Well, there’s a lot of truth here

‘Devoid of personality’: BBC verdict on early Bowie audition unearthed
A new documentary reveals the scathing dismissal of the BBC Talent Selection Group on one of Bowie’s first groups, the Lower Third

That was DaviD Bowie as Davy Jones.

The audition took place four years before Bowie found fame with his eponymous 1969 album and the single Space Oddity. While the BBC’s decision looks comic in retrospect, no Bowie aficionado would suggest that his mid-60s output contained much intimation of his future genius.

I’ve said this before and there’s a truth to it even if it’s not the whole and entire such. He adopted a personality along the way. There’s much more of Bowie being an actor performing a role in each song – perhaps album, perhaps character across a few – than there is with most. Yes, extremely talented musician and all the rest. But an untrue but useful view is that he performed a series of 3 minute skits in character rather than was “Bowie.”

As to why, well, Davy Jones didn’t cut it, did he?

Seems sensible

Fracking laws on earthquakes could be relaxed to encourage more drilling, the energy minister has suggested.

Homeowners living near Britain’s shale gas sites may have to put up with more powerful earth tremors under plans revealed in a letter by Claire Perry.

The current rules can force frackers to down tools following even a minor quake measuring above 0.5 magnitude on the Richter scale.

A tremor of this intensity would be barely perceptible to most residents, but would register as a ‘red’ on the Government’s fracking safety traffic light.

It’s difficult to say that a tremor of that intensity actually exists.

Anyway, these rules were put in place to kneecap fracking in the first place. Want fracking, relax the rules.

This isn’t actually useless research

That doesn’t mean it’s an appropriate use of lottery money etc, but this isn’t useless at all:

A study carried out to investigate the so-called ‘Portsmouth accent’ spent more than £30,000 of lottery funding before it concluded there was nothing to discover.

Researchers at Havant and South Downs College spent 10 months examining the dialect of people in Portsmouth and any differences it has from surrounding parts of Hampshire and Sussex.

But in announcing the end of the project, the college conceded that had “not unearthed anything”.

The college was given £34,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund last year to investigate the city’s accent and discover why it was so different to the ‘country’ dialect spoken in nearby areas.

The Pompey dialect includes words such as ‘squinny’, which means to constantly moan and whine, and the insult ‘dinlo’, which infers stupidity.

Hmm, dunno there, I use squinny and I don’t think I’ve ever been there. Sisters were born there (Naval families, eh?). A reasonable assumption, one I’d offer absolutely no proof for, would be that some of those words move over into standard naval speech.

However, how the accent differs will be obvious enough. Urban accents tend to be faster versions of the surrounding rural ones. Tend note, tend. Twerton is a very fast version of Somerset etc.

As to the value, those students have learnt a great lesson. The vast majority of all research projects find nothing notable. This applies wider – the vast majority of all business adventures fail dismally. Failure is the modal outcome for all human adventures. That’s worth learning, no?

Political perspicacity

And, of course, there was the approval of Brett Kavanaugh. Even if he never committed a crime, that a person so deeply misogynist could be confirmed as a member of the US Supreme Court on the basis of a strictly partisan vote shows a break down in all the norms of decency that underpin representative democracy as the price of loyalty to a party that has lost touch with the most basic of respect for large parts of the population, and women in particular.

What is depressing is that this does not even seem like an accident. It appears very deliberate. And that to me stinks.

But it also suggests something else: it suggests that breakdowns such as this, grim as they are, can and, I think will, be the catalyst for the changes that are coming closer.

Of course I can misread mood, and I am under no illusion about the fact that the Republicans and populists in general have significant support, but what I think will happen is that a moment will arrive when anger will spillover and people will simply declare that they have had enough of being abused.

There is a chance that will be brutally suppressed.

Entirely missing why Trump/Brexit happened, which was “a break down in all the norms of decency that underpin representative democracy as the price of loyalty to a party that has lost touch with the most basic of respect for large parts of the population”. You know, the progressives deriding 90% of the population as hicks and rubes?

