Saturday, 25 June 2011

"The Sons Of Martha" by Rudyard Kipling

“The Sons Of Martha”
by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
from “The Years Between” (1919)

The Sons of Mary seldom bother, for they have inherited that good part;
But the Sons of Martha favour their Mother of the careful soul and the troubled heart.
And because she lost her temper once, and because she was rude to the Lord her Guest,
Her Sons must wait upon Mary’s Sons, world without end, reprieve, or rest.

It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and cushion the shock.
It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that the switches lock.
It is their care that the wheels run truly; it is their care to embark and entrain,
Tally, transport, and deliver duly the Sons of Mary by land and main.

They say to mountains “Be ye removèd.” They say to the lesser floods “Be dry.”
Under their rods are the rocks reprovèd—they are not afraid of that which is high.
Then do the hill-tops shake to the summit—then is the bed of the deep laid bare,
That the Sons of Mary may overcome it, pleasantly sleeping and unaware.

They finger Death at their gloves’ end where they piece and repiece the living wires.
He rears against the gates they tend: they feed him hungry behind their fires.
Early at dawn, ere men see clear, they stumble into his terrible stall,
And hale him forth like a haltered steer, and goad and turn him till evenfall.

To these from birth is Belief forbidden; from these till death is Relief afar.
They are concerned with matters hidden—under the earthline their altars are—
The secret fountains to follow up, waters withdrawn to restore to the mouth,
And gather the floods as in a cup, and pour them again at a city’s drouth.

They do not preach that their God will rouse them a little before the nuts work loose.
They do not preach that His Pity allows them to drop their job when they damn-well choose.
As in the thronged and the lighted ways, so in the dark and the desert they stand,
Wary and watchful all their days that their brethren’s ways may be long in the land.

Raise ye the stone or cleave the wood to make a path more fair or flat;
Lo, it is black already with the blood some Son of Martha spilled for that!
Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven, not as a witness to any creed,
But simple service simply given to his own kind in their common need.

And the Sons of Mary smile and are blessèd—they know the Angels are on their side.
They know in them is the Grace confessèd, and for them are the Mercies multiplied.
They sit at the feet—they hear the Word—they see how truly the Promise runs.
They have cast their burden upon the Lord, and—the Lord He lays it on Martha’s Sons!

Monday, 20 June 2011


The Prodigal
by Hamish Robinson
March 2011

Arriving at the airport I was sure
Of what I was about
To do: I had no doubt
I had to have this woman for my wife,
But she began to raise her voice and shout
(Some on-line check-in flaw
Meant seats not near the door),
And I thought fast and hard about my life.
Her shrillness passed through me like a knife
And left me somewhat shocked:
My confidence was rocked,
And I knew then what I had left behind
Was something I would find
I missed as soon as all routes back were blocked,
And there and then I turned and walked away
While she was busy trying to get her way.

I should have seen it coming from the first:
Her having such a lung,
And being highly-strung,
But then her beauty held me like a hook,
And every time I saw her I was stung.
I would have died of thirst,
Or shrivelled up, or burst,
Had I not taken all the steps I took,
But now I saw it plain as in a book:
The good life I had led
Could not be lived in bed,
And comforts that sustained me in the past
Were hardly going to last
Beyond the marriage I was keen to shed.
She knew how to inflict a wound, for sure,
But she herself could not provide the cure.

And so I took the holiday we'd booked,
The one my wife had planned,
And came to understand
How much my sanity and peace of mind
Were owed to her, and walking on the sand,
Or eating food we'd cooked,
How what I'd overlooked
Was that this was a marriage of a kind
That few of us can ever hope to find,
And that I was half-mad
To throw up what I had
For something that was really just a dream
Of licking off life's cream,
And think this harebrained scheme would make me glad.
The thought of it sends shivers down my spine,
Though sometimes I still think of her and pine.

Perfect Love
by Sarah Skwire
May 2011

When we were young and did not know each other
When we were perfect in our perfect skin
When we loved heartlessly, and with our lovers
When we rejected any thought of sin,

Then we were pebbles shaken in a jar
Then we were noise and little-nothing more
Then we collided without any scar
Then we were shut like fists, a fan, a door.

Now love, now you and I are growing old
and now perfection's just a memory.
But now, my love, we've learned a thing or two

and I have, now, a truth that should be told:
Have I now softness, sins, and scars? I'll be
in time to come, perfectly flawed with you.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Global warming

"From numerous informal observations over the past two decades, it seems clear that high status scientists are no longer required to respond to requests for clarification or to published criticism, but can ignore it with impunity. The traditional default that criticism was regarded as correct unless it was refuted, no longer seems to apply to high status scientists when a criticism comes from a lower-status scientist.


And high status scientists are now placed under no obligation to co-operate with their critics in discovering the truth – in the first place high status scientists usually do not need to acknowledge or respond at all to criticism; if they respond they are not compelled to provide relevant refutation but are allowed to bluster, change the subject, and make ad hominem attacks on their critics; requests for extra methodological detail or raw data can be ignored. Sometimes, criticism is met with legal threats – for example accusations of libel."

"The State and Science in 1893 Britain"

"Official Geology was the group that had got it wrong. Unofficial Geology had got it right. But what was worse than its error was that Official Geology had suppressed Unofficial Geology and covered up its blunder for decades."

"Murchison had made sure that such contrary opinions did not receive wide publicity in the Geological Society as marginal notes in the minutes of the Council Meetings of that organization suggest. The strong statement of disagreement with and dissociation from Murchison's opinions that Nicol wished to append to his 1861 and 1862 papers was refused publication, and Nicol's achievements received little recognition in his lifetime."

"The unusual trustworthiness of science, despite the fact that scientists are humans and humans are not generally trustworthy, exists when (a) hypotheses are falsifiable, and (b) the professional institutions within which scientists operate promote, broadcast, and reward any falsification."

"To understand the impact of increased CO2, we need to know the climate sensitivity. Q: how can scientists, at least Popperian scientists, evaluate the climate sensitivity? A: they can't. There is no falsifiable procedure which can estimate climate sensitivity."

"We also have (one) answer to the first question of the AGW credulists: how a scientific consensus can produce a fraudulent result. The answer is simple: theentire field is fraudulent. In a fraudulent pseudoscience, there is no incentive at all for uncovering error, because the only result of a successful dissent is to destroy your job and those of your peers."

"What we're looking at here is mainstream pathological science. This is a basic and unfixable flaw in the entire Vannevar Bush design for federally-funded science. Once cranks, quacks, or charlatans get a foothold in the NSF and/or the universities, and establish their quack field as a legitimate department of Science, they are there to stay.

The mainstream cranks will not expel themselves, and there is no mechanism by which another department can attack them."