The Man on the Door.

The rules for commenting here are blindingly simple and I don’t think particularly demanding. You don’t have to agree with anything I’ve written nor with anything another commenter has contributed to the discussion under the article, but whatever you wish to say has to conform to three basic rules.

It must be polite, it must be lucid and it must be honest. If it’s also expressed in a witty way, that’s a big plus point. I’m not militant about every comment having to be relevant to the article except when someone is persistently trying to hijack the blog for their own obsessive purpose.

Those are exactly the same rules of behaviour you’d expect if you were having a face to face discussion with a group of friends about some topic that was of mutual interest to you all. It’s a conversation conforming to the usual social norms. If a stranger turns up and after horning his way into the conversation, is offensive, aggressive, irrational and making up facts to support whatever inane line of argument they’re pushing, pretty soon some sort of argument will break out.

That analogy is fairly close except that in a blog context the stranger has to get past the equivalent of door security at a private club to join the conversation. That would be me, and that’s what I’d like to talk about in this piece.

A doorman’s job involves making quick accurate judgements about people turning up and wanting to gain entrance. If they’re too drunk, drugged up, crazy, over aggressive or look like the type who’re just out for a fight – they don’t get through the door. Over and above the rules, the management still always reserves the right to refuse entry.

The decision I make to let someone in or not is guided by similar principles, also their debut comment judged against the usual rules, a few checks I run on all strangers and what my gut instinct is telling me about the newcomer.

Sometimes the odd person gets in who perhaps shouldn’t have and while I expect a certain amount of high spirits, once it crosses the line, they get chucked out after a few warnings to cool it. This blog is about expressing my sometimes controversial viewpoints and will therefore attract contributors with the same slightly off the reservation views, all of which needs a light touch on the moderation front or it’d stifle real debate. That’s really what moderating a blog comes down to.

I enjoy writing a good piece. I enjoy interacting with the commenters on it who very often fill out the piece with insights I hadn’t considered. I do not enjoy moderating, whether that’s at the door or inside the blog. Fortunately, I rarely have to do it inside.

I find it irksome at times, but it’s a necessary responsibility if you run a blog. All too often I’ve seen fascinating discussions under a blog piece derailed completely by one anti-social troll who’s getting some sort of cathartic release acting out from behind the anonymity of the internet. I’ve tracked down a few of them and contrary to the popular view they’re rarely some pimply faced, cheese-dick kid glued to a computer screen 24/7 in their Mum’s basement.

Mostly, they’re boringly ordinary individuals without a real social life but with some huge lack of self-esteem problems. Acting like an obnoxious child to for once get the attention of the grownups is usually the name of the game. Nondescript nobody by day, masked scourge of the blogosphere by night. Living a pathetic double life of quiet desperation doesn’t even begin to describe them.

When I was in the climate wars, the occasional paid troll would try and sneak in but they were really easy to spot. Some were committed to saving the world, most just did it for the money they were paid. If I got a sense that was the type of person I was dealing with, it was a moment’s work to google their comment and finding it appear all over the internet under different names, since they all operated to the same script they’d been given.

Some were sneaking in to do their social justice warrior thing and I’d have some fun finding out who they really were before giving them the bum’s rush out the door. Some were really nasty pieces of work persistently banging on the door and I’d occasionally burn them so badly, they never came back. Some I never let in, but I indulged my wicked sense of humour on them.

I’m aware of the argument that keeping one or two trolls as house pets livens things up and pumps up the hits as well, but setting up Pointy’s was my way of getting out of the combat blog arena, which I was both partial to but also recognised its downsides. I’m not paid for anything, even hits, so that’s not a consideration.

To continue the private club analogy, I wanted to put together somewhere that had a good floor show, subdued music that didn’t drown out conversation and served decent food and drink while you had an interesting chat with friends. I’d had enough of the drinking pits full of lumbering cavemen having a go at each other with broken bottles. If that’s more to your taste, there’s lots of places out there like that.

Retaining your sense of humour when dealing with rude, irrational or dishonest people helps in a number of ways, not least because the slightly slimy feeling you get off some of them doesn’t stick to you beyond the few minutes of necessary contact with them. All three of those things have one thing in common and that’s self-indulgence, which is the one character flaw I’ve never had any time for.

