Theresa May’s great Brexit mistake

May 31, 2019

British Prime Minister Theresa May has set her resignation date, a long-overdue result of her failure to deliver on Brexit. She leaves quite a mess for whoever fills the spot of Conservative Party leader in her wake. The party is facing potential political obliteration if it cannot patch itself back together and offer a united vision — including a realistic and executable plan for the U.K.’s divorce from the European Union.

May’s difficulties with Brexit were, mind you, just one of her shortfalls; general incompetence seemed to follow her like a cartoon black cloud, and she harbored a lack of fealty to free-market principles which left her with not much to offer Britons aside from not being Jeremy Corbyn, which could only take her party so far. But there is no question that it was her fumbling of Brexit which did her in.

Her main problem concerning Brexit came down to more than simply her choice of approach or stylistic ubiquities. It was more philosophical than that: In her heart, she didn’t really believe in it, putting her in closer communion with the Continental establishment from whom she was allegedly trying to negotiate a severance than with the majority of her own party, and indeed her own people.

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Among the political Left (this is particularly true in Europe and gaining traction in the U.S.), the desire for leveling extends beyond local economic and social conditions to include the world stage. The utopian pursuit of homogeneity is difficult to reconcile with the concept of national sovereignty, explaining the disdain for patriotism as an antiquated relic of a brutal past. Borders are just so, well, bourgeois.

Modern technology has, of course, helped accelerate the erosion of those borders. The internet, air travel, satellite communications, and even the automobile have breached most of the obstacles to trade and travel, smoothing out the sharp edges of distinction between peoples.

But those distinctions have not been erased altogether, and the modernist dilution of the concept of the nation has not eliminated the basic conditions which created it. Nations are more than simply arrangements hammered out by, say, the Congress of Vienna, but are natural outgrowths of peoples tied by common geographic, linguistic, cultural, historic, political, and other bonds.

Conservatism of the kind May was supposed to be representing recognizes this basic reality, that patriotism and national identity are indispensable to the maintenance of a social order. Roger Scruton, Britain’s greatest living political philosopher, writes that “it is allegiance which defines the condition of a society, and which constitutes society as something greater than the ‘aggregate of individuals’ that the liberal mind perceives,” and elsewhere that “territorial loyalty … is at the root of all forms of government where law and liberty reign supreme.”

This is something that seems to still be widely understood, almost subconsciously, inherently, and in a visceral sense. Brits voted for Brexit precisely because they are Brits, as distinguished from French, or Germans, or what have you, united by those same ties of land, language, history, culture, and so much more. The ideal of self-government — a concept which, after all, has its genesis on the British Isles — is incompatible with submission to foreign entities, even ones as relatively benign (if economically and bureaucratically constricting) as the EU.

The rise and increasing success of nationalist parties throughout Continental Europe, witnessed again in last weekend’s EU elections, can be partly explained as a perverse reaction to this forced dissolution of borders and national identity. If patriotism is officially discarded and derided as anachronistic, it should not be unexpected that an ideologized overcorrection could take its place. Disregarding human nature and history bears consequences.

May suffered the consequences of discarding the principles her own party has defended for decades, and if it’s not careful, that party may suffer them with her. It appears likely that Boris Johnson or someone of similar mind will inherit the wreckage. They will face the predictable and ubiquitous challenge: how to maximize the benefits of free trade without giving up too large a degree of political sovereignty. If the next U.K. leader pursues a more direct and realistic exit from the EU, America should be available to help: partly because it is the right thing to do for our greatest ally and partly because further denials of reality could result in decidedly worse consequences.

Kelly Sloan (@KVSloan25) is a Denver-based public affairs consultant, columnist, and the energy and environmental policy fellow at the Centennial Institute.

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Let Them Eat Cake, Drink Booze and Smoke Ciggies Says Libertarian Politician

May 11, 2019

Smoke, Drink And Eat Whatever You Want: Norway’s Public Health Minister

11 May 2019

For years we have been lectured and harangued by the bansturbators, (that is, the people who get off on stopping us doing things that give us pleasure,) their fingers wagging furiously in our faces as they tell us smoking will kill us, even looking at an alcpholic drink will destroy our livrers, a pinch of salt will cause heart attacks, strokes and acute asplaxification of the nurdlers, a cream cake or two will make us obese, a steak dinner or a burger will give us cancer, and driving our cars will destroy the planet. So it was a pleasure to come across a news item about a politician who believes adults can be trusted to behave sensibly and left make their own choices in life.

Norway’s new public health minister, Sylvi Listhaug is such a politician, she believes that adults don’t need the constant lectures and admonishments from government about what they put into their bodies – telling Norway’s state broadcaster NRK that “people should be allowed to smoke, drink and eat as much red meat as they like,” according to a report in the snowflakes favourite journal, the New York Times.

norwegian health minister sylvie listhaug
Norwegian Health Secretary Sylvie Listhaug – Picture: http://www.hegnar.no/

“The government may provide information, but I think people in general know what is healthy and what is not,” she added.

The interview – published a few days into her new role as head of the ministry, was “dotted with the kind of sharp, controversial comments Ms. Listhaug, deputy leader of the right-wing, anti-immigration Progress Party, is known for,” reports the Times – which promptly goes on to disparage the conservative politician for actually believing in individual freedom and personal responsibility, two of the basic principles of real liberalism, (we all know people who ‘identify’ as liberals do so only because hir sounds cuddlier and less threaening that if they were honest and called themselves fascistic authoritarians.

Ms Listhaug is no stranger to controversy, as immigration minister she made headlines in 2017 with disparaging comments about Sweden, saying that Norway should not become like its neighbor, which was accepting more refugeesnd African despite having experiences a huge rise in crome rates, especiall in sex crimed by middle – eastern a males against European women since abolishing border controls and letting all comers claim residency in the country. Last year, she resigned as justice minister after comments about terrorists
(which were in fact true,)
she made on Facebook threatened to bring down the government.

This week, opposition politicians and health advocates suffered collective apoplexy as they tried to outdo each other in denouncing in the strongest terms Ms. Listhaug’s comments on habits that are hyped as major risk factors for many serious diseases, all of which are big money spinners for Big Pharma

The secretary general of Norway’s Cancer Society, Anne Lise Ryel was shocked by the comments – saying in a statement: “I fear that this will set public health efforts back for decades, and that this will compromise the general understanding among Norwegians of the health consequences of tobacco and alcohol use.” It is notable that a way of preventing cancer (and some maverick doctors say a cure,) has been available since the 1960s but no public health charity or government department in the democratic world is promoting it. Could that be, perhaps, that no expensive drugs, therapies or surgery are involved, only self discipline.

Ryel has called for Listhaug to be removed from her post, adding that “she seems to lack understanding of what public health really means and what her role as minister in that area should be.” Perhaps she understands more than Ryel admits. This publication knows public health is about shovelling taxpayers’ money into Big Pharma’s coffers.

Listhaug stuck to her guns, fireing back in a Friday email to the Times, writing: “The government believes that people have to take responsibility for their own life, but the government has to make sure that everyone can make healthy and informed choices.”

“The number of daily smokers has declined sharply since 2000,” she added. “This confirms that the Norwegian tobacco policy and control strategy works.”

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in 2017, 11 percent of Norwegians aged 15 or older smoked daily, one of the lowest rates among the group’s 34 member nations. Norway has also had the steepest decrease of any of the countries since 2000, when the equivalent figure was 32 percent.

The Eurosceptoc Progress Party has been a junior partner in Norway’s center-right governing coalition since 2013. Its rise to prominence created unease, coming just two years after a far-right, anti-Muslim extremist who had once belonged to the party killed 77 people in a murderous rampage. It;s rapid rise has accompanied a crime wave in the immigrant communities of Noway’s cities, with turf wars between rival immigrant gangs for control of the drugs and sex trades often erupting into violence on the streeets of the capital city Oslo.

Governments around the world have stepped up campaigns to fight unhealthy habits usually be imposing punitive taxation. France recently told people not to drink every day; a soda tax in Britain has helped lower sugar levels in some drinks, and Australia’s graphic warnings on cigarette packages, considered a success, are being copied in other countries. –New York Times While governments claim success for their authoritarian attacks on personal liberty, the rise in contraband goods smuggled from nations were taxes on tobacco and alcohol are low or zero has risen astronomically and in Europe there have been cases of small factories being set up producing low quality cigarettes made with cheap tobacco in in healthy conditions, which are paked in fake reproductions of leading brand packaging and passed off as the real thing.

Listhaug also said that smokers in Norway are made to feel like “pariahs,” and that she would not be the “moral police” in government – echoing comments made by Austria’s far-right defense of freedom of choice in their oppostion of antismoking legislation.

