Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Best described as sounding like an angry robot gorilla being crushed through a mangle."

Got emailed this and it looks very interesting...

As ever we've lots happening and it can be broken down into 5 parts...

(part 1) Live - Mt. + Dead Maids + Constellations - Fri 6th Mar @ The Cube Cinema.
(part 2) Live - Lakes + bIRdbATh + tbc - Thur 16th Apr @ The Mothers Ruin.
(part 3) New release - Bobbys Beard - Debut album.
(part 4) New release - Cowman - 'Palpating the Rumen'
(part 5) For future release.

(part 1) Ingue Records presents, Live at The Cube Cinema

Mt combine delicate guitar melodies with huge, powerfully pulsating crescendos and take the listener on a refreshingly interesting and intricate musical voyage. Two years on from their last live appearance and Mt. are preparing to grace the stage once again to coincide with the release of the their new E.P "Teach Your Children How To Think, Not What To Think" (ConSouling Sounds)
Dead Maids are Baths finest instrumental Post/Rock band playing paced and thoughtful riffs with a big sound.
Constellations is a soundscape solo artist described in a BBC review as 'awesome polyphony, cinematic, eerie, and melancholic'

Friday 6th March at The Cube Cinema, 4 Princess Row, Bristol, BS2 8NQ. 0117 907 4190.

(part 2) Ingue Records presents, Live at The Mothers Ruin

Lakes have been around for a while, they've released music through Signature Tune, Scaredy Cat and Unlabel. They're Punk and Rock and in your face if your anywhere near enough to witness.
bIRdbATh are Bristols angular math rockers. 'At once laden with emotion yet as cold and sparse as Arctic tundra. Spiky but strangely comforting, like being attacked by a duvet. It's a hazy, smoky, stoned mash of everything from Mogwai and Shellac to Sonic Youth but rarely anything but itself.' (New-noise)

Thursday 16th of April at The Mothers Ruin 7-9 St Nicholas St, Bristol. BS1 1UE. 0117 925 6969

(part 3) New Ingue Records release - Debut album from Bobbys Beard

We'd describe it as a laid back summer soundtrack and if Brian Wilson was a computer he'd probably sound like this.
Available to buy in 2 weeks time. £4 offline and £5 from

(part 4) Another New Ingue Records release - Cowman - 'Palpating the Rumen'

Best described as sounding like an angry robot gorilla being crushed through a mangle. Industrial Grindcore, Cowman is not for the faint of heart.
Available to buy in 3 weeks time. £4 offline and £5 from

(part 5) For future release.......eta summer time

Fringes bring you their long awaited, eagerly anticipated debut ep/mini album.

Hreda will be bringing their 2nd ep, this time on 7" vinyl.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

GoatLab Radio Feb '09

Is now up here; link MP3.

With Anakissed, Anarchist606 and American Paul.

Download: Goatlab Radio February 2009


1. Pretty Much Fucked - Mindless Faith
2. Vienna - Ultravox
3. Inside - Adult.
4. Destroy 2000 Years of Culture - Atari Teenage Riot
5. Johnny Cash - A Boy Named Sue
6. Bruce Springsteen - Ghost of Tom Joad (Live)
7. Baby Please Don’t Go - Bukka White
8. 6th May - Cranes
9. The Rip - Radiohead (cover of Portishead song)
10. Dis Flower - Harry Belafonte (from Carmen Jones)
11. Wallflower - Switchblade Symphony

Plus Parasite is on A New Band A Day!


The Administration of Climate Denial

Ever noticed how much of climate denial is just cross-posed talking points? For example take this article, 'The Great Barrier Reef and the prophets of doom' posted to Bristol Indymedia on the 7th January, which is just a re-post of an article posted at On Line Opinion on the 8th May 2007. You see it a lot - big reposed articles, repeating the same gumff over and over. What is interesting is that an entire ecosystem of denial is coming to light - a concentrated process of administration to push denialist talking points onto the world. It is these points and names you see recycled time and time again for all the myths of denialism.

