Friday, December 9, 2011

Students Face Freezing Temps While School Master Endeavors to "Save Planet"

In an effort to lead the way and teach by example, headmaster Rob Benzie of Ansford Academy in Castle Cary, Somerset switched off the radiators to show how the secondary school could reduce its energy consumption. The result: pupils huddled and shivering, bracing from the cold as classroom temperatures dropped to just 1°C (34°F).
"We cut the heat to see if we can lower our carbon footprint. We let pupils wear as many jumpers as they liked. Everyone seemed happy enough, although it did get pretty chilly. We sent letters to parents telling them of the plan. We had only one complaint and that was from a member of staff. But in the end they just got on with it. We have too much heating."
Whether the heating they have is "too much" seems subjective. Clearly, Mr. Benzie is not as aware of the effects of his program as he gives himself credit for:
One teacher called it "beyond stupid" and added: "I've never worked in such cold. I'm all for saving the planet, but this was barbaric. It was absolutely ridiculous.
Barbaric? No, I don't think so. Asinine... now there's a word for you.
"Nobody could work properly and kids could not even grip a pen through their gloves" said the mum of a 12-year-old. "She was shaking when she came home. I was absolutely furious."

A dad added: "Turning the heating off in December is just mental. I can't believe the kids learnt anything. I'm very angry with the school."
Mr. Benzie, however, defended the experiment, vowing to stage further such "eco-days" on a regular basis. The first eco-day turned out to register as the coldest day of the winter so far. The school's actions effected no change upon the global climate. However, the school kids did gain an appreciation for the achievements of one Ernest Shackleton.


  1. I would think object #1 of a head master would be to educate his students, to the best of his ability. Decreasing the "carbon footprint" of the school? Supposing that the "carbon footprint" of the school was relevant to the global climate, and that is an absurd proposition on the face of it, how does reducing the carbon footprint affect his primary objective of educating his pupils? It's like a scene at Lowood School from Jane Eyre, but there the head master was at least interested in the real proposition of saving money, not the poppycock idea of saving the planet. Mr. Benzie's project reminds me of Bill Clinton accepting monies raised from school bake sales to lower the national debt. And the kids were just useful pawns in a show of concern that in no way was serious about the issue it was addressing.

  2. This makes me so proud of my countrymen. You may think you've got it bad under your present government, but when it comes to sheer barking idiocy, we lead the world.

  3. I wonder if the headmaster had a space heater jammed under his desk to keep his tootsies warm, while asking his pupils to freeze their little bums off?

  4. One wonders how people like this get to positions of authority. All the parents who are paying big bucks to keep their kids there make continuing stupid leadership like this possible. At least it wasn't in a publicly-funded school.

  5. One of the most important things taught to me in my education, was the importance of the scientific method, the pursuit of truth unencumbered by religious doctrine. That was the big take home of the conflict between the Ptolmiac vs Copernican systems of understanding the movements of the planets. Galileo's trial before the inquisition was the perfect image of what happens when the political importance of a belief is valued more then the truth itself. To see a school head master so totally buy in to a political position, and come up with such an idiotic notion that essentially results in his turning his school into an object lesson, it makes me... most upset.

  6. James, I wholeheartedly agree with you about keeping political and personal ideology out of science. But using that example of Galileo doesn't make that point. Galileo disregarded the new Italian academy of science and its policy to pre-review all additions to the newly standardized curricula by peers in that are of expertise. He taught that material even though his proofs had been rejected twice (First, when he said the tides were the proof that the Earth revolved around the Sun, rightly rejected because of the second daily tidal occurrence--if tides were caused by this "revolution" there would only be one [we now know that the moon revolving around the Earth explains tides]. And his second proof, given his observations of Jupiter and its moon was rejected as proof--again rightly because what he observed had to do with differences in the thickness of the Earth's atmosphere at the horizon and overhead (parallax error)--and even if that wasn't so, it could only possible prove that Jupiter revolved around the Sun. Now, Galileo wasn't the first person who thought that the Earth wasn't the center of the universe. He wasn't the only educated person that did, either. What everyone was looking for was mathematic, scientific proof. Galileo's proof was wrong both times. He was first censured by the academy for continuing to teach what they had rejected. The heresy part was later after he tripled down on his stupidity, openly criticizing Scripture and its inconsistencies with scientific knowledge. The doubling-down part that preceded this was writing a Roman-a-Clef featuring a thinly disguised version of the Pope as a character that translated as "Simpleton" debating the theories with Galileo. The Pope was the first Pope that was a graduate of the university system and a frequent visitor. He had personally intervened a prior time that Galileo was brought up on charges for teaching without submission for peer review.

