Thursday 25 January 2007

SPAMALOT - I laughed SO much I had to go and change my armour!

Having been a fan of Monty Python and the Holy Grail ever since 1975, this sudden revival of interest - over 30 years later - is a strange experience for me. And to see performed, right in front of me, the very lines from the film that I was quoting at school all those years ago, was stranger still! (Quite why they changed the word 'filth' to 'mud' in the Sir Galahad's mother's line, "Dennis, there's some lovely filth down here" I'll never know. I think I'll write a letter).I saw the 8.00pm performance of Monty Python's Spamalot at the Palace Theatre, London, on Tues 23 Jan 07 with my son Harry, aged 10 (in top picture). I thought we were going to see Tim Curry in the lead role of King Arthur but found out that we'd just missed him and that Simon Russell Beale had taken over. I really enjoyed his interpretation of the part and it looked like he was having a ball too.

A pleasant outcome of the evening for me was the fact that I could now completely let go of the secret fear I had been harbouring - that no one but the Pythons themselves can do their stuff and make it funny; Simon Russell BealeHannah Waddingham (what a voice!), Tom Goodman-Hill (who plays the French Taunter, Knight of Ni and Tim the Enchanter - a very talented young actor who is bound to become a household name some day soon) et al put a refreshing new twist on old Python humour and made it something very special, and very funny.

Another pleasant development was the fact that Harry's interest in Monty Python has been piqued, which is not bad going. I didn't get what Python was all about until I was 13!

The songs (there seems to be SO many) were superb, particularly of course: The song that goes like thisplus the colourful costumes and all the knees-bent running about behaviour made the whole thing a riot! I laughed so much that it was actually difficult for me to see the stage, because of all the tears of laughter in my eyes throughout the show!

Monty Python's SPAMALOT - funnier than the Black Death
If you want a really good night out, Python fan or not, I urge you seSpamalot before it's too late (although, with the success it's enjoying, it's likely to be in the West End and everywhere else in the world where it is playing, for a long time to come yet).
Relevant sites:

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Tuesday 23 January 2007

Will the world's population be 10,000 million by 2100AD?

by L. Berney


World Population estimates are:

3000 BC - 14 Million
2000 BC - 27 Million
1000 BC - 50 Million
0 AD - 300 Million
1000 AD - 310 Million
1500 AD - 482 Million
1750 AD - 795 Million
1800 AD - 978 Million
1850 AD - 1,260 Million
1900 AD - 1,656 Million
1950 AD - 2,519 Million
2000 AD - 6,090 Million
2006 AD - 6,530 Million

In the year 1900 the population of the World was 1,656 million.
- 1900 is not so long ago -- the first aeroplane flew in 1905.

By the year 1950 the World's population had grown to 2,519 million.
- 1950 was only five years after the end of World War II.

At the start of this year 2007 the population had grown to 6,530 million.


The predicted population levels to the end of this century are:

2025 AD - 7,960 Million
2050 AD - 9,400 Million
2100 AD - 10,000 Million

In 18 years time, 2025, the World population is predicted to increase from its 2006 level by 1,430 million.

By 2050 (when my grandsons will still only be in their early 50s!) the World population is predicted to reach 9,400 million. That is an increase from its 2006 level by some EIGHT TIMES the population of the USA today.

As at now, 2007, the population of the World is growing by some 75 million a year -- 75 million a year is 205,000 every day. Predictions show, however, that over the coming decades the rate of growth will decrease so that, by 2050, the increase will be down to only (!!!) about 45 million a year. By the year 2100 experts predict that the growth rate will have levelled out and the population numbers will have reached a peak of 10,000 million.

To compare the current growth rate of 75 million a year:

  • the population of the UK is 60 million; Spain is 40 million.

  • the Tsunami in December 2004 is estimated to have cost some 200,000 lives - at today's growth rate, all replaced in 1 day's increase.

  • a genocide or famine in Africa kills 1 million people - at today's growth rate, all replaced in 5 day's increase.

