Home » 'Impossible things' » Brexit: with Doomsday fast approaching… GW: “Blow, blow, thou Winter wind” (in September!)… All aboard the Skylark!… Coming to the boil… The magic ball.

Brexit: with Doomsday fast approaching… GW: “Blow, blow, thou Winter wind” (in September!)… All aboard the Skylark!… Coming to the boil… The magic ball.

Great Quote of the Week!

“They persecuted Jesus, and look what happened!”

– Bill Cosby’s publicist, on his client’s 3-10 year sentence for serious sex offences.

 

“And I tell you, guys, the water, ocean water, was up to here… You never saw so much water! And there was a boat, such a great boat… they didn’t know whose boat… I’d like a boat, but the water…”.

Brexit: Doomsday fast approaching

Oh dear. The National Farmers’ Union is not really a workers’ Union, it’s about the most conservative bunch of wealthy muckspreaders you can find anywhere: our equivalent of the NRA. Even they’re warning that Britain’s farmers won’t be allowed to export any produce to the EU for at least six months in the event of our crashing out of the lucrative market with no deal, while new licensing arrangements are negotiated. That and the immediate ending of EU farm subsidies would put many farmers out of business, although the cows might welcome it.

Their warning comes on top of the Government’s own admission that nothing has been done either about the EU’s Open Skies policy, that permits free movement of commercial flights between member countries, so nobody will be flying to or from anywhere in Europe come April Fool’s Day, 2019. That could include transfer passengers to or from anywhere in the world hubbing at Heathrow for European destinations. Oh dear. You’ll need a neck pillow and some bottled water.

The EU passport scheme for pets travelling between countries will also be off the books, with a likelihood that separate controls will have to be reapplied to prevent the spread of rabies, meaning animals without a relevant inoculation certificate can be quarantined for six months, at a cost of several hundred pounds a week. Four months’ notice will be required before travelling following each inoculation, so don’t imagine you and poochie can just pick up and go.

That’s the caravanning market decimated.

There’s a question mark, too, over Britons hoping to take up residence in an EU country, as both Hungary and Italy have imposed much more severe controls on immigration that could well apply to British nationals; especially brown ones. In Hungary, it would even be illegal for a lawyer to advise you on the immigration rules. Not that you’d be mad enough to want to live there. And political parties are rising in France, Germany, Austria that also have decided views about brown people.

Car manufacturers are getting nervous. Apart from small niche firms like TVR, Morgan and Caterham, there is no longer an indigenous British car manufacturing industry: all our car plants are owned by garlic- and sushi-munchers: Peugeot, BMW – VW, who own our prestigious Rolls Royce marque – India (Jaguar-Land Rover), Kuwait (Aston Martin) or Japanese manufacturers Toyota, Nissan and Honda.

Several have already put workers on short-time. Ford said in July it will consider closing its two remaining UK engine plants, both of which are in towns where the majority of people voted to leave the EU. Ford stopped making passenger cars in the UK in 2002.

Without a deal, these foreign-owned mass manufacturers won’t be able to export their UK-made cars to Europe and vice versa. They’ll be sad to go, because our workforce was the most efficient in the world. As for the “just-in-time” parts market, scattered all over Europe and beyond, the only possible outcome is total chaos.

Cars will be piling up on the docksides and in the fields. (Alamy.com)

The food industry, too, has warned that delays of just half an hour in Customs control at the new borders, bound to happen at the peak holiday periods, already does, will send one in ten UK suppliers spinning out of the game.

The BogPo has been warning about this sort of consequence since long before the poor deluded dumbfucks voted out. Sadly, they don’t read me. (Although, after a week averaging two viewings a day, we had 33 yesterday. Get with the program!)

Meanwhile, the prospect of anyone doing a trade deal with Trump’s America is fast receding as he simply does not believe in free trade or internationalism, and made that quite clear at the UN summit. America’s greatness will rise again in a climate of serene isolation, protected by his beautiful tariffs, his wall, his Muslim ban (we have Muslims here. So many! Who knew?) and his crushing charmlessness, free from the taint of Obama’s lousy deals. So weak.

