Thursday, December 31, 2009

North West

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen will be heading north-west to join Betty and Barney Rubble to see in the New Year. Plans include a visit to the moving picture palace to see Avatar 3D before returning to their country pile for the festivities.

Meanwhile GF has taken a call regarding the new project and is set up, it would appear, for a busy year ahead with a very large deal to be won. Next year will evidently start with a rush of activity; there'll be no easing one's way into this one.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Life in the Fast Lane

As 2009 splutters and coughs to an asthmatic close the Gorse Fox has been living life in the fast lane with a trip to Sainsbury's to replenish supplies and a trip to the BP filling station to get some diesel. Sometimes the excitement is hard to contain.

The Gorse Fox is staying clear of the Silver Vixen at this moment as she has discovered the boxing feature on the Wii and is now in training for a few rounds with Joe Calzaghe.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Playing a round

The Gorse Fox is not one to exert too much time on the links... and given today's weather a few rounds of Wii Frisbee Golf with the Silver Vixen seemed like a much more sensible idea.
The Urban-cub returned to work first thing. Rain poured down along the coast and it remained dark and grey enough that we had to keep the lights on much of the day.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Family

Yesterday's outing to see the latest adventures of Mr Sherlock Holmes and his trusted companion Dr Watson was a most pleasant affair. There was little traffic to delay our journey and we settled into the commodious seats in plenty of time for the show. The show itself was a ripping yarn displaying the talents of such actors as Mr Robert Downey Jr. (an American gentleman) and Mr Jude Law (a fine English Thespian). The story itself strayed from the canon of adventures first recorded by Mr Arthur Conan Doyle, but this did not detract from the experience.

One the striking features of the moving picture show was the depiction of Victorian London. The Gorse Fox found this very credible - particularly some of the scenes that showed the docks. The Gorse Fox remembers the areas around the docks - with the huge warehouses, alleys, and narrow streets. It had a menace and imparted a sense of foreboding about it even when he was young. What it must have been like when Her Britannic Majesty, Queen Victoria was on the throne, can only be imagined.

Today is an altogether different affair which sees us headed across the wastelands of Surrey to the dense metropolitan areas of Berkshire in order to spend some time with the Gorse Fox's sister and her family.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

221b

The Gorse Fox, whilst in search of the great literary classics (see yesterday's homage to education: St Trinian's) has decided that today should feature the great sleuth of 221b Baker Street and proposes a trip to the moving picture theatre to see a depiction of the latest escapades of Mr Sherlock Holmes.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

BMI

The Gorse Fox, Silver Vixen and Urban-cub have had a quiet day being bullied by Wii Fit Plus. This electronic dominatrix has insulted, cajoled, and teased as we tried one workout after another.

After the torture was complete we settled down in front of one of the great classics. A Christmas Carol? No. Miracle on 34th Street? No. In fact it was St Trinian's!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Complete

Possibly the greatest machine on the planet is the telecommunications network. This allowed the Gorse Fox, Silver Vixen and Urban-cub to connect to Cousteau-cub on an Island in the Andaman Sea. Somehow Christmas was finally complete... whilst the family was not physically together we had at least had a chance to chat.

Crisis averted

Cistern now functioning correctly.

Central heating boiler opened, examined, poked, twisted, turned, and prodded. Pilot light re-ignited. Heating now working again.

Happy Christmas... oh no!

With a monotonous regularity domestic disasters seem to befall the household at Christmas time. A couple of years back it was the TV, last year the central heating failed and the drains backed up... so it was with a degree of trepidation that the Gorse Fox rose from his bed this morning.

He was right to have worried - the cistern in the loo is overflowing and the central heating has, once more, packed up.

Merry Christmas one and all!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Scraping by

The Gorse Fox notes that the Disney chief exec, Robert Iger,  is having to get by on a 28% reduction in his compensation - leaving a meagre $23M to get by on.

You have to wonder how some people manage?

Log on/off

The problem with the delivery of a 2000 metric tonnes(*) of logs for the fire is the sheer effort required to move them from the driveway round to the back of the house and to stack them neatly where they will be sheltered from the rain. This pleasure has occupied the last two lunch hours as the Gorse Fox traipsed back and forth with logs in hand neatly creating 5 stack of logs about 10 metres high and 50 metres long(**). Fortunately Urban-cub finished work early today and helped out with the last few tonnes.

