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. At this distance the forecasts are for entertainment only Clark and the model has updated with latest projection which moves the cold ridiculously far south sparing the UK from the coldest air. Latest update has temperatures below freezing right down to the French and Spanish Mediterranean coast. Even the Italian south coast is subzero!

  2. UK MET Office now using the words “significant snowfall”. Note the addition of the word “significant” since last update. That’s – significant! 🙂

    UK Outlook for Saturday 24 Feb 2018 to Monday 5 Mar 2018:

    The weekend will be mostly dry, with frost and freezing fog patches clearing to give cold days with sunny spells. Snow flurries may develop across eastern and southern areas where a brisk easterly wind will make it feel bitterly cold. It may be less cold in the far northwest with some rain possible. Into next week it is likely to turn colder with brisk easterly winds, giving a significant wind chill, especially in the south and east. This will give the risk of further snow flurries, which may become heavier and more widespread. There is also the risk of more significant snow pushing northeastwards across southern and some central areas. The north and west will be brighter, and it may be less cold across the far northwest at times.
    UK Outlook for Tuesday 6 Mar 2018 to Tuesday 20 Mar 2018:

    At the start of this period it is likely to remain cold or very cold for many with widespread frost and brisk easterly winds from Continental Europe, making it feel raw. This will continue to bring the risk of significant snow across some southern, eastern and central parts of the country, whereas towards the north and west it will start drier. As we head through the middle of March, there is a lot of uncertainty in the forecast…

  3. Long range gas storage at Rough is empty and broken so not available, short range storage is decommissioned, LNG storage is about 70% depleted and mid range storage has only a few days remaining at maximum draw down.

    It probably better not stay cold throughout March…

  4. The friend I mentioned who has contacts said they’re moving to storing gas in the distribution pipes, by using high pressure. Sounds like an excuse to me.

  5. Clark, that’s called Linepack and the data is available from the grid site. Yes they do pump it up a bit for cold spells but it cannot even begin to replace the short range and long range storage injection sites that we’ve shutdown or broken. Linepack is less than a day’s worth of peak gas usage.

  6. Of course it’s great for the gas suppliers because they’ve got the country over a barrel; the price must spike when demand threatens to exceed supply, and they get out of spending money on maintenance for Rough etc.

    It seems to me that the UK barely has a government any more.

  7. I suppose that’s why they want Trident, so they can threaten to nuke Russia if Gazprom turns the gas off… Actually doing so would just turn the gas off permanently, of course, but who cares? Who needs forward planning and investment in infrastructure when you’ve got nukes to strut around with?

  8. Squonk, Linepack; is it safe? Its storage capacity is trivial anyway, so is it really a good thing to go ramping up the pressure? Or have they inter-invested with the pipework maintainers, and repairing leaks and blow-outs contributes to GDP anyway? Or is the UK the guinea pig? Or does it leak out, and another wholly-owned subsidiary then claim to have fracked it?

  9. Latest 5 day average temperature for

    Days 6-10 (26th Feb to 2nd March

    Days 11-15 (3rd March to 7th March)

    And just for added astonishment here’s the projected minimum temperature during 3rd March to 7th March

    And finally a wider view of Europe snow depth for 8th March. At this range snowfall tends to be underestimated….

  10. what a surprise, Jack frost returns with a vengeance, what a massive and stable High that is currently and it is bringing all the cold in from Russia and central Europe via an easterly wind.

    This does not look good for my gardening plans, nor for digging and improving histories facts either.
    Thanks for all the weather maps squonk.

  11. Well I ordered my heating oil this morning, and they said it would be delivered some time this week; fingers crossed. Highest unit price since the 2014 price crash immediately after Indyref, and Obama’s deal with Iran, and rising daily. So according to former CIA Director James Woolsey in Macky’s first link above, Putin’s happy.

    The “highest unit price since the 2014 price crash” is still just under fifty pence per litre, which I think is extraordinarily cheap for fuel that needs to be extracted from underground in various hostile locations including the sea bed and war zones, refined, and then shipped thousands of miles. Bottled water is usually more expensive.

  12. That conjured up some amusing imagery, Ben; Kushner launched into his new trajectory…

    The little boy watched the moonshot with his mother and was so impressed he said “Mummy, when I grow up I want to be launched into space”, and his mother replied “you already would have been if your dad had done as he said he would”.

  13. If enough Of Them go off Ben..Yes..But it;s the Winter they will creat.that thats Bigest Problem…. Humans will be Long Gone… By then.. I wonder sometimes…is the Earth Old enough yo have Many ..Impact Surviving Evolutions.. I mean for Intelegence..

  14. Hey Brian

    Theoreticians calculated the mathematical risk before the test. The collider theoretically could create Wormhole or Gate.

  15. What’s the date on the Daily Mail article? The Large Hadron Collider has been used repeatedly over the course of several years; maybe it happened and we didn’t notice.

    Totty in the side-bar… Always is with the Mail.

  16. It’s friggin rubbish that a newspaper doesn’t include a publishing date on articles. That LHC piece is surely from years ago.

  17. “Explains a lot; I thought reality had been a bit iffy since 2008.”

    Did you miss the big letters in the sky saying “LEVEL 2”?

  18. Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science, chapter 6,
    The Nonsense Du Jour

    “Food has become, without question, a national obsession. The Daily Mail in particular has become engaged in a bizarre ongoing ontological project, diligently sifting through all the inanimate objects of the universe in order to categorise them as a cause of – or cure for – cancer.”

  19. Oh, cheer up Ben xx

    OK, mini black holes might be produced by the LHC, but black holes lose mass through Hawking radiation; they evaporate, and the smaller they are, the faster they evaporate. I think LHC mini black holes have theoretical lifespans in the order of nanoseconds; they’d never swallow anything before ceasing to exist.

    What I find more interesting is the profoundly anti-rational attitude of the press. These media organs want the people dumbed down, yet up in arms, and the target is science, research and academia. Can’t imagine why, can you?

  20. Your culture is an emotional Antarctica without redeeming qualities save bangers and mash cuisine wistfully disengaging from your Island fever of self importance. I wish you well on your sad journey of fateful superiority. I sincerely hope you don’t need someone to save your hides from exterior threats again. I’m done with you.

  21. See, if you can do a bit of critical thinking, you can spot that the “news” media is generally full of bullshit. You’re empowered. You might be rather less susceptible to the advertisements they raise most of their income from, and you might not take much notice when they influence public opinion to exert political pressure on behalf of their owners and patrons. So they garble science at every opportunity, and the good ol’ public just love it, and lap it up.

  22. Ben, I’m far more worried that Trump has his pudgy mitts near the nuclear button, and I’m quite sure that a bunch of scientists would not proceed with an experiment if they thought it might pull the plug on either planet Earth or reality itself. They are curious, not reckless.

    But it’s the anti-rational stuff disseminated 24/7 by the mainstream “news” media that helped put Trump in the Whitehouse. Yes, the MSM were supporting Clinton, but they’d been running a decades-long campaign to dumb down as many voters as possible, to make them manipulable.

    Hubris. The MSM never guessed that one of their home-made idiots would actually get to run for President. Trump’s memes appealed to the MSM-generated idiosphere simply because he’s a genuine member of it himself.

  23. Ben, this is why you shouldn’t worry too much about the LHC:

    Highly energetic events occur frequently in the universe. Stars go supernova, and black hole coalesce, yet reality doesn’t implode. Energies achieved in the LHC are utterly puny by comparison. Above (February 22, 01:38) I wrote “I think LHC mini black holes have theoretical lifespans in the order of nanoseconds”; this was a gross overstatement. Rather than around ten to the minus nine, we’re looking at much less than ten to the minus twenty.

  24. MacLiar

    Did you see Mary’s indignant “comment” on The Lifeboat News the other day? Complained fluently – with no fewer than 4 question marks in a row and an unladylike “what the fuck” – that some link or other she’d posted on CM had been deleted. Probably a link of a Jew-hating nature. Well done the CM moderators, who seem to have done a rather good job of clipping the wings of the Jew-hating obsessives and getting them to migrate in large part over to The Lifeboat News!

  25. 14 posts by “Mary” on The Lifeboat News” today – so far…..

    Bit of a pause around lunchtime, it must have been out walking the dawg.

    Or hissing at people in the supermarket perhaps?