Listhaug is a former regular smoker who told NRK that she is now just a social smoker.

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If GM foods are dangerous show us the evidence the Scienceology cult said. Here it is.
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Why ‘Hate Speech’ Should Not Be Criminalised

May 5, 2019
There is a common conception among those on the left of the political spectrum that only people who support the ‘far right’ are challenging efforts to criminalise so called ‘hate speech.’ Just as they dismiss anybody who questions the theory that Carbon Dioxide from human activity is driving climate chance as ‘climate deniers’ and people who raise the human rights issues surrounding laws to make vaccination manadtory as anti – vaxxers the left, having no cogent arguments with which to oppose their critics, resort to identity politics.
I have written many times defending the right to free speech and experessing opposition to the use of ‘hate speech’ to suppress honest and justified criticism of certain groups in society and ideologically driven agendas, and read hundreds of articles and blogs opposing this fraudulent criminalisation of free speech, but the argument below is one of the best I have seen.
Matt Taylor
by Matt Taylor, first posted on Quora, 1 May 2019
It’s not just “right-wing people” that think this way, dozens of popular lefty intellectuals have come out and spoke against criminalizing discourse.

 

April 25, 2019

Extinction’s Extinct! (Or is it?)

I’ve been (reluctantly) following the news of the recent London protests by a group calling themselves “Extinction Rebellion.” There have been similar protests in Australia, and maybe in other places too.

Here’s what I got from their website: https://rebellion.earth/the-truth/demands/

(1) “Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.”

Now, I’m all in favo(u)r of government telling the truth! (Which it almost never does). But the truth is, that the greenies have gone way beyond sanity. To anyone who looks into the matter, the green allegations – and the mantra “human CO2 emissions cause catastrophic climate change” in particular – are fraudulent. They’re right that there’s urgency for change; but wrong about its direction.

(2) “Government must act now to reduce biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.”

Again, they are right and yet wrong. If government should act “to reduce biodiversity loss”, it ought to act to protect the most endangered species on this planet – we civilized human beings! The greenies and their political soulmates have already taken away most of our rights, freedoms and earned prosperity. And now they are closing in on us, and trying to destroy what remains of our civilization.

Would they destroy a termite hill? If yes, how would they explain themselves to the individual termites? If no, where do they get any right to destroy our termite hill?

(3) Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

Umm, well, err… “I’m the king of your castle.”

* * *

It seems that the driving force behind this movement is the idea that human beings are driving (no pun intended) all other species to extinction. According to received wisdom, there is about one species on this planet for every thousand human individuals. And therefore, about one in a thousand of us must be guilty of extinguishing, or at least trying to extinguish, a species.

So, I thought I’d put forward some questions to ask those that accuse you or me of this “crime.”

  1. Name a species, in whose extinction I played a part.
  2. Describe that species. In detail.
  3. Clearly differentiate that species from any other similar species.
  4. Give the date on which the species became extinct.
  5. Prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that there were live examples of the species within the 10 years preceding your extinction date. If possible, exhibit a specimen.
  6. Prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that the species had died out before your claimed extinction date.
  7. State the causes of that extinction.
  8. State what I as an individual did, and on what date, that contributed to that extinction.
  9. Prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that what I did, on that date, contributed to the extinction of the species you named.
  10. Prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that you have never played any part in extinguishing, or attempting to extinguish, any species. (If you can’t, you have no right to prosecute me.)

 

For those foolhardy souls who want to continue to read my outpourings, I will continue to put all my writings, both serious and less so, on my bloguette: www.honestcommonsense.co.uk. I think the commenting facility still works, if you want to drop by.

 

COMMENTS:

The problem is, one side of the argument is disingenuous concerning their actual agenda and goals. “Climate change” is not about saving the earth or species of much else… it’s about statism and global socialist statism at that.

Climate change and the various accommodating disasters, attributed and predicted, are simply the vehicle chosen to implement statism. It has evolved to for that purpose (global warming –> climate change) and will continue to do so as needed.

The greens are the “Party”.
1) Governments must push the “truth” of the Party and nothing else. It goes without saying that government should surprises anything the Party does not acknowledge as “truth”.

2) Government must implement ALL the policies the Party demands. It goes without saying that policies of others should be ignored or at least take a back seat.

3) Government must acquiesce all power to the Party; agreeing to obey it at all times and without question.

Sound like any Party or any ideology we’ve seen before?

 

 

 

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    In some ways, I think it’s closer to fascist than socialist, Lynn. For example, their hatred of older people. (Probably because they know that older people have better bullshit meters than the young, so are far more likely to see through their ruses).

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    Probably because they know that older people have better bullshit meters than the young, so are far more likely to see through their ruses.

    There does seem to be an exception to every rule though. 🙂 This thread being a perfect example.

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    Right you are, Dino; we have to protect our environment. I’m sorry, I’ll read that again:

    We have to protect our environment. The environment for human beings. That’s exactly one of the points I made in the article.

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    Neil – we are totally dependent on a complex ecosystem. It is resilient but is now being dramatically changed by our activities.
    It is in our interests to respect and maintain the ecosystem that provides our very existence.
    Nature is worthy of respect and nurturing.

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    A thought on this point Neil, though I know it has been raise by myself and hundreds of others many thousands of times:
    “human CO2 emissions cause catastrophic climate change”
    Can any of th Warmageddonist ‘experts’ or ‘scientists’ explain how nature differentites

    between CO2 emitted from human activity and CO2 emitted by natural phenomena such as photosynthesis, volcanic activity, termite farts (apparently the little buggers are always farting and as there are so many of them in a colony it adds up to a significant amount of CO2,) or decaying matter?
    The only answers I have seen to this question have been along the lines of, “You’re not a scientist so you’re not capable of understanding the science.”
    To which I point out that science is an indefinite object thus ‘the science’ is ungrammatical.

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    “…The only answers I have seen to this question have been along the lines of, “You’re not a scientist so you’re not capable of understanding the science….”

    To which I inevitably reply: Show me your scientific credentials.

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    Yes indeed, termites do account for a significant proportion of world-wide CO2 emissions.

    Oh, but I’d disagree with you on one thing. There is, of course, no difference at all between CO2 emitted from human activity and CO2 emitted by natural phenomena. That’s because human activity is a natural phenomenon! When greenies moan that “we” and the things we do are un-natural, a blight on the planet or some other scold du jour, I tend to reply: “Yes, you’re right. You are un-natural, or a blight on the planet (or whatever).”

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    I’m only repeating what I’ve been told Neil, and I pass it on in good faith as the people who told me this said they were scientists, a breed who cannot be wrong apparently. I’ll have to break off there before my tongue gets permanently stuck in my cheek.

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    BTW making species extinct is quite hard, I have worked on engineering the extinction of slugs in my garden for 19 years and there are just as many now as when I started. Life has a knack of surviving.

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    The language and tone sounds eerily similar to the proclamations of the early Soviets. I meant that in the political sense, but also purely in the linguistic sense. It shares the same declarative tone, the same assertion of absolutist authority and the ever present shield of the common good. I’d bet our friend Webmaster could translate and spoken in Russian this would probably very closely resemble something uttered by a pioneering commissar of the people’s revolution.

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    I, too, caught the echo of “Pravda” in their use of the word “truth.”

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    Well Neil you are wrong on this one. You do not seem to grasp the enormity of the problem at all.
    All 8 billion of us on this planet are guilty of causing mass extinctions and climate change.
    You eat. You use machines. You live in a house and use power.
    That means you are requiring polluting energy production, transport, mining and destroying habitat.
    The sheer numbers of humans on the planet is the biggest problem. You are one of them.
    Individually none of us have wiped out a single species. Collectively we have wiped out many thousands.
    Individually none of us are capable of saving a species. Collectively we can.
    I fear you just don’t get it. I am afraid that your list of questions is puerile.
    Nature is wonderful. Life is incredible. It should be protected and nurtured.

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    And unicorns were wonderful. Their feces had remarkable medicinal properties. Pygmy tribes from sub-Saharan Africa hunted them to extinction, thereby depriving caucasians of the health benefits. I DEMAND reparations!

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    An interesting theory about the unicorns. I had thought they died out because they made a mutual suicide pact with the honest politicians. But I’ll defer to your superior knowledge of the science of unicorniology.

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    Opher, if you do not accept the idea of individual responsibility, there is little point trying to argue with you about anything. We all have individual responsibilities towards those around us – such as not attacking other people, not stealing their resources, and so on. But a collective responsibility can only exist when someone has agreed, by word or deed, to take on such a responsibility – for example, by taking on a management job with responsibility for what other people do, or by having children.

