James Miller


Friday, August 31, 2007

Ravi Bopara and Monty Panesar


Yesterday, the English cricket team dug itself into a hole of their own making and then from a position of weakness, they won the match.

Partly this was due to Stuart Broad, who emulated his father, Chris's, batting, but also it was due to the guts and determination of twenty-one year old Ravi Bopara.

Bopara is a Sikh, as is Monty Panesar, so that means that of the eleven players last night in Manchester, two were of that faith.

In that match, India also fielded two Sikhs.

So why should Sikhs have such a high profile, when they are not a common religion? After all their total number is only twenty-six million and seventy five percent live in India.

Years ago I met Jimmy Langley.

He was an officer in the Guards, who later wrote all of the definitive books on escape and evasion in the Second World War. I met him on a ferry to Zeebrugge, where he was selling and signing copies of one of his books.

In one he talks of two Sikh sergeants in the Pioneer Corps, who made the first home run from Germany back to the UK. In all the escapes from places like Colditz, why has this story never been told. Jimmy's reference is small as perhaps that is all he knew.

But it must have been an amazing story as two Indians crossed Germany. Or was it that they had so much confidence in what they were doing, that it was literally a piece of cake? If it was the latter, then it was a total tribute to the pair of them.

I've not had many dealings with Sikhs. But am I right in thinking that they take things to a higher level than most of us? You don't hear much about Sikhs being involved in crime for a start.

I looked up Sikhism on the Internet and two things stand out to me as an atheist.

1. There is only one God and he is the same God for all religions.

2. All people of all races and sex are equal in the eyes of God. There is total equality between man and woman and women can participate in any religious function and lead the congregation in prayer.

I may not agree with religion, but the second statement is something that I feel should be above everything else. I'd cut the God bit out and apply it to everything.

So good luck to Ravi and Monty.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Homosexuality in Animals


When I was at Liverpool University in the 60s, someone I knew did a PhD in Lesbianism in Cows.

I don’t know whether it was that person who said it, but according to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, there must be a mechanism whereby males can live happily together and females can do the same in our genes. Otherwise, if there was a shortage of one sex, then everyone would fight, no procreation would be possible and the species would die out.

We all sit on different places of the spectrum of sexuality and life is the better for it. I’m heterosexual, but it doesn’t bother me at all what people do with of course a few obvious exceptions.

I would argue that being celebate like certain priests is much more unnatural than being gay.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sentinel Steam Lorry


I saw this chugging its way along the A505 on Thursday.

Sentinel Steam Lorry

Wikipedia has more on Sentinel.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cutting Crime


A friend of mine, was a policeman in London for many years from the mid-1960s. He always used to complain about the amount of reports that had to be typed and how inefficient, it all was. I read now, that policemen on average spend only a couple of hours of each shift doing real policing, with the rest spent on an increasing amount of paperwork.

From my own experience, many other government ministries, local councils and the NHS, all seem to be drowning in paperwork, red tape and micro-management from central government.

Compare this to any well run company, that uses a fully-integrated computer/telephone/message system, has cut out large numbers of middle management and given responsibility to all of their people at the sharp end. These companies also can afford to pay better and consequently get the best employees.

That doesn’t sound like the police to me, who have ridiculous and incompatible systems, with each force having its own independent ideas. They have too many chiefs, who spend too much time writing pointless reports to each other and the average policeman on the beat has less and less discretion in what he can do.

No wonder there are so many places in this country in a mess.

So what’s the government’s solution to crime? ID cards. Pull the other one.

I wouldn’t like to be a policeman arresting a stroppy youth for not carrying his ID card. But they won’t do that will they?

They’ll only arrest law-abiding citizens, so that they can then show that they’re ticking the right boxes and that ID cards are working.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Adnan Oktar


It was pointed out to me earlier today, that WordPress had been blocked in Turkey.


This post from someone in Turkey explains it well.

I’m writing from Turkey and thought that some info on this person may be helpful.

Adnan Oktar is a religious zealot who launched a campaign against the Darwinian theory of evolution, maybe a decade ago. He has written a number of books, which, despite being worthless and even funny by scientific standarts, attracted the attention of religious people. In those fundamentalist circles, he is revered as the “destroyer” of evolutionary theory as the majority of islamists consider Darwinian evolution as a refuted theory thanks to his books.

As expected, his books and the ideas in them are worthless, mistaken, false, consisting of arguments refuted even by Darwin himself 140 years ago. Alas, he is a wealthy and powerful person, thus capable of reaching many people, by sending free copies of his huge books to every school, teacher, and university. Sadly, as the public he tries to reach is mostly uneducated, his words are taken to be the truth.

As a result of this, turkish intellectuals and those of us lucky enough to get a secular education, with an understanding of what science is, and what an argument is, are giving his ideas what they deserve. He is respected in religious circles, but ridiculed in the internet.

This person’s current strategy is to block all the sites which attacks him and his ideas. A few months ago, he made a similar move and blocked “eksi sozluk”, an open dictionary which is, in my opinion, a bastion of free speech in turkish online media, with more than 10.000 writers and about 2.000 entries each day.

Adnan Oktar is taking advantage of the gaps in Turkish laws on the internet, which are sadly on their infancy, to silence all the voices against him. Internet poses a real threat to people like him, where ideas are exposed, and people read them!

As a philosophy graduate who take active interest in evolution-creationism debate, and as a Turkish citizen with the ideal of freedom in the online world, I suggest NOT to cooperate with this person.

We will reach our blogs anyway.

Adnan Oktar sounds the sort of person, that the world has little need of, if it wants to progress.