An email

Sorry Tim, I don’t wish to be offensive but I’ve looked at your web-site and given the conceptual resources you use (or lack of) there’s nothing you can say that would be of interest to me,

Note that he wrote to me.

Joyous

Welcome to the new world of what might be called inequality therapy.

In a hyper-capitalist world where advertising and financial pressures channel the drive for status into an obsession, no one can really win – even those who appear to have it all. Commerce infiltrates even the language we use to describe our deepest concerns: am I worth it? Am I valued? Do I count?

This problem is exacerbated by the market system because, Glantz says, it values a particular type of identity, one based on “achievement rather than on belonging”.

Inequality makes that harder to see as it unendingly promotes what psychologists call “materialistic values” that are harmful to mental and physical health. These involve prioritizing the pursuit of “money, status and image over things like family, spirituality, helping the community and just having fun”, says Tim Kasser, professor of psychology at Knox College and co-author of the book Hyper-capitalism: The Modern Economy, Its Values and How to Change Them.

The bit the idiots are missing is that a market system allows you to choose what you value. And pursue it. That’s rather the point.

An alternative theory

Size really does matter when it comes to fertility as a new study suggests men who are infertile are also less well endowed.

Having a shorter appendage was more common in men who were struggling to conceive than in those with other genital health problems. The research, to be presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in Colorado this week, is the first ever to link penile length with fertility.

It found that on average, men who were infertile were around one centimetre shorter than their fertile counterparts. Those without reproductive issues had an average length of 13.4 cm while those in the infertile group were 12.5cm.

Fertility is rarely a one shot issue.

Could be that larger – up to a size, an optimal one – just gets more shots at it.

This is a surprise, isn’t it

Mothers who give birth using donor eggs do not have the same connection with their babies as women who use their own eggs, a new study suggests.

Men who have children by AI might also have some similarly subtle difference. Anyone tested it yet?

For cuckolds do tend to have a different reaction. And all for the same reason of course.

It’s male rationality that’s the problem Love

Simply put, the research confirms that women recycle more, are more likely to support environmental regulations, know more about the scientific aspects of climate change and are more likely to express concern about its effects.

By all measures, men just seem to care less.

It’s not that they are engaging in aggressively anti-environmental actions necessarily; but on average they simply don’t appear as concerned as my female friends about excess packaging, carbon emissions, reducing plastic products, the zero-waste movement, or sustainability in general.

Some things are indeed important about the environment. Replacing all those coal fire plants with nice clean nuclear for example. Others are just wibble, like much recycling, or positively counterproductive, like using salmonella infested cloth bags instead of one use plastic.

It could also be true that men are simply uncaring thugs. But that’s a choice, a distinction, that should be made by examining the evidence. Or is that sort of logic too male in this discussion?

This seems entirely sensible

I’ve been married 27 years to a man I love very much. We’d always been happy and our sex life was passionate until 10 years ago, when he announced he wanted to live as a woman. There was no warning, no discussion, and I was shell-shocked; I told him that were he to have surgery, the marriage would be over.

We eventually arrived at a truce, whereby he agreed not to have surgery and I am trying to live with the way he presents himself, which is stereotypically female – using makeup, dresses, tights and a bra. I find this hard to deal with; although I was very attracted to my partner as a man, I find it impossible to be attracted to him as a woman.

I also recall a journalist (HuffPo? Verge? Summat) who had been a woman living with her wife and transitioned to male. The wife then took a girlfriend.

Maybe, you know, the wife was a lesbian who didn’t find men attractive? Possible?

Well now

It was also imperative to understand how the previous rulers of our land had presented this subjugation as normal, natural and benign; how they had been covertly selling us an American model of success and consumer affluence as the false solution to poverty and misdevelopment.

I’ve always thought that getting rich was a damn good cure for poverty.