As a deterrent, I usually leave the objectionable comments hanging up on the barbed wire of moderation for a month or more. They’ve wasted my time, I waste theirs in return by making them keep checking back to see if their must-read missive has finally cleared the moderation silo. It never will.

At the end of the month, I clear out all the pending comments. The straight fails go into the trash can but the really obnoxious ones are got rid of by marking them as spam. The thinking here is that if enough people mark their comment efforts as spam, which they actually are, their future efforts will automatically be routed to oblivion in the spam bin rather than someone’s moderation queue.

I thought it’d be interesting to share with you some of this month’s failed debut comments before I consign them to the toxic waste subterranean homesick blues region that constitutes the spam bin. They’re the best of a bad bunch, some of which would make the lewd graffiti on the walls of a public toilet blanche.

I wrote an article on the deep state and because it didn’t endorse what is a very popular conspiracy theory and it also had some rather frank thoughts about the politics of colour, it attracted a bumper crop of nutters from right across the lunacy/political spectrum. Mostly they were enraged (I do seem to have that effect on some people) which makes it easy to spot them and dump whatever they’re saying straight out of the moderation queue and into the spam bin.

Somebody whose first name was Ken appeared to be particularly incandescent, to the point that he fired in three comments for moderation inside ten minutes.

His first attempt at a comment was in reply to Rapscallion, one of the regulars here, and managed to break most of the rules at one go. As usual, it was submitted with a fictitious email address which always means they’ll never get in. While I’ve no problem with contributors quite prudently taking the precaution of cloaking their true IP address, a real email account I do insist on.

So you ask a loaded question you already have the answer to, don’t put it in any kind of global context or for that matter are probably able to, and then smack yourself on the back for being so clever. Surely someone so smart will one day realize what an utter douchebag he looks like… perhaps not.

His second attempt was in reply to something PhilJourdan, another regular, had written and if anything is even angrier. He does remind me of a character in a children’s book I used to read to our kids when they were very young – Angry Arthur, who as the book went on got progressively more angry, first wrecking his room, then his house, his street, his town and finally he burned down the whole world.

So the industrial revolution didn’t bring about a rich class… just a ruling class? And by definition if there are 1%’s, doesn’t that put everyone else in a different financial strata all the way down to the poor? Trump spent 70 years waiting to be this great emancipator? It’s great that you’re able to twist facts to make Trump anything more than a spoiled child grasping at every dollar and ounce of power he can get his hands on. I imagine your cavalier attitude towards reality fuels your belief that you actually put forth intelligent comments. Good luck with that.

Angry Arthur’s third attempt to get in was aimed at me. I’m definitely getting the impression of an embittered old man used to shouting at people around him who years ago decided he wasn’t worth the trouble and left him to his own solitary devices. All a bit sad really, but he made his own life choices and I see no reason to indulge what I suspect is his sole remaining delight in life, which is to spread his own particular brand of misery all over everybody else.

He’s a failed type and nothing more, and a rather unpleasant one at that.

It’s amazing what pseudo-intellectuals will buy so long as it caters to their preformed opinions. Despite being devoid of actual facts (and the few in here twisted to support your myopic viewpoint) a real masters class on BS. I particularly like how Trump… a man gifted with a crown and millions by daddy… is now somehow a hero looking to take down the “ruling class” for the poor after spending 70 years forming fake charities to steal from them. And Obama… who’s didn’t have the advantages of a Trump birth… is the `house nigga’ raking in 350,000 per speech. I guess when a white guy craps on the poor it’s capitalism. Next time you write an opinion piece don’t waste anyone’s time… here I edited this dreck for you – `Trump good. Democrats and Republican dark state – bad. So I believe.’

The next lot of choice ones were attempts to comment on a popular piece enjoying a revival that I’d written some years back on why solar power had turned out to be a massive waste of investment. The emphasis of the piece was purely financial, an undiscovered country from whose bourn no Greenie has ever returned because all they know about money is other people give it to them after they’ve plucked it down from the money tree, so the poor dears were pretty much at a loss on how exactly to tear the piece down.

Being that solar is a shibboleth of the true believer in renewable energy, which is taken to be free energy in what passes for their mind, they had to try, so I was besieged by an army of zombie believers in that holy grail who attempted to storm the battlements of Schloss Pointystein.

