Smart folk …

President Obama recently derided me as a flat earther, to my future king I am a headless chicken. To any number of climate scientists and climate science communicators I am a denier which links me nicely with the execrated group that deny the holocaust.

There are others like me that don’t expect the earth to fry any time soon. What are we really like?

A recent survey of 5,286 readers of leading skeptical blogs by Mike Haseler of the Scottish Climate & Energy Forum shows that the people driving the skeptical debate are predominantly engineers and hard scientists with backgrounds like maths, physics and chemistry. He reports …

A sceptical consensus: the science is right but catastrophic global warming is not going to happen

A recent survey of those participating in on-line forums showed that most of the 5,000 respondents were experienced engineers, scientists and IT professionals most degree qualified and around a third with post graduate qualifications. The survey, carried out by the Scottish Climate and Energy Forum, asked respondents for their views on CO2 and the effect it might have on global temperatures. The results were surprising. 96% of respondents said that atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing with 79% attributing the increase to man-made sources. 81% agreed that global temperatures had increased over the 20th century and 81% also agreed that CO2 is a warming gas. But only 2% believed that increases in CO2 would cause catastrophic global warming.

So what’s going on?

Above all, these highly qualified people – experts in their own spheres – look at the published data and trust their own analysis, so their views match the available data. They agree that the climate warmed over the 20th century (this has been measured), that CO2 levels are increasing (this too has been measured) and that CO2 is a warming gas (it helps trap heat in the atmosphere and the effects can be measured). Beyond this, the survey found that 98% of respondents believe that the climate varies naturally and that increasing CO2 levels won’t cause catastrophic warming.

(Filched from JoNova).

I’d be surprised if any of them believe in homeopathy or are opposed to GM foods.

Mihir Garh …

Garh means fort, we have already visited Mehrangarh in Jodhpur.

If you google Mehrengarh you will find “Mehrengarh Fort” several times in the first page, like the HIV virus and Gondwanaland, this is a tautology and if I’ve told you once I’ve told you a million times “Do not repeat yourself.”

But I digress, Mihir Garh is the Fort of the Sun. It stands in the Thar desert in Rajasthan, an outpost of utter luxury, so carefully constructed that it seems to belong there, more than that it almost seems to have grown there. Its form is inspired by the traditional village architecture, the building and the furniture were all completed by local craftsmen. No two guest rooms are the same.

Mihir Garh.
Mihir Garh.
Mihir Garh.
Mihir Garh.

In the stable here there are some fine Marwari horses.Legend has it …

… that in the 12th century AD, a group of people that would later be known as the Rathores, were exiled from their homeland. Sheoji, the man who would be the father of the Rathores, rode out proudly with a group of faithful pilgrims to find a new home. Their will was of iron, and their horses were strong and fast. Together, they would settle in a region called the Marwar, in Rajasthan, to start a new life.

The horses that bore them were integral to their survival and represented the pride and strength of the people. Over many years, they grew into the regal Marwari breed, and their beauty and power was known to all, represented by their distinctive inwardly pointed ears. When a Marwari horse moved through the city streets, the commoners would bow deeply before it. Yet while their heads faced the ground, their eyes would strain upward to get a glimpse of the almost mythical creature. For hundreds of years, this legendary horse would reign as the symbol of Marwari aristocracy.

They carried the feuding warlords into battle, in an area where there were plenty of warlords and no shortage of battles. They are fine looking animals.

Marwari Horse.
Marwari Horse.

I spent my last two nights in Rajasthan at the Mihir Garh.


Mihir Garh.
Mihir Garh.

When the sun rises it is back to Mumbai and then home …

Major General Neville McBryde Donohue …

Some people are just not comfortable in their own skin, they just have to be someone else …Donohue-2

… whether it be the very model of a modern major-general or a cousin of Kim Jong Il (better cousin than uncle).

He was due in court last week but, as was explained in a letter from the Alfred Hospital, he was busy dying of terminal cancer. According to the Herald Sun the signature on the letter is not one the hospital is familiar with.

The ANZMI website tells us that …

We are reliably advised by ex members of the Royal Australian Corps of Signals (RA Sigs) that the “General” is in fact ex Serviceman 313847 Corporal Neville McBryde Donohue from the Kilsyth area of Victoria. He served in the Australian Army between 1970 and 1976 and was never deployed to any Operational Areas.

I’m sure we all wish him a speedy recovery …


The poppy …


As far as I can determine, opium is illegal in India. Its use persists, especially in north-west India in certain ceremonies. When a marriage is arranged the father of the groom and the father of the bride may well drink an infusion from each other’s hand. The opportunity to welcome strangers to a village is also a suitable excuse to indulge.


Balls of dried opium, it looked like three for each participant, were mixed with water and sieved. The resulting liquid, amal, was then poured into the mixers hand and offered to his companion, who dipped a finger and flicked three droplets to the gods and then drank …


The brew is then offered to the strangers in welcome.

Before accepting you should perhaps read this cautionary tale. And remember, there are more opium addicts in India than alcoholics.