(*) This may be a slight exaggeration.
(**) This may also have been exaggerated to some small degree

Ping

"Ping" went the laptop. The Gorse Fox received an alert from a colleague and after a 10 minute follow-up call the Gorse Fox suddenly had an avalanche of documents to read and a team to help put together and a solution to dream up for a client who is expecting to spend over £100m for this.

As you will understand - this has therefore not been a gentle wind down into Christmas, but a frantic attempt to try and understand the 70+ documents that have been released.

All very exciting and it looks like a busy year coming up.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Unprecedented

The Gorse Fox would like to bring the following to your attention (sent to him by email):
US Weather Bureau Report

The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen, Norway. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.
Oh yes, did he mention that this was published on 2nd November 1922 and was apparently reported by AP and the Washington Post.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gravity

Late in the afternoon there was knock on the door. By this point in the day it was dark and the temperature was dropping once more. "Logs" said the visitor. We had been waiting a couple of weeks but the time had arrived and nestling in the back of tipper truck was a full load of logs. Cars were moved and few moments later the back of the truck was lifting and gravity took over.

We have discussed before the fact that gravity can be a bit of a devil. When it came to the logs it was benign... when, however, it was the Urban-cub carrying her fresh chilli con carne across the light beige carpet it takes on a certain malevolence. Only time will tell whether chilli and beige are sufficiently close on the colour wheel not to matter.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Slush

The temperature rose overnight and by mid-morning it was raining along the south coast. The snow slowly disappeared and a degree of normality returned. (Meanwhile there were reports of significant snowfall near Basingstoke - and traffic reports were dire).

The Gorse Fox had a Council planning meeting early in the evening, but it was soon finished and GF could return to peace and quiet of home.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

and Even

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen headed out into the cold. Thick ice replaced yesterday's tire tracks, vestiges of snow crunched beneath our boots as we trudged to the car and headed out onto the Queen's highways.  As we headed west we soon passed the snow line and continued on past Chichester and into Hampshire. Before long we reached the home of our elderly friends Betty and Barney Rubble where we spent a pleasant few hours and had a satisfying meal at a local hostelry. The hostelry was hampered by its lack of efficient heating in the restaurant area so this merry bunch of chums made a hasty exit as soon as the repast was complete and coin of the realm had changed hands.

Due to the inclemency of the weather we chose to leave before the sun dropped below the horizon and made our way back to the coast.

Soon after our return the phone rang and Beloved Aunt was at the other end, calling from the colonies. It was lovely to hear from her and catch up with all of the news from our distant cousins

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Summing up COP15

A commenter on the Telegraph blog summed up the bun-fight as:
"Something that was never going to happen because it does not need to happen hasn’t happened. What a surprise."
Let us just remind ourselves that these eco-warriors have burnt the equivalent of 41,000 tonnes of CO2 at the conference - more than the whole country of Malawi.

Crisp

The overnight temperature remained sub-zero but there was no further snowfall here by the coast. The Gorse Fox had to take Urban-cub to the railway station so spent an inordinate amount of time clearing the frozen snow from his car windows. Never mind, the CO2 from the exhaust will help warm things up a bit ! The side roads were treacherous with huge sheets of black ice, but once on the primary roads it was fairly clear.

According to the forecast it's unlikely to rise above -3C today and drop to -7C overnight (though a Finnish friend revealed it was -24C in Oulu yesterday). At least it's bright and sunny.

GF was delighted that Copenhagen ended up as a damp squib. Unfortunately there are now so many vested interests that the chance of real open debate on the differences between correlation, cause, measurements, adjustments, and fraud are unlikely to take place.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Glaciation

After yesterday evening's lovely evening with Madam Chairman and the Councillors (no, not a popular beat combo) we made our way home through light snow. This morning we woke up to about 3in of the white stuff covering everything and more still falling. Within an hour or so the leaden clouds had disappeared and normal service was resumed with wall to wall sunshine - though it remained bitterly cold. The snow became crisp and refused to melt and as the sun went down the temperature followed.

