Number of the Month

April  2007


Regular readers of Number of the Month might be surprised to see a headline such as the above. Taking advantage of the absence of our bending author, on one of those congenital periodic bouts of indolence to which he likes to give fancy medical names, the staff called in one of those expensive consultants favoured by the British Government. In his report, Dr Heinz Zeitgeist of the Crapita Group suggested more headlines like the above.

It was also suggested that we have features on Britney Spears. Unfortunately none of us here knows what they are. We are hoping, however, to have an article about Asparagus Spears; as two years ago our author was bending over the creation of an asparagus bed. Indeed, it was only the thought of the coming feast that enabled him to stop thinking about David Cameron and want to carry on living. There is every reason to hope that, if and when he emerges from his present torpor into his more usual desultory affectation of activity, he might produce a few words and even an enticing photograph.

Footnote: Talk about pretentious! Most idlers come up with ingenious excuses for their sloth, but this fellow has to come up with polysyllabic ones. Not satisfied with bronchiectasis, he has now come up with hypogammaglobulinaemia, claiming to have a consultant’s letter to prove it and, if that is not enough to impress, he throws in polyarthritis. If it were not such a deadly poison, we would suggest taking it with a pinch of salt.


Just another couple of weeks in Blair’s Britain

Kafkaesque! That is the word. If you don’t know what it means, make an appointment as an outpatient with the British National Health Service. An hour or two in the waiting room is enough to induce that feeling of hopelessness endured by Joseph K. In my case they had taken the trouble to write, bringing the appointment forward by half an hour, but I was still there in suspended animation an hour later than the original appointed time. About fifty assorted human beings sat glum and dispirited, some occasionally whispering to each other with a librarian reverence. In the background, people in various shades of uniform bustled through unseeing, intent on their business. Behind the reception desk women rattled computer keyboards with intense determination. Suddenly my name was called and I found myself whisked from the large waiting room to a small waiting room. There was no silence here. A very large Irish woman was regaling the reluctant company with an account of her recent experiences as an inmate, including details of biological functions we would rather not know about. After another half hour, a woman approached me and said “The registrar has looked at your notes and has decided to let you see the consultant.” Perhaps welcome news, except that it was the consultant who had asked me to come back and see him ten weeks after the first examination. People came and went. I waited. It was quite different once I penetrated the inner sanctum. The consultant was urbane and gentlemanly, radiating that cultivated assurance that we used to expect of our medical advisors. He recommended that I have a course of intravenous antibiotics, but we would have to wait for a hospital appointment, as it should commence under observation in case there were any reactions. I mentioned that I had managed to retain sufficient medical insurance to cover hospital admission, so he left it with me to make the appointment. When I phoned BUPA there were no problems and a bed was found for me for the following weekend.

The difference! When you approach the NHS hospital, the first thing you see is a large yellow notice with ominous black capitals announcing THIS IS A WHEEL-CLAMPING ZONE. Just the thing for people in distress and pain, who have to grope around to see if they have the coins to feed the meter! It induces the same sort of anxiety as a notice I remember from almost forty years before YOU ARE NOW ENTERING THE GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC. The notice at the entrance of the private hospital said “Welcome” and directed you to the car park. Inside, the atmosphere was calm and kindly. What was striking was the obsessive hygiene and asepsis, from another age. Inside and outside each patient’s door were dispensers for alcoholic hand rubs, which visitors were encouraged to use. Despite the occasional puncturing it was actually a pleasurable experience.

My local GP practice had volunteered to carry on the injections, so the consultant had arranged that I would pick up the antibiotics at the town pharmacy and take them in. I received a phone call to say that the pharmacy had discovered that it was not licensed to handle those particular antibiotics and would I drive back to the hospital pharmacy (a three hour round trip) to pick them up? Five days of injections went smoothly, but hanging over me was that threat of the unknown – THE WEEKEND. Don’t worry, I was told, just phone one of these numbers and arrange an appointment with the out-of -hours service and we will give you the kit of parts to take with you.

Hello, is that the out-of-hours service?


I would like to make an appointment for some intravenous injections.

How did you get this number?

