We’re going to need a bigger van…

…for those trips to Europe.

Cigarettes are to rise in price again and there is now a system in place whereby no pack of cigarettes can cost less than £7.24. You can get a pack for less than half that in any other country in Europe.

Assuming we do eventually leave the EU, there will be a limit imposed on how many cigarettes we can bring back per person. There is no limit on how many you can bring back for your own use at the moment due to the EU’s free movement of goods rules but if you have loads, expect to have them stolen by border control anyway. So the imposition of a limit isn’t any reason to stay in the EU.

If the limit is, say, 300 (15 packs) then if you have a weekend in Europe you’ll save about £54 per person by stocking up while there.

The tobacco story is an old one. I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t cheaper everywhere outside the UK. Even as a child, if we went to France or Spain my dad would take the limit home and so would my mum (who never smoked). Lately my parents often went to Portugal and brought me home five 50g packs of rolling baccy. At the time it was a gift worth at least £75 at UK prices. They paid half that. Unfortunately they are getting too old for those trips.

Oh yes, my parents are still alive. My father, a lifelong smoker and my mother, a lifelong passive smoker, are both still alive. Neither have experienced cancer. It’s not just me who defies NHS statistics. It’s the whole family.

Alcohol is also a lot cheaper in most EU countries. I noticed, in Germany, that whiskies like Famous Grouse were the same price in little corner shops as they are in big supermarkets here. I also noticed that only the idiots in charge of the UK have fallen for hiding tobacco behind doors and putting them in plain packs. Nobody else has fallen for this one.

Nobody else will fall for the utterly cretinous notion of putting all booze, including fine malt whiskies, into plain packs and hiding them behind shutters. Oh it’s coming. Plain packs for ‘non-approved’ foods is already being talked about as the Next Logical Step in the bullying of the entire nation. These thugs are never satisfied. Never. When they have total control they will start telling you how many steps you have to take every day – oh wait, that one’s already out there.

Now we have a tax on sugar. Initially on sugary drinks but if you think it will end there you really haven’t been paying attention at all. Imagine a world where Coke and Pepsi are in the same olive drab packaging with photos of meth mouth and Cyril Smith on every bottle. The company name relegated to 10-point Times New Roman. It’s all behind doors and you have to ask for it. Imagine it well because if you are under 50 you’ll see it in your lifetime.

Fancy a burger? You’ll get it with MACDONALDS on the olive green box in 10-point Times New Roman with a picture of someone syringing lard through an artery on the top. Actually not hard to copy. I like liver and it often has a large artery or two going through it.

Fancy fish and chips? It’ll be a lot smaller and cost more, not least because the chip shop has to buy olive green wrapping paper with pictures of Bernard Manning nude and a warning that all fish are so full of mercury that they will roll off the table if left unattended.

Oh I know. You’re scoffing. You don’t believe it can happen.

Go back to 2004 and tell the pub customers that soon they will be banned from smoking in there. Tell them they will buy cigarettes in drab green packs from behind doors and they will pay £7.24 for the cheapest brand. Listen to them scoff at you.

You’re going to need a van for a lot more than tobacco on future visits abroad. If you fly it will very likely be well worth paying an excess baggage charge.

As for smugglers, they’re likely to steal Mr. MacDonald’s favourite line.

‘I’m lovin’ it’.

The Science of the Obvious

Or maybe the ‘oblivious’. It’s New Science. Never let the facts get in the way of a profitable conclusion.

Scientists (and I use the term in the loosest possible sense) have discovered that people like to socialise in pubs. What a pity then, that ‘science’ also declares that drinking is evil and there is ‘no safe level of alcohol’.

The article states its reasons for the decline of pubs…

In recent years, the lure of cheap booze from supermarkets and tougher drink-drive laws have resulted in many becoming restaurants or even closing.