    If it really were, as you say, that “the sheer numbers of humans on the planet is the problem,” then I am not responsible for any part of this “problem” at all, since I have never had children. You, on the other hand, have had four children, not to mention grandchildren. You are among those responsible for this (putative) problem, I am not; you should be paying to “solve” it, I should not.

    To call my list of questions “puerile” is a cop-out. It’s a typical ad hominem from someone unable to put forward any proper argument. To use a metaphor, it is playing the man, not the ball. I, and I suspect most others here, can see this ruse for what it is, an admission that you have no case.

    As to “nature is wonderful,” yes, we can agree on something. And human beings are part of nature. So, are human beings not wonderful, too?

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    Of course I accept individual responsibility. But even in largish numbers we cannot individually make any difference.
    The food you eat comes from land that was cleared from natural habitat. It was sprayed with herbicides and pesticides.
    The metal in your home and possessions was mined and processed using large amounts of energy and creating pollution.
    The plastics came from oil.
    The power you use comes from power stations.
    Just by living you are adding to the destruction of habitats, the pollution of the environment and the death of many organisms.
    Bit by bit trees are cut down, areas cleared, streams polluted and culverted, hedges scrubbed up.
    With 8 billion people the effects build up. No one person is responsible. It is the accumulated result of 8 billion.
    You are every bit as guilty as every one of us.
    No one person can do much about it. It has to be a collective response of all of us.
    To turn a blind eye and pretend it isn’t happening is foolish and morally irresponsible.
    I wrote you a little story.

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    But Neil,
    Think of all the new life forms we are (or may be) creating with all our environmental toxins, and all the plant life stimulated by increases of CO2 in the atmosphere. There are those little microorganisms that feed off plastic, and all those mutant life forms from radioactivity.

    It occurred to me that no one seems to comment on all the ways we are dependent on the fossil fuel industry. People think only of cars and power plants, but that is just the beginning. All transportation machines–trucks, trains, airplanes, ships, helicopters, drones, subways, buses–to name a few, run on petroleum products. Plastic is a petroleum product. Fabrics like acrylic are petroleum products. Agricultural chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, are based on petroleum. Agricultural equipment like tractors. Construction materials and equipment, like bulldozers and backhoes.

    It amazes me how dependent we’ve become on petroleum products in such a short time The Green New Dealers should do a little homework to better understand the comprehensive nature of their agendas.

    CO2 and CH4 (methane) are part of the natural life cycle for the planet as a whole. Animals (including the human ones) breathe 02 and emit CO2 and CH4. Life is an organizing force, defying entropy. When an animal dies, and begins to decay, these molecules are released. Plants are also organizing forces, absorbing CO2 and releasing O2. When plants die and begin to decay, they emit CO2 and CH4 as part of the decomposition cycle. Because the components are elements, they cannot be created or destroyed, just re-arranged in different combinations.

    I know this is obvious, but it’s basic science that many people seem to have forgotten. CO2 comprises less than one percent of the atmosphere.

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    Good points, Katharine. Leading me on to the thought that every species extinction represents an opportunity, a habitat for a new species. Nature is dynamic, not static as Opher and his green buddies would have us believe.

    As to the green-new-dealers, I think you underestimate the nastiness and the underhanded nature of what they are doing. The green agenda ultimately seeks to destroy – not just to curb, but to destroy the industrial civilization which has brought us human beings so many benefits over the last 200 or so years. I’ll remind you of a quote from Maurice Strong, first director of the UN environment program: “Frankly, we may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrial civilization to collapse.”

    As I see it, all those that peddle the green agenda are enemies of civilization, and so enemies of humanity. They are traitors to our civilization, and they deserve to be expelled from it and denied all its benefits.

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    Aah but Katharine – all of those things can be made using genetically modified bacteria in vats. All those machines can run on alternative fuel. Fabrics, plastics and sweeteners can all be made efficiently through microbes.
    We have no need for oil.
    The age of fossil fuels is over. We’re in the death-throes.

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    https://theworldelsewhere.c…
    Here’s an article that you maybe need to read Neil. It might even chill your blood and waken some degree of empathy for the creatures we are so wantonly and cruelly destroying in such a barbarous fashion.
    I travelling to South America a few years back. I read the tales from the whalers from a couple of centuries back. It was teeming with life. They killed everything and took tons of fresh meat aboard. They went to the breeding grounds and slaughtered the young for fun. What is left is a barren vestige of what it had been two hundred years ago.
    But of course that is not true is it?

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    Opher, I skimmed the article, and it’s just a bunch of polemics. If some people in the Amazon a hundred or more years ago did unnecessarily bad things to turtles, well, they shouldn’t have. But that’s not my problem, because I’m not one of them – and I haven’t benefited from what they did.

    You seem to be totally oblivious to the fact that the only thing you can possibly convince me with in a matter like this is evidence. Clear and specific evidence of bad things I have done to wildlife. You claim to be an atheist, but you are behaving like a crazy religionist – wanting to use “the collective” to browbeat or even force other people into following your particular religion.

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    Neil, Are you familiar with the Tragedy of the Commons? You should be.
    The gist of the idea is that unrestricted freedom to exploit a “common” resource will inevitably lead to the ruination of the resource. While your individual “contribution” to the ruination is small, the collective contribution is what causes the ruination.
    This is NOT a religious concept; it is a fact about the way the world works, as has been demonstrated repeatedly through time. And its implications are ominous environmentally as we are seeing in the case of global warming, ocean acidification, oceanic plastic pollution, species extinction, etc.
    So, fine, say the free-marketers: establish regulation by private ownership. But this approach is badly flawed in several respects, not limited to the fallacy that owning something necessarily implies the best stewardship. As an example, your suggestion of saving species from extinction by establishing, in effect, game preserves is unworkable for most species – really a cartoonish proposal. (Do YOU belong to Nature Conservancy, or support their work?) How would you propose to “save” an individual blue whale? An individual orca?
    You seem to be totally oblivious to the fact that 8 billion humans are wreaking ecological havoc on the planet. You yourself are certainly NOT blameless, particularly if you have used pesticides or herbicides in your “garden”, or have ever eaten food grown with pesticides or herbicides, etc. The evidence is all around you, Neil; open your eyes..

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    Neil:
    In America there is a federal law called the Federal Migratory Bird Act. Almost all birds in North America are considered endangered, other than pigeons and the like. It is thus proscribed by federal law to remove a nesting bird.
    Okay Dodo birds became extinct after British colonialism in Mauritius. The last free ranging White tiger was shot in 1858 after colonialism. Indians considered them sacred and had records of them dating back to the 1500’s hundreds.
    But, this is more important because colonialism left a trail of destructions.
    The Buffalo in North America were shot by those trying to conquer the Native Americans.
    Lake Gitchi Gummi, and Lake Michi Gummi: Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, almost all of Northen America had been named and settled by Indigineous Natives, though less advanced, the Lord would eventually have advanced them. We retained most of the names given by Native Americans who almost were driven to extinction. George Washington, whom I admire, stated the One Path policy.

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    Opher:
    Whales were hunted for oil. Baleen whales and humpbacks and other species of whales are endangered.
    But, why do people starve? Why don’t they raise more cattle? Cows make milk, cream is a rich food that goes well with fruits.
    Surely countries can afford to raise more cattle, they only need water and grass, you can take milk from a cow she’ll make more.
    It’s a renewable food resource.
    Water shortage,and drought like in Australia? (They were mad because the Indian monsoon came early. The Lord gave the Indians their rain.) Give the cows the water and take the milk. Cream is more valuable than corn or wheat.

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    Nigeria produces good flour. Cows produce milk. So why do people in Ethiopia starve?They have a saying,”If you have good flour and milk cream you never have to eat rice and tamarind” or you are always a wealthy person.

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    It’s a simple system, you don’t kill milk giving cows. The farmers sell milk at market for a profit. If they need money they sell some dairy cows, if they are making money they buy more cows.
    And,
    After all the children are dying of hunger, so why be worried if a few cows get killed for food?
    The supply has to go where the demand is; starving children should be the priority. Milk cream has protein, rice and tomatoes don’t.

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    A generous example of survival of the fittest so let the extinctions continue on.

    We can do with less socialism to start off.

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    Taking into account that no human remains older than forty thousand years have been found on the Earth, as well as the fact that people do not have biological brothers on Earth, it can be argued that Homo Sapiens is an artificial biological species. It did not appear due to evolution, but by genetic engineering, or was brought here from other planets.

    So, it is not right for Homo Sapiens to call Earth his planet, for this does not correspond to reality. The man was immediately put here in adverse conditions, which he began to adapt for himself. With a great mind, he became the dominant species on this planet. Realizing that he is a guest here, he should just start exploring space in order to move huge cities into the orbit.

    3/4 of Earth`s surface is not earth but water. No wonder that there are already projects of oceanic cities that will drift over the waves, and cruise liners are their prototypes.

