31 August 2009

Caster Semenya story rolls on

Again a holiday without newspapers etc meant that I missed developments in the Caster Semenya case, the young South African athlete who stormed to victory in the Women’s 800m at the Athletics World Championships in Berlin. Her rapid improvement this year (she smashed her personal best over 800m by seven seconds earlier in the year) prompted calls for a gender test.

According to a BBC report last week tests have revealed that Caster's testosterone level are three times higher than those normally expected in a female sample. Although high level of testosterone does necessarily mean that she has failed a drugs test, it probably increased speculation around her gender.

Semenya was welcomed by hundreds of well-wishers on her return to South Africa following her demolition of Defending champion Janeth Jepkosgei by an enormous 2.45 seconds.

Only hours before the race, it leaked out that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had demanded Semenya take a gender test amid fears she should not be allowed to run as a woman. News of the test only became public knowledge because a fax was sent to the wrong person. It has also been revealed that following the findings of initial tests, the South Africans were asked by the IAAF to withdraw her from the team at the World Championships.

Her family and South African athletics chiefs have leapt to her defence, insisting she is 100% female. "Caster is a girl. I am not worried about that too much," said her uncle on her arrival back in South Africa. Caster is like my child. I know where she comes from. For myself, I know Caster is a girl."

Leonard Chuene, president of Athletics South Africa (ASA), who resigned from his seat on the IAAF board in protest against the organisation's treatment of Semenya, said "It will not be fair for me to attack the IAAF as a council member and representative of South Africa. It is a conflict of interest. We have not once, as ASA, doubted her,"

Testosterone levels can vary widely, which makes it hard to detect possible infractions. When analysis shows an athlete to have a raised level, they are monitored at regular intervals over a set period to establish the underlying level. This is then used as a baseline for future testing. An analysis of Semenya's testosterone levels was carried out in South Africa and it is understood that this information contributed to the IAAF's decision to request the ASA carry out a detailed "gender verification" test on the athlete.

Caster Semenya most definitely looks androgynous but that does not necessarily mean that she is not a woman. I hope that any tests show her gender to be female and she continues to compete. She certainly is a remarkable athlete

Fountain at night


30 August 2009

XXX Porno Candy?

Again I go away for a week and I miss a brouhaha over a brand of sweet sold by Haribo called MAOAM. According to the Telegraph Simon Simpkins of Pontefract was shocked at the "pornographic" poses when he bought the sour candy for his children.

"The lemon and lime are locked in what appears to be a carnal encounter,” he said."The lime, who I assume to be the gentleman in this coupling, has a particularly lurid expression on his face. I demanded to see the shop manager and, during a heated exchange, my wife became quite distressed and had to sit down in the car park."

Haribo said the sweets, which feature illustrations of lemon, lime and cherry characters, said the "fun" packaging was introduced in Germany in 2002. A spokesman said: "This jovial MAOAM man is very popular with fans, both young and old."

Well I say it’s filthy and perverted and will be gathering a mob together to burn all Haribo products I can find, along with a few books and records which are vaguely offensive too.... seethe, rage (exits foaming at mouth and ranting about single parents and national service...)

The Blind Owl II

Detail from the grave of Sadegh Hedayat, Pere Lachaise cemetery, Paris

Viewing the molecule

I go on holiday for one week (which included a break from newspapers and the internet) and yet things still happen. Perhaps the biggest “WOW!” moment was the image of a single molecule of Pentacene (above). A chemical that has semiconductor properties.

The BBC reported that the image was produced by researchers at IBM Research Zurich using what is known as an atomic force microscope or AFM.

The AFM used by the researchers apparently acts like a tiny tuning fork, with one of the prongs of the fork passing incredibly close to the sample and the other farther away. When the fork is set vibrating, the prong nearest the sample will experience a minuscule shift in the frequency of its vibration, simply because it is getting close to the molecule.

Comparing the frequencies of the two prongs gives a measure of just how close the nearer prong is, effectively mapping out the molecule's structure. The measurement requires extremes of precision. This means that the samples are kept under high vacuum and at extremely cold temperatures.

Lead author of the research Leo Gross told BBC News that the group is aiming to combine their ability to measure individual charges with the new technique, characterising molecules at a truly unprecedented level of detail. That will help in particular in the field of "molecular electronics", a potential future for electronics in which individual molecules serve as switches and transistors.

The science is beyond my ken but the image is, well, bloody amazing!

29 August 2009

Thirsty bird

Taken at the tea room of the Paris Mosque

In praise of Essex (n+x) - Scroobius Pip

A week with one of my oldest friends exposed me to a lot of new music (well new for me anyway). Here is Dan Le Sac (from Corringham) V Scroobius Pip (Stanford Le Hope). The name Scroobius Pip is taken from an Edward Lear poem

20 August 2009

As a holiday bonus here's some hot pussy action

Guaranteed no XXX free harccore porn, nude Britney Spears or naked Lindsey (Lindsay?) Lohan pics and Definitely no Jordan/Peter Andre sex tapes or any other worthless celebretries knocking boots. All you get here is some good clean pussy fun!

Off on my hols so here are some swearing parrots

I'm off to Gay Paris for a bit so no posts for a week or so. In the meantime here are a few videos of parrots doing what they do best - swearing their heads off:

Scottish sweary parrot

Canadia sweary parrot - Thanks to Anneke at Mudpuddle for this one

But if you like your parrots cute here's Einstein:

19 August 2009

Azeri security forces flush out Eurovision traitors

The right choice

Security forces in Azerbaijan have launched a campaign against the dozens of citizens who committed high treason by voting for the Armenian entry in this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

To say that there is no love lost between the two nations is a little like saying Antarctica is a bit nippy. Folowing the 1990s war over Nagorno-Karabakh all borders between the two countries remain closed and tensions remain high.

