Category Archives: Science and Engineering

Perverted Science and mineral water

David Davis

Having “done” tobacco, being in the process of killing alcohol, and with sugar almost lynched, what are the GramscoFabiaNazi slave-resouces-management-prescription-directors starting on now? Water of course.

The level of scientific understanding of both the journo and a number of the commenters is frightening to behold.

Attention Economy

by Nick Land
Attention Economy

rkhs put up a link to this (on Twitter). I suspect it will irritate almost everyone reading this, but it’s worth pushing past that. Even the irritation has significance. The world it introduces, of Internet-era marketing culture, is of self-evident importance to anyone seeking to understand our times — and what they’re tilting into.

Attention Economics is a thing. Wikipedia is (of course) itself a remarkable node in the new economy of attention, packaging information in a way that adapts it to a continuous current of distraction. Its indispensable specialism is low-concentration research resources. Whatever its failings, it’s already all-but impossible to imagine the world working without it. Continue reading

Peace Through Superior Firepower

David Davis

Three and more decades ago, when the Libertarian Alliance kept “The Alternative Bookshop” in Covent Garden, we used to print badges that said useful things to people: rather as if we were Marxists-Turned-Upside-Down – in the words of one of my very perceptive and incisive University chums.

I call this badge to mind [I have kept in the Main Lower Library's Archive Of Objects an example of all the best ones we made] in view of the events of Thursday et-seq. If the Liberal Capitalist West was properly at “Defence-Stations” – and it is not – then it is quite inconceivable that the Russian dictatorship-Junta would even dare to contemplate thinking even privately of destabilizing Ukraine to chew off bits of it – let alone (worse) inveigling traitorous Marxist-sympathisers within Ukraine to do so as its catspaws.

Incidentally we also wouldn’t have more than a light regional but nugatory difficulty with “Islam”: which it is believed is a sort of mysogynistic pre-capitalist desert-survival-guide, but which most of its tacit adherents resignedly accept the Fatwa that it is a “Religion”. For the individual human costs of trying to “leave” it, as prescribed in its Book, don’t bear thinking about.

A major and exact historical parallel, in the same continent, is in front of our noses. In 1938 as you all know, this is when the Third Reich privately egged on the Sudeten-“Germans” under the fascistleftoid Nazi Conrad Henlein, in their efforts to dismember Czechosolvakia. In that instance a major reason was the intended confiscation of Europe’s third largest military organisation, plus the hijacking of Czech and Slovak heavy industry like the Skoda armaments-complex. The Czechoslovak Army alone fielded 43 divisions in that year, not counting its armour-capability.
Eastern Ukraine, as you all know, contains the major part of that country’s industrial and coal mining areas.

I leave you all to draw your own conclusions.

In the meantime, as War Secretary, I’ll ensure that all Anglosphere Nations that wish to “travel with us on the Rad Map For Peace”  – the proper one, not the US Democratic Party one – at the very least, are armed to the teeth, without any sort of restriction.
I’ll also be tearing up the Ottawa Treaty and denouncing it on behalf of the UK, for which I will have defence responsibility. It will be my decision, taken in the UK’s best interests. It’s no other nation’s damn business whether we choose to deploy “airfield denial weapons” or not, for example.

Reason is not the primary driver of Man

Reason is not the primary driver of Man

Robert Henderson

Man, at least in his modern secular First World form, has the illusion of free will. That is unsurprising because he is a highly intelligent and self-conscious entity with a discrete personality and an ego and it is natural for such a being to think that the choices they make are free choices insofar as they act without overt constraints from other people, their biology or brute circumstances. In fact, free will is an illusion not as a consequence of the constraints of human biology or the nature of the universe Man inhabits, but as a consequence of the fact that the concept is a logical nonsense. Continue reading

Meanwhile, in the half-light – to the left of and behind the enemies in front…

David Davis

It’s all very well to hail a small UKIP victory against the outer barbed-wire-entanglements of the British-Political EnemyClass. We know how to fight these people now, and in the fullness of time a regaining of a semblance of liberty is possible. Things can never be the same as they were, before the 20th/21st-century-Endarkenment irretrievably marred many things that were good.

But we might get them back to be better than now, although changed and glued together.

In the meantime there are some other really dangerous and wicked people out there, like this “Lierre Keith” impersonation of an evil droid in androgynous form from the Planet Tharg. It’s probabl that most of you people here know what’s going on in most Universities in the Anglosphere. For example, even in one famous and ancient Scottish University, about as far from London as it’s possible to get without falling off, there’s a module in the B.Mus. honours course covering “Music and Gender in contemporary society”.

A ray of dull sunshine is that this nonsense is probably not going on in universities in ChindoJapanIndonesIndoBrazilia: therefore it’s possible that some slight remnant  epiphanic  image of what Western Liberal Civilisation might have been like will be preserved.

Space: The Long Arm of The Law Really Isn’t That Long

by Thomas Knapp
Space: The Long Arm of The Law Really Isn’t That Long

Note: Inspiring essay by Thomas. The real effect of space colonisation will actually be felt here on Earth. In part, ruling classes are empowered by the lack of easy means of exit. Once people can run away to the Asteroid Belt, ruling classes will have to choose between lowering taxes and regulations and general oppression and losing their most productive victims. The rest of us won’t need to move an inch off the ground to feel the benefit. I suspect this is what helped make England free in the 17th and 18th and 19th centuries, and America free until the end of the 19th century – the ability of the put-upon to go elsewhere. I suspect this didn’t work so well for the French and Spanish because their colonies were centralised despotisms from the start. SIG Continue reading

Breaking Britain, and the vote-rigging that will go against UKIP (RIG FOR VICTORY)

David Davis

You all know by now that a pessimist is some one who is an optimist but who is also in full possession of the facts.

It’s probably too late to make any sensible suggestions for preserving a nominally-conservative (and not more than harmlessly-and-merely-nugatorially-socialist) United Kingdom. The GramscoFabiaNazis have realised at least one of their strategic objectives, which in their hatred of English civilisation and culture is to, out of spite, break up our country. Whether or not the ScotzNazi-Party manages to rig a majority for Scottish “independence”  later this year or not, the cracks in the structure will takes years if not decades to repair.

Not only do the GramscoFabiaNazis hate us – and for this too they could be called _racists_ under their own terms of use of their manufactured word – but they want to actaully destroy a nation, in public, in the GramscoFabiaNazi circus-games, while _FORCING ITS CITIZENS TO WATCH_ . I believe that the celebrated author Richard Blake wrote about events of this kind, in the “public games” in his novel “The Terror of Constantinople”.

Let the GramscoFabiaNazis deny this charge against them if they will. But you and I, and we and they, know that they know in their hearts, that I have spoken the truth on this one. It is their punishment delivered onto classical-liberalism: delivered for showing how they, the looters and moochers, were always and everywhere redundant, leeching and mooching and looting, upon the living bodies of ordinary working people and other humans.

The current open-season on UKIP, the general-media-assault on anybody even _thought to have been seen or slightly-heard_ saying something sort of-vaguely-not-PC_ goes on. Here’s a quote off Guido today….or maybe it was yesterday, who cares? :-

Marina Hyde on the pious left and UKIP…

“…all right-thinking people to the left of UKIP – from Tories to commies – are supposed to regard it as a triumph each time a news outlet’s exposé forces Nigel Farage to outlaw some  //_nobody_//  (my italics – ed) for a vile thing they said on social media three years ago. This, apparently, is a win, even though the evidence suggests it simply calcifies the sense of asymmetric warfare against UKIP out there in the unreachable spaces where all those rising numbers of people who are going to vote for the party are living their unknowable lives.”

Can you imagine how, if polling so far is correct, and if you analyse all MSM comment-threads except the Guardian and the Independent, UKIP will not sweep the board in the euro-elections, gain hundreds of “council” (whatever those are for) seats, and possibly get one or more MPs in 2015? Will the Tories have any MPs left at all in “The North”?

The “pollsters” all bend over backwards (sorry…) to emphasise how very, very, very accurate they all are, even if they say (very very slightly) different things, very slightly…er…differently…

It’s not what the MSM and LiblabCon can’t say: it’s the way it can’t say it…RIG FOR VICTORY.



Worlds before Our Own

by Rixon Stewart

Note: I read von Daniken’s Chariots of the Gods when I was ten, and was converted on the spot. A few years later, I read a claim by claim demolition. Since then, I’ve been sceptical of all similar claims that aren’t based on evidence I can check for myself. Too many of them are fraudulent or based on wishful thinking. On the other hand, there are oddities in the archaeological record that bring the established narrative of our early history into question. The Baghdad batteries seem to be real. The “nicotine mummies” suggest closer contact with the Americas in antiquity than is normally supposed. The opening of Ezekiel does look anomalous. I still enjoy ancient civilisation fantasy fiction – Lovecraft, for example – and Mr Blake’s Blood of Alexandria is soaked in von Daniken. Make what you will of the following. SIG

Continue reading

The FoodNazi farm-animal-Police dishonoureth us, doth bully us and yea, seriously degradeth us (from and old and unremembered tongue-twister)

David Davis

Here we see the Salt-Nazis regrouping for another attempt to either ration salt, or tax it, or both. As War Secretary of an incoming British Libertarian Minimal-Statist Classical-Liberal government’s first administration, I’m not especially worried about these people, for they will simply “have to go”. What salt is in what purchased food will become a matter for the manufacturing sellers and their buyers, as is good and right.

