What we learned this week

Only 3.5% of Brits are ‘strongly opposed’ to wind power, but clearly enough of them are in the Tory corridors of power: the government is planning to enshrine its moratorium on onshore wind power into planning rules. This is despite 76% of people being in favour of onshore wind, and the fact that it should be Britain’s cheapest form of electricity.

If you’re one of the many people who likes the aesthetics of wind turbines, perhaps you’d like to enter the Wind Vision photography competition for Global Wind Day. You’ve got until 20th May to submit your entries.

Air pollution is linked to levels of petty crime, apparently. Worth reading the article to see how exactly. Another reason to take air pollution seriously.

The New York Times provides a good example of how people feel somehow morally obliged to dismiss space travel. The article neglects to mention that Jeff Bezos could spend a billion a year on space and still give away $5 billion if he wanted to. (My thoughts on space travel here.)

This week I’ve been reading Russia Today. Owned the Russian government, its primary purpose is to sneer at the West, so this week articles have included ‘US & UK can stop Yemen war today, but they love Saudi money’, ‘The West doth protest too much (about Russian protests)’, and ‘Russian gas sales to EU hit record high despite the Skripals, election meddling & all that jazz.’ Yes, America and Britain are hypocrites, and perhaps RT should be recommended reading for anyone who thinks their country is a shining light of democracy and freedom. But ‘you commit war crimes too’ is no defence, and RT is the first news source in my world tour that I’ve found genuinely unpleasant.

Next week I’ll be turning to Hong Kong and the South China Morning Post.


  1. I fear that often the reason people oppose things like space travel is self interest. In this case Harold Pollock is a professor of social service administration and public health science at the University of Chicago. He is arguing that Jeff Bezos spend his money on …. Social services and public health. Might there be the need for professorial experts to advise on how that money be spent? Even if he personally doesn’t get a gig from Bezos increased spending would increase the sectors profile and increase demand for experts which he would stand to gain from. You can call me a cynic but it does explain a lot.

    1. Absolutely, though it’s possible to take a more charitable view of that kind of opposition. Do people want to see more spending on public health because they would personally benefit, or because they believe in their work? Or because their sector is underfunded? Generally speaking people who are out to maximise their personal benefit don’t go into public health as a career.

      Bezos is an interesting one. Elon Musk blows billions on space, but he’s also changing the world with EVs and solar, and supports all kinds of other causes. Bezos is a more enigmatic figure. He has no philanthropic interests and seems to have no particular vision for what to do with his money. So I can see why people in underfunded sectors might want to get his attention.

  2. I think you are being overly harsh with RT; though I admit i only watch the RT news clips of interest to me. Regardless you seem to be using the whataboutism defence. (BTW I do wounder would you say Chomsky is sneering when he lists all the abuses metered out by the US? )

    Their coverage of the Middle East and South American news is far superior than Australian or BBC news which is IMO pure propaganda on those and other US alliance topics. & it seems a bit rich for the CIA to be listing their coverage of US politics as an issue when they were covering topics like Flint and Occupy.

    If you go beyond their news and listen to Chris Hedges On Contact, – or when Abby Martin was on – or Redacted Tonight yes their emphasis in on the US but they have also criticized Russian activities. But since they are denied a US TV platform and are locals it’s no wonder they concentrate on the US.

    & Ofc all mainstream news tends to criticize other establishments and not their own but if you go over recent history the US has done far more and is far worse when it comes to hypocrisy esp when it claims to have the moral high ground.

    But then again that rank hypocrisy of the US and UK disgusts more than the oligarchic authoritarianism of Putin, having said that i tend to put the boot into any side who doesn’t measure up and would do so to RT if I thought they deserved it.

    1. Noam Chomsky isn’t committing war crimes, that’s the difference! I completely agree with the facts of their stories, and I wish that British newspapers covered places such as Yemen and Bahrain in the way that RT does. The problem to me is the tone and the motive – it seems to take an unpleasant delight in the wrongdoing of others, and thereby justify Russia’s own wrongdoing.

      But you may be right. I was reading the RT website, and it’s possible that the news channel itself is better. And maybe I caught it on a bad week. Things are particularly charged at the moment, and of all the weeks to try RT this one might not have shown them in their best light. I’ll have to give it another chance at some point.

      1. The point I was trying to make was that Chomsky and others who have no ties to Russia are saying the exact same thing, so I’m not sure it’s just sneering. & we both agree on the hypocrisy and diversionary aims but Russia isn’t trying to be the world’s police while the US revels in its perceived exceptionalism and I think that is where this tone comes from. BTW also check out Radio Sputnik or at least the Ex CIA JohnKiriakou’s show Loud & Clear

        Personally i would love a show that had journalists with competing claims and narratives go head to head in depth and have their work fact checked while giving them a chance to cross examine each other. Cross-checking ourselves can be quite time consuming and I don’t care whose side is lying it’s never justified.

Leave a Reply to Jeremy Williams Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: