Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

(Photo by Kerstin Rogers)


Dr Ben Goldacre is two people in one. On the one hand he is a Skeptic Knight and has a reputation as a debunker of “pseudoscience” and promoter of rational thought and scientific enquiry in medicine. But he is also a virulent opponent of the Pharmaceutical industry and its greed. He’d be far easier to deal with if he were merely the former and not the latter. It’s hard to assess a person who won’t fit into the boxes I’m used to fitting them into!

I went to see him give a live lecture a few months ago and wrote a report: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/09/skeptic-in-pub-15908.html . I was accompanied by my friend and fellow blogger Ms Marmitelover (see links column and the link in the lecture article to Marmite’s own report). Goldacre has an extensive website called “badscience” which contains articles, merchandise and radio shows: http://www.badscience.net/ . And lately I’ve borrowed a copy of his book, also entitled Bad Science. I should point out before I review the book that Goldacre has been the target of several lawsuits. Most significantly he was sued by the German doctor and nutrition campaigner Mathias Rath. This I consider a mistake for two reasons. Firstly I think it is highly immoral and destructive to use the legal system as a weapon to gag people who merely criticize you. The legal system must never be used to counter free speech because to do so is not only unethical but highly unwise when you consider that the legal system is becoming more and more authoritarian every day and that, like a muscle, the more you exercise it the stronger it gets. People who exploit this emerging tyranny for their own selfish ends are forging their own shackles, as well as everyone else’s. They themselves, as well as their opponents, will one day be gagged totally and permanently by the New World Order. The second reason for not trying to sue Goldacre is simply because he is not a threat to that which he opposes! If you are a purveyor of alternative remedies or a nutritionist then you are in no danger of losing any business through Goldacre’s work. This is because of the style of the book. Although the author claims that one of the objectives of his book is to teach his readers how to conduct their own personal enquiries and experiments to judge for themselves whether something they believe is true or false, this is not an educational book. If education of an impartial readership is Goldy’s aim then he shoots well wide of the mark. Bad Science is a belligerent polemic that uses words like “quack” and “quackery”, “nonsense”, “foolishness”, “dangerous” in almost every other sentence; especially at the beginning of the book. He describes celebrities who fear the MMR vaccine as “blowing on their toy trumpets” and also refers to what he calls “MMR-dodging north-London middle-class humanities graduates”. You can’t educate people by browbeating them. This kind of cudgel-diplomacy will cause readers to put up their defences and turn away. Anyone on the fence over the issue of alternative medicine will never be persuaded to abandon their position; on the contrary they will be knocked down decisively onto the pro-side by the book’s violence. Goldacre clearly feels strongly about what he writes about; but he completely fails to “murder his darlings” and therefore will win few converts. Because of this I’d say that this book is more aimed at fellow Skeptics or people like myself who are interested in the philosophy of science.

