“I get to peek at the workbooks students hand in at the end of exams. I have previously expressed the view that maybe 85 per cent of them are in the wrong place.”
Survival of the fitters?
You see, I’ve just been whingeing about Amazon and Uber and how the beanbag corporations are replacing human-scale operations, retailers and so forth who need to sleep, with giant 24-hour warehouses and picking robots and tax-accountants and a few undervalued mislings, delivery drivers and so on, who are expected to pay their own wages and insurance and never get sick.
The fetish for instant gratification and the myth of infinite abundance are powerful incentives to hand the management of the entire planet over to these lunatic visionary billionaires and place all our futures in their sainted hands.
Yet here is this new superspecies, humans-plus, a race of knowligarchs worth, in a purely asset-valued sense, not just one, but sometimes tens of billions of dollars, pounds, whatever.
And we have created them! How did that happen?
Anyway, so, yesterday I drove with Hunzi over to the prefabricated car place on the industrial estate where they have a big forecourt where I bought my little Citroen three years ago, and a service shed at the rear, left it with them to explore my noisy brakes, and walked the two miles back home. I called them at five-thirty but the car wasn’t ready, come back about eleven tomorrow.
So, and I’ll stop saying that, at half-past eleven just now we walk the two miles back – I know, it’s good for me – only to be told, sorry, we have a problem finding qualified mechanics and are up to here with cars, can we drop it off to you this afternoon?
The irony is, the manager is Polish, and he can’t get staff.
Last week, I’m told, the unemployment rate fell vertiginously to only 4.3 percent, the lowest it’s been since records began in July. But there are clearly jobs goin’ a-beggin’, as my youngest discovered when he went to visit his sister for the weekend and landed a temp job the following day; he’s due to start work proper in November. Jobs are clearly ten a penny, but few are willing to do them.
I work, as you know, five weeks of the year at a university, the only job I can find at my age, where I get to peek at the workbooks students hand in at the end of exams. I have previously expressed the view that maybe 85 per cent of them are in the wrong place. Instead of usefully learning how to fix the brakes on Citroen cars, they are studying for worthless paper degrees in Sports Psychology Through the Medium of Slavery. And only a small handful of them, it seems, can usefully express any ideas about that in recognizable English.
We used to have a good technical college just up the road where you could go to learn to be a cook, a plumber, a bricklayer or a car mechanic – all perfectly respectable and valuable jobs. But it was maladministered, Tony Blair had decreed that everyone should have a degree, and so the university took it over and installed a) an agreeable cafeteria, and b) an International School of Business Studies, offering MBAs, that has now closed for lack of international interest.
Meanwhile, neither of the two contractors I asked in the spring of 2016 to come and replace my collapsing garden fence has yet turned up. Anymore than has the plumber who fitted my kitchen tap returned to adjust his work, that threatens a flood. The ivy that is strangling my house, blocking the gutters and causing damp in the corner of the bedroom remains uncut, owing to its not being a big enough job to interest a gardener/handyman less prone to vertigo than myself.
There is a three-week waiting list here to see a doctor; and an eighteen-month waiting list for six-monthly follow-up appointments to consult my friendly Nigerian urologist about my unruly prostate, at the hospital.
The new gas oven and hob I ordered from our local showroom two weeks ago has still not been fitted, owing to the seasonal busy-ness of the few qualified Gas Safe fitters who now exist. I am still waiting after ten days for the carpet fitter to tell me he is ready, Stanley knife in hand, to lay my new bedroom carpets; or even if they have arrived.
But my sub-£15 order of a small bottle of five-star-review guitar wax (No Cloudy Build-Up!) and a cheap but highly rated headstock tuner arrived from Amazon.uk Central on Saturday, 16 hours from the time I placed it, by express postal delivery.
Would that some enterprising beanbag billionaire could come up with a scheme for a giant multinational corporation to instantly deliver a functioning tradesman when you need one. Trouble is, here at the end of Civilization we have stopped producing them. It’s a Darwinian dilemma:
Jeremy Corbyn please help us.
We need to ensure the survival of the fitters.
“This is not some futuristic dystopian conspiracy theory, social media and universal TV coverage enables us to see it as it is happening now…”
A climate of concern
NASA has August at 0.85C above the 1951-1980 average. That’s a global summer/winter monthly average of everywhere – while there are still cold spots many regions of the globe are heating much faster. It also ignores pre-1950s warming, which would take us to about 1.6C since the 1750 cutoff, somewhat ahead of the Paris target and hotter than in the last 150 thousand years. And it’s accelerating. August in the USA was the second hottest on record despite the cooling effect of storms and megastorms across the midwest, including Hurricane Harvey. 2017 is officially so far the second hottest year globally on record, after 2016. Arctic sea ice is 24% below the long-term average summer minimum; the jetstreams are in bits.
What does this mean? In a word, weather CHAOS.
