Sunday, November 30, 2008

Seasonal Music Recommendation

Seasonal Music has this short shelf life but if good enough has the chance to return year after year. We think we have found one that fits the bill: Come Darkness, Come Light by Mary Chapin Carpenter. Available on iTunes but I am not sure how you link to the iTunes Store. So, use the information above (title, artist) and go search!

The Clamour of the Times

Professor Philip Stott is moving blogs. Global Warming Politics (previously Envirospin) is being superseded by a more general blog covering, to quote the good professor:

"Asked by his friend, James Boswell (1740-1795), why ‘predestination’ figured in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, Dr. Johnson (1709-1784) replied that it was but “the clamour of the times”. The aim of this blog is to interrogate “the clamour” of our own noisy times."

The older blogs remain as archives but you may want to subscribe to his RSS link.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Don't listen to the politicians - read the graffiti!

The Answer. . . .

Global Sea Level Changes

As regular readers will know, there is a mantra "Change is Normal" when it comes to our planet and its many systems. One such concern among the global warming community is that sea levels will rise as a result of a warming trend.

As just about all geologists will attest, global sea levels change through time. This statement was best put into the scientific mainstream by Peter Vail. He produced a global sea level change chart which is reproduced here (source):

Why these changes? Have ice sheets been growing and receding through time? Yes, but temperature change is far from being the main reason behind global sea level changes. And we also know that any description of a global sea level change will have its exceptions at any one time. As good examples, the Strait of Hormuz is sinking rapidly today while the Baltic is rising rapidly. I use the word "rapidly" in a geological time concept. As solid as the Earth's crust appears to be, we know that it is constantly moving up and down and around, and it is this activity that is the prime cause for global as well as local sea level changes. Ice Ages are rare phenomena in the geological time span covered by the chart (600 million years) so cannot and should not be invoked as reasons why we may be facing rising sea levels in the future. Better to look to plate tectonic motions if you want to predict whether or not London, New York and Shanghai will all disappear in the geological future!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

-8ºC Last Night

The other morning I walked ten blocks downtown Calgary and it was cold in the pre-dawn rush hour! This photo was taken from the office window at 9 a.m. by which time the sun was up and the temperature starting to climb a little.

Knowing the temperature before venturing outside is a must during the winter months but exactly what constitutes "cold" depends on where you're from! Locals in the warmth of a hotel lobby may chide for wearing gloves but it seems most people do anyway!

It looks like there is a slight warming trend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Conspiracy Theories

Today the Daily Telegraph has published a series of photos and brief descriptions of the 30 greatest conspiracy theories of our times. Global warming is one of them!

Under an interestingly emotive picture reads the following, I quote:

29. Global warming is a hoax - Some climate change doubters believe that man-made global warming is a conspiracy designed to soften up the world's population to higher taxation, controls on lifestyle and more authoritarian government. These sceptics cite a fall in global temperatures since last year and a levelling off in the rise in temperature since 1998 as evidence.

So let's take a look at this. First of all, from a geological point of view, the time scales quoted are ridiculous and meaningless. Secondly, we know that climate change is the norm, for there is no such thing as a "stable climate" (except in the minds of politicians).

The evidence for global warming being significantly man-made at this time is not completely understood. The most significant greenhouse gas is water vapor, not carbon dioxide, while much of the CO2 released into the atmosphere is natural, not anthropogenic. Science simply doesn't know the true impact of man-made CO2 emissions on the atmosphere and climate. The scientific jury is still out on the subject, despite so called "consensus" statements by the IPCC, etc.

This leaves the political ramifications of the conspiracy theory and here we have something a lot less scientific and therefore harder to debate. There seems to be no doubt that the evidence of anthropogenic global warming is continually being distorted by those who can use it to control lives and, as many global warming deniers have pointed out, the main reason for Al Gore's unscientific slide show, an Inconvenient Truth, has been to promote Gore's own image and wealth. We are beginning to see evidence that politicians will use doublespeak to promote green agendas. Climate change taxation is certainly with us already.

Does that make it a conspiracy? An interesting question. But consider this. By grouping the subject along with 29 other conspiracy theories, it would appear that those who question global warming politics are being cast in the same light as those who construct huge paradigms for alien visitations and so on. "Deniers", "Heretics", now "Conspiracy Theorists"! The name calling continues.