No mention of the smoking ban? No recognition that booze has always been cheaper in supermarkets and even before them, in off-licences? No mention that the tougher drink-drive laws only happened in Scotland? The two reasons they give for the closure of so many pubs are not reasons at all. The one they miss out is the primary reason. Oh, and they don’t allow vaping either, because it ‘looks like smoking’.

Yet Science, that new version of it that doesn’t bother with any actual science, declares we must all go to pubs and be sociable and friendly – but no smoking, no drinking and soon no talking.

The commenters include a few utterly moronic drones who declare that pubs only serve to put out drunks into the community at closing time. Really, they believe that’s all pubs do (or rather did, before they shut down). They must have watched too many zombie apocalypse films and the limited space in their brains has caused a crossover between Dawn of the Dead and Last Orders.

There are, however, an increasing number of comments pointing out the real reason regular pub visitors like me suddenly became non-pub-visitors. The smoking ban. There is some intelligence out there still. Just not in any politician’s head.

I doubt anyone in government will ever manage to make the connection.

Fat boy slimming

In this modern world, we all have to fit a standard size, shape and lifestyle because, idiots believe, that will mean we never get sick and the NHS can spend all day drinking tea while the cleaners sit around playing Call of Dirty.

Slim people get sick too you know, and nonsmokers can get cancer. Making everyone the same won’t change that. Yet the Righteous insist on demanding we live as they direct. Length of life is all that matters. Whether you enjoy it or not is irrelevant. You are not men, you are economic units and you will do as your owners decree.

“Harder hitting campaigns, similar to those for anti-smoking, are required.”

Well, the smokers can tell you where that one is going.

‘You can’t be fat in here, matey, go and be fat outside.’

‘This employer operates a strict no-fatness policy.’

It will be illegal to sell or give sweets or cakes to a child under 18.

If the till operator suspects you are overweight, you will have to be weighed before they decide whether or not to sell you that chocolate bar.

Fantasy? Really? Go back just 15 years in time and tell everyone that soon, smoking will not be allowed in pubs or any business common room. Tell them there will be no smoking on railway and bus stations or at bus stops.

They will laugh at you the same way you are now laughing at me.

The National Obesity Forum is just following the template. The usual control freaks are involved. I think we should abbreviate the National Obesity part of the name and call them NObs.

I was going to suggest making them look ridiculous but they are doing a fine job of that on their own.

Obesity will cause 700,000 new cancer cases by 2035‘. Not ‘could’ or ‘might’. ‘Will’. It’s a definite and precise amount. They Have Seen Your Future, and it’s not only wobbly, it’s lumpy too. Science? Hahahaha! When have these people ever bothered about science?

Hey, fat boy, step away from cancer. That all belongs to smokers now. It’s ours. We are the only ones who get tested for it. The slim nonsmoker can never get cancer. It’s medically impossible so no doctor will test for it. If they wanted to cull the population, they are going the right way about it in my book  😉

By 2025, 20% of the human race will be obese. Of course they will. The Righteous have been steadily reducing the threshold for obesity so there need be no change at all in real body weight. You can stay the same weight, they’ll lower the obesity bar until they get you over it.

The BMI nonsense does not distinguish between fat and muscle. Some years back, I weighed the same as a friend who had been weight training since he was 13. We’re about the same height. I looked like a version of him that had melted. Yet we would have had the same BMI even though he looked like the Hulk and I looked like the Blob.

Don’t get too muscled up. They only go by weight and height. If you look like The Terminator, you’re obese now.

The UK is being exhorted to start a full-on War on Chubbiness. It’ll be the same as the War on Smoking that soon became the War against the Smokers. Yeah, if you’re a bit curvy now, watch out. Smokers can hide when they aren’t actually smoking. You well rounded people don’t have that option.

They talk about ‘leadership from government’ but they don’t want leadership. They want what these scumbags always want. Money and control. Ideally, money they don’t have to work for. They want your tax money so they can tax you more and get even more money.