Things are indeed so appallingly worrisome, that Mrs May has had to appoint a Minister especially to ensure we have enough of everything, come Doomsday. Or, as she put it in New York yesterday: “That’s why we’ve been looking at this concept of the economy of the future, to make sure we have those building blocks in place that are needed post-Brexit.”

Exactly, you need to plan for food riots.

David Rutley, a former Asda and PepsiCo executive, was handed the Ministry of Everything brief at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs earlier this month. Who knew it? And why the secrecy? Was it to keep it out of the news until after St Theresa’s rude awakening in Strasbourg last week?

“There has been a level of naivety that people can stockpile food, which is completely impossible and shows a misunderstanding of how the supply chain works. We would welcome someone genuinely informed and engaged”, said a food industry spokesperson, between forkfuls. Why, what is poor Mr Rutley going to do about it if it all goes pear-belle-Helène shaped? Are we supposed to eat him?

And yet the Great Masturbators: Johnson, Gove, Dominic Raab, Esther McVey, Jacob Rees-Mogg, tortoise-headed Iain Cunting Smith, that fanatical German immigrant woman, the DUP; ambitious Steve Baker and the incomparably dense Bernard Jenkin, plus a coterie of swivel-eyed Brexshit lunatics: Empire Loyalists, proto-fascists, other Express readers, John Redwood, certifiable misogynist Peter Bone (formerly named Britain’s Meanest Employer), ramblin’ Bill Cash and the like, are still sticking their fingers in their ears and chanting “Nya-nah, can’t hear you!” as they march off into the sunset, waving their little flags and whistling cheerily as the darkness falls.

Hush my darlings, ’tis only Project Fear.

Better take a packed lunch.

Be on the safe side.

Beware The Wolves of Wall Street

“Theresa May has been put on the defensive over Brexit at a business summit in New York after a leading chief executive asked her to explain the possible risks of Britain’s departure on future investment, saying: ‘How bad can things get?’ The question came from Steve Schwarzman of asset management firm Blackstone.” (Guardian, 26 Sept.) He described Brexit as “a little daunting”, and asked May about what he said were the risks of a change of government in the UK.

Now, let’s not get carried away, crying salt tears for the global investment community. Mr Schwarzman (see Post passim) is a canny operator undaunted by complex matters, a billionaire of course, head of a spinoff from the BlackRock Corporation, the world’s largest asset management group (that pays former Chancellor, George “eight jobs” Osborne £650k a year for a day’s free lunching, most weeks), who is on record as claiming that his investors can benefit mightily from the uncertainties caused by chaotic events such as Brexit.

He really doesn’t care what happens so long as he has the inside track enabling him to hedge his bets on the markets imploding or, irrational as it may sound, soaring on the news of No Deal.

“Things” can get as bad as Theresa and the Tory right damn well like, he’s going to make his billions either way.

That’s all the meeting was about: gathering intelligence.

Something this “government of all the chancers” is sorely lacking.

Underneath the arches

“Last week, Blackstone paid £1.5bn for thousands of commercial spaces underneath Victorian railway arches in the UK.” (Guardian).

Well, we’ll have to live somewhere.

Milk Brexit, or Plain? Either way, contains nuts…. (“Cadbury stockpiles ingredients in case of hard Brexit”. Guardian, 11 Sept. Photo: Shutterstock)

 

GW: “Blow, blow, thou Winter wind” (in September!)

Japan: Wunderground UPDATE, Tuesday 25 Sept: Trami was updated to Category 5 status with the 5 pm EDT Monday advisory from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), with top sustained winds of 160 mph. Trami now qualifies as a super typhoon.” A northward change in track means Trami will probably not now hit Taiwan but instead pass directly over the Ryukyu islands of Japan, such as Okinawa, before turning again to target the main island of Honshu as a less powerful but still nevertheless potentially devastating storm. Another one!