A seemingly unending litany of extreme weather events: violent storms, cyclones, floods, droughts and heatwaves. Millions of acres of agricultural land and countryside burning* or underwater. Raging torrents, city streets turned to boiling rivers, hillsides collapsing, cars and houses, road and bridges washed away.
People struggling to work or safety through chest-high water, carrying their pets, children and grandmothers. Millions displaced. Whole communities torn up and uninhabitable. Billions of dollars of damage. Possibly linked seismological effects: Harvey caused part of Texas to sink by an inch.
This is not some futuristic dystopian conspiracy theory, social media and universal TV coverage enables us to see it as it is happening now, all over the world.
CO2 – some improvement
Despite the prevalence of wildfires, whose 2017 northern hemisphere season’s massive CO2 upload may not yet have fully distributed around the globe, especially 9,000 feet up in the central Pacific, today’s daily CO2 reading from the Moana Lua observatory on Hawaii shows a reduction since July, from 407 to 405 (approx.) parts-per-million. Encouragingly, this is down again on the record 412 ppm recorded in April.
Recalling that up to 1900 the burden had remained at about 285 ppm and by 2015 averaged only 401 ppm; however, concentrations as high as 860 ppm were being recorded over British Columbia and Central Asia during the summer, owing to wildfires. And we need to understand that what we put into the air now remains there for 100 years, absorbing solar energy.
Overall, the trendlines for CO2, CH4 (methane) and NO2 (nitrogen dioxide), the principal greenhouse gases, remain on an alarming upward trajectory; while increasingly moisture-laden higher-altitude storms and unrestricted airline operations are adding rapidly to the burden of water vapor in the stratosphere, also considered a greenhouse gas.
*When you burn a tree, consider that: a) it releases its stored carbon to the atmosphere, while b) it no longer absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere.
Consider also that c) humans have a notoriously short attention span, and d) one swallow doth not a summer make.
Hurricane Maria: weakening to a Cat 2 as it moves north over colder waters, the ‘will-it, won’t it?’ make landfall along the US East Coast debate continues. Even if not, it will be felt as it passes between the Outer Banks of N Carolina and Bermuda. It is still a huge and violent storm bearing potentially 2-3 feet of rain. Death toll across the Caribbean now exceeds 30 and many remote areas have yet to be reached.
90% of homes in Dominica have sustained damage or destruction. Guajataca dam on Puerto Rico still threatening to give way (24 Sept.), 70,000 evacuated from communities in its floodpath. “The storm dumped over 960 mm of rain in Caguas on 21 September.” High winds and flooding too claimed lives in Haiti and the Dominican Republic (24 Sept.).
Atlantic: Meanwhile, Jose is still toggling gamely around in the west Atlantic but has weakened to a depression and not likely to make landfall. Great relief as nothing new seems to be forming off the West African coast, although it’s still early in the season. Former Tropical Depression, Lee has woken up in mid-Atlantic after doing nothing for days and has strengthened to a Cat 2 hurricane, on a predicted northeasterly track – ie towards northern Europe, the UK, Iceland – but weakening again to a TS over colder waters.
UK: remnants of both Lee and Maria expected to merge into one storm system arriving western British Isles Sunday 1st through Tuesday 3rd.
Australia: New South Wales/Sydney experiences first-ever 40C (104F) heatwave – for September (early spring month). Heatwave extends up into Queensland. Both areas suffered record heat last summer.
Guatemala: raging floods continuing after days of intense rainfall.
Spain: Another heavy ice-storm, this time on the lovely Moorish city of Teruel, Aragon. Rivers of ice flowing through the streets freeze solid for a time. Many lightning strikes. “35 litres of water per square meter fell in half an hour, causing localised flooding, as well as leaving a number of people requiring treatment for hypothermia. The storm hit just before 9PM, after a sudden drop in temperature of nearly 20 degrees.” Severe, possibly disruptive thunderstorm alert out for Vilabella, SE Spain.
- Your Granny’s theory for why there have been so many heavy icefall events in an otherwise hotter than normal summer: storms across Europe have reached higher altitudes than normal owing to warmer air and fragmenting of the jetstream winds. Higher cloud tops at 40-60 thousand feet where temperatures are as low as minus 60C produce greater volumes of freezing rain.
Gran Canaria: wildfires raging in city outskirts, metres from hotels. Tourists sent fleeing.
Congo: death toll in Kivu state flooding officially now 12, over 100 missing. Torrential rain and landslides destroy many homes.
Malaysia: extreme flash-flooding and rivers overflowing in Perlis and Kedah regions.
Indonesia: Bengkulu region hit by extreme flash-flooding.
Thailand: Khuan Kalong hit by extreme flash-flooding. Satun province experiencing third major flooding event this year. Thousands of acres of rice paddy rotting. Major dam at Phitsanulok dangerously exceeding capacity.