    Now Columbus wasn't the first person to think the the Earth was round, either. And in that case, you could argue that most people thought it was round (or it wouldn't take much convincing) and even acted as if it were (sailors saw the curvature of the seas, sky etc.) The pickle was proving the theory. Now Columbus didn't do that, either. That didn't come until the first people circumnavigated the globe. But Columbus did what many people did before him and acted as if the theory was a fact and did something useful with that knowledge. The Earth-centered universe theory was Aristotle's (and others)--none Christian or whose work was based on Scripture. It was the "conventional wisdom" that had to be proved wrong to be disgarded.

    This all came to light with an article published in Scientific American in 1979 or 1980 when a document preservationist and historian was given access to the entire Vatican library and all its collections. It was based on contemporaneous records, letters, and testimony that had never been seen before--including material on that previously unknown Italian academy of science, which predated French and British versions by hundreds of years. Also the restructuring of the Italian university system to create departments and specialized professors for specific areas of knowledge as opposed to the historical system that goes back to Socrates and Aristotle with a single professor/mentor for a student's entire education. I think this is all fascinating stuff and the real deal when it comes to finding out when the world really changed and why. It all has to do with money pouring in to Italy as a result of world trade and the building explosion that resulted from that wealth. And building that couldn't be finished because of math/trig errors and the people with money not sure about who they could hire to get predictable results when university graduates were only as good as their mentor--and his limitations.

  7. That is very interesting information, Darrell. I did not mean to be meandering back into the subject of church history, though history itself is a fascinating subject. To discover what I had been taught regarding Galileo's scientific inquiries and his battles with the Church was incomplete and a tad off base is sadly unsurprising. Still, my general point regarding the head master's slavish devotion to the theory of global warming remains. The theory is in fact highly speculative, unsubstantiated and clearly heavily poisoned by the political process. The head master subordinated his main goal of educating his students for the questionable goal of saving the planet, a goal he well knew could not possibly be achieved by the actions he was taking. In turning off the heat to his school rooms he made a statement about his conviction that the theories of anthropomorphic global warming were correct. But even if for the sake of argument we allowed that the science of AGW was correct, a proposition which is highly questionable, freezing his students could not possibly achieve anything beyond causing them to suffer.

  8. There may be cause in extreme circumstances for one person to inflict suffering on others if the end result was imperative.
    But 'symbolic suffering', whereby the gesture of suffering has no concrete result beyound the raising of awareness, is a gesture that must be chosen and enacted by the sufferer himself.
    For one person to inflict symbolic suffering on another in their own name without their consent, even if sharing it themselves, is a monstrous act of self-righteousness, typical of the soft-totalitarian mindset that governs contemporary wisdom on this and a score of other free-choice issues.

  9. The "ClimateGate" memos should have put the final nail in this whole matter. The emails were confessions about raw data destroyed, data manipulated to support the theory not reality, and data suppressed and hidden. Without those "confessions," we could be spending the next thousand years arguing an honest difference of opinion--an honest debate of a valid theory. The Media proved it was intellectually dishonest and part of the scheme by not covering the story at all or focusing on what they called "hacking"--giving the impression that the emails were planted when the computer systems were compromised (without ever saying that.) They never report that the sum total of all the warming of the last 150 years (or 100, if that's where you start) is STILL that 1 degree Celsius figure. That is the total that the IPCC still says is accurate as of today, while going out of their way to keep that hidden. They want people to believe that the real figure is the sum total of all those bullshit predictions that they have heard over the past thirty years. Predictions that never became reality. And people must believe the nonsense because otherwise they would be asking for scientists' head on a pike for saying that this animal or that plant has disappeared because of AGW. From the 1/150 degrees per year? Nothing, even an orchid, is THAT fragile. And almost everything we see evolved during a climate much, much warmer than the current one. We are coming out of the last Ice Age. We are coming out of a terrible period of "backsliding" in temperature known as the Little Ice Age that killed many and just ended over a century ago. I expect some warming--even more than we have seen. That is normal and expected. To sell any of that as a crisis and a catastrophe is beyond irresponsible. It is designed to get power over energy and thus over every aspect of our modern lives. It is designed to get control of our wallets to pay new taxes and penalties for missing their goals and standards. Heck, the big world climate conference broke down last year on day one when the country reps said "enough with stink'in numbers and date--WHERE"S OUR MOOLA!!!" You promised us $BILLIONS!!!!! We aren't going to spending it keeping our island afloat because the seas are rising! We need it to pay for spending money we didn't have. To pay for salaries, food, the things we want. To pay our loans back! Of course that was hardly covered by the Press.