However, there is hope for proper capitalism still since there seem to be enough people still alive who are old enough to write stuff like the following:-

I have no objection against government offering advice and to an extent it is duty bound to pass it on. I don’t, however, go along with the tiresome narrative that food companies are evil because they deliberately hide toxic, addictive, additives to make profits knowing full well that it is killing their customers. Go along with that and one ends up demanding that the state should protect us by ‘acting’ against ‘Big Food’. It’s a trope that is encouraged by the WHO and ‘health’ activists, peopled as they are by those whose agenda is to use health as a tool for attacking western capitalism via global companies. Simplistic though it is, the idea of sinister corporations covertly poisoning populations to make money is a powerful one and seems to find sympathy with many people. I’m quite sure that in the ideal world as envisaged by the WHO and it’s cohorts that state food rationing would be the norm. Perhaps by manufacturing fears of ‘Big Food’ it will eventually encourage a demand for the state to control the food supply? Some might want this, I don’t know, but it certainly isn’t a world I’d wish to inhabit.

War and liberalism

David Davis

Statists and other varieties of socialist have more or less succeeded in making the planet as dangerous a place as the buggers can get away with. Liberal minimal-statism will never, ever be forgiven for causing useless pre-capitalist-barbarian intellectuals and poseurs to be fully redundant.

This article in the Torygraph caught my eye this morning, and filled me with forebodings concerning certain things that happened in Britain’s recent history. I regard event like WW2 as having happened “this morning”, sometimes, in the light of how I perceive the March Of Time.

It is in general not good to (as the late Osama-bin-Liner said about weak and strong horses) seem to be a weak horse. This is because that Man’s biological instincts and use of neo-English-social-rationality are not at all walking in step in the majority of populations, nations and races today, in contrast generally with how they are in populations inside the Anglosphere.

Modern “Democrat” US Presidents seem to be an exception, a sort of throwback to pre-settlement-primitivism, in which you Continue reading

Watch your arses (number-142a)

David Davis

A number of years ago, Richard Littlejohn wrote about the EU using this dreadful device in his novel “To Hell In A Handcart”. In his story, the people win. I’m not so sure about how reality will pan out.

Now, people, do you still want to remain in the EU after reading this? Expect the cars of all libertarian, classical-liberal and other anti-EU bloggers to be “remotely stopped” frequently.

Many years before this, in fact in about 1985, Bernard Adamczewski gave a talk at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, saying that the coming technological revolution (this was before the internet, remember) would free people from government tyranny. He seems to have become wrong about this.

(I know when it was, for I have a b/w photo of him and me talking there, on the wall of my Library. And I know which suits and tie I wore that year.)

Abstract Horror (Note-1)

by Xenosystems
Abstract Horror (Note-1)

On twitter @SamoBurja has proposed the silence of the galaxy as an undeveloped horrorist topic. He’s right.

The absence of any signs of alien intelligence was first noted as a problem by Enrico Fermi in 1950. He found the gaping inconsistency between the apparent probability of widespread life in the cosmos and its obvious invisibility provocative to the point of paradox. “Where are they?” he asked. (Responses to this question, well represented in the Wikipedia references, have constituted a significant current of cosmological speculation.) Continue reading

Armoured Libraries and survival of culture and law

David Davis

Various prominent British libertarians seem now agreed that The Endarkenment approaches. The signs have been increasingly clear for some time. The fact that liberty is the mother of order and not its daughter is inconvenient for those that mean to boot the vast majority of Mankind – except themselves – backwards, cruelly, painfully and hard into pre-enlightenment misery, starvation, disease and servitude.

Being a scientist myself by training and thought-modes, and therefore by definition not an intellectual –  I have never figured out why humans get to want to bring about – and worse, specifically for others than themselves – what I described above.

It always seems after careful analysis of their plans, that they would like to visit upon the whole of humanity what Churchill described as “the torments that Dante reserved for the damned”.

[Incidentally, I think that "intellectual" (the noun) is is a mere imaginary literary concept, applied by primitive pre-scientific mystics to themselves and their friends who still work according to neolithic non-tribe-male-skull-crashing theories of how to behave towards others, and are driven by emotion and wishful thinking. This may become the subject of another discussion, but perhaps I may accidentally have defined "conservatives" as definitely not these people. We shall have to see, when I have time to try to write something again.]

Various commenters on recent postings here have said things like this, and this, and this. In the darkness however, someone said this, and Continue reading

The Internet as Result of a Negative Feedback Loop Against Centralisation

By Mustela nivalis

In a comment under my post about how it was ‘the internet wot won it’, meaning that it stopped some insane thugs from insanely intervening violently in that nest of vipers which is called Syria, Sean Gabb wrote:
I keep asking myself what would have happened in July 1914 if we’d had the Internet. One thing for sure is that the idiots in charge wouldn’t have had such an easy ride to Armageddon.
The interesting point I think is this: Without WWI and everything that followed there would not have been an internet. There needed to be a longish historical phase of intense worldwide centralization before a decentralizing force appeared.

In 2010, we thought we’d bought a little time

David Davis

The disgusting Maria Miller is proposing state regulation of media, and, to cap it all, here in Britain. I have to admit that the only-narrow defeat of David Cameron in 2010 by the triumphant Gordon Brown – the real winner of that election – was seen by many of us as buying a little time, so that we’d not slide down quite so rapidly into the cesspool of socialism.

But it didn’t work out like that. I’d actually doubt whether even the foul Tony Blair would have put through such a measure. These sorts of things happen in Cuba and North Korea, not here.

I’ve not yet on this blog proposed my solution for people such as this. It is “voluntransportation”. It is for people that don’t like certain things the properties of free(ish) markets and free(ish) nations, and want to deprive others in those nations of the same things that they themselves disapprove of.

They are to be voluntransported to a place or places where there is nothing of what they don’t like and want to ban, regulate, ration or destroy. They can then be happy with each other. The first place suggested was the South Sandwich islands, where there is not much of anyting at all. So it would be very good and they’d have nothing to grumble about.

For mere regulators of the press, the penal-boats would set the voluntransportees adrift, about 100 yards off the “shoreline” (look at these) in boats made of newspaper. Preferably old unpulped copies of the News Of The World.

For GreeNazis, they’d be botted at gunpoint, off the gunwales of said boats, about 880 yards off (the boats will be very full and therefore large, and can’t “land” people in the full sense of the word there.) Some will make it, clinging to the frost-frozen corpses of those that didn’t.

The Intelligence of Erudition

by Robert Henderson

The intelligence of erudition

There is phenomenon which anyone who has gained a substantial knowledge of a subject may recognise: it is the point at which a qualitative change in understanding appears to occur, where connections are effortlessly made between disparate pieces of data and a general understanding of the whole emerges. This is not a conscious process but an emergent property of the accumulation of information. Is that IQ ability driven? It is clearly different from the type of ability quantified from the exercises which comprise IQ tests, but equally it is not the simple application of learned information to solve a problem. Moreover, the phenomenon arises with all types of data. Einstein could not have developed his theories without his learned knowledge of the way the physical world worked both at the level of his personal experience and through absorbing the scientific discoveries, thoughts and mathematics made and developed by others. Similarly, the mechanic develops an “instinct” for what is wrong with an engine through the experience of tinkering with many engines. Continue reading

Queen Elizabeth-the-Useless failed in the execution of her Coronation Oath. But I expect we will all cry sincerely when she passes on.

David Davis

I am not always precisely in tune with my colleague Sean Gabb, regarding the failings of Elizabeth-the-Useless. Although he is quite correct in stating that she _could have_ blocked Rome, the SEA, Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon at any time when these were issues. On any one of these – and the earlier the more chance of success – The Queen could have refused to assign her signature to any of this pretentious socialist rubbish, could have forced a General Election, and prevented the Franco-Collectivisto-Gramscian re-Nazification of Europe, saving her own subjects hundreds of billions of Sterling, not to say even trillions, in the process. We might even have got our managed-fisheries back before they were destroyed utterly (ask my father, who worked in the 70s for the MAFF, and who is now dead.). And at least up to Nice, she might also have got away with it. It would have been wise to resist early on.

But she continues to continue to soldier on, probably because she reminds the masses of their favourite great-aunt (I also have one, my aunty Betty who is actually a real aunt for I am rather old now and who even looks and sounds like the Queen a lot, and is only slightly older) or Grandmother.

As the Queen is old, and as she is a woman, and as it is not suitable to impeach or charge women for high treason – at least not “directly” – I would like to cleave to the position that “The Queen has been very, very badly advised, continually, for 61 years, in the matter of her constitutional dealings with the Continue reading

Justice for Men and Boys, and for the Women who love them

David Davis

I was alerted to their site, and what is a new political party, by William Palfreman,

a fellow libertarian and commenter on our stuff here and on facebook.

It is very important that the influence of the GramscoFemiNazis, a sub-lethal but injurious branch of the GramscoFabiaNazis’ strategic assault on civilisation, should be exposed, and eliminated.

At this time, I cannot say if GramscoFemiNazis will “get” their “own island” in the South Sandwich Islands for themselves, as perhaps Laurie Penny, an evil and tormented Wadham-educated man-hater (It wasn’t Wadham’s fault I am sure), would wish, on the South Sandwich Islands when all the nasties will have been voluntransported from here so we that are left cannot be further harmed by them. But if they did, then they can set up committees to decide “food sharing issues in an environmetally-friendly feminist context in this day and age”, which is to say: “who is to be killed, butchered with these rough frozen stones, and eaten, first?”

While looking for shooting stars tonight

I’ve just come back in from looking for shooting stars. My 10 year old daughter was with me, and together we saw 6 in half an hour. We also saw at least as many satellites. All on polar orbits. I’ve been stargazing on and off all my life. I remember noticing a drop in the number of observed satellites after the end of the Cold War. Now there are more than before, it seems to me. While we were outside, my daughter mentioned that her (state) primary school teacher (who trained as a secondary school maths teacher) had told her class that our sun is the largest star. My daughter had raised her hand and said that’s not right, there are loads of stars that are much much bigger (she’s seen comparisons on YouTube). The teacher replied, apparently: Not in our galaxy. Oh dear. I pointed vertically upwards to Vega and told her that star is one of our next door neighbours, you can see the Milky Way behind it. It’s about twice the size of our sun. Just saying.

I suppose it’s alright to mention that her teacher is female. She was, after all, challenged by another female.