Green Taxes are Upon Us

So the UK Government appears to be set on reaping the benefits of the first sale of carbon emission permits. This article from the BBC somehow manages to keep a straight face while the green movement doesn't know whether to cheer or cry.

But the rest of us should start worrying. Who is going to pay the tax? Not the energy companies. No way. Expect more increases in utility bills. And as to other European countries passing on the funds to the consumers! A whole level of bureaucracy will be needed to take money from you and me just to give some of it back.

Wake up, wake up, the green movement is taking over and it ain't going to be pretty. The only green I can see in all this is money being frittered away on nonsensical schemes so we can all feel good about ourselves.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Foreign Exchange Fluctuations

Recently I've been trying to keep track of and understand the massive changes in foreign exchange rates between the US Dollar, Pound Sterling and the Euro. The relatives changes in currency since the beginning of the year (2008) are quite seriously amazing. Using the website the following YTD changes can be seen:

£ Sterling to US $ - currently 1.4967, down 23.59%

Euro to US $ - currently 1.2624, down 4.32%

It wasn't so long ago the £/$ rate was permanently stuck at 2.0. Past Christmas holidays provided the scenes of hordes of shoppers flying to New York to shop. Not this year, I would think. Perhaps the pound was artificially too high then. I can certainly remember what little is left of the UK manufacturing sector complaining about lack of competitiveness in the export market. So at least they should be happier now, assuming they can obtain investment funding from the banks. Tourism should also benefit from the change in exchange rates, but that assumes that tourists can afford to spend money during a recession.

The contrast between the Euro and the Dollar is a lot less significant, suggesting, possibly, that something here has yet to give. If we assume that the dollar is too large a currency in the hearts and minds of the rest of the world, then my guess is that the Euro is heading for a fall as well. Eventually, it is probable that things will even out, I suppose, with the status quo (whatever that is) winning out in the end.

That assumes we continue to have a free market economy. But here I am not so sure. There are dark days ahead, I think, when it comes to how the current financial collapse will be managed and who will be doing the managing. Very, very few of the world's leaders apparently saw this coming, yet it is the same people who claim they will get us out of the mess that they, basically, allowed to happen.

At this point I have to admit that conspiracy theories start to look very attractive! Fellow global warming heretic Professor Philip Stott has an engaging piece on his blog that is highly recommended. The comparisons between the present political situation and George Orwell's 1984 are much more than coincidental.

Apple, Adobe, iPhone and Flash

This article on Wired points out that Apple's "control-freak mentality" toward the iPhone will prevent Adobe's Flash system from ever being ported to the iPhone OS. The slew of comments to this article makes for interesting reading but, as might be expected, all the comments come from the "geek sector" of the user community. Who else reads Wired?

Well, I do, but mainly it's an attempt to keep up, remain savvy and occasionally learn something useful! Besides, I like the fact that Wired puts all of its articles on RSS readers, not some ridiculous appetizer to get you to click through.

That aside, this article misses the point for the vast majority of iPhone users. We (I am just about in the majority here) don't know what we're missing most of the time and don't really care. Web pages without Flash ads load quicker and are less distracting. That's a distinct bonus. The downside might be that we could occasionally be frustrated by a web site that insists on being Flashy. In which case the owners of those sites might just recognize that they are missing an increasingly important sector of the internet.

Some comments suggest that the only way to go with an iPhone is to jailbreak it. Well, that's a personal decision, but not one I will make in a hurry, unless I find myself living in a country where there is no official agreement to provide a service.

As mentioned last Saturday, there are advantages in Apple's ability to control its wide range of core hardware and software offerings.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Misleading headlines

This one caught my eye on the Daily Telegraph RSS service:

"Climate change threatens spectacle of birds at wetland sites"

I think we are all becoming conditioned to reading between the lines whenever we see "climate change" in a headline. Whatever follows is bound to be negative, anthropogenic and indicative of imminent disaster.

All this article is about, however, is the expectation that fewer birds are migrating to some of the best viewing sites in the UK. Some species are causing concern with globally reduced numbers, while others are on the increase. That's as it is likely to be - the only constant in life is change.