According to the Independent Rovshan Nasirli, a resident of Azerbaijan's capital Baku, was one of 43 people in the country to vote for Armenia's entry "Jan-Jan", sung by the duo Inga and Anush. He told Radio Liberty that he had been summoned to the country's national security ministry last week to explain himself.

"They wanted an explanation for why I voted for Armenia. They said it was a matter of national security," said Mr Nasirli, who voted by text message. "They were trying to put psychological pressure on me, saying things like, 'You have no sense of ethnic pride. How come you voted for Armenia?' They made me write out an explanation, and then they let me go."

Boy have you made a mistake

Luckily for Mr Nasirli, he had a cast-iron excuse for voting for Inga and Anush. He didn't like the Azerbaijani entry, which featured an Iranian singer based in Sweden, and voted for Armenia because the song actually sounded "more Azeri"

Hmm now there’s surveillance technology put to good use I don’t think. As for getting irate over who votes for who in the Eurovision, if there is a grain of truth in this story, the Azerbaijan government should find some greater threat to national security like the evil bastards who step on the cracks on pavements.

This is an extreme example of what makes me loathe nationalism.


According to the BBC If zombies actually existed, an attack by them would lead to the collapse of civilisation unless dealt with quickly and aggressively.

A paper in a book - Infectious Diseases Modelling Research Progress states that only frequent counter-attacks with increasing force would eradicate them

On a serious note a zombie "plague" resembles a lethal, rapidly spreading infection. The researchers say the exercise could help scientists model the spread of unfamiliar diseases through human populations. In their study, the posed a question:

If there was to be a battle between zombies and the living, who would win?

Professor Robert Smith? (sic. the question mark is part of his surname) wrote: "We model a zombie attack using biological assumptions based on popular zombie movies. We introduce a basic model for zombie infection and illustrate the outcome with numerical solutions."

To give the living a fighting chance, the researchers chose "classic" slow-moving zombies as our opponents rather than the nimble, intelligent creatures portrayed in some recent films.

Even so, their analysis revealed that a strategy of capturing or curing the zombies would only put off the inevitable. In their scientific paper, the authors conclude that humanity's only hope is to "hit them [the undead] hard and hit them often. They added: "It's imperative that zombies are dealt with quickly or else... we are all in a great deal of trouble."

Professor Neil Ferguson, who is one of the UK government's chief advisers on controlling the spread of swine flu, said the study did have parallels with some infectious diseases.

"None of them actually cause large-scale death or disease, but certainly there are some fungal infections which are difficult to eradicate," said Professor Ferguson, from Imperial College London. There are some viral infections - simple diseases like chicken pox have survived in very small communities. If you get it when you are very young, the virus stays with you and can re-occur as shingles, triggering a new chicken pox epidemic."

Professor Smith? told BBC News: "When you try to model an unfamiliar disease, you try to find out what's happening, try to approximate it. You then refine it, go back and try again.We refined the model again and again to say... here's how you would tackle an unfamiliar disease."

Bugger I was expecting a lot of good information on how to massacre zombies and the article turns into a science thingy. Damn!

18 August 2009

The Guardian has an article on naming new species that amused me:

Apparently Sir David Attenborough has quite a few species already named in his honour: a prehistoric lizard, a parasitic wasp, an echidna (or spiny anteater), a fossilised fish. Now he can add a huge carnivorous plant to the list. It is so big that it might possibly be able to digest a small rodent

Sir David is delighted that the plant was given the scientific title Nepenthes attenboroughii by a team of botanists led by Stewart McPherson, who discovered it during a plant-hunting expedition to Mount Victoria in the Philippines.

"I like these oddball plants and this is a very dramatic one. It can hold up to two litres of water in its jugs," says Sir David. "It is a very nice, complimentary thing for this young, intrepid explorer to do and I am very touched that Stewart McPherson should have done it in my name."

Every year, more than 15,000 new species of animal alone are recognised by scientists. Modern scientists, while blind to the commercial potential of a new species of coffee plant called Starkbuckii or a prehistoric cow named McDonaldae, often have a weakness for honouring random celebrities.

As a result we have a sea snail called Bufonaria borisbeckeri, a ground beetle named Agra katewinsletae and several dinosaurs named after Jurassic Park director Steven Spielberg. Scientists have also immortalised their dodgy music taste -a dinosaur called Masiakasaurus knopfleri (How appropriate!,) and geeky passion for Star Wars (a wasp named Polemistus chewbacca and a beetle called Agathidium vaderi).

This year, a species of lichen was named Caloplaca obamae in honour of Barack Obama's support of science. Three species of slime-mold beetle were named (Agathidium bushi after George Bush, Agathidium cheneyi after Dick Cheney and Agathidium rumsfeldi after Donald Rumsfeld).

It is acceptable to name a species after a public figure but not after yourself, according to Steve Tracey of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. Scientists naming discoveries after family members is also "a little bit naughty", says Tracey, particularly as the discoverer's name is anyway placed next to the species name so authorship is not forgotten.

His personal favourites are humorous: the mollusc of the genus Abra that was given the species name cadabra,...

They must have been rolling in the aisles....

Seven Things I love

SOme time back Snoopy the Goon over at Simply Jews tagged me for this theme. I had totally forgotten about it but better late than never....

The mission is simple: list the seven things you love and tag seven other victims. Simple.

It appears that try as I might, I am unable to improve on Bob's list, so here it comes, with two remarks afterward.

  1. The not-wife. A no-brainer for the number one spot given that it is getting on for 28 years since we first met
  2. The cats. We don't have kids but the furry monsters act as evil masters instead!
  3. A really good book. I can't top Snoopy on this one.
  4. Good company and good conversation with my small circle of intimate friends
  5. Good music.
  6. Good food.
  7. Good drink, especially a nice bottle of Cote Rotie or a decent cask conditioned beer if in a pub
Now who to tag? Ach just seven? You are all welcome to give this one a go!

17 August 2009

Bolt of cloth, err lightning!

