Sunday, August 17, 2025


Blogger said I need to post a notice about cookies if theirs doesn't show up, to satisfy European laws. I don't see theirs on my page, maybe because of something to do with my page setup.
So here it is.
Blogger keeps cookies.
I might have apps that keep cookies, I don't know.
I do not personally keep cookies.

Monday, November 04, 2024

The structure of this blog

I have several blog posts that are at the top of my blog for extended periods of time, because I believe they are of continuing usefulness. So when you look at my blog, the fact that the first few are the same doesn't mean I haven't updated the blog recently.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Good news on energy


Why the fossil fuel companies are inundating social media with posts and comments that either deny climate disruption is happening or say it's too late to do anything about it. They want to cement people's opinion against the truth.


Kevin Holland
May 20
at 2pm today, 87% of the UK's energy supplying the grid was Low Carbon.  63%  of total was from renewables.

We've all but killed coal. We're smashing Oil in the face and putting gas on notice as we create a #SolarNation    

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Spanking and crime rates


Christian Pfeiffer, the director of the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony in Hanover.

Mr Pfeiffer has found a correlation between declining rates of children being spanked (or otherwise punished physically) and subsequent decreases in violent crime. In Germany, for example, it used to be common until well into the last century to discipline kids in this way. Not doing so almost amounted to being negligent. But then parents and teachers gradually stopped beating children.


People who as children experienced the “powerlessness” of frequent spankings report a disproportionately greater interest later in life to own guns, Mr Pfeiffer says. They also demand more draconian prison sentences, including the death penalty, for convicted criminals. And they seem more prone to violence themselves. In a study of 45,000 ninth-graders Mr Pfeiffer conducted in 2007-08, those kids who had been beaten by their parents were five times as likely to commit repeated crimes or to use cannabis, and missed school four times more frequently for ten days a year or more.

Scandinavian countries, in part inspired by the children’s books of Astrid Lindgren, the author of the popular Pippi Longstocking (pictured) series, were the first to make spanking illegal for teachers in the 1950s and 60s. Between 1979 und 1983, they also outlawed spanking by parents. Crime rates, gun ownership and prison populations have been falling since.

By contrast, spanking is still common in large parts of America, especially in the Evangelical milieus of Southern states. This is also where crime remains relatively high, gun ownership common, and incarceration excessive. (America’s incarceration rate is between eight to ten times that of northern European countries.)

Within Europe, countries like Germany followed the Scandinavian example with a law against spanking in 2000, while others, like Britain, fall somewhere between Europe and America (as so often). Again, Mr Pfeiffer notices the expected correlations with crime and punishment.


Two studies in 2010 showed that only 15% of American children are raised by their parents without any physical violence at all. To Mr Pfeiffer, this is one (of admittedly several and complex) factors, that explain why Americans own more guns, commit more crime and punish more severely than western Europeans. The conclusion, suggests Mr Pfeiffer, is that everybody, including Americans, should try raising kids with what he calls “Liebe statt Hiebe” (love instead of beatings).


Saturday, May 20, 2023

World likely to breach 1.5C climate threshold by 2027, scientists warn


Fiona Harvey Environment editor
Wed 17 May 2023 06.00 EDT


The world is almost certain to experience new record temperatures in the next five years, and temperatures are likely to rise by more than 1.5C [2.7F] above pre-industrial levels, scientists have warned.

The breaching of the crucial 1.5C threshold, which scientists have warned could have dire consequences, should be only temporary, according to research from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

However, it would represent a marked acceleration of human impacts on the global climate system, and send the world into “uncharted territory”, the UN agency warned.


Prof Petteri Taalas, the secretary general of the WMO, said: “This report does not mean that we will permanently exceed the 1.5C specified in the Paris agreement, which refers to long-term warming over many years. However, WMO is sounding the alarm that we will breach the 1.5C level on a temporary basis with increasing frequency.”

Global average surface temperatures have never before breached the 1.5C threshold. The highest average in previous years was 1.28C  [2.30F] above pre-industrial levels.

The report, published on Wednesday, found there was a 66% likelihood of exceeding the 1.5C threshold in at least one year between 2023 and 2027.


As La Niña ends and a new El Niño develops, there is a 98% likelihood that at least one of the next five years will be the hottest on record, the scientists found.


The Arctic is heating much faster than the rest of the world, and this appears to be having an impact on global weather systems, including the jet stream, which has disrupted weather across the northern hemisphere in recent years.


Friday, May 19, 2023

Animals Are Not Things’: Brazil Bans Live Cattle Exports


 By Polly Foreman
17th May 2023

 Brazil has banned live cattle exports from its ports, in a move that animal rights campaigners have described as “historic.”

