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The climate supergrass

No, not the Climategate 2.0 email release lat last year. Not the Himalayan glaciers, which even the Grauniad concedes are pretty much the same now as they were a decade ago (it’s still “a concern”, natch – it’ll always be a concern as long as someone’s being paid to be concerned about it). Not even the German environmentalist turned sceptic, Fritz Vahrenholt, who’s written a book describing how he’s stopped believing in warble gloaming and now think’s it guff (H/T WUWT).

In fact the climate supergrass isn’t that kind of grass at all. It’s a grassy type grass, but we’re told it’s super at longevity and is probably the oldest living thing on the planet.

Australian scientists sequenced the DNA of samples of the giant seagrass, Posidonia oceanic, from 40 underwater meadows in an area spanning more than 2,000 miles, from Spain to Cyprus.
The analysis, published in the journal PLos ONE, found the seagrass was between 12,000 and 200,000 years old and was most likely to be at least 100,000 years old. This is far older than the current known oldest species, a Tasmanian plant that is believed to be 43,000 years old.

Not this one *

Prof Carlos Duarte, from the University of Western Australia, said the seagrass has been able to reach such old age because it can reproduce asexually and generate clones of itself. Organisms that can only reproduce sexually are inevitably lost at each generation, he added.

In other words it’s not a 100,000 year old individual plant at all. It’s just been producing clones for that long. Never mind, that’s not the interesting bit anyway.

But Prof Duarte said that while the seagrass is one of the world’s most resilient organisms, it has begun to decline due to coastal development and global warming.
“If climate change continues, the outlook for this species is very bad,” he said.”The seagrass in the Mediterranean is already in clear decline due to shoreline construction and declining water quality and this decline has been exacerbated by climate change. As the water warms, the organisms move slowly to higher altitudes. The Mediterranean is locked to the north by the European continent.
“They cannot move. The outlook is very bad.”

If climate change continues? If? Carlos, climate change has been continuing throughout the whole time this grass has been around (and much longer) and yet it’s still here. I mean, here’s what Posidonia’s been putting up with in the last twelve thousand years, the lower end of the estimates of its age.

From joannenova.com.au - click for linky

And here, covering the time from the best estimate of 100,000 years to the upper limit of 200,000, is a temperature reconstruction for the last four thousand or so centuries. The horizontal dashed line show contemporary temperatures.

Vostok ice core temperature reconstruction via climate4you.com - click for linky

In other words it’s been putting up with worse than we can throw at it, assuming that we are in fact throwing anything at anything climate wise, for far far longer – possibly for about as long as our species has even existed. And not only has it survived but we’re given the impression for the talk of how resilient it is that it’s done really well up ’til now. But despite coping with temperatures a couple of degrees warmer at least once and possibly more in its history, and also despite the barely whispered admission that there’s been bugger all warming for fifteen years, we’re supposed to believe that Posidonia is suddenly in a lot of trouble?

Yeah, riiiiight. Look, if they’d just stuck at the bit about coastal development I’d buy it, but these days it seems impossible to resist working in the spectre of warble gloaming. Without really believing it I’ve made cynical remarks that if you don’t mention warble gloaming at least once in your paper you lose funding and struggle to get any more published, but when it crops up like this, when we’re told a species that’s survived greater extremes is under threat because it’s getting too warm or because of the even vaguer and non-specific threat of climate change – something that predates human industry by almost the entire history of the planet – you have to wonder if it really is that important to name drop it.

Not that it’s fooling people as well as it once did. From the comments at the Tele it seems people are starting to look out for this kind of thing.

Snakey_Pete
22 hours ago
What a load of bull-poo. Is it possible to get any funding at all without it being linked to AGW extremism? This thing has been around for hundreds of thousands of years; it’s going to be pretty immune from variations in climate, whatever the cause.