    On Earth, there is less room for life, and in space it is enough of it. People can happily live in the orbit of the Earth and other planets. So the next step after building ocean cities is moving to space, and Earth will get back its native biosphere with all the animals and plants.

    In any way, the Milky Way with its 250 billion +- 150 billion stars is too large and attractive so to stay here all the time and raise chickens, pigs and cows.

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    Opher, please, name at least one relative of a man on Earth except his closest relative macaque (or some other monkey which is still monkey but not a human being). Science knows only human brother yeti who is a strange creature hiding all the time. There is no usual scientific basis to consider the Earth as a human planet. But there are interesting remains of some humanoid giants who lived on the territory of Asia. Earth is full of pyramids and other stone structures which Homo Sapiens cannot built even today with all his technical progress achievements.

    The true history is hidden so don`t believe too much those history books which tell about human evolution as they are the same science fiction as that which you write yourself. Now it is clear that there was no any evolution of Homo Sapiens at all. He just suddenly appeared on Earth 40 000 years ago and all the time needs shelter, forks, plates, clothes, hats, scissors, cookers and so on. Can you catch the antelope and kill it with your claws, then tear apart with sharp teeth, grind her bones while eating, then swallow and go to have a rest while digestion is going on? Can you catch a fish with claws like cats and bears do and eat it whole with bejesus and not cooking on fire? Can you eat the raw meat? No, and don`t try, as there was no any evolution behind you allowing to do it like cats and dogs do.

    BTW a cat has on Earth about 30 brothers and sisters who are very close to him in genetic structure and look very similar. Where are the man`s biological brothers except those apes who differ from him very much and in fact are not his brothers but very distant relatives?

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    ” It did not appear due to evolution, but by genetic engineering, or was brought here from other planets.”

    The other species seem to be able to take a reasonable and modest dump in the forest, but we cannot it seems. Other animals have sufficient skin or coverings and we do not.

    We are distinctly different from the others here. But, we cannot live in space nor can we go elsewhere so we are stuck with our wits instead of thick skins and lubricated droppings.

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    We can live in space on space stations and the space exploration history proved it. There was even a historical anecdote with a Soviet cosmonaut Krikalev who flew away into orbit from USSR and spent in space it seems more than a year as USSR collapsed and everything changed so quickly on earth that there was no time to deal with his return. It was so unusual that some Italian activists took the initiative to return Krikalev from space.

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    Bravo Neil, tell them!
    They use misplaced sentiment to get finances just to irritate us more.

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    Now, perhaps, is the moment to respond to what Opher said, on this thread, in a comment so deeply buried in Disqus’ pages-within-pages-within-pages that finding it again requires almost a lifetime’s journey. And there are only 65 comments here so far!

    What Opher said was: Of course I accept individual responsibility.

    OK Opher, so… what if it turns out that your green policies are wrong? What if the collective measures you propose to “fix” our planet are implemented, and turn out to have made things worse? What if getting rid of landfills, for example, extinguishes “Michael’s flycatcher,” a tiny bird which circles above rubbish tips feeding on the flies that congregate there? Will you accept your share of the responsibility for that extinction? And if human beings suffer because of your bad policies, how will you compensate them?

    As I see it, if you do something that causes risks to others, you must ensure that you have the resources to compensate them if things go wrong. That’s why we must have insurance in order to drive a car, no? So, Opher, how can you reasonably propose that people make sacrifices for some cause, without having the resources to compensate them if the cause turns out to have been wrong?

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    “(1) “Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.””

    What is the truth and by the way cui bono or who profits by this action?? The left gets more money??

    yes?

    The truth is that the drooling left will do any thing and tell any lie to get money from honest people.

 

As Vaccine Suspicions Resurface …

April 25, 2019

To Vaccinate or Not

Vaccinations are a good thing. Some people think they cause autism so millions of people aren’t getting them.

My understanding there isn’t a shred of scientific evidence that points to vaccinations causing autism. But the urban legend persists from celebrities like Jenny McCarthy who wrote a book about it (she’s an expert because she has an autistic son). And from her partner of a few years Jim Carrey.

I am not an authority on autism. But there is a perception that the numbers of diagnoses of autism are going up dramatically. Surely mild forms of autism like Aspergers Syndrome in previous generations would have gone undiagnosed. (A person with it would have just been thought to be a bit odd.) So part of this trend of more cases of autism is likely because we’re better at diagnosing autism today.

The question society faces today is should the government force people to vaccinate their kids? My default answer would be no. But if millions of people not vaccinating is leading to outbreaks of measles and other diseases that rightly should be eradicated by now, maybe there are cases when it should.

I’ll end with saying I was living in Bermuda when my son was born. It had a health care system identical to the U.S. and in my son’s first year of life he easily had 10 or more vaccinations. (And then more in his toddler years.)

It seemed excessive to me and as a parent you wondered if you were harming your child by pumping them full of so many strains of diseases. Even if it’s irrational (the view that vaccinations are harmful), I can see how some parents reach that conclusion.

Appendix:There are some vaccinations that seem unnecessary to me like the Cervical Cancer (HPV) vaccine because not everyone gets Cervical Cancer and there are side effects. And there are strange cases of this vaccination resulting in death in places like India (https://ijme.in/articles/deaths-in-a-trial-of-the-hpv-vaccine/?galley=html). So that is one that I’d be inclined not to have my daughter get some day, personally.

 

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I do not believe in the governments right to mandate vaccinations. This is far too much power to give to a government that has already shown itself capable of abusing it’s powers.

Private healthcare can solve public health emergencies, which are largely caused by lifestyle choices anyway.

 

 

 

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      There is a theory that vaccination is a scam to inject some slave behavior stimulator from the early childhood. At first sight it looks laughable but seeing how some people are ready to stay under the rule of some tyrant, I start thinking that laughs best who laughs last. At least until the middle of the XX century people survived without those vaccines, moreover even school children know today that viruses mutate so the dead or weak vaccine injected them is not a stable way to enforce immunity. There are more traditional ways to enforce immunity like eating enough and regularly including fruits and vegetables. It worked well until vaccination started so why was it started?

     

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      Web – I’ll inject you with polio – you eat fruit and see if it protects you.
      There are no natural ways to build up antibodies in the blood stream against specific viral antigens. Vaccination is the only way.

     

     

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      You may be right, I don`t argue with truth, this is not my goal at all, moreover if vaccination is really needed than it should go further on. But some scam could intrude in this program as nobody knows what exactly was injected for example in Soviet schools in 1980s. Some rumours tell that so called anti-smallpox injections were in fact injections of slavish humility stimulator. Soviet secret military science was huge, fundamental and cutting edge. And it could be used not only against enemies in the cold war.

     

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      Sorry, Webmaster…Eating spinach doesn’t prevent small pox.

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      It is in the news a lot lately. We have illegals coming over the border with all kinds of disease. Then, in NYC, it is an issue with orthodox Jews. I don’t know the issue there. Perhaps it is a religious thing.

      If you protect your child, it shouldn’t be an issue. I suppose a child could still come down with a disease but he should also be better able to recover.

      I don’t hesitate over vaccinations for my child. He’s had them all (probably even fake ones in China). He has allergies and had pneumonia three times before he was one-year-old. I could blame it on the vaccinations. The most likely cause is the absurd levels of pollution in China.

      Let the parents do what they feel is best.

      Cullen rides.

     

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      We should require that all children be vaccinated before being allowed to enter school, with only medical exemptions considered. This would be for diphtheria,
      tetanus, and pertussis; polio; measles and rubella; and chickenpox. This is a requirement in many states, but most states allow exemptions for religious and/or personal beliefs.
      I do not feel that beliefs of a few should jeporadize the health of many.

     

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      So would either you or Opher care to explain how unvaccinated people put vaccinated people at risk. Because to me it seems you are both co9nceding that vaccines don’t work.
      The only things put at risk by people refusing vaccines are corporate profits for the Big Pharma cartel.
      I do not feel that the belief in authoritarianism of the indoctrinated few should put the liberty of the many at risk.

     

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      Quite simple-
      They put every other unvaccinated person at risk, especially infants who are too young to be vaccinated. along with increasing the risk for those who have been vaccinated, but may not have developed a total level of immunity.
      Vaccines work, but some people do not develop total immunity, and of course, some are allergic to certain elements contained within certain vaccines.
      I am against the Big Pharma Cartel, as obviously you are, but for a person to not get vaccinated unless they are allergic to me is plain stupid and also inconsiderate of others.

