Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Malachy

  1. Never read it, just read about it. At one time it was hugely popular, but these days it has a pretty bad reputation as being one of Scott's worst books. The Shetland connection might make it interesting enough though.
  2. Don't think this would be a fair test. I think it depends how unusual your name is - I have received post with not much more than my name on it, even before I moved to Fair Isle. So far as I know I'm the only Malachy in Shetland, so they can't really go wrong.
  3. Hmm, this is the second time in this thread that George Orwell has been required.
  4. Yes that was one of my favourite bits as well (although I was unsure about cut-off point for being a 'wrinkly' - perhaps they need to specify the age more clearly so we can know if we're allowed to read it or not.) I also like the teas at the Bigton hall.
  5. Exactly what subjects are these? I have read all of these magazines so far and apart from the alternative health stuff (which Shetland Post used to do) I can't think what he's referring to.
  6. I think you rather miss the point, which is that violence in Iraq is overwhelmingly perpetrated against an unpopular foreign occupying force. The focus on Sunni vs Shiia attacks is used by some to suggest or simply hint that Muslims are inherently violent people ("see, they just kill each other anyway!") Which is, of course, not true.
  7. Look at the front page of your Shetland Times, Big Mouth. (Perhaps this thread should be in the Shetland News section, no?)
  8. Just picking up on a point made earlier In fact this is not true - it is simply that the media has chosen to focus on this. A recent study in Iraq showed that 75% of violence was still being aimed at the occupying forces.
  9. The course leader is based in Orkney as far as I can recall. There is a Gaelic module, but I think most of it is more general and wide-ranging.
  10. The UHI run a Masters course in 'Literature of the Highlands and Islands' - maybe worth speaking to them about the project... I was thinking of doing the course myself.
  11. Yes, Andel is fine. Anywhere outside the centre of the city is infinitely cheaper, and there are not really any areas to avoid, unlike some cities.
  12. But this is exactly what you are doing. You are producing single examples of columnists and the occasional scientist who disagree with the consensus (one suspects for financial or publicity reasons). You come up with these scraps as if they mean something. We are talking about a belief that is held by the vast vast vast majority of climate scientists, arctic scientists and meteorologists. Their views are based on the results of decades of research and analysis. Forgive me if my views are not swayed in the slightest by the ramblings of a handful of cranks. Research that concludes the same as everyone else has found may not get you noticed, but it is far more valuable than research done with the sole aim of seeking publicity and making a name for yourself as a 'maverick'. Well, Mr Cynical, politicans may not be altruists, but they are in the business of getting re-elected. Introducing unpopular tax raises will not get them elected. If the government was really listening to the scientists were saying they would be introducing carbon rationing tomorrow. In fact they would have done it years ago. But they are not really listening. And they won't introduce carbon rationing (yet) because it will get them voted out. The reason for that is that people are far too willing to believe the propoganda and disinformation being spread by people like yourself. The climate scientists are convinced about global warming but the public are not. This is the same kind of common sense that says the sun goes round the earth. Just thinking about this subject is making me far too depressed. There is no point in us throwing different links back and forward because it is helping no-one. You believe whatever you want to believe. There is no evidence that will make you change your mind. And believe me, I will take no pleasure in saying "I told you so."
  13. In case anyone missed it: a new study which puts the lie to the solar activity theory. (Though I'm sure its proponents will simply choose to ignore the evidence as usual). http://environment.newscientist.com/article/dn12234-suns-activity-rules-out-link-to-global-warming.html Or if you prefer the Telegraph to the New Scientist, here's their take: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2007/07/11/scisun111.xml By the way, I've only just stopped laughing at the comment made above that governments are encouraging scientists to support the climate change consensus. What a ludicrous notion! The US has spent years telling scientists to be quiet whenever they mentioned climate change. Significant NASA scientists have lost their jobs for talking about it. And this country is not much better. The scientists have been talking about this for decades and have been ignored. Climate change is probably the biggest pain in the ass any government is ever likely to face. Why on earth would they want people to believe in it? It is going to require massive societal changes, unpopular decisions that will likely get any party that tries to implement them voted out of office; it will almost certainly damage the economy massively. I can't see any reason why a government would ever encourage people to believe in climate change, unless, like now, the evidence is so overwhelming that to ignore or deny it is to appear reckless, ignorant and utterly foolish.