Wednesday update: Trami has weakened to a 155 mph Cat 4 as it is moving so slowly it has churned up a lot of cold water from depth. It may re-strengthen later over SST at 84F, although wind shear is picking up to its north and may inhibit growth. Still on course for Japan. (Wunderground)

Caribbean: Tropical Depression Kirk appears to be the next threat, taking a southerly track out of the Atlantic, although it has weakened slightly with sustained winds of 35 mph. “If the models are correct, high wind shear and dry air should be able to destroy Kirk’s circulation just before or soon after it arrives in the Lesser Antilles Islands on Thursday. However, Kirk may still be capable of trouble in this scenario, as the storm could pack tropical storm-force winds and dump heavy rains of 3 – 6” in the islands, causing flash floods and landslides.” (Dr Jeff Masters, Wunderground)

Tunisia: At least 4 people have died in flash floods in northern Tunisia over the last few days. 1 person was swept away by floods in Takilsa, another in Bir Bouregba and 2 people near Bou Argoub. 197 mm of rain fell in Nabeul on 22 September. Tunisia’s Ministry of Agriculture reported a record-breaking 297 mm of rain fell in Béni Khalled in 24 hours to 23 September. Roads, bridges and homes were damaged and vehicles swept away.” (Floodlist)

Nigeria: Nearly half a million people are currently affected by flooding in 8 states of the country. At least 108 people have died, with a further 192 injured. As of 24 September (after a month of rains) there were 141,369 people displaced by the floods. There is an urgent need for food and non-food relief items. (edited from Floodlist)

Ghana: “Long-term heavy rainfall combined with water releases from the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso, have caused severe flooding in northern Ghana over the past few weeks. At least 34 people have died. The country’s northern regions have all been affected. Local media reported that as many as 100,000 people have been displaced.” (Floodlist)

Mexico: “At least 7 people have died and 8 are missing after flash flooding in the state of Michoacán on 23 Sept. 58 mm of rain fell on Peribán in the space of 2 hours, causing the Cutio river to overflow. Cars, trees, mud and debris were dragged along streets. At least 100 homes were damaged.

In the state of Sinaloa, “storms brought heavy rain and severe flooding from 19 September, 2018. Severe weather was caused by the passage of Tropical Depression 19-E. 359 mm of rain fell in Los Mochis in 24 hours to 20 September. 3 dead, 60,000 without power and 150,000 affected by interruptions to drinking water supply.” (from Floodlist)

USA: “A broad area of low pressure (98L) was located about 300 miles south-southwest of Bermuda on Sunday afternoon (23 Sept). Conditions were favorable for development. The low was expected to track to the northwest towards North Carolina during the next few days, with the center passing very near Cape Hatteras Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. On this track, 98L could bring unwelcome rains of 1 – 2” to portions of eastern North Carolina ravaged by Hurricane Florence’s extreme rains a week ago.”

Meanwhile, “Subtropical (now Extrasubtropical) Storm Leslie continued to amble across the remote central North Atlantic, awaiting more dramatic developments to come later this week.” (Wunderground)

In the eastern Pacific, way off Mexico, Tropical Storm Rosa packing sustained winds of 65 mph and gusting to hurricane-force 85 mph seems to be making a north-eastward turn toward the coast of California. Moody’s Analytics estimates that Hurricane Florence caused around $44 billion in damage and lost output. (CBS News)

Greece: “Models are confirming the development of an intense Tropical-like cyclone / Medicane, named ‘Zorbas’ in the Ionian sea this Friday, Sept 28th. While still many uncertainties are present, high resolution models are picking up a very intense cyclone bringing even hurricane force winds into the region. Dangerous, life-threatening flash floods will also be possible across southern Greece this weekend.” (severe-weather.eu)