     

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      Thoroughly agree Cullen. The link between autism and vaccination has been proven false. Something may be causing more autism but it isn’t vaccination.
      However, scare stories are causing huge problems in our fight against disease.
      Vaccination has completely removed smallpox (one of the deadliest viruses on the planet) and was on the verge of removing polio (a terrible life-threatening disease that causes paralysis and severe disability). The Muslims in Africa spread a rumour that the West was vaccinating in order to make people sterile. Millions refused the vaccine. Polio, which was on the verge of extinction, is now rampant across Africa once more killing and crippling babies and putting the rest of the world at risk.
      The one issue I would take issue with is your example of vaccination against cervical cancer. Is this a hint of misogyny in your post? Cervical cancer obviously only affects women. It is a killer and preventable. Most of it is caused by a virus – the Human Papilloma Virus – for which there is a safe vaccine.
      Every year 12,200 women in the USA are diagnosed with this terrible cancer of which 4,210 die. A vaccination programme for young girls would save that tragedy from occurring.

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      Ignorance, lies and false propaganda kills.

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      Vaccines are necessary medicine with potential side effects that only a medical specialist can prevent. Take your medicine and watch carefully later.

     

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      Yemen is facing the worst epidemic of cholera since records began. The disease has affected over 1 million people and caused almost 2,500 deaths.
      With a simple oral vaccination programme that would not have occurred.

     

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      Katharine – no I’m not. But if there is no means of supplying clean drinking water then vaccination saves thousands of lives.
      Wars create massive problems.

    The End Of The Social Justice Warriors

    March 7, 2019
    After the discrediting of the Social Justice Warriors (SJWs), whose failing was that their interest in promoting ‘fairness and equality’ only extended to groups they thought of as victimised minorities and so was really nothing more than the virtue signalling of a self – righteous group, we now have the anti – SJW movement.
    This is one of the topics I and my colleagues would like to cover if only we had time to opine on all things worthy of comment. For now I’ll share for readers of this blog, a question I saw on Quora, along with a very good answer, and an even better reponse, adding further criticism of liberal hypocrisy to that answer …

    February 16, 2019

    This article is reproduced from Science News under ‘fair use’ terms in the public interest.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) recently included vaccine skeptics – people who are hesitant to vaccinate themselves or their children because they are concerned about the potential health risks – on their annual list of “global health threats,” along with serious dangers like superbugs, climate change, the Ebola virus, HIV and air pollution. The WHO claims that “vaccine hesitancy” increases the risk of a resurgence in diseases they claim are fully preventable through vaccination.

    The WHO is by no means alone in its position. Many governments, medical professionals and members of the mainstream media have attacked anti-vaxxers – as they are known – claiming that they are selfish people who put the health of the greater majority at risk. These pro-vaccine groups and individuals like to infer that to question vaccines is both unscientific and dangerous.

    In recent years, however, a growing number of highly respected scientists and doctors have started questioning mainstream vaccine propaganda as the results of their own, unbiased studies raise alarming questions about the long-term safety of vaccines. These issues particularly relate to the volume of vaccinations administered to small children and the adjuvants and ingredients used in the manufacture of these vaccines. The latest such study was recently published in the journal Pharmacological Research, warning that many, many people are at increased risk of developing autoimmune diseases after receiving vaccinations.

    Weaponizing our own immune systems

    Celeste McGovern, an award-winning journalist writing for Green Med Info, noted that the study’s lead author, Yehuda Shoenfeld, is a highly respected scientist in the field of human immunity. Shoenfeld is the author of multiple papers and textbooks, some of which are viewed as the very cornerstones of autoimmunological clinical practice. Unsurprisingly, Shoenfeld has become known as the “Godfather of Autoimmunology.”

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    Autoimmunology is the study of how the body’s own defense system sometimes turns against itself, resulting in the development of diseases like multiple sclerosis, arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome and others.

    One of the causes of this immune system malfunction is vaccination. As the authors note in the study abstract:

    Vaccinations have been used as an essential tool in the fight against infectious diseases, and succeeded in improving public health. However, adverse effects, including autoimmune conditions may occur following vaccinations (autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants–ASIA syndrome). It has been postulated that autoimmunity could be triggered or enhanced by the vaccine immunogen contents, as well as by adjuvants, which are used to increase the immune reaction to the immunogen.

    The research team defined those who are at increased risk of such autoimmune conditions developing after vaccination as follows:

    [W]e defined four groups of individuals who might be susceptible to develop vaccination-induced ASIA: patients with prior post-vaccination autoimmune phenomena, patients with a medical history of autoimmunity, patients with a history of allergic reactions, and individuals who are prone to develop autoimmunity (having a family history of autoimmune diseases; asymptomatic carriers of autoantibodies; carrying certain genetic profiles, etc.).

    The study’s authors went at pains to stress that these potential groups of individuals represent only a small percentage of the population and that vaccines are generally safe. However, as noted by McGovern, this is simply not true because of the sheer volume of people who fall into one or more of these categories, including:

    • Anyone who has a preexisting autoimmune condition;
    • People who have had previous reactions to vaccines (which doctors almost always overlook);
    • Patients with a history of allergic reactions, particularly to eggs (something which nurses and others who administer vaccines hardly ever check with vaccine recipients); and
    • People prone to developing autoimmunity. This is where it gets really interesting, because this would include smokers (about 18 percent of all Americans), people with high estrogen levels (anyone on the contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy), and people with low vitamin D levels (studies indicate that three quarters of all American teens and adults are vitamin D deficient).

    In other words, based on this study’s findings, the vast majority of us are at increased risk of developing an autoimmune disease after being vaccinated. But nobody will warn you about that, and if you dare to question the vaccine status quo you’ll be branded a quack or a “global health threat.”

    Learn more at Vaccines.news.

    Greenteeth Vaccines Omnibus
    Daily Stirrer

    The Best Arguments For Brexit

    January 29, 2019

    When asked, “What are the biggest arguments for Brexit, besides xenophobia?”

    I could do no better than quote from a former Australian PM, Tony Abbott. Bear in mind, he is not totally unbiased as his country stands to gain much from brexit.

    Even so, he has made many salient points in his letter to the provincial UK papers quoted here:

    Tony Abbott on Brexit

    It’s pretty hard for Britain’s friends, here in Australia, to make sense of the mess that’s being made of Brexit. The referendum result was perhaps the biggest-ever vote of confidence in the United Kingdom, its past and its future. But the British establishment doesn’t seem to share that confidence and instead looks desperate to cut a deal, even if that means staying under the rule of Brussels. Looking at this from abroad, it’s baffling: the country that did the most to bring democracy into the modern world might yet throw away the chance to take charge of its own destiny.

    Let’s get one thing straight: a negotiation that you’re not prepared to walk away from is not a negotiation – it’s surrender. It’s all give and no get. When David Cameron tried to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership, he was sent packing because Brussels judged (rightly) that he’d never actually back leaving. And since then, Brussels has made no real concessions to Theresa May because it judges (rightly, it seems) that she’s desperate for whatever deal she can get.

    The EU’s palpable desire to punish Britain for leaving vindicates the Brexit project. Its position, now, is that there’s only one ‘deal’ on offer, whereby the UK retains all of the burdens of EU membership but with no say in setting the rules. The EU seems to think that Britain will go along with this because it’s terrified of no deal. Or, to put it another way, terrified of the prospect of its own independence.

    But even after two years of fearmongering and vacillation, it’s not too late for robust leadership to deliver the Brexit that people voted for. It’s time for Britain to announce what it will do if the EU can’t make an acceptable offer by March 29 next year – and how it would handle no deal. Freed from EU rules, Britain would automatically revert to world trade, using rules agreed by the World Trade Organization. It works pretty well for Australia. So why on earth would it not work just as well for the world’s fifth-largest economy?

    A world trade Brexit lets Britain set its own rules. It can say, right now, that it will not impose any tariff or quota on European produce and would recognise all EU product standards. That means no border controls for goods coming from Europe to Britain. You don’t need to negotiate this: just do it. If Europe knows what’s in its own best interests, it would fully reciprocate in order to maintain entirely free trade and full mutual recognition of standards right across Europe.

    Next, the UK should declare that Europeans already living here should have the right to remain permanently – and, of course, become British citizens if they wish. This should be a unilateral offer. Again, you don’t need a deal. You don’t need Michel Barnier’s permission. If Europe knows what’s best for itself, it would likewise allow Britons to stay where they are.

    Third, there should continue to be free movement of people from Europe into Britain – but with a few conditions. Only for work, not welfare. And with a foreign worker’s tax on the employer, to make sure anyone coming in would not be displacing British workers.

    Fourth, no ‘divorce bill’ whatsoever should be paid to Brussels. The UK government would assume the EU’s property and liabilities in Britain, and the EU would assume Britain’s share of these in Europe. If Britain was getting its fair share, these would balance out; and if Britain wasn’t getting its fair share, it’s the EU that should be paying Britain.