It may be the opening weekend of the new football season (Yes I support my local side West Ham but I still think that teh Premier league is fullof show ponies with far more money than talent), England and Australia may still be set fair to end that tedious set of events that is known as a test series (How can you have a game that can last five days and still end up with a draw?????). As ever there are usually ar more interesting sporting events going on.

This week the world’s elite athletes convene in Berlin for the World Athletics championships. We have already seen a star of the sport further consolidate his grip on his chosen event:

Last night Usain Bolt lowered his 1000m world record by an enormous 0.11 of a second, taking the time down to an amazing 9.58 seconds.

"I can definitely say it's the best feeling ever," Bolt told the spectators. After what they had just seen, they probably felt the same way. Even his competitors could not quite believe it. Asafa Powell, who finished in third place, said: "When I saw the time, I knew I had to go out and catch him. But even after the finish I couldn't catch him."

"I knew it was going to be a great race, and I executed it. It's a great time, a great feeling, I feel good in myself and I knew I could do it. There was a big build-up, great atmosphere. It wasn't going to be an easy race, but I had a perfect start and just went from there. I came out here to do my best and I did what I had to do."

Tomorrow, Bolt will start his campaign to make the 200m final. "There'll be no partying for me ahead of Tuesday," he said. "I'll rest up as always."

And there’s more!

Britain’s showing in top level athletics has left rather a lot to be desired in recent year so it is a great pleasure to see that Jessica Ennis has won the Heptathlon title in emphatic style. In winning a world title she has done something that the great Denise Lewis never did

Well done Jessica and well done Usain!

Happy Birthday to the not-wife

The not-wife is 45 today

A wonderful quote by Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw

"If anyone tells you he is never afraid, he is a liar or he is a Gurkha."

16 August 2009

Iran Puts Baha’is on trial for alleged espionage.

The Baha’i faith has been persecuted in Iran since its foundation. The only difference now is that the persecution is undertaken under the auspices of Khamenei and his rabble rather than the Shah and his rabble.

According to the BBCSeven Baha’is members are to go on trial on next week on charges of spying for Israel and of "insulting sanctities".

Six of them were arrested in May, 2008. The other one was arrested two months earlier. They were the leaders of the faith in Iran where it claims some 300,000 members. It is banned by the Islamic revolutionary leadership of Iran which considers it heretical.

Hundreds of Baha’i followers have been jailed and executed since Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979, the Baha’i International Community says. However, the government denies it has detained or executed people because of their faith

In this case as with many other things the Government is lying

Squeaky Fromme paroled

The Times reports that Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, the Charles Manson follower who tried to assassinate President Ford, was granted her freedom yesterday after spending more than three decades in prison.

Fromme was 26 when she pointed a semi-automatic .45 pistol at the President in 1975. The assassination attempt took place in Sacramento, California, as Ford was strolling from the State Capitol building to his hotel.

Dressed in a nun-like red robe, Fromme drew the weapon from a holster on her thigh and aimed it at the President as he shook hands with supporters. She was disarmed by Secret Service agents and members of the public before the President could be hurt — although it was later found that the gun had no bullet in the chamber. It did, however, contain a clip of ammunition.

Fromme, now 60, was investigated but never charged with involvement with the murders of Sharon Tate and eight others , but she was convicted of attempting to stop other members of Manson’s “family” from testifying, as well as contempt of court when she refused to testify herself.

She managed to escape from a female prison in Alderson, West Virginia, in 1987 prompting a huge search operation. She was eventually recaptured about two miles away and then sentenced to an additional 15 months in prison for the escape.

15 August 2009

Preston Wiginton background

Yesterday I expressed my pleasure that Preston Wiginton was barred from entering the United Kingdom. Here is why:

According to the Souther Poverty Law Center Preston Wiginton, spends his time forging international connections between anti-immigration extremists and white supremacists to prevent the populations of "white nations" from becoming what he has termed "a homogenous muddle of sludge.
Wiginton first appeared on the white nationalist scene in October 2005, not long after he turned 40, when he attended Hammerfest, a neo-Nazi skinhead festival in Draketown, Georgia. It's unclear from his prolific subsequent blog posts and essays whether he subscribed to white nationalist ideology relatively late in life or was a longtime believer who came out publicly in middle age.
Either way, Wiginton became a major behind-the-scenes player in the white nationalist movement and one of the most dynamic of American far-right extremists making waves abroad.

The accelerating trajectory of Wiginton's activism began in the fall of 2005, one month after Hammerfest, when he organized a lecture at Texas A&M University by anti-immigration extremist Frosty Wooldridge. When about 100 anti-racist protesters surrounded Wiginton and Wooldridge in a "free speech zone," Wiginton threatened to "bring in the Hammerskins," apparently a reference to members of Hammerskin Nation, a nationwide coalition of violent skinhead gangs.

An online essay by Wiginton describes non-white immigration as "an abnormal growth that is threatening the life of American culture and the life of American people." If action is taken, and time is of the essence, this cancer can be eradicated," Wiginton writes. If not, "the death of the American way of life, identity and sovereignty is certain."

The language in Wiginton's NoAztlan essay is about as harsh as his rhetoric gets if it's intended for a general audience. When he interacts with college students, talks with American media or posts to mainstream conservative blogs, he typically assumes the guise of a Minuteman-style nativist concerned chiefly with illegal immigration. He strategically limits his Jew-bashing and endorsements of racially motivated violence to his personal website and a handful of white supremacist online forums including Stormfront, which he joined in October 2006 using the screen name "Ruskybound."