Now that our spectacles are threatened, what can we expect next?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Airport Express

Apple's small wireless device is a neat package - connected to the internet it can distribute to ten devices (computers, Apple TV, iPhone, etc.), can allow all users to access one printer and can allow your iTunes music to be distributed wirelessly to one or more powered speaker systems around the house. It can also be an add-on to a larger network.

But there is more! When on the road it makes a very useful wireless hub for computer and iPhone, whether in the hotel or the office environment, or both. The device is small and light and has no need for power cords as it can plug directly into a wall socket or power strip.

Although I haven't done this yet, it is clear that the combination of iTunes, Airport Express, power speakers and iPhone with the Remote app makes for one very sophisticated music system. To whit. Computer is in den. Speakers are in living room. iPhone can adjust the music selection and volume from anywhere in range of the wi-fi network, say the kitchen! Moving from living room to dining room? Simply switch to a different set of power speakers (though this requires a second Airport Express).

This is all very impressive and speaks volumes for Apple's commitment to controlling all aspects of the system, from computer to OS, to software, to peripherals.

G20, lemming genes and the ostrich syndrome

So, the world's leaders are meeting to determine how to stop the roller coaster global economy from plunging down into recession. These are the same people (i.e. politicians) who never saw it coming yet they are now the self-styled experts who are going to "save the world".

Can I be the only cynic? Probably not. Politicians, even though they may stand for a wide spectrum of ideologies, all seem to share a lemming gene. When faced with impending doom the simplest solution, short-term though it may be, is always to pretend it doesn't exist and that it will go away. This could be called the ostrich syndrome.

Where I get really cynical is in the complete turn round that many politicians are now making. The UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was Chancellor of the Exchequer (i.e. treasury secretary in US parlance) for 11 years before taking over from Tony Blair. If ever there was a borrow, tax and spend Chancellor, it was him. But now he has suddenly embraced the concept that tax breaks will kick start the global economy.

Of course, he cannot simply reduce taxes. No, it is much too efficient to, say, remove the lowest paid members of the workforce from the tax rolls completely (why do people who only make minimum wage even have to pay income tax in the UK?) The plans always seem to include some form of means test such that the individual must claim for tax credits. Such a policy demands additional bureaucracy, and of course that means more government paid jobs that might otherwise be a whole lot more productive.

There is an old political saying that "the people get the government they deserve". It's probably true when there's a choice, but modern democracies don't seem to offer much of a choice. HM Government's "loyal opposition" generally doesn't seem to have much of a clue as to how it would tackle the problems.

On the other hand, I do applaud George Osborne, shadow chancellor, for having the nerve to suggest that more government borrowing could cause Sterling to collapse. The acrimony his statement has drawn demonstrates my point - lemmings don't like colleagues who refuse to follow the leader.

So, put your head back in the sand, George, and be a good boy!

Dordogne HDR


Taken a couple of months ago, this is a five exposure composite high dynamic range compilation. For the first time I used a tripod for the five rapid fire exposures and the extra quality of the details in this picture shows that a tripod should be de rigeur!

The location is on the bank of the Dordogne, looking west, near where we stayed a night at Paunat.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Using the iPhone Abroad

I knew this wasn't going to be easy, but I think I've got it sorted.

The key is to switch data roaming off. That way it is impossible to rack up unwanted charges downloading data through foreign cell phone air space.

It is also unwise to ever access any 'net-based app (including Mail and Safari) when there is no Wi Fi available. It seems that as long as you don't access any data delivery apps they don't seek out that data (presumably because data roaming is switched off).

The other fail safe method is to switch the iPhone to Airplane Mode. The problem with this, of course is that you can't receive phone calls. But you may not want to receive many calls anyway, given the charges incurred! And consider being many time zones away from home - all those sales calls could wake you up at an unreasonable hour - ugh!

As a number of comments on various iPhone web sites mention, the problem all stems from the iPhone being such a versatile smart phone. I hope that in the future the mobile providers of the world will be able to get together to offer reasonably priced data roaming plans for frequent travelers. You could say that the iPhone is simply ahead of its time when it comes to marketing plans for those of us who travel a lot.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Maldives and political scaremongering

The newly elected president of the Maldives (a group of over a thousand coral atolls in the Indian Ocean) has come out with an interesting plan in case global warming should cause sea levels to rise and inundate his nation.