  • 40 million people were killed in the 7 years of World War II - at today's growth rate, all replaced in a little more than 6 months.

The World population increased by 70% during the 19th. century and by an amazing 270% during the 20th. century. The 20th. century population 'explosion' was due not only to the birth rate but, as a result of better medical and health care and of better living conditions, people have been living longer.

Infant mortality has been reduced and more people are dying of 'old age' and fewer people are dying prematurely due to disease and poverty. The World-wide average life expectancy 200 years ago was estimated to be in the mid-30s; in many countries today life expectancy is approaching 80.

(Note -- in contrast, due to the ever-mounting toll of AIDS, in some sub-Saharan countries the average life expectancy and the total population is currently reducing.)


Of the over 6,500 million people in the World today (2007), only about 1,020 million live in Western countries*. There are 5 non-Westerners to each 1 Westerner.

The birth rate, and therefore the rate of increase in the numbers of non-Westerners, is much greater than of the Westerners.

By 2025, there will be 1,200 million Westerners but 6,760 million non-Westerners. We Westerners will be in a minority: 1 of us to nearly 6 non-Westerners.

By 2050 there will only 1 Westerner to nearly 7 non-Westerners.

* USA, Canada, Europe, Russian Federation, Australia, New Zealand.


Simultaneously with the increase in the total World's population, the proportion of old people within the total is increasing. This is true of virtually every country, Western and non-Western alike.

Take the UK as a typical example: in the year 2000 the number of people aged 65 and over was estimated to be 19% of the total population -- by the year 2050 the over-65s are predicted to be 27%. Likewise, the proportion of over 80s is predicted to increase from 5% in 2000 to 12% by 2050.

One consequence of this will be the inevitable raising of the age of retirement and the age of the commencement for drawing pensions. This is already being proposed or being put into effect in several Western countries.


Because of the increasing proportion of 'non-whites' to 'whites', it seems inevitable that the numbers of the 'ethnic minorities' immigrating to Western countries will continue to increase. 70 years ago, before the start of WWII, the proportion of 'non- whites' resident in Western countries was comparatively small (except for the several million of 'Afro-Americans' in the USA). Today every Western country has a major immigration and an 'ethnic minority' problem. For example: in the UK the non-white population increased from about 3 Million in 1991 to about 6 Million in 2006, doubled 15 years, and now represents about 10% the total UK population. The non-white population in the USA is currently about 33% and is forecast to reach 50% by 2040 -- most of the increase being 'Latinos' from Central and South America.


Demographic experts forecast that by 2050 the population of the World will have increased by nearly 50% -- from 6,530 million today to some 9,500 million by 2050. This predicted number is an extrapolation based on the statistics of the present and recent past growth. The obvious question arises: can the World's resources meet the needs of the existing population plus the predicted additional nearly 50% over the period to 2050?

A resource which will present a major problem is water. Even now in parts of the Middle East and Central Africa there is a chronic shortage of water for human consumption, agriculture and livestock. Even now, World-wide, river levels are falling, lakes are drying up, and the water levels of underground aquifers and wells are dropping. During the last century substantial once fertile areas of Southern USA, Australia and Africa have become barren, and this 'desertization' process is increasing.

There is a solution to the supply of water: de-salinating sea water. De-salination plants are already installed and working in about 100 countries. De-salination plants consume a great deal of electricity and therefore incur the burning of a correspondingly large quantity of fossil fuels and/or nuclear power. Research at Milos, Greece, and several other sites around the World is currently being conducted into the feasibility of de-salination plants employing only on-site geothermal energy. The results are encouraging and such plants may well be the solution of the water supply problem.