I was given two numbers and the first one did not work.

This is an administration number, you are not supposed to have it.

What would happen if I had used the other number?

It would come to the same place, but that is not the point.

I would like to make an appointment for some intravenous injections.

Well you can’t. The system does not work like that. You will have to phone on the day.

I went back to the local surgery and the receptionist kindly arranged the appointments for the Saturday and Sunday.

Fortunately, the appointments were in nearby Shaftesbury, at a local cottage hospital of the sort that the Government is trying to close. It was charming and, above all, clean, even having a hand-rub dispenser on the waiting room wall.

The professional staff were kindly and efficient, indeed magnificent. This is not just a ritual nod of politeness. These people, fully aware that they are working in a mad system, still manage to maintain and integrity and dedication that is a wonder to behold. As the intravenous injections are a slow business, there was an opportunity for conversation, during which I elicited some interesting remarks:

Reorganisation is the norm in the NHS.

The rules change so often that nobody actually knows what they are.

The trouble with the big hospitals is that the cleaners are no longer part of the team, as they were in matron’s day, and anyway they can barely communicate in English.

When I got home I got a message to say that there had been break-ins at the allotments. As I was not feeling well enough, my wife went to find that our shed had been broken into and the rotavator stolen. It was not insured. The premiums are now so high for allotment sheds that they are in effect uninsurable.

I phoned the Wiltshire police. I know the routine now, so I put the phone speaker on and listened to the recorded messages for half an hour while I read the newspaper. Eventually, there was an answer. I told my story and was put through to the crime desk. Another half hour of recorded messages, including one that suggested I might like to try at a less busy time. Like when? Do criminals have normal working hours?

There then followed an interrogation that started out in the traditional manner but gradually turned bizarre (and Blairite)

Describe the stolen item and circumstances

Model number etc.

… … …

Your date of birth?

Your place of birth?

Your nationality?

How would you describe your ethnicity?

I don’t know who will deal with this, as we are currently being reorganised.

That was a week ago and I have heard nothing since. They have their crime statistics and that is all that matters. Friends are surprised that I even bothered to phone the police. “The only reason for doing that is to get a crime number for the insurance.” The Government claims that crime is falling, when it is actually rising, but nobody bothers to report it any more. Criminals roam the country untrammelled, stealing whatever takes their fancy and inflicting serious damage on property. They don’t need fences any more, they have what are called “car boot sales” in which stolen and pirated goods are openly traded. When police are embarrassed into making the occasional arrest they have to fill in more than fifty pieces of paper, so they try not to do that too often. The only thing that matters is the relentless gathering of statistics. The last time we saw a policeman on foot in our town was six months ago, and that was when they stopped their car to go into the café. The police station was closed and sold as a house. They now have a small office attached to the fire station, but those in the know say that will go soon.

I am beginning to think that it is I who am mad.


A tale of two headlines

What is the difference between these two headlines?

Dangerous and destructive nonsense

U-turn on the risks of HRT as experts say it CAN cut heart disease

The answer is five years. The first is from Number Watch in July 2002 and the second from the Daily Mail, April 2007.

In between, millions of women gave up a therapy that greatly enhanced their lives.

There is a full account of this farrago in The Epidemiologists, including the climbing onto the bandwagon by US personal injury vultures, who in a just world would now be sued for depriving women of a richer life.

It would be excessive to quote the whole of that coverage, but here is just one short paragraph:

It beggars belief! The programme was halted because of the risk level reached for breast cancer, yet the undemanding confidence interval of 95% actually embraces a relative risk of 1.0, that is – no risk at all!

It is little short of criminal negligence, but there will be no comeback.

Makes you wonder whether it is worthwhile carrying on trying to combat this sort of garbage.

The parable of the bottles

Via Ecomyths a nice analogy for the barely numerate that puts CO2 into context, in an article by Lorne Gunter.


Hush, don’t tell!

Slashdot has had the bad taste to dig up a three year old story that was supposed to be ignored.

No doubt the Establishment media will maintain decorum.

Forbidden pleasure

It is despicable to enjoy the humiliation of another human being, but when it is the author of your own miseries, oh so enjoyable.