“An associated sharp and intense cold front will rapidly move towards east-central Europe, across the Balkan peninsula and (into the) Mediterranean through the next 3 days. Much colder weather will spread across the eastern half of the continent, while west/southwest Europe remains under a strong (highest pressure recorded since 1953) ridge and heatwave.” (39C in southern Spain, 38C in Portugal – 100F – to persist all week.) (severe-weather.eu)

 

“Why Americans always seem to believe climate change only affects them is the result no doubt of their insular exceptionalism and abysmal geographical knowledge…”

All aboard the Skylark

Millions of Americans are expected to become ‘climate refugees’ in the coming decades as their coastal homes and communities are already experiencing sea level rise.

Some cities are abandoning whole neighborhoods, razing their valueless housing to the ground, as people move out and each high tide brings more sewage-contaminated flooding. A very small number of the worst affected communities have received grudging federal funding to shift in their entirety to higher ground. But will that continue?

In a Guardian Environment special article, Oliver Milman writes that the exodus is already beginning:

“…the cost of doing this for all at-risk Americans would be eye-watering. Estimates range from $200,000 to $1m per person to undertake a relocation. If 13 million people do have to move, it seems fantastical to imagine $13tn, or even a significant fraction of this amount, being spent by governments to ease the way.”

Especially as Donald Trump’s madcap scheme to create a space “army” is costing $13 billion in its first five years.

Milman cites a number of sources:

“‘I don’t see the slightest evidence that anyone is seriously thinking about what to do with the future climate refugee stream,’ said Orrin Pilkey, professor emeritus of coastal geology at Duke University. ‘It boggles the mind to see crowds of climate refugees arriving in town and looking for work and food.’

“Pilkey’s new book – Sea Level Rise Along Americas Shores: The Slow Tsunami – envisions apocalyptic scenes where millions of people, largely from south Florida, will become ‘a stream of refugees moving to higher ground’.”

Maritime Miami – high tide brings regular flooding, as Trump rows back coastal zoning regs and defunds flood insurance.

Why Americans always seem to believe climate change only affects them is the result no doubt of their insular exceptionalism and abysmal geographical knowledge, but Milman points to wildfires, megastorms, water shortages and dustbowl conditions returning to the midwest as further spurs to migration; and suggests that many people arriving at the Mexican border from southern Central America are in fact climate refugees.

He doesn’t explain how we’re going to feed everyone as land available for growing food shrinks and the heat outpaces the ability of science to create tolerant crops. Maybe the Evangelicals have a solution for that?

By 2050, Pilkey reports, up to 300 million people worldwide will be displaced by intolerable living conditions. Abrupt climate change does not feature on his horizon, however: he imagines there will still be Americans living, who will have to migrate northwards by 2100 – if they can afford it.

Meanwhile rising sea levels aren’t featuring on Trump’s unique radar either, as among measures he’s already signed are a rollback of Obama-era regulations on building developments in flood-prone areas and the defunding of the Federal support program for coastal dwellers who can’t get insured. Oh, and taking $10 million out of the FEMA budget to pay for more internment facilities for South American refugees’ confiscated children.

Yet he has ordered the building of higher seawalls at his links golf courses.

What a putz that man is.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/24/americas-era-of-climate-mass-migration-is-here

 

Yellowstone: 22 Sept: Steamboat geyser (biggest in the park) erupts for the 20th time this year (normally once or twice in a year if at all), and for well over an hour. Other dormant and new geysers popping up, chucking rocks; mud pools superheating, quakes swarming, vegetation dying, sulphur gas rising, ground pulsating, cracks appearing, data disappearing; park management closing areas to visitors.

Could it be? Surely not. It’s done this before, in 2003. Only…

 

Coming to the boil

“…the lake, about 20 football fields in size, looked as if it was boiling. Its waters hissed, bubbled and popped as a powerful greenhouse gas escaped from the lake bed. Some bubbles grew as big as grapefruits, visibly lifting the water’s surface several inches and carrying up bits of mud from below. This was methane.”