And they get a serious orgasm about telling people what to do and watching them do it. These people are deranged and dangerous. They are sick and perverted. And Government is still listening to them. Because our Government is full of fucking morons.

Sugar tax. France has one. Mexico has one. Do they work? Of course not. It’s not sugar that’s making you fat.

Avoiding sugar is making your babies fat. Yes, real science is starting to fight back. I’ve always avoided aspartame because it gives me the shits something fierce. I use real sugar and real butter – and I’m not fat because I don’t use too much of them. It’s not that difficult. Yet it now seems that avoiding sugar and going for artificial alternatives is causing you to put on weight – so the Righteous response is to tax sugar. I wonder how much funding they get from aspartame manufacturers?

Further, it seems that inhaling polluted air can lead to obesity, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. This one is somewhat compromised by the fact that the most polluted air is in cities, where more people lead sedentary lives and where food is more easily available. Even so, it is a link that should be considered before diving in there with a sugar tax.

But then, nobody cared about air pollution when lung cancer increased. That was all blamed on smoking so I expect this study will be quietly shelved too.

Soon we will have a nation of slim, muscle-free drones afraid to put on a gram of weight in case they get too much mass and gravity smears them into the ground. Afraid to touch a drop of alcohol in case they die of alcoholism within the hour. Afraid of steam.

These people will be ruled by fat smoky pissheads with the money to pay the taxes, even though they won’t have to pay the taxes because they will be subsidised by the taxes they take from the skinny zombies.

Don’t let it happen. Resistance is never futile.

It’s not science if it’s one observation

A long long time ago, in a galaxy far away…

Sorry, just been watching the latest Star Wars with a couple of whisky and smoke soused pals, and wondered if an opening of ‘Just the other day, in a house across the street…’ would be a fun opening for a story.

I digress but then I have been at a smoky-drinky and am somewhat tiddly. I was supposed to go into the big town to meet a regular commenter tonight but he was busy until 9:30, the last bus home was at 11 and the bus ride is an hour each way. Next time we’ll plan it better.

Anyway. A long time ago when I was active as Romulus Crowe online, I wondered about schizophrenia and its treatments. Did the treatments cure something or were ‘the voices’ real and the pills merely blocked the subject’s ability to hear them?

As far as medial science is concerned, you hear disembodied voices, you take the pills, you don’t hear the voices any more, you are cured. The possibility that the voices were real does not enter into Science’s calculations – but it should. Science should be open to every possibility.

Even the possibility of God.

I don’t believe in any God and I take no medication. I’m on neither side in the fight that is about to happen in the comments. I don’t take sides in fights. I just start them and watch 😉

I’ve said before that science cannot prove the absence of a thing. It can prove presence but when reporting absence all it can say is ‘not found’. It cannot, ever, say ‘not there’. Science is not able to prove the non-existence of anything when applied correctly. Science cannot locate and define God but real science has to say ‘we didn’t find evidence of God’ and not ‘there is no God’.

Now science has plumbed embarrassing depths in this argument. A group has reported that experience of God is caused by epilepsy based on one – ONE – observation.

I haven’t known many epileptics in my time but the one I remember best had no religion either. And are we to believe that all those religious people out there – billions of them – are all epileptics? It just doesn’t work, does it?

I’m not saying God is real and I’m not saying there is no God. I don’t know and have zero evidence either way. Evolution does not disprove God. It can be explained as a creator who knew his creation would change over time and gave it the means to adapt. None of the animals in Eden were booted out when Adam, Eve and Serpent got the heave-ho so the animals we see now are not Eden’s. There is nothing for science to threaten religion with here. Nothing to do, with all our logic.

Likewise, religion has no effect on science. Religion requires belief without question, whereas science questions everything and believes nothing, not even its own current results. Well, that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Science and religion are separate things and should remain so. The fight between them is futile. They are based on entirely different starting premises. There can be no winner because each side fights by different rules.