At the top of the food-chain is Senator Inhofe. An oil industry funded Republican congressman, who oddly is a Young Earth Creationist, who argues that evolution is a lie and the world was created about 6000 years ago as the Bible says. This is the man denialists trust to champion 'science'.

Now Inhofe employs Marc Morano to 'full time' to deny global warming. Morano is a right-wing attack man. Notable campaigns include the 'Swift Boats' attack on 2004 Democratic hopeful John Kerry. Now Inhofe employs Morano on his pet project, the 'U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works'. This is just a thinly veiled attack tool that aggregates any old shit that can possibly be seen as attacking the consensuses of global warming. You can see it in action here as a denialist uses it as a source to falsely claim that James Hansen, a NASA scientist is under attack.

Other things Morano maintains is the laughable fake list of 650 scientists who deny global warming. Notable because there is not anywhere near 650 scientists on the list, and only a tiny handful who are in a climate related discipline. It also includes people who have asked to be removed and Inhofe's people have refused. In short, its not a credible list but a propaganda tool for denialists.

Now an email list has been obtained that shows how Morano's web interlinks with the mainstay of denailism to create an echo chamber that consistently provides denialists with fake ammo for attack. What is very interesting is that the list of 'scientists' on Morano's email list consists of 19 people (not 650 at all!). Of the 19, 5 are retired - only 14 are still practicing scientists. Of the 19 almost all are linked to right-wing ideological think-tanks that are/have been funded by the oil companies and have a hatred of any form of regulation, especially around pollution.

The denialists claim there is a conspiracy - without ever really explaining how it might work. They are right (sort of) - there is a conspiracy; it's it runs the other way - it is organized by the right and some very powerful vested interests to muddy the waters over global warming to keep profit flowing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Climate Change Denial: The Dunning-Kruger Effect

I am often struck by the amount of basic level gumff that denialists push as 'valid' reasons for denial. What I mean is that they often post 'reasons' why the climate-is-not-warming/it's-the-sun-really/it's-not-all-that-bad/it-a-conspiracy-of-communists-&-tree-huggers-&-anarchists type thinking that are at the GCSE level of science, as if a climatologist with PhDs and decades of research experience who reads all the journals might not realise something that basic.

So here is one for example; computer models need to be related to reality. Well durr, of course. Who would model a natural system and NOT try and test it in reality. So for example;

"Time to get real – not live in a false computer model world."

"Models that cannot even predict what has happened when fed hitoric [sic] data!"

So the suggestion here is that they hugely complex models that are built and tested using real-world data and continually tested and refined - are inaccurate because the people who built them don't realise the differemce between a computer model and real data. The suggestion is nonsense. Utter tripe and piffle.

Or (and you see this one time and time again);

"I think the conclusion has to be that at present the climate just isn't living up to predictions, if the models were correct this shouldn't be happening."

"The point is that the so called foolproof models that allowed the believers to quote "The scientists have spoken" did not predict the phase we are going through."

Again, the suggestion is that the natural variability that exists within climate and is a mainstay of any climate data would not have been accounted for in the data-sets. Again it's utter piffle and provably wrong - an error committed by people failing Climate 101 by failing to realise the difference between 'weather' and 'climate'.

However it begs the question - why do denailists, who have no expertise in climate science, and I suspect in most cases, no expertise in any scientific discipline - think they are able to pick apart the research of experts with such a simple sucker punch? Well there might be an answer; The Dunning-Kruger Effect;

The Dunning-Kruger effect is an example of cognitive bias in which "people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it". They therefore suffer an illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average.

Put basically we tend to overestimate our own skill and underestimate other's abilities and the worse we are at understanding an area, the worse our estimation of how little we know. It explains a lot, I feel. So take this explanation by Tamino as to why the maths in a denialists talking-point is all wrong; It stretches my pretty-rubbish knowledge of maths. I have the ability to see that there is much in this area I am not equipped to deal with. That's why science has the peer-review process - so people who are equipped can critique each other's work. But the denailists would have us believe that they (somehow) have a special (magical?) insight into GSCE-level science that eludes a professional scientist?