  14. I don't think jokes like this should be acceptable in this forum. I really can't see any reason why anti-Muslim jokes are acceptable but other bigoted or racist comments are not tolerated.
  15. Well that was a story that was widely published in newspapers in this country too. Here is a link to the abstract of the story published in the Herald (you have to pay for the full article from their site) http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/smgpubs/access/436702361.html?dids=436702361:436702361&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Nov+2%2C+2003&author=Neil+Mackay&pub=Sunday+Herald&edition=&startpage=1&desc=Five+Israelis+were+seen+filming+from+the+van+on+the+right+as+jet+liners+ploughed+into+the+Twin+Towers+on+September+11%2C+2001.+Were+they+part+of+a+massive+spy+ring+which+shadowed+the+9%2F11+hijackers+and+knew+that+al-Qaeda+planned+a+devastating+terrorist+attack+on+the+USA%3F And the full Herald article can be read (unofficially) here: http://911review.org/Wget/www.world-crisis.com/analysis_more/163_0_15_0_M/ I have no idea if the story was true or not, but the source given is a report by the Drugs Enforcement Administration and US immigration service, so I can understand why it was given credence.
  16. Oops. Here's the link. The section on Robert Fisk seems to suggest an ongoing campaign of threats rather than a single one (although he focused on a public comment by the actor John Malkovitch as a way of highlighting the trend). http://www.doublestandards.org/bernstein1.html
  17. This I would like to see specific evidence of. Could you write more on this with sources perhaps? I take it you mean serious threats to life and not just internet trolls on message boards and the like. Here is one report about it. Unfortunately, as is often the case with the internet, I can't vouch for the claims he makes, though I chose this piece because the writer is quite thorough, and some of the examples (for instance the one about Robert Fisk) could probably be verified with a bit more searching. I can recall reading a similar piece in the Guardian a while back, detailing some of the threats that she (I think) and her colleagues had received. But try as I might I cannot find it online. (You may not consider that a reliable source either, but that is up to you.) As I said, this is a very complicated subject where both sides are wrong on many levels. I feel unequipped to enter into a serious debate (and this is not really the thread for it either), so I'm not going to respond to more of your points from your last post as we could spiral endlessly into a whirlpool of disagreement. And I haven't the energy today.
  18. Those quotes seemed more over-emotional rather than biased. I don't think it's biased to have felt sorry about Arafat's illness and death. Many people had seen him as a focus of hope for the region, but as it turned out it wasn't to be. Also, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a western journalist working in the occupied territories who didn't have a great deal of sympathy for the people that live there. Indeed, Alan Johnson, the recently released BBC reporter, who was the only western journalist who actually lived in the occupied territories, has been described as, and has described himself as 'a friend of the Palestinian people'. It is not biased to acknowledge and feel sorry about the suffering of a people. The site to which your link took me is one called "Honest Reporting". And yet, in their history section they describe their aim as "to help Israel." A news organisation that has political aims can hardly start accusing others of being unbiased, and probably can't describe itself as honest either, if honesty involves telling both sides of the truth, which is that that is a particularly complicated conflict in which neither side is innocent. Israel and Palestine probably proves the most difficult issue on which to report in an impartial way. Many journalists simply don't wish to go near the subject these days. Reporters who dare to mention the killing of Palestinians or the hardships they endure are regularly smeared as anti-semitic, and invariably receive death threats (though to my knowledge none of these threats has ever been carried out against a journalist, so perhaps the threats are not taken very seriously any more). Even the use of the words 'occupied territories' has become controversial, despite the fact that, under international law, the Gaza Strip and West Bank are exactly that. If there is a tendency to focus on the plight of the Palestinians rather than the Israelis (and to be honest I don't think there is - suicide bombings in Israel have always received much coverage wheras the everyday killings of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers is almost never mentioned) it is simply because many journalists who cover international stories will have a natural tendency to side with the oppressed group rather than the powerful state.