But really, science, basing ‘proof’ on one observation? Come on now, that is not helping.

 

I can now never return to my original career

I passed my first degree in microbiology in 1981, worked as a lab assistant for a short time, then passed my PhD in 1987 and progressed through research and lecturing  to the point where I was doing invited lectures as far afield as Beijing.

The department I last worked in was closed down in 2005. My boss’s leaving speech included the observation that when he started, science was chasing knowledge but now it seemed to be just chasing money. That was 2005. It’s got a lot worse since then.

We now have ‘scientists’ declaring that obesity is contagious because the balance of bacteria in your gut affects your health.

Sigh. A really deep one.

We knew that when I started my PhD. We just didn’t know what to do about it. Now we do – well, I do, and a few others I’ve worked with, but that information is worth too much to stick on a blog. It’s what I found when a self-employed researcher and consultant after I was made redundant. I have a freezer full of it in the lab.

Obesity though? Come on. You can blame IBS and all kinds of gut conditions on the bacteria living in there but bacteria do not control your adipose tissue. That is down to genes and diet.

You can have a hormone imbalance that can make you gain weight no matter how hard you try to shift it but it’s not common. Not as common as, for example, pies.

Imbalances in the gut microbiome can contribute to a number of complex conditions, including obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and allergies, studies have shown.

There it is. The ‘this is bollocks’ signal.

But, for the first time, scientists believe traces of the bacteria can survive outside the body, raising the possibility that it could be ingested.

The first time! Oh if this is the first time communicable gut bacteria have been proven to exist, what the hell was the cholera epidemic about and how did anyone ever notice Typhoid Mary?

For fuck’s sake! How do they think the bacteria get in there in the first place? You’re bacteriologically sterile in the womb or you wouldn’t have to worry about meconium because you’d be born with explosive diarrhoea.

Every single species in the gut can transfer from one host to another. Surely simple logic makes that clear? Any species that couldn’t do it wouldn’t be in your gut because it would have no way of getting there. Oh, the idiots are truly out in force in white lab coats now.

Even Shigella, the School Shits, which can’t survive outside the body for long. Even that one can hang on to a toilet door handle long enough to spread.

Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute discovered approximately one third of the gut microbiota from a healthy person produced spores that allow bacteria to survive in open air and potentially move between people.

No. They don’t. Few bacterial genera produce spores and most don’t need to. They can survive outside the body long enough to get taken up into another one. Don’t these people know about facultative and aerotolerant any more? Don’t they understand that even strict anaerobes, in enough numbers, have a death curve that means a few could get into someone else? They don’t all die at once, like antismokers exposed to a cigarette advert. It takes time, and once they are back in a gut, they grow fast.

I think the Wellcome Trust just caught up with Van Leeuwenhoek. I expect them to announce the invention of the microscope and the discovery of ‘animalcules’ at any moment.

I cannot go back to that. Science isn’t science any more. It’s absolutely incredible how far it has fallen now and I’m not interested in trying to fix it any more.

It’s just a money game now.

The University of Declaring the Obvious

I’m working on a page for the publishing venture. When it’s up I’ll let everyone know.

Two different flashes of the blindingly obvious today. First, one tipped by Zaph Camden on Twitter.

It’s something that has come up many times here and elsewhere, and covered in detail in the past by Frank Davis. Ventilating modern houses has to be done actively now, whereas in the past it pretty much took care of itself.

Before double glazing, we all had at least one draughty window. Every winter as a child I would play with the frost on the inside of the windows in the morning. Coal fires weren’t automatic. Someone had to get up, build the fire and light it. Until then, the house was pretty damn cold. We had thick blankets and thick pullovers. We survived, thought nothing of it because that was just the way life was. Coal fires don’t light themselves.

The coal fire was central to the ventilation of the house. Modern minds will find that hard to grasp. How can a stinky smoky fire be good for ventilation?