That is what many climate change scientists believe will happen because of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). But I would suggest that they've got it all wrong.

Coral atolls, for as long as they are living organisms, keep pace with sea level changes. If my memory serves me correctly, I learned in school that Darwin observed that atolls appear to keep pace with subsidence, maintaining their elevation. This observation was further supported by drilling into atolls to find shallow water corals formed the bulk of the structure for thousands of feet below present day sea level.

The fact that the present day Maldives are so close to sea level supports the observations made by many eminent geographers and geologists.

Corals thrive in environments like the Maldives - open ocean bringing food, clear water to allow copious light to penetrate deep on the flanks of the reefs, occasional storms to re-distribute the coral as sand, vegetation to bind the sand and so on. A coral island is a unique ecosystem that appears to be able to survive almost anything, even ice ages!

So why do the Maldivians feel so threatened? Well, the islands have been selected as a test case for the global warming lobby. Surely if anything will sway public opinion it is a small island nation losing its birthright to the greed to man made carbon dioxide emissions?

So let's look at this a bit more closely. Global sea level changes are not constant. Some coastlines are emerging at the present time, others are sinking. The net balance seems to be reasonably constant. But "the ice caps are melting", says the AGW lobby. However, predictions of global sea level rises don't appear to be following their observations. The evidence provided is always very selective. My own photographs of East Greenland have been used to prove that the ice cap is shrinking by comparing those I took in August with those taken by others at the beginning of summer.

If the Maldives are going to disappear in the near future, my suggestion is that it will probably be due to man-made interference with the ecosystem based on coral and coralgal framework organisms - take away the bricks and the walls will come tumbling down. While the Maldives government has absolutely no control over climate change, it does have a responsibility to maintain its own natural sea defenses. The temptation to develop tourism will always be great (heck, I would love to go there!) but this has to be done carefully. Allow the corals to maintain the fabric of the islands and sea level changes will have much less impact on Maldivian society and its future.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

50 "factoids" about Barack Obama

As reported here.

Not all that illuminating but:

He uses an "Apple Mac". Translated for non-UK readers, this means an Apple computer.

Although he may be a bit prudish (he left when a stripper arrived at a stag party) he admits to liking Picasso, one of the lewdest artists ever to paint.

He cooks chili. Who doesn't?

He would probably have become an architect if not a politician. Given the egos of the average architect, that's a bit worrying.

He ignored CNN while on the campaign trail - a positive sign!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

California High Speed Rail

Well, the votes are in on Proposition 1A - "Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act" and 52% is enough to start the project rolling, perhaps eventually at 200 mph.

This is not the first true high speed rail project mooted in America (the Northeastern Acela program uses existing track, rather like Britain's high speed trains do). Many years ago, during the last oil price crisis of the early 1980s, Texas proposed a system linking Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio with a three axis web centered on somewhere around Smithville. The journey times at 200 mph would have been in excess of an hour from end to end (i.e. Houston to Dallas) but would have been from city center to city center, obviating the need to use airports. The whole idea was far too competitive for the airlines (Southwest Airlines in particular) who lobbied against the plan and ultimately killed it. Many is the time I have sat stuck in Dallas Love Field airport while a thunderstorm raged outside and wondered why the rail project could not have garnered enough support! The concept still lives on this website.

Many high speed rail mockers exist but they soon become converts when visiting France or taking Eurostar under the English Channel. In America it is often said that what California does will be copied across the continent. Maybe by 2100 the nation will be crisscrossed by high speed rail. But that is beginning to sound like Ayn Rand futurism!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Michael Crichton, RIP

Michael Crichton died today. We lose a great author as well as a champion of common sense against scaremongerers.

Anyone who didn't enjoy Jurassic Park (the novel more than the movie) is missing something. The concept of cloning to bring back extinct species gets more real every day. In fact we are now thinking it is possible to clone an iced-in mammoth. So in that respect, Crichton was ahead of his time.