Cosmological Infancy

by Xenosystems
Cosmological Infancy

There is a ‘problem’ that has been nagging at me for a long time – which is that there hasn’t been a long time. It’s Saturday, with no one around, or getting drunk, or something, so I’ll run it past you. Cosmology seems oddly childish.

An analogy might help. Among all the reasons for super-sophisticated atheistic materialists to deride Abrahamic creationists, the most arithmetically impressive is the whole James Ussher 4004 BC thing. The argument is familiar to everyone: 6,027 years — Ha! Continue reading

Ian B on the Crapness of Ants

Note: This began life as one of Ian B’s many attacks on Kevin Carson, but is surely good enough to be made a posting in its own right SIG Continue reading

101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe

 Note: No, I haven’t become a creationist. However, this is an interesting article that is worth sharing outside the circle of those already convinced. In every study of the past with which I am familiar, there are anomalies that are usually brushed aside or ignored in the standard texts. Every so often – the “tobacco mummies,” for example, or the age of the Great Sphinx – something seeps out before a wider public. But this hardly ever causes the experts to revise fundamental assumptions.

This is not necessarily evidence of dishonesty by the experts. One dissenting fact can destroy an entire hypotheses, and sometimes should be allowed to do so. But, when an hypothesis is supported by a vast and apparently solid set of evidences, it is often valid to set aside stray dissenting facts as some kind of observational error, or perhaps even fraud.

This being said, we can no longer take it for granted that any of the sciences is a dispassionate search for the truth. Learned men have their own intellectual, and sometimes financial, biases. We know that much of what passes for climate science is propaganda. Much study of mental illness may be an adjunct to the various modes of social control. For myself, though I lack sufficient understanding of the claims, I suspect that most physics since Einstein have been part of an attack on common sense rationality, and should be seen in the same way as Keynesian economics and modern art.

Whatever their underlying motivation – though so long as they follow certain basic rules of argumentation – challenges to the consensus should always be entertained. They may be true, in which case our understanding is advanced. Or they may be wrong, in which case their refutation allows us a better perception of the established truth.

As said, I am not a creationist. Even if the world is only a few thousand years old, this does not in itself prove the inerrancy of the Bible. Also, I see no reason to doubt the basic truth of the various evolutionary hypotheses. I suspect that the anomalies raised here can be explained within the mainstream hypothesis – assuming they really are anomalies. All I would suggest at the moment, though, is that the author of this article has not addressed the apparent distance of many astronomical objects. If he is correct, either the speed of light must be greater than 186k mps, or these objects need to be much closer than is generally believed. SIG Continue reading

News from the Paper Tiger that the Ignorant Claim will soon Run the World


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James Roger Brown
Sociologist, Intelligence Collection and Analysis Methodologist
P.O. Box 101
Worthington, KY 41183-0101
Last updated 09/22/2011

Check back frequently, I will be adding to and improving this page.

Suggestions for inclusion may be submitted to the above e-mail address. One high priority document has not been located. Between the end of WW II and 1950 Naval Intelligence created a classified archaeology report about prior civilizations on the North American Continent. Talk to your family members who served during WW II and Korea to determine the title and author of the document. I suspect it contains maps that we need.


Activating this Post Apocalypse Recovery Project begins an effort which there is no documented evidence has ever been done before in all of human history. The purpose is to manage information, knowledge and resources to minimize the intentional disruption of social stability caused by the engineered collapse of civilization and minimize the recovery time to develop new stable social processes among the survivors. There will be survivors. Continue reading

Did Darwin Destroy the Design Argument?

From The International Philosophical Quarterly, 28 (1988), 95-104.

Did Darwin Destroy the Design Argument?

James A. Sadowsky, S.J.

Richard Dawkins claims that

. . . although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.1

This is because Darwin presented an alternative explanation for the apparent design in the biological world. The apparent design is there not because somebody wanted it to be there but rather because of the operation of natural selection upon random variations. Dawkins claims that Continue reading

World without End

Note: The political and intellectual classes of the English-speaking world seem to have become a mass of credulous buffoons. What they are trying to learn from the Mayans is of far less importance than what we should learn from them. SIG Continue reading

Passive Smoking: A Review of the Evidence

All Party Parliamentary Group
on Smoking and Health
Call for Evidence

Smoking in private vehicles:
Comments on the Peer-reviewed literature

Imperial Tobacco Group

25 October 2011

Republished with permission by the Libertarian Alliance Continue reading

Francis Galton Has Risen from the Grave

by the Rev. Philip Foster

It looks as if a subtle campaign to rehabilitate Francis Galton is under way. Founder of Eugenics, he watered and nurtured this deadly plant which led to the Holocaust, on the way leading to the appalling treatment of ‘imbeciles’, not just in Germany, but in the UK and elsewhere until the last few decades.

If any of you saw Ch4 ‘The Queen’s cousins’ that will give you some idea of what I mean. A follower of Darwinism, his ideas were baseless nonsense, but much of today’s green ideology draws from this poisoned well.

The BBC Today programme had a sympathetic piece on him where claims were made that he more or less founded the concept of the welfare state, while treating the actual consequences of his work as a minor aberration.

Question for Blogmaster

Dear David,

If a person weighs 80kg-f, what is his mass? I want this for my new novel. I’d like someone with a science/maths background to take me through the answer, as I have always been rather hazy about the relationship between mass and weight.

Of course, my manner of asking this question makes it one not merely for David, but for the whole world.


Spaced Out – What is the point of Homo Sapiens in space?

by Robert Henderson

When I was young I was much enthused by spaceflight. Anything seemed possible after the Moon landings. The immense technological and psychological challenges which the incredibly hostile environment of space and all the other planets and moons of the Solar System present to humans seemed merely waiting to be swept aside by human ingenuity. Now I am old I can see that space travel and settlement is of very restricted utility or possibility unless startling scientific and technological discoveries are made, and if it ever became possible to move beyond our own system to other Suns such expeditions would contain great risks for humanity. Continue reading

Scientific Notes 18, Saving a Symbol in Social Anthropology: Why Libertarians Should Care About ‘Culture Shock’ (2011), by Edward Dutton |


This article will chart the rise and fall of the phrase ‘culture shock’ and its central component ‘culture’ in social anthropology.  It will argue that the term is ‘culture shock’ and the way it has been treated symbolizes the dominance of irrational ideologies in anthropology.  This can be noted in part of the well-known stage model but more significantly in the way that ‘contemporary anthropologists’ have been rejecting it.  The article will argue that they are not philosophically justified in their rejection and that their arguments are fallacious.  It will show that this rejection of ‘culture shock’ is ultimately underpinned by a form of anti-freedom historicism which aims to displace critical thinking with dogma and it will argue that continuing to use ‘culture shock’ is thus confronting this anti-freedom movement.

Scientific Notes 18, Saving a Symbol in Social Anthropology: Why Libertarians Should Care About ‘Culture Shock’ (2011), by Edward Dutton |

Reclaiming Anthropology for Science: A Libertarian Approach, Edward Dutton

Reclaiming Anthropology for Science: A Libertarian Approach
By Dr Edward Dutton


Scientific anthropologists tend to argue for the veracity of their approach and assume that the most logical approach will ultimately reclaim the discipline from postmodernists and extreme-naturalists.  This article advocates scientific anthropology but stresses that being logically coherent is only part of the process of scientific revolutions.  It demonstrates that anthropology is broadly in the grip of those who are implicitly religious—not rational—and then presents a libertarian manifesto on how anthropology—in practical terms—might be returned to the scientific fold.


The aim of this research report is to look at how scientists might begin to reclaim social anthropology from the anti-positivist and especially the postmodern tradition which has risen to some prominence within it.  The article is, I fully concede, a series of suggestions and possibilities but I think that advancing such possibilities is useful in setting-off what I see as an important debate abut anthropology’s future.  The arguments advanced are suggestions but they are justified because they attempt to answer a significant question asked—but as yet not satisfactorily answered—by scientific anthropologists.  Persuaded of the veracity of scientific anthropology, ‘Where do we go from here?’

Accordingly, this article is an exercise in practical philosophy.  Based on the premises that anthropology should be scientific—as we will discuss—in order to meaningfully assist in developing more nuanced theories of human nature and that it is potentially useful in this regard, and, moreover, the premise that civilization is required for science to flourish (see Popper 1966a/b, 1963, Sandall 2001), what practical action should be taken to return anthropology to the realm of science?

Anthropology and Science

Physical anthropology is the study of the evolutionary origins of humans.  To a great extent, this remains a science.  Social—or cultural—anthropology grew out of physical anthropology in the nineteenth century.  Beginning with tribes or folk life, it attempted to record and to scientifically understand what are commonly called ‘cultures’, often underpinned by a belief in at least partial biological determinism.  This discipline began by drawing upon sources—‘armchair anthropology’—but by the 1920s it was becoming accepted that anthropologists should engage in fieldwork (‘participant observation’) and so produce ‘ethnographies’ (see Gellner 1995, Ch. 1).  But it has moved away from its scientific origins.  From the 1920s, scholars such as Margaret Mead (1928) began to argue that all cultures are equal, can only be understood through their own terms (cultural relativism), there is almost no hereditary influence on personality (cultural determinism) and so the anthropologist’s duty is to describe and preserve the culture.  Cultural determinism was pulled apart by Derek Freeman’s (1983) refutation of Mead’s shoddy research in Western Samoa, which purported to show a ‘negative instance’ in terms of teenage angst.  This shattering of anthropological orthodoxy—by a ‘scientific’ outsider—plunged anthropology into crisis but, even by 1983, Mead’s form of anthropology was being criticised from the postmodern perspective as well.