A tale of two Callendars

The name of Callendar appears in those chronicles of wasted time that your bending author likes to call his CV but, as has been pointed out in correspondence, it also appears in some of the latest debunking of global warming alarmism. Forgive the egocentric sensitivity, but they are in fact two different people.

The Elder Callendar commemorated in the medal is L H, the distinguished Professor of Physics at the Imperial College of Science and Technology. He was a pioneer of the theory of heat and the measurement of temperature and publisher of many important discoveries.

Ironically, it was a name much taken in vain by your bending author as a second year student, as he was the author of Callendar’s Steam Tables, which was a Sisyphean encumbrance carried about for a whole year. In those far off days in order to practise electronic engineering you had to learn to design earth dams, girder bridges, weirs and, of course, steam engines.

The other Callendar (L V) was the son of the great man, a steam engineer and amateur meteorologist who is credited with developing the carbon dioxide theory of global warming. He is now revered by followers of the religion as a great prophet, though his interest at that time was mitigation of the expected ice age.

If the most recent critique is correct, it appears that Callendar fils did not inherit all those genes of careful experimentation from Callendar père.


They’re back!

A year ago Number Watch suggested that really stupid ideas resurface every few years. Well, perhaps it is a sign of the times that the airheads have returned after that short time interval. Of course, there are many reasons for any idea produced by the enginasters to be to be erroneous, but even the sainted Al Fin has missed the main point.

Afterthought: an additional little design problem is that, at the bottom end, the catenary will be horizontal. Rather inconvenient!


A comeback for phlogiston?

At last, phlogiston is in the news again. Since the establishment of the PRU five years ago, its members have looked on frustrated as billions of dollars are poured into so-called climate science, while their own endeavours are neglected. Sir Hugh Jerrors, Professor of Modelling Those Little Fluffy Bits Round  the Edges of Clouds at the Metropolitan University of Nether Wallop, issued a press statement calling for the recognition of the dangers for humanity in the rising levels of man-made phlogiston. “What phlogiston needs is its own Al Gore” he said cogently to the assembled journalist, “and of course, lots of Government money.”

Without visionaries such as Sir Benjamin Smythe, phlogiston research might have died out completely. Over the years the Unit has issued dire warnings that have been ignored, yet the researchers continue their work manfully. “It has been a constant battle against the phlogiston deniers,” said Dr Marmaduke Throttle, Research Director, “who deserve imprisonment at the very least.”

Members of the Unit are planning a series of pop concerts to bring the attention of the world to the enduring threat of Phlogiston.


Police action!

Only ten days after your bending author reported a theft the police have swung into action. The have not only sent a letter, but a pamphlet too.

The letter, under the heading WILTSHIRE POLICE with a crest bearing the stirring motto PRIMUS ET OPTIMUS, went as follows:

I am sorry to learn that you have been the victim of a crime.
The incident you reported has been recorded under occurrence reference number 54070025175. If you have a query or any additional information, which may help us, please do not hesitate to contact the Wiltshire Police Force Contact Centre on 0845 408 7000 Ext: 765 3001. The occurrence reference number may be used in any correspondence with your-insurance company if you are making a claim.

If, at the time of reporting your crime you declined the services of Victim Support, I would like to ensure that you are aware of the services that are available to you. The Victim Support Service may be able to help you should you have to attend court or deal with other agencies such as Insurance Companies or Criminal Injuries Compensation.

I have enclosed an explanatory leaflet from the Victim Support Scheme. Everyone reacts differently to their experience of crime or attending court and, for some, being a victim of crime can lead to all kinds of problems. If you need someone to talk to about how you are feeling, Victim Support have trained volunteers who can offer emotional and practical support, to anyone affected by crime. Victim Support is a registered charity, whose services are free, independent of the police and courts, and available to everyone. Their telephone number is 01380729476.
If further progress is made in the investigation of your crime, we will endeavour to keep you notified.
Yours Sincerely,