The Silver Vixen had to go out during the day and GF was pleased that she has a RAV4 to negotiate the back roads (though the main roads are clear).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Climate and Causality

As the Gorse Fox was answering some emails for Starfleet he was struck by a thought. We are told by "true believers" that despite the temperature going down for the last 9 years the last decade is one of the warmest on record. Much of this warming is blamed on CO2 because they couldn't account for any other reason.

The Gorse Fox thinks he has the answer... the Labour Party has been in Government now since 1997. Coincidence? He thinks not! Twelve years... to destroy the planet. This means that despite his reservations GF has to conclude that it is man-made.

Interglacial

The coast has just emerged into an interglacial period, the sky has cleared and the sun is shining

Spirit

Madam Chairman has invited us all to a little Christmas soiree. That should be a bit of fun... and it will be nice to meet the other Councillors outside of our formal duties.

Irony

As the climate continues to warm the snow has started falling over the south coast.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

HRH

The Gorse Fox was delighted to hear yesterday's comments from Prince Charles on Climate Change... if ever anything was going to convince the Gorse Fox he is right to be sceptical - it is HRH taking the opposing the view.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Returns

The Gorse Fox had to head to one of Starfleet's country houses for a meeting. It was time to compare his staff assessments with those of other teams... and make sure we were fair and consistent. The meeting was long, and the Gorse Fox's assessments went well.

Leaving the country house GF stopped off at a gadget shop to return a power-pack that he didn't need. He timed this to perfection following a chap  into "Customer Services" who clutched a large plastic bag. Arriving at the counter first he emptied the contents of the bag on the counter. The ink cartridges formed a small avalanche as the chap pulled out a sheaf of receipts and asked for a refund. This meant that the assistant had to work through the avalanche cartridge by cartridge checking them off against the receipts. As the Gorse Fox's beard started to grow longer, and his patience got shorter he watched the glacial progress as they were sorted and checked. Eventually it was over and GF got to return his power-pack... a process that only took about 60 seconds.

Stopping by Starfleet HQ he returned last year's laptop and grabbed some lunch before heading back to his study.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Balanced BBC

The Gorse Fox had to write a note of complaint to the BBC over a lopsided report on "The One Show". He has no doubt the comment will be moderated out (i.e. not published) so in essence this was the draft... (though the final version was a bit longer but he forgot to copy it before hitting send).
What a travesty. How can the One Show give such a one-sided poorly researched piece on Climate Change. Ben Goldacre should be ashamed of his position. I don't know any climate "deniers".
I do, however, know a lot of sceptics. They have a perfectly valid right to question why $42 Trillion dollars (yes that is the estimated cost) is being wagered on a scientific hypothesis that is not proven nor "settled". Even one of the coordinating lead authors of the IPCC report has said "In the Fourth Assessment, the summary was quietly replaced several months after it was first published because some scientists who were involved complained of misrepresentation." I do notice that as more and more sceptics are examining the science and finding flaws in the data gathering, in the data, in the mathematics and in the shoddy and dishonest way in which it has been published that the "True believers" are becoming more and more vituperous, and unable to backup their position with reliable facts.
There are significant lists of scientists who refute the infantile claims made by Ben Goldacre, and it was a shame that the BBC were too cowardly, or too wedded to their biased position to allow the other side of the debate to be voiced.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Games

According to the BBC web site today there is a new arcade game that is proving immensely popular... "Whack a banker"...

With news that a March election may be in the offing, the Gorse Fox wondered if this was a spoonerism for Labour's election slogan?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

MAD - Mob Affective Disorder

In a superb piece today entitled "Beyond Debate?" we see this question raised by Martin Cohen
Is belief in global-warming science another example of the "madness of crowds"? That strange but powerful social phenomenon, first described by Charles Mackay in 1841, turns a widely shared prejudice into an irresistible "authority". Could it indeed represent the final triumph of irrationality? After all, how rational is it to pass laws banning one kind of light bulb (and insisting on their replacement by ones filled with poisonous mercury vapour) in order to "save electricity", while ploughing money into schemes to run cars on ... electricity? How rational is it to pay the Russians once for fossil fuels, and a second time for permission (via carbon credits) to burn them (see box page 36)? And how rational is it to suppose that the effects of increased CO2 in the atmosphere take between 200 and 1,000 years to be felt, but that solutions can take effect almost instantaneously?
The Gorse Fox suggests that he is right on the money and that what we are seeing is a form of mob hysteria.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Age gap

The Gorse Fox got a call from the Silver Vixen. "I've got a problem with the laptop, can you help?".

