Pizzagate true or false? Verdict: likely both a real scandal AND fake news.

I’ve been hearing about “Pizzagate” for a while. Reading another tweet without hearing any media commentary I decided to try to have a look to find out how convincing, if at all, the “evidence” was.

The first thing I notice is that it’s pretty difficult to find any websites that are putting the case for Pizzagate being real. This is the typical censorship that we get from Google and their ilk. Continue reading

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Do Braided Rivers exist?

According to all the hydrology textbooks there exist three types of river that can be defined according to the topology of their channels: straight meandering and braided:

Channel+Types +braided,+meandering,+straight

That sounds very clear and simple enough, But it all started going pear shaped when I tried to understand why braided rivers form: because if they are a unique form of river, then there ought to be something causing them.

However, as the following shows, there is no clear cut change from a meandering to a braided river. Instead natural rivers exist in a variety of forms, the same river often appearing meandering with islands, but also the individual channels within a “braided” river meander:

1121RiversB&M

 

I started getting suspicious when I tried to pin down the supposed reasons causing braided rivers. And then it all stated getting very nebulous: Braided channels are most common in areas of moderately steep gradient (so steep), but they also occur in low gradients like Deltas (so not steep) and in areas of variable discharge (variable) but also in deltas where there is constant discharge (constant).

So as a last resort I went to Wikipedia: “Braided rivers, as distinct from meandering rivers, occur when a threshold level of sediment load or slope is reached whilst a steep gradient is also maintained” – that sounds as if someone knows what they are talking about. Except that doesn’t explain deltas. Nor does it explain any real river where the flow is constantly changing and with it the sediment load (in flood, most rivers have a massive sediment load compared to “normal” conditions).

And then it all goes totally nuts when you start looking at actual river like the Spey:

Spey

Section of the lower Spey in 2012 (left) and 2004 (right)

Here we see the same section of river, in 2012(left) and 2004 (right). From this we can see the same river is heavily braided in 2012, but in 2004 the same part of the river is now what would be described as “meandering” … that is unless we don’t look at the water and instead look where the vegetation is not growing. Now when we look at the lighter areas which clearly have flowed in floods, the river is braided.

But now let’s go back to the Wikipedia page and look at their iconic image for a “braided” river:

330px-White_River_5965Hang on a minute! If we follow the water – the river may have the odd island, but I think there is clearly only one main channel for almost the entire length shown. Far from being braided, the channel shown here is clearly not. Instead, what is really “braided” … if the word has any meaning … is the flood channel. Or to be really cynical, perhaps someone was told this was a braided river – and they put the photo in without looking at the actual river that was flowing?

But it is also very clear that what makes this channel shown above distinct is that the river fulfils the following condition:

Floods occur often enough and with enough destructive power so as to remove all vegetation from the river and its “flood valley”.

In other words, if the river flooded very irregularly, then for most of the time the land around the river would be covered in vegetation. If however, flooding occurs regularly enough so that vegetation does not have time to grow in between floods, then the land will be bare. Likewise, if the flooding is slow-moving water which does not disrupt the surface, then even if it does flood, the vegetation can survive.

However what I am finding looking at aerial photos is that if we ignore the vegetation and consider all levels of water, it is very difficult to decide whether a river is or is not braider. Take for example the following Google earth images of Cairo Ohio:

FloodIt is clear that the large elongated “island” (to a large extend defined by the channel) on the left is “normally” dry land. But in some floods in becomes an island – but in severe flooding it appears that the entire surface is under water and this “island” in the severest floods is merely part of the river.

So, how do we define this river? Is it meandering or braided?

But what about this river (below)? Here because the river bank has been built up (presumably to stop flooding), the meandering line of the river is clear to see. But it exists within what is a fairly straight river valley. As such, this would “normally” be considered a meandering river, but in flood, the flooded river is clearly a fairly straight river.

Straight_river

So, when you examine rivers at various levels of flood, the categorisation of the river changes. But if this categorisation “belonged” to the river, then surely it ought to be fixed and immutable? This has led me to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a braided river. Instead it seems “braided”, “meandering” and “straight” are descriptions of types of flow and all rivers to more or less extent exhibit all these features at various flows. So there is no such thing as a “braided river” only a “braided flow” – or level of flood. So I would like to suggest the following framework:

At peak flood all rivers are “straight”**

At peak flood rivers behave like a “straight” river (**as normally defined by hydrologists and in diagram above) in that they follow their river valley down to the sea. And what is more, they cannot be braided in peak flood, because the “braided islands” only exist because flood builds them up. And for this to happen, there must exist floods whose level are higher than the “braided islands”. So any “islands” in flood will be geological features that divide the flow and not braids.