Almost as an afterthought coastal development and water quality is mentioned, but we don’t want to dwell on that. No point in tackling those issues until after we have learned how to control the climate.

alangsmith
1 day ago
Yet another ‘climate expert’ trying to get us to believe in the dreaded ‘climate change’. This plant, if it is 200,000 years old, has been around long enough to see off much more extreme changes in climate than have occurred of late. As my grandfather would say ‘pull the other one’!

erikbloodaxe
1 day ago
The thing’s lived through a 100,000 year full-blown ice age for Chrissakes! Also, the Holocene maximum and other periods warmer than now. You don’t get to 200,000 without being adaptable.

Dale Long
2 days ago
I am amazed that scientists are so accurate in determining the age of seagrass by narrowing it down to a 188,OOO year window and then claiming that “climate change” is killing it off. Shoot! We don’t even know how old Nancy Pelosi is. And yet, global warming hasn’t melted her face! God must be laughing at the inanity of our so-called intelligence.

Predictably enough they’re met with shouts of ‘denialist’, a word that isn’t even in the bloody dictionary, from the Telegraph comments sections’ relatively recently acquired horde of reliable lefties and believers, though I didn’t notice any of them actually tackle the point that this grass has seen bigger changes in the past.

Funny that.

PS – one other comment bears repeating because it takes up another point with the article, or more likely The Telegraph’s reporting.

dalekdave
1 day ago
“As the water warms, the organisms move slowly
to higher altitudes”

Latitudes surely?

For the Tele these days that’s actually not all that bad, though less important than failing to ask about the changes Posidonia has already lived through.

* For those outside Oz, that’s Tasmanian Senator Bob Brown, leader of the Green Party. He is most definitely not 43,000 years old. Oh, or a plant.

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If you read just one more post today…

… make it this one of Bill Sticker’s.

No less a body than the FBI is posting dire warnings about people it calls ‘Sovereign Citizens’ and how they are becoming a ‘Terrorist threat’. Now I realise this is more Ranty’s territory than mine, but I’d like to write down what thoughts I have on the matter.

Now the FBI say that this movement poses a ‘threat’, forming an extreme ‘right wing’ grouping. In their press releases they attempt to link the Sovereign Citizen movement directly to the actions of the Oklahoma Bomber Timothy McVeigh, with a sly nod of the head towards the loose but highly influential American anti-tax alliance, the Tea Party.

Of course it’s all propaganda. Assailed upon all sides by the tactics of tax and revenue denial, the powers that be will want all those who don’t like having their pocketbooks raped for last red cent classed as ‘terrorists’. Even if the individuals concerned are nothing of the sort.

Seriously, do go and read the whole thing.

Pre Crime: it sucks

Straight from the Department of Making Everyone Feel Like Labour Won The Last Election comes Home Secretary, Teresa Maybe, and this:

Children as young as three can be identified as violent gang members of the future, according to a new Government report.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, unveiled plans to cut off gang violence at the root by intervening in “problem families” from the moment children are born.
A new Home Office report said the beginnings of teenage violence lie in the “very earliest childhood experience”.
It found warning signs are “already clear” by the time a child enters primary school, including neglect, aggression, absence from class and slow development.
Children identified as “at risk” by the age of three are more than twice as likely to have criminal convictions by the age of 21, the report said.
“Early intervention is absolutely key,” Mrs May said. “That may need to come at a very early age indeed, with toddlers, ensuring they just don’t go down that road.”

So let’s see… belief that one’s life is mapped out almost from birth, check; unshakeable confidence in the ability of the state to predict that accurately, check; implied confidence, equally unshakeable, in ability to correctly identify ‘problem families’, check; repeated statement of a need for the state to ‘intervene’, check. Frankly all that’s missing from the story to give it those last hallmarks of a NuLab policy is the mention of a new database, but since the bastards spent all the money and wrecked the economy the Cobbleition probably can’t afford a new one and probably have to make to with one of the existing ones.

Still, apart from that it sounds awfully like the kind of thing Labour used to love saying, which leads me to wonder… Did anyone check behind Teresa Maybe to see if Jacqui Smith’s hand was up her arse making her mouth work?