Like most of the Skeptics that I’ve come across, Goldy presents his case as one of unimpeachable simplicity. In fact his catchphrase is a ridicule of what he often hears homeopath’s say: “It’s a bit more complicated than that” and you can even buy T-shirts and baby’s bibs from his website with those words on them! In the section of his book on homeopathy he repeats a lot of the material he presented in the lecture that I link to above and reckons that the reason homeopathy sometimes comes out as successful is because of flaws in the clinical trials. The subjects might not have been selected randomly; some researchers use the date and time of the patients’ clinic appointments or their date of birth, but Goldy says this is not good enough, although he doesn’t really explain why. Apparently even tossing a coin is not an adequate way to divide subjects into the group which gets the treatment and the control-placebo group which is used to compare the treatment group with! According to the author, prejudices and bad recording can cause willfulness and a lack of “blinding” by whoever tosses the coin. Goldy goes to great lengths to explain how clinical trials by properly-trained personnel can still be done very badly and can fall foul to a number of different fallacies; in a way this contradicts the feeling of simplicity that I picked up earlier in the book. I often find this with Skeptics, as I said above. They’ll say: “There’s clearly no evidence whatsoever for (EG: the existence of ghosts); it’s very, very simple”. But then when serious studies are done to say that there actually is such evidence, they’ll come out with all kinds of convoluted reasons why this research was misleading. This mixture of simplicity and complexity sometimes ties my brain up in knots and I spent a lot of effort with Bad Science unraveling those knots. The concept of meta-analysis sounds good on first hearing. With meta-analysis you can take the information from lots of independent studies and draw an overreaching conclusion from the trends in each separate one. But this process also seems to be a way of weeding out inconvenient anomalies. This is especially the case when, as Goldy says, so many trials suffer from flaws. There is a tool in meta-analysis for grading each individual experiment into ranks of importance based on how flawed or un-flawed they are. It’s called “jading”. However the example Goldy provides includes a meta-analysis of homeopathy drug trials where positive results are gleaned from a high-ranking experiment. Goldy’s explanation?: It’s a “stitch-up”. Supposing it’s not a stitch-up, eh? But meta-analysis gives us a loophole for glossing over such aberrations and sticking by our guns without investigating them. Seeing as scientists spend so long at university learning the arts of experiment why do so many of them suffer from these supposed fallacies and commit such terrible errors of judgment? My own department at work is currently conducting trials of a new EEG machine and is selecting patients to be guinea pigs who have a “0” at the end of their hospital number; isn’t that randomization enough? Goldacre actually explores these tendencies to logical fallacy in a chapter called Why Do Clever People Believe Stupid Things? which echoes the insulting title of the Skeptic propaganda piece by Michael Shermer: Why Do People Believe Weird Things? Here he discuses how people are biased towards positive results, misunderstand coincidence and statistics to see patterns where there are none, are bad at assessing their own abilities and fall foul to cultural prejudices. He claims that the process of obtaining and interpreting scientific evidence isn’t taught in schools; well yes it is. I clearly recall being shown by my science teacher at school how to write up a scientific experiment. He’d show me how to put down my theory, purpose, hypothesis, method and conclusion in the proper way, how to draw diagrams and graphs; and he stressed how important it was: “If you die half-way though an experiment all your work will be lost unless somebody else can read your papers and understand how to pick it up where you left off.” Another thing that bothered me was that at no point in the book did Goldy ever acknowledge the possibility that he too might occasionally suffer from any of the fallacies he lists. This is especially important because he bolsters his case on every subject he writes about with “properly conducted” scientific trials; in other words: properly conducted according to his own standards. The author comes across as a super-confident “above all that crap” adjudicator. He ends his introduction with this classic line: “And if by the end (of reading the book) you… still disagree with me than I offer you this: You’ll still be wrong, but you’ll be wrong with a lot more panache and flair than you could possibility manage right now”. There you have it: dissent will not be accepted by the author. He will never agree to differ!

There’s another thing: scientists are capable of deceit, sometimes very grossly. Take the Piltdown Man fossil and the Hockey-Stick Hoax which I’ve written about on forums: http://www.davidicke.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1204 (I am also sure I wrote a blog article on the Hockey-Stick Hoax but it has vanished, like my one about the Solway Firth Spaceman!), where scientists deliberately massaged figures to make it look like all climate change in the last thousand years is caused by human pollution. Goldacre also relates how he has been attacked for his views. He has been slandered, called names, had abuse hurled at him and even been issued with death-threats! Many people are so unhappy with the way he supposedly demolishes their paradigm that he claims they fly into “tantrums”. I don’t deny that this is true and I think it’s very improper to treat Goldacre like that just because of his opinions; but I want to make sure nobody thinks that it’s just Skeptics who suffer from this kind of bullying and that none of them ever perpetrate similar behavior. Let me give you an example of what somebody said to me when I contradicted his Skeptical stance on several matters: “You’re a fucking loony (as well as) a racist… Jew-Hater! I can’t believe they let a fat, bald child-abusing cunt like you work in a hospital!... A little slapping might be in order!” (NB: All the above allegations are utterly false) Goldy is unwilling to accept anything at all that doesn’t come from accredited scientific sources and is not gathered by proper scientific methods. At one point he makes the statement: “The plural of anecdote is not data”. Here I differ with him the most. Suppose thousands of people came to you and told you a UFO had flown low over their town, but sadly none of those thousands of people had a camera handy at the time so there was no photographic evidence. No hard data at all, just lots of anecdotes... some of them from the town’s mayor, chief of police and consultant at the local hospital. Would you believe them, or at least admit there was a case to answer there? Most people would say yes, and this is the situation we’re in with alternative medicine. If many people have told you their positive experiences with acupuncture, homeopathy or detox then it’s wise to take their stories seriously, placebo effect notwithstanding.