Accordingly, there has developed a divide in social anthropology between those who believe that social anthropology should be ultimately underpinned by science—and so evolution—and the ‘naturalists’, who do not.  American anthropologist Lawrence Kuznar (1997, 176) argues that the discipline of social anthropology—even more so than other social sciences—has been drawn away from science and towards being a form of replacement religiosity.  ‘Anthropology must be seen to be thoroughly rent at this point,’ he laments, ‘with its own practitioners deconstructing it in an intellectual civil war which threatens to balkanize, if not totally destroy, the discipline forever . . .  Scientific anthropologists seem holed-up in defensive citadels while postmodern and critical factions have taken the field and are beginning to snipe at one another’ (211).

In his book, Reclaiming a Scientific Anthropology (Kuznar 1997), he provides ample evidence for this summary.  A ‘crisis of representation’ began, in social anthropology in around the 1970s in which all of anthropology’s fundamental assumptions came to be questioned and some have insisted that anthropology remains in this state of crisis (e.g. Rees 2010a).  Hymes (1974) criticised anthropologists for imposing ‘Western categories’—such as Western measurement—on those they study, arguing that this was a form of domination.  Asad (1973) criticised field-work based anthropology for ultimately being indebted to colonialism and it has been argued (e.g. Sandall 2001) that this has led some anthropologists to focussing on their own psychologies, and their fallibility as scientific instruments, more than their observations.  Andreski (1974, 109) might counter that this reflects ‘methodological perfectionism’ as does the essentialist1 demand that anthropological concepts be dissected in detail to the neglect of actual analysis.2  The instruments of physical science are also fallible as is a zoologist in relation to that which he observes.  Others drew upon the postmodern deconstruction of texts to argue that anthropology was ultimately composed of ‘texts’—ethnographies—which can be deconstructed (e.g. Marcus and Cushman 1982).  By extension, as all texts—including scientific texts—could be deconstructed, some anthropologists began to accept that reality itself was tenuous and only ‘within the text.’  Indeed, for anthropologists such as Wagner (1981) there is, in effect, no objective truth.  All attempts at constructing reality are subjective responses to the ‘culture shock’ caused by the cultural ‘other.’  Watson (1991, 79) is explicit that there is no objective reality.  Anthropological accounts are ‘constitutive of reality.’

Other scholars have pursued postmodern deconstruction by questioning anthropological categories.  For example, Rees (2010a) is sceptical of ‘culture’ because it has a starting point in history, plays down nuance, is static, and imposes a Western category on the other . . . but this is, of course, true of all categories of apprehension.  In the nominalist tradition, they are to be used cautiously if they are helpful (see Dennett 1995, 95) and to term such categories ‘reified’ or ‘essentialist’ is really a straw-man argument.  Equally to suggest that the changes since the 1980s have been so radical that culture is no longer useful fails to understand the broad anthropological definition of the word and that, for a nominalist, words can be malleable and employed as and when useful.  Some argue that ‘representation’ and ‘theory’ are problematic (e.g. Rees 2010a) but fail to appreciate that any description is inherently an act of representing and even language is underpinned by some kind of theory (see Gentner 1982).  They may counter that understanding arrives ex nihilo, in the break-down of fieldwork, but this seems closer to religious understanding than scientific (see Wiebe 1999).  And Denis Dutton (1999) observes that other social scientists reflect postmodern influence with scholarship that says very little but is verbose and makes use of intellectual-sounding jargon such as, in anthropology, ‘reified,’ ‘emergent,’ ‘problematised,’ ‘discontinuities’, ‘agency’ and so on3 as well as fallacious arguments, such as that ‘culture’ should be dismissed because it is old-fashioned or too popular (e.g. Barth 2002).

The problems with postmodern anthropology are fairly clear as Gellner (1992) observes.  Its cultural relativism is hypocritical, best summarised by Richard Dawkins (2003, 15) with the lines: ‘Show me a cultural relativist at 3000 feet and I’ll show you a hypocrite . . . If you are flying to an international conference of anthropologists . . . the reason you will probably get there, the reason you won’t plummet into the ploughed field is that a lot of Western, scientifically trained engineers have got their sums right.’  It is also inconsistent because it attempts to use the logic of Western science to question the usefulness of logical reasoning itself.  Its extreme essentialism—in radically deconstructing categories of apprehension—leads us to a situation where we cannot begin to understand anything so postmodernism, as Scruton (2000) puts it, takes us into a void of Nothing where we can understand nothing.  It is epistemologically pessimistic.  And as Bruce (2002) argues it makes many ideological assumptions; for example that all cultures are equal or that colonialism is inherently wrong.

Edward Wilson (1998) argues, in my view persuasively, for Consilience of the various academic disciplines.  In summary, he maintains that knowledge is reached both by fragmentation—in the sense of reductionism in order to gain purchase on an object of study—but also, crucially, by reconstruction.  We are witnessing an ‘ongoing fragmentation of knowledge’ (8) as we divide into innumerable subdisciplines and ‘consilence’ would consequently be positive for scholarship.  Consilence is metaphysical but the ‘success’ of science provides a strong case for its veracity and, indeed, Kuznar (1997, Ch. 3) gives examples of the proven success of scientific anthropology above its naturalist competitors.

Wilson (1998) notes that ethics, social policy, environmental policy and social science are clearly closely related domains yet they stand apart with separate practitioners, modes of analysis, language and standards.  The result is confusion with regard to the areas of overlap yet it is here ‘where most real world problems exist’ (10).  Wilson therefore argues that these specialists must, and can, reach an agreement on standards of abstract principles and evidentiary proof.  He then proceeds to prove how humanity and social science explanations are ultimately question-begging (and, in some cases, simply ideological) and fully make sense only with ‘consilience’ into biology and psychology.  Wilson’s idea has been criticised with critics citing a belief that a ‘rational society’ is not the same as a ‘scientific society’ but it has been countered that these critics then use ‘science’ as their ultimate model for a rational society.  Wilson has also been criticised for an idiosyncratic view of ‘the Enlightenment quest’ but this does not undermine the logic of consilience (Segerstråle 2000, 360-361).

Consilience characterizes scientific enquiry.  It must be possible to reduce research in a particular discipline down to the discipline which ultimately underpins it.  This is an important sign that a discipline is scientific.  ‘Science’ must also involve certain agreed characteristics.  Lawrence Kuznar (1997, 22) argues that these are the following:

  1. It must be solely empirical.  If a discipline is based on unprovable or inconsistent dogmas it is not scientific and if it places something—such as ‘empathy for informants’—above the pursuit of truth it is not science.
  2. It must be systematic and exploratory.
  3. It must be logical.  This means, in particular, that fallacious arguments, such as appeal ad hominem, appeal to motive or any other form of rhetoric must be avoided.  It also means that the research and arguments must be consistent.
  4. It must be theoretical, it must attempt to explain, to answer questions and, where possible, predict.  In this regard, it engages in nominalism and only cautious essentialism.
  5. It must be self-critical, prepared to abandon long-held models as new information arises.
  6. Its propositions must be open to testing and falsification.
  7. As it wishes to be falsified and as anybody can, in theory, do so; science should be a public activity.
  8. It should assume that reality is actually real and can be understood; it should be epistemologically optimistic.  Accordingly, it must accept that there is an objectively correct understanding of how the world works which can be discovered.

Rees (2010b, 900) has defined science as ‘thoughtful, sincere research’ but this is so broad that it would not distinguish science from art.4  If we accept Kuznar’s model of science and that anthropology, to be logically coherent, must be part of it then it is reasonable to ask ‘Where do we go from here?’ and this is how Kuznar (1997, 11) ends his book.

Religion, Science and Paradigms

Kuznar accepts that social anthropology has become dominated by what he terms the latter-day ‘religious’—those who fervently hold to inconsistent, illogical views, what Bailey (1997) terms the ‘implicitly religious’.  Despite the veracity of scientific anthropology, it has been pushed to the sidelines and, indeed, Kuznar observes that Kuhn’s (1963) model of scientific revolutions accepts that being scientifically correct is only part of a successful scientific revolution.  Once a new paradigm is widely accepted, a form of tribalism will rear its head and there will be a reactionary and irrational response—by those who have built their careers on the new paradigm – to those who attempt to logically challenge it, as observed in the reaction to Derek Freeman’s (1983, 1999) critique of Margaret Mead (1928) (see Freeman 1996).  Andreski (1974) and many others (e.g. Jenkins 2009) have observed the parallels between scientific practice and religion.  Andeski (1974, 249) argues that scientists should be ‘iconoclastic’—relentlessly tearing down that which is widely accepted in pursuit of the truth.  But iconoclastic scientists soon gain a cult-like following of scientists who wish to preserve the new status quo, ironically rejecting the very kind of iconoclastic scientist whom they have originally followed.

Kuznar makes various suggestions on what should be done but this involves little more than repeating that anthropology should be scientific.  This may persuade thinking, critical anthropologists who have only ever been exposed to naturalist or postmodern anthropology.  Kuznar may have rescued anthropology intellectually but he is not being practical.  Anthropology’s takeover by cultural relativists was a kind of revolution.  If Kuhn is right, it may take a counter-revolution to return it to science.  And if Kuznar (1997, 211) is correct then social anthropology is in a state of crisis induced by the postmodern critique.  This ‘crisis’ is, as is widely acknowledged, the most auspicious circumstance for a revolution (see Kuhn 1963, Goldstone 1980), whereby anthropology is brought back into the scientific-fold.  What can be done to hasten it in practical terms?

How to Create a Revolution

Italian revolutionary Antonio Gramsci diverged from Marx’s view that only if revolutionaries take hold of the means of production and distribution can they take power from the ruling class and thence take their place.  Instead, the ‘ruling class’ posit a ‘hegemonic’ ideology which ‘legitimises’ their position.  They then impose this ideology on the populace through their control of the ‘ideological state apparatus’—legal and political administration, schools, universities, churches, the media, the family and the underlying assumptions of popular culture (Giddens 1997, 583).  In general, the revolutionary wants to bring about ‘manufactured consent’ (Gramsci 1971, 215).  The revolution has been truly successful when the ideology ceases to be controversial but, instead, becomes regarded as common sense, as something that no reasonable person would question.  In such a situation, counter-revolutionaries do not—usually—need to be actively persecuted by the state.  Most citizens will regard them as at best laughable and at worst dangerous and treat them accordingly.