>Some recommended reading and a brief update

>Not a post as such – I’m still wrestling with making this place a little easier on the eye – but a link to an excellent piece on the nanny state at the Institute of Public Affairs, Australia. It’s by an Aussie writer by the name of Chris Berg, who for small-staters and libertarians is probably the best reason to ever read The Sunday Age. His theme in the article is that the nanny state is bad for democracy, and while I’ve become fairly cynical about democracy I can’t argue with the point Chris Berg is making when he says:

… dismissing individual responsibility has consequences. Once you’ve accepted that the government should not treat people as autonomous, all sorts of authoritarian policy results.

It’s aimed at the Aussie nanny state of course, but it’s just as applicable to any other country with a busy clique of nannies, Righteous and healthists. Go read the whole thing, and especially the bit about the worryingly authoritarian sounding Preventative Health Taskforce – you just know you’ve got something just like it by a different name where you live, don’t you?

Oh, and an update on something I blogged a couple of weeks ago (which having just revisited I now realise came with a free broken link – oops, sorry). Remember the business of TomTom selling data collected from its customers satnavs to the Dutch rozzers so they could better plan where to set speed traps? Remember how this caused no small amount of embarrassment to the company and forced them to go into what the papers called “damage control”? Well, it turns out that they’re planning on selling the data they gather on Australian TomToms as well.

TomTom Australia says it is planning to sell GPS data collected about its customers’ journeys to road authorities and private companies even after it was forced to apologise when that same data was used by Dutch authorities to set speed traps.
[…]
[TomTom Australia’s vice-president of marketing, Chris Kearney] said TomTom was hoping to offer the data – which includes journey times, speeds and routes taken – to Australian organisations like the RTA and VicRoads in the second half of this year, although nothing had been confirmed.

The RTA is New South Wales’ Road and Traffic Authority and VicRoads is a similar body here in Victoria. In UK terms they’re like a hybrid of the DVLA and the Highways Agency, but since they’re also involved in issuing fines, including for speeding, it’s a John Carpenter style hybrid which might look alright but you’re not sure you can trust it.

He said he would have to examine ways of preventing them from using it to set speed traps.

I’d suggest you have a choice. If you want the money then just sell the data without any preconditions, which I’d bet TomTom is perfectly within its rights to do. If your customers aren’t happy with the idea they’ll find a way to let you know, probably involving buying someone else’s brand. On the other hand if you genuinely don’t want it used to plan speed traps then don’t fucking sell it to them.

The eye of my Apple

A week ago, before some people getting married and a loony being shot in the face distracted us from it, the big issue was Apple and it’s creepy plans to watch everyone going to the toilet if they’d left their iPhones on. At the time I blogged on the possibility that it was a consequence of people wanting smart-phones to do stupid things I had a vague feeling that something had happened before, but couldn’t remember exactly what it was. Just now while looking for something completely unrelated here on my own blog I found that I hadn’t imagined it and had even blogged it at the time.

For the price of an iPhone I could have my Nokia and a separate GPS and a brand new Melway for when the GPS instructions turn out to be wrong. And not only that, I wouldn’t have to worry about making  a tinfoil hat so that Apple couldn’t see my thoughts, or failing that see where I am.

A thief, Horatio Toure, who stole an Apple iPhone from its owner’s hands was arrested by American police within minutes after being tracked by global positioning system (GPS) software.
The 31 year-old snatched the highly-sought after phone from the hands of a software company employee who was testing a new application in San Francisco earlier this week.
But the hapless thief was arrested by police just nine minutes later after the iPhone tracked his every move.

Now, granted this was new software being tested and which happened to be on at the time, and Apple have said that if he’d turned the phone off it would have been game over as far as nicking him so quickly was concerned. But it occurs to me that with a bit of code here and there surely it would be possible to have a phone that turns itself on at regular intervals to give a little ‘Here I Am’ wave in the direction of Cupertino, or whoever pays them for that information. To be honest I really can’t think of any reason why they would do that, but if it can be done then it is a concern.

