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)]

17,285 thoughts on “The General Discussion Thread

  1. With the Thames flood barrier going up and down like a yoyo at the moment, I noticed this.

    Future use of the barrier

    As sea level rises, the Thames Barrier will have to close more frequently to prevent overtopping of the flood defences upstream of the barrier.

    The risk of the barrier failing is increased the more it is closed, and frequent closures will affect the maintenance regime.

    The current recommendation of the Thames Estuary 2100 project is to set 50 as the maximum number of times the barrier should close each year. This will reduce the chance of it failing to UNACCEPTABLE levels. This is a key constraint in the Thames tidal defence system and reaching this figure will mean we will need to intervene and improve the tidal defence system.

    The page hasn’t been updated for a few weeks so doesn’t have the most recent closures. The Thames flood barrier was raised this morning, is open now and will be raised again this evening. They can’t keep up two closures a day for ever…

    But rest assured the Environment Agency is working to reduce the risk of failure to UNACCEPTABLE levels. Freudian slip?

  2. Mary,

    Yes WordPress thinks the comments are on page 2 when they are actually on Page 3. usually gets back in sync after a few comments on the new page. It is some interaction between the spam filter and comments initially queued for moderation I think that causes it to get confused about the page later comments are actually on. I haven’t really tried to track it down. Let’s see if this comment is enough to convince it we are on page 3 now.

  3. 11 February 2014, 22:01
    UK nuclear clean-up guilty of weak management – MPs

    The Public Accounts Committee of Britain’s House of Commons has issued a scathing report into the companies cleaning up the country’s biggest nuclear plant, Sellafield.

    The PAC says the consortium that includes American company NMP, has missed targets, let costs escalate to “astonishing” levels and is guilty of weak management.

    VoR’s Vivienne Nunis spoke to John Large, an independent nuclear consultant.
    Read more:

  4. AlcAnon, 3:16 pm

    Commercial companies beefing up their encryption and going dark to routine monitoring might be what really has TPTB furious with Snowden.

    Yes, that seems likely.

  5. Mary, Sellafield:

    “The total cost of decommissioning, which will be borne by UK taxpayers, is now considered to be in excess of £70 bn”

    You know the story, I suppose. The UK developed Magnox and the Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGR), and exported the technology across the world. The fuel assemblies were to be supplied by Britain, and the “spent” fuel returned for reprocessing at Sellafield. This was supposed to make a profit; critics claimed it turned the UK into the world’s “nuclear dustbin”.

    £70 bn, but they’re not prototyping one single Molten Salt Reactor, the device that potentially digests nuclear “waste” while producing electricity:

    Wow! I Googled “amster concept” (“AMSTER” = Actinides Molten Salt TransmutER) and the .pdf on my own web space came up as the second entry! Unfortunately, the link is broken as I’ve tidied up my web-space, and Google presumably hasn’t crawled my site since then:

  6. “Web search engines and some other sites use Web crawling or spidering software to update their web content or indexes of others sites’ web content. Web crawlers can copy all the pages they visit for later processing by a search engine that indexes the downloaded pages so that users can search them much more quickly”

  7. Mary, that paper was presented at the Physor 2000 conference, Pittsburgh USA in May 2000. Development of the AMSTER concept was begun in response to a law passed by the French parliament in December 1991. EdF and the CEA had studied the Molten Salt Reactor in the ’70s, using Weinberg’s results obtained at the US Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the late ’60s.

    There was never any need to produce nuclear “waste” – I know I keep banging on about this, but how can it be called “waste” when the whole disposal problem is due to this “waste” in fact being 98% unused?

    According to that paper AMSTER can even burn U238, otherwise known as depleted uranium. Had Weinberg been listened to instead of sacked, MSR technology would have developed alongside PWRs and BWRs, burning their “waste” and quickly rendering them redundant altogether. Instead, half a century later, we now have hundreds of PWRs and BWRs, hundreds of tonnes of “waste” and not one single MSR, not even a prototype.