The Gorse Fox leapt to his feet and headed into her study. He looked at the screen an immediately saw the problem. This would be easy to fix, he thought. It wasn't quite that easy though. The cursor was not responding to the Gorse Fox's administrations.

It was at that point that the Silver Vixen pointed out that GF was clutching her spectacles case, not the mouse!

It is clear that time is catching up!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Coercion

As the climate debate starts to get down and dirty we find that 1700 scientists have agreed to sign a statement defending the “professional integrity” of global warming research, according to The Times.
It then goes on to admit:
One scientist said that he felt under pressure to sign the circular or risk losing work. The Met Office admitted that many of the signatories did not work on climate change.
We will soon see this 1700 number quoted without clarification - though the 3000+ scientists who signed the opposing view last year are always questioned as to their "climate" credentials.

And we also find that in Australia, one sceptical newspaper reporter's kids have been targeted with mail villifying their dad.

What really troubles the Gorse Fox is that this is only necessary because there is doubt and these tactics are reminiscent of schoolchildren having tantrums because some disagrees with them.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Loose change

45Trillion dollars.

That's the UN estimate of how much agreement at Copenhage will cost. Just thought you should know...

Teaching

There is a rolling headline on the BBC today "Some state schools in England use underhand tactics to attract the most desirable pupils"... the Gorse Fox wondered what these might be: limousines to and from school, designer uniforms, school trips to the Bahamas.

Or maybe just teaching well and imposing some discipline!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Symphonic

The Gorse Fox has spent much of the day transferring some of his Excel skills to Symphony. This has not been without its little challenges but everything seems ok at present.

The nice man from DHL turned up mid-afternoon. The Gorse Fox is always impressed by the way these big delivery organisations work. He saw the records showing the pick-up from the warehouse, the transfer to the main distribution warehouse, the subsequent transfer to Brighton depot... and knew it was en route by the local delivery agent.

It reminds him that on TV last night they had a clip that showed how Ocado manage their distribution. Most impressive.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Freedom of Speech - cyber warfare

The Gorse Fox has always been troubled by the bad manners of people who shout down people who are giving their opinion (however daft). he sees that as bullying.

Over the weekend he was enjoying an online debate regarding Climate Change. There was a good exchange of views and it remained polite, reasoned and informed. Suddenly we saw retrospective edits being made, links and clips being vandalised, and non-standard views being clobbered. Another participant caught someone in the act and they exchanged messages. It would appear that the vandal has been paid to vandalise and "Waves" that discuss AGW until Copenhagen is finished.

Somehow this seems so appropriate - at a time when the leaked emails show the attempts made to suppress contrary views and data - we find a paid effort to suppress contrary views and data.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Dimanche

Another pleasant day... nothing too stressful. The Gorse Fox did manage to get through to Cousteau-cub on the phone. Things are obviously getting busy there (in fact tomorrow she has 3 separate dives scheduled). We have also been talking of going out to see her, so started to look for flight costs to get an idea what we need to save.

GF also played around with his WAMP setup, and in a stroke of genius managed to lock his phpMyAdmin out of the underlying mySql database... that'll be something to sort out during the week.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Gordon Brown and Climategate

It is funny to see that it is reported "Gordon Brown: [believes] climate-change sceptics are 'flat-earthers'. What a relief. He's been so right about everything else, after all!!!

In praise of our Government (?)

In praise of our Government.