    Finally, there’s no need on Britain’s part for a hard border with Ireland. Britain wouldn’t be imposing tariffs on European goods, so there’s no money to collect. The UK has exactly the same product standards as the Republic, so let’s not pretend you need to check for problems we all know don’t exist. Some changes may be needed but technology allows for smart borders: there was never any need for a Cold War-style Checkpoint Charlie. Irish citizens, of course, have the right to live and work in the UK in an agreement that long predates EU membership.

    Of course, the EU might not like this British leap for independence. It might hit out with tariffs and impose burdens on Britain as it does on the US – but WTO rules put a cap on any retaliatory action. The worst it can get? We’re talking levies of an average 4 or 5 per cent. Which would be more than offset by a post-Brexit devaluation of the pound (which would have the added bonus of making British goods more competitive everywhere).

    UK officialdom assumes that a deal is vital, which is why so little thought has been put into how Britain might just walk away. Instead, officials have concocted lurid scenarios featuring runs on the pound, gridlock at ports, grounded aircraft, hoarding of medicines and flights of investment. It’s been the pre-referendum Project Fear campaign on steroids. And let’s not forget how employment, investment and economic growth ticked up after the referendum.

    As a former prime minister of Australia and a lifelong friend of your country, I would say this: Britain has nothing to lose except the shackles that the EU imposes on it. After the courage shown by its citizens in the referendum, it would be a tragedy if political leaders go wobbly now. Britain’s future has always been global, rather than just with Europe. Like so many of Britain’s admirers, I want to see this great country seize this chance and make the most of it.

    Tony Abbott served as Prime Minister of Australia from 2013 to 2015″

    The Logical Failure Of Science Fans

    January 27, 2019

    If it’s science it must be right, coz science is kool, right?

    Thus in essence is the basis on which many science fans argue in internet comment threads.
    A question posted on Quora involved me in a discussion with a typical member of this group, he’s besotted with science and argues from the perspective of a religious believer rather that somebody who questions things objectively. To the question:

    As a scientist, is there any possibility that evolution did not give rise to mankind?

    I had answered:

    Ian Thorpe
    Ian Thorpe, writer, poet, free thinker

    Sorry I can’t answer because I’m not a scientist.
    But if I was a scientist I wouldn’t be a biologists so I’d probably give the same answer as would occurs to me as a well – read retired management consultant: There are always possibilities. It’s often said that we evolved from monkeys, but more likely we and monkeys shared a common ancestor which might have been so far back it was just a blob of jelly floating in a primeval salt marsh. Nobody truly knows.
    Likewise human intelligence. The theory that we developed conscious intelligence spontaneously as our brains reached a certain mass has been debunked. Homo Neanderthalis had bigger brains than Homo Sapiens and yet they became extinct.

    At some stage we progressed from Homo Sapiens (man who knows) to Homo Sapiens Sapiens (Man who knows he knows) with far greater cognitive skills and the ability to handle abstract ideas than our predecessors. When and how that change occurred is a mystery and so far no evolutionary evidence has been found to explain it.

    Did aliens visit us and get jiggy with girl troglodites? Was intelligence seeded in us by a perhistoric super – race that knew they were dying? Was it some form of supernatural process? Did our ancient ancestors eat magic mushrooms and experience an expansion of consciousness? All these are theories believe by some.

    My advice is don’t think about these things too much, it has driven people crazy.

    Other studies show that is not true. Baysean inference might have been a factor in either conclusion. That’s the trouble with scientific studies.
    However Chimps and Bonobos are reckoned to have evolved from a common species about a million years ago, around the same time as homo erectus separated into neanderthalis and sapiens.
    Chimps are pretty much as they were then according to naturalists and anthropoligists, we made the leap from sapiens to sapiens sapiens and now construct tower blocks almost a mile high, fly around the world in jet aircraft, and invent increasingly sophisticated ways of killing each other. Given that they have had the same amount of time to develop, I’d say chimp intelligence cannot reasonably be compared with human intelligence.

    So why have chimps not evolved when we have? That’s a part of the mystery.

    Other studies? Well here’s one.
    Pioneering brain study reveals ‘software’ differences between humans and monkeys

    Then there’s Thomas Suddendorf’s work in which he identifies what he calls episodic memory as a big part of what differentiates us from all other species.
    Episodic memory versus episodic foresight: Similarities and differences

    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/312/5776/1006.full
    (you have to have hacking skills to open this one, but it’s not that difficult
    )
    It’s late now and I don’t want to sit here all night compiling a comprehensive list, so I’ll leave you to continue in your own time.

    Ian Thorpe

    No, it doesn’t. That’s because the research paper is about the things that make humans unique among species. And the question asked was about whether here is any possibility humans are not a product of evolution. Thus my reply concerned that mystery of how we humans developed our unique intellige…

    (more)

    Phil Dunlap

    MORE ON SCIENCE & EVOLUTION
    First humans from Australia?
    Human Origins Not In Africa?
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    Science Wins – Trump Administration Proposes Transgender Policy Based On Biology
    Plants and Trees Are Conscious (sort of)

    Nothing Can Stop Google. DuckDuckGo Is Trying Anyway.

    January 16, 2019

    Extract from: Nothing Can Stop Google, Duck Duck Go Is Trying Anyway on Medium.com

    The excerpt is longer than ‘fair use’ normally permits, but if it helps people to understand there are alternatives out there to the increasingly evil search service provided by Google, the author will not mind too much.

    All photos: Monique Jaques

    2019 may finally be the year for ‘The Search Engine That Doesn’t Track You’

    In late November, hotel conglomerate Marriott International disclosed that the personal information of some 500 million customers — including home addresses, phone numbers, and credit card numbers — had been exposed as part of a data breach affecting its Starwood Hotels and Resorts network. One day earlier, the venerable breakfast chain Dunkin’ (née Donuts) announced that its rewards program had been compromised. Only two weeks before that, it was revealed that a major two-factor authentication provider had exposed millions of temporary account passwords and reset links for Google, Amazon, HQ Trivia, Yahoo, and Microsoft users.

    These were just the icing on the cake for a year of compromised data: Adidas, Orbitz, Macy’s, Under Armour, Sears, Forever 21, Whole Foods, Ticketfly, Delta, Panera Bread, and Best Buy, just to name a few, were all affected by security breaches.

    Meanwhile, there’s a growing sense that the tech giants have finally turned on their users. Amazon dominates so many facets of the online shopping experience that legislators mayhave to rewrite antitrust law to rein them in. Google has been playing fast and loose with its “Don’t Be Evil” mantra by almost launching a censored search engine for the Chinese government while simultaneously developing killer A.I. for Pentagon drones. And we now know that Facebook collected people’s personal data without their consent, let companies such as Spotify and Netflix look at users’ private messages, fueled fake news and Donald Trump, and was used to facilitate a genocide in Myanmar.

    The backlash against these companies dominated our national discourse in 2018. The European Union is cracking down on anticompetitive practices at Amazon and Google. Both Facebook and Twitter have had their turns in the congressional hot seat, facing questions from slightly confused but definitely irate lawmakers about how the two companies choose what information to show us and what they do with our data when we’re not looking. Worries over privacy have led everyone from the New York Times to Brian Acton, the disgruntled co-founder of Facebook-owned WhatsApp, to call for a Facebook exodus. And judging by Facebook’s stagnating rate of user growth, people seem to be listening.

    For Gabriel Weinberg, the founder and CEO of privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo, our growing tech skepticism recalls the early 1900s, when Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle revealed the previously unexamined horrors of the meatpacking industry. “Industries have historically gone through periods of almost ignorant bliss, and then people start to expose how the sausage is being made,” he says.

    Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo CEO and Founder

    This, in a nutshell, is DuckDuckGo’s proposition: “The big tech companies are taking advantage of you by selling your data. We won’t.” In effect, it’s an anti-sales sales pitch. DuckDuckGo is perhaps the most prominent in a number of small but rapidly growing firms attempting to make it big — or at least sustainable — by putting their customers’ privacy and security first. And unlike the previous generation of privacy products, such as Tor or SecureDrop, these services are easy to use and intuitive, and their user bases aren’t exclusively composed of political activists, security researchers, and paranoiacs. The same day Weinberg and I spoke, DuckDuckGo’s search engine returned results for 33,626,258 queries — a new daily record for the company. Weinberg estimates that since 2014, DuckDuckGo’s traffic has been increasing at a rate of “about 50 percent a year,” a claim backed up by the company’s publicly available traffic data.

    Just before DuckDuckGo’s entrance sits a welcome mat that reads, “COME BACK WITH A WARRANT.”