    Commercialism and Short-termism. All that was ever lacking was the political will.

  8. Mary, I don’t think I can say what a Google Crawler looks like, but Squonk might be able to tell you what sort of tracks it leaves in the server logs.

  9. The Davey Crockett nuke was one of Ted Taylor’s designs. Together with the backpack variant they are normally listed as the smallest nukes the US ever made. However Ted Taylor went on to design scalable nukes for the Orion nuclear spaceship project. In at least one interview he appeared to confirm that they actually manufactured and tested a miniaturised. design based on the Orion work (Taylor went to work directly in the Pentagon after leaving Orion). Although there has been much obfuscation since it seems to me that available evidence suggests that practical nukes very., very much smaller than the Davey Crockett or backpack nukes do actually exist.

    Ted Taylor left the Pentagon in the mid 60s and went on to become strongly opposed to further nuclear weapons development and later also civilian nuclear power. He believed there were many ways he knew of to create catastrophic situations with civilian nuclear plants and that building viable small nukes was a far simpler thing to do (using civilian fuel cycles) than much of the open literature suggested. He spent a considerable part of his life trying to come up with a “safe” civilian fuel cycle and came to the conclusion that there wasn’t one. The only place for nuclear he said was out in space away from the planet.

    I recommend The Curve of Binding Energy: A Journey into the Awesome and Alarming World of Theodore B. Taylor

    Towards the end of his life Taylor campaigned against the National Ignition Facility fusion research. Taylor also claimed that it was possible to build pure fusion bombs (he claimed to know how) and that civilian (and/or dual purpose military) fusion research was in serious danger of stumbling upon something, perhaps already known but most highly classified, with extremely dangerous ramifications. As Taylor was the chief designer of US fusion boosted fission bombs he possibly knew exactly what it was he feared and wasn’t just guessing…

    Freeman Dyson On Ted Taylor

    Freeman Dyson said of Taylor, “Very few people have Ted’s imagination. … I think he is perhaps the greatest man that I ever knew well. And he is completely unknown.”

  10. A 1996 article by Ted Taylor calling for a renewable energy based future.

    Personally I’d like to think Taylor was wrong and that we can come up with “safe enough” fission or fusion power given resource constraints. I remain highly dubious however but I am sure we could at least do a lot better than current operating designs. Sadly Taylor never answered in full detail (as far as I know) why he rejected certain proposed reactor types and fuel cycles as he said there were things best left unsaid (or he couldn’t say if not already in the public domain).

  11. Mary,

    Actually there’s a specific Pugwash transcript of his I was trying to find. I know I saw it on the net at one time but search engines are drawing a blank just now.

    Taylor had his own web site and blog starting in the 90s but he shut it down after 9/11 and it doesn’t seem to be archived anywhere. Taylor had previously described how terrorists could use mini nukes to bring down the twin-towers. When the twin-towers fell in reality he pulled his website never to return.

  12. Clark, Mary Here’s a log entry for the Google Bot – – [12/Feb/2014:19:37:12 +0000] “GET /blog/2014/01/20/the-general-discussion-thread/ HTTP/1.1” 200 12479 “-” “Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +”

    So it just looks like any normal page access, identifying the browser as Googlebot.

  13. Flood Prediction Nonsense.

    Even though Homeland Security would probably prefer it be not public, the US still produces flood forecast maps from weather models for public consumption. The UK will also have maps with reasonably reliable projected river levels from Met Office models at least up to 4 days ahead.

    So where are they (at least for public consumption)?

  14. A595 northbound between Sellafield Visitor Centre and A5086 | Congestion

    Lovely weather I imagine they are having there.

    So nobody else wonders? I guess so many people just decided to visit the UK’s biggest nuclear mess “Visitor Centre”, during one of the UK’s forecast most damaging storms impacting the site, that it overwhelmed the roads then?

  15. Yeah I wondered, but I only just got here. Where the Hell do you find enough traffic to form congestion in that bit of Cumbria?