  26. I didn’t bother to count how many times it spluttered yesterday but it may well have been over 20 times. Add to that her posts on CM (both deleted and standing) and probably on other websites as well and you have an impressive display of (misplaced) energy from a very old “lady”. Does even better than “Rhisiart Gwilym”, some of whose posts on The Lifeboat News have even been criticised by site administrator Dan for talking about “the Jews” 🙂

  27. Habbakuk

    Marvin is doing great. Moved in to the ground floor, hanging out with his friend all day and night. He hasn’t forgiven me at all, yet I am still charged with building the two of them a fox-safe, insulated, garden cat house.

    I see you’re still weirdly obsessed with Sharp Ears.

  28. Habbabkuk

    Even if you thought the object of your attention was a mass murderer your obsession clearly verges on and may well cross the threshold of Internet stalking. I am aware of people having been charged with that offence.

    Any further posts on that subject from you will be deleted.

  29. Ben, I didn’t mean to offend you. Sorry, and I hope you soon return to

    Brian, in case Ben isn’t reading, please forward my message by e-mail.

  30. Eeels! The Mighty Boosh was at times truly great but he very quickly became just another tv panel show prat.

  31. Phil, I don’t watch enough telly to have discovered that. I saw two episodes, I think, when I was round someone’s house, modifying a computer for them.

    Yes, cats are the ultimate predators; twenty, individually retractable, self-sharpening, razor sharp claws; individually steerable, highly sensitive ears that resemble tracking stations; incredibly supple with lightning-fast reactions; vertical climbing capability; and eyes that can see body heat. Really, it’s only their small size that enables humans to tolerate them at all. Foxes have far too much sense to mess with them.

    Blake wrestles with the contradictions of creationism:

    Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
    In the forests of the night;
    What immortal hand or eye,
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

    In what distant deeps or skies,
    Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
    On what wings dare he aspire?
    What the hand, dare seize the fire?

    And what shoulder, & what art,
    Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
    And when thy heart began to beat,
    What dread hand? & what dread feet?

    What the hammer? what the chain,
    In what furnace was thy brain?
    What the anvil? what dread grasp,
    Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

    When the stars threw down their spears
    And water’d heaven with their tears:
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

  32. ‘now! now! have no fear.
    have no fear!’ said the cat.
    ‘my tricks are not bad,’
    said the cat in the hat.
    ‘why, we can have
    lots of good fun, if you wish,
    with a game that i call
    up-up-up with a fish!’

  33. I have resisted googling this and think I vaguely recollect. Isn’t this Blake’s tyger a metaphor for imperialism?

  34. UK Coal power is currently exceeding natural gas generation – we were never supposed to see that again.

    Natural Gas supply could be critical next week and they are obviously trying to save gas by firing up all our remaining coal units before the cold snap arrives.

    National Grid claim an extra 2GW of coal generation will become available on Monday so it appears that mothballed plant scheduled for demolition is trying to come back online.

    People in charge of UK energy policy are idiots. Just hope they are not caught out next with with people dying due to the cold and lack of power.

    Centrica management should go to jail if the grid fails. Rough was supposed to be our emergency winter storage but instead Centrica decided they could sell any winter surplus to Europe which meant the field was continually pressurised and depressurised. The inevitable result was they broke the equipment which is why our entire main gas storage is currently unavailable.

  35. Phil, I suppose it could be a metaphor for imperialism. Did Blake say it was, or is that someone’s guess? It seems to work perfectly well as being about tigers.

    I haven’t spoken to our mutual friend since shortly after Craig’s non-court case.

  36. Clark, your comment “No one’s in charge. Asleep at the helm; leaving it to The Market” is worrying and accurate. Investment managers are renowned for leaving for religious vocations…because they didn’t have a clue why they had much power or control. Politicians are similar… so who are comfortable with the controls?
    Sorry, I don’t have an answer but at least Ivor Cutler can explain gravity…

  37. It has been obvious for decades what would eventually happen. Countries increase their populations only gradually, but companies grow by buying out their competitors, ie. by effectively eating each other. Pretty obviously, companies were set to overtake governments in economic clout. Multinational companies can now play governments off against each other by moving their operations to wherever taxation and regulation are lowest, further depriving governments of funds and power.