But there is a one page passage in the book that sticks in my mind. In it Malcolm (chaos theorist) explains to Hammond (park founder) that life will always survive no matter what man does to annihilate it, even if it is only bacteria deep in the Siberian ice after a nuclear wipe out. Evolution will begin all over again once it can. This is important in the context of global warming "science" in that life and the planet will survive in one form or another in spite of, or because of, what Homo sapiens does or does not do.

In this respect, Crichton has fallen foul of environmentalists who, as is too often the case, see everything from an anthropogenic point of view. He may have entertained with his writings and the movies that stem from them, but Crichton has done much more than that to those who can read between the lines!

[a geological aside: The title "Jurassic Park" has spawned a lot of inconsistencies from a geological perspective. For example, the Jurassic Coast is actually the Mesozoic Coast, while all the dinosaurs in the book were actually from the Cretaceous period!]

60163 - got that number?

An historic day that almost slipped by unnoticed! Britain's first NEW steam locomotive for decades has undergone its first trial run.

The demise of steam is etched permanently in my memory - I was just the right age to be caught up in it. Before we were called anoraks we simply collected numbers. No, we didn't just collect numbers, we studied the different designs, the sounds they made, the defining shapes that allowed a locomotive to be spotted hundreds of yards down the line.

So this is exciting news. Most historic locomotives have been rebuilt several times over but only a few have been significantly modified. One example, 71000 Duke of Gloucester, was rebuilt according to the original plans and performs much better as a result (there is a theory that the plans were not followed in order to demonstrate that the design was a failure, so hastening the end of steam on British Railways).

60163 Tornado should be an unqualified success and it will be interesting to see it running on modern main lines, hopefully at speeds in excess of 75mph!

(A pity that the Telegraph got one thing wrong - a locomotive is only part of a train, unless, of course, it isn't pulling anything!)

Queen asked good question at LSE

And the accompanying photo is good too! Turns out Elizabeth II has the same concerns as her subjects!

Barack Obama - President Elect

Months ago I indicated support for Barack Obama as a potential vehicle for change. That was back when he was fighting off a sustained challenge from Hillary Clinton and before he chose Joseph Biden as his running mate. His confirmation as the Democratic candidate pleased me, but the selection of Biden didn't. Biden is definitely "old school" and not one I can trust. I would not suggest he will be a puppeteer like Dick Cheney, possible the most vile VP in history, but even so, Biden is not "change".

I am not euphoric about the result (as you can probably tell) mainly because I know the real power in America is not necessarily the White House but Congress. The Democrats will have a strong grip on both Senate and House of Representatives and together with a Democratic president this could spell legislative disaster. Rubber stamps simply don't work in politics - it's as though legislation is pushed through without any common sense thinking behind it. To whit, the early Blair years in the UK, serving up huge plates of flawed legislation that is then "spun" into action. The early Bush years were likewise calamitous, leading us to overkill in the War on Terror, thus handing a measure of victory to the terrorists who have been marginalized.

The ideal US Government is one that has a balance of power between the two parties. Call this a "stand off" if you want but the truth is the rest of the country seems able to get on with its life just as well without too much action in Washington. Some would say it actually does better. I wonder if there is indeed a historic correlation between political stalemate in Washington and economic good times?

So, congratulations to Obama for being elected. But now come the truly difficult challenges of

Waking up to the economic realities of a recession now that the election is over

Selecting a cabinet in the next 77 days that will represent what the voters expected

Moving from behind the rhetoric of good oratory to actually running the country

I wish him and his family well.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Small Business - no seats on the PM's jet!

So this comes in over the RSS feed:

And I get all excited. After all, I've spent the past weekend extolling the efforts of my father building a small company in Birmingham, my son is doing much the same and I am self-employed. Does this mean that small business really is getting a helping hand from the UK Government?

Ha ha, ha de ha ha.

First off, the CEOs had to be invited onto the "company" plane. The report says they included HSBC, Shell and BG. So much for small business as a priority to the new minister, Lord Mandelson. No, these people only know how to rub shoulders with those who earn megabucks running other peoples' (the shareholders') businesses with the only downside a golden parachite when they fail.

Pass me the vomit bag!