  16. Hmpf. Well the Twin Towers didn’t appear to be brought down by mini-nukes. I suppose the similarity between Taylor’s idea and the actual collapses just freaked him out.

    If there is something really dangerous lurking in classified nuclear physics, it’ll be rediscovered by civilian academia eventually.

    I found this, deleted from Taylor’s Wikipedia page in 2007:

    He’s credited with the coolest use of a nuclear weapon after using the reflected thermal pulse of a nuclear blast to light a cigarette at one of the atomic bomb tests.

    Someone repeatedly vandalised his page in 2006 and 2009, replacing sourced material with insults. The page was nominated for deletion at one point. It’s a very short page for someone Freeman Dyson called “the greatest man that I ever knew well”.

  17. Clark,

    The strange thing about the towers was that he described in advance in the book how to make them collapse down on themselves pretty much exactly as they did after the planes hit. He returned to the subject (still prior to the attack though) in more detail in a Pugwash talk (I can no longer find) IIRC. Something about heat transmission through the supporting cylinder – heat pulse demolition nukes.

    No I’m not saying that’s what happened on 9/11. Fission product and other measurements after the event rule out a fission bomb (but appear to just leave open the possibility of a pure fusion, or near enough, bomb though interestingly enough).

  18. Btw yes, Taylor did famously light a cigarette using a nuclear bomb. No idea why that has been deleted from Wikiepdia as it is documented in several sources.

  19. Clark,

    If there is something really dangerous lurking in classified nuclear physics, it’ll be rediscovered by civilian academia eventually

    . (Asimov)

    Araman reveals that the government chronoscopy agency, far from suppressing scientific research out of blind authoritarianism, was trying to protect the people in the only way they knew how.

  20. I thought about the collapses of the Twin Towers a lot, and read a whole lot of web pages, before I finally decided I didn’t have a problem with the way they collapsed. A “tube within a tube” design, relatively lightly connected between the inner tube and the outer by the floor structures, with several storeys-worth of debris falling onto those floors, accumulating, effectively pushing outwards on the outer tube, stripping it outwards so that the outer sections would fall, just like we saw. That it all ended up in two fairly compact piles I attribute to the relative slender shape of the buildings.

    I have more of a problem with Building Seven, for various reasons. But the main event was over by then anyway.

    But I have big problems with non-detection of the alleged hijackers (or rather the blockage of the reports about them from higher levels), and the non-interception of the airliners, and the utter vulnerability of the entire USA while most of its air force was up around the Arctic Circle. Who the Hell authorises a decision like that? What if the Russians had attacked? You just don’t send nearly your entire air force away on manoeuvres simultaneously; what a crazy decision.

    And I have big problems with the internal ructions within the 9/11 Commission (Acts I & II), Cheney and Bush’s unsworn and secret testimony, and those redacted pages concerning the Saudi princes. And in any case, Saudi Arabia is a US ally and the alleged perpetrators, Al Qaeda, are effectively proxy US forces.

    9/11 was an “inside job” all right, but that doesn’t mean the US government did it. It was an “inside job” like a bank robbery aided by a small group within the staff. Add to that what we’ve learned since about the outrageously lax security of US government and corporate computer systems (Booz Hamilton etc., key-logger malware at Drone Control Virginia). I reckon it was mainly a corporate operation.

  21. Mary, grief, you wouldn’t think it would be too complicated just to open the fence a bit and let them go, would you? That’s not a cull; culling is to control population, not a mere convenience measure. It’d be far better to just let them out. As soon as they shoot the first one the others will panic, and they’re all trapped within the fences.

    Probably the authorities are actually worried that the deer might be contaminated but they don’t want to admit it.

  22. “A “tube within a tube” design, relatively lightly connected between the inner tube and the outer by the floor structures”

    Don’t understand this remark. What makes you think the inner and outer tubes were “relatively lightly connected”? They were very strongly connected by thousands of steel supporting beams. They had to be in order to withstand the enormous wind load on buildings of that size. Perhaps you are confusing the supporting beams, which maintained the structural integrity of the building, with the lightweight floor trusses, which provided no structural support whatsover and only had to bear the weight of people and office equpment. FEMA’s Building Performance Study of 2002 first introduced the floor truss distraction but this has long since been discredited.