    There’s a multi-faceted conspiracy theory about the UN morphing into a dreaded One World Government, but it looks to me as though a global tier of government has become necessary, to rein in the power of companies that straddle the globe.

    Such anti-UN anti-government conspiracy theories seem to emanate mainly from the US alt-Right and its talk radio / Internet outlets, and the conspiracy theorist in me wonders if they haven’t been seeded deliberately.

  38. In the middle of the night at low demand.

    Coal providing 8GW of electricity, Nuclear 8GW, Gas 3GW. State of panic at national grid?

    The rest comes from imports and wind/hydro/biomass etc.

    National Grid and Centrica have been allowed to fiddle the figures knowing that they can’t guarantee gas and electricity in the worst circumstances. They fiddle the possible temperature data. They fiddle the available generation figures and they count mice cycling wheels as available capacity (or they might as well do). The government has been complacent. |Theresa May will be gone by next weekend if the grid fails.

    The government recently released a paper showing that we will rely on Europe for a quarter of our electricity supplies by 2025. Has anyone told them we plan to leave Europe? Already a quarter of our gas comes in one single pipeline from Norway which shuts down in extreme Norwegian cold as forecast next week. We can no longer compensate for loss of Norway/Europe supply with our own storage because Centrica fucking destroyed it and nobody gives a damn,

    As It is entirely down to market prices and our home grown electricity is more expensive than European prices (and it gets worse as we add future ludicrously expensive nuclear contracts) it is logical in a market sense to shutdown all our power generation and rely on Europe. No discussion has happened.

    Forget Russians breaking our Internet undersea. That’s not what they are worried about. North Koreans could blackout UK power with little effort today.

  39. Vote Independence at Indyref 2. That way, at least Scotland might get an actual government. Us English will have to learn the hard way to vote for someone who might actually do some governing.

  40. Clark,

    Scotland now relies on England for power supplies when the wind isn’t blowing. All Scottish non-nuclear stations have been shutdown and the nukes are scheduled for closure. It does though look as if Peterhead gas station (which SSE have kept operational but offline at their own expense) will be allowed to restart next year as I think the SNP finally put their foot down.

    Glad the SNP finally realised there was something more important than putting my alcohol price up.

  41. Squonk, if what you say is true, why on earth doesn’t England et al let Scotland go? If they are are a power leech, get shot!
    PS. I think you are wrong, as actions speak louder than words.

  42. JOML

    The figures are public and I don’t think anyone debates it. Scotland used to always export power to England. Right now Scotland is exporting power to England because it is windy and low overnight demand. Scotland peak winter daytime demand is about 5GW. Scotland current guaranteed generation capacity is about 2.7GW (mostly nuclear plus some hydro). Peterhead lost its national grid contract but SSE have kept it manned. Neither Longannet nor Peterhead have generated any significant electricty for a couple of years. Longannet never will again. Longannet and Peterhead were about 2GW each. Only about 1GW at Peterhead is still operational.

    On average Scotland still exports more electricity to England than it imports but that is only because the two Scottish nukes are still operational and usually there is some wind.

    There are no other fossil fuel generators remaining in Scotland. I am not a fan of carbon dirty fossil fuel power( (or current nuclear misdesigns) but neither do I want them shutdown too early.

  43. Btw,

    Right this moment 10% of UK electricity is coming from undersea cables from Europe. It is not just Scotland that is no longer self sufficient. I am a fan of HVDC inter-country grids but we need to have some debate and understand what we are doing. Not just let the “market” dictate.

  44. If Peterhead is completely decomissioned it will be no longer possible to reboot the Scottish grid locally from failure as it requires hydro plus Peterhead (or the now gone Longannet). You cannot reboot the grid from nuclear (they shutdown for safety reasons on grid failure). A couple of misplaced bulldozers could cut power to the whole of Scotland these days.

    But who cares about that. Let’s put drink prices up instead!

  45. Squonk, I responded to your statement that Scotland was reliant on “England” for power, then you subsequently go on to talk about underwater supplies. Eh? I’ll need to go back to Ivor Cutler for an explanation!

  46. JOML

    Scotland is not most of the time reliant on England for electricity but is reliant on England for a considerable percentage of time these days. What’s hard to understand?