At minimal flow all rivers are “meandering”

By definition, if the flow is a minimum, then the trickle will take the lowest channel and therefore because it takes the lowest channel, there can only be one.

In between minimum and peak flow, all rivers exhibit some braided behaviour

As a river changes from minimum to maximum flow, it goes through a series of states gradually filling up more and more channels until it overtops the islands in between to again become a single channel. As such a braided river does not exist as such. Instead a braided river is merely a state of flow greater than that needed for a single channel and less than peak flow.

Flows

The key to this discussion is that most river flows are highly variable. Below is a graph showing the flow of a typical UK river:

FlowGraphThis shows that around half the time, the river is below a couple of cumecs (cubic meter per second). But a few days each year it is above 10cumecs and at times over 100 cumecs. But conversely a few days each year it is well below “normal flow” – but that’s the issue! There really is no such thing as “normal flow”. Instead what we can say is that most of the time this river is around 1-10 cumecs – and order of magnitude change of flow is “normal”.

But there’s a similar issue with floods.

The above graph is pretty typical in that it shows a logarithmic relationship between peak flow level and frequency. And because it is the flow during floods that carves the landscape and river valleys, even a flow that occurs as seldom as once in 100 years can be the dominating factor carving a valley that formed in the last ice-age. (100 100yr-frequcency floods can have more impact than 10,000 years of 1yr-frequency floods or 100,000 “peak flows in any month”).

Discussion

The key thing is that there really is no such thing as a “normal flow” – particularly when we are considering flows that carve river channels. Because whilst everyday or every-month flows occur relatively frequently, it is the massive and infrequent flows that have the most effect. As such there is no such thing as a “normal” flow in terms of the “normal” effect on a river channel because it is the infrequent flows that normally define the river.

So what we “normally” see in a river is usually not the river flow that defines the river. So surely the river should not be defined by the water level at this flow!

The “normal” river it is merely a reduced flow that happens to fill the channel to whatever level it happens fill them at that supposedly “normal” flow. Thus the occurrence or otherwise of “braiding” is just the mere chance that the flow on the day the hydrology observes it happens to fill more than one channel.This is not what is “normal” in terms of the channel, but what happens to be the flow that day.

Channel+Types +braided,+meandering,+straight

 

Thus going back to the above picture a “straight river” is merely a river whose flow is such that it is constrained by the geology (such as the valley in which it flows) and not river hydrology.  A meandering river is a river whose flow is well below the level of the next higher channel. And a braided river, is one whose flow is above that of the “next lowest” channels, but not above that of the highest “braided islands”.

Now, we can say that a meandering river is no different from a braided river, instead in practice all channels are meandering, and at peak flow, they are merely curving slightly deeper bits of the river. The illusion of a braided river is that it just happens that on some rivers when we think the flow is “normal” that not all the channels present at peak flow will be both: 1) filled with water and 2) not linked together at the surface by the over-topping of the intervening “braided islands”.

ADDENDUM

The main reason I post is to try to set my thoughts out – and help me think through problems. After I posted I realised that if the river at low flows contained a lot of sediment and tended to deposit material, then the deepest channels would tend to infill thereby equalising the depths and so encouraging water to take several channels at once.

That therefore would suggest rivers that appear braided for much of the time will be infilling deeper channels for much of the time with the result that the general profile is broader and shallower.

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What to do in a car in water

Have you heard the advice that if your car ends up in deep water that you should: “leave doors and windows shut – wait till the pressure equalises and” … well basically drown because that’s what will happen if you follow that advice.

I’ve been studying fording over rivers and as a result I’ve been watching many videos of river incidents. And I’ve come across these Youtube videos giving the “right” advice … but having watched 100s of incidents involving cars in water, I feel the advice may be less than helpful in the type of incidents that really occur. People do drown in deep water – but usually the incidents causing deaths start in shallow water where it doesn’t seem obvious to open the window, very few do so and the advice to “open windows if you drive into deep water” is not going to help.

The Myth of Equalising Pressure

The problem is that until all the air that can escape does so, there will be an inward pressure on doors and windows and this will jam them preventing them being opened. You would be able to open the doors when the last bit of air leaks out … but that takes so long that you will likely drown.