    If WTC had relied on the floor trusses for lateral support the buildings would have collaped after the first decent gale. In fact they were designed to withstand a 120-year hurricane.

  23. “…with several storeys-worth of debris falling onto those floors, accumulating, effectively pushing outwards on the outer tube, stripping it outwards so that the outer sections would fall, just like we saw”

    We didn’t see anything of the sort. What we saw was the whole building – concrete and steel alike – being converted to dust, floor by floor, top to bottom, at almost freefall speed. That dust was projected outwards and upwards forming the vast plumes that could be seen from space.

    Ground Zero did not comprise “compact piles” of rubble; it comprised a vast pit of dust. Workers involved in the clear up reported finding no piece of rubble larger than a house brick. It was just dust.

    If you’re looking for evidence of micro-nukes or some other high energy explosive it lies in the dust. Think of how much energy would be required to transform all that concrete and steel uniformly into dust, within the space of 15 seconds or so. Consider whether a few thousand litres of kerosene and a bit of gravity could provide enough.

  24. I know it’s Winter but it is so depressing.

    Met Office UK forecast
    Day 1 to 5 Turning wet and windy on Friday with snow in places.

    This Evening and Tonight: Winds will ease and showers will clear except from western Scotland leaving plenty of clear spells. This will lead to a slight frost and ice in places. However, rain and strong winds will reach southwest England by morning.

    Friday: Heavy rain will move northwards across the UK giving some snow in parts of the north. It will become very windy again too, with severe gales later in the south.

    Outlook for Saturday to Monday: Strong winds, with severe gales in the south, and rain will gradually ease on Saturday leaving a drier day on Sunday with sunshine and isolated showers. Further rain on Monday.

    UK Outlook for Tuesday 18 Feb 2014 to Thursday 27 Feb 2014:
    Although some rain may affect the east at first, Tuesday is likely to be largely dry and settled with some sunshine. Similar conditions should persist into Wednesday before more rain reaches the west later. It will be rather cold with the risk of frost and ice, although winds will be generally light. Thereafter, there is likely to be a return to more unsettled weather as rainbands spread east but conditions are not expected to be as stormy as recent weeks. With temperatures near or slightly below normal generally, snow is possible at times, mainly across northern areas. Winds will increase to strong, with gales around western coasts. Between frontal systems, it will turn more settled with a greater chance of frost and ice.

    UK Outlook for Friday 28 Feb 2014 to Friday 14 Mar 2014:
    Current indications point towards unsettled conditions persisting for much of this period but not as extreme as recently. The most likely scenario 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 periods of rain. Temperatures are likely to be close to or slightly above the seasonal average, but with some colder periods possible, and the risk of local frost and ice, and hill snow, especially in the north.

  25. One thing that still puzzles me about the the towers was the excess tritium found at the site afterwards. The “official” theory is that it came from illuminated signs on the two planes and possibly night-sights for weapons stored on site. I’ve never really totally bought that as the measured concentrations seemed too high. The tritium discovery was announced fairly early on IIRC.

  26. Squonk, I’ve no idea about tritium concentrations; can you expound a bit? Like, what sort of things result in what sort of concentrations?

    Tritium is associated with nuclear fusion, of course, and its a minor reaction product from nuclear fission. But it has the same chemistry as hydrogen and fairly similar physical properties – so I’d expect it either to combine with oxygen or to diffuse away pretty swiftly.

  27. Interesting debate Guys…. i’ve read up a lot on all of this… but for sure i agree with MJ … none of the three towers came down Pan-cake style… the speed would have been much reduced if so…and also there may have been a very real toppling sideways of one or both Twin Towers… its also well documented that the towers were designed to withstand Larger jetliner impacts – more fuel – fires, traveling at higher speeds….

    also there is evidence of nano thermite in the dust, and molten metal for weeks after 9/11.

