Not a real post.

Finished 10 pm tonight, start 10 am tomorrow, VERY limited booze tonight! Could not risjk having much in the house. On the plus side, tomorrow is a short one, I’m done by 2 pm so can get some in on the way home.

So it’s not a real post tonight, more a musing. Something to remind be about something for tomorrow.

I could not be bothered cooking tonight, so called in at Local Curry Shop for a hot supper. While waiting (they cook everything when it’s ordered, no pies hardening in glass incubators here) I noticed the news spoke of another off-duty policeman murdered, this time in America. Another Muslim killer. Meanwhile in France, two separate (unrelated?) incidents of men driving cars into apparently random groups of people while shouting “Allahu Akbar”.

Barry O’Blimey has spoken out against his own police officers and taken the side of a shop-robbing thug. Why would any president be stupid enough to make statements to deliberately inflame a race war?  None of it makes any sense at first.

I know many people think the Muslims are going to take over the world. Certainly ISIS and the other extreme groups think so. Yet when you look hard at it, and consider how and why they are getting away with it all…

ISIS are equipped, armed and funded by the West. So are Al Qaeda. So are pretty much all the others on both sides of every war. They are also continually provoked by the West and every time they come out with a recruitment video, the West helpfully plasters it all over the news for them.

The Muslim grooming gangs in England – and probably elsewhere when it all finally comes out – were not clever or sneaky. They were blatant and the police knew about them for a very long time. So how did they continue to get away with it? Because they were allowed to. The police are getting the blame but their orders came from higher up. The police did not act because they were not permitted to act. Any attempt to stop these gangs would get the officers charged with racism.

Now we have Muslims killing off-duty police and soldiers in the street, and ramming random strangers with cars. ISIS can loot, pillage, rape and behead and nothing real is happening to stop them.

In fact, when you get right down to it, it was the actions of the West that created both ISIS and Al-Qaeda. What did we create them for?

There is a lot more of this and it all fits together somehow. But I don’t think it’s to create a Muslim world.

I’ll sleep on it.

Between the shifts.

Long shift at work today and long shift tomorrow, fortunately with the shop open later these are time-slipped so I don’t have to be up until the crack of noon. Even so just a quick Saturday one. Most of you are out boozing anyway, lucky swines. Work ends for me at 6 pm Christmas eve, I have two early starts Monday and Tuesday so I will have some catching up to do on Wednesday evening.

I’m trying to get a little Christmas tale for Christmas day instead of the usual rage-fest. Trying to keep it as short as possible so bleary eyes can manage to read it. Short ones are now harder to write than long ones!

Anyway, in lieu of a tipsy tirade, here are what some other people have put effort into.

Al Jahom writes of the ban on smoking in cars in his usual restrained manner.

Junican suggests the whole plain-packaging thing might have been a bait-and-switch.

James Higham sees ‘Panoptica’ on the edge of reality.

He has a point. So, instead of ending on doom and despair this time, here are some jollies from The Spine and from Microdave.

As for me, Christmas is nearly over and I can soon get back to some semblance of normality. Now I’d better sleep – tomorrow (tonight!) I finish at 10 pm and will be back in there the next morning at 10 am. That is going to hurt.

Smoking indoors is bad for you…

…but not for the reasons you’ve been told.

Garyk30 raised some inspiring thoughts. I know Frank Davis has brought the matter up before, and I probably have too, but as I usually blog under the influence and have babbled so much and for so long, it would take me ages to check. Hell, I have enough trouble hunting out those old stories I posted in order to keep Twitter amused.

Incidentally, tonight’s rambling words are the product of Glen Moray. In our local Morrison’s they have Whyte and Mackay at £18 (the Co-op sells it for £13 but that’s further away). Yet on the next shelf you can get Glen Moray or Ledaig, single malts, for £18.99. The extra 99p is well worth it. I’d prefer Ledaig but I have an 8-hour shift tomorrow and Ledaig would give me peaty-whisky breath. So it’s the Glen Moray.