The other vital resource which could be a major problem is the provision of sufficient energy: electrical power, fuel for vehicles, shipping and aircraft, and for commercial and domestic heating. Except for the relatively small input from wind turbines, hydro-electric generators and solar panels, the energy we consume is produced by burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) and from the uranium consumed by nuclear power plants. The reserves of oil and gas are being rapidly exhausted. For example, many oil fields in USA have been pumped dry and the North Sea oil fields have passed their peak. There is still plenty of coal to be mined in some parts of the World but coal burning releases vast amounts of CO2 and other harmful emissions into the atmosphere and that (probably) accelerates global warming. Uranium, a rare metal, is already in short supply, and the use of nuclear power adds to the as yet unsolved problem of the safe disposal of nuclear waste.

There is an alternative solution to the World's ever increasing need for power: geothermal energy -- harnessing the heat available in inexhaustible quantities below the surface of the earth. Over the coming decades, geothermal energy could be brought into general use to supply all the power the increasing population will need, cheaply, cleanly and pollution-free. (See my paper on Energy). Unfortunately no country (except for Australia) is displaying serious interest in developing geothermal energy.

Given an adequate supply of water and energy, there should be no insurmountable problem in the provision of the needs of the existing and increasing population for the foreseeable future.


In Nature, every form of life is 'wired' by Nature to expand its population until eventually it reaches a limit. The limit is usually due to scarcity of water and/or food, predators and disease. It seems that the human race is still expanding its population and has not yet reached Nature's limit.

The human race possesses a high degree of ingenuity: it seems possible and indeed likely that mankind's ingenuity will overcome the problems which will inevitably arise as the population increases over the next several decades. So will the human population increase 'for ever'? Common sense and the Laws of Nature indicate that there must be a limit somewhere; but what event or events will it be which brings us to our limit? And to what number will the population have grown when we reach that limit?

Some demographic experts think that the RATE of human population growth has already peaked and that from now it will decrease. The factors which they think will bring this about this result are these.

1) Much of the World's population increase explosion over the last century has been due to the dramatic increase in the average age, to people living many years longer than in previous centuries. For this reason, the future average age of the population will increase much less rapidly, resulting in there being little and eventually no increase in the overall population numbers from this source.

2) Over the last century, the birth rate of the indigenous people of most Western countries (the 'whites') has reduced as their standards of living have improved. The 'whites' birth rate is already at or near zero increase and in some countries it is in fact negative. The theory is that, as the standard of living of the people of the third World increases towards Western standards, their birth rate will likewise fall to zero increase.

Predictions are that by the year 2100 the rate of growth will have levelled off to zero and the World's population will have peaked at around 10,000 million. Some further predict that during the 22nd. century the human population number could start to decline.

Sources -- The Internet, National Geographic and other reference works

Friday 19 January 2007

izimi - the world's first self-publishing site prepares for launch is just about to launch a neat way to self-publish photos, videos, documents, whatever - without the need to upload it anywhere and without the need for anyone to download any client software to see it. All they need is a web browser! This means you can show your friends and family your stuff in their full high-quality glory, directly from your own PC. is just about to launch a neat way to self-publish photos, videos, documents, whatever - without the need to upload it anywhere and without the need for anyone to download any client software to see it. All they need is a web browser! This means you can show your friends and family your stuff in their full high-quality glory, directly from your own PC. 

It actually turns your PC into a personal web server so your content (eg images, video, etc) gets served straight into any website, forum, blog, or in an email. It will also be searchable from within You can even serve an entire website from your own machine. You don't need any tech skills and you don't need to understand FTP or other upload techniques. It's as simple as Click and Save (or in this case - Click and Publish!)

How is izimi different from other social networking and user generated content sites like MySpace, YouTube, Bebo etc?
There are NO restrictions on the file type, size, quality and quantity of media you can publish.
How is Izimi different from other P2P file sharing sites?
P2P requires both people to have the downloaded client on their machines so others can't seethe files you publish unless they have downloaded and installed the P2P client.
How is izimi different from Pando and Dropsend?
These sites require your content to be uploaded to their servers where it is held so so your friends can retrieve it.

How is izimi different from Photobucket, Flickr etc?
Like the SN sites, they place restrictions on storage, file types, file size, etc. Izimi places no such restrictions.
This story first appeared on Mike Butcher's excellent blog -
Also featured on Dave Ingram's blog here.
Disclosure: I am an izimi employee...