    <!–

    “You can run a profitable company — which we are — without [using] a surveillance business model,” Weinberg says. If he’s right, DuckDuckGo stands to capitalize handsomely off our collective backlash against the giants of the web economy …

    READ ALL >>>

    2019 may finally be the year for ‘The Search Engine That Doesn’t Track You’

    All photos: Monique Jaques

    In late November, hotel conglomerate Marriott International disclosed that the personal information of some 500 million customers — including home addresses, phone numbers, and credit card numbers — had been exposed as part of a data breach affecting its Starwood Hotels and Resorts network. One day earlier, the venerable breakfast chain Dunkin’ (née Donuts) announced that its rewards program had been compromised. Only two weeks before that, it was revealed that a major two-factor authentication provider had exposed millions of temporary account passwords and reset links for Google, Amazon, HQ Trivia, Yahoo, and Microsoft users.

    These were just the icing on the cake for a year of compromised data: Adidas, Orbitz, Macy’s, Under Armour, Sears, Forever 21, Whole Foods, Ticketfly, Delta, Panera Bread, and Best Buy, just to name a few, were all affected by security breaches.

    Meanwhile, there’s a growing sense that the tech giants have finally turned on their users. Amazon dominates so many facets of the online shopping experience that legislators mayhave to rewrite antitrust law to rein them in. Google has been playing fast and loose with its “Don’t Be Evil” mantra by almost launching a censored search engine for the Chinese government while simultaneously developing killer A.I. for Pentagon drones. And we now know that Facebook collected people’s personal data without their consent, let companies such as Spotify and Netflix look at users’ private messages, fueled fake news and Donald Trump, and was used to facilitate a genocide in Myanmar.

    The backlash against these companies dominated our national discourse in 2018. The European Union is cracking down on anticompetitive practices at Amazon and Google. Both Facebook and Twitter have had their turns in the congressional hot seat, facing questions from slightly confused but definitely irate lawmakers about how the two companies choose what information to show us and what they do with our data when we’re not looking. Worries over privacy have led everyone from the New York Times to Brian Acton, the disgruntled co-founder of Facebook-owned WhatsApp, to call for a Facebook exodus. And judging by Facebook’s stagnating rate of user growth, people seem to be listening.

    For Gabriel Weinberg, the founder and CEO of privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo, our growing tech skepticism recalls the early 1900s, when Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle revealed the previously unexamined horrors of the meatpacking industry. “Industries have historically gone through periods of almost ignorant bliss, and then people start to expose how the sausage is being made,” he says.

    Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo CEO and Founder

    This, in a nutshell, is DuckDuckGo’s proposition: “The big tech companies are taking advantage of you by selling your data. We won’t.” In effect, it’s an anti-sales sales pitch. DuckDuckGo is perhaps the most prominent in a number of small but rapidly growing firms attempting to make it big — or at least sustainable — by putting their customers’ privacy and security first. And unlike the previous generation of privacy products, such as Tor or SecureDrop, these services are easy to use and intuitive, and their user bases aren’t exclusively composed of political activists, security researchers, and paranoiacs. The same day Weinberg and I spoke, DuckDuckGo’s search engine returned results for 33,626,258 queries — a new daily record for the company. Weinberg estimates that since 2014, DuckDuckGo’s traffic has been increasing at a rate of “about 50 percent a year,” a claim backed up by the company’s publicly available traffic data.

    Just before DuckDuckGo’s entrance sits a welcome mat that reads, “COME BACK WITH A WARRANT.”

    “You can run a profitable company — which we are — without [using] a surveillance business model,” Weinberg says. If he’s right, DuckDuckGo stands to capitalize handsomely off our collective backlash against the giants of the web economy and establish a prominent brand in the coming era of data privacy. If he’s wrong, his company looks more like a last dying gasp before surveillance capitalism finally takes over the world.


    DuckDuckGo is based just east of nowhere. Not in the Bay Area, or New York, or Weinberg’s hometown of Atlanta, or in Boston, where he and his wife met while attending MIT. Instead, DuckDuckGo headquarters is set along a side street just off the main drag of Paoli, Pennsylvania, in a building that looks like a cross between a Pennsylvania Dutch house and a modest Catholic church, on the second floor above a laser eye surgery center. Stained-glass windows look out onto the street, and a small statue of an angel hangs precariously off the roof. On the second floor, a door leading out to a balcony is framed by a pair of friendly looking cartoon ducks, one of which wears an eye patch. Just before DuckDuckGo’s entrance sits a welcome mat that reads “COME BACK WITH A WARRANT.”

    “People don’t generally show up at our doorstep, but I hope that at some point it’ll be useful,” Weinberg tells me, sitting on a couch a few feet from an Aqua Teen Hunger Force mural that takes up a quarter of a wall. At 39, he is energetic, affable, and generally much more at ease with himself than the stereotypical tech CEO. The office around us looks like it was furnished by the set designer of Ready Player One: a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy print in the entryway, Japanese-style panels depicting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the bathroom, and a vintage-looking RoboCop pinball machine in the break room. There’s even a Lego model of the DeLorean from Back to the Future on his desk. The furniture, Weinberg tells me, is mostly from Ikea. The lamp in the communal area is a hand-me-down from his mom.

    Weinberg learned basic programming on an Atari while he was still in elementary school. Before hitting puberty, he’d built an early internet bulletin board. “It didn’t really have a purpose” in the beginning, Weinberg says. The one feature that made his bulletin board unique, he says, was that he hosted anonymous AMA-style question panels with his father, an infectious disease doctor with substantial experience treating AIDS patients. This was during the early 1990s, when the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS remained so great that doctors were known to deny treatment to those suffering from it. Weinberg says that the free—and private—medical advice made the board a valuable resource for the small number of people who found it. It was an early instance of Weinberg’s interest in facilitating access to information, as well as a cogent example of the power of online privacy: “The ability to access informational resources anonymously actually opens up that access significantly,” he told me over email.

    After graduating from MIT in 2001, Weinberg launched a slew of businesses, none of which are particularly memorable. First there was an educational software program called Learnection. (“Terrible name… the idea was good, but 15 years too early,” he says.) Then he co-founded an early social networking company called Opobox, taking on no employees and writing all the code himself. “Facebook just kind of obliterated it,” Weinberg says, though he was able to sell the network to the parent company of Classmates.com for roughly $10 million in cash in 2006.

    It was around that time when Weinberg began working on what would become DuckDuckGo. Google had yet to achieve total hegemony over the internet search field, and Weinberg felt that he could create a browser plugin that might help eliminate the scourge of spammy search results in other search engines.

    Weinberg bought a billboard in San Francisco that proudly proclaimed, “Google tracks you. We don’t.” The stunt paid off in spades, doubling DuckDuckGo’s daily search traffic.

    To build an algorithm that weeded out bad search results, he first had to do it by hand. “I took a large sample of different pages and hand-marked them as ‘spam’ or ‘not spam.’” The process of scraping the web, Weinberg says, inadvertently earned him a visit from the FBI. “Once they realized I was just crawling the web, they just went away,” he says. He also experimented with creating a proto-Quora service that allowed anyone to pose a question and have it answered by someone else, as well as a free alternative to Meetup.com. Eventually, he combined facets of all three efforts into a full-on search engine.

    When Weinberg first launched DuckDuckGo in 2008 — the name is a wink to the children’s game of skipping over the wrong options to get to the right one — he differentiated his search engine by offering instant answers to basic questions (essentially an early open-source version of Google’s Answer Box), spam filtering, and highly customizable search results based on user preferences. “Those [were] things that early adopters kind of appreciated,” he says.

    At the time, Weinberg says, consumer privacy was not a central concern. In 2009, when he made the decision to stop collecting personal search data, it was more a matter of practicality than a principled decision about civil liberties. Instead of storing troves of data on every user and targeting those users individually, DuckDuckGo would simply sell ads against search keywords. Most of DuckDuckGo’s revenue, he explains, is still generated this way. The system doesn’t capitalize on targeted ads, but, Weinberg says, “I think there’s a choice between squeezing out every ounce of profit and making ethical decisions that aren’t at the expense of society.”

    Until 2011, Weinberg was DuckDuckGo’s sole full-time employee. That year, he pushed to expand the company. He bought a billboard in Google’s backyard of San Francisco that proudly proclaimed, “Google tracks you. We don’t.” (That defiant gesture and others like it were later parodied on HBO’s Silicon Valley.) The stunt paid off in spades, doubling DuckDuckGo’s daily search traffic. Weinberg began courting VC investors, eventually selling a minority stake in the company to Union Square Ventures, the firm that has also backed SoundCloud, Coinbase, Kickstarter, and Stripe. That fall, he hired his first full-time employee, and DuckDuckGo moved out of Weinberg’s house and into the strangest-looking office in all of Paoli, Pennsylvania.