And now to the matter at hand.

Asthma is on the rise among the cheeeldren. Second hand smoke is firmly in the frame and it is indeed a frame job. Smoking is in decline.

In fact, as all the rising allergies and ailments blamed on declining smoking show, the drones are stupid enough to accept ‘correlation = causation’ even when the correlation is negative. The real conclusion from a simple ‘correlation = causation’ argument is that smoking must have been preventing all those diseases all along. Take away the preventive action of second hand smoke and the new diseases rise.

Both arguments are nonsense, of course, but the second is just nonsense while the first is utter swivel-eyed lunacy.

It is not really smoking indoors that is bad for you. It’s being indoors. The title of the post remains true, but could as easily have read ‘watching TV indoors is bad for you’. Mind you, with some of the TVs I’ve seen in Local Gadget Shop, you’d have to sit in the garden to watch the whole thing. They are immense. Who really wants to see ‘I’m a Sillybugger, Get Me Out of Here’ at that scale?

In the olden days (probably only about 20-30 years ago for most people but now they seem like a faraway dream) we all had fireplaces. With chimneys. And fires. Yes, kids, every house had a real fire burning in the middle of it all day long and as kids ourselves, we used to play with it. Many a toy soldier came to a grisly end atop a hot coal. We did, quite literally, play with fire. It was great fun. We learned very quickly of the somewhat burny nature of our plaything and we learned the proper way to make it and control it. I suspect there now exist children who have never seen so much as a match being struck. The entire history of mankind’s relationship with fire has ended.

The fire did more than warm the house. It sent a furious updraft of air up that chimney and the house sucked in outside air through every gap, slot and crack. The air changed rapidly in those houses. Blow a puff of cigarette smoke into the air and whoosh, it’s gone. You could smoke a pipe indoors without turning the room into something resembling a steam-engine firing-up shed. Oh wait, the young won’t understand that either.

I had a rude reminder of how fast times have changed at work a while back. I had been given some bakery trays to clean by an apologetic baker. They were very greasy.

“No problem,” I said, “I have industrial strength degreaser. Spray it on and the grease lifts and turns white. It’s like watching a photo develop.”

“Huh?”

It was then I realised that, with the new digital cameras, a whole generation does not know, and never will know, what it’s like to see a photo developing in a tray! Still, that’s probably insignificant next to their total terror of the main thing that makes humanity what it is… fire.

And of course its attendant smoke. This did become a problem in crowded cities until smokeless coal (it wasn’t really, it was less-smoke coal) because on windless foggy days it could hang around for ages. Yet those fireplaces really did matter. They have been there since humanity first built any kind of home and it’s only recently that they have disappeared.

Houses are now built with no fireplace or chimney and have been for some time. My house is a tad under 20 years old and has no chimney. They are now built to be dependent on electrical or gas heating. Turn those off in January and most of Scotland will die. You don’t even need to turn them off. At the rate prices are rising, only politicians will be able to afford winter heating soon. Who then will vote for them?

Fireplaces let you burn wood from the local woodland when you couldn’t afford coal. No such option exists now. I do have a chimenea and a concrete kitchen floor so at a pinch I could survive but not everyone has such an option.

{quick digression – @TheMorrigan on Twitter reports that an aptly-named town in Kentucky has repealed its smoking ban. It’s a tiny place but it had to start somewhere}

Even so, that would not give me the same air throughput as a proper chimney. I would have to have a window open, sure, but it’s not as efficient.

I grew up with sash windows with frost on the inside in winter. In the mornings we had to wait for the coal fire to warm the house before the place was above freezing. No, it wasn’t a great thing but we survived it and coped with it. I was fortunate never to live in a house with an outside toilet but many of my friends did and they had to crack the ice before starting, every winter. Those outside toilets were not heated.