The chapter in which Goldy talks about the placebo effect is very interesting indeed and some of the stories he relates I’ve read about already in other books. The power of the mind over the body is something that is far deeper than even Goldy is willing to go in the book; although he does go into it to a satisfying depth, to his credit. There are numerous cases of people being given a useless sugar pill and being told it is a powerful drug, and then recovering because they truly believe that the pill is a real drug. Not only that, but experiments have been done where some people were taken to a party where some were given glasses of special brew and others glasses of alcohol-free beer. Some of the “control group” on the alcohol-free beer became tipsy too! It’s quite good news for me, as a hospital porter, because if the state of a patient’s mind has such a powerful effect on their physical health then I can administer my own treatment to my patients simply by making them feel better; being sympathetic and friendly to them. This is something I’ve done throughout my career anyway and Goldy’s statement confirms that I’ve been doing the right thing. Thanks, Ben!

Goldy is often portrayed by his opponents as an establishment figure; some even claim that he is in the pay of Big Pharma, but this I find most unlikely; although he may be being used as “controlled opposition”. He is, almost paradoxically by some viewpoints, in many ways a rebel who champions freely-available medicine for the entire world’s people and opposes the terrible greed and murderous imperialism of Big Pharma. He riles against Monsanto and the patented seed tyranny. What’s more I know someone who used to hang out a lot with Goldy when he was a student here at Oxford, and he says that Goldy was very much a “hippy” and into “alternative lifestyles”. In a sense he doesn’t draw much of a line between the so-called “Quack” remedies he derides and the various unscientific products of Big Pharma. In fact he says in as many words that Big Pharma and what he wittily calls “Big Quacka” are the same thing. As I explain in my linked review of his lecture he doesn’t know that half of it! However I find myself in agreement with Goldy over many things. For instance he scorns the way so many different isolated medical dysfunctions and syndromes have emerged out of the woodwork in the last few years, usually with sibilant acronyms like ADHD , ADD and OCD for which Big Pharma always has a pill ready as the solution. He mentions Asperger’s Syndrome, a condition that I myself was once diagnosed with (although I luckily managed to get a second opinion that said otherwise!). Goldy says that a lot of these conditions simply don’t exist and are delusionary interpretations of social and psychological problems as medical illnesses. A lot of older men have recently been awarded with a whole doseit-box full of remedies for sexual dysfunction, including Viagra and various chemical aphrodisiacs. But the truth is that most of these men’s problems are not medical, but psychological. They feel trapped in a long-term relationship with someone they are simply no longer attracted to. When these men have affairs or new relationships their impotence is magically cured! (The way Goldy wrote it in the book, and delivered it at his lecture, was a bit facetious. He said: “The woman he is married to is no longer the sex-kitten he first met on the dance floor gyrating to The Human League in 1983”; as if the whole situation was just the woman’s fault. It was this that Marmitelover was so offended by at the lecture. Interestingly Viagra is now prescribed to women as a treatment for frigidity; maybe the sinewy, muscular young hunk these women first met on the dance floor in 1983 is no longer so attractive either!). I recall the way Prozac was pushed onto the American public when it was first invented when I watched Episode 2 of The Trap by Adam Curtis; I strongly recommend it: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1087742888040457650&ei=XSPKSdLREIPO-Abok4mmDQ&q=the+trap+episode+2 . The media have also played a terribly destructive role in promoting health scares, according to Goldacre. In fact I completely share his disdain for the mainstream media and often think that it is a bad place to get information on medical issues… in fact it is a bad place to get information on anything! The “MMR hoax” as Goldy calls it has a whole chapter devoted to it in the book. I actually recommend watching the various vaccine debates on DVD or online before making a decision whether or not to vaccinate your child. The concerns over the safety of vaccines are not confined to the scandal instituted by Dr Wakefield. As I said in the lecture review, Goldy criticizes the lightweights of alternative medicine, but never mentions what I see as far more credible characters. He does mention Dr Arpad Pusztai and calls him a “joker”. Well I’ll be seeing Dr Pusztai live at a conference in a couple of months so I’ll let you know what I think of him. I personally doubt that vaccines are the entire cause of the rise in autism, although they may well be a factor. We currently live in such a toxic, unnatural, stress-factory of a society that finding causal links for any emerging pathology is a bit of a pick-and-mix!