And the sky did not fall in and iPhone users did not shit bricks and newspapers did not make headlines out of it and politicians did not make threats and demand answers from Apple. Ten months on and the world is worrying about smart-phones being potentially capable of something rather like what was actually demonstrated last year.

That smartphone tracking thing

I’ve probably mentioned before that as far as phone apps go I feel that the absolute best app ever is the Talking To People Far Away Without A Landline app, which has been around since the days when mobile phones were actually called car phones because they were so big you needed a fucking car to cart the bloody thing around. I’m happy that the march of progress has shrunk things to a more convenient pocket size, improved the battery life and generally made it able to do more things. Mine plays a game about a snake that gets longer as it eats, which is a feature that I’m immensely indifferent about and only one of literally some features that the phone came with and which I never, ever use. But that Talking To People Far Away Without A Landline one is so good that when the phone eventually carks it I will be demanding that its replacement can do the same thing. Text messages are occasionally handy so I’d quite like the new one to do those too.

Clearly then the smartphones tracking their owners thing is an issue that has largely passed me by. Yes, I know that if they really want to the powers that be can get a rough idea of where my old ‘dumb’ phone is, and therefore where I am too, but I feel it’s pretty clear that smartphones are likely to make the job that much easier. More accurate too if they’re GPS enabled, which I believe most are, and sneakily programmed to report on their whereabouts to 10m from time to time, which they’re probably not but potentially could be at any time by way of an OS update or something. And you just know that the sneaky bastards have probably covered themselves with a clause in the EULA that almost everybody overlooked because they were too keen to get the wrapping off and play with the new shiny to read 49 paragraphs of impenetrable small print. My feeling is that if this is objectionable then a smartphone is probably not for you, and if you’re concerned even at the possibility for being tracked anyway then buy a second hand dumb phone and turn it off most of the time or do without one altogether. If you bought one anyway and now don’t like it because it spies on you I will buy it off you. I’m prepared to go all the way up to five dollars, which I realise is a shit price but it’s about what the thing is worth to me personally.* Someone else will probably give you a lot more if you’re wanting to get rid of it.

So not being a smartphone user (I LOLed at Max Farquar’s ‘spyPhone’ video but to me it’s always been more whyPhone) it never occurred to me that this tracking and data logging might actually be there as a consequence of some users wanting their smartphones to be able to do dumb things (en bloc from the von Mises blog)

My initial reaction to the alarmist news that the iPhone collects (but doesn’t use unless you tell it to) information about your whereabouts is: no kidding. I mean, people WANT their iPhones to do this so that they can use them as GPSs and so that they can update their status on FB with a “check in.” It’s not my thing but it is what people want to do. There is probably good reason to make that information more secure but truly this is not a flaw but a feature, and generally a response to customer demand. In any case, it is not the case that Steve Jobs knows the location of all the opium dens you have been visiting and plans to blackmail you with that information.

A final note: 10 years ago, the idea that you could hold in your palm a device that would reveal your precise whereabouts and also permit you to broadcast this in an instant to millions of people of your own choosing would have seemed like impossible science fiction. Now that we have it, the punditry class screams in outrage.

Unsurprisingly some of the comments say that this is downplaying the issue but I think there’s a good point being made here. I don’t get the appeal of social networking either (anti-social networking, now that might interest me) and most of the features look like solutions desperately looking for problems, but I can see that there are people who do want their phones to automatically let their friends know where they are. God knows why you’d want this because if my Facebook account is any guide nearly all your friends will be people you’ve never met or even heard of, and in any case how hard is it to just tell the handful you really do know that you’re going to the pub if anyone wants to meet you for a beer? You’ve got a fucking telephone right in your hand, for Christ’s sake! I don’t understand it but then the appeal of soap operas are a mystery to me as well, yet I’m prepared to accept that lots of people do actually want their minds melted by whatever implausible thing has happened in Summer Bay today. That’s supply and demand and people are currently demanding that their phones do as much of their live’s heavy lifting as possible, which is why you’ve got services like Foursquare and Google Places being launched. People really are signing up for this shit so inevitably the phones have to have the capability, right?

That being so is it really so much of a shock that companies are looking at using this info to make a quid by sending targeted and location specific advertising at the users? Not like nobody saw this coming, is it?

Extra irony points for all the personalised advertising going on in a movie scene bagging personalised advertising


Irritating? Yep. Creepy? Potentially. Worrying? Well, when you can vote with your feet and sell your phone (seriously, I am good for five dollars for a used iPhone) or not buy one to start with unless they come without all that extra crap that the media is currently busy scaresturbating itself into a frenzy over, I’d say it’s not all that worrying. Especially when it turns out that while it is enabled by default, which is annoying but since hardly anyone would enable it voluntarily it’s also exactly what nearly all of us would do if we were in the same position, you can still actually turn it off. You won’t read that in the Mainly Fail smartphone spying scare stories, but then they’re trying to make a quid selling advertising too and leading an article about it with the solution to the problem is no more in their business interests than making a phone which allows personalised ads but has them disabled by default.

It’s not a conspiracy, folks. It’s just a reminder that the free market ain’t perfect, it’s just free.

* If it’s an iPad I’ll pay $4.50. 

ScrewTube

Well, if they’re going to block content hosted elsewhere

http://eyetube.me/misc/flash/VidiScript_player.swf

Leader of the free world still going the wrong way

I feel for the Americans, I really do. They probably are still the most free people in the world or are at least among them, but I don’t think they’re as free as they were not even ten years ago. And I don’t think they’re getting any freer thanks to their current crop of pollies.

The US Senate has voted to extend controversial surveillance powers granted by the Patriot Act law, put in place after the 9/11 attacks.
By a vote of 86-12, the Senate approved a 90-day extension of wiretaps, access to business records and surveillance of terror suspects.
The move came one day after the House of Representatives voted to extend the provisions until 8 December.

Super. Must be wonderful to be a freedom loving American and see that by way of making it up to those who envy you for it your country is gradually becoming the land of the sheep and the home of the slave. Still, Super-Barack will save you, eh? Unlike that horrible Republican President you had the Obamessiah is a nice Democrat. A liberal, a word which comes from liberty. I know you guys like liberty – I’ve seen the statue myself, although they weren’t allowing anyone up it. The war on tourism, someone said. Or something like that. Anyway, the point is that your new(ish) President will step in and… er, do nothing?

The White House backed the bill, but would have favoured a longer extension.

“Change you can believe in” seems to mean more or less fuck all change, and I personally I already believed that was likely way back in the middle of 2008. As in Britain and Australia I’m convinced that to get change that’s actually meaningful they really need to stop voting for the usual suspects.

Make five minutes to watch this – UPDATED

From Max Farquar, via half the bloggers on my regular reads list.

As Captain Ranty said at his, this deserves to be spread as widely as possible.

UPDATE – Just because YouTube are blocking it, here it is via EyeTube.

http://eyetube.me/misc/flash/VidiScript_player.swf

Missing the point.

I suppose the effort should be acknowledged, and no doubt it’ll be more than enough of a concession for some people, but scanners which show a gingerbread style line drawing instead of some false colour image of me with my dick waving around is not going to tempt me to fly again.

The US Transportation Security Administration yesterday began rolling out new airport scanner software that produces less revealing images of travellers.

The new software “enhances privacy by eliminating passenger-specific images and instead auto-detects potential threat items and indicates their location on a generic outline of a person,” the TSA said.

What the fuck are you smiling about?

Now I do realise that many people do have a nudity taboo and many others have reason to be less than proud of their bodies, and so this is the principle concern for a lot of people. However, I feel I must explain something both to those people and to those involved in installing all this security theatre in airports:

We are not all fucking terrorists, you fucking bell-ends.

There is no practical purpose served by authoritarian cockweasels spending vast sums on questionable technology to be used on overwhelmingly innocent people, especially when the fuckknuckles then ignore the possibility of a bomb going off in the fucking queues they themselves have fucking created with this shite.*

I don’t stay away because you want to look at my knob in a scanner. I don’t even stay away because of the possible health risks of the scanners or because you’ll want to cop a feel if I refuse to be scanned. I stay away because I am not a fucking terrorist and there is absolutely cube root of fuck all evidence for any fucker to believe otherwise, so I refuse to be treated like a fucking suspect by humourless apes with polyester uniforms and 200 word vocabularies. If I don’t need to be on the other side of an ocean or continent in a hurry badly enough to make it worth my while putting up with hours of interminable queueing for securiteee – to have my shoes X-rayed and my luggage X-rayed and my pockets checked and my mouthwash sniffed and my drinks bottle measured and any harmless everyday objects, obvious toys or tee shirts with intimidating if unintelligible writing confiscated for some fuck to take home later, and finally to be made to stand in a giant open ended fucking microwave and have my bollocks warmed for little or no fucking benefit – if it’s not important enough to go through all that then, to be blunt, I’m not fucking going. Especially when it’s all so fucking unnecessary.

So turning me into a gingerbread man on the fucking monitor is not going to tempt me back. You’ll see me when you fucking learn how to treat me as a paying customer again, you cunts.

Fuck. You. All.

* Yes, I know that the Moscow bomb went off in arrivals. That doesn’t change the point that the possibility of one going off in the queue for one of the various new security measures is still there.

You can’t come in – your prints aren’t on the list.

I’m far from being a technophobe and usually need to exercise a lot of restraint when some new sexy thing is announced (except the iPad – resisting the temptation to buy something that sounds like a sanitary towel with an integrated circuit wasn’t a struggle), but I do recognise the fact that all technology boils down to tools for doing things and being a technophobe is like being intimidated by a stapler or a hammer. It’s the application of technology that bears scrutiny, and just as I’d be against stapling things to people or bludgeoning someone with a hammer there are certain technology applications that get me more than a little concerned. Almost anything governments think of nearly always rings an automatic alarm bell with me, and some of their more paranoid schemes involving biometrics appear no less worrying in the hands of companies who freely admit they intend to keep it for years and distribute it as they please.

THOUSANDS of clubbers and pub patrons are being forced to submit to fingerprint and photographic scans to enter popular venues, seemingly unaware of the ramifications of handing over their identity.

Biometric scanners, once the domain of James Bond movies, are flooding the pub market as the fix-all solution to violence and antisocial behaviour. The pubs are exerting more power than the police or airport security by demanding photos, fingerprints and ID. Police can only do it if they suspect someone of committing a crime and they must destroy the data if the person is not charged or found not guilty.

Yet one company boasts that the sensitive information collected about patrons can be kept for years and shared with other venues in the country – in what appears to be a breach of privacy laws.

Seriously, folks. What? The? Fuck?

The fingerprint scanning system takes a photograph of the patron, scans their ID and takes a fingerprint which is converted into a map of the meridian points on the print and converted into a PIN. When a patron returns, the scanner matches the meridian points of their finger to the code to find their identity. The company insists there are no fingerprints kept in the system. Patrons can request their details be deleted from the system although not if they are flagged as troublemakers.

ID Tect scanners scan identities into a database which can be shared with hundreds in the country. The system stores the data for 28 days and then it is deleted. But the troublemakers’ IDs can be kept indefinitely.

Among the drinkers scanned on entry to the Coogee Bay Hotel on Australia Day was Ben Davies, a fraud investigator from Mosman. He was ”shocked by the willingness of so many people to hand over their entire lives in this way”.

