Predictably, he manages to look like a plonker almost immediately.
I realised that I was looking at the world in the same way a western medical practitioner looks at a patient, seeing symptoms and wondering how to firefight them, without any thought for their root cause. So I decided instead to become a social homeopath, a pro-activist, and to investigate the root cause of these symptoms.
“Social homeopath” says it all really. Take a laughably unscientific and unworkable form of “medicine” and apply its principles to economics. A placebo for western capitalist guilt.
So to be the change I wanted to see in the world, it unfortunately meant I was going to have to give up cash, which I initially decided to do for a year. I got myself a caravan, parked it up on an organic farm where I was volunteering and kitted it out to be off-grid.
Note how he “got” himself a caravan. Where did he “get” it from?
Did he forage it? Did he grow it himself? Did he find it? Or did he “buy” it?
mobile and laptop would be run off solar
It would be too much to ask to ditch mobile phones and laptops. He’s not that kind of hippy.
But they are solar-powered. Free energy from the sky, man. No emissions, no fossil fuels being burned to power these eco-babies. And no need to give money to The Man.
Boyle doesn’t explain how he pays for his line rental, talk time and internet access charges.
And there’s again no mention of how he acquired these items of cutting-edge technology in the first place.
But I know what you’re thinking: What about the gym?! Memberships don’t come for free!!
To get around, I had a bike and trailer, and the 34-mile commute to the city doubled up as my gym subscription.
So that’s alright then.
Food was the next essential. There are four legs to the food-for-free table: foraging wild food, growing your own, bartering, and using waste grub, of which there is loads.
Yeah. After he’d got his mobile and laptop sorted, food was the next essential.
All he has to do is rely upon the waste from a global agricultural, industrial, chemical and logisitics infrastructure, run by a handful of mega-corporations and subsidised heavily by tax-payers. Simple.
What’s really shocking about this column is that Boyle makes no attempt to explain what he’s trying to achieve by working the land and relying on hand-outs like a fucking tramp.
And his conclusion is nano-thin, with no attempt to explain or justify any of his statements.
What have I learned? That friendship, not money, is real security.
Especially if they’re the kind of friends who pay your phone bill for you, eh?
How very heart-warming.
That most western poverty is of the spiritual kind. That independence is really interdependence. And that if you don’t own a plasma screen TV, people think you’re an extremist.
Those crazy Republican fuckers are right, socialized medicine sucks.
When I lived in America, I had cause to interact with its world-class health service twice.
The first time, I was in LA at a conference.
After a heavy night of boozing, I woke up with a big throat problem, my uvula swollen up so bad I could hardly breath, and went to the nearest walk-in ER.
The doctor diagnosed two serious diseases, both potentially fatal.
He prescribed me $300 worth of pills and pointed me in the direction of the nearest Rite-Aid.
The condition itself cleared itself up within about five hours. I called my mum, an NHS nurse, and she told me I was merely dehydrated due to a massive hangover.
The side-effects of the medication, on the other hand, kept me in a state of constant gut pain for a week.
A few days later, I received a $100 hospital bill and a $200 doctor’s bill, which I duly sent off to my health insurance company.
Several years later, I ran a credit check on myself and discovered that the hospital had been chasing me for five years over the bills, which my insurance company had refused to pay for bureaucratic reasons unknown.
I had a $600 hangover and a big black mark on my credit rating.
The second time I visited a doctor in America, I was in agony with what I shall refer to as “lower back pain”.
I couldn’t even get to see a doctor.
The insurance card in my wallet apparently wasn’t an insurance card, for reasons beyond my ken, and the cunt of a receptionist refused to even give me a ballpark figure of what it would cost if I paid out of my own pocket.
I ended up having to go to an ER again, paying $100 for meds and receiving another silly-big bill that my insurance company refused to pay.
I still have no idea why. The manual the insurance company sent me, explaining what I was and was not covered for, was as thick as a fucking phone book.
I moved back to the UK in late 2007.
The plan was to hang around for a couple months and then head off to Asia for a year. I figured I’d need some shots.
I was 14 or 15 last time I visited my National Health Service family doctor (in the UK, they’re called GPs). Half my life ago. That was enough time for my records to be expunged from their system.
So I called up to make an appointment.
“Are you registered here?” the receptionist asked.
“No,” I said.
“Okay, that’s not a problem,” she said. “We can have you fill out a form. Can you make Wednesday at 2pm?”
I showed up at Wednesday at 2pm, dreading the form.
I had to fill out my name, address, telephone number and date of birth. It took all of 30 seconds. I did not have to provide ID.
After a five-minute wait I got to see the nurse practitioner. She asked me which countries I was going to, then checked on a computer to see what the current vaccination advice for these countries was.
She made me an appointment for the following week to get the first of my shots.
The next week, I showed up, and she gave me the first shots. I was now pretty much immune to tetanus and two flavours of hepatitis. Which was nice.
I had two more appointments over the next two weeks, to receive the rest of my injections. Because that’s how the medicine works: you need to take a course.
Despite it being essentially elective treatment, I didn’t have to pay for any of it.
I then went to Asia and didn’t contract any nasty diseases.
I’ve been back in the UK for some months now.
Recently, I decided to get something checked out.
I’d had it for a while, but I’d self-diagnosed using the internet and figured out it was the kind of thing that is so trivial that doctors often don’t even bother treating it.
But it was beginning to annoy me, so I called the same GP and asked for an appointment.
“Are you registered here?” the receptionist said.
“No,” I said.
“Okay, that’s not a problem,” she said. “We have nothing tomorrow. Can you make it Wednesday at 2pm?”
I showed up Wednesday at 2pm, filled out the same form with my name, address, phone number, and date of birth. I did not have to provide ID.
I asked if I could officially register with the practice. I was told it might be a problem as I lived outside the surgery’s catchment area and I might have to pick somewhere closer to my home.
I waited for five minutes before I could see the doctor.
I went in. The implausibly cheerful doc took all of 45 seconds to confirm my self-diagnosis, tell me there was nothing to worry about, and refer me to a specialist.
He then called through to reception and asked them to officially register me with the surgery, without being asked.
The next day I went in, filled out a form, had a five-minute medical.
He basically went nuts through a prolonged case of drydick, by the looks of things. But his last entry interested me:
“Maybe soon, I will see God and Jesus. At least that is what I was told. Eternal life does NOT depend on works. If it did, we will all be in hell. Christ paid for EVERY sin, so how can I or you be judged BY GOD for a sin when the penalty was ALREADY paid. People judge but that does not matter. I was reading the Bible and The Integrity of God beginning yesterday, because soon I will see them.”
That wonderful Christian doctrine of vicarious redemption. Gotta love it.
If there’s one group of people who have been getting on my tits even more than religious people recently, it’s the 9-11 Truthers. Or 9-11 Deniers, as it seems more appropriate to call them.
I know a few personally. In fact, in my apartment I’m in a minority of one in my belief that the attacks of 9-11 were planned and executed by Saudi terrorists, rather than the US government.
“Do the research!” they say. “Look at the facts!”
As if looking at the facts will inevitably lead to my wholeheartedly buying into the conspiracy theories.
Well, I have looked at the facts. And my conclusion is that most 9-11 Deniers are a bunch of fucking idiots.
People will often try to direct me to the online video Loose Change, an hilariously fuckwitted “documentary” from a guy called Dylan Avery, an uneducated Red Lobster waiter who has the appearance, reasoning skills and creative imagination of a thirteen-year-old boy.
This video is what counts as research among my Denier friends.
I’ve watched it a couple of times. It’s complete garbage.
Loose Change, available for viewing here, makes a number of batshit claims including:
That the Pentagon was not hit by American Airlines 77. It was some kind of military drone.
That the two World Trade Center towers were brought down by explosives in a controlled demolition.
That United 93 didn’t crash into the Shanksville field, but was rather redirected to an airport where the passengers were safely deplaned by government officials.
Clearly, it’s either the paranoid work of a delusional mind, a deliberately callous attempt to deceive simpletons and mourning relatives, or a tragically misunderstood work of fiction.
Regardless, the film has been viewed something like 50 million times. I shudder to think how many in that audience bought into its ludicrous claims.
So, I had a brief smile put on my face today by viewing Loose Change: The Final Cut, Avery’s third revision of the video. This one had a budget, and Avery, it appears, has adopted some level of rudimentary journalistic rigour, such as actually interviewing people and not using the deliberately deceptive selective quoting found in the first two.
What this means basically is that Avery has cut out almost all of his craziest claims.
Even he doesn’t believe half of this shit any more.
And if even he doesn’t believe it, anybody who now wants to continue to take the first two Loose Change videos as evidence of anything needs their head examined.
Ten points to us.
If you ignore all the mental stuff and take this latest video as an expose of the incompetence of the US government and Giuliani’s office, their failure to prevent or adequately respond to the 9-11 attacks, it’s not a wholly bad film.
If you take it as evidence that the US government planned and executed the 9-11 attacks, your critical faculties are in question.
This sounds too good to be true, so it very probably isn’t.
An Irish security firm reckons it accidentally discovered a way to break the law of the conservation of energy while building a wind generator for an ATM security camera.
The company’s name is Steorn, and the invention is being called Orbo.
In summary, they reckon this gizmo can create energy from nothing. The physics of this are pretty straightforward here — what Steorn is claiming is impossible.
The law of the conservation of energy states that you can’t make new energy, nor can you destroy it. Energy just converts from one form to another.
The sun emits energy. Plants store this energy. They die. They are compressed, heated over geological spans of time. They turn into oil. People burn the oil to boil water. The water turns to steam and drives a turbine that generates the electricity that allows you to read this sentence… the energy doesn’t go anywhere, it just changes.
Orbo, Steorn reckons, just makes energy out of nothing by spinning magnets or something. They haven’t revealed how it works yet, which leads a lot of people to believe it’s a hoax.
If physics is wrong and Steorn is right, the world is going to change, fundamentally.
We won’t need oil, for starters. Or, presumably, the sun.
I desperately want this to be true, but Steorn is just a little too slick for my liking. It sets off all my bullshit alarms. If it’s not an outright hoax or a marketing scam, I expect they’re just wrong.