  19. Impartiality and being unbiased are actually two different things; the latter should be relatively simple to achieve, but the former is very difficult. The BBC is the only media organisation that comes even close. Accusations of bias usually come from those who find that the BBC is not simply reciting their own views back at them. Trying to be impartial can throw up all sorts of conundrums, which need to be dealt with. For instance, there was the well-publicised discussion about how the BBC dealt with the BNP a few years back. When discussing immigration issues you would expect to hear the fairly mainstream opinion that controlled immigration is good for the economy and good for the country; but the idea of impartiality suggests you should also have the opposing view: that immigration should be stopped and immigrants in this country sent back 'home'. So there was a period when the BBC was conducting interviews with the BNP on a reasonably regular basis, in the name of impartiality. But the BNP (as every election shows) represent only a very small minority of opinion in this country. And it has been suggested that the space and airtime they were given by the BBC actually allowed the party to gain some respectability and made them seem more mainstream. This may in turn have helped them to increase their vote in some parts of the country. So was it right to give them so much airtime? Almost certainly not. And they have received less 'positive' airtime in recent years. The BBC has to take into account not only both sides of the argument, but also whether one side is worthy of being taken seriously, and the relative 'weights' of both sides. You wouldn't, for instance, expect them to give equal time to the idea of 'intelligent design' as opposed to evolution, simply because it is an opposing view. They have a very difficult job to do. Here's an interesting piece on the subject: http://www.newstatesman.com/200706250015
  20. I have made a start at reading the pieces you suggested, and will try and work my way through them. So far I have particularly enjoyed the article in which this columnist had to offer an official apology for labelling a scientist a climate change denier. It must have been embarrasing for him to have to begin his column with this sentence: He then goes on to repeat his previous claim about Dr Weiss in the column, and in the next one. From a quick online search I also discovered that the paper had to issue a full apology for Mr Solomon's behaviour later. It is worth remembering also that Lawrence Solomon is not a scientist. And the information he relies on is not hard science either. From the half dozen I've read so far I can find no reference to any peer reviewed papers to support his view. Which is unsurprising, because as far as I'm aware there aren't any. (I'm willing to be proven wrong if you can find any.) The National Post in Canada (Solomon's newspaper) is well known for it's anti-climate science stance (in the same way the Daily Mail is in this country). The Canadian media, and Canada in general, has been seen as the front line in the fight against climate science. There is an interesting article about why here - http://thetyee.ca/Mediacheck/2006/05/02/PaidtoDenyGlobalWarming/ Another more general article from the Guardian here - http://environment.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,,1875762,00.html It is information like this which has cause the BBC to recently change their stance on global warming. They had previously always tried to offer both sides of the 'debate': interviewing climate change deniers as well as mainstream climate scientists. But they have now claimed that they have been 'duped'. The 'debate', they have realised, is not a debate at all. The vast majority of climate change denying organisations in this country and in North America, are small organisations funded, and in quite a few cases set up, by ExxonMobil. Their job, for which they receive this funding, is to propogate the notion that there is a debate, and that the science is inconclusive. And of course it works. People are only too willing to believe it. (On this note, Njugle mentioned something earlier about global warming happening on Mars, which has been used as 'evidence' for this sunspots theory. This is one of those instances of serious misinformation. The temperature on Mars has only been recorded for 25 years - hardly enough to base any serious measurements on. But more importantly, the scientists involved in the research have made no such claims about the recorded warming. Here is some information by a real scientist rather than a columnist: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=192 . If you look lower down at the comments he also explains why the claims about Tritan and Pluto are also false). There have been numerous comments about the 'religious' tone of climate change 'believers' (if you will). The tone of the debate I think can be easily explained. If you choose to believe the scientists and accept the consensus view on the issue, the effect is best described as one of mild panic. Most scientists believe we have about a decade, perhaps 15 years, to make a serious dent (60 - 90% cut) in our CO2 emissions in order to avoid environmental catastrophe. Now forgive me if I sound a little frantic or preachy when people start talking about sunspots. The fact is we either do something right now or we just shrug our shoulders and wait and see (or we can keep talking about it until it's too late). My own preference is the first option. But it seems I am in a serious minority. Never mind eh. No harm done.