India: Torrential rains continue to fall in Kerala province, with flash-floods and landslides, casualties reported. Schools and colleges shut. More rain over Mumbai (Bombay), flooded last month, is bringing September to a record month, already the second highest rainfall total recorded.
USA: weird weather has the country split in half. “Parts of the U.S. Midwest and Northeast and adjacent Canada were running 12 – 20°C (22 – 38°F) above average, while parts of the Rocky Mountains and Great Basin were 12 – 20°C (22 – 38°F) below average.” Many northeastern cities have experienced 90F-plus temperature surges over the weekend, setting new record highs for late September. “Provo, Utah (Brigham Young University) had a daytime high of just 42°F on Sunday, which was its coldest day ever notched during September in records going back to 1916.” At the same time it was 93F in Toronto, its hottest day of the year so far and hottest day ever recorded in late September.
USA: Up to 5″ rain and flash flooding warnings out in East Texas.
Antarctica: ‘A-68’, the trillion-tonne monster iceberg the size of Cyprus, that calved from the Larsen-C shelf three months ago, is thought finally to be on the move out into the South Atlantic.
The Weather Channel/ Moana Loa observatory/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #69/ Wunderground/ English Radio News, Spain/ Floodlist/ Reuters
End of everything – a brief update
Latest news from the unfolding cataclysm at Yellowstone….
In a recent interview, USGS’ Yellowstone veteran, Bob Smith advised jokingly that it’s when the earthquakes stop you have to worry.
After the longest spell in recent times of earthquake swarms in the caldera, up to 60 a day since early June, complete with alarming ground uplift, tilting lakes, intensification and darkening of the geysers, boiling rivers, dead fish episodes, a pervasive smell of sulfur, reports of static electricity shocks and triboluminescence (an effect of rocks shearing) and the more-or-less continuous rumblings of new magma filling the underground chambers, coupled with the mildly disturbing erasure of USGS reports of selective tremors, monkeying with the seismographic charts and the mysterious failures of online live camera feeds, the tremors appear to have almost stopped….
…except that just outside the caldera along what are suspected to be connected faultlines there are abnormal, ongoing and unusually intense swarms of M3+ earthquakes in Idaho, around Soda Springs, and in Montana since July when an unexpected M5.8 earthquake arrived near Lincoln, coincidentally around the time the Yellowstone swarm began….
…and except for the frequent harmonic tremors, generally regarded as precursors to an eruption.
Meanwhile, M3+ earthquakes have been reported simultaneously, directly beneath the cones of both Mt St Helen’s and Mt Rainier in nearby Washington state – both very large volcanoes, although eruptions are not thought to be imminent they are on the edge of the Yellowstone system. While over in Italy, seismologists are reportedly worrying more by the day that the Campi Flegrei supervolcano in the middle of Naples could be about to erupt. It last had a major eruption in 1553, but the signs are all of it exhaling, yawning and stretching.
One way or another, they’s a gonna getcha. Praise the Lord.
Mind the gap
Let it not be said that merely being black, American and/or a ‘rapper’ is invariably an indication of advanced mental degeneration.
However, Mr B.o.B., an all-of-the-above, is making a pretty good show of it.
He has posted a picture of a town somewhere in America with, rising in the background, the towers of Manhattan; arguing that, as the two places are 16 miles apart, but you can see them both, there cannot be any curvature of the earth’s surface between them. The logic is somewhat suspect, since in the photo you can only see the tops of the towers as there is a hill in the way. In any case, the horizon when seen from an average 5’10” person’s eyeline at sea-level is generally viewed at a distance of 3 miles. From the top of Mt Everest it is 209 miles. (Wikipedia) The discrepancy must indicate curvature.
Seeking to raise $200,000 (£150,000) on the GoFundMe crowd-funding website, which would be nice for the BogPo, B.o.B refers to himself as “Flat Earth Bob”. At the time of writing he had raised a little over $650, but the campaign was trending with promise.
“I’m starting this GoFundMe because I would like to send one, if not multiple satellites, as far into space as I can, or into orbit as I can, to find the curve,” he said in a video on the page. “I’m looking for the curve,” he added. – BBC News
B.o.B. (Bobby Ray Simmons Jr) believes the earth is, in fact, a disc. Made, one assumes, hopefully of platinum. He also thinks NASA, the focus of most conspiracy theories in America, employs people to stop you falling off the edge. He has even engaged in profound dialogue with the popular cosmologist du jour, Neil de Grasse Tyson, who in replying politely sounds like he thinks Simmons is a bit of a self-publicizing idiot.
In case you are minded to send him a few dollars, please note that it is far simpler and cheaper just to point him in the direction of the million-and-one images transmitted back to Houston or wherever from the moon, or the International Space Station, that may be found on Google, in which he will see ‘the curve’ displayed in all its splendor, in three dimensions, without needing to clutter space with yet more pointless junk.
No doubt he will look at the images and remark, with his customary wisdom, that it still looks like a disc to him, ‘cos it’s, like, round?
Mind the gap.