    Scotland never used to be reliant on England ever, Full Stop Period. Exclamation Mark!!!

  47. Btw

    There is a new undersea link between Huntertson and Wales which has just been constructed. It was planned to always export power from Scotland but because National Grid shut down all our non-nuke fucking power stations while the SNP were asleep it is just as well it can work in reverse direction.

  48. And this is a national issue. Not just something I’ve dreamt up.

    SNP say they’re the only party who will save Peterhead power station

    THE Scottish Energy Minister has vowed to continue negotiations with the UK Government on “much stronger consideration” over the future of Peterhead Power Station.

    In a letter to Banff and Buchan candidate Dr Eilidh Whiteford, Paul Wheelhouse said negotiations between the two governments were now providing a “strong platform” to push for further recognition from politicians and the National Grid.

    It comes as Peterhead Power Station continues to face an uncertain future after SSE decided to call a review earlier this year.

    Plans for investment in Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) technology were axed in 2015 after the UK Government pulled £1billion in funding.

    Meanwhile, transmission charges for Peterhead Power Station in the year ahead are an estimated £19.60 per kilowatt compared with a gas-fired power station in Kent which is expected to pay only £1.75.

    SNP demands assurances over future of Peterhead Power Station

    The letter says: “The current uncertainty surrounding Peterhead station is in part a damning legacy of your government’s decision to scrap £1 billion of support to carbon capture and storage, which was intended to create highly skilled jobs and stimulate large-scale investment to the area. The SNP will continue to condemn this counterproductive, reckless decision, and call on you to provide this sector with the support it needs and deserves.

    “The continued operation of Peterhead power station is vital to retain jobs in the area, capture investment opportunities, and enhance Scotland’s energy production. At a time when the UK Government’s efforts to ensure the development of a new generation are proving unsuccessful and further closures of coal power plants are expected, it makes no sense for an existing gas plant to shut as a result of the iniquitous transmission charging regime. As such we call on you and your government to exhaust all options to safeguard the future of Peterhead power station.”

  49. TBH I’ve little idea what Blake might have said about anything. Reading it, the metaphor jumped out, in a way that makes me suspect it was something I came across before. It does read well enough about tigers and Marvin and other, more bipedal, predators too.

    Give us a bash at the bangers and mash. Now surely that’s a metaphor. The appendage goes in a direction subesquently covered by the rock opera Tommy. I always found Sellars a tad unsavoury and thought Hancock far superior in every way. The Rebel being one of the great masterpieces of it’s time. And of course Townsend was a narcissist.

    Gravity begins at home. Yeah Cutler had it going on. In a somewhat similar vein I also love Sidebottom. His opus wondering how little Frank lost the electricity bill is a post Freud nod to the energy struggles discussed here: Electricity 🙂

    Clark, your recent recognition of how conspiracy is rampant is most welcome. The inconsistent nonsense espoused by he liberal left offers no answers and thus inevitably leads to very weird places. So waht? I won’t bang on about anarchism again. But I will strongly recommend you read up on Marx’s philosophical notion of historical materialism and then the political economy. The first is a simple but mind shifting perspective. The latter is hard but is the only testable analysis of capitalism out there. It will definitely appeal to the scientist in you. Let me know if you want to discuss these.

    As ever the nationalist argument about which country is screwing which entirely distracts from the real conflict. Class war. The only war worth fighting.

  50. JOML
    “why on earth doesn’t England et al let Scotland go?”

    Because there is no such thing as what suits England or Scotland or Wales best. This is a ludicrous notion. Countires having a unified interest is an illusion. All countries are a complex hot bed of competing interests, especially amongst the ruling classes. What is sold as in the interest of England is really a reflection of the interests of the section of the ruling classes that happen to be in the ascendancy at that point. Brexit is a perfect example.

    In your example it could be that it costs “England” money re power but some people, those in ascendancy, are more than making that back in, say, land ownership rents and income. I speculate but you get the idea.

  51. “how conspiracy is rampant”

    I meant “how conspiracy thinking is rampant”

    Anyway, enough from me for now. Laters.

  52. Sorry, Squonk… things creep into black & and white when whisky is involved (exclamation mark)! This interdependency is by design.