Myth Busters provides a very good demo of this. So lets see what does happen if you follow the advice of not opening doors and windows (a demo from mythbusters Adam):

Continue reading

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How to lose pounds (weight) with the Low-Carb diet

First I’ve got no medical training on diets and unless it works for a few others all I can say is it worked for me but no guaranties. But who are we kidding about the benefit of “medical training” on diet when we’ve regularly seen “medical advice” that turns out to be junk a few years later.

Diets

The key ingredient to any diet is to eat fewer calories than you burn through exercise. So obviously exercise is an important part of losing weight, because if you’re not doing exercise then you’re not burning the calories. However, whilst I went swimming for an hour at the weekend, I’ve hardly been out of my chair on other days.

However, the issue most people face is this: we eat more calories than we need.

But why? After all, there’s no evolutionary advantage to being fat and unfit! So why do  many people still feel hungry after they have eaten more calories than they need? I’ve come to the conclusion that a large part of the reason stems from three things:

  1. That many foods make us hungry. The really bad ones are sugary foods, particularly those with glucose and fructose (which I personally think should be outlawed or classed as drugs). This is because the small glucose & fructose molecules are extremely quick to pass through the wall of the gut and enter the blood, where they give a “sugar high” … the body then struggles to cope with the dangerous level of sugar and pumps out insulin which almost as quickly soaks up all the sugar then leaving us in a few hours, with a “sugar low” – and we get “the munchies” … the uncontrollable urge to eat more. And if that “more” is another sugary drink with glucose fructose – the roller-coaster starts again.

  2. Despite apparently eating vast amounts of calories, we in the west are actually eating too little food. The problem is that our bodies evolved for a very active life-style, one in which we would consume vastly more calories than we do today. But the nutritional balance of food has not changed much (in some ways due to quick-grow foods it is worse) and the result is that when we consume the right number of calories to maintain a healthy weight, we are literally starving – because enough food in terms of calories is not enough food in terms of nutrients. And that is made much worse when we eat low nutrition foods because we then eat enormous numbers of calories to get the needed nutrients.

  3. Some meat products are stuffed full with growth hormones (and anti-biotics) and whilst they make the birds and animals grow quickly, when these leak through into our bodies they will have the same effect on us (have you never wondered why kids are growing taller these days!)

Principles of dieting

All dieting (without a massive change in exercise) involves in some way eating less food. And there are two approaches to this. The first is to cut down on portion size or cut out meals, the second is to simply cut out something from our normal diet. Continue reading

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UK to leave EU with no deal

For a while I’ve been saying to anyone that would listen that the UK was extremely unlikely to come to a deal with the dysfunctional EU in a mere 2 years. This was obvious from the way it took the basketcase of countries in the EU 7 years to reach a simple trade agreement with Canada. Britain’s future relationship is much more complex and any sane person would therefore see it taking at least a decade if not many decades to finally come to some settled agreement between us.

However, it was always possible that a strong stable government with a huge backing from the UK populace might have the authority to push for their own version of an agreement with the EU. And I knew that whatever form that took, both I and a lot of other UK citizens for a variety of reasons would hate it. But that was the only agreement possible – something that a strong government pushed through despite much internal and external opposition.

However, there really is far too much nonsense talked about the need for an “agreement”. Because when we leave without an EU deal, we just revert back to the same rules that govern trade between the EU and many other countries. It’s not the end of the world, but instead will be a kick up the backside of the UK to stop looking inward to the land-locked and politically and culturally obnoxious EU and start looking outward to the rest of the world.

That however is now entirely academic – because there will not be any deal. And the reason is simple. The EU have agreed that:

no agreement on the EU’s future relationship with the UK would apply to Gibraltar without the consent of Spain (express)

Spain will not agree to any EU agreement with the UK unless the UK ditches Gibraltar … and that is something we will not do (unless that is the will of the population).

So Fuck of Spain
& Fuck off any EU deal.

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Britain votes for Easy Brexit

The UK has already triggered article 50, we are leaving the EU and in the face of growing support for leaving the EU no serious party is suggesting otherwise.

What was uncertainty is whether we’d get a deal with the EU … or to be honest, I was pretty certain we’d be leaving with a deal but that there would be high hopes on an imminent deal when we left.

But any such talk of “deals” has now been blown out the water by the stupidity of all the remainers who hang on to the illusion they could stay in the failed EU by voting Labour.

All they could achieve by voting Labour is to condemn us to the same economic and social failings that now plague the EU.