According to his own posts, Wiginton moved to Moscow shortly thereafter and began forging connections with racist "skinheads, leaders of Russian nationalist parties, Russian skinhead and patriot bands and Russian WN [white nationalist] academics." He has since repeatedly boasted on Stormfront of his close relationship with Alexander Belov, the former spokesman for the Russian ultranationalist and virulently anti-Semitic group Pamyat. Currently, Belov is the leader of Movement Against Illegal Immigration, or DPNI, a powerful white nationalist organization with 5,000 members in 30 regions of Russia. DPNI has close ties to neo-Nazi Russian skinhead gangs, whose members carried out more than 600 xenophobic attacks last year, including 68 murders, according to the Sova Information and Analyis Center, a Moscow-based watchdog organization.

"Russia is under third world invasion. Luckily Russia is the only nation that understands RAHOWA [Racial Holy War]," Wiginton wrote in a Stormfront post last July. "Because of this immigrants think twice about coming to Russia."

Wiginton returned to America in the spring of 2007 to ramp up his activism here by organizing a series of lectures on college campuses by racist leaders, starting with a lecture at Clemson University last April that was co-sponsored by the South Carolina chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a white supremacist organization.

In the summer of 2007, Wiginton was back in Russia for the annual DPNI congress, which was attended by skinheads and other white nationalists from at least five European countries. "There were many Seig Heils and Roman Salutes," Wiginton wrote on Stormfront.

Also in the summer of 2007, Wiginton promoted a series of concerts in Russia by the Bully Boys, an American hate rock band. In his spare time, he tried to find a Russian girlfriend. "Real Russian women, not half-breeds or Jews, want real Russian men," he wrote on his website. "I know I have been turned down a few times, but also I was lucky in knowing many people over here when I came."

Griffin (left) Wiginton is on the far right

Wiginton reappeared in America in October 2007 when he co-sponsored another lecture at Clemson with the CCC, this one by Nick Griffin. The following day, Griffin lectured at Texas A&M at the invitation of the so-called Aggie Independents. Griffin then flew to East Lansing, Mich., for an Oct. 26 lecture at Michigan State University that was sponsored by the MSU chapter of Young Americans for Freedom.

The week after Griffin's lectures, Wiginton was back in Moscow, where he spoke at a rally against non-white immigration last Nov. 4 that was attended by approximately 5,000 Russian ultra-nationalists, including a large contingent of skinheads. Lifting his black cowboy hat into the air, Wiginton said, "I'm taking my hat off as a sign of respect for your strong identity in ethnicity, nation and race." The skinheads raised their arms in Nazi salutes and chanted "White Power!" in English.

SPLC approached Wiginton to comment for the article he declined, calling himself "the wrong Goy" to ask for information.

He responded aws follows: "You [the Southern Poverty Law Center] have a political objective to destroy European and Slavic peoples and cultures," Wiginton wrote. "We can exist only if we live in the yoke of your Judaic system."

Enough said....


Adrian Paunescu now

While I love bad poetry, there is a huge difference between the passionate ineptitude of the likes of Tayside Tragedian or McIntyre of the giant cheese and the sycophantic ramblings of the political court poets as you will still see in places like North Korea.

Of all the former communist states in Europe Romania was in many ways one of the worst. Ceausescu may have garnered a little respect in the west by having the temerity not to participate fully in the Warsaw Pact structure and not contributing to the forces that toppled Dubcek in Czechoslovakia he was an evil mane in virtually every other respect of his worthless life.

Essentially Ceausescu was. Ultra nationalist and a unreconstructed Stalinist. It would be safe to say that he was a Nationalist Socialist. )Hmm that sounds a bit of a mouthful, let me remove a syllable.- Ceausescu was a National Socialist. Huum still too many syllables. This sounds right)

Ceausescu was basically a NAZI. Like other tyrants he had his coterie of sycophants. One of these was Adrian Paunescu who was Ceausescu's court poet. Here is an example of his work, some extracts of a poem translated by Constantin Roman:


"We now live a new life, which was dreamt of and fought for
By our forbears, our national revolutionaries Tudor, Balcescu
Horia and Iancu, who were once upon a time
The martyrs of our sufferings and of Romania’s fate

Today their heir is this wise old man, brought to us in Spring time
To be a hero amongst heroes. As Communist Party Leader,
It stands to reason that he is also the country’s President.
And that is why, through the very person of Ceausescu we found our own newborn ethos.


It is Ceausescu himself that introduced honour within the Communist Party and the Country
He rediscovered our history unadulterated
To make us reach for the future in our dreams, as well as
In our daily deeds, full of new meanings.


We can’t accept that our life should be broken
As we make history day in, day out, the way it was prescribed
By the 9th Congress of the Communist Party
Whose philosophy is to believe in the People as the ultimate solution

Notwithstanding all that the centre of our struggle remains
The Communist Party who knows the problem and has the solution
The Party is the architect of all our future
The perfect judge of our past and present

That is the stuff of which Romania’s hero is made
A true heroes through every fibre
The first recipient of the Truth
Who knows how to confront all Evil


As we follow our Hero, we overcome disasters
As we follow our Hero we shall be able to
Make everything to the measure of our enthusiasm
You People with a noble spirit, People with a pure soul. "

Paunescu showing dissent

Even if this is well written in Romanian it has the stink of a man who had his lips to the sphincter of a tyrant. I gather that Paunescu had the temerity to call himself a dissident.

If you wish to read about a real Romanian dissident who did suffer terribly for her actions try Doina Cornea and not this worthless scumbag

14 August 2009

American Racist scumbag stopped at Heathrow

Preston Wiginton an American white supremacist was stopped from entering Britain to attend a British National party festival this weekend.

He had planned to attend party's Red, White and Blue festival in Codnor, Derbyshire, which started today.

Wiginton is a kamerad of Griffin and is truly a nasty piece of shit. The UK is far better off for his exclusion.

Further details on Wiginton (and why he is scum) tomorrow.

That would be an ecumenical matter

A bit of Father Ted, my second favourite sitcom of all time. Guess who our cat Ted is named after (clue it's not Teddy Kennedy or Ted Bundy)

13 August 2009

More Boris

This week's entry for the Friday Ark and Carnival of the Cats.

A tale of penguin eggs goes on sale

Next month auctioneers Bonhams will be selling significant items of Edwardian exploration memorabilia – a 40-page handwritten account by Edward Wilson (above) of a 1911 journey to gathering Emperor penguin eggs from their remote breeding grounds.

Today’s Guardian reports on this story. Wilson, known as Uncle Bill by companions, was part of Captain Robert Scott's team. A naturalist, physician and painter, Wilson was with Scott at the South Pole in 1912, only to find Roald Amundsen had beaten them to it. When the frozen corpses of the British explorers were found in November, Scott's arm was around Wilson.

The story of the race to the South Pole has overshadowed a similarly remarkable tale the year before. The Antarctic winter expedition led by Wilson was immortalised in print by Apsley Cherry-Garrard in his book The Worst Journey in the World, who, with "Birdie" Bowers, made up the three-man team.

Cherry-Garrard's adventure account became a bestseller but he admitted: "The horror of the 19 days … would have to be re-experienced to be appreciated; and any one would be a fool who went again." In his diary Scott called the expedition "one of the most gallant stories in polar history."

Much of the trek was in silence because talking proved too difficult. At night the men had shivering fits, shaking to the point they thought bones would break. The conditions were so appalling, so unexperienced by human beings, it took them five hours per day to get out of their tent and prepare for the journey.

That the men made it to the roosting grounds was a minor miracle and Cherry-Garrard credited Wilson's "patient, self-possessed, unruffled" leadership skills. "He was the only man on earth, as I believe, who could have led this journey."

People today know all about the bizarre roosting behaviour of the Emperor penguins, gleaned from TV documentaries. But the three men who arrived, finally, at Cape Crozier were witnessing something unseen by human eyes – the male penguins incubating eggs in winter.

There were far fewer penguins than anticipated, probably only 100 or so and the explorers found some birds were so desperate to nurse an egg they incubated lumps of ice, rounded into egg shapes. Wilson had been convinced that the penguins were a kind of missing link between reptiles and birds and that studying their eggs would reap great benefits.

The manuscript, valued at £80,000 -£120,000, is quite matter-of-fact in conveying the difficulties they experienced but, says Bonhams, it "has sufficient colour for anyone with imagination”. The words have been known to historians because a transcript is held by the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, but until experts went through effects put up for sale by Wilson's descendents the original was thought lost.

Jon Baddeley, Bonhams' head of collector's department, said: "It is a remarkable document. We had absolutely no notion that we were going to come across it."

When Cherry-Garrard arrived at the Natural History Museum with three prized penguin eggs he was allegedly met by a custodian who said: "Who are you? What do you want? This ain't an egg shop." When he got someone to take the eggs, Cherry-Garrard was then forced to wait hours for a receipt.

Ah there’s nothing like a good British ending to a Boys Own adventure!

Go here for more information on Edward Wilson

12 August 2009

Shirin Ebadi calls for new election

Yesterday Nobel laureateShirin Ebadi called for a fresh election in Iran under UN surveillance to end violence in her country and urged UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to visit Tehran.

"In order to have fair election results, there must be a re-election under UN surveillance," she told journalists during a visit to South Korea."I plead with the UN secretary general to come to Iran. He must see what's happening in Iran with his own eyes and talk to Iranians in order to write an accurate and truthful report,"

She urged Tehran to stop using violence against peaceful protesters, halt the "show trials" of political opponents, release detainees, end censorship and compensate victims of government violence.

Many Iranians had begun employing new tactics to continue protests while avoiding arrest, she said.In one instance mothers of demonstrators who were killed or arrested wear black and gather in public parks on Saturday nights for silent protests, carrying pictures of their children, she said.

Ebadi called for international pressure on Tehran but made it clear she opposes economic sanctions or military intervention."Economic sanctions would only aggravate the people's hardship," she said."It's much more important for the international community to share in Iranians' pain rather than to impose economic sanctions on them."

I wish her words would be heeded

Support bands I have seen #4

The Meteors who supported Theatre of Hate at the Portsmouth Guildhall in 1982

11 August 2009

Burmese Junta still terrified of The Lady

The Lady

The BBC has just reported that Aung San Suu Kyi, the Lady, has been sentenced to an additional 18 months house arrest by a court in Rangoon.

Ms Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace laureate, was convicted of breaking the terms of her house arrest by allowing American John Yettaw into her lakeside home in May. She had been jailed for three years with hard labour, but this was commuted to house arrest.

Ms Suu Kyi had denied the charge but said she expected to be convicted.

It was no surprise that she would be hound guilty by the sham trial. After all it would never do to let the Lady actually take place in an election again. Better for that maggot Than Shwe and his junta of vermin to prevent her from participating than having to ignore her inevitable victory.

I can’t help think that Yettaw was put up to this so as to extend her incarceration and keep her out of next year’s elections

Than Shwe - A piece of human excrement

Another Acanthus flying hand creature

This week's entry for the Tuesday and Wednesday editions of Wordless Wednesday.

Amon Thriller

Having proved last year that Elvis Presley’s career started long before the Ed Sullivan Show

“references in the Annals of Tacitus to a singer called Gyratus who sang popular songs including Tenere Me Ama, Non Adamare Non Possum and Nunc hic aut numquam. Unfortunately I am not sure we will ever determine whether Elvis is a reincarnation of Gyratus or if indeed he is immortal. Then again some things should remain within the realms of faith”

Now we have proof positive that Michael Jackson did not start his career in the early seventies in the Jackson 5. A sculpture on display at Chicago’s Field Museum, indicate that he had a career entertaining Pharaohs over three Millennia ago

According to the local pressin Chicago the Field Museum has had a limestone sculpture (above) from ancient Egypt on display since 1988. However it is only recently that it has drawn attention. This is surprising since it is a perfect likeness of Jackson right down to the disfigured nose.