Yes, mate! I feel an emotion. It is anger. Anger that criminals are allowed to roam the country taking what they want at will. Anger that the once omnipresent police are now entirely invisible, locked away in their offices filling in forms to feed the insatiable bureaucratic machine. Anger that all I get is a stupid patronising letter and a pamphlet, reeking of political correctness, from no fewer than four Government organisations (Criminal Justice System, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Crown Prosecution Service and Home Office). Anger at the mindless motto – Criminal Justice System: working together for the public. Anger that I can no longer keep up a harmless hobby that feeds my household because of the inevitability of plunder and vandalism. Anger that the civilised country that I used to live in is no more. Anger that there are more snoopers looking in my dustbin than there are police on the streets. Anger that I am forced to pay for it all.

In fact, so angry that I can no longer write in finite sentences.


Well, there’s a surprise!

Here is a short section from Sorry, wrong number! , published in 2000. Emphasis has been added to once sentence.

Great computer disasters

To err is human but to really foul things up requires a computer.
Farmers’ Almanac for 1978

What is this section title doing in a chapter on politicians  and bureaucrats? Surely the author has got it in the wrong place. It is well known that computer  disasters are caused by pushy salesmen and incompetent programmers and systems analysts.

We are not talking about peanuts here. In Britain billions of pounds have been lost on computer  systems that were scrapped before they were ever put into operation. It happened notoriously in my local ( Wessex ) area health authority. I have been involved on the fringes of the bidding for such contracts as a minor consultant, so have seen what happens at first hand. The first big problem, as in so many aspects of modern life, is the involvement of the Treasury. Because of Treasury rules, the way these things are done is that several potential suppliers are invited to make bids. The one chosen is the one that appears to offer the most performance for the least money. The dreaded auditors will pounce on anyone who fails to squeeze the best value for money out of a supplier.

If you want to find someone to paint your house, the worst way to go about it is to seek a number of bids and pick the cheapest. You would virtually be guaranteeing that you would latch on to the one cowboy among the candidates. The way sensible people go about it is to ask friends and neighbours who locally does a reasonable job at a reasonable price and go along to look at the results. Some will seem very cheap, but a year later the job needs redoing; while some that seem expensive produce a finish that lasts for years.

The great flaw in the Government purchasing system is that it provokes a spirit of derring-do. Normally sane salesmen, engineers and programmers get together to discuss their bid, but they are haunted by the shadows of their rivals who are going through the same process. They egg each other on to higher and higher excesses of performance over price. This all takes place over periods of weeks or months and, in the hot house atmosphere of the competitive bidding process, people fail to notice the point at which they slip over the edge of reason. They are also haunted by the prospect that failure could mean many of their colleagues, and even themselves, becoming unemployed. Thus most of the bids end up being silly, and the prize goes to the one that is silliest of all.

It does not stop there, of course. Almost as soon as the contract is signed, the bureaucrats, who are the customer, start to think up variations on the design that would make it even better. Then they start demanding impossible timetables. The rest of the process is such a mess that it is indescribable.

The contract I was on the fringes of involved an airborne computer  system. The firm I was retained by lost the contract and it went to another bigger company. I remember saying to one of the sales engineers “This is a national disaster. They have not even got a working airborne computer. How could they possibly get the contract?” He replied “Nobody knows, but it is rumoured in the industry that they threatened the government that they would put the whole of the town of  ------- out of work if they did not get it.”  £800 million later the contract was declared a failure as the computers were too heavy and the government were obliged to buy an American substitute system.

After I had written the above, the great passport scandal occurred. Thousands of would-be travellers were queuing at passport offices around the UK , frustrated because they could not get their passports in time for the holidays and business trips they had booked. The contract, awarded to Siemens for £230 million over 10 years, was to supply a computer  system that would speed up the passport system and increase its security. It did neither. Then students might not get their loans in time for the start of term, because of computer problems. The next one boiling up nicely was the NHS computer network. The contrast between public and private enterprise has no more graphic illustration than in the implementation of information technology.

I must confess that these never-to-be computer  systems did not produce any wrong numbers. In fact they did not produce any numbers at all, apart from the billions of pounds of losses, but they are an interesting sidelight on the main themes of this book.

