Monday, 3 August 2009

Transport For LIES

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Thanks so much TFL for misleading the passengers of your expensive and crap service over the weekend, in this case over the closure of the Victoria line south of Warren Street. I seem to remember these dot matrix boards were introduced after a weekend closure of Walthamstow, so that was time well spent. This for a service that is shut down for a quarter of every day as a matter of course. By the way this is an enlargement, the actual signs have tiny text and large expanses of unlit dots.

The only mention via signage of the line closure in the station was written on a whiteboard next to the up escalator, so any passengers leaving the station had, in case they had not been affected by the delay, the chance of being fully informed of something that had had, by now, no impact on their journey .

Perhaps there was something on the magnet board summarising all the lines just before getting to the down escalator, but unfortunately I was rather too focused on not falling 50 feet down serrated metal steps to notice that. I had also for some reason already noticed the dot matrix board, and foolishly trusted it, even with the experience of them lying about which platform's train would be leaving first. Thanks to the jobsworth tube driver on Saturday there was no mention of the closure until just before we pulled into Warren Street. Naturally the rail station above barely ever acknowledges the fact that it is on top of a tube station, so no chance of any info there.

There seems to be a history of useless info boards at Walthamstow Central. This is from a previous moronic and no doubt expensive attempt:

Thanks Currybet

Soon after these latest lying boards were put up, some right-minded person had the sense to switch the trusty old "first train" indicator board back on, it having been sneakily turned off in the hope of the public growing to love the new dot matrix boards, with their lies and tiny text . I'm sure they received a healthy beating from the underground overlords.

Monday, 27 July 2009

DWP - Dumb, We Proud!

BBC Story 27th July 2009‏
From: Illinois Cook (
Sent: 27 July 2009 11:43:34
Cc:; Esmee Russell (; Maria Dillon (

Dear Sir/Madam,

In the following story:

A spokesman from your department is quoted as countering the EC’s figures about poverty amoung UK elderly.

Firstly a claim is made by your department that ‘even the poorest UK pensioners were better off than those living in other countries’.

Since the EC figures show that the poorest UK pensioners are living in poverty, the poorest of these are undoubtedly living in dire straits. Add to this the obvious difficulties in the definitions involved, and this claim is clearly at best nonsense and at worst misleading.

The second claim, from a DWP ‘spokesman’ is quoted as follows:

"In 1997 our pensioners' income was well below the European average. Today their income is nearly 10% higher than the EU average."

Again, since the EC figures show that a high percentage of our pensioners are living in poverty, and poverty is measured after incomes, this does not contradict the EC figures at all.

Indeed, if as I suspect the percentages given in the previous quote are average figures, then it seems the DWP doesn’t care about the poorest UK pensioners at all.

It would seem that although we have gone from having incomes well below the European average, to incomes higher than the average, 1 in five of our pensioners are skipping meals to save money, and the level of old age poverty in the UK is 50% higher than most leading European economies, as is mentioned elsewhere in the BBC report.

Would you agree with me that the DWP response is therefore a highly embarrassing one, and one which brings your department into disrepute?

Yours sincerely,

Illinois Cook

Sunday, 26 July 2009

The Weekly Gripe

The Weekly Gripe is a place that echoes many of the posts here, the consumer-flavoured ones anyway.

By the way, anyone on Delicious or Digg?

Monday, 15 June 2009

Iran story in a teacup

1) Many people in Iran are no doubt fed up with the government - just like in Broken Britain.
2) The regime in Iran may well be a harsh one for it's internal critics. Police beat people up at demonstrations in both countries.
3) The CIA may be part-financing regime change in Iran, just like it did in so many other countries. The fact that the West has invaded two neighbouring countries and ruined them, and is interfering in every country in the region, as well as Iran's own nuclear programme, probably also applies negative pressure on the state of Iran.
4) The 'green revolution' has the same chance of success as any other revolution.
5) Ahmadinejad is just another leader, an elected leader, of a country. What he has said about Israel is correct, including "The regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time". This would be the minimum requirement for a just outcome after the many crimes Israel has committed. This does not mean they want to commit genocide.
6) There are 20,000 Jews living in peace in Iran, they have a member of parliament.
7) Ahmadinejad apparently said The Holocaust is a myth. He meant that The Holocaust is being used a myth by supporters of Israel, which is very well explained and supported in Norman Finkelstein's book: "Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History". U of California P, ISBN 0-520-24598-9. 2nd updated edition, U of Cal. P. June 2008, ISBN 0520249895,

And judging by the title is probably explained in:

"The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering", Verso, ISBN 1-85984-488-X.