”You have to be so careful with identification details. If someone breaks into the system, that means someone could be walking around with a fake version of my driver’s licence.,” Mr Davies said.

Quite. Are people really so stupid that they don’t object to this or ask any fucking questions? Are they so lazy they don’t boycott these places in favour of venues that treat them like people? Are they really so desperate for a drink that they queue up meekly to be scanned, tagged, ringed, branded, sheared and dipped?

Baaaa. Baaaaaaaa. Baaaaaa.

And it gets worse.

There are no official checks and balances on how the data is collected, stored, used or shared. Federal Privacy Commissioner Tim Pilgrim has warned he does not have the power to audit the systems and the lack of regulation has even industry players calling for tighter controls.

The Privacy Commissioner warned that: ”Anyone using this technology should be aware that under the Privacy Act, organisations must provide individuals with notice of what will happen to the collected information. It cannot be automatically shared with other venues, even if the purpose for sharing it is the same across all the organisations.”

The Privacy Commissioner has drafted guidelines for ID scanning, which are available on its website.

NightKey fingerprint scanning system director David Wallace has called for regulation and protection of data saying ”anything bad in the industry reflects back on everybody”. NightKey has been working with NSW Police to ensure it complies with security and licensing laws. Mr Wallace said the system was audited annually. He would not reveal the audit results but said the system had been improved based on the findings.

Australasian Council of Security Professionals chairman Jason Brown said biometrics were a higher level of intrusion than just checking a licence and ”it needs to be managed, accountable, audited and subject to the same professional ethics as security and surveillance”

No, no, no, no for Christ’s fucking sake. Don’t get the fucking government invovled. For one thing it’s likely to give the bastards ideas, and for another regulation is quite unnecessary. Listen up, pubbers and clubbers. Simply – and do tell me if I’m going too fast for anyone to keep up – simply take your custom elsewhere. Look, see this lot?

NSW premises using the systems include the Australian Brewery, Lone Pine Tavern, Phriction Night Club and the Mean Fiddler in Sydney’s west; Home Nightclub, the Coogee Bay Hotel; Woy Woy Leagues Club, Woodport Inn and Munmorah United Bowling Club on the central coast; Fotheringhams Hotel in Taree; and Wollongong’s Palm Court Hotel.

Okay? Good. Now just go drinking and dancing at the nearest establishments to that lot that don’t act like fucking US Transport Security Agents. And if they all start to do it too then fuck the lot of them off and make your own Smoky-Drinky Places (© Leg-iron) instead.

The alternative is going out for a drink where quite literally everyone might know your name.

That took its sweet time.

Finally! ID cards are at last dead and decently buried, despite the best efforts of some to hold things up by insisting that the 12,000 or so useful idiots and government hirelings* who bought one of the bloody things could have a refund. As I said in September, caveat emptor always applies whether it’s a crap first car that a young Exile bought against the advice of older and wiser heads or an ID card that always stood a better than evens chance of being abolished before long.

You had the option to not buy something from a relatively unpopular government being lead by a hugely unpopular mucus munching madman, something that the opposition parties made clear they would scrap if they got in, but in spite of that you went ahead. Too fucking bad. Am I going to get a refund on all that NI I paid if, as I expect, the UK state pension pot has gone tits up by the time I reach retirement age? No, I highly fucking doubt it too. Fucking thousands taking from me under threat of violence, fucking thousands. And you peck sniffing, blister palmed, pox ridden cockslots are whinging about your thirty fucking quid even though it cost the rest of the taxpayers twenty grand between them for that bit of plastic.

Fuck. You. All. Fuck you right in the face.

And well done, Cobbleition. Now… what the fuck’s going on with all the rest of that civil liberty stuff you were talking about?

* I can’t recall where I read it and can’t now find the link but I’m sure I saw somewhere that a large number of the ID cards issued had been to people who worked in the department issuing ID cards and other public sector employees.

Two fingers, either way.