“Katey Walter Anthony has studied some 300 lakes across the tundras of the Arctic. But sitting on the mucky shore of her latest discovery, the Arctic expert said she’d never seen a lake like this one.”

Exploration revealed the gas was mostly coming from vents in the shallow karst lakebed, indicating some deeper reserves possibly linked to the fields of methane craters observed in northern Siberia (and on Mars, a dead planet):

“…in some locations, permafrost soil, and its characteristic wedges of embedded ice, also sits atop ancient reserves of fossil fuels, including methane gas. So as the Arctic warms – which it is doing twice as fast as the rest of the Earth – these gases could be liberated into the atmosphere.”

In other words, we can add a new threat to the anticipated 50 gigatonnes outgassing from seabed methane hydrates as the shallow East Siberian Arctic Sea warms without its summer ice cover (The colorfully named “methane burp”). The already scary implications of thawing tundra – billions of tonnes of rotted vegetation from the last ice age, giving off CO2 and methane as it heats – could get a lot worse, as the permafrost appears to be sitting on potentially huge pockets of methane dating from the carboniferous era, and once it goes…. kaboom!

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/arctic-lake-methane-alaska-gas-esieh-video-a8553666.html

Arctic News (“Sam Carana”) reports (24 Sept):

“Mean global methane levels were as high as 1.91 ppm (1910 parts per billion) on the morning of September 20, 2018, at 293 millibar. This is a level unprecedented in human history and far exceeds the WMO-data-based trend. Temperatures look set for a steep rise within years, as we now are fully in the danger zone.”

The graph shows 10C of warming is a possible worst-case scenario (including from feedbacks such as methane releases and wildfires not taken into account in the IPCC’s watered-down reports) by 2026; implying almost complete species extinction.

So we don’t have to worry about sea-level rise.

 

CO2 news

“In order to prevent further warming, carbon dioxide levels must not grow any further. … There is absolutely no hint in the data that this is happening. On the contrary, the rate of growth is itself growing, having now reached about 2.3 ppm/yr, the highest growth rate ever seen in modern times (e.g. 10,000 years – ed.).

“This is not just a “business as usual” scenario, it is worse than that, we’re actually moving backward, becoming more and more unsustainable with every year. This shows unequivocally that the efforts undertaken so-far to limit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are woefully inadequate.” – Paper: “Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Growth Rate” by Carl Edward Rasmussen, 14 Sept 2018 (with minor edits for his English)

Rasmussen also comprehensively demolishes any notion that there was a pause in the growth rate between 2002 and 2016 (e.g. Keenan, and others, 2016 “Recent pause in the growth rate of atmospheric CO2 due to enhanced terrestrial carbon uptake”) which he says is based on a misreading of the data.

(Abstracted in Arctic News, 24 Sept.)

 

The magic ball

Like many a dog, Hunzi’s passion is chasing a tennis ball.

But he sometimes loses them.

He used to lose them by going into the river to cool off. He’d put the ball down on the water while he slaked his prodigious thirst. Until one day he discovered one of the key principles of hydrology and twigged why his ball was on its way to the seaside. He leaves them on the bank now.

He used to lose them by dropping them on the footbridge and watching helplessly while they rolled away under the guardrail into the water below. He listened carefully to my explanation, with gestures, and now he puts the ball down at the start of the bridge and lets me carry it over for him, if I remember.

He learned about gravity by putting the ball down on a slope where it would run away into the long grass below, while neither of us was looking. Now he makes sure it runs toward me; but anyway he has got much better at finding balls in the long grass and pulls off the most amazing-seeming rescues.

But as yet he hasn’t figured out what happens when he does his thing of not catching the ball cleanly, which he can do, but knocking it up excitingly in the air with his big nose. The footpath has a chainlink fence on one side, and a steep drop into a flood pit on the other. Both sides are infested with dense thickets of brambles, from which even if you can see it, a ball is non-recoverable.