“I have no idea whether Jackson ever visited the museum,” a Field spokesperson said “But it could be proof that Jackson started his career in entertainment 3,000 or so years ago. There are a number of hieroglyphic messages that we need to decode, but they seem to refer to a singer with a strange nose who walked as if he was imbued with the spirit of Thoth (the Egyptian Moon god)."

If further proof was required Jackson cast himself as an interloper in ancient Egypt in his video for “Remember the Time,” so maybe he was paying tribute to his Egyptian roots.

10 August 2009

Darius Guppy: From prison bitch to regime apologist

The last time I heard of arrogant aristo and erstwhile member of the upper class hooligan rabble the Bullingdon Club, Darius Guppy was when he was sent down for fraud and theft in the 1990’s.

In the early 1990’s Guppy and associate Benedict Marsh staged a jewel heist at their company in Manhattan and then defrauded their insurers to the tune of £1.8m. Guppy was sentenced to five (or six depending on the source) years, a sentence that can never be “spent” under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act

And that was the last I had heard of the arrogant criminal scumbag until today when I happened on an article he wrote in the Independent last Friday. It would appear that he has gone from being a criminal to a mouthpiece for the criminal Iranian regime.

“On 21 March, The Independent published a letter in which I argued that there was no empirical evidence of the elections in Iran having been rigged, despite prolific assurances to the contrary. Driven by forces beholden to the corporate interest, nothing would please the West more than to have the Iranian masses emulate "the mindless McDonald's-munching slaves of Mammon" of my last sentence. ...To suggest that two undeniably devout men, Ayatollah Khamenei and Mr Ahmadinejad, should have engaged in such an un-Islamic conspiracy as cheating their own people (unnecessary, since the consensus of the opinion polls put Mr Ahmadinejad comfortably ahead) constitutes possibly the most serious allegation that one could level against them."

Err, not all of them by a long chalk. The list on Wikipedia indicates that the polls were all over the place, with a fair number favouring Mosaic - hardly a consensus! As for the idea that “religious men” would never stoop to maintaining their grip on the reins of power, Perhaps Lord Acton’s maxim about power and corruption does not apply to them, but somehow I think not

"The truth is that many in Iran and in the Muslim world in general have grasped Western democracy's dirty little secret: that your leaders have no real power. And if your representatives are as ineffectual as their electorate before the Dictatorship of Money, then what meaning have your votes and your democracy?"
Ah so what does that make Ahmadinejad: Oh yes a puppet of a misogynistic scumbag called Khamenei

...".For we look with horror at your anarchy and what you have become. Visit Iran and you will see a people polite, hospitable, cultured, noble and brave".

I’ll grant Guppy this one. I can describe the Iranians I know as charming intelligent, hospitable and beautiful

"Look at Britain's urban hell and you will see young girls and boys armed with knives, swearing, half naked, vomiting the previous night's attempt to stifle their pain and their emptiness. Turn on the radio and listen to laddettes boasting about what they did with their boyfriends in bed the day before, but tune in to Iran's airwaves and you will hear poetry and beautiful music."
Tarring all youth with a brush then? Hmm I wonder what would happen to an Iranian girl who boasted publicly about her sexual exploits... Prison and a beating at the very least...

"Now while you may have traded Turner for Emin, Shakespeare for Rushdie, Mozart for Madonna, people who think very much like me will never allow such a thing to happen to their nation. You offer us Puff Daddy but we have Hafez, thank you very much. You offer us Hollywood when we have perhaps the finest modern cinema on earth. You may have jettisoned a once great European and God-fearing civilisation, but your moral poison must never be allowed to insinuate its way into one of the greatest and oldest cultures on the planet."
The sheer arrogance of the man! So Rushdie is a writer of trash fiction? I will agree that the Satanic Verses was poor but perhaps Guppy also sneers at Midnight’s Children.

As it happens I am greatly enamoured by Persian culture. Regular readers of this blog will have seen numerous posts on Iranian poetry and art.

HOWEVER...try and publish something that the Iranian authorities don’t like... Go and have a nice word with Shahrnush Parsipur whose masterpiece Women without Men was banned by the Iranian authorities. Parsipur, who had previously been incarcerated for political dissent, faced another sentence as a result of this book. She chose exile instead. Parsipur is not alone in having works banned.

As for Iranian cinema, yes it is excellent but you won’t see them all in Iran... ask Jafar Panahi when many of his films get a screening in his homeland!
"...The events in Iran of the past 30 years must be seen for what they really are, not a revolution at all, but a counter revolution; not a negation of a nation's grand past as occurred in France or Russia or China, but an affirmation of it; a realisation that the experiment you call the Enlightenment, or secular liberalism, far from being the triumph of your comfortable certainties, has been the opposite – a bringing low of all that once made Europe great."

So brutal executions and the treatment of women as third class citizens is an affirmation rather than a descent into mediaeval misogyny? Give me secular liberalism any day!
"Iran is set irreversibly on a course towards independence and will never adopt the position of servility towards Mammon and America which has earned for England the appellative not of the "the Great Satan", a term reserved for the United States, but "shaytan-e-kuchek" or "the little Satan".

The UK has been the agent of plenty of misfortune in Iran/Persia and is that not why it has that title? On the other hand it is too easy to become an “Uncle Napoleon” and blame the UK for every misfortune that befalls Iran

"God willing, she can then become what Huntingdon refers to as a "core state" around which other nations that cherish freedom can coalesce. As one of the few countries that has consistently dared to stand up to Mammon, she must be a bastion in the coming clash – not of civilisations, as Huntingdon puts it, but between civilisation on the one hand and the barbarism that is now synonymous with secular liberalism in the minds of so many Muslims, and others disillusioned with the fruits of the West, and not just in the imagination of one particular old Etonian, former member of the Bullingdon."