As with Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion (which I review here: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/04/god-delusion-by-richard-dawkins.html ) I was surprised by Bad Science’s lack of scope. I refer to The Shaman’s Apprentice story in my lecture review; well I say the same for the book. Goldy flies over the surface of the Complimentary and Alternative Medical Ocean and sinks the easy slow-moving targets like HMS Gillian McKeith, but never even addresses the far more deadly and potent submarines that cruise untouched beneath the waves. Submarines called HMS Dr Len Horowitz, USS Rima Laibow, USS Lynne McTaggart, HMS Masaru Emoto and others. I was very pleasantly surprised that Goldy doesn’t take a pop at herbal remedies. These are treatments that I myself have used (I’ve never used homeopathy nor nutritional supplements, but I might consider it if the need arose). He doesn’t explain how I took the herbal-based Stellaria cream for my eczema and it worked where hydrocortisone failed. I had faith in both so how come the “placebo effect” only took hold with the Stellaria? He briefly mentions the case of a supposedly fake Shaman in Canada but that’s it! I’ve met so many others who’ve had similar encouraging results with herbs; and as I say above, the plural of anecdote is data! Herbalist practitioners have recently come across an unexpected and intriguing problem. The herb Echinacea has been used by healers in medicinal intervention probably since prehistoric times and is still popular today. Traditionally it is acquired by locating and gathering from the wild. The practitioner simply goes to a place where the plant grows, walks around until they find one and then harvests it. But a few years ago somebody had what they thought was the bright idea of cultivating it. They planted seeds in a pot or their garden and grew it themselves to make the drug much easier and cheaper to produce. But then their patients started complaining that the medicine was no longer working. For some reason the cultivated Echinacea was having no effect; even if it was grown in strictly organic conditions. However the Echinacea gathered from the wild in the good old Paleolithic way still worked. Why? The Skeptic might claim that this is an irrelevant observation because it’s not been researched. But I repeat what I said about the plural of anecdote. They might also claim that Herbalists provide unreliable testimony because they are “mystically and intuitively inclined. The most gullible members of society”, but then I would remind them of the fiasco of the “Avebury Carlos”. Even the so-called “most gullible members of society” have turned out to be much better witnesses than Skeppers previously thought. A few years ago, some engineers built a fake UFO out of a model plane and flew it over Avebury, an ancient sacred site and a gathering place for mystics and pagans. The intention was to fool them and therefore show them up for being dupes, but in a way the plan backfired. The hippies at Avebury did indeed report seeing a UFO, but they reported pretty much what they saw, describing the craft accurately. There were none of the embellishments and exaggerations that the hoaxers were banking on. The Echinacea conundrum shows that there is a hell of a lot we still have to learn about the human body, the human mind, medicine, the natural world, the universe itself and the relationships between them all. If Masaru Emoto, along with others, are correct and that thoughts and words can change inorganic substance than this transforms medical research into a whole new ball-game! Bad Science is a book I’d recommend to everyone, not for the worldview it promotes, but for what it reveals about Western philosophy and its scientific paradigm; and perhaps the weaknesses and limitations of both. Goldy may scoff at the “It’s a bit more complicated than that” line… but in fact it is!