The South American country brought in the new law last month. Speaking about the ruling, federal judge Djalma Gomes said: “Animals are not things. They are sentient living beings, that is, individuals who feel hunger, thirst, pain, cold, anguish, fear.”

The new law is a result of a 2017 lawsuit from the National Forum for the Protection and Defense of Animals, a Brazilian NGO. Heralding the “historic” move, the group praised its recognition of “the suffering caused to animals … in an activity similar to human trafficking at the time of slavery.”


Exporting live animals from country to country is a hugely controversial practice. Each year, millions of animals endure journeys of hundreds – and sometimes thousands – of miles. They typically travel by truck, train, plane, or ship.

Such journeys inevitably come with huge welfare costs for animals, who suffer from dehydration, stress, hunger, and overcrowding. Many will die before they reach their destination. Cattle aren’t the only animals to fall victim – horses, pigs, goats, and sheep are also regularly exported.

As well as the suffering endured on regular crossings, some animals have also perished in accidents at sea during transport. In 2019, a ship named the Queen Hind carrying 14,000 sheep from Romania to Saudi Arabia capsized. Almost every single animal drowned .


Brazil is just the latest in a long line of countries to have made moves away from live exports in recent years. In April 2023, New Zealand’s (Aotearoa’s) ban on the practice was enacted. The country, which previously exported live animals for breeding, not slaughter, made the decision two years after 41 crew members and 6,000 cattle died after a ship sank during a storm. 


 There are also increasing calls across Europe to ban live exports. Luxemburg last year cracked down on the industry, and Germany recently announced that it would stop exporting to countries outside of the EU. Romania – a top sheep exporter – has reportedly been considering a ban since the sinking of the Queen Hind.



Thursday, May 18, 2023

'Critical situation': Eight dead after flooding in northern Italy


Warmer air can hold more moisture. As a result, we are having an increased number and intensity of extreme precipitation events such as this.


 AFP - • 17 May, 2023   Updated Wed 17 May 2023 14:34 CEST


Eight people died and thousands were evacuated after heavy rains caused devastation across Italy's northern Emilia Romagna region, while this weekend's Imola Grand Prix was cancelled, officials said on Wednesday. 


Emilia Romagna, one of Italy's richest regions, had already been hit by heavy rain just a fortnight ago, causing severe floods that left two dead.

This time, around 50 centimetres (20 inches) of rain fell within 36 hours in Forli, Cesena and Ravenna - around half the normal annual rainfall, a situation "with few precedents", Italy's Civil Protection Minister Nello Musumeci said.

 "It is still a very critical situation," he told reporters, adding that while the rain was still falling, it was expected to lighten during the day.


Rescue workers had worked through the night to save children, the elderly and the disabled from the rising waters.


"We have to get used to it for the future, because unfortunately in recent years it often happens that these extreme rainfalls arrive," Air Force meteorologist Paolo Capizzi told AFP.

He said it could not directly be blamed on global warming but the "ever-increasing frequency of these phenomenon can obviously be the consequence of ongoing climate change".


The GOP proposal to raise the debt ceiling would force Americans on Social Security and Medicare to wait longer to receive help and make college more expensive, the White House says

 Ayelet Sheffey,Juliana Kaplan
Tue, May 16, 2023 at 9:50 AM EDT


    The Office of Management and Budget released a memo outlining the impacts of the GOP debt ceiling plan.

    Under various scenarios, the OMB estimated federal programs could be cut by up to 30%.

    That would include worse customer service times for Americans receiving Medicare and Social Security.


The GOP's latest line on spending is that it wants to maintain the same funding levels as fiscal year 2022; that level of funding is reflected in their narrowly-passed House bill to raise the debt ceiling for just one year. The bill includes a long list of proposed spending cuts and changes to federal programs, including banning student-loan forgiveness and raising work requirements to access social welfare programs.

While Young noted that the GOP bill doesn't include a line-by-line breakdown of exactly how cuts would be implement, she lays out a few scenarios. If Republicans leave defense funding, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security untouched, everything else would have to be cut by 30%. That could mean people waiting for disability benefits through Social Security might face wait times of at least two months longer, and those seeking help through Social Security and Medicare offices could experience worse customer servicer. Additionally, the cuts would mean less funding for affordable housing vouchers, and the maximum Pell Grant award going down by nearly $1,400.


Young notes that the calculations are likely optimistic, saying it's unlikely that Republicans can find cuts that deep in the bills they're currently looking over — meaning instead that everything else will suffer a deeper slash.