What follows is a very small selection of their very best efforts, and that’s not saying a lot. In the old days before we won the climate wars and then Trump was elected which put the final kibosh on the lot of it, the Greenie trolls we battled were rock hard, bloody panzer grenadier trolls, but this wave were pure ladyboys who smelled faintly of mothballs that’d fallen out of their great grandmother’s pantaloons.

The following comment is a good example of somebody who’s not actually read the piece and therefore doesn’t address the significant points raised in it. They’re an all too familiar internet type who profess great belief in a variety of causes but are either too lazy to read past the first paragraph of an article or are prevented from doing so because of having the attention span of a buzzing gnat.

Instead, they go off on an authoritative sounding rant on something tangential they might even know something about but is basically irrelevant to the main thrust of the article.

By subsuming the reader in what could even be credible information, it’s supposed to somehow invalidate the article. Well, my poor man’s Iago, come back when you’ve developed the stamina to actually read a whole article, and if you’ve something relevant to say afterwards that isn’t so sly, I may possibly allow you in, though I’m inclined to doubt it.

I’ve no interest in comments from skimmers, middling or otherwise.

I’ve only been able to do a middling skim so far. Some good points, but seems rather more negative than needs be.

Just one “data point”. -> Panels built to applicable standards WILL last 20+ years – quite possibly 30. Panels built with corner cutting – as certainly happens – may die much sooner. Sub-standard EVA can die in well under 10 years, glass ideally needs scavengers to combat oxidation products, backsheet MUST be good quality to limit (never prevent ) water ingress, … . Properly built panels are sold with insurance underwritten warranties from companies that will support them across the full lifetime – even long after the actual manufacturers are gone. Installation to relevant codes are good enough to last the certified period if done to spec and properly inspected. [[I have an about 40 year old early BP Glass/EVA//Silicon/EVA/… panel that is still “staggering along” – output is well down but still functional !].
ie YES you can certainly get panels that die in under 10 years – but properly built and installed ones should and will largely be running at 25 years +.

This is a perfect example of a drivel comment and a dishonest one as well. A whole 200 jobs in an entire state? My God, that’ll really boost the count of fabled green jobs and at the same time really put a dent in the unemployment numbers. Note the suspiciously rounded number of 200, not 197 or 204, but 200 exactly (ie a fib made up on the spot). Into the liar’s bin you go Pinocchio.

200 people in my state are currently employed in solar, happily where they had no jobs before.

You do get the odd comment in that momentarily nonpluses you. This person is either making deliberately false assertions (ie lying their head off) or are totally delusional about solar power. Fastest growing industry? What? Employs more people than all of the fossil fuels industry put together? What? Less expensive than fossil fuels? WTF?

Which planet is this person living on?

On a little investigation, I found they had a teensy weensy little business interest in solar. They run an investors club which specialises in giving out share advice on you’ll never guess what type of company. No junk, no propaganda, no PR and no liars. Pump and dump elsewhere.

Actually, the Sun is just Rising on Solar Power…attrition and company failures are common in all industries as the result of poor business plans, poor management, out of control overhead and pricing that is not competitive. Only the Strong Survive.

Solar is the fastest growing industry in the USA… Currently employs
more than gas, coal, natural gas and nuclear combined and less expensive than all of them.

My company is 31 years old, AAA+ rated b the BBB and have just expanded our market to 15 additional states, plus Puerto Rico.

Manners as they say, maketh the man, so when you learneth some, tryeth again Sunshine. Until then it’s Foxtrot Oscar.

Such garbage. Those companies are going out of business because they’re not competitive.

Not letting totally delusional comments through the door is an act of mercy, though whether that’s for the benefit of the originator rather than the readers here is a moot point. This comment really does remind me in a curious way of some sort of weird flip side of Benjamin Franklin’s remark about one of the tragedies of life being the murder of a beautiful theory by a gang of brutal facts.

This person is hanging on to patently discredited theories as tenaciously as a baby does to their dummy, sucking on it furiously for comfort lest the brutal facts of reality rip it out of their mouth. In a sense more relevant to this blog, people like this are not persuadable people, which is the demographic I waste no effort on, so their involvement here would be pointless for both of us.