Finally: Here’s a debate between Ben Goldacre and Peter Fisher, a pro-homeopathy doctor, just to show you that there is more than just one side to science: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7371556318217026586&ei=QjHKSazwDY6y-Aa8w4nRAQ&q=ben+goldacre

Addendum: The previous edition of "Bad Science", the one I read, had a chapter in it about Matthias Rath that was cut out by the publishers for legal reasons. With the conclusion of the legal case that chapter can now be found in the new edition and Goldy has put it up on his website for free: http://www.badscience.net/2009/04/matthias-rath-steal-this-chapter/

Thursday, 19 March 2009

The Day After Roswell by Col. Philip J. Corso


Two of my Probe-Buddies have been trying to persuade me to read this book since I started attending the conference in 2006. It’s often described as a “landmark” and “seminal” book regarding the Roswell Incident. This mystery has been done to death a bit over the years any new information on it is very welcome indeed, so I’m glad I made the decision to buy a copy and read it. It presents a perspective on the Roswell Incident that nobody predicted and that I’d never have imagined.

Lieutenant Colonel Philip Corso was born in the United States to an Italian family in 1915 and joined the Army during World War II where he served as an intelligence officer. After the invasion of Italy and the defeat of Mussolini he worked for the chief of police in Rome using cunning and investigations to expose and arrest Fascist and Communist guerrillas. He quickly developed a very streetwise knowledge of the Roman underground and aided the emigration of thousands of homeless refugees from their squalid camps to proper homes in Italy and abroad. During the Korean War Philip was once again drafted into the role of military intelligence; this time to keep an eye on North Korea’s prisoners of war (a subject that spawned the controversial conspiratorial thriller The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon). After the war Philip joined President Eisenhower’s National Security Council and then became a top official at the Pentagon. So you see Lt. Col. Philip Corso cannot be pasted with the classic dreadlocks-and-anorak “UFO nut” stereotype. He was a highly-respected and trusted top government official who brushed shoulders with presidents, ministers, senators and chiefs-of-staff.

The book’s main subject matter covers what happened after 1961 when he became an assistant, and very close friend, of General Arthur Trudeau who was head of the Pentagon’s Research and Development office. At the beginning of the book there’s a chapter on Philip’s personal experience of the events at Roswell in July 1947. At the time he was a Major in charge of security at Fort Riley in Kansas and he encounters wreckage from the Roswell flying disk and even the embalmed body of an alien in boxes left stacked in the corner of a storage shed. This part of the book, I strongly suspect, is contrived to embellish the narrative with drama and shock effect. It seems inconceivable that whoever salvaged and processed the Roswell debris would just leave it lying in a corner of an army base, while they popped to the toilet or something, where any passing sentry could nip over and have a look at it. The same goes for the author’s description of the crash site itself which is fairly nonsensical. According to him the local fire brigade turned up and one of the firemen got to see the alien bodies! However the rest of the story is far more convincing, although I’m not 100% sure about all of it. What happens is that Philip is shown a secret filing cabinet by Gen. Trudeau which contained some of the debris of the Roswell crash with objects that look like wafers with silicon threads in them, super-strength fabric and a kind of torch which shines a concentrated beam of light which can cut through metal. Trudeau then gives Philip his mission: take this technology and find a way to introduce it into mainstream science and industry, so that it enters common use. The US authorities believed that it was pointless to try to keep the Roswell technology secret because of the enormous success of Soviet spies in infiltrating the government to the highest level so the only way to ensure its survival is to proverbially “hide it in plain view”. Philip describes how he has secret meetings with the heads of Bell Labs, Westinghouse, General Electric and many other top engineering organizations to present the Roswell technology to them, in a way that made it look as if it had been invented by ordinary human scientists. The wafer structures were actually electronic circuits which led to the “invention” of the transistor and eventually the microchip; a crucial development that allowed computers and other electronic appliances to massively increase in power while being miniaturized a thousand-fold. The torch-like device was actually a laser and hence the modern use of lasers in everything from a CD player to a National ID Card retina scanner. We can thank the Roswell aliens for that, not human pioneers and innovators! The fabric launched the development of “smart cloth” and super-strong designer building materials like Kevlar and Buckminster-Fullerine. I’m fairly dubious about that part of the book. There’s a clear paper trail showing how scientists from this planet can take credit for these inventions and it feels uncomfortable to think of some green bug-eyes monster from Zeta Reticuli taking the limelight instead! The technology from the Roswell craft, and others that have crashed and been covertly salvaged, has indeed been back-engineered by human scientists, but the technology developed has been selfishly hoarded by the government for its own exclusive use. And it’s not mere trifles like CD-players and portable radios; it’s antigravity, esoteric propulsion systems and I can’t begin to speculate on what else!