So, can such a theory be applied to ‘anthropology’?  With many nuances, I would argue it could be.  Anthropology (and many disciplines) is rendered far more complicated than a nation-state because it is increasingly international and beyond the control of individual nation states which are, in turn, influenced by transnational forces (e.g. Becher and Trowler 2001).  The ideological ‘apparatus’ takes the form of peer-reviewed journals and books, conferences, anthropology societies and anthropology departments.  In addition, the broader non-academic media is an important piece of the apparatus.  The way in which this apparatus works, in terms of power-dynamics, has been discussed, more broadly, by a number of scholars (see, for example, Andreski 1974, Martin 1999 or Welch 2009) and I will summarise their essential arguments.

Anthropologists can influence whether or not dissenting anthropology is published through the kind of peer-reviews which they write for journals or publishers.  As rhetoric-expert John Welch (2009) puts it, ‘Blind peer review can also be a way to abuse privilege.  Someone with a score to settle can do so by using the blind review process punitively.’  Or, if they are journal editors, influence is wielded through the ability to decide whether an article is peer-reviewed at all or whether, sometimes, to over-rule the reviews and this may even done for financial reasons.  As Welch (2009) suggests, ‘Malaria is more abundant today than it ever was, yet medical journals are more likely to publish works about Cialis or whatever other big-money drug funds the ads that keep that journal afloat.’

If they are asked to write books reviews, these can be used as attempts to smear and sink a book with which they disagree for ideological reasons.  Equally, conference organisers can control what kinds of papers are given at a conference.  Scholars will be nominated as reviewers, or editors, because of previous publishing success in journals and books and, indeed, academic positions which they hold, though they were may review papers only tangentially related to their area.  They will in turn be appointed to these positions because of their publishing success and will, if they ascend the academic ladder, be able to control who else works in their department, perhaps on ideological grounds if they wish.  In turn, they will be more likely to be published by academic publishers if they have published in the right journals, hold an academic position and, especially in the case of a PhD thesis, been funded by a prestigious funding body where funding distribution can itself be politically manipulated as can the process of the ‘PhD Defence’ or viva voce.  The distribution of funding is another piece of apparatus which can make or break research and influence.

Finally, a scholar is far more likely to be of interest to the media if he has published academic books and articles and holds an academic position or higher qualification, because these provide him with authority rendering any controversial statements he might make far more newsworthy.  Media coverage will, in turn, affect his academic reputation.

As Andreski (1974, Ch. 1) argues, a power structure is by its very nature conservative.  It is controlled by the dominant ideology and established academics and any challenge to this ideology, or the system involved, is likely to be a challenge to the life’s work, social position and even salary of those in control, a point which Westbrook (2008) makes about postmodern anthropology.  Accordingly, as Andreski (1974, 49) notes, the challenge may come from daring small publishers, less prestigious journals, scholars outside the discipline, popular academic writing and even from publishers and scholars in academically peripheral countries.5

Of course, in practice some pieces of the apparatus are far more important than others.  It is reviewers, writers and editors of the leading journals—and for the leading publishers and the most prestigious funding bodies—who have the real power over the most important parts of the apparatus.  Perhaps it is not unreasonable to argue that the real centres of power are journals published in the USA and Britain and especially American Anthropologist, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute and related journals.  The most significant publishers might include Oxford University Press and Harvard University Press and these might also be amongst the most important departments.

A counter-revolution involves advocates of scientific anthropology taking hold of these organs of influence by effective use of the influence they already have.  Scientific anthropologists should insist on teaching their undergraduates—as part of their courses—about the philosophy of science and be quite explicit with them about the implicitly religious nature of postmodern and cultural relativist anthropology, thus inculcating the next generation with scientific anthropology.  Equally, anthropologists could use their influence in departments to strongly argue against the appointment of potential colleagues who seem to advocate anti-scientific anthropology and employ their influence as reviewers to prevent the publication of anti-scientific anthropology literature and highlight the flaws of that which is published in letters to the editor, critical book reviews (specifically requesting to review books by postmodern anthropologists) and even articles for the popular press and on the internet.   

There are many possibilities for provocative articles in the press which could damage postmodern anthropology.  For example, all practicing anthropologists—or members of anthropological societies—could be invited to a sign a document from which no genuine scientist could possibly demure; stating that they accept scientific principles.  Failure to do so would then be publicly highlighted which would likely be damaging to the reputations of the scholars in question and their departments.  There may be philosophical objections to science but these are no more matters for anthropologists then they are for chemists if, indeed, social anthropology is genuinely a science.  In the Sokal Hoax (see Sokal and Bricmont 1998) American physicist Alan Sokal sent a lampoon of postmodern writing (Sokal 1996) to a postmodern cultural studies journal as a test to see whether they would publish it, which they duly did.  Similar lampoons could be sent to leading anthropology journals.  I suspect—and hope—that many would be rejected but some might not be and, if this occurred, media attention could be brought to this which would accordingly pressure the journals and highlight the fallacies of postmodern anthropology.

The Need for a Libertarian Society

But I would submit that the influence of postmodernism in anthropology is ultimately a reflection of the nature of the society in which the apparatus operate.  Andreski (1974) observes that the dominant discourse in social sciences tends to be the dominant discourse in society at large.  Though social science may influence society, in general it reflects the dominant ideology to a far greater extent than physical science because it is more difficult for physical sciences—with their greater degree of empirical rigour—to be hijacked by the implicitly religious.  Moreover, Gellner (1996, Ch. 1) notes that the various anthropological disciplines have been founded on implicitly religious ideas.  Nineteenth century Western anthropology drew upon the ‘Great Chain of Being’ to assert a racial and even religious hierarchy whereby the Northern European was, in every way, superior.  It was dominated by biological determinism, something which developed into a dogma.  Eastern anthropology developed in the context of small-nation nationalism, assuming that its purpose was to build a nation—accepting many elements of Romantic nationalism—and so preserve and document its folk culture.

Accordingly, postmodern anthropology is part of a broader cultural revolution where the apparatus of power—including politically significant university departments that relate to how we treat and understand people—has been taken over by those in the Gramscian tradition.  As such, scientific anthropologists should campaign, in all countries, for the form of government most conducive to science and I would submit that this would be one without a clear and lauded ‘ideology’ and so not a government in the implicitly religious Romantic traditions of socialism or nationalism (see Scruton 2000) let alone explicit religion.  This may be a form of moderate, libertarian conservatism and Kuznar (1997, 22) observes that science, by its very nature, is libertarian.  Nevertheless, a government of this kind – motivated by a desire for freedom—would not only defend the interests of science but would realise that postmodernists, cultural relativists and the like were ultimately a manifestation of the power of the opposition, of the displaced ‘ruling class.’  Intelligent lobbying would, therefore, be far more likely to persuade such a government that direct or indirect government-funding for research should be based on the degree to which the research is actually scientific.  Academics could be made to justify their research—according to the criteria outlined—and if it were not scientific (or broadly so by contributing to a civilization conducive to scientific practice)6 funding would be cut from the scholar and from the department until it would be financially very difficult to engage in unscientific research.

Moreover, any justification would have to include a summary—written in clear language—making clear the usefulness of the research for an academic in an entirely different area of study.  Evidence of verbosity and jargon would, accordingly, be extremely costly.

Libertarian philosopher Sean Gabb (2007) goes further in a broader manifesto on how to win back England from postmodernists.  He delineates in detail how to destroy—at great speed—what he sees as the semi-totalitarian state which has been constructed in England since World War II and especially under the New Labour Government of 1997 to 2010.  In terms of holding society together, he also implicitly argues in favour of some limited form of ethnicity-based identity (54).7  I would argue that his methods—such as abolishing almost all restrictions on free speech and association, guaranteeing these as unassailable rights and abolishing and destroying all the records of most government departments and commissions and generally making government insignificantly small by privatising almost everything—would aid such a revolution.  However, I would nuance his attitude to education.  He argues that once a libertarian government is elected—assuming it can be elected—all government funding should be withdrawn from universities.

‘. . . we should cut off all state-funding to the universities.  We might allow some separate, transitional support for a few science departments.  But we should be careful not to allow another penny of support for an Economics or Law or Sociology or Government and Politics Department . . . Doubtless, many students will be upset to lose their chance of getting a degree . . . bearing in mind the mixture of worthless knowledge and ruling class indoctrination from which we would be saving them, they would not suffer on balance’ (Gabb 2007, 58).

I would counter that lawyers are necessary in a society governed by the Rule of Law and this is the form of society which Gabb wants as opposed to totalitarian society where the law is enforced unfairly.  Also, all the departments he lists can make a contribution to civilization as long as they are scientific and this is why I suggest that funding should be withdrawn on a case-by-case basis in the manner which I have advocated, though as Gabb is suggesting action to avoid a counter-revolution perhaps such departments could be initially relieved of funding and the issue reassessed in less pressing times.  If universities were to receive no government-funding, then social science departments would be beholden to the interests of benevolent donors.  I would argue that this would only make them as corruptible as if they were beholden to the interests of the government of the day.  This is a problem, of course, but it must be understood in the context of the benefits to science of a relatively libertarian government.  It might be argued that if all government funding were withdrawn from universities then scientific research would likely gain funding from industry and the medical profession, paid for by the public, and so would continue.  There would always be a need for lawyers—so the Law would gain funding from the public and could be self-sustaining.  Such a situation might also see substantial cutbacks in higher education and a rise in ‘independent scholars,’ especially in history, philosophy and so on, whose research could not be corrupted by the desire for promotion and the like. 