But it was much worse … because by voting labour, the remainers have shot themselves in the foot because we’re now heading out the EU the easy way … without any deal or any prospect of a deal.

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Madeleine McCann: A good way to bury bad news?

Anyone who was around at the time of “New Labour” knew they were a vile government epitomised by the way they tried to use 911 as a “good day to bury bad news”.  Thatcher might be thought to epitomise cold hearted government, but in reality compassion, like honesty and integrity were concepts unknown to New Labour. They made lying an art form and we are still suffering in the UK.

So I’ve often wondered exactly what Blair had to gain personally by given the McCanns a highly skilled Labour spin doctor to help them manipulate the media and create (unwarranted) support as was the “New labour” way of doing government.

So let’s see whether we can put the pieces together. First let’s hear the words from “Craig” who I assume was a British diplomat familiar with the case:

… Which leads me on to the question of why they received such exceptional treatment from British authorities, directed straight from No. 10, to the extent that Blair and Brown eventually gave them a PR representative? I used at one stage to be Resident Clerk in the FCO, a now abolished post effectively of night duty officer. I can tell you from horrible personal experience that the FCO deals with gut-wrenching cases of lost or dead children abroad frequently. I spent one of the most terrible three hours of my life, through to a cold dawn, on the phone with a hysterical bereaved mother desperate to explore any avenue that might give a possibility that the boy who had just drowned in Brazil was misidentified as her son. On average, I am afraid such tragedies get substantially less than 1% of the public resources that were devoted to the McCanns.

I am going to come straight out with this. British diplomatic staff were under direct instruction to support the McCanns far beyond the usual and to put pressure on the Portuguese authorities over the case. I have direct information that more than one of those diplomatic staff found the McCanns less than convincing and their stories inconsistent. Embassy staff were perturbed to be ordered that British authorities were to be present at every contact between the McCanns and Portuguese police.

This again is absolutely not the norm. On a daily basis more British citizens have contact with foreign authorities than the total staff of the FCO. It would be simply impossible to give that level of support to everybody. Plus, against jingoistic presumption, a great many Brits who have contact with foreign police are actually criminals.

The British Ambassador in Portugal, John Buck, had been my direct boss in the FCO. he was Deputy Head of Southern European Department when I was Head of Cyprus Section. He and his staff were concerned by contradictions in the McCann’s story. The Embassy warned, in writing, that being perceived as too close to the McCanns might not prove wise. They demanded the instruction from London be reconfirmed. It was.

I know of people’s misgivings because I was told directly. But material was also leaked to a Belgian newspaper confirming what I have said. It was published by the Express, but like so much other material which is not supportive of the McCanns, it got taken down. Fortunately that last link preserved it. It also shows that the FCO continues to refuse Freedom of Information requests for the material on the interesting grounds that it might damage relations with Portugal.

For the avoidance of doubt, I do not believe there was a high level paedophile ring involved. I make no such argument. Nor do I claim to know what happened to Madeleine McCann. But I do believe that the McCanns were less than exemplary parents. I believe that New Labour’s No.10 saw, in typical Blair fashion, a highly photogenic tragedy which there might be popularity in appearing to work on.

And I believe there is a genuine danger that the high profile support from the top of the British government might have put some psychological pressure on the Portuguese investigators and prosecuting officers in their determinations. (The Strange Case of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and the McCanns)

From this we learn:

  • That Labour misappropriated vast amounts of UK money to support the search for one specific girl something that they did for no one else.
  • Those close to the case cannot fathom any rhyme or reason to this massive labour interest.
  • That even those dealing with the McCanns did not believe them – so it’s that much more suspicious that so much time, effort & money went into “helping” them.
  • It was run like a typical No 10 PR effort: “I believe that New Labour’s No.10 saw, in typical Blair fashion, a highly photogenic tragedy which there might be popularity in appearing to work on.” That suggests the prime motive was “spin” in some form.

What then was the reason for Blair’s interest in this particular girl … or perhaps more relevant at this particular time as she disappeared on 3 May 2007

In March 2006, several men nominated for life peerages by then Prime Minister Tony Blair were rejected by the House of Lords Appointments Commission. It was later revealed they had loaned large amounts of money to the governing Labour Party, at the suggestion of Labour fundraiser Lord Levy. Suspicion was aroused by some that the peerages were a quid pro quo for the loans. This resulted in three complaints to the Metropolitan Police by Scottish National Party MP Angus MacNeil, Elfyn Llwyd (Plaid Cymru parliamentary leader), and a third individual who continues to remain unidentified, as a breach of the law against selling honours.