  53. Squonk, I’m none too impressed with the SNP, and when I travelled around Scotland in 2013, quite a few people I spoke to were tempted towards independence, but were actually put off by the SNP.

    In 2014 I noticed that those tending towards No were quiet about their reservations regarding independence*, whereas the Yes supporters were having a spontaneous and very genuine, personally motivated publicity campaign, with an associated distributed festival of culture and creativity.

    * An exception is Fred, but Fred is untypical in most ways.

    Yes was definitely the party of optimism, and it won my heart – my head was already decided, for geopolitical reasons. No was the party of “for Christ’s sake don’t touch it, it’ s falling apart already”.

  54. Phil is right – the essential tension is between the classes. Any political reorganisation must be seen for what it is; merely a means unto an end.

    Phil, more discussion later. I must get back to collecting wood while the Sun shines.

  55. “why on earth doesn’t England et al let Scotland go?”

    Because those who project their power through Westminster don’t want to lose any influence, territory or resources. Westminster, and the voting system it is based on, are fairly easy to manipulate.

    The differences between Scotland and England are relative differences. In absolute terms, both contain many assets. In Monopoly, you don’t dispose of Old Kent Road just because you own Park Lane. But when playing Monopoly, you the player are not part of the board; you’re above all the apparent action, directing your assets.

  56. Squonk:

    – 2:08 am – “All Scottish non-nuclear stations have been shutdown and the nukes are scheduled for closure”

    – 2:55 am – “If Peterhead is completely decomissioned it will be no longer possible to reboot the Scottish grid locally from failure […]. A couple of misplaced bulldozers could cut power to the whole of Scotland these days”

    That is an appalling situation of dependency – for Scotland.

    – 1:34 am – “Already a quarter of our gas comes in one single pipeline from Norway which shuts down in extreme Norwegian cold as forecast next week. We can no longer compensate for loss of Norway/Europe supply with our own storage because Centrica fucking destroyed it and nobody gives a damn”

    And that is an appalling situation of dependency for the whole UK, but it leaves Scotland even worse; dependant upon the dependant.

  57. Phil, do please write about both Marx and anarchism; I’m going to be too rushed read about either for some considerable time, so I would appreciate simple summaries here, where I can question, clarify and explore.

    I somewhat understand anarchy as a set of personal principles. I have no idea, and have never successfully imagined, how it could translate into a political system.

  58. You may well remember Clark that towards the end of Tony Blair’s time as PM there was a big push by the energy industry to create a new gas storage site for the UK to supplement Rough. Tony Blair personally vetoed the project saying “The North Sea is our storage” apparently blissfully unaware that the North Sea was becoming depleted and could no longer boost output sufficiently in winter.

    When the Forties pipeline broke a couple of months ago at Aberdeen and Norway’s Troll field feeding the Langeled pipeline to the UK also shutdown unexpectedly there was panic and Britain begged Putin to divert an LNG cargo from their Yamal field to London. Putin personally pressed the button that started the tanker loading.

    Inj the end the Forties pipeline was fixed quite quickly, Langeled came back online and Theresa May stuck two fingers up to Putin and said we wouldn’t use the gas after all. I wonder what his reaction will be if we beg again?

    JOML had a but too much whisky myself last night 🙂

  59. “there was a big push by the energy industry to create a new gas storage site for the UK to supplement Rough.”

    Any idea why the industry acted so much more responsibly then than now?

  60. I presume it was because the energy companies expected the government to pay for it!

    Btw, I was recently reminded of March 2013 when a late winter blast and pipeline failure almost ran us out of natural gas.

    Britain’s gas price soars to record on pipeline closure

    March 22, 2013

    Britain’s wholesale gas prices surged to a record high on Friday after one of its main gas import pipelines shut down unexpectedly, exposing the country’s vulnerability to foreign supplies.

    Britain is already grappling with a potential gas supply crisis as a late blast of winter depletes stored reserves, coal power plants close and pending maintenance in Norway threatens to further squeeze supply.

  61. Compare:

    Britain begged Putin to divert an LNG cargo from their Yamal field to London”

    Theresa May stuck two fingers up to Putin and said we wouldn’t use the gas after all”

    This is why we need open government. Someone in some department did the sensible thing, and thought of the people, who employ them to serve. Theresa May then exploited a very lucky turn of events for publicity / propaganda purposes, simultaneously snubbing both Russia and the competent members of her own government and/or civil service.