The golden goose solar industry was actually created by shady businessmen, rather than killed by them. It crashed for its own purely market economic reasons, but explaining that to this innocent would take a lot of diagram drawing, defining of terms and too large an amount of patience in dealing with a child with their thumb determinedly stuck in their gob who actually doesn’t want to learn a few facts or God forbid think for themselves.

The studies were correct. The predictions were too. Your average accountant and your shady businessman ate the revenues and ran the company aground, before it could learn to float.

This next diminutive comment I had to read several times in an attempt to understand what it meant, and still I came out by the same door as in I went. A lot of it depends on where you’d put those funny things called commas, which he’s obviously never heard of. Does he think a falling market sector is a sign of its good health? The more times you read it, the more possible meanings can be adduced from it. The clarity of expression is simply appalling.

A fusty old teacher once lectured me with a wagging finger that if you can’t express yourself clearly, it’s because what’s between your ears has no clarity either. If that’s true, this bozo has wisps of a good old-fashioned London pea-souper fog wafting out of both ears.

If global warming was so bad and all those supposed scientists say so crap why is this market failing??????????????????????????????????

And in return, I won’t waste a single second of my readers’ time publishing your comment. I like the rude comments because they’re a nice quick moderate decision. No agonising at all.

Pointman is so far off base on solar it is not worth any more time than the 27 seconds it took me to write this text. Correction 34 seconds.

Yet another doomsday merchant still firmly stuck in the glory days of the pre-Copenhagen era and therefore a totally vacuous comment, as one would expect of a child of those times. It’s like those group conversations you’re in where one person interjects a remark and out of common politeness you listen, but after a few more interruptions you can’t help but become irritated by them because you realise they’re simply making an occasional meaningless noise just to remain in the conversation.

Nowadays, nobody sane over the age of twelve and three-quarters gives a flying fart about global warming bringing on a thermogeddon and the end of the world. This person really needs to move on and get a life.

So,what is the alternative? A few billion dollars subsidies is noth8ng compared to what our future will be without clean energy.

This type of comment is a very common one. It’s full of urban legends being presented as facts, all of which have already been shot out of the sky by skeptics several years ago. It’s very old ground covered in the wreckage of false facts that hit the deck, crashed and burned, so I see no reason to fight again old battles we’ve already won.

Let them do it somewhere else which has an interest in retro debates that were settled years ago. I’m sure it’d raise some return fire if I let it in, but frankly, I can’t be arsed putting a true believer in the comment by comment moderation approval loop. I’ve got nicer things to do with my time than spend hours riding shotgun on an endless stream of comments needing moderation. Another one who really needs to move on.

“Never in the history of the world, has such an amount of money been wasted, without any trace of financial oversight or accountability.” Except for the banking industry, after the GFC who received trillions and the Arms industry which receives trillions and the nuclear industry which has never rehabilitated any site of the contamination caused ever or ever provided any longterm secure safe disposal of their waste, apart from storing it at taxpayers expense for future generations to sort out. Or the fossil fuel industries which have received billions every year in actual subsidies and billions more in undeclared subsidies from being allowed to pollute air and water on a global scale to the extent that it threatens the very existence of humanity.

I could keep going because a month’s worth of debut comments here does throw up a lot of efforts from assorted deranged individuals that would no doubt provide a clinical psychologist with years of fascinating creatures to study. The pathology of one or two of them I come across in a year is actually quite concerning.

Despite the impression you might have gained after reading the above, you really don’t have to be some kind of elite Level 7 blog commenter to get in here, normal and sane is more than enough to get you through the door.

Also, there’s a good side to being the doorman. A new commenter turns up at the door of Chez Pointy and you think I like the cut of his jib or her well-turned ankle. They’ve got that certain pizazz about them and look like they’ll be intriguing people to get to know. You let them into the melee of talking and laughing, the clink of glasses and once in a while some serious bopping on the tiny dance floor. Your efforts keeping the riffraff out were a part of creating that ambience.

Sometimes, it’s a fine thing to be on the door.


Related articles by Pointman:

Moderating, trolls, soup ladles and Ethics.

The Joy of Moderation.

The scorning of William Connolly.

How to hunt somebody down on the internet – part 1.

How to hunt somebody down on the internet – part 2.

Click for a list of other articles.