  10. We just had another item where politics subverted science when it came to light that the man who had said that there is no safe level of radiation exposure (and who won a Nobel Prize for his work) came to his conclusion not based on his research or data, but because he thought he was doing the world a favor by saying something that would stop atmospheric and underground nuclear weapons testing, and prevent the limited use of small nuclear weapons in a future wars. His writings made clear that he destroyed and his data that didn't support his conclusion. And he made it clear that he created supporting data out of whole cloth when necessary. Without that "confession" in his private papers one could argue about that for a thousand years, too--whether or not it was an honest mistake. Whether that was differences in method or data. And given that good science is reproducible, this episode dumps a bucket of sludge on all the people that confirmed his analysis with his published data and methods. Or said that they did. Another sad, sad recent episode in science not sticking to the scientific method, of ideology over science. Over something that some people claim never happens and cannot happen.

    In other news, the big embryonic stem cell system and network the Democrats put in place with taxpayers' money just went belly up--even though the Democrats where more-than-willing to throw an unlimited amount of new money at it The reason? Deadly results, worries about liability, and the fact that adult stem cell therapies have cornered the market with new advances and applications reported almost daily.
    I guess we should expect retractions of all of the nasty stuff they said about Bush killing millions by preventing wide-open access to embryos for experimentation--any day now. [Quiz. How many people know that the primary objection to Bush's stem cell lines by Big Pharm was the issue of patent enforcement because they were prevented from acquiring their own unique embryos for research-- with unique DNA that could be traced back to their companies because they "owned" that particular DNA and embryo. If you used stem cells from a common "pool" you couldn't show that somebody copied your work with a simple DNA test.] Dems supporting Big Pharm! Who'd have guessed?

  11. Do you suppose Michael J. Fox will consider a retraction?

  12. And Superman would not only be alive,
    he'd be winning marathons.
    Nobody understands "science" like the Democrats!

  13. Bedes,

    Those young children should be glad that they didn't do this--

    It's your choice, but we'll blow you up if you don't go along. 10-10 !!!!!! Yay!

  14. I've had a half-written post on this video standing by for months... you've inspired me to complete it.

  15. That is truly an honor.

    When I was playfully "disputing" your point at your Blog that we are the worst generation in history, I was sure you were going to use these videos as the ultimate trump card. At any other time in history, these would be known as "Exhibit A"--or perhaps constitute the entire indictment--and the result would be a lifetime of separation from the good people of this Earth. The people that conceived and executed these videos are the ones at the throttle of power-political, cultural, and economic--the "best" this society has to offer.
    That the psychological community has not institutionalized them is an indictment of that entire profession as well.

    And is "10" somehow code for something in Europe? I recall the "10 Euro" program that popped up after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, where the Left was collecting money at streetcorners in London and across Europe for the expressed purpose of raising funds for weapons, ammunition, and explosives for Iraqi "insurgents." It said that on their signs.
    Since the Brits were involved in the military action as well, maybe you can explain to me why any of those fundraisers still have their natural teeth why you are at it. And I don't mean discovery of toothpaste and dentistry by the Brits in the 1990s. ;-)

  16. James, Our friend VB has already posted two great articles since his comment. They are both worth your attention, as if you didn't already notice. Not that yours are chopped liver or anything like that. I guess we should tell you how much we appreciate what you do more often, as well. So consider that done.

    --posted from my Etch-a Sketch---

  17. Oh yes, that's the good stuff. He's on the money! Thanks for the tip.