And, of course, once anthropology is returned to science a counter-revolution must be prevented.  Welch (2009) argues for radical reform of the peer-review process such that scholarship is published online and continuously updated as it is constantly peer-reviewed.  The form of peer-review which is widely practiced, he argues, is slow, easily corruptible, reliant on a degree of good luck, most journals and publishers who employ it inherently restrict access to science (through expensive, jargon-filled publications which few people read); it is essentially a form of vanity publishing.  Replacing this kind of peer-review undermines the power-base of established scholars but it could only be done once the ‘revolution’ had occurred.  Prior to scientists taking control of anthropology’s major journals, scholars would be unlikely to follow Welch’s idea fearing their publications would lack impact and prestige.  As in my own case, they may also fear that they will not be read by other scholars and so fail to contribute to the debate or receive feedback allowing their ideas to be critiqued and further developed.  Accordingly, to introduce such an idea anthropologists would have to take over and shut down the competing journals.

But the problem is that—for the scheme to work—there would have to be some degree of ‘authority’ involved, such as that potential reviewers have PhDs (the provision of which is corruptible) or books published and that those that run the new system be respected experts.  And scholars will desire a way to sift through all the dross and academic books and journals provide such a means, if not a perfect means, of doing this.  They gain prestige by virtue of the calibre and influence of the people published in or by them and the extent and nature of their readership.  Perhaps this can be achieved by an initial insistence that any submitted article, no matter how bad, is anonymously reviewed in the traditional fashion by two or three recognised scholars, the suggestions at least responded to,8 re-reviewed and further responded to before publication which then occurs even if the reviews are broadly negative.  Once published, all scholars are invited to read it and anonymously send reviews continuously.  Following Welch’s vision, it might be difficult to find the best scholarship other than through a system whereby it was ‘liked’ or cited by eminent scholars, which would not be that dissimilar to what occurs now.  However, the system would make it far more difficult to abuse peer-review (by using it to prevent publication for ideological reasons) and would render a counter-revolution far more difficult.          

More than just ‘good luck’

Kuznar (1997, 224) ends his defence of scientific anthropology thus: ‘Anthropology should centre and orchestrate around a principle theme, the quest for understanding the human condition using scientific principles, yet be tolerant of the discordance that will, in the end, make it rich and meaningful.  I wish the best of luck to us all.’  I partly agree with Kuznar and admire his positive attitude and magnanimousness.  But he also seems to reflect the kind of implicit religiosity which I have highlighted.  Tolerating ‘discordance’ (by which he means postmodern anthropology, creation science and other shoddy research) may ‘in the end, make it rich and meaningful’—in that it forces scientists to be more self-aware and hone the expression of their arguments—but it may sink anthropology and science more broadly because some postmoderns are openly opposed to science.  So Kuznar’s assertion smacks of bien pensant prophecy.  And while anthropologists may need auspicious coincidences, wishing us ‘the best of luck’ doesn’t really help unless you believe in the genuine power of such blessings.

It may help in that it makes Kuznar and, perhaps by extension, other scientific anthropologists seem like very nice people and this, in turn, may make others more inclined to support them.  I’m sure Lawrence Kuznar is a very nice man and his book shows him to be an extremely thoughtful one.  But though being nice may help, I would suggest that the—albeit tentative and brief—manifesto I have suggested may help as well in ensuring that anthropology returns to a quest to understand the human condition and human nature through scientific means.

But, of course, it is tentative and I would welcome the suggestions of other scientific anthropologists on how it might be developed.  Perhaps one of the obvious problems is whether such action is in the spirit of caution and self-criticism which underpins critical rationalism.  Can scientists be sufficiently ‘sure’ to ‘act’ in such a decisive way?


(1) For Essentialists it is the task of science to describe the true nature of things and thus focus on the definitions of terms.  Nominalists are more interested in understanding how something behaves in different circumstances and they make use of a concept if it is helpful.

(2) As we will see below, this can be a useful means of suppressing dissident research.  A peer-reviewer can simply insist that a category that has been criticised by postmodernists (such as ‘culture’) must be ‘problematised’ in so much depth that there is no space—in the word limit of an article—to engage in actual analysis, forcing the scholar to either give-up on the article or the category which the reviewer dislikes.

(3) Interview with Denis Dutton (2010) with reference to Rasmussen (2008).

(4) This is a rejoinder to Dutton (2010).

(5) For example, Gellner was a philosopher before turning to anthropology.  Malinowski and Andreski were both from Poland but challenged British anthropology and sociology respectively.

(6) For a discussion of the necessity of civilization to science to Sandall (2001).

(7) A number of scholars (e.g. Salter 2006) have argued that some kind of hallowed worldview is required to hold civilization together in the face of those who would bring it down and the idea of a genetic extended family, and passing on one’s genes, is a prime motivator in any animal including humans.  This form, in effect, of ancestor-worship avoids stifling intellectual dissent—as in when society is held together with dogmas (see Benoist 2004)—but I appreciate there are difficulties with it.

(8) Of course, there is room for corruption here because the editor could insist that they have not responded even if they have so strict guidelines on what constitutes a ‘response’ would have to be drawn up and mutually accepted.


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Popper, Karl, (1966b), The Open Society and its Enemies II: The High Tide of Prophecy: Hegel, Marx and the Aftermath, London: Routledge, Kegan and Paul.

Popper, Karl, (1963), Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge, London: Routledge, Kegan and Paul.

Rasmussen, Susan, (2008), ‘The people of solitude: recalling and reinventing essuf (the wild) in traditional and emergent Tuareg cultural spaces’ in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 14: 3.

Rees, Tobias, (2010a), ‘To open up new spaces of thought: anthropology BSC (beyond society and culture)’ in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 16:1.

Rees, Tobias, (2010b), ‘On the challenge—and the beauty—of contemporary anthropological enquiry: a response to Edward Dutton’ in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 16: 4.

Sandall, Roger, (2001), The Culture Cult: On Designer Tribalism and Other Essays, Oxford: Westview Press.

Salter, Frank, (2006), On Genetic Interests: Family, Ethnicity and Humanity in an Age of Mass Migration, New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.

Scruton, Roger, (2000), Modern Culture, London: Continuum.

Segerstråle, Ullica, (2000), Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology Debate, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sokal, Alan, (1996), ‘Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity’ in Social Text, 217-252.

Sokal, Alan, and Bricmont, Jean, (1998), Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science, New York: Picador Press. 

Wagner, Roy, (1981), The Invention of Culture, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Watson, Graham, (1991), ‘Rewriting Culture’ in Richard Fox, (ed.), Recapturing Anthropology: Working in the Present, Santa Fe: School of American Research.

Welch, John, (2009), Academic Evolution, 

Westbrook, David, (2008), Navigators of the Contempory: Why Ethnography Matters, Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Wiebe, Donald, (1999), ‘Does understanding religion require a religious understanding?’ in McCutcheon, Russell T., (ed.), The Insider/Outsider Problem in the Study of Religion: A Reader, New York: Cassell.

Wilson, Edward O., (1998), Consilience: Towards the Unity of Knowledge, New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Thomas Jefferson on gun control

David Davis

I quote:-

Carrying of arms

Jefferson copied many excerpts from the various books he read into his “Legal Commonplace Book.”[82] One passage he copied which touches on gun control was from Cesare Beccaria‘s Essay on Crimes and Punishments. The passage, which is written in Italian, discusses the “false idea of utility” (false idee di utilità) which Beccaria saw as underlying some laws. It can be translated, in part, as:

A principal source of errors and injustice are false ideas of utility. For example: that legislator has false ideas of utility … who would deprive men of the use of fire for fear of their being burnt, and of water for fear of their being drowned; and who knows of no means of preventing evil but by destroying it.

The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. … It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse, and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons.[83]

Jefferson’s only notation was, “False idee di utilità.”[83] It isn’t known whether Jefferson agreed with the example Beccaria used, or with the general idea, or if he had some other reason for copying the passage.

What an extraordinarily articulate and educated man this was: I never knew. You learn something new and exciting every day, as you get older and older – I only looked him up out of interest as I was arguing with a student about the exact contents of the USA’s Declaration of Independence.

Libertarian Alliance Christmas Message 2010

What is liberty for, and why should people be free?

David Davis

Merry Christmas, ladies and gentlemen. May God rest you merry, and perhaps tight this year. Get tight while you can still afford it – for governments, specially this one, would like to think they can “combat drinking” by over-taxation, freely and cheerfully admitted to.

Well, this year, among other things, the awful and totally-unelected Gordon Brown zeppelin-thing-in-the-ether, foisted on us by Tony Blair and possibly his worst single act, imploded finally. We voted, and guess what? Nobody won, and the Government got in, again. This may be a good thing in the short term, in that the coalition can’t actually do anything to hinder people much more, let alone help. But strategically in the battle for universal individual freedom, we here are certainly no better off than before.

In fact, a little worse, for some of us like me and Sean see the Clock ticking…. We know that however relatively more slowly than before we are being marched to the living-gas-chambers of sustainable socialist greenery, and to the concentration-camps of more intricate and closer repression, the available decades of living people’s lifetimes in which they might do something to reverse The Big Modern Managerial State, are slipping away like sand in a glass. Time, literally, is running out for liberty in the UK for sure, and so it would seem also for other Anglosphere nations. I gather that you can get fined for speeding in Australia, if you are tracked by a police helicopter…I thought helicopters were foreign-policy-war-winning-weapons, for machine-gunning GramscoStaliNazi “freedom-fighters”, until I researched Australian Policing.

So, what’s wrong with liberty? Why exactly are we under assault? And given the seeming consensus ranged against individual freedom, not only among the governing Enemy-Classes of the world, but also among populations who you think should know better, what is the point of freedom? Why should people be free?

If slavery seems to make so many people happy, why should bother to resist? Why continue to accept the nonplussed opinions of our contemporaries? Why bother any more to bear their frank uncomprehension at our persistent criticism of statist ideas and outcomes? Why should we endure the perpetual status of outsiders and deranged wierdos?

We do have the comfort of course, of knowing that everyone else is mistaken. We know we are right: we also know there is objective truth, about why liberty is good, and all the alternatives are evil.