Now my house is hermetically sealed with double glazing and insulation that was shaved from an entire herd of glass-wool sheep. I have introduced gaps and vents and left unfixed the broken seals but even so, it will never approach the air transfer of a real fire and chimney. I will not close the window vents, but on nights like tonight – freezing and full of wind – I will close the windows. Heating expenses are assuaged by pullovers. Living where I live, you can bet I have some seriously warm clothing. The really bad winters of a few years back, I was typing in Steptoe-style fingerless mitts with a woolly hat on. It wasn’t a problem. The young cannot cope with this.

It is not really about smoking. At all. If I smoke a pipe or cigar with the windows closed, the place soon resembles a Victorian smoke factory at full production but roll-ups and cigs don’t produce enough to have any effect. If I’m playing with Electrofag there is no effect at all. Not even condensation on the windows. Nothing. Certainly none of that childhood indoor frost.

If you pick up a vegetable and start getting it ready for cooking or salad eating, there will be a blast of bacterial and especially fungal spores into the air. This is perfectly normal and has always happened and always will, as long as veg grows outdoors in real soil.

In the fireplace days it didn’t matter. Those airborne allergens went straight up the chimney. Now they hang around in the air so you comfortably warm people can breathe them in. Then you get asthma and other lung problems.

Then you blame it on declining smoking. You cannot blame it on your centrally-heated sealed box because you like that. You have to blame it on something you don’t like.

There has indeed been a massive change in smoking indoors in recent years. but it is not the massive change in ‘smoking’ that matters.

It is the massive change in ‘indoors’ that will kill you.

Smoking outside means smokers will be healthier and live loinger. I doubt that was the intention.

A smoky round-up

Twitter throws out interesting stuff among all the babble. I now have far too many browser tabs open…

In Cambidge, England, the local authority wants to raise the age for buying cigarettes to 21 and ban smoking pretty much everywhere. If you like to smoke, Cambridge is not a place for you. In the rest of the UK the age for buying cigarettes is 18, a few years ago it was 16, and before that there was no age restriction at all. Soon it will only be us over-50s who are allowed to buy them. We’ll make a fortune reselling them to 30-year-old children, one at a time.

In Western Australia, they propose a tax on Electrofags. The tax will be 95% of the purchase price. It isn’t a typo. 95%. This will apply to all of it – the vapourisers and the batteries too. Time to work out how to wire a battery to a little heater over there, folks. I think it’s already illegal to grow tobacco in Australia but it will happen. If it hasn’t already. Big place, Australia.

Ireland have passed a law banning smoking in any car with a child infestation. Leave the damn things at home when you drive, then you can smoke away to your lungs’ content. The Irish police are not going to apply the law until they figure out a way to enforce it. It is a silly law, a useless law, a pointless law and an unenforceable law. Ireland passed it anyway. Unfortunate stereotype compliance there.

England is about to do the same. Then these bans will be extended to all cars because children tend to be quite small and hard to see through the side windows of a passing car.

Of course, since the cheeldren are dying in such numbers that they are piling up faster than the bin collectors can handle, the ‘next logical step’ is to ban smoking in private homes if they are infested with the banmeister’s favourite mini-menace.

I wish you people would stop having children. Every time you pop one out, that’s another stick to beat smokers with. I mean, it’s not even as if you get to keep them. The first time you have to take it to Casualty it gets whisked away to be part of a politician’s depraved shagfest and you get prosecuted for a made-up crime. But the drones are all fine with that as long as the perv isn’t smoking indoors while buggering a baby. There used to be a thing called ‘priorities’ where we used to deal with the really serious stuff first and leave the trivia for later. That’s all out the window now, isn’t it? Investigation into child-sex politicos takes years and usually gets quietly dropped. Any chance to bash smokers is fast-tracked. Anyone who thinks that’s a good thing.. well, you work it out.

If you have children, would you leave them with me (a smoker) or with Cyril Smith? Oh, forget it, you don’t have the option to leave them with me. Keep them well away from me, leave them with the politician getting ready for a party with no trousers on. I don’t care about your children. Why would I? They are only tools for you to hate me with.

