30 March 2012

How close is the end of civilisation?

Thatcher beat the miners by spending two years prior to the 1984 strike stock piling coal at power stations. So the 21st century version is some idiot Tory politician suggesting that people fill up their cars and jerry cans in case the tanker drivers go on strike. The ensuing chaos perhaps suggests how close society is, at any given moment, to collapse. 

I drove to Sainsburys at lunch time, because I actually needed fuel (orange light was on) and people were queuing down the street. In the middle of the day - madness, there isn't even a strike and garages are already running out. Imagine if it really did?  I read somewhere that all of the super markets in the UK are three days away from running out of food. So the country can run out of fuel on a whim and three days later there will be no food in the shops. I find that rather scary - I think I will buy a farm by the sea and stock-pile cans of baked beans 

Friday movie

Busy week and I missed the Wednesday movie. 
Had planned to post this by Tim Minchen - which is excellent 

Friday again

A few things that made me laugh this week 

20 March 2012

Bricktop gets around

Star Wars just got a whole lot gritter as Bricktop, the self styled "orrible c*nt" out of Snatch stands in for Darth Vader - a classic here 

And what happens when the same happy chap calls up Hitler - here 

And finally Lock Stock meets Rainbow - here 

I am off to Spain for three days fieldwork so a friday joke is unlikely

19 March 2012

Scottish Independence - Yes Please!

I decided today that when the referendum comes around in 2014 I will vote for Scottish Independence. Not for the obvious reasons,  I actually quite like being British. I think our country has a great history and I am not really bothered about the Scottish identity. I am not really that bothered about my own Welsh identity. I love the bit of land that is called Wales, I am a keen student of history, I like culture, I even love the fact that we just won the six nations last Saturday. But, I won't plan to make any serious decisions about my future based on the outcome of 15 blokes in red jerseys kicking an odd shaped ball around a field, or the fact that 600 hundred years ago my ancestors belong to one tribe rather than another.

Society, politics and geography are fluid, they change constantly and evolve perpetually. Nobody is a native. We are all descended from migrants at some point, so bitching about wars you lost centuries ago or about the fact that you were invaded and conquered by a foreign neighbour is a fairly meaningless sentiment. Nationalism has less to do with cultural identity and is more about finding a scape goat for your own failings. Renton summed it up nicely in Trainspotting.

The reason I will vote Scottish Independence is that it offers the only real chance I see to be governed by a half-way decent bunch of people. Today in the news, the self serving bunch of Tory's cretins who current run the UK are proposing to scrap the highest rate of income tax and sell the road infer-structure to the Chinese - I kid you not! You couldn't make this.

So after rail privatisation, which was such a huge success, they think that the way to stimulate the economy is to sell off our infer-structure to the Far East. Really? Are they truly that stupid? No they are not and it's dangerous to think that they might be. Nope they don't think its a good idea at all, they just see an opportunity to spend less on the country, thus allowing them to give bigger tax breaks to their rich donors. Who cares if it doesn't actually work and if it seriously erodes the long term future of the country, that's just tough luck? The rich will get their tax break and who knows, maybe a few of their buddies will make money doing the deals along the way.

When will the voting public wake up and realise what these people are doing?

HELLOOO! Your schools, your higher education, your health service, your police force, your roads and almost every other aspect of your society are being sold off to help rich people pay less tax. Its crazy, not just for the poor, but for the whole of society. I can say this because, statistically I am rich, allegedly at least. My income puts me in the top 5% of the population, our joint income puts us in the top 1%, and I still think its a ridiculous state of affairs. I want to live in a society were everyone is looked after, not where a few ultra rich, piss on a slumbering population, fat and over indulged on a crass diet of celebrity gossip and X-factor. Too stupid to wake up, take an interest in what is actually happening and too quick to blame the people down the ladder rather than looking up and seeing where the shit is really coming from.

The sad thing is that for the majority of the UK population, even if they woke up to what is going on there is no credible alternative. Labour, trashed by the warmonger Blair and the idiot Brown is a now lead by a wet fish who couldn't fight his way out of a proverbial paper bag and the liberals have bloated their copy-book for eternity. Only in Wales and Scotland is there actually a true option with a reasonable chance of getting elected.

So when the independence question comes around I will vote in favour, not because I care about Scottish nationhood but because I want a proper socialist government that runs the country I live in for the benefit of all it's people.

16 March 2012

Some things that made me think and laugh this week

The final one isn't a joke, it's just a great piece of news. Against all the odds, Sea Shepherd once again kicked Japanese arse in the Southern Ocean

14 March 2012

The Flying Cowboy of Canyonlands

Some years ago I participated in making a one hour documentary about the geology of the Book Cliffs in Utah for the BBC. Part of the footage was shot from a plane. To get this footage we simply went to the local airport (Price) and hired a pilot for an hour. This is not as unusual as it sounds, there is normally some crop duster, who makes a living out of private charters, although not normally for filming.