To bring the story up to date now read on.

Link to this piece


The empire strikes back

Like the environmentalists, the epidemiologists do not like to have their hegemony over their corner of the media to be challenged. No sooner has their dangerous and destructive nonsense over breast cancer been thwarted than they come out with even more dangerous and destructive nonsense about ovarian cancer. Valerie Beral, a woman noted for the size of her Trojan Numbers, has come out with a relative risk of 1.2.

There are at least two well known confounding factors to which an observational study such as this is prey:

  1. If the therapy is successful then the patient will have a marked change of life style.
  2. The reasons for which the therapy was prescribed in the first place might well pose a risk factor.

The second of these can be eliminated in a properly conducted double-blind randomised trial, but the first cannot.

A personal anecdote will illustrate how this factor works. Last year your bending author was reduced to life as a housebound cripple by a marked increase in arthritic inflammation. Eventually, therapy with Diclofenac and Co-Codomol restored an element of normal living and the patient celebrated by going out and digging over a large allotment. In retrospect this was rather foolish, as such violent activity after a period of forced idleness would have exacerbated any incipient heart disease. Fortunately, survival indicates that there was none.

It seems, however, more likely that the second of these confounding factors would be more important in this case, but more haunting is the possibility of confounding factors we have not thought of.

Which words in the truism Correlation is not Causation do the epidemiologists not understand? There is no reason to suppose from these tacky observations that any women at all have been killed by HRT.

Is there anything more despicable than pinning your claim to fame on scaring millions of women out of using a hugely liberating therapy? As for Cancer UK, which we all know from the constant begging letters, it could put the product of its suppliance to better use by supporting science rather that nonsense.


Salt to taste

Our old friend Nigel (thousands to die) Hawkes is having a good week! Front page of The Times on consecutive days; what more could any journalist ask?

The numbers in the resurrection of the salt scare are so insignificant that they barely merit a passing comment.

The Englishman summarises it with an apt analogy:

 "In our study of 3,126 one legged people we found that removing their crutches leads to them falling over more often, therefore everyone should use crutches all the time."

The attack on HRT is understandable as a manifestation of the Law of Beneficial Developments, but the one on salt is just weird. Apart from certain professors getting their name in the papers, there seems to be no answer to the eternal question cui bono?, unless it is that ineffable pleasure that puritans get from the knowledge that they are making life less congenial for the rest of us. A bit of sense creeps into The Times Leader, so be thankful for small mercies. Furthermore, in today’s Times there are at least a dozen recommendations to add salt in the recipes.  

By the way, did you notice that the figures used to generate the thousands to die statistic for HRT – (1·22 [1·00–1·48], p=0·05) – as on the last occasion embrace the RR of unity, i.e. no correlation at all?

It’s a funny old world.

Footnote: just one of the consequences!


And the scares roll on

They are at it again! The scaremongers go on and on and on recycling the same dreary old fallacies. Within a few days we have had HRT and salt, now they are back with mobile phones and clusters. It is yet another manifestation of the Law of  Beneficial Developments, employing the age-old cluster illusion. Cancer clusters at phone masts yells the Times headline. For good measure they combine it with a data dredge by throwing in brain haemorrhages and high blood pressure. What about athlete’s foot and herpes zoster?

The folk hero behind this outbreak is Dr John Walker, retired physicist (try Googling him with clusters and cancer).

The are some new fatuities this time. A good one is “within sight of the 90ft high mast”. Virtually the whole population is within sight of a mast. That is the way microwaves work – by line of sight – and it is the whole basis of the cellular concept. Seven and a half staff at a special school have developed tumours since 2000. Since about a quarter of the population will develop a tumour in their lifetime, one tumour a year is not even a remarkable example of the extreme value fallacy, taking into account that there are millions of identifiable groups of thirty people.

Collectors of mangled logic will find great joy in the contributions of Times readers, but about a quarter of them, such as this one, at least demonstrate a bit of common sense:

Seven out of the 47,000 mast sites have "cancer clusters". So doing the maths this equals roughly a one in 7000 chance of a cancer cluster near a mobile phone mast. Is this evidence of a link? I think not.