  21. I've also just noticed that Robert Alan Jamieson is not on the list, which seems a rather major oversight, given that he's probably Shetland's most famous living poet. One of his novel's, A Day at the Office, was also included in the list of the top 100 Scottish books of all time recently. http://www.geocities.com/rajamies/ (bit out of date) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Alan_Jamieson
  22. Well Jen Hadfield lives in Shetland now, as does Donald S Murray, an excellent poet from the Western Isles. I think both should qualify. Some info on Donald Murray here: http://www.hie.co.uk/arts-showcase-poetry-from-shetland.html Actually, not much info there - he has lots of pamphlets/books anyway. And is very good - the poem on that page is one of my favourites.
  23. That article seems to be just a summary of some of the research I mentioned in my post. In fact it says exactly what I said, that the scientists who do believe in this theory think it is not particularly relevant to our current climate crisis. Here, indeed, is a quote from the article: So, the scientist who is responsible for the claims that you have made here believes "solar activity is responsible for only 30 per cent, at most, of the warming since 1970." And yet, in your last post, Bitter Truth, you state that Which leaves me a bit confused. If solar activity is responsible for 30 per cent at most, and greenhouse gases for less, where's the rest coming from? Unless of course you are contradicting the claims of the scientist. Is that it? Also in your last post you ask Well this just shows you haven't really done your homework on this subject, because if you had you would know the answer. There have, as you point out, been many temperature variations during the history of the planet. Some, like the little ice age, have been quite minor, while others, like the end-Permian, which I mentioned before, have been huge (6 degrees warming) and have had catastrophic effects, wiping out most of the life on the planet. There have been two major reasons for the temperature variations. One is planetary tilt - tiny variations in the orbit of the earth, bringing it further from or nearer to the sun - and the other is, yes you guessed it (or maybe you didn't), CO2. CO2 has always effected our climate, and the stable climate we have enjoyed over the past 10,000 years or so has been due in large part to CO2 levels remaining within certain limits. When CO2 has been released into the atmoshpere in larger than usual quantities, such as during major volcanic eruptions, it can have the long term effect of warming (though it can also have a shorter term 'nuclear winter' cooling effect). Geological evidence suggests that volcanic activity has been responsible for some of the climatic changes in the planets history. But the problem with the way the planet stabilises CO2 levels (and climate) is that it doesn't take much to knock it out of balance. Once temperatures rise a little bit (for instance, after a super-volcanic eruption) other 'positive feedback' effects start to take place. There are immense quantities of CO2 and Methane at the bottom of the world's oceans. In certain conditions (and at certain temperatures) these gases begin to rise to the surface, so continuing the warming process. This is what happened (over 10,000 years) at the end-Permian, which, as I said before, is the most significant warming the world has previously seen. The current rate of warming exceeds anything that has ever happened on this planet before. What worries me is that there is scientific consensus on this issue. All but a very few scientists agree about it. Greenhouse gases increase warming (that was established more than a century ago). We produce far too many greenhouse gases. The world is getting warmer very very quickly. And yet people refuse to believe what they are being told. They just ignore the evidence in front of them and shake their heads in denial. It is sickening and frightening to watch it happen. People are in a state of utter denial. Denial of evidence and denial of responsibility. Or else they accept it's happening but talk about it as if it won't affect their lives. As I have already repeated - six degrees of warming previously wiped out 95% of species on the planet. The scientists believe we will see up to six degrees of warming this century! If you don't take that warning seriously then I'm not really sure what else can be said.