    The competent should be promoted and the egotistical demoted.

  62. Squonk, 1:44 pm; just five years ago. Short memories, eh?

    “I presume it was because the energy companies expected the government to pay for it!”

    Cynicism is contagious.

  63. Clark
    “please write about both Marx and anarchism…I would appreciate simple summaries here”

    FFS Clark, you don’t ask much mate! There is a world of writing on these huge subjects, written by people far more informed by me. And yet. Writing accessible introductions is something I have been considering. All my discussions on these subjects are with people who know their stuff. To try and explain them in my own words will be a challenge that will clarify my thinking.

    Anarchism is many things (although your point about it being a moral code is interesting – if far from the whole picture). And I feel certain I would not adequately explain Marx’s Capital (although this is what most interests me currently). So let me think about an intro to historical materialism as a start. It will take me a while because I want to make it as correct and informative as I can. If I do it will you please agree two things:

    1) To engage on the subject.
    2) Not laugh too much at the bits I get wrong.

    I’d enjoy the process and discussions. Hopefully others here will join in. Still interested?

  64. I am clearing out old stuff today. My old musical equipment is now vintage, like us, and shockingly valued by young muso nerds. One old fuzz pedal that I picked up for a pint now sells for a grand. Ebay here I come.

  65. “written by people far more informed by me”

    I meant: “written by people far, far, far more informed than me”

    We need more than 5mins to edit Squonk. It’s as if you web masters hope people will think before pressing save.

  66. Phil, absolutely; I’d like to engage on the subjects, and I only enjoy so much solo reading, though I see that I’m going to have to read Marx eventually. And mistakes are evidence of endeavour; many never bother to try. I’ll try not to titter. But I might not engage instantly on every point; sometimes I’ll be busy, distracted or knackered, or just mulling the matters over. Please be patient; I’ll return to points raised eventually.

    It’s because they’re massive subjects that I want summaries from someone who’s looked into them, someone I can question. I’m worried that if I just start reading, multiple strands and dimensions will open before me, I’ll explore for a while, get snowed under at the same time as being distracted by completely different subjects, and eventually shelve the whole project. Discussion will give me focus. If I ask a question and you reply with something like “don’t worry about that for now; it’ll become clearer after we’ve covered xyz”, that’s a whole lot better than just reading and wondering if my questions or objections will ever be addressed.

    – – – – – – –

    I have an old Roland Polysix six-note polyphonic analogue synthesiser with digital memory (it works but needs some attention), an old reel-to-reel tape recorder, and a couple of mixing desks. Various hi-fi units too.

    In the loft I have quite a collection of 20th century computers, including an IBM Displaywriter with two 8″ dual floppy drives like catering toasters but much, much heavier, quite a few BBC Micros etc. plus peripherals, and a system of several Apple IIs. I also have a 1 gigabyte SCSI hard drive about half the size of a breeze block.

  67. Analogue stuff… In (stoned) discussion with a friend a couple of weeks ago, we came up with this daft thought experiment. Say space pirates raided Earth and didn’t invade or anything, but stole all the technology, just teleported it away, maybe to sell it on Galactic eBay or something. Could we rebuild our digitally connected world (which we’ve seen arise almost entirely within our lifetimes) without going through the whole historical process of development?

    I think we couldn’t. We’d have to build vacuum tubes and CRT oscilloscopes etc., just to build and calibrate the machinery to start making transistors and chips again.

  68. I have just been told that Scotland beat England 25 – 13 to win the Calcutta Cup.

    Maybe that’ll get Craig posting again.

  69. Alright then. I’ll start writing it next week. Agreed – no rush!

    From googling I guess you mean the Korg Polysix? Nice. It certainly has the sound of early 80s pop. With back up to cassette tape player! Brilliant. Kids these days.

    Do your BBC Micros still work?

  70. There was a young music nerd on resonance fm the other day talking about a niche recording technique. They remove the erase head from a tape machine (maybe even cassette) and over dub blind. ie no playback – just counting the beat and remembering what has gone before. What a racket.

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