You’re not going to like the effects of this

Millionaire owners of so-called ‘ghost homes’ in Britain’s richest borough could be ordered to fill them with families to cope with the housing shortage, The Telegraph can disclose.

The Conservative-led Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is lobbying ministers to change the law to allow them to move tenants into private homes which have lain empty for years in the borough.

However, the council needs the Government to make a small change to its powers so they can take action because they currently only relate to vandalised properties rather than those lying empty.

Campaigners welcomed the idea. Chris Bailey, of the charity Empty Homes, said: “We need to find a way to bring all England’s 205,000…

The effect of abolishing private property isn’t going to be limited to housing a few more people…..

This HES scandal

As far as I can see there are two competing narratives here.

1) Low bidder screws up and cannot actually do the job. Boo! privatisation.

2) Enviros and others have closed down the high temp incinerators required by the enviros for this waste. Nowt anyone can actually do until new one built.

Anyone got any idea which of these contains even a grain of truth?

Yes, great, why not?

As usual, someone gets a twee idea and doesn’t think it through:

According to Wednesday Martin, if you want to know how early humans organised their sex lives, before prudery, habit and agrarian production got in the way, you should take a look at bonobos. Once known as pygmy chimps, these primates are the closest thing we have to a living ancestor. Certainly, they resemble us more than the common chimp. They are fine-boned, with pink lips, proportionately long legs on which they can walk upright and hair that falls into a neat centre parting.

However that prissy hair-do is misleading. Bonobos are, as is well known, shameless sexual gluttons, especially the females. They wander around in a girl gang and, when they fancy a bloke, go up and put their arm around him. If he moves away the female follows him for a bit. Pretty soon, though, she gets exasperated by his coyness and turns to one of her girlfriends instead. Together they have a lovely time, rubbing their enlarged clitorises together, with murmurs of pleasurable excitement. If a boy wanders up at this point, he’s likely to be seen off with an exasperated nip for being far too late to the party.

Martin argues that we should all be a bit more bonobo (minus the nipping, obviously). Our cousins can teach us a lot about how human sexuality operated before it was corralled into an essentialist narrative about men being “naturally” polygamous while women “instinctively” seek out their one and only. Of course, this call to revision is not uniquely Martin’s. Although she has a PhD in anthropology from Yale, she remains a journalist, reporting and synthesising the work of such pioneering fieldworkers as Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Meredith Chivers, Alicia Walker, Cacilda Jethá and many more.

Chesterton’s Fence. Why don’t we do that? Why don’t we have herds, with the one male covering multiple females, the majority of men never passing on genes (actually, the majority of all men never have done). Why not like lions where the stud taking over the pride kills the cubs of his predecessor? Why this specific arrangement we have?

Some of Martin’s authorities, such as Brooke Scelza of UCLA, work with human subjects. Scelza’s research on the semi-nomadic Himba tribe of Namibia provides a window into alternative ways of dealing with what anthropologists call “extra-dyadic sexuality” (AKA consensual cheating). With the Himba men periodically away at remote cattle stations, their wives keep busy by “going to the far place to collect water” – another way of saying they bunk off to meet their lover. If a baby is the result, no one sees any reason to fuss: the child will simply have two dads (AKA partible paternity). Indeed, Scelza reveals that those Himba women who are particularly keen on going to collect water end up with more and healthier children than those few who to decide to stay “true” to their husbands. Might we actually be looking at a state of affairs, Martin asks, where, from an evolutionary point of view, a woman’s insistence on monogamy starts to seem just the tiniest bit selfish?

Yep, it is selfish. The reason for that being that a bloke who thinks he’s raising his own children brings along with him the resources he can generate to support his own children. Which increases the chances of survival of those children – a selfish act by that mother. Both in her own children gaining those resources and those of some other woman not.

Give up the claim to those resources and why not shag as you wish? Many men will be happy to oblige.

The why is important, d’ye see?