In March 2007 after both the police and the attorney general failed to obtain an injunction, The Guardian newspaper revealed that the police had shifted their focus from whether there was an effort to sell peerages to whether there has been a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. That clearly implicated Blair and there was clearly a strong possibility he would be prosecuted.

On the 20th April 2007, The Metropolitan Police hand over their cash-for-honours file to the Crown Prosecution Service. It is 216 pages long and has 6,300 supporting documents. The CPS says it will now review it to see whether any individuals should be charged with any offences.

Number 10 and particularly those involved in handing out the honours (i.e. Blair) must have been petrified. We don’t know how much pressure was applied to the police to stop the investigation …. but Blair’s team were not known for being timid in asserting themselves.

13 days later on the 3rd May 2007 with the prospect of a massive scandal engulfing the Labour party a little girl is reported missing in Portugal. In the same way that 911 was a good day to bury bad news, it is clear that Madeline McCann was a good way to blanket the newspapers with stories about this little girl and so smother the coverage of the Labour cash for honours scandal.

28th June 2007 – The day after Tony Blair left office as Prime Minister it was reported that the police had interviewed him a third time some time in early June, and again not under caution.

23 October 2007 – PASC questioned Assistant Commissioner Yates regarding the expenditure of the Metropolitan Police Commission during the Cash for Honours Investigation and the lack of subsequent charges.

I’m very sure that several people involved with the Madeleine McCann death avoided Jail by the skin of their teeth. The McCanns were used by Labour to hide their guilt over Cash for honours and in return Labour spin doctors returned the favour and buried the truth about Madeline in a torrent of press coverage.

All this time people seem to have missed the real story. Madeleine’s murder was tragic, that her muderer(s) got away with it is inexcusable, but the real truth is arguably far more horrific, because …

Just as Labour tried to use 911 to “bury bad news”, so it is my belief that they also cynically used the tragic death of Madeleine McCann to again “bury bad news” with the cash for honours scandal – and they got away with it.

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How politicians mislead the public

In yesterday’s article, “Politicians don’t lie.” I outlined the evidence that seems to refute the assertion we constantly hear that politicians lie. After searching for politicians who have been caught lying … and accounting for the huge interest when they do, I have to conclude that as a group they lie far less often than any normal person.

Today I will try to list specific ways politicians mislead the public (apparently almost never actually lying).

Continue reading

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Politicians don’t lie.

In this article I present a radical case: that politicians almost never lie in public. That is not to say they do not mislead, instead I make the argument, that whilst it can be argued it is a necessary part of the scrutiny of those in power, that the perception politicians lie, is part of the “fake news” agenda of the press.

I further suggest, that the media use the weakness of politicians to create this false perception of “liars” and that the press can only do so because the media will gang together to (try to) destroy any politician who seeks justice from the media through the courts.


Today I started writing an article about the nature of historical truth. And in that article I wanted to go through some of the ways people lie … so I naturally turned to what I assumed to be a group well known to lie: politicians and expected no end of lengthy papers examining the way they lie. In other words, something similar to “how politicians lie with statistics”, but focussing on written texts.

After several hours of searching, all I could find was patently obvious attacks on Trump from the majority of academics with an obvious political motive.

However, I’ve learnt something from all my time studying academia, and it is this: when there is an absence of papers on a very obvious subject dear to the politicised academics … such as a study of political lies … it will not be because no one did the research … it will be because they did the research and found that it either did not suit their politics (more democrats lied) or it will be because they failed to find actual evidence to back up the hypothesis that politicians lie.

So given the recent plethora of reports that Trump “lies all the time”, I have to conclude that academics were unable to find enough evidence of politicians lying to write a paper.

Or to turn that around:

academics must have found that politicians are actually very honest.

Continue reading

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Trump pulling out of Paris Climate treaty

Every so often history shows that humanity goes crazy. That happened at the Millennium when climate became a pseudo religion and academia was exposed by the internet as barking up the wrong tree on climate and additionally having no moral compass.

When I originally saw the Paris treaty – I thought it was a shambolic laughable document based on flaw science and with no real purpose other that PR.

As such, in real practical terms it mattered very little whether the US were in or not. But in terms of legitimising the fake news, fake religion, fake science global warming scam … it’s a game changer.

 

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