Saturday 6 January 2007

Climate Change and Global Warming

In my opinion, we are going in the wrong direction!

by L. Berney


Since the formation of planet Earth, the climate has always changed and is still changing. Changes to the Earth's climate are in the main caused by changes in the temperature. There have been warm periods when there was no permanent ice at either pole. There have been Ice Ages: at one period some 30% of the Earth's surface was under permanent ice. Over time there have been many warm/cold cycles.

The last Ice Age ended some 10,000 years ago; since then, the Earth's temperature has been slowly rising and is still rising and, presumably, it will continue to rise until at some time in the future the temperature will start to fall again. The Earth's temperature rises and falls do not occur evenly; it seems there are intermediate warm/cold swings along the way. There was, a 'mini Ice Age' lasting several decades about 500 years ago.

What factors cause the temperature/climate to change? One of the major factors is the Sun: the heat radiating from the Sun is not constant. At some periods the Sun radiates more heat than at others and the temperature of the Earth follows suit. Another major factor is what is known as 'the greenhouse effect'. The Sun heats the Earth's surface; some of that heat is reflected back off the surface; part of that reflected heat goes back out into space, part is trapped and retained by clouds and by the 'greenhouse gases' in the atmosphere. The greater the cloud cover and/or the greenhouse effect, the warmer will be the Earth's temperature, and vice versa.
By far the greatest 'greenhouse effect' is caused by clouds: it is common knowledge that at night, when no heat is being radiated by the sun, the air temperature drops further when there is no cloud cover, less when there is.

These and several other factors interact with each other; as a result the Earth's temperature and therefore the climate has always been and always will be unstable.

Records undeniably show that the Earth's temperature is increasing and has been increasing for many thousands of years -- we are in a cyclical period of 'Global Warming'. There are many estimates as to how much the temperature will increase by the end of the century; most predictions indicate an increase of between 3 and 6 degrees centigrade. The accuracy of such projections is open to question. We all know the inaccuracies in projecting the weather even a few days ahead; projecting the Earth's temperature 100 years ahead...?


The 'greenhouse gases' consist mostly of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide; together, they comprise less than 1.0% of the Earth's atmosphere. The gas which scientists think is responsible for most of 'the greenhouse effect' is carbon dioxide (CO2). Some facts about CO2:

Comparison over the millennia of the Earth's temperature and
the level of CO2 in the atmosphere show a marked
correlation. In warm periods, the CO2 levels were higher; in
cold periods, they were lower.

The greatest repository of CO2 is the sea (71% of our
Planet's surface is sea). If the sea temperature rises, it
releases CO2 to the atmosphere; if it falls, the reverse
happens, the sea absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere.

Forests and vegetation absorb CO2; warmer temperatures
encourage plant growth and therefore the absorption of CO2
is increased.

Burning of fossil fuels -- coal, oil, natural gas -- creates CO2;
cutting down the rain forests (e.g. in Brazil) reduces the
absorption of CO2; forest fires (man-made and natural) create

Until the middle of the 19th. century, the start of the
industrial revolution, the volume of CO2 in the atmosphere
was about 0.27%; currently it is up to 0.38%;


The two most important results of the increasing temperature, and the consequent changes in climate, are these:

Change in the distribution and amounts of rainfall leading to
changes to rivers and lakes resulting in 'desertization' of
some previously productive areas, increasing agricultural and
livestock productivity in others.

Melting of the ice cover in Greenland and Antarctica and
glaciers elsewhere leading to a gradual rise in the sea level

Of these results, possibly the one which will effect mankind the most is the rising sea level. The rise will be due, not only to the melting of the Polar ice and of the Earth's glaciers, but also to the fact that water increases in volume as it's temperature rises. 'Worst case scenario' predictions show a rise in the sea level of one meter by the year 2100. To instance a few examples of what this would mean: a rise in sea level of one meter would inundate a large part of Bangladesh, Holland, Venice and virtually all the many low-lying cities of the World; it would inundate a number of populated islands; it would inundate large areas of Southern USA.


