More than nine out of ten sea birds have some plastic in their gut. They do not knowingly eat plastic, but there is so much plastic debris in the ocean that the birds have little choice. Sea birds eat fish amongst other things and fish also ingest plastic, again not for nutrition but by mistake or because they eat things that contain plastic. Continue reading
Mountains appear small on the horizon. They are little inundations across the landscape, of subtle lines against the sky. Hills seem massive when we are at their foot, almost too large to take in with a glance. We have to turn our heads to see them.
Where we stand shapes our interpretation of what we see. The mountains and hills are constant, but perspective changes and thus our perception of them varies as we shift our positions.
Some people never shift positions but see things from the same perspective. I do not blame them for that. Eventually we are all locked in a position where we stand. Perhaps with age we should no longer see things but perceive them as a whole, as though locked in the sky above them. That should be our aim.
A twenty three year old man once wrote and sang “how terribly strange to be seventy”. He is now four score and fifteen and I wonder if he finds it strange to be that age, or whether the strangeness is limited to the unknown fears of youth having not yet gained the high ground and thus finding things imperceptible.
In Cornwall last week heavy rainfall forced the water company to pump raw sewage into the sea, to prevent it from backing up into people’s homes. It is an unusual event but not a rare event as the United Kingdom’s sewage infrastructure was designed for far fewer occupants of these islands and investment in sewage treatment is not a very high priority when it comes to government policy. Continue reading
Many eminent scientists confidently expect that 2015 will be the warmest year that humans have recorded. 2014 was previously the warmest year. The so called pause in global warming has been illusory. Continue reading
The House of Lords is, as the political commentators are keen to point out, the second largest legislative chamber in the world. The largest is in China, a nation of 1.4 billion people, compared with the 64 billion people of the United Kingdom.
It shows just how much the United Kingdom’s politicians and its establishment love patronage; they love it more than democracy. Continue reading
If you are a poor person or a moderately wealthy person and find yourself charged with a criminal offence and you are innocent, the consequences of proving your innocence (for that is what you have to do in practice despite learned legal theory to the contrary) can be ruinous. In order to get a defence you will have to lay out your savings, sometimes even sell your home, to pay the lawyers to defend you. You cannot into today’s complicated legal world, defend yourself competently, even if you are used to dealing in legal matters without an expensive legal team. The Government refused to lay out taxpayers’s money on these defence costs. The Government has decided that this is just, and such a person that I have described, on being found not guilty by the courts, would be lucky, under a present system, to recover a small fraction of what that person has laid out to in defence costs. Being found not guilty means ruin, not prison. Continue reading
Oil prices are now very low and all energy prices are very low however you measure them, compared with ten years ago. Most commodity prices are low. prices of raw materials are low compared with prices of ten years ago and so are many food prices.
There are probably several reasons for low prices today. one is the lack of inflation and very low interest rates. Another is exploitation of cheap easy to access fossil fuel. A third reason is the political effect of wars, armed conflict and international sanctions on prices. There is also the old twin factors of supply and demand. Continue reading