    Architects and Engineers for 9/11 truth, are among some great sources of info

    and one of my fave sites on it all –

  28. MJ, there were big sections of the outer structure falling; I’ve seen it on some of the videos. But yes, a lot of dust was produced almost instantly. I’ve just watched a few videos looking for the falling debris but there are lots of clips, and in the ones I watched you wouldn’t have seen the falling pieces because of all the dust. But in the clip I remember you could see these big lumps precisely because they were falling faster than the building was collapsing*, and thus keeping clear of the descending dust cloud.

    * I think it might have been a clip that Angrysoba linked to, to make his point that the collapse wasn’t as fast as free-fall.


    “the speed would have been much reduced if so”

    I don’t think there was much margin for such a possibility. A collapse could either accelerate leading to complete destruction, or decelerate in which case it would have stopped short of the ground. OK, there is a range of critical collapse rates between uniform velocity and decelerating to a stop just at ground level, but my guess is that this is a pretty narrow window. It seems inevitable that a slow collapse would stop short of the ground.

    I don’t think there was much chance of toppling, either. Remember, the towers were mostly hollow. As soon as the top disconnected from the bottom, the steel beams were no longer supporting the top, so there was no fulcrum for the top to hinge about – the top was falling, and things don’t fall sideways unless thrown or pushed. The top essentially fell into the (mostly) empty space beneath it, rather than the top falling onto the rest of the building. It’s very easy to think of buildings as solid, but they’re mostly just full of air.

    Whatever. There were only two buildings like that and they’re both gone. The only way to really convince the public would be to build a significant sample of identical buildings and simulate the impact damage and fires. If we thereby discovered that explosives or whatever were necessary, that still doesn’t tell us who set the charges. We’d still need to know how the Hell two aircraft remained unintercepted. Cheney and Bush would still have avoided sworn testimony, there would still be pages redacted from the 9/11 commission report, and Sibel Edmonds would still be legally gagged.

  29. I went to a talk in London at the RIBA headquarters given by Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers which was amazing for the amount of fact and information he provided.

    In the back row was Aaronovitch scribbling away and working on his smartphone. You know how he labels dissenters and disbelievers of the NWO doctrine as ‘conspiracy theorists’. I never checked to see what he wrote afterwards.

    All I know is that following 9/11 the evil of Afghanistan and Iraq flowed and think how many times you hear of it as justification for removing each of our freedoms and liberties one by one. Terrrrrrrism is the watchword.

    PS Remember how fast the debris was removed to a waste dump and disappeared.

    Just a little hole in the ground for the missing flight and the crash at ground level into the Pentagon was literally unbelievable.

    Clark I have never understood why Craig virtually squelched an open discussion about it. Similarly Medialens who diverted it to some forum which when I went to look yesterday, is not available!

  30. I agree Mary, I can only explain it in a way that Craig might have wanted to keep out some of the more conspiratorial adversaries, but now, after 13 years this should not bother us anymore, or should it?

    I think the evidence removal and instant disposal, claiming that they had get NY back to normality, was a sop of sorts, if the ‘event’ was really was that ground breaking and history changing, then all efforts should have been made to understand what happened, grief does not come into it.

    But thats what is was initially, all grief and poor us, whilkst two plane’s full of Saudi were flown out of a national no fly zone. Everything about the event stinks, the signs beofre it happened were ignored, despite the hightened alerts, thdespite them knowing for ten years that flying airliners into skyscrapers was on the radar, the Bojinka plot made that obvious.

    Why did General myers, when the event was reported tol him, go back into a meeting with a lower ranking officer talking about a manouvre they were undertaking? why did he not order the fighter jets at Edwards AFB to scramble? Did he knew what was going to happen to the Pentagon?

    I have no doubt that the evidence will eventually be out and that this event was planned, an inside job to bring the whole world out behind and in support of a wider resource war in the middle east, a spreading of chaos, a division of territory, so aptly reported by Gen Wesley Clark.