Or, what has New Labour done for us.
  • Robbed the UK of its private pensions by raiding the pension schemes - whilst maintaining the pension scheme for MPs
  • Lied to us over Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Sent our armed forces into Iraq after being informed it had no legal basis
  • Hounded Dr. Kelly to his death because he would not follow the party line on Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Sent the armed forces into Iraq and Afghanistan, but forgot to equip them
  • Brought us Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman, the Dark Lord Mandelson, Alastair Campbell, and John Prescott
  • Sold our gold reserves at the bottom of the market
  • Presided over the massive recession and drove the country into debt that will last a generation to pay for it 
  • Gave away our sovereignty as of 1st December 2009 when the Lisbon Treaty came into force
  • Made the President of Europe our head of state
  • Put our Prime Minister in a position where he is now obliged to promote the aims and objectives of the European Union over and above those of the United Kingdom
  • Gave control of our financial institutions to (French) EU Regulators.
  • Signed up to the Human Rights act without realising the real beneficiaries are solicitors and criminals
  • Promised a referendum on the EU Constitution then reneged when it was renamed
  • Neutered the House of Lords so there are no checks and balances on their legislation
  • Disenfranchised thousands of children from university places by setting quotas that selected candidates based on background not education
  • Charged students for the University education that previous generations had for free and thus plunged them into years of debt
  • Set up secret "courts" to dispose of the assets of elderly patients
  • Imposed unelected regional assemblies, after a referendum on the subject voted against them
  • Presided over a greater erosion of the UK's Industrial Base than any previous Government (yes even more than Mrs Thatcher's).

And they created a country where:
  • A country where you can be followed home and reported to social services for chastising your child in public.
  • You are watched by CCTV cameras everywhere you go
  • You can be prosecuted for speaking freely
  • Council snoopers can wander round your house
  • You can be taxed for improving your house without any warrant or judicial intervention
  • You can be taxed for you view
  • The Civil Service are rewarded for spending their annual budget - not saving it.
  • Political correctness forms a destructive cancer at the heart of our society:
Political Correctness (def.) - a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.
(with acknowledgements to the original author - whoever that was)

  • The police can take your DNA for any reason (even a simple traffic stop) and store it for up to 6 years even if you are entirely innocent of any wrong-doing.
  • If you ever see a child (or expect that you might see a child - even in the distance) you must have criminal checks.
  • You get Government TV adverts about reducing CO2 presented as a series of facts - which are unproven

But hey, don't forget:
  • You can sue other people for your own stupidity or clumsiness
  • You can be given a flat or house for getting pregnant
  • There's no need to work for a living
  • You can suppress scientific opinion with libel laws

Friday, December 04, 2009

Just Waving

Another day of calls and reviews. Nothing too riveting.

What has been interesting though is the ongoing debate on climate change that has been going on across a number of web sites and Google Wave. GF has participated in the Wave discussion "Climategate - REFUSE TO BE FOOLED!-" - trying to bring a little sense and critical thinking to the process. Always amusing to see the polarisation of views.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Shredder

As Starfleet prepares to shred lose many of its more experienced designers and architects due to its treachery over pensions, the Gorse Fox has spent much of today looking at the new crop. These individuals need to be nurtured, encouraged, guided and seeded into the opportunities that help them grow their experience. It's been good hearing about these rising stars... but the Gorse Fox is concerned that we have a few rocky months ahead.

You may wonder if the Gorse Fox is one of those about to jump ship. Well, the answer is no. There's still too many problems that he wants to go out and solve, and he still wakes up every morning relishing the challenges the day will bring.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

More smelling salts please

News at Ten have finally reacted to "Climategate" and started to report (several days behind the curve) on what's going on. Obviously the noise from the blogs around the world, the number of written comments, and the upswelling of comments from politicians around the world made the BBC increasingly isolated in ignoring the incident.

Please pass the smelling salts, the Gorse Fox feels quite faint!

Work

Busy day today. Project work, appraisals, telecons etc. Not much to see here.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Bring the Smelling Salts

BBC News has just admitted that 55% of people do not believe in Anthropogenic causes of Global Warming (or at least that it is not proven). They didn't give that any air time... but they have at least admitted it.

Gravity

The Gorse Fox has said it before - Gravity can be a bit of a bugger. The Silver Vixen went out to do some Christmas Shopping and whilst she was out she was attacked by gravity,. There she was walking past "Past Times" when gravity charged out of the pavement and mugged her. She has come home, having twisted her ankle, after succumbing to the attack.