Yup, that is what they think - and here are two good summaries about where the evidence is on the issue that I recommend;

Friday, February 13, 2009

Iraq: It's Not Over Yet

I know there are those in Neo-Labour that would rather forget the whole Iraq thing ever happened, but as news arrives that a female suicide bomber kills 35, a British solider is killed in Basra and the cost of the whole criminal snafu is going to cost £2bn this year (up half a billion) - it reminds us the war, while a lot better than in 2006, is still very violent and is far from over. Here is a good article on the current situation:

Once the visit was concluded, we headed back for Fallujah and had a late night snack at Sheik Aifan's place before settling in for a night's sleep as his guest. His daughter, a shy girl of perhaps seven years of age, sat beside him as we ate. At one point, he suddenly peeled a crisp U.S. $100 bill off a wad of bills that would have stunned any movie mafia boss, smiled benevolently, and added that she shouldn't let her mother know about the gift.

The sheik, of course, had $100 bills to spare, as millions of dollars for so-called construction projects have been funneled his way. It's how he pays the roughly 900 men that he estimates make up his private militia. For all of this he can thank the U.S. military, which delivers regular installments of money -- shrink-wrapped bricks of those $100 bills -- because post-invasion Iraq remains largely a cash-only economy.

Before our journey to Ramadi, a patrol of U.S. Marines had paid Sheik Aifan a visit. As the soldiers climbed the stairs to his meeting room, they took clips of ammunition away from the sheik's security team, and kept them until they left his compound. It was a gentle reminder of who still has the final say in this part of Iraq and of just how far the trust extends between these partners of necessity.

Iraq: Never forgive and never forget those who took us there.


David Blunkett in the Gutter

George Monbiot wrote a piece attacking Neo-Labour and Hazel Blears.

David Blunkett replied; "George Monbiot's scurrilous, unjustified and pathetically spiteful diatribe against Hazel Blears is the kind of lowest form of journalism that is dragging this country into the gutter."

Says the man who writes a column in a newspaper with tits in it.

Woo! Go Drumcrops!

Featured on my new favourite website; A New Band A Drumcorps!

Today's New Band, Drumcorps (geddit!?), are an unabashedly end-of-the-week act. Not for Aaron Spectre (for it is he) is the delicacy and subtlety of a novelty instrument like the Stylophone.

His philosophy is, "If it don't clank, don't record it," and so his songs are inevitably noisy, disturbing affairs that are what hell would look and sound like if the devil designed it on a Commodore 64 in breaks between jamming with Atari Teenage Riot. Down is a spastic, grunting shove in the back from a sinister stranger, thrashing and screaming fear like a cornered animal. Thin Retro God batters your ears into weeping submission with guitars that sound like awful machines, vocals that sound like a voicemail from Thor and drums that sound like your heartbeat after being directly injected with adrenalin.

Drumcorps make music that turns most of us into genre tourists - you'd like to go and have a listen now and again, but you wouldn't want to get stuck in a room with dedicated fans, for fear of losing teeth or limbs in an inevitable mosh. But the music is a wild eye-opener and considerable relief from the safe, bland indie that unfortunately blights our lives.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Climate Change Denial Watch - Sammy Wilson

Having had a bit of fun watching Bristol Indymedia's resident denialist/s tie themselves in knots to 'prove' that global warming is not happening (sort of) and even if it is then human activity is not to blame (it's the pesky sun, sort of) and even if it is and we are doing it then it is not going to be a problem at all (sort of) – if you follow me cos is makes no logical sense. In summary, an incoherent emotional reaction to facts that get in the way of their ideology resulting in a kind of pseudo-science-come-conspiracy theory on the whole thing where in one fell swoop they cite contradictory experts approvingly.

Anyway, one of the people they cited was Sammy Wilson – the DUP Environment Minister. He wrote an extended piece full of assertions and lies about global warming – stuffed with the usual denialist waffle and piffle and offered zero evidence of his claims while deriding the other side for not offering evidence.

