slavering over for some time”

  52. I put similar links on Craig MJ. A EU directive lies behind to allow plains to become flooded. Richard North and Christopher Booker soon rubbished by the chief troll. The latter becomes more desperate and ridiculous by the day.

    I think the presence of shale gas in the Somerset area is significant.

    Did you see Agent Cameron doing his Cap’n Mainwaring act on Chesil Beach earlier? Followed by Mil(l)ipede E and Cleggover on visits in short order. All electioneering now.

  53. At first I was dubious about the fracking connection because the geological maps I could find did not show shale gas deposits in the area. Turns out however that the maps I was looking at were a bit old. This Greenpeace article is more up to date and includes the following observation:

    “The recently published Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) on the 14th onshore oil and gas licensing round noted “flood risk presents a significant planning issue… should the site become flooded during exploratory drilling, production, operation or decommissioning, adverse effects could occur””

  54. There was a plan MJ to allow the farmland to be flooded.

    10 February 2014
    UK floods: Somerset farmland water plan defended

    Small comfort to this farming couple who were featured on Farming Today. They were having to find immediate accommodation for 550 cattle. The cattle ended up in pens in an empty market. It was pretty heart breaking to listen to. The couple were in a state of high stress and anxiety.

    Somerset Levels Evacuation, Farming and Wildlife
    Availability:3 days left to listen
    Duration: 13 minutes
    First broadcast: Friday 07 February 2014
    The situation in Somerset has reached a new low for some farmers as they are forced to remove their livestock from the Levels. With floodwaters continuing to rise, James and Jenny Winslade have evacuated their farm and found temporary accommodation for 550 cattle. Farming Today’s Anna Jones was there as they arrived at Sedgemoor Livestock market. With thousands of acres underwater some farmers on the Levels are also appealing for food and bedding for their animals.

    There seems to be so much confusion in governmental planning and decision making or rather the lack of it. I think it is Cameron’s darkest hour from which he will have great difficulty recovering. He can only mouth so many empty words.

  55. Dudes you are all most likely spot on… But how do they make absolute certain of the rains to do the job…. geoengineering methinks…HARPS.

  56. Pickles! He reminds me of one of the Batman arch-villains, ‘The Penguin’ I think; “It could be worse – there could be blood all over your face!” (bites the other’s face, blood everywhere).

    Mary, yes, Pickles in Bradford in the ’80s. I was there, and he was very unpopular. He held the casting vote on the council; decision after decision was decided by his one vote. Graffiti went up all over the city:

    “Eat Pickles!”

    Then he followed me down to Essex and became MP for the neighbouring constituency of Brentwood. Brentwood and Pickles deserve each other.

  57. I just got a spam e-mail from Craig’s BT account, so it seems that BY-Yahoo still haven’t solved their security problems.

  58. Clark Bad luck on Pickles. I listened to a bit of his stuff yesterday. An appalling level of ‘debate’. I would not believe a word he says.

    This on BT. Two months ago I was told that BT Yahoo mail was being replaced by BT Mail. On and off I have had to log in to Yahoo and BT separately. Yesterday I could only access mail by logging in to Yahoo as BT Mail died. Also there is no facility to keep logged in on BT Mail so if I log off or close down my machine, I am constantly having to log in. The BT forums are full of similar complaints. I long to tell them to ‘log off’ which I resolve to do this year.

    The message on their home page now reads:

    BT Yahoo email security warning
    We’ve recently detected unusual activity on some BT Yahoo email accounts and have already taken steps to secure these.
    If after logging into your email, you receive a message advising you to change your password and run some security checks, it is important for you to do so.
    Further advice on the steps we recommend that you should also take can be found at

    and the ‘keep me logged in’ facility has disappeared. They could not run the proverbial whelk stall.

  59. Mary, you shouldn’t need to log in to BT at all, unless you wish to look at your on-line billing details etc.. You should only have to log in to use the web-based e-mail interface.

    I’ve seen the installation that came on the CD with BT Broadband, and it was essentially dishonest. Its home page defaulted to the BT Login page, giving users the impression that they needed to log in just to use the public Internet. I’ve met two users misled by this.

    What’s really going on is that BT-Yahoo arranged their software bundle that way to trick BT users into logging in, so that cookies would be set on the users’ browser. These cookies are then displayed by the users’ browser to every BT- and Yahoo-affiliated site that they visit, rather like one of those badges they give you when you attend a conference.

    In short, it’s about tracking.

  60. “I long to tell them to ‘log off’ which I resolve to do this year”

    Mary: never mind this year, do it this week. It’s easy.

  61. Squonk, how come this page now requests Javascript from and I don’t see any Facebook ‘Like’ buttons or similar.

  62. is always referenced from Facebook.

    That’s really cheeky of Facebook, insinuating their Javascript just for displaying an image.

  63. Yes it is an embedded video from Facebook. Short of using a tool to rip it and re-upload somewhere else there isn’t much I can do – as it’s a users personal video I really don’t want to copy it.. However I block third party cookies so embedded videos from FB (or Youtube for that matter) can’t see (or set) their cookies when displaying embedded video. Third party tracking cookies can be blocked with a simple setting in most browsers now with no add-ons needed and I generally recommend most people do that. Finally Facebook videos are served from Akamai content delivery network which is why you see it needed.

    Btw the videos are served using an encrypted connection with forward secrecy (Diffie-Hellman). Yes even facebook has turned on forward secrecy now. So even if you don’t block third party cookies it is far less likely they are being sucked into the global spy machine in the way the Snowden documents describe. Commercial companies beefing up their encryption and going dark to routine monitoring might be what really has TPTB furious with Snowden.

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