28 Responses to “The Man on the Door.”
  1. Geoff Sherrington says:

    For me this is a little ambivalent, the proper function of a modetator. Reason? Early in its life the University-linked blog “The Conversation” started printing some horrible ani-science opinion that got the big hurrah from a chamber full of me-toos who should have been moderated out by any reasonable set of guidelines. Today, they are still chirping away and I have been moderated out permanently by a strange young bod named Cory who early on displayed an interest in peculiar sex. That could have been fun to develop, but not for poor me, daring to question the Science Establishment years ago before many had caught on to how rank it could be. Naturally I had a deep think about moderation and concluded that one good problem solver was to set up your own blog and moderate to your own rules.
    Pointy, you were way ahead of me and I enjoy that. Your comments here, as usual, are appreciated. On song, not so easy to do well over a range of topics. Geoff

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thomas Dent says:

    More a question unrelated to the current post than a comment. And if you have already covered it I may just need direction. It appears to me that US capitalism has gone off track and is crushing our middle class. I have a theory on why it is happening but want to know other’s thought s on the subject. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pointman says:

      Hello Thomas. an interesting debut comment.

      The readership demographics here have been remarkably consistent over the years. 25% Europe, 25% Americas, 25% Antipodes and the remaining 25% spread all over the world. As a writer, I sometimes have to be careful in my choice of words since the English spoken over that demographic can vary quite fundamentally in terms of the meaning of a particular word. As Churchill remarked; America and Britain – two great nations seperated by the same language.

      In Europe the classic Marxist-Leninist definitions of class would be as follows. The upper class are rich and have no need to work. The middle class only do work that doesn’t involve getting their hands dirty, lower class is unskilled as well as arguably artisan (builders, plumbers, carpenters) who at times earn more than the average middle class person, but employment can be patchy.

      Does that definition of terms match yours?



  3. Truthseeker says:

    I actually did not think that any of those comments were that bad. No a verifiable fact among them but that just makes then a large slow moving target for rational people to take down.

    Still it is not my house, so my opinion is, as they say, disposable …


  4. Christopher G Laidlaw-Bell says:

    To Truthseeker…yes, not that bad in the sense that it’s standard nonsense. But, as Pointman says, this stuff is not helpful and does not move the ball forward. An analogy to Pointman’s musings might be using ANR ( Active Noise Reduction), such as in aviation headsets/helmets, to screen out irrelevant input. Problem being, there is no effective automatic mode of such in this situation – noise/static must be manually screened out. Laborious and time consuming, but occasionally interesting and hilarious.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. rapscallion says:

    Well thanks for the mention Pointman, but in all honesty I either didn’t see his comment or just ignored it. To tell you the truth I can’t remember. Hey, it’s your gaff and your rules. I’m all for peeps giving their opinion and if its backed up with references so much the better – even if I disagree with it – deep down I’m a libertarian and try to abide by the basic precepts of English Common Law – cause no injury, or loss and cause no harm. Where I get agitated is when peeps start insulting me, or those on this blog, who are downright rude, abusive and nasty. The libertarian in me is inclined to let them throat off and be later hoist by their own petard, but as I said, your gaff, your rules.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Old Rooster says:

      🤔🤔🤔I see your point but I think Pointy has a more highly developed sense of detecting when it will only get worse (experience and talent I suspect). I wondered if I’d seen some of the comments myself but it may well have been in another forum or that they are just boilerplate thrown about by many.
      I’d have Pointy as my doorman any day—if I could afford to buy his valuable time❗️


  6. 42david says:

    Thanks for the insight into the recesses of Schloss Pointystein and the task of sifting out the dross from the input you must get.

    A good debate with someone who has a contrary view is always stimulating so long as people stick to reason and not wander off into ad hominums or downright falsehoods.

    Trolls belong under the bridge from whence they came.


  7. PaleoSapiens says:

    A relevant video….”Monty Python and the Holy Grail” – Bridge of Death:

    Some more insight:
    – Two gals, Liza & Caroline, happened to meet in town one day.

    – Liza excitedly began, “Oh, Caroline honey, you would not bee…lieve what I’ been up to…”
    – Liza then launched into a monologue of how she had become a millionaire’s maid with all sorts of ‘perks’ and ‘privileges.’

    – Caroline politely and every so often responded with, “That’s jus’ faannn…tastic (fantastic)!”

