] for the various reasons that I've posted.
-- A selection of sources giving rebuttals to Al Gore's exaggerated and flat-wrong claims
-- How a modified version of Newtonian dynamics, or even more simply, recognition of of electrical forces, may offer more straightforward explanations for anomalous galaxy rotations than dark matter.
-- The intriguing notion that an expanding Earth could explain the breakup of continents and growth of oceans better than the conventional account based on plate tectonics (with its continuing mystery of what makes them move).
-- The revelation that all of the effects given as proof General Relativity can be derived by classical methods, without recourse to relativity at all.
-- Radioactive decay rates not as constant as is generally thought, and appear to vary with astronomical cycles.
-- A selection for pun lovers
-- My reaction to the arrest of historian Fredrick Toben at London's Heathrow Airport. (He has since been released.)
LIFE ON THE FARM
The week up to and including Thanksgiving Day weekend was great, with oldest son Alex and two of his friends from the States coming to visit. Alex and his two brothers were still of school age when we moved to Florida after spending several years on the far side of Ireland, in County Wicklow. But I think that Arthur Guinness & Co. can safely say that they have three staunch enthusiasts to spread the word, and the musical and dancing scene was very much enjoyed, along with a lot of fine scenery and the general quality of life. One of the friends couldn't understand why anyone would want to leave Dublin. Maybe one has to be over 50 or so to appreciate the pace of things here, west of the Shannon.
Although, as I mentioned in a previous newsletter, we have finally connected the famous extension through to the cottage at last, the boys weren't able to stay here, since not all of the extra space is usable yet. However, the times of periodic invasion by stray cattle wandering in from the lane are over, for we've installed a cattle grid across the driveway entrance. That didn't pass without its problematical aspects, since as soon as the trench had been dug to commence the operation, the heavens opened in ways known only in western Ireland and parts of the Amazon headwaters region, preventing further significant progress for several weeks. That in itself wouldn't have been so bad, had it not coincided with a month-long visit by Sheryl's extremely English, 90-year-old-mother, who found her first visit to this corner of the former Imperial dominions somewhat elevated in excitement by having to walk several permanently wet planks across the moat to cars marooned on the other side whenever entering or leaving. But that's now past and the rest of the engineering has been successfully completed.
Invasion defenses are not thereby fully in place yet, however. The central portion of the Zeppelin Shed is enclosed by steel double doors, each seven feet wide, and functions as a workshop with 12-foot-long bench, and a large storage area for materials and tools, with a loft overhead. Quite an asset to the place indeed. (The other two parts of the Z. Shed are an even larger and higher space built for storing hay but now affording cover for stacks of logs and peat, a wood-chopping area, clothes line, and parking for two cars; and an additional storage space that we use for construction and timber, mixing cement, and holding trash. The realtor who sold the place told me that, incredibly,several couples had turned the place it down because "they"--probably meaning the wife--didn't like the Zeppelin Shed. I was smart and bought the place before I remarried, but it turns out that Sheryl loves the setup too. But Americans are more practical.)
Anyway, all was well for three years until this summer, when a squadron of swallows decided to move into the workshop part of the shed. The mess they make is bad enough, but the insult added to injury came with the clamor of indignant twittering and squawking that arose whenever I entered--as if title were decided and I was the one who had no business being there. The subsequent ongoing commotion and frenzied swooping in and out the door made thinking impossible and led rapidly to the inevitable declaration that the war was total and unconditional. They have now departed to Spain, Africa, or wherever it is that their pusillanimous instincts lead them to flee the bracing Irish winters that were the makings of men like Daniel O'Connell and Brian Boru. They shall meet their Waterloo upon returning, for I've spotted their entry hole, high near the apex of the hay roof, and invested in an extension ladder long enough to reach it, after which the shed will be impregnable.
THAT SEASON OF THE YEAR
Another holiday time approaches, with not a lot that's changed apart from the inevitable consequences of putting people devoid of principles or scruple in charge of financial affairs, without accountability or regulation. My views on that are summarized in the current Comment, "Privatize the Profits; Nationalize the Losses" on the Home Page. But enough of that for now. I still get seasonal wishes for a "Merry Gravmas" from readers, inspired by a short story that I wrote 20 years ago. For those who haven't seen or heard of it, a copy is attached herewith. Consider it in lieu of a card, with best wishes to all.