Jon, Cambridge , UK

It’s a loony old world.


The feast of St George

Today is the day of Englishmen and the birthday of The Bard. They have tried to bully us, split up our country and dilute us out of existence, but we are still here. Your bending author is off  (sporting a red rose) to the village club to take roast beef and ale. Meanwhile it is appropriate to leave comment to the Englishman.

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For the first time since the Great Stench of London in 1858, the steady improvement in Britain ’s hygiene has gone into reverse. There are so many reasons why this further disaster is a typical product of modern British politics:

1.      It was dreamt up by unelected Brussels bureaucrats

2.      The British Government is desperately trying to cover up its lack of authority by pretending that it is defending its own policies, however dim-witted.

3.      It is facilitated by the total lack of effective opposition in Parliament.

4.      It is being done in obeisance to the new eco-religion.

5.      It involves the diversion of control away from elected authorities to unmovable officials.

6.      It is justified by the global warming myth (but an even more bizarre version based on methane).

7.      It defies all the basic sciences of human hygiene, such as bacteriology and mycology.  

8.      It involves ordinary citizens in elaborate rituals, with draconian fines it they get them wrong.

9.      It exposes ordinary people, but especially those occupationally involved, to greatly magnified risk of serious disease.

10.  It is being done in total defiance of mounting anger among the victims.

11.  It is being done against the advice of the Government’s own expensive consultants.

12.  It will lead to a substantial increase in illegal activity that is distressing and dangerous to the general populace.

It is the abandonment of weekly refuse collection, one of the staples of health protection law since the great Public Health Act of 1875. The enfeebled British Government is obliged to enact this gross and murderous folly or be fined by the EU Commissars for failing to reduce the burial of rubbish. It is self evident to anyone with a modicum of general scientific education that this is a route to human disaster, but if people must have “modern” research, see this in the Times.

The bacterial generation time can be as short as twenty minutes. You don’t need a calculator to know that after a week one cell can turn into a figure with rather a large number of noughts behind it. After a fortnight the number of noughts is more than somewhat bigger. Then there are the rodents and insects. One common housefly, musca domestica, can convey millions of bacteria on its feet. Houseflies can transmit intestinal worms, or their eggs, and are potential vectors of many serious diseases such as dysentery, gastroenteritis, typhoid, cholera and tuberculosis. In the nutritive warmth of a putrid dustbin, the total reproductive cycle can be as short as a week. Dustbins now contain human excreta, particularly of babies, so houseflies complete the closed loop by settling on food. Rats spread several serious diseases. Overflowing dustbins are rodent heaven. The inevitable increase in illegal fly-tipping will distribute uncontrolled, festering sources of pestilence all over the country.

Can any sane person of moderate intelligence believe that this is anything but one of the most insane and dangerous policies ever devised by man?

Good luck to campaigners, such as the Daily Mail, in their efforts to prevent this preventable disaster, but they are dealing with people who simply do not listen.

Mad, mad mad!

Link to this piece

Addendum: The above list omits the most characteristic feature of all:

13. Gordon Brown turns it into a draconian stealth tax that only emerges in the small print of the budget.

Footnote: Just a few of the comments from Daily Mail readers who have experienced fortnightly collections:

Maggots in our bin and even crawling up our back door.

We have to put up with our village stinking in the summer, increased problems with vermin, flies and wasps

We were plagued by flies and bluebottles all summer. The bin smelt that bad we could not use the garden and I washed it out with bleach after every emptying.

The bins are left on the street and the smell from them in the warm weather is disgusting.

We had a bin full of maggots during the hot weather.

The seagulls play havoc even with the rubbish in strong black sacks in rubbish bins. They are master scavengers and the streets can be littered with filth and the smell is just horrendous.

The smell in the summer from bins is disgusting.

Nature walks were spoiled by the fact that approaching and leaving the walks meant walking past houses smelling of two week old rubbish. What will it do for tourism?

Fly maggots



Domestic notice

Health report: Thanks to those who asked. It transpires that your bending author has been acting as host to a colony of pseudomonas. If the previous excuses for idleness were not polysyllabic enough, how about panhypogammaglobulinaemia?