    – After completing her 5 min. rant to Caroline, Liza asked, “By the way honey, what’ch y’all been up to?”

    – Caroline responded, “Oh, I’ jus’ been goin’ t’ Charm-School…”

    – Liza interrupted, “Oh, what’ch y’all been learnin’ in Charm-School?”

    – Caroline replied, “Well, right now we learnin’ how to say FAANNN…TASTIC! instead o’ BULL-SHIT!!”

    [You too, now know the Charm-School definition of FANTASTIC!!…] 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. NoFixedAddress says:


    This is the funniest post you have put up in a long time.

    Well done and kindly keep your eye on the door.

    I appreciate your attention.

    Maybe have a sidebar outtakes for some of that ‘stuff’.

    On your previous post I thought I was putting up a list of alternatives to Google but I see now you have to sign in.

    There are other websites that have the information.

    All the best.

    PS I’m still looking at your offer of help for a rich snitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful stuff! My personal favorite was this:

    “In the old days before we won the climate wars and then Trump was elected which put the final kibosh on the lot of it, the Greenie trolls we battled were rock hard, bloody panzer grenadier trolls, but this wave were pure ladyboys who smelled faintly of mothballs that’d fallen out of their great grandmother’s pantaloons.”

    How I envy your ability to write like that!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Remember this from the “Life of Brian”?

    Now may be a good time to ask “What is Donald Trump going to do for us?”.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ted O'Brien. says:

    I skimmed past here, but haven’t yet made it to the end. But I must comment in fear.
    You state: “In the old days before we won the climate wars and then Trump was elected “.
    In Australia we have lost a major battle in this war, and grim times loom. The AGW program has scored a tipping point, with the closure of a large by our standards coal fired power station at Hazelwood in Victoria. So don’t turn your back on the action. It may yet come back to you.
    In the election of 2013 we gave a landslide victory in our lower house to our “conservative” side of the argument, who promised to abolish The Left’s carbon tax and Renewable Energy Target.
    At the same time we voted in our very own “Trump”, a cashed up bloke who sounded like he would support changes for the good, electing him personally in the lower house, and giving his personal party three? seats and the balance of power in the upper house.
    This “a pox on all your houses” vote turned out to be a pox on or own house. The man turned out to be a tool for Al Gore. I don’t believe that Al Gore had ever heard of him before he gained the balance of our power, nor that he had ever thought about supporting Al Gore. But, as our parliamentarians returned to Canberra for the commencement of the operation of the newly elected senate, we were dumbfounded with the spectacle of Al Gore and Clive Palmer addressing us from the steps of Parliament House, telling us among other unpalatable things that the Palmer United Party would be “protecting” the RET. Just three years later this has resulted in the closure of a sufficient number of coal fired power stations to cause a dramatic rise in electricity prices. And we are now living on the brink with our power supply. I can’t see, for example, any of our aluminium smelters surviving.
    So, how did Al Gore persuade Clive Palmer to “protect” the RET? I would like to see a Royal Commission into the dealings between Clive Palmer and Al Gore.
    BTW. I am not the Ted O’Brien who has since won the seat in the parliament that Clive Palmer held.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Old Rooster says:

      Rotten luck Ted but many already knew CP was a CINO whose business ethic made the Dodgy Bros look straight as a die. Then again a compromise deal on the formation of the LNP kept Peter “Mussels” Slipper aboard the Parliamentary Gravy Train long after his members had sussed him for what he really was. I keep hoping that recent political experience will produce many an Ancient Mariner that will be wiser next time round but there must be a large group of youthful, naive, and ignorant voters joining the rolls each election.


    • What a horror story! Apparently the chickens are coming home to roost in South Australia:

      South Australia has achieved the double distinction of “Most Expensive” and “Least Reliable” electricity supply at the same time!

      This may sound a little harsh. Elections have consequences and I applaud y’all for doing dumb stuff so we won’t have to.

      Maybe I am being a little naive here. The solar nightmare in Spain unfolded before Obama took office but would not learn from that well documented disaster:

      It is quite difficult to find copies of Dr. Gabriel Calzada’s report as many of the links now return “404 errors”. However, thanks to the “Wayback Machine”, the University of Michigan and others it is very difficult to totally erase material once it has been published on the Internet. Not even for national governments can do it…………….yet.