Yada, yada, yada, so this is what happens when a supremely arrogant criminal leaves the UK (he lives illegally in Cape Town if the Mail is to be believed and yes I know it is a stretch to believe that ugly rag ... He effectively lives in South Africa on on tourist visas) and becomes born-again, as a fanatic mouthpiece for the country of his mother’s birth, regardless of its glaring injustices. In this sense Guppy makes useful idiots like Seumas Milne or George Galloway of the SS (see below) seem tame.

To be honest, there are plenty of things wrong with this country and there are plenty of things that are good about Iran, particularly its people and its culture (regular readers will know my love of Iranian poetry and art) but I won’t be lectured by a member of the criminal class like Darius Guppy.

NOTE In this case SS stands for Stalinist Shitheadery and not Schutzstaffel. I am not calling Galloway a Nazi, just a political dinosaur of a particularly vile sort.

Different faces, same bastard

The smug face of Saeed Mortazavi, Iranian chief prosecutor at the Tehran show trials

The face of fanatic Nazi Roland Freisler, president of the the German People's Court in WWII

What is the difference between them? Freisler got blown to hell by an allied bomb in February 1945. As present Mortazavi is still alive. One hopes that he does not die peacefully in his bed at a great age

What a scumbag

Keith Griffin of Jensen Beach, Florida has been charged with ten counts of possession of child pornography after finding more than 1,000 images on his personal computer.

Griffin denies that he has actually downloaded any child pornography. He explained that he had been downloading music, and that his cat jumped on the keyboard when he left the room. He said
"strange things" appeared on the computer when he returned.

Along with the vast majority of people I find the idea of child pornography utterly revolting but to try and pin the blame for your disgusting predilections on your cat? Now that really is the lowest of the low.

I hope for his sake that his future cell mate isn't a cat lover, doesn't weigh 300lbs and isn't very, very sex starved.....

09 August 2009

Yesterday according to the Telegraph a group (or groups) known as the The English and Welsh Defence League and Casuals United held a demonstration near the city's Bullring shopping complex in Birmingham. UAF held a counter demonstration.

I had never heard of Casuals United or the English and Welsh Defence League... or the British Defence League for that matter so I was curious to find out a little more about them. A check on the group’s website (no link but Google Casuals United if you are that way inclined)they claim to be Normal British people who have come together in order to create a massive but peaceful protest group... The thrust of their protest seem to be violent Islamic extremist but claiming that “the Government and police are either turning a blind eye, and/or actively helping them in their aims”.

They claim to be non racist and have no links to the BNP or other such organisations. Indeed the Who We Are section states “We are not against Muslem (sic) people per se, we are against those in their community who wish to promote or raise money for terror, abuse our troops and attempt to impose medieval and barbaric laws upon our country". Fair enough...


go to their Armchair Warrior section you will find a link to a Daily Star story (I kid you not) and the following comment:

the traitor Alan Johnson wants to keep letting immigrants, most of them terrorists or sympathisers into this country, read the above story then phone/write or bombard him with emails outlining your disgust, please forward this to all your mates and pass his number on to people you know will complain. British people must make a stand and the scum that have allowed our country to get in this state need to be told.

We have no chance of removing islam with rodents like this in power. This man is in charge of immigration control and openly states that he doesnt care how many people come here. No, well he wont be on the train when the next bomb goes off, so why should he care?

So not against Muslems (sic) per se but wish to remove Islam? Somebody’s not quite got their message straight. Perhaps they should combine brain cells (if any) and work out exactly what they want.

The not-wife did point out something staring me in the face - Who the hell calls themselves a casual in the 21st Century? Surely that expression is so 1982!

L Ron Hubbard was a fraud (no surprise there!)

Discovering that Lafayette Ron Hubbard (left) - writer of abysmal pulp science fiction, proponent of diuretics, (sorrythat should be dianetics) founder of the church of scientology and all round bullshitter and charlatan - was a fraud should be akin to finding out that the sky is blue or that water is wet. However, 30 years ago the British Government devoted time to determining the extent of his fraudulence.

According to the Times scientologists had threatened to sue the British Government for libel after it banned in 1968 followers from entering the country to visit the sect’s world headquarters in East Grinstead, West Sussex. To defend itself, Britain needed to establish whether Lafayette Ron Hubbard was a charlatan. L Ron Hubbard was also subject of an exclusion order.

Diplomats found that Hubbard had awarded himself a PhD from a sham “diploma mill” college that he had acquired. Department of Health files released early to The Times following a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The papers include a signed statement by a former senior Scientologist who said that he had been informed of the doctorate scam by one of Hubbard’s collaborators.

“I understand it is asserted that L. Ron Hubbard was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Sequoia University on February 10, 1953, in recognition of his outstanding work in the fields of Dianetics and Scientology and that the said degree was recorded with the Department of Education of the State of California. The position is L. Ron Hubbard [and others] acquired premises somewhere in Los Angeles which they had registered as a university called Sequoia and immediately awarded each other doctorates.”

Junkie and all round arsehole Pete Doherty.. a the poster boy for the Church of Scientology?

Whitehall officials asked the British Consulate in Los Angeles to investigate him. The answer came from Los Angeles on April 26, 1977: “After exhaustive enquiries we have now tracked down organisation named which was closed down by state authorities in 1971 and all documents impounded. The facts are that it neither has nor ever had approval and its status is not recognised in California . . . It is a ‘will of the wisp’ organisation which has no premises and does not really exist. It has not and never had any authority whatsoever to issue diplomas or degrees and the dean is sought by the authorities ‘for questioning’.”