The fire caused a strong updraft through the chimney. Unless you had a blocked or long unswept chimney, there was no smoke from the fire coming into the room. You couldn’t smell the coal burning unless you were a curious kid who got close enough to burn plastic toy soldiers on the coal.

Hey, they might have been witches. You can’t be too careful.

So, the fire is heating air which rushes up the chimney, taking the smoke with it. It’s a lot of air moving very fast and it’s all air that’s leaving the house.

Therefore new air is entering the house. All the time. Under doors, through poor window seals – actually we had sash windows which never had seals. Just wood against wood. You really could feel the draft coming in with your hand. Every time someone opened a door or window, new air rushed in. The air in the house was entirely changed several times a day.

You didn’t need to worry about ventilating your house. Leaky window and door seals and a coal fire took care of that really effectively. It just wasn’t an issue.

Now, double glazing, effective seals, central heating… the air in the house doesn’t change unless you actively do something about it.

Don’t imagine I’m some nostalgia freak who wants to go back to the old days of shivering in winter. The coal fire was lovely but it only heated the side of you that was facing the fire. It was common to be toasty warm in front while your back felt like ice.

Double glazing and central heating are wonderful inventions. You can set the heating to come on 15 minutes before you wake up so the house is warm already. Double glazing has never, to my knowledge, had frost on the inside.

No, I do not want to go back to frost inside the windows and shivering until the coal fire heats up the place. Yet ventilation is still important. More so now, because in the past you didn’t have to do it.

I’m in an old building (it used to be a railway hotel, built in 1899 and I have the active railway and the remains of the station visible from my windows). It was retrofitted with double glazing and electric central heating which I try to use as little as possible because it’s horribly expensive.

It was unfortunately fitted with extra windows built into the chimney breast. The violent storm in January revealed that the chimney had not been properly capped. I thought the window was leaking severely but it turned out it was coming in at the top and then down inside the walls. I didn’t get it as bad as the flats below because most of the water went past me. That’s a digression, it’s now been fixed and the final repainting was this week.

The thing is, it was designed for the coal fire and leaky seals world of 1899. Not for the double glazing and central heating world of today. The walls are granite and my windowsills are 16.5 inches (42 cm) wide. It needs to be ventilated and it was designed to ventilate itself. That isn’t happening now.

I have to actively change the air in the house or I get into a battle with black mould. As a microbiologist I know I really don’t want to be breathing those spores so I have to win. It’s not easy. The place is very prone to condensation in cold weather and that’s all the black mould needs. Mould is happy at 20degC or below. It even grows on cheese in fridges. It doesn’t like hot temperatures but neither do I. 20degC is uncomfortable so I stay below it.

At the moment it isn’t easy. It’s snowed for the last few days and there is an icy cold wind, so window opening is limited. Still, it has to be done. The good part about the wind is that I only need the windows open for a little time to change the air. There have been summer days – even weeks – in past years where opening the windows did little good because the air outside wasn’t moving. I needed to use a fan.

Why are people causing the terrible rise in asthma and other respiratory diseases by not ventilating their homes? It was never smoking that caused these things. You could puff on a pipe indoors in the old days and the coal fire took the smoke away. Now you’d just fill the room with a blue haze.

It’s because we didn’t used to have to do it. The coal fire took care of it. The leaky window and door seals helped. None of those are around now. Even in this old place, there is double glazing and draughtproofing, and you need it because heating bills are soaring thanks to the Green idiocy.

It’s also because of those bills. People close window vents and block draughts because heating costs are so high. The Greens are killing you, and since they want population reduction, what did you expect? Did you think that by joining them or voting for them, it wouldn’t be you they wanted to die? Sucker! You’re the one who believes their crap and does what it takes to kill yourself.

New houses come with an instruction manual on how to ventilate it…

Margaret and John Trainer, from East Renfrewshire, were given an instruction manual for their new home which explained how to ventilate it, but they found the document hard going.

“It was too technical,” said Mrs Trainer.