But then most creationists, don't want to progress, but turn the clock back to before Darwin and the Beagle, and make us believe their utter drivel.

Ads on the Daily Mirror Web Site


I've just looked at an article on the Daily Mirror website.

At the side of the article was an advert for jobs at the Daily Telegraph.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sixty Today


Post is from Mallorca and I´m wrestling with a Spanish keyboard.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Heathrow Protests


They may have a point, but they are protesting in the wrong place.

The world must have a scientifically correct solution to the problem of global warming that everyone can accept. At present we add sticking plasters here and there and target the obvious.

We should increase all energy taxes significantly on a worldwide basis and reduce personal and business taxes to compensate.

Sticking to aviation, we should tax fuel and the Air Passenger Duty should be paid on a full aircraft to increase efficiency. Remember that modern 737s are much more efficient than their elder brethren, so taxing fuel would encourage airlines to renew fleets. Hopefully, bad inefficient airlines with old aircraft would go bust.

Short flights, such as London Newcastle should also be heavily taxed to encourage rail travel.

But we do need extra runway capacity, so that safety is increased and also to reduce the increasing number of people, who are avoiding London because of its problems. This will adversely affect ordinary non-aviation jobs in the UK.

A balance is needed. And one that is best for all of us.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Felix and Mick Dennis


I hear Mick Dennis regularly on Radio 5. He is unusual for a football journalist, in that he is also a referee, which gives him a very different insight into the game.

Generally I find his comments good, very interesting and insightful. The only problem I have with Mick is that he is a Norwich Supporter.

Today, I heard Felix Dennis on Desert Island discs. Felix came to fame over Oz Magazine and has since created a very large publishing empire.

Uncannily, their voices are almost the same.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Definition Of Calculus


This is from a school curriculum in Texas.

Students will examine the nature of God as they progress in their understanding of mathematics. Students will understand the absolute consistency of mathematical principles and know that God was the inventor of that consistency. Mathematical study will result in a greater appreciation of God and His works in creation. The students will understand the basic ideas of both differential and integral calculus and its importance and historical applications. The students will recognize that God created our minds to be able to see that the universe can be calculated by mental methods.

The subject is calculus. What would Newton or Liebnitz have said?

There is also a lot more of this twaddle at Millard Fillmore's Bathtub.

Evan Almighty


It must be a bad film, as it’s advertised on buses.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Taxing the Poor


The lottery is a great tax on the poor to pay for the things that the rich and middle classes can enjoy, like opera and football.

Here in East Anglia, there has been a large grant to create a new Fen near Peterborough. How many of those who bought tickets will go and say that they contributed to it? One or two perhaps.

I never gamble on any lottery, but I do contribute to good causes and especially those that the great and the good never support.

I also bet on horses, which is much better value and if you work at it, you can make a tidy profit and have fun.

So lets keep the lottery, so we pay less taxes.

Irresponsible Walkers


What in Hell’s name is that idiot walker doing on land with livestock when their is foot and mouth?

This outbreak was caused by a mistake somewhere and we must all be vigilant so that we don’t get any more mistakes.

I like walking, but at times like these I would never walk within a kilometre of any livestock. But yet again, this government shows that as far as it is concerned, the countryside can go hang.

Monday, August 06, 2007

High House Prices


The problem is that there are just not enough houses being built and this means prices go up because of supply and demand.

But then most people want their house to rise in price and the rest can go hang. Just look at the fuss last week about the short-stay home for the relatives of soldiers hurt fighting abroad. Most of their arguments were that house prices would fall.

How selfish.

We own a stud and have recently sold half and have needed to build a new stud office in old cart sheds, that were just held up by the woodworm holding hands. The planners have been a nightmare and you sometimes wonder if they don’t want any development. Incidentally, the locals haven’t made one objection.

So to get the houses we need, the planners need a good kicking.

But as an example of what could be done. On the stud we own a pair of the crappiest 1950s built single-brick wall semis on a large plot. Everybody would benefit, if these were demolished and perhaps four small cottages were built around a courtyard. Two we would keep for staff and two would be sold.

But planners would never let such a development take place, as if it happened everywhere house prices would fall.

We must build more. And I mean a lot more.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007



This post was prompted by a piece from Sathnam Sanghera in The Times. He is one of my favourite writers and is always worth reading.

My father had a practical attitude to race. He’d be 103 if he was alive today.

When the Nigerians and others started to move to Wood Green in North London, he saw them as a market to exploit. After all they needed his printing services just like everyone else. So by treating everybody the same, he got quite a lot of wedding stationery, letterheads and business forms over the years.

I always try and follow his principle.

In some ways something that seems to have disappeared is the celebration of being Indian or African.

For instance in the 1950s, a lot of African women used to wear the colourful tribal dress. They don’t now and I smile when I occasionally see the brilliant colours, as it makes us all feel better. At about the same time my mother had her varicose veins done at Highlands Hospital in Winchmore Hill. The surgeon was a woman and Indian, and she used to do her rounds in a sari. My parents thought it exotic, but not the least bit wrong and the surgeon did a good job.

In fact, it is sad that saris seem to have disappeared from the workplace. I used to work with a thirty-something Indian woman engineer in the early 1970s and she would wear one a few times a month. And especially, if we were all going out to celebrate something. (We did that a lot more often then.) She also told us all about the practicality of the garment and why it had evolved the way it had. Sadly, I’ve forgotten her lessons.

In that office we also had an ex-Indian Air Force squadron leader, who was almost a caricature of Biggles, with a rather large sense of humour.

We need more of the practical and less of the nit-picking.