However the author then changes tack and comes to the most sensible and convincing part of his story: the development of “Star Wars”. According to Philip the history of the Cold War is a farce, a mere sideline that hid the real conflict: the war to defend Earth from invasion by a hostile extraterrestrial civilization. The West and the Soviet Union’s conflict was real at one level, but was also used by both sides to develop weaponry to attack alien spacecraft; a conflict in which both superpowers were secretly allies. The greatest leaders in this covert war were Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. Their clash over “Star Wars” research was staged for public consumption while the two presidents collaborated to make sure that both their respective nations were armed to the teeth with space-based lasers, missile and particle beam-toting satellites. The book also describes “Project Horizon”, the proposed, but cancelled, plan to put a permanent military base on the moon to defend the Earth from both the Soviets and aliens. I think that the practical problems with the project would have made it impossible with current publicly-available technology, and even sending a handful of people to the moon for a few hours is impossible (See here: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2009/01/i-went-to-godamn-moon.html and http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/01/moon.html ). Corso on the other hand believes that the Apollo missions were real and succeeded as history tells us they did. These scenarioes sounds a lot more likely to be true, not least because it is corroborated by the testimony of others. Before I read the book I had already seen the lectures by Dr Carol Rosin where she relates her last interviews with Werner von Braun. Braun emphatically tells her “Carol, you vill stop ze veaponization of space.” (See here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ALLUuvsVkM and http://www.disclose.tv/action/viewvideo/14187/Dr__Carol_Rosin_Interview__Pt_1_12/ ). According to von Braun the threat of hostile aliens is merely a lie, but the idea that these weapons were constructed ultimately to fight ET’s and not Communists, but only a few people would know, matches Philip Corso’s experience. The only difference is that Philip believes the propaganda about hostile aliens and, if he were alive and working today, would become an unknowing accomplice in the fraud that Carol Rosin talks about (Not just Carol either; Ian Crane mentions it. See here: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/10/ian-crane-war-on-terra.html ). This is the problem with career-soldiers like Philip Corso; they are invariably na├»ve when it comes to politics. The ethos of the military is about service, discipline and obedience to authority. I call that being malleable and subservient.

Lt. Col. Philip Corso died in July 1998, one year after the Roswell 50 celebrations, and stuck by his story to his last breath. Towards the end of his life he became very close friends with the Italian UFOlogist and exopolitician Paola Harris (A lady I’ve met, see here: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/06/now-thats-weird-conference-2008.html ). In fact he virtually adopted her! Here’s one of his last interviews: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1944228/the_roswell_ufo_crash_case_one_day_with_col_philip_j_corso/ . The Day After Roswell was panned by most book critics and in fact The Guardian included the book in its list of “Top Ten Literary Hoaxes” (Well here’s what I think of critics: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2008/06/critics.html . In fact I’m thinking of starting a Facebook group called “Fuck the Critics”!) Worst of all, the author’s former Pentagon colleague Senator Storm Thurmond withdrew his foreword and review when he found out about the book's contents. This is unfair when I’m pretty convinced that some of it at least is true and it was denounced purely because of its outlandish nature.

Aliens are real; the Roswell Incident was real. The US government really did salvage a crashed alien spacecraft from another planet, dimension or existence in July 1947. Philip Corso was in some way involved in that. As a defence expert he saw the UFO’s purely as threats, in fact in no part of the book does he ever consider that they might be anything but hostile. “They” in its singular form, is a big word to use for what might be any number of different species with any number of different origins, and probably with many different natures and agendas. Many in the New Age UFO cults like the Atherius Society and the Raelians worship the ET’s as virtual gods and see them as wholly benevolent (See Richard Lawrence's segment here: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/04/uk-probe-conference-march-08.html ). They are not all friendly by any means, and they’re certainly not Gods. But it’s equally foolish, as well as making yourself open to manipulation by the politically-motivated Elite, to see them all as enemies.

