Friday, 12 October 2012

Just when you thought it was safe to look at Blogger...

Hello.  I have not forgotten or vanished.  Sorry to disappoint you all.  By the way, skip to the end if you just want to read my comments on Jimmy Savile.  I haven't made them at the start because it's not the main topic of this blog.

Two deceptively dissimilar videos today.  The connection between them is that they are both ideas which appear in my book, 'You Could've Thought Of That', available from .  Here's the first:

This is 'Womanned Mission To Venus', which posits that rather than men going to Mars to land, women should go to Venus to explore the upper atmosphere.  People have got Venus all wrong.  They think of it as a nasty place where you would be fried, poisoned and squashed, as Patrick Moore once put it.  In fact this is only true if you think of it as a solid planet with a dense atmosphere.  If you thought of the four largest worlds in the solar system in the same way... would see them all as astoundingly hot, unimaginably high-pressure worlds which were far more hostile than Venus.  However, on the whole they're thought of as largely gaseous and the tops of the clouds are thought of as the surface.  Make the same distinction for Venus and it becomes quite a nice place.  Even Earth is largely very hostile over most of its surface - the bottom of the ocean and Antarctica for example - but we think of it as hospitable.  Something like 70% of this planet's surface would simultaneously crush you and force you to inhale fire.  Feel free to ask why in the comments.

Therefore, my point is really that we are hung up on penetration.  We want to penetrate Mars to the surface, which is not far off being doable, but trying to do the same to Venus will make us dead.  However, if we can detach ourselves from that, our sister planet becomes a hunky-dory place, albeit one fairly high in sulphur compounds.

Here's the other video:

At first, this seems to have little to do with the first one and in fact there is only a tenuous link, which is that it's in the book, although the ideas in the book are linked by being insufficiently thought through.  In this case this is less so than usual.  This idea is about making calcium citrate.  The advantage of this is that it means you are using the nutritional value of hen's eggs to the maximum.  When i say this is a living being, i am of course aware that a sterile egg will never yield a chick but an egg is still a complete living cell even when it's haploid, and what you are seeing in this video is still pretty close to murder, sadly.  In a while, i'll have accumulated enough wood ash to make a vegan version of this video.

I should probably also point out that because of the boiling process, most of the vitamin C would've been destroyed in the production of the calcium citrate solution.

Calcium citrate is interesting stuff.  As a nutritional supplement, it puts less stress on the stomach than calcium carbonate because it isn't alkaline, and since the oxyntic cells which secrete stomach acid also produce the intrinsic factor which enables one to absorb vitamin B12, this is quite important (there is slight absorption of the vitamin without them, but it's insignificant).  It's also allegedly more efficiently absorbed than calcium carbonate.  It also has other uses, and fits into a series of "related" compounds which i'll mention below.  It can be used as a preservative and a water softener, and also as a flavouring.

Finally on the subject of calcium citrate, it is one of a series of organic salts which can be made fairly easily at home and have a variety of uses.  These use the cations (positively charged ions) calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, and the anions (negatively charged ions) derived from methanoid (formic), citric, ethanoic (acetic) and oxalic acids.  Some of them develop with an excess of the cations as well, so more than sixteen of these compounds can be easily made at home from widely available raw materials.  I will eventually make videos on all of these.  Hot ice is one of them, used for heat packs.

Jimmy Savile

The way the book stands at the moment (available here: - however, it is about to be edited and re-uploaded), there is an idea based on the death of Jimmy Savile in it.  I have removed this idea and the second edition will not contain it.  In a way, this feels like censorship, but in the light of recent events it's in poor taste.  It doesn't refer to the allegations.  However, i also think i should say a few things about this situation.

First of all, although hindsight is notoriously reliable, my impression was that even among the general public there was considerable suspicion about him.  For instance, a friend of mine described him as "the most evil man in the world" over twenty years ago.  Someone has re-posted the Louis Theroux programme on him here:

In this video, there are at least two references to paedophilia, one where Savile says "I'm feared in every girls' school in Britain" 14 minutes and twenty-two seconds in, and another where Theroux specifically discusses the subject with him at forty-five minutes for quite some time.  Therefore, the accusations which are being made about employees of the BBC being culpable and covering up also apply to us to some extent - we knew about this too but didn't take it particularly seriously.  Also, among certain people who had no direct experience of him, he has long been considered persona non grata, and clearly among many of those with whom he did come into contact, it seems that he already had a very negative reputation.  My personal perspective on this right now is that his charity work may have been partly motivated by feelings of guilt.  However, it would be irresponsible to speculate too much on this.

Regarding paedophilia more widely, it can also be used by the media to distract from other issues.  This is not to make any excuses for paedophilia, but just as wars have been used as opportunities to get unpopular things done surreptitiously - "a good day to bury bad news" - so is the number of recent prominent events concerning paedophilia an opportunity certain people might exploit to do things which might otherwise be seen as suspicious while the general public is distracted by these concerns, however right it is that we should be focussed on them.  So what else is happening?

Another issue is that of the loss of nostalgia about that time.  Many people, myself included, look back on the post-war era leading up to the end of the 1970s, when Savile was in his heyday and you could say no wrong about him, as almost like a Garden of Eden from which we fell.  However, it is also the case that sexual harrassment and even paedophilia were more acceptable at the time than they are now.  Having said that, one thing which didn't happen, so far as i can remember, was that the horror of paedophilia was not exploited as a way of imposing oppressive legislation, justified on the grounds that "if it saves one child" and "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear", such as the monitoring of home educating families in Wales and the recent attempts to impose similar monitoring of us here in England.  The idea here is that home education (a misnomer of course) can be used as a cover for child abuse.  So, in the time-honoured tradition of "school at home", which we apparently all do, here's a tired old arithmetic lesson for you.

Hardly any British family has more than fifteen children.  An adult who is a potential abuser has fifteen opportunities to perpetrate that evil in such a family.  However, a teacher, at a conservative estimate of a two decade career during which they come in contact with a single class of thirty children a year, will have six hundred opportunities to do the same.  Where would it make sense for the government and local authorities to look for children in danger?

These teachers will of course all have had an enhanced CRB check nowadays.  Now let's get back to Savile.  I am of course assuming this man is guilty.  Well, guess what?  He would have passed an enhanced CRB check with no trouble.  No charges were ever made against him, the police were on his side, nobody even tried to prove publically that he was anything other than a kindly man who did a lot of charity work.  In the meantime, worthy people are being turned away and taxed for doing good by being forced to undergo CRB checks.  Savile, if the allegations turned out to be true, is a superb example of why they're not even worthy of being used as toilet paper.