    Then, in 2013, digital privacy became front-page news. That year, NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked a series of documents to the Guardian and the Washington Post revealing the existence of the NSA’s PRISM program, which granted the agency unfettered access to the personal data of millions of Americans through a secret back door into the servers of Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, and other major internet firms. Though Google denied any knowledge of the program, the reputational damage had been done. DuckDuckGo rode a wave of press coverage, enjoying placement in stories that offered data privacy solutions to millions of newly freaked-out people worried that the government was spying on them.

    “All of a sudden we were part of this international story,” Weinberg says. The next year, DuckDuckGo turned a profit. Shortly thereafter, Weinberg finally started paying himself a salary.


    Today, DuckDuckGo employs 55 people, most of whom work remotely from around the world. (On the day I visited, there were maybe five employees in the Paoli office, plus one dog.) This year, the company went through its second funding round of VC funding, accepting a $10 million investment from Canadian firm OMERS. Weinberg insists that both OMERS and Union Square Ventures are “deeply interested in privacy and restoring power to the non-monopoly providers.” Later, via email, Weinberg declined to share DuckDuckGo’s exact revenue, beyond the fact that its 2018 gross revenue exceeded $25 million, a figure the company has chosen to disclose in order to stress that it is subject to the California Consumer Privacy Act. Weinberg feels that the company’s main challenge these days is improving brand recognition.

    “I don’t think there’s many trustworthy entities on the internet, just straight-up,” he says. “Ads follow people around. Most people have gotten multiple data breaches. Most people know somebody who’s had some kind of identity theft issue. The percentage of people who’ve had those events happen to them has just grown and grown.”

    The recent investment from OMERS has helped cover the cost of DuckDuckGo’s new app, launched in January 2018. The app, a lightweight mobile web browser for iOS and Android that’s also available as a Chrome plugin, is built around the DuckDuckGo search engine. It gives each site you visit a letter grade based on its privacy practices and has an option to let you know which web trackers — usually ones from Google, Facebook, or Comscore — it blocked from monitoring your browsing activity. After you’ve finished surfing, you can press a little flame icon and an oddly satisfying animated fire engulfs your screen, indicating that you’ve deleted your tabs and cleared your search history.

    The rest of the recent investment, Weinberg says, has been spent on “trying to explain to people in the world that [DuckDuckGo] exists.” He continues, “That’s our main issue — the vast majority of people don’t realize there’s a simple solution to reduce their [online] footprint.” To that end, DuckDuckGo maintains an in-house consumer advocacy blog called Spread Privacy, offering helpful tips on how to protect yourself online as well as commentary and analysis on the state of online surveillance. Its most recent initiative was a study on how filter bubbles — the term for how a site like Google uses our data to show us what it thinks we want — can shape the political news we consume.

    Brand recognition is a challenge for a lot of startups offering privacy-focused digital services. After all, the competition includes some of the biggest and most prominent companies in the world: Google, Apple, Facebook. And in some ways, this is an entire new sector of the market. “Privacy has traditionally not been a product; it’s been more like a set of best practices,” says David Temkin, chief product officer for the Brave web browser. “Imagine turning that set of best practices into a product. That’s kind of where we’re going.”

    Like DuckDuckGo — whose search engine Brave incorporates into its private browsing mode — Brave doesn’t collect user data and blocks ads and web trackers by default. In 2018, Brave’s user base exploded from 1 million to 5.5 million, and the company reached a deal with HTC to be the default browser on the manufacturer’s upcoming Exodus smartphone.

    Google knows that I’m in Durham, North Carolina. As far as DuckDuckGo is concerned, I may as well be on the moon

    Temkin, who first moved out to the Bay Area in the early ’90s to work at Apple, says that the past two decades of consolidation under Google/Facebook/Netflix/Apple/Amazon have radically upended the notion of the internet as a safe haven for the individual. “It’s swung back to a very centralized model,” he says. “The digital advertising landscape has turned into a surveillance ecosystem. The way to optimize the value of advertising is through better targeting and better data collection. And, well, water goes downhill.”

    In companies such as Brave and DuckDuckGo, Temkin sees a return to the more conscientious attitude behind early personal computing. “I think to an ordinary user, [privacy] is starting to sound like something they do need to care about,” he says.

    But to succeed, these companies will have to make privacy as accessible and simple as possible. “Privacy’s not gonna win if it’s a specialist tool that requires an expert to wield,” Temkin says. “What we’re doing is trying to package [those practices] in a way that’s empathetic and respectful to the user but doesn’t impose the requirement for knowledge or the regular ongoing annoyance that might go with maintaining privacy on your own.”


    In November, I decided to switch my personal search querying to DuckDuckGo in order to see whether it was a feasible solution to my online surveillance woes. Physically making the switch is relatively seamless. The search engine is already an optional default in browsers such as Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox, as well as more niche browsers such as Brave and Tor, the latter of which made DuckDuckGo its default search in 2016.

    Actually using the service, though, can be slightly disorienting. I use Google on a daily basis for one simple reason: It’s easy. When I need to find something online, it knows what to look for. To boot, it gives me free email, which is connected to the free word processor that my editor and I are using to work on this article together in real time. It knows me. It’s only when I consider the implications of handing over a digital record of my life to a massive company that the sense of free-floating dread about digital surveillance kicks in. Otherwise, it’s great. And that’s the exact hurdle DuckDuckGo is trying to convince people to clear.

    Using DuckDuckGo can feel like relearning to walk after you’ve spent a decade flying. On Google, a search for, say, “vape shop” yields a map of vape shops in my area. On DuckDuckGo, that same search returns a list of online vaporizer retailers. The difference, of course, is the data: Google knows that I’m in Durham, North Carolina. As far as DuckDuckGo is concerned, I may as well be on the moon.

    That’s not to say using DuckDuckGo is all bad. For one, it can feel mildly revelatory knowing that you’re seeing the same search results that anyone else would. It restores a sense of objectivity to the internet at a time when being online can feel like stepping into The Truman Show — a world created to serve and revolve around you. And I was able to look up stuff I wanted to know about — how to open a vacuum-sealed mattress I’d bought off the internet, the origin of the martingale dog collar, the latest insane thing Donald Trump did — all without the possibility of my search history coming back to haunt me in the form of ads for bedding, dog leashes, or anti-Trump knickknacks. Without personalized results, DuckDuckGo just needs to know what most people are looking for when they type in search terms and serve against that. And most of the time, we fit the profile of most people.

    When I asked Weinberg if he wanted to displace Google as the top search engine in all the land, he demurred. “I mean, I wouldn’t be opposed to it,” he says, “but it’s really not our intention, and I don’t expect that to happen.” Instead, he’d like to see DuckDuckGo as a “second option” to Google for people who are interested in maintaining their online anonymity. “Even if you don’t have anything to hide, it doesn’t mean you want people to profit off your information or be manipulated or biased against as a result [of that information],” he says.

    Even though DuckDuckGo may serve a different market and never even challenge Google head-on, the search giant remains its largest hurdle in the long term. For more than a decade, Google has been synonymous with search. And that association is hard, if not impossible, to break.

    In the meantime, the two companies are on frosty terms. In 2010, Google obtained the domain duck.com as part of a larger business deal in a company formerly known as Duck Co. For years, the domain would redirect to Google’s search page, despite seeming like something you’d type into your browser while trying to get to DuckDuckGo. After DuckDuckGo petitioned for ownership for nearly a decade, Google finally handed over the domain in December. The acquisition was a minor branding coup for DuckDuckGo — and a potential hedge against accusations of antitrust for Google.

    That doesn’t mean relations between the two companies have improved. As the Goliath in the room, Google could attempt to undercut DuckDuckGo’s entire business proposition. Over the past few years, even mainstream players have attempted to assuage our privacy anxieties by offering VPNs (Verizon), hosting “privacy pop-ups” (Facebook), and using their billions to fight against state surveillance in court (Microsoft). With some tweaks, Google could essentially copy DuckDuckGo wholesale and create its own privacy-focused search engine with many of the same protections DuckDuckGo has built its business on. As to whether people would actually believe that Google, a company that muscled its way into becoming an integral part of the online infrastructure by selling people’s data, could suddenly transform into a guardian of that data remains to be seen.

    When it comes to the internet, trust is something easily lost and difficult to regain. In a sense, every time a giant of the internet surveillance economy is revealed to have sold out its customers in some innovatively horrifying way, the ensuing chaos almost serves as free advertising for DuckDuckGo. “The world keeps going in a bad direction, and it makes people think, ‘Hey, I would like to escape some of the bad stuff on the internet and go to a safer place,’” Weinberg says. “And that’s where we see ourselves.”

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