A small, elder guy, in jeans and a check shirt hobbled out, jumped into the plane and flew us up along the cliffs for an hour. The camera man who also had a pilot licence and about 50 hours of flying time kept bleating about protocol and procedure, he was clearly not a happy man. The pilot looked non-plussed by his jittery passenger.

When we landed he asked me if I was happy with his flying and I said yes, no problems. Then he took me to his trailer at the back of the airport and showed me a video cassette entitled "Arch Enemy". He asked me if I had ever seen it and I had to admit I hadn't.

So he gave it to me with a smile and said "well enjoy".

Seems that we had just been flown by Tim Martin - the Flying Cowboy of Canyonlands. Back in the days when you could do cool stuff without everyone bitching and moaning about HSE, he was a stunt pilot and his speciality was flying through the arches in Arches National Park.

Here is a taster on youtube - the guy is a legend

08 March 2012

Speed Camera Locations on the E16 (Lærdal, Flåm and Gudvangen tunnels)

Speed limits in Norway are very low and they are enforced brutally. That is part of life and reflects the Nordic nanny state philosophy.

Speed cameras are common and in most cases there are signs just before them to let you know that they are coming up. In my opinion this is a fair system if the aim of the camera is to reduce accidents rather generating revenue. For example, if there is a dangerous junction, a signposted camera before it will calm the traffic and reduce the chance of accidents - success. A speed camera without a sign will not slow the traffic and will not reduce accidents, but is more likely to make money for the government. This is the case in the UK. Since most of the cameras in Norway are signposted, I have no beef with them, and while I believe the actual speed limits are too low, that's a seperate issue.

The exception to the sign posted cameras is within the tunnels where the sign only occurs at the entrance. This is fine for some of the short tunnels but when these tunnels are 10, 12 or even 25 km long it's a ball ache. Especially since in winter the tunnels provide the best driving conditions and the best chance to overtake all those trucks and losers who want to spend 6 hours going from Bergen to Hemsedal.

So as a public service, I have recorded all the speed camera locations in the tunnels on the E16, this is useful when going from Bergen to Hemsedal, or Oslo. This guide does not covere the cameras on the open roads that are sign posted, including a new one by the Shell station in Dale, these are just the ones in the big tunnels.

East bound (from Bergen)
Gudvangen tunnel - just before 8km
Flåm tunnel - one camera just at the start and one at the end
Lærdal Tunnel - at 2km, just before 15km and just before 22km

West bound (toward Bergen)
Lærdal Tunnel - just before 10km and just before 23km
Gudvangen Tunnel - just before 10km


Please note Karmasotra does not promote dangerous or reckless driving. This info is to help you avoid tickets, not to encourage you to endanger yourself or anyone else. Good driving is not just about going slow, it's about being on the ball, knowing your limits and being sensible. Stay Safe :-)

07 March 2012

Wednesday movie

More wing suit madness.
This is starting to get a bit clichéd but this particular movie shows some insane flying

02 March 2012

Dinosaur jokes

Real story... still funny
Talking to a group of primary school teachers about geology, and how to
introduce it to the young.  The inevitable discussion on dinosaurs...all
kids are fascinated about dinosaurs.
So I asked the teachers, if so many kids were interested in dinosaurs, why
weren't there more geologists...
The answer...most kids grow up !
Q:  What do you call a dinosaur that never gives up?
A:  Try and try and try and try-sarratops
Q:  What made the dinosaur stop his car and get out ? 
A:  A flat Tire-an-a-saurus !
Q:  What do you get when dinosaurs crash their cars ? 
A:  Tyrannosaurus wrecks !
Q:  What do you call a dinosaur at the rodeo? 
A:  Bronco-saurus or a Tyrannasourus Tex
Q:  Why did the dinosaur cross the road? 
A:  Because the it hadn't get evolved into a bird
Q:  What did the female dinosaur call her blouse making business? 
A:  Try Sara's Tops
Q:  What is the head of an Italian dinosaur family called? 
A:  Ptera Don
Q:  What should you do if you find a dinosaur in your bed ? 
A:  Find somewhere else to sleep!
Q:  What do you call a Blind Dinosaur? 
A:  Do-ya-think-he-saurus.
Q:  What do you call a Blind Dinosaur's Dog? 
A:  Do-ya-think-he-saurus-rex.
Q:  Why are dinosaurs die out? 
A:  Because their eggs stink.
Q:  Why did the Apatosaurus devour the factory? 
A:  Because she was a plant eater!
Julie:  Why are you crying? 
Sammy:  Because I wanted to get a dinosaur for my baby brother. 
Julie:  That's no reason to cry. 
Sammy:  Yes it is! No one would trade me!