He gets really upset when I refuse to throw a ball under these particular sets of circumstances, along the difficult foorpath. Looking back over his shoulder pleadingly, he will run into obstacles, tread in other doggies’ doodoo and even when we make it to the road, get hit (gently) by cars.

Often, I don’t want to pick up his horrid ball anymore, it’s all cold and slobbery and covered in shit and mud, the way he likes it. And so is my hand. Yergh! So I kick it along the path and he refuses to chase it, finding an interesting p-mail to read and reply to instead.

But if I don’t have his ball, and he doesn’t have his ball, he never believes me. I show him my empty hands, my car keys, my phone. Go on, he says, I don’t believe you. You’ve made it invisible somehow but I know you have it and I expect you to throw it!

So the other day we lost a ball down the brambly bank; and the next day we lost the other ball over the chainlink fence – there’s another steep bank behind there too. And that was the end of the balls. Or so I thought.

The next day he stopped at the chainlink fence and got all excited, and it seemed the wind had blown in the night and the ball was now resting on the ground just behind the fence, and I was able to prise it out.

About a quarter of a mile on, however, it vanished again, into the long grass by the cycle path behind the supermarket. I’m not an accurate thrower, I have hypermobility in my throwing shoulder.

Also, I’ve been looking at clouds a lot lately, they seem different somehow.

Neither of us could find it by sight or smell, and it was already disgusting anyway, so I made him walk on. Just forget it!

Our yellow tennis balls especially for dogs have an inbuilt squeaker Hunzi originally worried about, thinking he was crushing a puppy, but now he likes to make it squeak. And the word ‘KONG!’ printed on them in boldface caps, although he may not know that.

So we were nearing home about three quarters of a mile later, and there, lying right in the middle of the footpath, was a yellow tennis ball. It squoke, and had the word ‘KONG!’ printed on it. Where had it come from? There were no other dogs around.

A magic ball!

Naturally we were both delighted, me because I didn’t need to go to Cheap Charlie’s and buy more. That’s as far as my pleasure went: it was cold and slobbery and covered in mud, the way he likes them. But I threw it anyway, for old times’ sake.

Today, sadly, my throw was off again and it’s in the middle of a patch of ground-elder, where neither of us can find it.

For now, obviously.

 

Ad hic

Are you worried about what THEY know about you?

Just now, I had to enable ads on a page in AccuWeather after they moaned and groaned about my AdBlocker, and was astonished to see that this US-based website owned by IBM was pitching me cheap hotel accommodation in North London.

That’s because, ten days ago, I did a quick lookup on Trivago to see if any hotels were near to where the jazz school I go to in France every year was having a Christmas session, and decided in the end I probably wouldn’t go as the only option was a total flophouse.

Yet here they were, offering me a cut-price deal on what was already a cut-price roomrate. Forty quid? In London? You probably had to share a bed with a couple of scrofulati, I don’t know, I wasn’t about to find out. Waste of the advertiser’s money.

Worse

Worse, you know if you have Gmail, the pointless design makeover they just had, you now get three instant reply options, where you click on the most appropriate and it sends an auto-message, saving you the bother?

Well, I was “talking” to a guitar dealer about possibly getting hold of a rather expensive instrument he was advertising on a sale-or-return basis, and said I would have to go into town to arrange a transfer at my branch.

And the very first auto-reply option that came up was ‘I’ve transferred the money to your account’….

The fuckin’ algorithm is reading my email content.

So who else is reading it? If I go back to AccuWeather in a day or so, is every dealer in fuckin’ Britain going to be selling me expensive guitars?

Are my kids going to take the piss as they think I’m crazy buying guitars? They’ve never heard me play!

Is anyone I owe money to going to call me up and say, hang on a minute, buddy, we wuz ‘ere first?

This is a private matter! It’s none of Google’s effin’ business.

Beam me up, Scotty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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