We know for a fact that the Earth's temperature is rising and we know that the CO2 level is rising too. However, there are conflicting scientific opinions as to whether it is the increase in the CO2 level which is causing the Earth's temperature to rise, or whether it is a cyclical increase in the Earth's temperature which is causing the CO2 level to rise. This scientific conundrum can never be scientifically resolved; it will always remain a matter of conjecture.

Many (but not all) scientists believe that the rate at which the Earth's temperature is rising can not be explained by cyclical or natural causes alone. These scientists think that the 'natural cause' warming rate is being materially added to by an increase in the greenhouse effect. This they attribute to the increasing volume of CO2 in the atmosphere, which in turn they say is the result of the burning of fossil fuels.

Some of these scientists believe that, even if the production of man-made CO2 was halted completely, the amount of man-made CO2 which has already been released into the atmosphere over the last 100 years has irreversibly tipped a delicate balance which will cause the Earth to continue to warm for the next hundred years.

Other scientists think that the observed increase in the CO2 level is not the cause, or only a small part of the cause, of the rise in the Earth's temperature. The argument supporting this view is that the volume of CO2 in the atmosphere is very small, currently 0.38%, up from 0.27% over the last 100 years. Even if all of this increase had been man-made, could this still very small percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere cause any significant increase in the Earth's temperature? They think not. They think the increase in temperature is due one of the Earth's 'normal' cyclical warming periods.


Popular opinion, pressure groups and environmentalists have forced the World's leaders to think that they ought to "do something": but do what?

It seems that our leaders (or most of them) have decided to assume that is a fact that:

Global Warming is being caused, or mostly caused, by the
increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere due to the
burning of fossil fuels.

if only the production of man-made CO2 were to be reduced,
the Earth's climate would respond by ceasing to get any

In fact there is no 'hard' evidence whatsoever to support
either of these assumptions.

Nevertheless, our leaders have decided that, based on these unproven assumptions, the way to solve the problem is to drastically reduce the amount of CO2 released to the atmosphere.
Starting recently, they are introducing laws and initiatives to put this policy into effect. For example: a vast increase in the installation of Wind Generators (hundreds to be mounted in the estuary off the Kent coast and in the North Sea off Scotland!); energy-saving building specifications for new housing and commercial construction; the "Emission Trading Scheme" ETS (financial incentives for industry to reduce emissions -- "carbon trading"); forming international committees (e.g. the IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change); holding innumerable international conferences (e.g. Kyoto) to allocate each country's "emission reduction targets".

The world situation in which these 'reduce CO2' policies are to be implemented coincides with pressure from the 'developing world' to use more power and thus to generate more CO2. (The argument runs, "Since the 20% of the population in the 'developed world' produce 80% of the CO2 why should we be expected to hold back on lifting ourselves out of poverty, to hold back our use of energy? -- Let the developed world hold back on theirs first".) This pressure is increasing and is set to go on increasing. For example, China is opening one new coal-burning power station per week! India's power requirements are increasing exponentially. In Africa, the energy consumed per head now is only 10% of that consumed per head in the USA). Another factor is that the world's reserves of oil and natural gas are being used up rapidly. These sources could be, and probably will be, replaced by an increase in the use of coal. Coal produces much more CO2 and other emissions than oil or gas so that for the future the CO2 problem (assuming that it is CO2 which is doing the damage) is likely to be exacerbated.

For these practical reasons, it seems to me improbable that the volume of man-made CO2 being generated can even be held at its present level -- to reduce it from its present level is even more improbable.

Moreover, the steps being taken to reduce CO2 emissions will inevitably be costly. They may, and almost certainly will, have a negative effect on the world's economy.