  12. philjourdan says:

    I am honored by the mention in your post.

    I read the response to my comment (which I have not searched for yet, so I am not sure exactly what I said). But I do think I know what I said based upon the response. ANd the response really had nothing to do with what I said. It was merely an excuse to go off on a tirade. Which as you indicated, is one of the actions of said trolls.

    I really enjoy this blog as, in addition to agreeing with my thoughts 75% of the time, it is very polite and cordial. Of course this is not the only blog I comment on, so I do find those same trolls putting the same comments elsewhere. In those cases, I merely restate what I have said, and point out that should they wish to respond to what I said, they are more than welcome. But I do not respond to what I do NOT say. Strawmen belong in the Wizard Of Oz, not debates.

    Some are more persistent than others, and continually try to create strawmen to destroy. But in all cases, the fact that I do not let them dictate the debate, frustrates the hell out of them.

    Which is a small amount of enjoyment I do get.


  13. Neville says:

    Quite delicious, Mr Pointman, sir!
    Thank you – and thanks for your thoughts and blog; always thought-provoking, always informative.


  14. waterside4 says:

    Great blog, part of my daily (low carb) diet.
    One thing Mr Pointy, the climate wars are far from over – at least in Blighty – where we have a left wing set of so called Tories in power and a more left party in waiting.
    Then to add insult to this Catholics injury, we have an extreme left Roman hierarchy who worship the green goddess Gaia.
    What to do?


  15. Pointman says:

    When you write about something you know very well, the trap you can all too easily fall into is assuming the reader is as familiar with the basics as you are. I fell into it on this piece by not explaining what happens to a debut comment by someone completely new to the blog.

    Everybody’s first comment goes into moderation, which means it’s not visible to the blog’s readers. Only I can see it. All the comments in the piece above were visible to only me.

    Only if I approve them, do they become visible to the readership.

    If I decide to consign them to the trash or spam bins, it’s as if they’d never existed.



  16. I fell foul of the doorman here when linking to some articles I’d written about energy and how to recycle it. Not particularly surprising, since it probably looked like crackpot Free Energy on a quick scan. I see the cost of energy as something that really needs to be reduced in order to solve the problems of energy-poverty, and it seems that the trends are instead to increase the costs to the consumer.

    The actual cost of energy really relates to the number of person-hours required to deliver that energy to the home. As such, the “plus points” of solar power that more people are employed are a pointer to the fact that you’re going to have to pay more for that power. Meantime, Hinkley C power station (if it ever actually gets built) is contracted to produce power at around twice the current wholesale cost on the UK power market. Nuclear power ought to be extremely cheap, and the only reason it is expensive is that they are using designs that only use around 2-3% of the available energy in the fuel and produce waste that will be dangerously radioactive for a long time. For most of my life we’ve had the technology (molten salt reactors) that use most of the available energy, won’t melt down (they’re already molten) and where the waste is only a problem for a century or so rather than 100,000 years. The only problem with them is that they don’t produce material to make bombs with. Design it once, mass-produce a lot of small distributed reactors, and you have a backbone power supply that is resilient against single-point failures. It seems the obvious way to go to get cheap power. Instead it seems the politicians want to show they’ve got bigger balls than anyone else and want the biggest nuclear reactor in the world. All that design-work for a single plant, and going beyond what we know we can reliably make as regards high-pressure steel domes so there’s only one supplier (in Japan) who has a chance of making them, does seem somewhat mad.

    Meantime, we know that the name-plate on a wind-turbine only applies in ideal conditions when the wind isn’t too fast or too slow, and that over a year you’ll get around 10% of that if you’ve chosen a good site. When the wind isn’t enough (or it’s too strong), Diesel peaking generators are brought in at around 10 times the normal wholesale cost of power. Some good profits to be made on those peaking generators….

    I’ve also heard of plans for a giant 4GW solar plant in Morocco, with a long transmission line to Europe. Another nice target for disruption, with major consequences if someone succeeds in blowing up the line.

    Germany has been extending its Lignite mining operations in order to be able to fill in when the green energy isn’t sufficient.

    It seems therefore that if things go on the way they are then we’ll be spending a larger proportion of our incomes on basic energy costs. People are mostly willing to pay more for green power and the feeling that they are in the fight against Global Warming, which is still being very strongly pushed despite the inconvenient satellite data that show that the ground-based weather stations (now largely at airports and thus subject to heat-island effects) are somewhat misleading. Even if you’re not willing to pay more, you’ll have to anyway.