I’m having trouble working this out. On the one hand there’s Australia talking about using fingerprint scanners for adults to use gambling machines…

PLAYING the pokies in the future could look very different, with the federal government considering mandatory digital fingerprint-recognition technology for gamblers.

The government has promised to introduce a ”full pre-commitment scheme” forcing poker machine players to set binding limits on their losses.

Under a mandatory system, poker machine players would have to obtain a key from a shop or post office, where it would be configured to recognise the owner’s fingerprint and pre-determined spending limit, said Phillip Ryan, director of the USB’s maker, Responsible Gaming Networks. Gamblers would have to run their index finger over the key’s inbuilt scanner to verify their identity before using a poker machine.

… which is bad enough. But on the other hand I hear via jewel thief cum blogger and parent, Dick Puddlecote, that fingerprint scanners are being used in British schools:

In October, we had a tour round the prospective secondary school of one of the little Ps (the girl). Our guide was a very bouncy year 8 kid who was subdued when showing us the science labs, but incredibly enthusiastic when explaining the lunch money machine.

Bouncy boy enthused, “It’s really good! You just put your finger here and put your money in. It’s well mega! But …”, he tailed off as his enthusiasm waned, “… you can use a card instead ‘cos some people don’t like using fingerprints”, said he with an almost disappointed shrug.

A mum who was on the same tour appeared crestfallen and exasperated, “Why on earth would anyone not like that?”, she gasped with a Helen Worth-style astonished look on her face as she glanced down at her kids whilst shaking her head in genuine disbelief.

After all, the recording of personal information is perfectly normal now, isn’t it?

Which prompts only one response: holy fuck, what the hell were they thinking of and is that woman for real? I’m sure they think it’ll solve bullying people out of lunch money, but it won’t. Really, it won’t. The bullies will focus their attention and aggression to get other things, or just beat up other kids for shits and giggles, knowing that the teachers will wring their hands and do nothing (paartly because they think the technology is making the problem magically go away).

So here’s what I can’t quite decide. Are British kids being softened up in a get-’em-while-they’re-young type process, or are Australian pokie players in danger of being infantilised to, well, to a similar level to British secondary school children? Either way, I suggest we all hold up two fingers, prints inwards, to the idea.

Quelle fucking surprise.

Pop over to Counting Cats and read this.

Okay, done that? Good.

I have only one thing to add to what NickM wrote there. If you were one of the 26 million or so who voted for one of the three wings of the main political party, the Conlabial Servocrats, and especially either of the two wings who actually ended up running the place in May, then you were either complicit or suckered. Now can you see that they really are so similar that the powers that one lot grant themselves are irresistible to the shites that eventually replace them? The choice is not between what were once distinct parties. It’s between statists and personal freedom.

Do please try to remember it in 2015.

Anti-smokers.

Just a very quick blog this, because I’ve just read something that boils my piss virtually to flashpoint.

Parents should be banned from smoking in their own homes and private cars, a Government health chief said today.
Dr Tony Jewell, chief medical officer for Wales, said that stopping people lighting up in their own homes would protect their children from the dangers of passive smoking.

Go fuck yourself, Tony. Go fuck yourself in as humiliating and degrading as way as possible. Do I have to explain what’s wrong with this?

But furious opponents said the ban would be a breach individuals’ right to privacy.

Clearly I do. It’s not fucking privacy rights, which in any case are a fucking fantasy anywhere that is a public space. It’s property rights that are being trampled on here, got it? PER-OP-ER-TEE, not fucking privacy. Why, apart from the fact that I got this from The Mainly Fail as well, is this so difficult to grasp. It is not an infringement of privacy but an infringement upon property. Yes, it is property which belongs to an individual and is therefore private, but it is the property rights that are being shat on and if people can’t understand exactly how their liberty is being eroded how the cunting fuck can they expect to hang on to what’s left?

Oh, and in case you didn’t get the message the first time, fuck you, Tony Jewell. Fuck you right in the lungs.

Warm disregards, a fellow non-smoker.