    Building 7 should have been damaged, but not explode and burn down, holding all the evidence of US fraud that ever occured and was recorded there.

    What were those lorries delivering in the early mornings, some days before it happened, have the CCTV pictures showing them unload tons of equipment been analised or have they disappeared as well, all unanswered questions, but the digging continues.

  31. “there were big sections of the outer structure falling”

    Yes, there seemed to be but it was all dust by the time it hit the ground. There is one remarkable shot where we briefly see a sizeable section of the steel core still standing as the building collapses around it but it just seems to evaporate to nothing before our eyes. It’s as though it had aleady been turned to dust but was briefly retaining its form, like a sand castle or a block of talcum powder.

    “A collapse could either accelerate leading to complete destruction, or decelerate in which case it would have stopped short of the ground”

    The dangers of a pancake style collapse of tall buildings have been well understood since the outset. That’s why, by law, all tall buildings have reinforced layers every few floors whose purpose is to arrest such a collapse. That’s why buildings never collapse like that other than by demolition. Those reinforced levels have to be disabled otherwise the collapse comes to an abrupt halt.

    Given that in the case of WTC we see each floor in turn being turned into dust and sent outwards and upwards into the air, it is particularly difficult to explain, without recourse to explosives, what made the lower floors (which had suffered no damage) give way in the manner that they did. The load bearing down on them was diminishing by the second as the floors above them became airborne. Even without the reinforced sections the collapse should have soon run out of steam.

  32. Amazing that they want to find out about the creation of the Universe on the one hand, yet on the other create mayhem on this part of it, Planet Earth.

    ‘UK backs huge US neutrino plan
    By Pallab Ghosh
    Science correspondent, BBC News, Chicago

    US researchers have given details of a plan for one of the biggest physics experiments ever built.

    Scientists at Fermilab, just outside Chicago, want to fire a beam of particles called neutrinos through 1,300km (800 miles) of rock some 30km below the surface.

    The experiment’s aim is to learn more about how the Universe was created.’

  33. Not mentioned by the BBC Mary is that the experiment will be of interest to the military. Nuclear reactors emit neutrinos and you can detect nuclear submarines with appropriately placed detector networks. You can also potentially signal a submarine using neutrinos. Both sending data and detecting nuclear subs have already been demonstrated.

    There was a proposal in India by two of their leading physicists (I’ve linked their names to their current positions below so you can see what I mean) that they should build a neutrino detector network to principally look for nuclear submarines. Intriguingly the paper also suggested that India was aware of some kind of extremely stealthy vehicle that sometimes crossed Indian air-space at great altitude. For reasons not explained in the paper it seems it was known to emit neutrinos and they could track it with the detector network as well. Most peculiar.

    Neutrino Radar

    Prasanta K. Panigrahi and Utpal Sarkar
    Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad 380 009, India
    School of Physics, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, 500046, India

    We point out that with improving our present knowledge of experimental neutrino physics it will be possible to locate nuclear powered vehicles like submarines, aircraft carriers and UFOs and detect nuclear testing. Since neutrinos cannot be shielded, it will not be possible to escape detection. In these detectors it will also be possible to perform neutrino oscillation experiments during any nuclear testing.

    …Since the range of these detectors are expected to be few hundred kms, any nuclear powered aircraft will be within the range of these detectors when they enter our atmosphere in the vicinity of the detectors.

    Even more peculiarly India is now building a neutrino detector but there’s no mention of submarines or neutrino emitting spacecraft now though!

  34. Thanks. I am always amazed at how much information you and others here have stored in your noddles.

    PS Where is Ben?

  35. In one day here the barometric pressure has fallen from 1001mb to 970mb which is the present reading. I have just been out to check on the hens. The moon was out from behind the scudding clouds and suddenly there was a roaring noise through the trees at the bottom of the garden which sounded just like an express train going through. One of those gusts. Majestic but scary. I wish I had a weather station with an anemometer and all the works.

    It has stopped raining!

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