From the evidence it seems that for the foreseeable future, the Earth IS getting warmer, WILL go on getting warmer, the climate WILL change, the sea level WILL rise. Whatever policies we might adopt aimed at mitigating the effects of Global Warming need to be based on these facts. I suggest the current "solution", focused solely as it is on the reduction of CO2, is bound to fail.

The man-made CO2 being released to the atmosphere may be, or it may not be, increasing the rate of cyclical or natural warming. (That the small percentage increase in the CO2 level due to the burning of fossil fuels is causing the Earth's temperature to rise is not a proven
fact.) But, even if the additional man-made CO2 is causing the temperature to rise, this is not, on its own, the SOLE CAUSE of the current temperature rise. The Earth is in one of its natural cyclical warming periods and it will be getting warmer even if NO man-made CO2 is released. If CO2 emissions were to be reduced, even if they were stopped entirely, the only effect could be, perhaps, to slow slightly the rate of warming; it would not halt it.

The decision of our politicians to try to stop the Earth getting warmer by embarking on programmes to reduce the volume of man-made CO2 brings to mind the experience of King Canute who tried (and failed) to stop the tide from rising.

In fact the current moves and financial incentives to cut down CO2 emission are doing more harm than good. The current policies are diverting our attention from facing up to reality and to mankind's looming problems, namely that the Earth IS warming and WILL GO ON warming for the foreseeable future, regardless of whether or not we reduce man-made CO2.

Fact: we are spending time and money on a policy based on assumptions for which there is no supporting evidence -- on assumptions which I believe are just plain wrong!

In my opinion, we are heading in the wrong direction!


Since there is nothing mankind can do to stop Global Warming, what we need to do is to accept that Global Warming is here to stay and to address its inevitable results. The world's effort and energy currently being directed towards halting Global Warming by reducing carbon emission (a policy doomed to failure in my view) needs to be re-directed toward the following objectives.

there will be serious problems caused by changes in the
distribution and amount of rainfall. There probably will be
floods and droughts, changes in the distribution and
availability of water for consumption and food
production,.increasing 'desertization' making more areas
barren and uninhabitable. These problems will gradually occur
over decades. Mankind is adaptable -- I believe major
population movements and adaptation will have to occur and,
indeed, will occur. Every country should start planning for the
re-location of those of its population which will be effected
and for the provision of infra-structure that climate change
will make necessary.

RELOCATION - COASTAL AREAS here is the even greater
problem presented by the gradual raising of the sea level.
This needs to be addressed, not by a 'King Canute' solution,
but by accepting as a fact that the sea level IS rising and it
WILL GO ON RISING. Every country with coastal areas needs
to start planning accordingly. Plans need to be drawn up to
establish the areas of land which would be inundated if/when
the sea and river levels rise by, say, two meters. All the
housing, agriculture, commercial, roads, railways and other
installations and activities taking place in those areas will
have to be re-located on higher ground. In this connection,
due to Global Warming, large area in the Northern
Hemisphere currently ice-bound would be ice-free and would
be available to be developed and utilized.

The first step would be to prohibit any new construction in
endangered areas; to allow building only in the newly
designated development areas.

ABUNDANT CHEAP POWER To enable this gigantic
re-location programme to be carried out the World will need
to access a source of abundant, cheap and non-polluting
energy. This source is there for the taking. Unlimited
electrical power can be generated by extracting the Earth's
inexhaustible supply of geothermal energy, mining the heat
from the centre of the Earth. (see my previous paper on Energy)

Thursday 4 January 2007

Korean Hand Massage and Mongolian Koyashai Massage now available in Hampshire

Now you don't have to go to Korea or Mongolia to get these amazing treatments - just Hampshire, from Now Harmony! They help you relax - oh yeah!

Tuesday 2 January 2007

Warning: washing your car is bad news for fish

..unless you use a waterless product like that works even better than water, doesn't waste gallons of the stuff and neither does it pollute rivers. Did you know that the water, detergent, dirt and chemicals from your car that go down the storm drain, go directly into the nearest river without being treated? See this for more info and watch this YouTube video to find out how to use it.