“It was a huge folder and it just went into the drawer and that’s where it stayed. It was designed for someone who was mechanical. It wasn’t any use to me.”

…designed so that nobody will read it. Surprised? I’m not. It’s written by people who assume everyone does the same job as them, has had the same training and knows all the job-specific jargon. It means nothing to most people and it could have been just a graphic of someone opening a damn window.

People close the vents above windows to cut down on heating bills. Something the Government wants them to do, to save the planet. The planet will still be here when the last human dies. It’ll invent a new species to replace us. Perhaps next time it will make a species that doesn’t hate itself to death. We’ll never know. We’ll join the long list of failed species who have become extinct.

Just open the windows. Leave the window vents open. Nobody is asking you to learn rocket science. Just breathe.

 

Secondly, there is a report, specially commissioned and paid for by taxes, showing that BMI is a load of bollocks. Like nobody had worked it out before.

It’s not the weight/height issue at all. It never was. Two people can be the same height and weight and one could be a bodybuilder while the other could make a living as a Mr. Blobby impersonator. The ratio of waist to hips makes far more sense. My ratio is 1:1, as evidenced by the fact I can take off my trousers without undoing them. All I need do is release the belt. But don’t tell anyone, I don’t want people thinking I’m skinnier than Death. I’m not, I’m quite chunky but not bulgy.

Again, it was obvious to everyone except to the modern medics who base diagnoses on ‘computer says no’. The young ones are on strike so the health of the nation will no doubt take an upward spike tonight.

Smoking doesn’t cause every disease in existence. Neither does salt or sugar or burgers or bacon. Weight/height ratio takes no account of whether the weight is fat or muscle and ignores the distribution of either. People are not all the same. This is all anathema to modern medicine but the older medics might remember.

Air sealed into a box will go stale. Everyone used to know this. Nobody does now.

Why is humanity worried about a planet they can’t harm when they should be worrying about what they can harm to death with ignorance and indolence?

Themselves.

 

Gravy train derailment.

I can’t remember where I read that climate science isn’t quite so settled any more. It seems the fake scientists did such a good job convincing governments ‘the science is settled’ that governments don’t see the need to fund any more research.

Whoops. You crashed your gravy train. Now those ‘scientists’ are bleating that the science isn’t really settled and they have to be funded to invent more lies. Once they get the funding, my money says it’ll all be settled again.

The insect munchers have derailed too. Insects as part of the diet is pretty common around the world but not in Europe. Europeans refuse to eat insects.

So the Food and Agriculture organisation (FAO) gave up on the idea. They dropped any interest in it at all. There’s no point researching a food nobody is going to eat.

Oh but this has far reaching consequences, claim a consultancy firm whose sole purpose is to make us all eat insects.

The ‘far reaching consequences’ are that the FAO won’t be wasting time and money on something nobody is interested in, and a single issue lobbying group pushing for something nobody is interested in will disappear. The rest of the planet won’t notice a thing.

Keeping all those gravy trains going was never going to work. They were bound to crash eventually. The clever ones change trains before they hit the wall – like Concensus Action on Salt and Heath, which deftly hopped the tracks to the Sugar line.

But they all crash in the end, and their passengers all end up staring at the rapidly approaching buffers and repeating ‘It’s not going to crash. It’s not going to crash’.

Newsflash for gravy train riders everywhere. The one you’re on is going to crash. You might be on smooth rails now but sooner or later, probably suddenly and unexpectedly, it’ll hop the rails and send you flailing down an embankment.

When they start going, they’ll all follow. Once one idiotic pronouncement has been debunked, people will look more closely at other idiotic pronouncements.Picked up here :

 

Sooner or later, that one will lead back to the junk science and lies in the antitobacco camp.

It could be quite spectacular when they really get going. They could fall like dominos because they mostly use the same template to get their core issues across. You only have to break that template on one of them to show up all the others for the sham they really are.

Interesting times…