But, why is it that in the presence of large measures of individual liberty, Men seem to advance and the nett sum of human comfort – not to mention the absolute amounts of energy able to be deployed – go up? Along with life-expectancy, freedom from hunger and want for more people than before, and the like? And that the converse is true: tyrannies actually produce cars, such as the Trabant, whose specification actually _declined_ as the years went on?

The world must thus divide between those who think as we do, and those who think that progress is a zero-sum-game. We know that market-based co-operation of Men produces absolutely more wealth, able to be spread by trading and money. To do this fairly, money must be “sound”, which is to say: unable to be corrupted and debased by outsiders and agencies (such as monopoly government issuers, which see a way to “have more” to spend, on “projects” or on themselves.) We also know that we think the Enemy-Class knows that for one man to succeed, many must fail. That’s why they have abolished failure in education, schools, and increasingly, non-Olympic Sport. (They like the medals, you see, “for the People”….)

What’s wrong with liberty, as seen by our Enemy-Classes the world over, is exactly that it makes Enemy-Classes redundant. There can be no purpose in such a Class, so long as individuals can sink or swim by their own efforts and forge, or fail to forge, their own destinies, by their own considered efforts and also while happy to accept the outcomes as they fall. Furthermore, many of the Enemy-Class are against what they call “religion”. Specifically this means Judeo-Christianity, for they do not seem to be against other ones although I bet you 5p this will change, before too long, say about 5-15 years. And they’re only “against the Jews” because the “Palestinians” being exotic and phantasmal have captured the imagination of those that shape public perceptions, and also because the Holocaust has now almost faded from living memory, and Europe is returning to its traditional 16-century-old let-out of Jew-hating.

I give British Muslims until about 2025 before they suddenly find themselves physically inside real enclosures looking out, rather than outside the hegemonic-discourse-enclosure looking in. And it won’t be liberals and libertarians who put them there, it will be their erstwhile friends in the Political Enemy-Class, and they will cry “foul!” and there will be nobody left to speak for them.

As for Christmas? I always like to make the point that Liberty is not the daughter of order but its mother. For those libertarians who believe there is a God, well that’s fine, and I just remind the others that He gave Man free will, as a gift. OK, OK. We all know the concept evolved along with an ever-increasingly-ramified brain and the ability to comprehend self-hood, accumulate Memory, and use Learning, in the fulfilment of the brain’s biological brief, which is to “do what you think best in the next seconds of time, all the time, to keep us other cells alive, using what you know”.

As in 1.John i:- In the beginning was Order. Order was God, (which means God exemplified Order), and Order was “with” (which is to say “by” or “created by”) God. In other words, Order pre-existed everything observable in the Universe, which of course makes perfect sense to any good scientist. (The “science” is settled! Ha ha…) Now, we say that Liberty is Order’s mother, which is logical in a political sense and is always and everywhere shown to be true in history. This makes liberty the greatest of all gifts. So, all Men should be free, for in that state a civilisation founded on Order, freely arrived at, not needing “police”, or “cameras” or DNA datatbases, or other such low stuff, can arise.


Governments and price-fixing: pot calls kettle black

Michael Winning

I learn that supplies of heating oil are running low. Worse, we have this:

Charles Hendry, the Energy Minister, said that ministers would work with suppliers to ration supplies to make sure that customers could get through the festive period, and confirmed that the outlook was potentially “very serious”.

Pres Reagan said “the most dangerous words in the English language are “I’m from the government and Im here to help”.

Of course there are more broken promises and bribery in the pipeline (sorry) as in this:-

Chris Hoon, the Energy Secretary, promised that no customer would be without oil over Christmas, adding: “The Energy minister has been in constant discussions looking at any way in which those who need heating oil, and are short of heating oil, get it. That is absolutely essential.

Not helped by “moochers and looters” as in this:-

Pat Glass, Labour MP for North West Durham, accused oil suppliers of “utter exploitation”.

And Conservative backbencher Neil Parish, representing Tiverton and Honiton, added: “Isn’t it time you took on the oil companies and ensure constituents get a fair deal as many of my constituents have no choice but to have oil?”

I am learnng to be more careful about my typing.


David Davis

UPDATE: I note now. 16.12.10, that Iain Dale has handed in his cyberpress and has ceased blogging. It’s a pity: although nobody in his right mind would call Iain a libertarian, he writes well and knows which targets to assault.

The trouble with being retired is that you have so many things you have to do. So, writing has been a bit light, held up here sporadically by Michael and Sean Gabb mostly: they also have family duties and stuff like that.

I wonder if serious blogging is really, in the end, only for people who nobody much likes, such as those fellows at Labourlist or whatever it’s called? Or, else it is for those so powerful and prominent that they can make time to think (it’s not the writing, it’s the thinking that costs time) or have people to do stuff for them while they think/blog, like Guido and Iain Dale and that lot. I have worked out that the “half-life of a blogposting” is somewhere between 20 and 36 hours, depending on the prominence of the writer. This half-life is the time in which the “hit rate” (absolute new page views per unit time) declines to half the value it was at the moment when the first regular stopper-in noticed it. Guido is on about 36 hours. We manage around 20.

Or it’s for people like Brian Micklethwait, who don’t much mind how few or many read their thoughts, but have interesting things to say about cats, cricket, photography, buildings and finer points of liberal philosophy.

Sometimes too, I wonder at the state of the Political Domain of human endeavour, and consider what more it’s worth saying that we have not already said. There are only so may thousand ways you can justify your ire at the scumbags and fascist time-servers that blight our lives in return for taking all our money and using it to oppress us more….

….well, that was exciting…The LA tab I was on, just…well…disappeared right out of the browser, throwing me back to the Waily (“coalition” ) Torygraph. Lucky that WordPress had pre-saved a draft with most of the text on.

I’ll trail the Christmas message though: it’s becoming a LA-Blog tradition, and I’ll be starting soon to try to find time to think of something interesting and relevant to say about this year’s Enemy-Class-machinations. If any of you disgusting and dysfunctional reprobates would like me to talk about something in particular, please state so in the comments!

NOW…that’s what I call an idea

Bioluminescent trees.

David Davis

Bet you 50p you’ll see this at David Thompson soon, on Friday Ephemera….

UN Global-Warm-Mongerators…always wrong, all the time

David Davis

We’ve come to expect it, since they do it on purpose.


The pretence, of course, of appearing manfully to try to shore up a wrong position (although based on falsified data – a fact still not widely known or believed, despite the Climate-Gate scandal) is a good position for them to take. It makes them look like heroic, altruistic martyrs in the service of “The People”.

These droids are very, very clever, far-seeing, and have planned their strategic and fundamental assault on civilisation for a very, very long time.

WE must never, ever underestimate their resourceful and ferociously-focussed pursuit, in the face of all opprobrium, of their objective of irreversible enslavement of all people: this will be in a living hell encompassing the Whole Earth, where all except the bastards themselves will endure the torments specially reserved for the damned.

The GramscoStaliNazi long march to pre-capitalist-barbarism…


David Davis

The Knowsley Soviet, here in North West England, gains the “Gramscian-Education-of-the-masses Grand Challenge Cup”, for aiming low, missing, and also coming bottom. Mistakes this big, as Ayn Rand said, are deliberate.

And whaddaya-know? Boys “fall further behind”. Anyone who looks at any part of the British GCSE “syllabus” will see that it’s designed to demotivate males in particular. For example, there is a “topic” in the “Biology syllabus”, occupying about one whole term of “BY1A”, about the female menstrual cycle (in serious detail including hormone levels day by day) and coupling it (sorry, no pun intended) with “aspects of the control of fertility”, going into the days for “safe sex” and how, whether and why to use “artifical methods of birth control” such as “The Pill”. Seriously, some female biology high-school teachers spend a whole term on it. The feelings of boys in the class can only be imagined. I refuse to teach it, saying only “ask your mum”.

I do hope not, seriously.

Man is the Lord of creation: we must, however, stop the socialists from harming him

David Davis

I am groping at the Problem of Evil.

“Los 33″ have been rescued, flawlessly, in less time than estimated, from deeper than ever before. Not even a GramscoStaliNazi (or at least I hope not? Although I view these people slightly less orgasmically-charitably than Sean Gabb does) could grudge the thanks that first of all must be due to heroic and un-named scientists and engineers.

OK OK OK…I admit it….I’m a Catholic. It’s a fair cop and you’ve got me bang to rights, honest, guv, officer. I’ll come quietly.

But I also know with every fibre of my being that God never intended us to be barred from learning how to know, and then knowing, What Is In His Mind. Adam may be “fallen”, but as a scientist I am quite sure that God never meant to hide what He has Indicated to us, (“order”) through Science and Englineering, the things and stuff which might be available in the Universe, and which we could use on our orienteering-challenge to discover Him and understand His Mind.

Yeah-but-no-but…I mean…What else can there be for a sentient being to aspire to? X-factor? (I thought that was a 70s-USA-cosmetics firm, until I discovered other people’s interests…)

The things and stuff we could use? Like copper and silver and gold in the Atacama Desert. Who’d have thought, a mere 5,400 years ago, that you could do such stuff as we do, with stuff from the funny little molten streams of red-hot-thingy that flow from smelted rocks, eh, when you get the guys to jump up and down hard enough on their bellows? You could make axe-heads that would last a few hours rather than seconds, and…then you could remelt and reforge them when they went blunt! I think it’s marvellous, and worth every penny, and we’ll get to the Stars using it, some day.

Nobody’s thanked the mining-engineers yet, but I hope someone will. And the Germans who sent the steel cable: ought not someone to thank them too? The Chilean President, who seems like a good sort of bloke with whom one could have a drink in a pub (non-smoking, as is allowed under the present terms of discourse), might set the ball rolling – after all, he can’t fail to profit politically right now, can he.