I think it would be better reporting if the headlines used against Iran's regime today were directed at the racist state of Israel, who are waging a war against a poor section of their own country, and using them as slave labour, after expelling them from their homes and land 60 years ago (see Ilan Pappe: "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine", London and New York: Oneworld, 2006. ISBN 1851684670), and are still getting away with it, and are somehow succeeding in getting media coverage which portrays THEM as the peacemakers.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Buses (in London?)

Surveys by MORON and GALL indicate the recent trend, scientifically stated as follows: 'Cretins standing at the front of the bus, and not moving right down into the carriage unless under strong verbal encouragement from fellow passengers, even then it's all you can do to climb over them to get to the stairs,[on doubledeckers..]' is, you guessed it, on the increase.

They benefit, and this is my guess at the Cretin worldview, from not having to get close to other sitters, not having to ask people to move bags/coats/coatflaps, not having to move past other cretins, but also if the bus driver cannot denude the very front of the bus he will not stop to pick up more passengers, the cretin journey may be shorter in elapsed time

This never used to happen. I don't need to point out that while this disaster is happening on the downstairs of the bus, where there is some space at the back, there are usually PLENTY OF SEATS UPSTAIRS.

You're amazing. We want you to stay away.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Re: Contact O2 (KMM411124284V2029L0KM)‏
From: mycarewebform (
Sent: 22 May 2009 14:44:25
To: Mr Cook (

Good Afternoon Mr Cook Thanks for emailing us about the deposit of £100.00. The deposit of £100.00 including VAT (Value Added Tax) is adjusted against the outstanding balance of £9.82 including VAT on your bill dated 23 April 2009. You can view this credit under the 'Balance brought forward' section of your April bill. This is why your April bill was £90.18 including VAT in credit. I've arranged this credit to be transferred to your bank account. It'll be transferred within 5 to 10 working days. I'm sorry for any inconvenience that may have been caused. I hope you'll find this information useful.

-Yes, I've found some information within that paragraph useful. You don't defend the fact that you lied about when you'd be giving the bond back, nor my accusation that taking it in the first place was unnecessary, so what should I deduce from that, do you think?

By the way, have you heard about our service called Analyse my bill? You can too create reports in the form of Pie chart, Bar Graph or Data table on your bill data. For more information and details check the 'Analyse my bill' section of your online bill.

Important - When you email us please provide: your date of birth, postcode and mobile number as it helps us answer your query faster.

-Important back atcha, I did provide all the info above except date of birth, and I don't believe that was asked for anywhere.

Kind regards Deepa BhandariO2 Customer Service Getting your query right the first time you email us is very important to us. If your query has not been resolved this time, please reply to this email with the words 'Need More Help' in the subject field. Telefónica O2 UK Limited, Registered in England No 1743099. Registered Office: 260 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire SL1 4DX.

You're Sneaky O2

When signing up I was apparently unnecessarily asked for a £100 bond. This was to be repaid to me after 3 months. Now I find that instead of repaying the bond, you're keeping my money and just debiting what I owe every month. This appears a dishonest thing to do. It enables you to keep my money for a whole year, without grounds. Please take this opportunity to defend your actions, following which I will decide whether to take the matter further. Yours sincerely, I Cook

Monday, 4 May 2009


Just read a letter that the climate scientist David Archer sent to Nature magazine. He co-wrote it with Gavin Schmidt, another climate scientist. In it he talks about CO2 stabilization targets. And he specifically refers to the definition of climate sensitivity, in that many climate scientists are using the "traditional" Charney sensitivity, which excludes slow feedbacks. Thing is that I wrote to Archer a few weeks ago to point out exactly that, and I think I referred to Gavin Schmidt's blog post on Archer never replied to my email. Maybe he was thinking about it anyway - who knows.
I'm going to email my friend Eberhard in the Munich Re georisks department and explain the climate sensitivity issue. If you think that there is a good chance that climate sensitivity is a high number, then it is impossible to recommend a high CO2 target. I want the Munich Re GeoRisks department to understand the climate sensitivity issue and to decide how likely it is that slow feedbacks are important. If they think that they are important then I will suggest that any high CO2 stabilization target gives guaranteed disaster. Hence the target has to be low. And I want to suggest that Munich Re has more expertise in risk than any politician, economist or climate scientist, there is no-one in a better position to recommend a target than the Munich Re Geo risks department. Then I want the Geo Risks department to convince Munich Re management to pick a low CO2 target (350) and lobby for it. Then I want Munich Re to convince Swiss Re to go for the target. That's the first stage. Watch this space.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Ranting at TfL

Seems I sent it with a typo. Ooops!

Dear Sir/Madam,

I'm writing to complain about the new cycle lanes being built on the south side of the A316, near Richmond.

The cycle lane is merely a marked part of the pavement, requiring cyclists to stop at every single road junction along the way. Whereas a car can proceed happily down the A316 stopping perhaps twice for pedestrians, I hhave the make half a dozen stops for cars, pedestrians, or anyone else. I would like someone to explain to me why cyclists have to stop and start like this, when we should be treated as equal road users.


