When Rod originally shoved the idea at me of writing a website all by myself, I said: "Sure I'll do it." - not really believing anything would materialise. Then, all eager and dynamic, he landed me with a site - and software. At first I regretted my impulsive acquiescence. But then I thought: OK then, why the hell not? And if I make a prick of myself, who gives a rub? And there's no doubt that I've made a prick of myself - no one can realise that better than me. But so what, when I'm having fun? What do I have to lose? After all, no one has to visit the site - and for all I know, no one does... for some reason (my own incompetence, probably) I can't get a counter to load onto dreamweaver to record the number of hits. On the other hand, for all I can tell, visitors might briefly squirm, think: 'Poor nutter. He's really off the rails', and skip to another site never to return. After all, I do inform people of the site's existence now and then, but no feedback ever lands in the contact box. No matter...

Because I've quite enjoyed - and continue to enjoy - creating all that inept bombastic political ire, and the mad 'confessional' fiction that (who knows?) reveals weird inner characteristics that even I'm unaware of until they appear on the screen in front of me... and all those distorted angles on a multitude of social and philosophical issues that no self-respecting academic would touch with a lightning rod... and the unorthodox perceptions on myriad aspects of the human condition. How I've enjoyed the controversy, the wild outspokenness, the maverick free-thinking (if that's what it is?)... and not forgetting conventional stuff like those ongoing American Travel Files which awaken for me fabulous memories and a yearning to return to those great open spaces... All of this - good for a lark... or even BRILLIANT for a lark... and to which I dedicate, big slacker that I am, maybe on average half-an-hour a day (which explains why it builds so slowly).

But in addition, you may have noticed, there's a few serious bits too interspersed here and there:


for instance...


though far more pressing is:

Over Population AND Global Warming (2008)

... which I've hardly touched-on, yet which are actually extremely serious. But who really gives a tac? I mean who, out of the people who have real power, genuinely cares? Of the oligarchs, who plunder and destroy... the oil oligarchs, the arms oligarchs, the whole-corporate-machine oligarchs, not one of them gives a sod about anything except growing bigger and richer and more powerful.

Back in the late 60s/ early 70s when I worked in a lab in Cambridge that researched and developed analytical instruments (I worked in chromatography), one of the consultant scientists was Jim Lovelock (of 'Gaia' fame). I remember dipping into a thick paperback he had, published by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): 'The SCEP Report' (Study of Critical Environmental Problems). This had been commissioned by MIT from prominent scientists around the world, each focussing on some critical environmental issue that was significant in their location: contamination from factory emissions or other activities, local consequences of global pollutants such as pesticides like DDT, and early signs of global warming that were becoming increasingly problematic or worrying - health-wise or environmentally - to these scientists.

Each report was set out in the usual way: Abstract, Procedure, Findings, Conclusions & Recommendations, plus: Essential Further Work and its estimated cost. The concluding section of the book accumulated those costs to a figure that (as was stated) vastly exceeded the US defence budget.

The point is, the environmental problems that are now having an impact (global warming in particular) were known about 40-years ago. But politicians (ie, business) were unconcerned. Their vision, as ever, was limited to 4 or 5- years ahead; or if beyond, then only to promote business, build warships, etc. A few scientists predicted melting of the ice-caps... 100-years in the future! But despite evidence, trends from tests, etc, politicians regarded them with disdain.

I remember wondering how it was that anyone could think that millions of cars and planes could disperse their exhaust into the atmosphere we breath, and which the whole biosphere depends on, without some eventual unpleasant - even cataclysmic - consequences. It seemed to me obvious that something to our detriment was bound to happen.

And I wondered too why whoever was in charge of these things didn't build great arrays of mirrors - like a set-up in a desert I saw on a TV programme at the time ('Tomorrow's World', maybe) - which focussed the sun into a point to boil water and generate electricity. Or why vast arrays of solar cells weren't being built for that purpose. The electricity to then be distributed for supplementing daytime demands, AND especially to operate electrolysis plants by the sea to convert water into H2 and O2 - to be shipped and used in cars and planes instead of hydrocarbons. NO POLUTION!

This, remember, was four decades ago. Now the ice caps are melting so fast that people are planning kayak races to the North Pole next year. And the human contribution to atmospheric CO2 (which runs parallel with population growth & global warming) continues to escalate.

IS THIS MADNESS, OR WHAT? It isn't 'shooting oneself in the foot' or even ' the head': IT IS 'SHOOTING OUR SUCCESSORS IN THE HEAD - the next generation.' All because of the greed and selfishness of a handful of brutal, unscrupulous, capitalist spivs - the same corporate nutters who run, and depend on, Wall St, and who run Washington and the Pentagon with its vast military machine (760-bases worldwide), and Westminster and Downing St....

And what does their wealth and power do for these millionaires and billionaires? They're usually, as individuals, poised on the verge of insanity - if not beyond it; and by all accounts they're rarely happy, or are not much happier than most ordinary people. So what IS the point?

I suppose one might as well ask: what is the point of human existence? Very good question. But if the answer is one of positive affirmation, for the majority (which it probably isn't, because the majority live on <$1/day and struggle to survive), then shouldn't we put every possible effort into some dramatic and profound action as we would if suddenly invaded by aggressive aliens?

* * * * *

In a 19.4.10 letter (5-paragraphs in) to the local MP of the time I wrote:

....Regarding airlines - after decades of creating far more than their fair share per capita of damage to our climate (while shelling-out vast profits to investors) – they are suddenly grounded. And they’re screaming. Nature has created a little snag that's resulted in what should have been instigated decades ago by ALL governments acting together.

Back in the early 70s I worked in a lab at a scientific instrument company in Cambridge where for a few months Jim Lovelock was a consultant scientist. It was for his invention, the electron-capture-detector, that Lovelock’s skills were sought. In principle, the detector is a simple device where the emissions from a radioactive cylinder are received by a central probe, amplified then measured. Gas passing between the cylinder and probe will alter the signal. The detector, which is extremely sensitive, is fitted to the exit of a tube into which gasses - ie, a sample of the atmosphere - have been injected and separated according to molecular structure. The system, called a chromatograph, is calibrated with known gasses.

Yesterday evening BBC-4 transmitted a documentary (Beautiful Minds: ) on Jim Lovelock and his important work - with which I’m sure you’re at least slightly familiar, if only from his coining of the term ‘Gaia’. This eminent scientist paints a bleak picture indeed, bleaker even than Dennis Potter’s pessimistic vision of our political future. If you don’t have time to see this inspiring 1-hour documentary then I’m sure any scientifically-minded colleague will give you a summary. Lovelock was voicing his concerns way back when I met him, and they may be an exaggeration (though I doubt it), but what he predicted then has come to pass, and the cost that humankind is going to have to pay for the activities of the airlines in particular (whose emissions are hugely disproportionate compared with other hydrocarbon-consuming industries – but them too), is going to be enormous: beside it, £multibillion wars, £multibillion bank bailouts, etc. will be as nothing. We can already see the beginning as islands disappear beneath the Indian Ocean.    

Even the ‘Green Party’ pulls too many punches. So what hope is there? What can one expect from the rest of this primitive political system we seem to be landed with? The entire system is badly in need of a drastic overhaul....

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