  24. I found your post interesting for a number of reasons, Bitter Truth. Firstly because, in all the literature I've read about global warming, solar cycles and sun spots rarely feature as any more than a foot note. Secondly, the level of certainty you expressed was quite remarkable. So I decided to investigate these 'facts' you've presented us with, and was not surprised to learn that things are not quite as you'd have us believe. There has been quite a lot of research into the correlation between solar cycles and climate, and some scientists have found that there seems to be a connection between planetary warmth and the level of sun spots (here's one such paper here - http://www.lavoisier.com.au/papers/articles/Archibald.pdf). However, the research is far from conclusive. A number of the most significant papers (including the one I just linked to) have been severely criticised for 'selective' use of data, and particularly for their tendency to ignore data from the last three decades, which actually appears to contradict the solar cycle theory. A number of the scientists involved in this research (and here's a predictable fact) work for organisations in receipt of funding from Exxon Mobil, who actively promote research into 'alternative' climate theories. It is interesting to note though, that even amongst advocates of this theory, who believe that solar cycles have had a significant impact on historical climate variations, most accept that greenhouse gases are currently a far more important factor. The predictions you make about the Gleissberg Minima are even more controversial, and I can find very little information online to support the claim, apart from some rather suspicious looking research by the late Theodore Landscheidt, working from the Schroeter Institute for Research in Cycles of Solar Activity (which he set up himself). However, you make the worrying-sounding claim that this global cooling during the Gleissberg Minima could "mirror or perhaps even exceed the "Little Ice Age"". This is only worrying though until you remember that during this little ice age (roughly 1650 to 1850 - with three periods of cooling in that time) the temperature in the Northern Hemisphere only dropped by about 1 degree. The southern hemisphere was not so affected or perhaps not affected at all. So, if your theory is correct, which most climate scientists dispute, we could possibly, maybe, be in for one degree of cooling. On the other hand, the real climate scientists at the IPCC predict that during the next 90 years we will see up to 5.8 degrees of warming. The last time that level of warming occurred on earth was 251 million years ago, a period that is known as the end-Permian. During that warming, it is believed that 95% of all plant and animal species on earth became extinct. That warming took place over 10,000 years. So we are looking at a period of warming that could potentially kill every living thing on the planet. You may think it's a good idea to just wait and see, but frankly, I'd rather believe the experts and try to do something about it. Sorry for the long post, but I find that it's always best to be thorough when cleaning up crap.
  25. In some ways standardisation would seem necessary. Particularly because the phonetic spelling employed inevitably involves English letters, which as Njugle shows, are not fixed or distinctive sounds. Hence the fact I can write do, doo or du without changing the sound. Njugle also highlights another problem with this method. He writes "ritten", "competishun" and "deesiefor" (with tongue in cheek I realise, but nevertheless) as if they were dialect words. But this is entirely unneccesary. When I write in English I don't expect you to read my words in my accent. You automatically 'translate' those words into your own voice. Why should it be different with Shaetlan? It doesn't matter whether you say tattie, tautie, taatie or taaaaty, because when I read it I'm going to hear it whatever way I say it. If you wish to write phonetically then you're going to have to use the phonetic alphabet, rather than English letters. But I suspect that not many folk here can write in phonetic symbols (nor can they find them on their keyboards). The only standard form we have at the moment is J Graham's dictionary, but obviously you can't expect folk to consult it as they write. So perhaps the best way of making yourself comprehensible is not to try too hard.
  • Create New...