Monday, November 03, 2008

When RSS is useless

And I mean USELESS! Although others are guilty, the BBC is possibly the worst offender. The following is a screen shot of an RSS feed item received today:

Just what does this mean? It isn't possible to gain any knowledge from the headline or the "body" of the report. It is simply a hook, designed to get you to visit the website. Now I would understand a commercial site doing this but the BBC is non-profit, paid for by an increasingly unwilling public through the license fee.

I rather imagine a couple of out-of-touch BBC executives discussing how to get more people to visit the site coming up with this strategy.

By the way, I refused to click through so I don't know who she is, or what movie. To be honest I don't really care.

But if you want an example of a really good RSS feed strategy, look no further than Wired!

Kill yr blog

So says Paul Boutin on Wired:

Kill yr blog. 2004 over. Google won't find you. Too much cruft from HuffPo, NYT. Commenters are tards. C u on Facebook?

The idea is simply this. Blogs are passé, blogs require too much writing and therefore reading, so the new sites such as Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, etc. are the way to go.

As someone who finds understanding text messages difficult (too much ambiguity, hell, often I have no idea who the sender is!) I shudder at the thought of viewing and interpreting abbreviated garble-geek-gook.

It's interesting that Flickr is included as the way of the future. Many of my contacts write excellent prose that some Flickrites find interesting and pleasing!

And just for the record I hate emoticons too!

ICE - In Case of Emergency

I reproduce this letter to today's Daily Telegraph (there is no lasting link to Letters to the Editor):

SIR - A friend tells me that paramedics in America encourage mobile phone users to store an ICE ("In Case of Emergency") number in their phone directory.

Apparently, the idea came from a paramedic who found that, although most victims carried mobiles, no one knew which number to call.

It seems like an excellent idea to me.

Me too! So much so, I've already added mine!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Leslie C. Ashton - a website

Two days ago I mused on the idea of putting together a website chronicling my father's life. The site is now ready.

Technically, I used some material I have been gathering over the years but included new photos and research scanned and discovered since Friday. I decided to use iWeb as it is easy to manipulate and required no new domain names or anything that might slow me down. I would particularly like to thank April for providing genealogical know how and Shirley for sending key material.

Philosophically this project could have been hugely time consuming but I decided that it would be better to lay down the basics now and possibly upgrade bits in the future. My only thought would be to visit and add a few photographs of Hendecourt-les-Cagnicourt, the place where my father won the Military Cross.

Think of it as my digital memorial to the life story of my father, Leslie Charles Ashton.

If after viewing the site you have any comments, please feel free to add them here.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The future of the BBC

For whatever it's worth (an annual license fee*, actually) here is my opinion on what should be done about the BBC:

Scrap Radios 1 and 2 and all the digital stations that we, along with many rural license payers, cannot receive.

Have one TV channel dedicated to news and quality programming.

In other words, the BBC should emulate America's Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

All the disbanded channels should be commercially funded or they cease to exist.

* On the subject of the license fee, we have had to put up with repeated threats to pay our license even though we have proof it was paid up nearly a year ago. The most recent letter threatens to have debt collectors at our doorstep if we do not pay.

West Somerset

Today we spent an interesting Saturday in West Somerset, organizing some Christmas festivities but also just looking around. Minehead, that wonderful Victorian resort on the Bristol Channel has been dunned down in recent years by the addition of a Butlins holiday center, yet in many ways the presence of Butlins seems to have revitalized the town. The town center is as attractive as town centers are these days with a wide main street busy with people even when a strong northeasterly blew cold air along its length. In a very clever move the old Victorian area on North Hill has been preserved from too much encroachment, providing a pleasant contrast to the inevitable seaside "attractions" along the promenade.

The West Somerset Railway is undoubtedly another positive reason for the areas success in attracting visitors. In a few weeks time we are taking part in an excursion train from Bishops Lydiard near Taunton to Minehead and then by bus to Dunster for their annual "Dunster by Candlelight" evening. The fact that the train is just about fully booked (there were only three seats left on the one we selected) is a very good sign in these trying times.

As we drove home we discussed what makes the area so different and therefore so special. Like so much of Somerset, it seems, you get what you see, not some hype that doesn't exist. Somerset is an honest county in a country where there is too many a promise that doesn't hold true.