Although it was not as if L Ron Hubbard was photographed munching on the bones of an infant it was an indication of the man. After all he was a pathological liar who found an ideal way to con thousands of dupes out of their money. Surprisingly his ridiculous cult has continued to thrive, raking in even more money from even more idiots

08 August 2009

Jabba the Uzbek gets his greasy mitts on a piece of Facebook

I missed this story last month but better late than never. Genial Uzbek billionaire and friend to all little fluffy creatures everywhere has been increasing his portfolio by taking an indirect investment in Facebook according to Alibaba.com Digital Sky Technologies (DST), a Russian paid $200 million for a 1.96% stake. This apparently values the social networking site at around $10 billion (well above the $3 billion reported a few months before by private-equity investors)

Digital Sky is backed by Alisher Usmanov who has never ever had sex with a miner and whp reportedly has a 32% stake in the Digital Sky. A spokesman would not confirm Usmanov's participation, but a source familiar with the company said Usmanov had a "substantial" stake. Earlier this week, the Russian daily Kommersant reported that he had upped his holding in Digital Sky to 32%, from 30%....Usmanov also owns Kommersant.

Uncle Alisher, as he is known by former former Uzbek ambassador, Craig Murray, is a staunch defender of free speech on the internet, retaining a high powered law firm Schillings to work pro bono where websites have been taken down at the behest of other complainants. To underline his commitment to bloggers world wide, he owns half of LiveJournal-owner SUP.

So there you have it. Alisher Usmanov, truly a living saint!. Meanwhile a number of Facebook malcontents have created such groups as: Alisher Usmanov is a fat cun* and Alisher Usmanov go fu*k yourself

Support bands I have seen #3

Cardiacs supported Here and Now at the Southampton Civic Hall in March 1984. Much as I liked Here & NowCardiacs blew them off stage.

07 August 2009

Photo Hunt - low

The theme for this week's Photo Hunt is low. Lacking photos of the Fens or of lowing cows, here's a photo of an early encounter between newcomer Boris (left) and alpha cat Robyn. The scene may not look tense but it would do had I recorded the soundtrack!. Hopefully this marks the low point n their relationship. Robyn is a laid back moggy so that should help

Boris takes a brushing with fortitude

New arrival Boris takes a brushing. This week's entry for the Friday Ark and Carnival of the Cats.

06 August 2009

And now the Mars Bigfoot, err Log, err skull, err monolith....

There's a monolith in here, honest!

A rectangular object found jutting out of Mars's surface and caught on camera (you can see it absolutely clearly in the above photo) by the University of Arizona has caused speculation over the nature of the "monolith" and its origins.

According to the Telegraph the scientists at the University of Arizona who captured the image from a powerful camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter satellite, insist that the structure is a normal, if striking, natural phenomenon.

Needless to say parallels are being drawn with monoliths 2001: A Space Odyssey. But not by the University Alfred McEwen, professor of planetary science "Layering from rock deposition combined with tectonic fractures creates right-angle planes of weakness such that rectangular blocks tend to weather out and separate from the bedrock. It is not that unusual. There are lots of rectangular structures on Mars. It is striking when you see one that is isolated, but they are common."

Veteran astronaut Buzz Aldrin recently stoked space conspiracy theory further by announcing that a similar "monolith" had been detected on Mars's moon Phobos. "There is a monolith there, a very unusual structure on this little potato-shaped object that goes around Mars once every seven hours. When people find out about that, they are going to say 'who put that there?’ Well, the universe put it there, or if you choose, God put it there."

Monoliths? Whatever... let it join the face and all of the other so called structures in the title to this post. One thing is for sure. Mars seems like a Pareidolia paradise

O Canada!

Last mont I posted a poem by Canada's and perhaps the world's finest cheese poets. A regular and most welcome visitor Claudia and a newer but equally welcom visitor Knatolee want to teach me the French version of O Canada. In fact it is Claudia's depest wish to see the French version of teh Canadian National anthem on this blog

Never let it be said that I don't listen to my readers so here is O Canada in French:

Ô Canada!
Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits

As a bonus I have decided to include the Inuktitut version too

Uu Kanata! nangmini nunavut!
Piqujatii nalattiaqpavut.
Nangiqpugu, Uu Kanata,
Uu Kanata! nunatsia!
Nangiqpugu mianiripluti,
Uu Kanata, salagijauquna!

05 August 2009

Ahmadinejad sworn in

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has finally been sworn in as “president” of Iran. The ceremony was boycotted by many opposition leaders and politicians, including former presidents Rafsanjani and Khatami (no real surprise there) – a number even walked out when Ahmadinejad started talking. Hundreds of opposition supporters gathered outside parliament faced by several thousand Basij thugs and riot police.

Despite frequent outbursts of Uncle Napoleonism by the Iranian authorities the British ambassador, Simon Gass attended the inauguration. Only France and Sweden also sent ambassadors. The Foreign Office defended the decision to send Gass to the ceremony, saying it was important "to keep channels of communication open" to address issues of concern...However, the UK did join Germany, France and the US in not sending a letter of congratulations to Ahmadinejad.,

In a display of petulance he mocked the Western snub, saying "We heard that some of the western leaders have decided to recognise but not congratulate the new government," Mr Ahmadinejad said in an acceptance speech before the Iranian parliament. "Well, no-one in Iran is waiting for your messages. The Iranian nation neither values your scowls and threats, nor your smiles and greetings."

He trained much of his wrath on opposition supporters saying he would "resist any violation of the law, We will not remain silent," he added. "We will not tolerate disrespect, interference and insults."

Having stolen the election, Ahmadinejad looks weakened and increasingly isolated, facing the wrath of opposition protestors and considerable anger from his core supporters. Luckily for him his job does not have a lot of real power – that still lies with Khameni – so he can rant and spout all he likes. Possibly his biggest problem is the one thing that underpins the Iranian economy, OIL. The economy is not in a good way at the moment. If prices fall, then he could be royally screwed.

Ahmadinejad isn’t down yet and the theocratic rulers of Iran are not going to be swept aside tomorrow but I wonder if, in moments of lucidity, he is beginning to regret having the election rigged.....

Someone at Fox News needs to learn a bit of geography!

Via Media Matters My thanks to Gert for drawing this to my attention