Tim Lennon.

Please, track my internet usage!

Is it any business of the Home Office or the Police where I choose to surf? To whom I speak online? No, frankly.

In the same way that some effort needs to be made at showing probable cause / national security / blah blah blah when the Police:
- Listen to my phone conversations
- Read my mail
- Follow me aroudn
- Break into my house or raid the library to find out what I'm reading
So the same should be true online. They already have enough power and information to track dodgy websites and the traffic emmanating from them without further undermining the basic liberties supposedly enjoyed by ordinary people across the country.

Frankly? Wankers, the lot of them.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Making it easier to be rich ...

Dear Mr. Darling,

A recent look at NatWest's 'fact sheets' for savings accounts suggests that anyone with mroe than 50k in savings will get interest without tax deducted , whereas those with less will have tax deducted - at source - at basic rate.

Doesn't this seem unwise and, more important, unfair? Why should rich savers get to pay their tax later than less well-off savers? Why should we trust rich savers but not poor ones?

If you're really looking for loopholes to close, this certainly sounds like one, don't you think?


Tim Lennon.

A great font rant ...

Now I'm not always on top of the latest joys of browser, so I was quite interested to hear how hard it still is to use a 'proper' font in one's web page:

Turns out they're heading the same way as music, apparently. Although I felt a fair degree of synpathy with the guy who said "I have over forty commercial typefaces available for sale through various type re-sellers around the world and my average yearly income off the typefaces is $115, even though I regularly see my typefaces in use on the web, on TV in print and in video games."

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Letter to FCO


Dear Mr Miliband and Mr Gooderham,

I was very disappointed to see that our Ambassador joined the walkout yesterday, and that you have both made statements condemning the speech.

Although you both studied related subjects to high level, more recent works have proven the contents of the Iranian president's speech to be true, namely, and to simplify, that the state of Israel is racist and has been founded on theft, racism, ethnic cleansing, and lies since 1948. Moreover, it commits murder on an almost daily basis, against a poor oppressed people, and works on a daily basis to promote the idea that the oppressed are somehow deserving of nothing more.

Although they seem to have convinced you, I urge you to read 'The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine' by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, and 'Beyond Chutzpah...' by Norman G Finkelstein. If you were to study these two books with an open mind I'm sure you would change your mind.

To save your valuable time, I can help by informing you it is necessary for the UK to change policy on this issue and side 100% against the state of Israel, which is acting criminally every day. Since December 1948, the Palestinians have been supported by UN resolution 194 in their right of return, and as you would read in Pappe, this would be to 94% of Israel. The UN mediator chiefly responsible for achieving this partial redress for the ethnic cleansing committed by Israel in 1948 was assassinated by Israeli paramilitaries. (Israeli paramilitaries had the full support of the fledgling Israeli state and formed a large part of the armed forces used in the Ethnic cleansing and the so called 'war' of 1948)

Currently you are not speaking or acting for me and indeed are acting in support of the daily torture, repression and humiliation committed against the Palestinians. You will naturally therefore not be receiving my support until this changes. You may recall the failure of The British Government to support or aid the ANC during their struggle. The 'hand of history' is not very interested in bothering with Thatcher's shoulder on that issue, though it was lingering there at the time. The UN anti-racism conference is the ideal platform to announce the new UK stand against the racist state of Israel.

Yours sincerely,

Illinois Cook

Friday, 17 April 2009

illi goes to Harvard

Drew Faust
Harvard University
Massachusetts Hall
Cambridge, MA 02138

Dear Mr Faust,

The above photo [of Dr Martin Luther King -ed.] is taken from your website, today 6th April.

I would also like to use Reverend King’s good name and image to promote an idea, the idea that you should not harbour enthusiasts for crimes against humanity among your staff.

I refer to Alan Dershowitz, who has been proven by Norman G. Finkelstein to be racist and bigoted, to have attempted to paint a false picture of history so that Israel may escape the withering justice of history that it so deserves, and even to have promoted torture and murder of innocents. A more minor point is that he has been proven to be the author of specious, false and biased claims, with a total disregard for research and truth.

This is all proven in Finkelstein’s work ‘Beyond Chutzpah’.

I wonder if Reverend King would have approved of this situation? Dershowitz’s position at Harvard is perhaps one reason why his outrageous claims are quoted as fact by so many, and his removal from your directory would only serve to enhance its reputation, as well as to shine light more clearly upon the ‘facts on the ground’ in Palestine.

Yours sincerely,

Illinois Cook

Monday, 23 March 2009


Seriously, if you have any spare cash - NOW is the time to invest in Tanfield!

Time to end the mult-generational ponzi scheme

Check out these posts below. Quite short, they made by people familiar with energy problems and have reached conclusions about the way our economy works or doesn't work today.