The cover and title-page verso of the book states that it was written also by William Birnes, the UFO researcher and presenter of UFO Hunters. However, Corso, who narrates the entire story, never refers to his co-author, not even in the acknowledgements.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Janet Plane on M/S Flight Simulator!




If you get Microsoft Flight Simulator X computer game( http://www.microsoft.com/games/flightsimulatorx/ ), the latest of the Flight Sim series, you’ll see a mission on the list called “Secret Shuttle”. In it you get to fly a Janet plane from McCarran Airport in Las Vegas to Area 51. The Janet planes are the secret unmarked airliners which fly people to and from the secret base (Background: http://www.dreamlandresort.com/info/janet.html ). Your co-pilot does all the radio work and checklists etc so all you have to do is fly in the captain’s role. He also instructs you on where to go and what to do. At one point he warns you not to talk about anything you see at the base and to not tell anyone you’ve flown the route! There’s no official flight plan and the aircraft has to navigate by visual flight rules.

I’ve only flown the route once, but when I did I heard the co-pilot talking to someone else about “UAV’s”, and he warned me to watch out for UAV’s. “UAV” is an aviation term for UFO! I’m going to fly it again and again and apparently on some flights your plane will eventually be buzzed by a flying saucer!

(Addendum 23/11/11: I've filmed the flight! See: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2011/07/janet-flight-to-area-51.html)

Friday, 13 March 2009

Rockall Chapter 4


Chapter 4 of Rockall, entitled Rendezvous is now on Ben's Bookcase:

http://hpanwo-bb.blogspot.com/2009/03/rockall-chapter-4.html

Monday, 9 March 2009

Credit Crunch? What Credit Crunch?


Here's the draft of a flyer I'm going to distribute. I'm going to put them through people's letterboxes like I used to when I was a kid during the anti-Poll Tax campaign. During the 1930's Great Depression many local independant community currencies sprang up in the USA; one is still going: The Ithaca Hour (:http://www.ithacahours.com/) I truly believe that this is the solution, not rioting in the streets and lynching the head of the Bank of England, just refusing to cooperate with their oppressive system. I relinquish Copyright on the flyer, therefore if any HPANWO readers wish to use it as a template for their it for their own version then please do so. Even if you're unskilled you'll still have some way you can get involved and contributue to your local economic system, even if it's just babysitting or housework or something. I'm going to charge 7 Oxford Dollars a mile (or Ox$5 per hour) to take elderly or disabled people out in their wheelchairs!:


Credit Crunch? What Credit Crunch?
The economic difficulties this world is currently facing are avoidable. Not only that, they are far more avoidable than you’d think and no economist, banker or politician will ever tell you how. The global money system is a fraud! It is based on artificially engineered debt through fresh-air loans. They literally create credit out of thin air! Most money is not real, it is fake. If we did that we’d be arrested for coining, but the banks get away with it every day! Not only that but the banks are currently being bailed out with tax-payers money, REAL money this time that we have earned, to prevent them crashing. It’s like you or I putting a bet on the horses and being reimbursed by the bookmaker every time we lose! The price humanity has to pay for this scam is monstrous, as we’re seeing, but the money-criminals make sure they’re not personally affected.

So how do we avoid the Recession? Simple: Stop using the fake money of the banking cartels and create our own currency. Some people are already doing this all over the world. They are using what have become known as “LETS” (Local Economic Trading System) whereby local communities create their own independent currency and agree to use it to exchange good and services. Because this currency is independent from the banks it is not subject to the whims and moods of the Global Economic System. Get together with your friends and neighbours and start up your own LETS Scheme!

See here for further information:
http://www.letslinkuk.org/ and http://www.ithacahours.com/ and http://www.davidicke.com/index.php/ and http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/ and http://www.rinf.com/ and http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/ and here’s a completely free ebook!: http://www.merchantsofdeception.com/
For further information please email me at XXXXXXXXXXX