Spectre at the feast

Don’t mention the war!
I did, but I think I got away with it.
Basil Fawlty

Quite the most extraordinary aspect of the disaster of the Great Stench of Britain of 2007 is the unspoken conspiracy among the political and media elite to conceal the primary authorship of the catastrophe, which is of course the EU. The Daily Telegraph, for example, in a whole broadsheet page of linked articles, has only one mention of the EU and that is a reference to targets. The Draconian fines by which the Commissars have unilaterally enforced this policy were news a year ago, but now that the effects are really being felt there is a strange but uniform coyness about making any mention of them. Great faith is placed in the First Law of Journalism.

The Government, blithely unaware of the increasing ludicrousness of its posturing, desperately clings to its preposterous pretence that it is formulating its own policy, while trying to defend the indefensible. The so-called opposition is wracked by two conflicting motives: it can take advantage of the Government’s discomfort by heaping blame onto it and its stealth taxes, but it is aware that in the event of electoral success it will find itself in the same position of powerless power.

The establishment media, for the most part dominated by pro-EU greenery, has its own reasons for keeping quiet. The population at large is increasingly mystified by the mounting irrationality of its lords and masters. Only in the English blogosphere are people asking the awkward questions. The likes of Tim Worstall and The Englishman keep up the running commentary, but they are writing for an enlightened few.

From overseas correspondence received at Number Watch it is clear that one group are reacting by giving Stinking Britain a miss – potential tourists. Who can blame them? Why should they be expected to put dogma before their health and comfort?


A breath of fresh air

One of the many derelictions of your bending and underperforming author has been failing to give a proper welcome to the new girl on the block, Sandy Szwarc. Her Junkfood Science blog is an important addition to the modest forces opposed to mass indoctrination with politically correct nonsense.

One of her many targets is the obesity crusade. That this is largely based on nonsense, especially for the elderly, is not new. For example, in 2000 Sorry, wrong number! carried this sentence:

One of the things I have learned from my researches for this book is that a certain amount of obesity, particularly in older people, is not a health danger, despite all the propaganda.

Her latest comment, based on recent evidence is: “Being fat was not associated with increased risk for disability and was associated with the lowest mortality.”

The establishment media habitually take such evidence and, at a minimum, obfuscate so as not to contradict the prevailing belief system.

Sandy needs support and sponsorship if her valuable work is to continue. It is an oh-so-familiar irony that one woman can buy a phony degree and make herself rich by writing dietary nonsense for the masses, while another has a struggle to tell the science as it is.

Finally, it is politically incorrect to say so (and therefore all the more reason to say it) but it is refreshing to see youth and beauty committed to the cause of real science. It makes a pleasant change from crusty old professors emeriti. 


Number of the month – 90,000

In the losing battle that science is conducting with dogma, one of the heroes is Zbigniew Jaworowski. His essay on hormesis, for example , in that remarkable 1997 book What Risk? is a masterpiece of investigation in which he demonstrates that many scientific workers ignored the evidence in their own graphs. So when he writes a paper entitled CO2: The Greatest Scientific Scandal of Our Time, the minimum we expect is some astute observations, but it is much more than that. It transpires that the IPCC simply chose to ignore 90,000 worldwide direct measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere and rely instead on ice core data and just one source of direct measurement. To one who has long toiled in the fields of scientific measurement, the ice core method always had a tang of ichthyological malodour, but you need detailed knowledge to offer a rebuttal and this is what Jaworowski does. There is, however, more to it than that. Thanks to the work of Beck, we now have a collection of direct measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere published in 175 different scientific papers. In the light of these the CO2 warming hypothesis dissolves into the mist.

Naturally, you will not read any of this in the establishment media.

Thanks to The Englishman for links.

Footnote: The celebration of Beck's bibliographic achievement should not be interpreted as a complete endorsement of his methods. In particular the curve fitting is rather naive and leaves him open to diversionary attack.



Note: The policy of Number Watch has now been amended and financial contributions are solicited to enable it to continue an independent existence.


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