They will ban smoking in homes with children. It will happen. Then they will ban smoking in all homes in case a stray child wanders in and wanders out lumpy. And they will be lumpy because I will whack them with a large wooden spoon until they get the message that this is not a child-friendly house. I have sharp corners everywhere. Fallen foul of them myself recently.

The ban on all homes will follow a decree that a smoker’s home is worth less than anyone else’s, even if nobody has smoked in it for years. So that’s all the Royal residences worthless then. Dear old Queen Mum (rest her soul) must have turned every ceiling in Balmoral yellow.

Oh, and every room in every university. When I started we could smoke anywhere, even in the labs. Nobody cared. Now I can’t even smoke in my one-man (rented) lab. It would affect nobody. Absolutely nobody else ever goes in there because of the big ‘biohazard’ sign on the door. There are frozen bacteria in there that are not a risk, they are a certainty.

My first science job after B.Sc. involved oil-degrading bacteria. I was based in the radioactive room fractionating carcinogenic bits out of oils. Someone once nagged me for smoking in the common room. I explained what I was doing and said ‘If I’m likely to get cancer, I’ve already got it’. I admit that the offer of a PhD involving animal shit was very, very appealing from that perspective so that’s what I did next. I’ve dealt with dangerous stench-producing things since. Now I deal with customers. I had a good preparation for it.

Every house that is not a new build. Certainly every house that existed in 1950-1960 when even nonsmokers had ashtrays for visitors. You antismokers can go and live in a tent. There is no safe house for you.

In the face of all this antismoking Nazism (yes, that is what it is, it is even hand in hand with antisemitism), the Righteous think that our protestations are the mere squeals of shouty fools.

I suppose those who supported Hitler, and voted him into power, felt they were ‘doing the right thing’ too. And you can ram your Godwin up your arse, Nazis. They revelled in their hatred then as now, and pretended it was love for their fellow man. They banned and isolated and finally marched off to the death camps all those they pretended to care about. Not just Jews, not at all. The disabled. The gays. The smokers…

This time around it’s going to be the Muslims too. They are just playing right into their own destruction. Child-rape, killings, ‘behead the infidel’… and not a peep from the innocent ones. Do you lot not realise that when the Nazis come for you, hardly anyone will stand up for you now? All you will have are the few bleeding hearts of the talk-but-never-do Lefties speaking for you and they will shut up quick in the face of the mob.

The Lefties compare UKIP to Hitler’s party. They are wrong.

Hitler’s party is in power now and has been since Blair took power. It’s the same party. Blair still runs it.

Heil Blair!

 

 

 

Electrofag is not Satan!

I should point out at the outset – I’m afraid I am very, very drunk. I will try to correct most typos but some might slip through. Frankly I am way past giving a shit. Tomorrow is my first day off after 12 days of work so… yah, bollocks.

Twelve continuous days of work and tomorrow and Friday are my weekend. So I have decided to have a night off the whisky.

Instead I have Delaney’s Irish Whiskey because the Co-op have had it on offer all week and I caved in. Not bad, it’s not as ‘bourbon-y’ as many Irish whiskies (whiskeys? Oh, I don’t care). Very smooth and very, perhaps too, easy to drink.

Several Emails and a few Twitterers have pointed to a Daily Weasel article on Electrofag.

Finally there is mainstream acceptance of this little gadget. Rancid Glans will be Outraged but then he always is because he likes it. I pay no attention to people who hate me by default without ever bothering to meet me. They are worth no more than septic pimples on an anaecephalic’s brainstem. Not worth my time unless they are stupid enough to believe the shite I make up to scare them to death.

A current favourite is – do you have second-hand smoke cancer? Tilt your head up and run your fingers along the base of your jawbone. If there are lumps at the end you are doomed. Doctors will fob you off because you don’t smoke so can’t have lethal jaw cancer but you do. Keep at them or you’ll be dead in a month. Next you’ll find a lump in the middle of your chest where the ribs meet… you have two weeks.

Drones are fun. I’m glad the antismokers made them so gullible. I haven’t had so many laughs since school, when I persuaded an idiot that Gorgonzola cheese was made of horse smegma. Okay, that’s not difficult but I was young and just starting.