Looks like our Sammy has been a busy boy. He's also denied the existence of peak oil. He's locked in a row with his own planning department and has also banned adverts about acting on CO2 emissions from TV in Northern Ireland. Nice.

Anyway he is under fire from all sides now for making a mockery of Northern Ireland;

The protest against Wilson came from across the board – nationalists, unionists and environmentalists. Roy Beggs junior, the Ulster Unionist spokesman on the environment said:

"Sammy Wilson's views on climate change, whilst mildly amusing, are out of kilter with mainstream political opinion and more importantly the overwhelming consensus view of climate scientists throughout the world. His latest action in trying to block UK government information on energy efficiency again shows his 'himself alone' attitude to environmental matters.

"He has effectively made a Unilateral Declaration of Independence against Her Majesty's Government on this crucial issue and is making Northern Ireland a laughing stock around the world. It is high time the first minister reined this maverick in, or perhaps this is merely a continuation of the DUP's the DUP's battle against science and reason"

Ooops, Sammy. I like that bit - a battle against science and reason. It, along with our resident denialist's assertions that any peer-reviewed sceince (i.e. 99.9% of it) that does not back their assertions is corrupt/wrong/politically correct thus suggesting a conspiracy of Divid-Ike-like proportions... well in the absense of any evidence of this conspiracy one brave wingnut has figured it out...


Hee hee hoo ho. What can you say to that? You couldn't make it up.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Media Articles Worth Reading

Two worth reading. The assault on the free press in Russia;

The murders of these Kremlin foes - journalists, lawyers and critics of Russia's security services - all have a common theme. Nobody is ever caught and punished. The trial of four men accused of involvement in Politkovskaya's murder is ongoing, but is regarded by human rights activists as a farce. Investigators have failed to catch her assassin and have also apparently been unable to work out who ordered her death. "We can't even call it a trial. The people being convicted aren't the ones who carried it out," Natalia Estemirova of the human rights group Memorial says. After Markelov's slaying last week, the offices of Russia's prime minister, Vladimir Putin, and the country's president, Dmitry Medvedev, were strangely silent. Instead, authorities sent in riot police to break up spontaneous protests in several Russian cities.

And what will happen to the US-right wing media now Obama is in power?

How can Obama achieve his desire for bipartisanship while millions of Americans continue to be turned against him by such performers? Conversely, if Obama succeeds in defusing some of the political hatred that has held sway in America for much of the past 15 years - spawned and supported in part by the rise of talk radio and TV - he will have challenged the talkshow hosts' very reason for being. It is not much of an exaggeration to say that the two sides are at war.

"If Obama turns out to be a very good and unifying president, he could make talk presenters sound petty, which they can't afford to do. If you come across as petty you have no credibility," says Michael Harrison of the talk radio magazine, Talkers.

To some degree they are already sounding petty. With millions of Americans at risk of losing their jobs and homes, Limbaugh's call for Obama to fail sounded a discordant note.


Denialism: Climate Change, Holocaust & Evolution

I went to the very interesting talk last night in Bristol by Dr Michael Shermer on Why Darwinism Matters. Now the speaker is the Editor of Sceptic Magazine and has written a number of books and lectures all over the world on irrational beliefs and scepticism (amongst other topics).

During the Q&A I asked him about what I see as a connection in method and anti-science ideology between the global warming denialists (examples abound) and creationists.

Guess what he said - yes. He joked to the hundreds in the audience that it is almost as if they went to the same school together to learn 'how to challenge science when you have none'. He said there were parallels in the way both operated and argued. Then he also said there were parallels in the way climate change denial and holocaust denial worked, "It's like David Irving says, show me the evidence, show me the order Hitler wrote, when it does not work like that, as if he is going to write 'I, A.Hilter do hereby...' the evidence comes from thousands of different places, like in global warming there is no single piece of evidence but thousands of lines of evidence, the biology of birds breeding patterns to satellite data." (I paraphrase, but that was the gist of it, I hope there is audio posted...)

There you have it - the editor of Sceptic magazine does not think you are sceptics at all and does think you the same mind-set as creationism and holocaust denial.