Man may be tiny and insignificant as an animal. But his mind is a giant structure, entirely capable of demolishing anything that GramscoStalinism, and its wimpish and stealthily-gradualist little handmaiddroid GramscoFabiaNazism can put in our way. I do not know if all these nasty little post-renaissance socialist “isms”, which serve no purpose but to hold individual people back singly and in droves, are accidental artefacts of the Universe, or whether there is a Devil. As far as The Devil goes, I am an agnostic. It may be that the Vector Sum of all interactions of all kinds in the Universe is zero over its lifetime, and that it is “neutral”, and that therefore “evil”  minus “good” means that its angular momentum turns out to be zero.

But I hope that the P/L account, on the Last Day, shows a credit balance in favour of Order. Liberty is its mother, you know.

Unravelling the confusion and impending tragedy: what are the objectives of University Education?

David Davis

In Simon Heffer’s piece today, there is a groping attempt at a solution. He’s still a bit bitty statist though, and he’s always totally wrong and unsound on drugs (not mentioned here, thank goodness.)

Conservatives ought to know better by now

David Davis

Over at Guido’s place, someone called Tim Yeo, described as a “Conservative”, writes in the Guardian about increasing spending on “green” projects, such as windfarms and the like.

There is nothhing intrinsically bad about writing pieces for the Guardian, if that gets your rocks off for you. However, most liberals in the classical sense are more like classical conservatives than Guardian readers and contributors tend to be: they are also more skeptical than not, about the next neopastoralist-fad-religion such as GreeNazism.

Yeo of course, as you shall see, takes  one position where the placing of wind-farms is concerned if it benefits his pocket, and quite another where it will affect him personally regarding a particular one. This is standard GramscoStaliNazi behaviour and has been seen on countless occasions to date, in others.

I do not view these people while wearing quite the same charity-tinted glasses through which dear Sean Gabb looks, when he talks of the Enemy-Class. The extent of his magnanimity towards them astonishes me. To my mind, there can be no really useful place for many of the “top people” in this group, once an approximately libertarian civilisation emerges and becomes self-sustaining.

Extremely funny pic

David Davis

This came by just now over at Legiron’s place. Perhaps it deserves a caption competition: we don’t seem to have done one in a while.

An apology withdrawn

An apology withdrawn, letter in Sun. Telegraph 22/08/10. 

SIR - Sir John Houghton (Letters, August 15), the former
IPCC Chairman, challenges the use of the quote, widely
attributed to him that: "Unless we announce disasters,
no one will listen." He insists he said (and the record
confirms this) that: "If we want a good environmental
policy, we'll have to have a disaster." This is a
distinction without a difference. Either way, he is
saying that the IPCC needs disasters to convince the
public of the need for climate mitigation. As someone
who used the slightly incorrect quotation (in my Bruges
Group book 'Cool Thinking on Climate Change'), I now feel
vindicated, and I withdraw an apology I made to Sir John
for misquoting him. 

Roger Helmer MEP (Con)
Market Harborough,

Simon Heffer on why accuracy in English matters

David Davis

No Michael, I’m not getting at you here, so don’t worry. Heffer, though, as always, is a model of clarity.

7 Planets found 127 Light years away

michael Winning

I just noticed this and thought some of you people might be interested.

But now for something nice

David Davis

I’m going to buy one of these.

Mine's a six-pack

Some very sad news

David Davis

Here, from the USA. H/t Samizdata.

Religion and liberty

David Davis

My younger boy had his first communion today, nine years after the other one who blogs sometimes on here. Unlike many other hard-libertarians, I see no conflict whatsoever between the profession of  libertarian ideas, and (with my hard-scientist-hat on) the hypothesis that the astonishing level of observed order in the Universe and its Laws of action _/may/_ be the result of what goes on in God’s Mind.

Creationists have tragcially got the wrong end of the stick. They take folk-tales like the Book of Genesis, written down as the Apostle Paul said quite clearly, “through a glass, darkly”, and try vainly and without hope of success to conflate their supposed meaning to overlay and explain observed reality. It will never work and will only lead to more ructions and maybe “rivers of blood”, but I hope not. Only if the socialists, who cleverly encourage these sadly misguided people for the useful idiots they are, manage to get all the lights turned out and the food-production facilities destroyed, as they wish to do.

The older one has no problem being a libertarian, while heading for a scientist of some kind who can also gig on stage with an electric cello or guitar, and yet can calmly stroll up to the Priest  in Mass. Perhaps the younger will be as lucky. Perhaps this intellectual integration can only be properly accomplished in the Anglosphere?

…that GCSE stuff’s not a “science paper”…THIS is a Science paper!

David Davis

A little time ago I published a recommended High School Science test paper, designed to better prepare those who were planning to pursue Natural Sciences of all kinds at a “University”. It’s been revisedf a little:-

Improved science paper for GCSE, devised by David Davis for the Libertarian Alliance, a free-market, civil liberties and Classical liberal education think-tank and publishing house in London, originally issued in Sept 2009.



1                                            Estimate the DC current, flowing in a one-turn copper coil which follows the earth’s equator, which would cancel the Earth’s magnetic field at either pole. (Take the horizontal component of field at lat 86o 30` N and longitude approx 30o W to be 0.18 gauss: vertical component = 0.9 gauss. State the relationship between the c.g.s Gauss unit and the MKS Telsa unit.)

2                                            Calculate the cross-sectional area of a square copper turn, smoothed and unblacked but not polished, and fully suspended, whose surface temperature will not exceed 800 K in dry air temperature of 310 K. Assume the specific conductivity of the supports to ground as being 0.2 Joule m-2 sec-1. If the young’s Modulus of the supporting material is 50GPa, calculate the minimum cross-sectional area of each support assuming you place one every five metres of copper conductor. State how many supports will need to be ordered to circle the Earth at your designated line, and, in still air, their minimum height to prevent the ground temperature rising more than 5 K.

3                                            Calculate the gravitational field strength existing between the Milky Way and a hypothetical galaxy 13 billion LY away. Use 2E42 Kg for the mass of the Milky Way: make an informed estimate of the mass of your further galaxy, stating clearly any assumptions you have made. Using your figures thus obtained, and your informed estimate of the mass of Galaxy M31 whose data regarding mass, position and relative speed you already will know, decide where approximately to place your spacecraft so that the resultant vector of gravitational forces from the three galaxies on it is zero, assuming no other interactions.

4                                            Estimate the cross-sectional area of each of two Duct-tape fixtures, (tape is of 48mm width and 0.5mm thickness) applied always parallel to the direction of force, which would be required to separate reliably two opposite charges of 1C each at a distance of one meter in free Space. (Young’s Modulus of Duck Tape is assumed to be 4E9 Pa.)

5                                            Estimate the number of moles of human DNA on the Earth as of now, its total estimated mass, and the molar mass of human DNA. (Assume that one haploid human genome, complete, = 1 molecule. Also assume that the mean volume of all human cells is about 1.9 picoLitres.)

Ignore human gametes in this answer, but also estimate the total number of human gametes present on the planet at any moment. Use your knowledge of human population trends and age-band-statistics to derive as accurate an estimate for this number as possible, differentiating male from female gametes. State the assumptions you have made about the relative frequency of each gamete.

6                                            Calculate the reduction in heat capacity of the Gulf Stream over a calendar year, caused by a wind farm of 10,000 turbines directly in the path of the airstreams above it at latitude 55oN, each turbine having an installed generating output of 100Kw, at a height of 100M and operating at a 16% duty cycle. Use your own knowledge of geography, natural climate movements, astronomy, the heat capacities of water and moist air. (You may assume that the Sun’s radiated power output is about 3.92E26 Watts and is deemed for this question to be constant.) Estimate the extra mass, surface area and volume of North Polar ice that would build up in the Barents, Norwegian and Greenland Seas in one year, assuming that no other areas are affected, as a result of this set of turbines. (For quickness of solution, assume polar ice above latitude 65 radiates IR into space at 25 Watts/M2 at all temperatures above 230K.) Specific heat capacity of water in liquid phase = 4.18KJ per Kg per degree K.

7                                            You are to deliver a shell weighing 1.5 imperial tons, at a range of 60 miles, from a barrel of diameter 460mm, at a target at the same elevation as the emplacement. (g = 9.81m/s2) Devise a suitable mathematical model from which the answers could be derived, and then calculate, in no particular order:

(a)   The barrel length

(b)  The time of flight

(c)  The maximum height reached by the projectile

(d)  The required muzzle velocity at 40o barrel elevation

(e)   The mean gas pressure (assume uniform) in the barrel

(f)    The acceleration of the projectile in the barrel

(g)  The muzzle velocity (you may neglect air resistance for this question.)

8                                            Calculate the number of 25Kg sacks of rice that would be required, and also the total volume of rice grains in cubic miles, if the Great King had been able to grant the wish of the Resident-Court-Mathematician who had invented Chess for him. The inventor asked for “one grain of rice on the first square, two on the second, four on the third, eight on the fourth, sixteen on the fifth…..”. Assume a grain of rice is a cylinder of length 7mm and diameter 1.25mm and that they pack approximately efficiently. State your grain-packing-density assumptions in your answer.

If the sacks used above are made of polythene, and must be 850 microns thick, estimate the area of film to be manufactured including excess cutting-flash needed on the packing lines, this amount’s mass, and the number of barrels of Saudi Heavy Crude that may have been used to make it. Use your knowledge of thermal cracking procedures, the mean composition of linear alkanes in Saudi heavy Crude, and also of the average mass of a “barrel” and how much of this is realistically convertible into monomers for this question’s use. Density of polythene (MDPE type) is about 0.932 g/cm3.

9   Calculate the rate of change of mean global temperature, stating in which direction it will move, if unbroken polar ice caps cover the Earth down to latitudes 50 North and 50 South. Assume the boundary is a straight line in both cases. State what percentage (to 3sf) of the earth’s current land area would have to be moved by tectonic drifting to be below latitudes 50N/50S, to bring about the cooling you have calculated.