So it is now MSM-true as well as reality-true that Electrofags are less of a risk than real fags. Well that was pretty much a given from the outset because Electrofags have pretty much fuck all in them. Steam, flavour and nicotine. The rest is the same chemicals as asthma inhalers. They don’t all even have nicotine.

Electrofags can not be a gateway to real smoking. It is not possible. It might once have been possible. I grew up in a home where coal fires were normal. Smoke was part of life. Now you all have radiators and many of you don’t even have chimneys. You don’t know what smoke feels like.

Those kids on Electrofags will never switch to real leaf. The ‘cool’ factor is being seen puffing smoke or steam. To them it does not matter which. It’s the action that is cool. You can blow steam-rings with Electrofags, I’ve done it. They are great gadgets. Real smoking is an entirely different experience. New-kid-vapers will not like it. Really, they won’t. You have to be hard to really smoke and the last generation is not.

I am a smoker. I like to smoke leaf. I especially like to smoke pure leaf with no additives which is why I grow it myself. I. Like. Smoke. I don’t care if you don’t like it. Don’t do it, fine with me.

I also like Electrofag. Using a Titan I have smoked roast chicken and it really does taste like roast chicken. I have smoked absinthe and brandy and coffee and French Pipe and all sorts of things. They were experiences I never dreamed would ever be possible. Aside from the one point that ‘tobacco flavour’ is crap, the rest of it is a great invention.

Ah, but Rancid Glans and all the Gubblements hate Electrofag almost as much as they hate smokers. Why? Well, they get a lot of money from the hated smokers and if we all switch to Electrofag (now even on sale in Poundland) they’ll have less to fund ASH and all their other Puritan crap.

It is not about health. Surely that is clear to even the dimmest drone now? (it’s not)

It is about control.

It always was.

Cash, books and the EU

No, it’s not about the EU’s cashbooks never balancing. It’s about two separate things with the EU as a common theme.

First, there is Outrage! within UKIP because Smoky Nige has accepted EU funding for his new grouping.

I don’t see the problem. As the article says, if Smoky Nige’s anti-EU group refused the money, the EU would give it to a pro-EU group instead. The EU will never consider giving a single penny of tax back to the taxpayer. Neither will the Government – in whatever country. Once they have it, they will spend it.

Besides, this is the EU having to pay its own tormentors. To a smoker that looks like karma.

Second, the EU have decided to change the VAT rules on eBooks. Paper books are VAT-free but eBooks are not and never have been. They were VAT-ed at a low rate and you paid the rate that applied in the country you bought it from. Now they are to be fully VAT-ed and you pay the rate in your country, no matter which country the servers reside in.

A snippet from Amazon’s email to authors on the matter (note that this is not an exclusively Amazon issue, it applies to all eBook retailers operating in the EU and the complexity and expense will destroy the small ones. Which is probably the point of it):

On January 1, 2015, European Union (EU) tax laws regarding the taxation of digital products (including eBooks) will change: previously, Value Added Tax (VAT) was applied based on the seller’s country – as of January 1st, VAT will be applied based on the buyer’s country. As a result, starting on January 1st, KDP authors must set list prices to be inclusive of VAT. We will also make a one-time adjustment for existing books published through KDP to move from VAT-exclusive list prices to list prices which include VAT. We’ll put these changes into effect starting January 1st; you may always change your prices at any time, but you do not need to take any action unless you wish to do so.

It is not yet clear what happens if you buy an eBook from a server based in the USA, but the rules suggest that you would pay VAT at your local rate, no matter what. The interesting part is – what if someone in the USA buys a copy from an EU server? They should pay no VAT at all in that case.

It means that after Jan 1st I will have to set an eBook price for every EU country based on their current VAT theft, and adjust it for each book every time they change their theft rate. Or I can set one fixed price and just put up with lower royalties for the same book when it’s bought in a high-VAT country.