Link to another short post. He raises a question I've thought about before. What if Reagan never happened, but Carter or people like him carried on and moved the world towards sustainability in the 1980's? One for counter-factual historians...

Back to reality. Have a read of Herman Daly's take on the financial crisis - the ecological economics explanation.

Finally, check out this article from Rolling Stone magazine about the bailouts in the US. It's quite long, read it when you have time, but it's entertaining, I laughed out loud several times. Well worth reading the whole thing.
This is an extract from the very end of the article that gives you an idea:
"The most galling thing about this financial crisis is that so many Wall Street types think they actually deserve not only their huge bonuses and lavish lifestyles but the awesome political power their own mistakes have left them in possession of. When challenged, they talk about how hard they work, the 90-hour weeks, the stress, the failed marriages, the hemorrhoids and gallstones they all get before they hit 40.
"But wait a minute," you say to them. "No one ever asked you to stay up all night eight days a week trying to get filthy rich shorting what's left of the American auto industry or selling $600 billion in toxic, irredeemable mortgages to ex-strippers on work release and Taco Bell clerks. Actually, come to think of it, why are we even giving taxpayer money to you people? Why are we not throwing your ass in jail instead?"
But before you even finish saying that, they're rolling their eyes, because You Don't Get It. These people were never about anything except turning money into money, in order to get more money; valueswise they're on par with crack addicts, or obsessive sexual deviants who burgle homes to steal panties. Yet these are the people in whose hands our entire political future now rests."

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Umbrellas. WTF?

Really, WHAT THE FUCK IS IT WITH UMBRELLAS, that they need to be brought to the office, and then left out, all over the place, wide open.

Has it been raining? Oh, that means it might also be raining later, and therefore leaving your umbrella out to dry will cause it to be more protective when you return to the inclement weather. No! It makes no difference! But it will make a bloody difference when I have to walk around the office trying not to trip over them!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Electric is the way to go!

Forget the hydrogen fuel cell, forget biofuels, forget hybrids (they are only a 'bridge'), ELECTRIC is the future for automotive transport!!!

It is the only logical conclusion (to me at any rate!), given that hydrogen is still on a very far off drawing board and hybrid is merely the bridging of old tech (fossil fuels) to new (electric).

Don't get me wrong, hybrid is going to be here a while as the world as a whole gets to grips with letting go of the internal combustion engine and embracing the concept of simply plugging your car into the wall and you're good to go!

This is not some far off future doohicky, or the cute but lightweight G-Wiz - this is 0-60 in 4 seconds and a top speed of 125mph (limited) in the form of the appropriately named 'Tesla':

If that's too fast, then check out Smith's electric vans and trucks. The Edison, Ampere etc, Ohm my God, they'll be running out of suitably cheesy names before long! ;) :

Actually, on the latter company, Ford have recently announced their partnership with the parent company whose share prices are currently at a historically low level - EPIC:TAN Buy, buy, buy!

Monday, 12 January 2009

"... the 41st guy and the 43rd guy simply don't need to worry about it."

Check out this column about the recent joint interview of the 41st and 43rd presidents, Bush's junior and senior.

If you've ever wondered whether Bush junior worries about how he will be thought of by history, here's the answer:

How would both their presidencies be remembered? Dubya leapt at the question, saying he was still reading biographies of George Washington. "If they are still writing about the first guy, the 41st guy and the 43rd guy simply don't need to worry about it."

The world has been "blessed" for the last 8 years with an incompetent president. It may not be true for much longer, but for that period the US president was the de facto leader of the world. Those 8 years may well have been the very peak of exponential growth of the world economy, the period of fastest growth of fossil fuel use and pollution and the most critical time for turning the world around, to start changing course away from danger. It's an interesting thought experiment to imagine what the world would be like now if the US president had been different.

What I would like to conjecture is that all our minds have been polluted by George Bush for the last 8 years. This is because it doesn't matter how well we know he is a fool, we all had an implicit assumption that either he had a basic level of competence or his advisors did. Then again, maybe we shouldn't be too hard on dubya. If the entire history of capitalism has been effectively a giant ponzi scheme fueled by cheap fossil fuel energy, the guy in charge when it starts to fall apart can't be blamed for just trying to keep it going.

PS If you think that ponzi scheme (good recent example, Bernie Madoff's fund) is bit strong read this
It's by Bill Gross, he heads up Pimco a massive fixed interest fund in the states. Gross is about the number one fixed interest investor in the US. He's not calling the whole of capitalism a ponzi scheme as I am, but he most certainly is calling the current version in the USA a ponzi scheme - quote "ponzi, ponzi, ponzi".

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Radical Retrenchment

Just read the following on The Oil Drum website:

Would be interested to see what you think of it, and of the discussion underneath.