This is not good news for authors at all. It makes self-publishing and small-publishing murderously complex. All those low-priced eBooks are going to be more expensive from January 1st but the authors get not a penny more. Neither do publishers or booksellers. All the extra money goes into the EU tax pot to be wasted.

So yes, I am with Smoky Nige on this one. The more he bleeds from those damn vampires the better. I’d rather see the money go to those who want to put a stake through that vile EU heart than to any other cause at all.

Of course, I’d much rather the EU or government didn’t steal so much of it in the first place – but that will never be an option.

They are addicted to other people’s money. It’s so much easier than actually working for it.

Evil Robots?

Quick one tonight. Tomorrow is Day 11 of continuous work and there’s one more before the next day off. I’m worn out. Good thing Stimpy is back. We’ll be back to normalish.

The Daily Moonhowler has some vague story about the imminent creation of Skynet and Terminators. They seem to think that since a robot cannot make a moral decision, that automatically makes any form of artificial intelligence evil.

It’s all based on a theoretical moral dilemma. There are five people on the tracks and there’s a loose wagon heading for them. You have access to a lever that will switch the wagon to another track that has one person on it. What do you do? It’s supposed to be unsolvable but under modern British justice it’s easily solved.

Whatever you do, don’t touch the lever. Shout a warning, since you can see all these people but don’t switch tracks.

If the wagon hits the five idiots who shouldn’t have been on the bloody tracks in the first place, it’s a terrible accident. If you deliberately aim it at the one person on the other track, that’s murder. If you thought about it, it’s premeditated.

So you ignore the lever and shout a warning.

The robot will also ignore the lever if it’s programmed according to Asimov’s robot rules. If so, it can never harm a human or, through inaction, allow a human to come to harm. Therefore, if it cannot warn the humans, it will attempt to derail the wagon by throwing itself on the tracks. If it has artificial intelligence it will know that it can be repaired even if totally smashed, but a human cannot.

If it was programmed by a rail geek it will hold the lever halfway (assuming old style cable connections), or switch tracks while the wagon is on the points so the wagon derails at the points. A properly-built robot’s reactions would be fast enough even if the wagon is travelling at speed.

The robot will look for a means to save all six. It will not choose between five or one. Is that evil? Surely ‘evil’ lies in deliberately aiming a wagon at one person, even when that action might save five.

Besides, they never define who these people on the tracks are. If they are politicians we’ll need another wagon.

Artificial intelligence is still going to be only as good as the programmers. It might lead to a programmed intelligence that can develop and adapt and go beyond its original program but robots, no matter how powerful, have something we don’t have. An ‘off’ switch. Which can be built with a remote operating facility.

There are robots with some autonomous functions already, but they are pre-programmed. True artificial intelligence is some way off yet but there are quite a few very clever people working on it. One day it’ll happen.

When it does, the inventors will realise there’s no actual use for it beyond stellar exploration and fierce chess games. Robot vaccuum cleaners already exist, you don’t need a smart machine to hoover the floor. Robot assembly lines already exist. They do the same thing over and over and need no intelligence. The only use for an artificial intelligence is to send it into space. It won’t need food supplies and does not have a finite lifespan so it can take hundreds of years to reach other stars and send back selfies to its Farcebok page.

Will it get bored? Will it go mad? Depends on how you program it. It could ‘sleep’ in a shutdown mode for years at a time. Even if it goes totally doolally, it’ll be light years away when that happens so it’s no danger.

Maybe it will encounter planets populated by robots. Oh wait, it’ll pass one on the way out. Mars is currently populated only by robots but they aren’t really ‘robots’ in the science fiction sense. They are still remotely controlled. Even so they are the only things moving around there.

If we send an artificial intelligence to Mars it could direct mining and smelting robots and produce steel and other metals and build big tripod war machines and… maybe that’s not such a good idea.

Finally, if any Daily Can’tbearsed ‘researchers’ ever read this, it’s ‘I, Robot’. Not iRobot, you halfwitted festering donkey’s bellends.

Steve Jobs didn’t write it.