    Though the trends seem to be based on malignance and the desire to make us poorer, it’s maybe wrong to think that when stupidity is a sufficient explanation. People bend the data on global temperatures because they think they are correct in thinking it’s All Our Fault for burning fossil fuels. The evidence is that the climate has been changing all on its own long before humans started mining. We find “lost cities” in places that are so arid today they can’t support any large population. True, burning Lignite produces a lot of pollution and shortens the life of people that breathe that polluted air, and there’s a similar problem with cars in large cities. Those problems need fixing, and the technology to do things better is arriving (and yes, solar power will be worthwhile having as the real costs are still falling). Still the important question is what rose first – the temperatures or the CO2 level? What is cause and what is effect? Correlation is not enough to make the causative link.


    Ended up a bit off-topic on the doorman theme, but I’m also one myself in an energy-related blog and the deleted comments were on those matters. I still don’t understand the politics, though. Apart from Trump, it seems most politicians are intent on protecting their power-base rather than doing what they promised, and it’s accepted that the election promises are generally empty. No tax rises? Well, not in the headline ones, anyway, but the proportion of your earnings that end up *elsewhere* inexorably rises.


    • Pointman says:

      Apoligies Simon if I blocked you out by mistake.

      It could also be the way the WordPress spam protector mechanism works. If there are a lot of links in a comment by an approved commentator, it always goes into my moderation queue for approval.

      If there are a lot of links in a comment by a new commenter, it goes into the spam bin automatically. Some spammers put lots of links into their auto-generated comments. No blogger in their right mind goes wading through the knee-deep shite in the spam bin unless they’re looking for a comment they’ve been told has black holed.



      • Pointy – apologies not needed, since wading through the automatically-rejected spam pile is generally a waste of time (and it did have two links in it). I mostly lurk here since I don’t have insights to add on the political side, and it seems you have a fair overlap of readership with Chiefio where I do occasionally comment. EMS thinks my arguments on 2LoT have merit, but few others do. At this moment I think I’m a few weeks away from getting physical proof that we can convert environmental heat directly to electricity, and that thus that age-old dream of getting power 24/7 without needing to burn any fuel will be realised. Actually, there are a few commercial devices already that do that, but they aren’t recognised as such (and are very low power), so all I’m really doing is improving the power-delivery up to a point where it will be useful and that it’s recognised that the principle undeniably works. Once people realise that it’s actually possible (and you can buy devices at the local hardware store), I expect there’ll be a rush to make alternative designs that will be even better and maybe cheaper too. It only needs someone to start that snowball building, and after that I expect energy-poverty will become a thing of the past. Solving the paradox (we use energy to do work, yet energy is conserved) took me around 40 years and some serendipitous encounters and discussions, and so I don’t expect instant acceptance without some physical device to show that it works.

        I don’t bother commenting on most sites because the doorkeepers let in people who just want to cause trouble. I figure the readership will therefore be largely following the crowd and not wanting to look at anything deeply or go against consensus. Here, I figured the people would find the physics interesting and also find any mistakes in my logic if they are there. The reason for publishing the ideas is to find mistakes in them before I spend a lot of money and time building the kit for (effectively) chip-fabrication to get the device actually made so we can test it. Crowd-sourcing the reviewing phase. Of course, that may also bring competition, but that’s actually a good thing.

        Of course, I’m going to take advantage of the hysteria about CO2 levels by selling the idea as zero carbon-footprint. I thought you’d find that amusing. May as well use that lie for something useful. That way, governments will find it difficult to stop people manufacturing them even though it removes the possibility of cutting supply-lines to keep people in line and subservient. If you have locally-produced power that can’t be interrupted, you can also produce water, food and any other needs, and can be independent of interference.


    • @Simon Derricutt,
      Much of what you say about fission reactors makes good sense. Like you I am partial to MSRs.

      When it comes to LENR I am a skeptic. While there may be honest people working in this field the highly visible Andrea Rossi is a scam artist. I tried to meet with him at his office in Glades Road, Boca Raton. It is just a front run by an attorney and the receptionist can’t tell you when Rossi will be “In” or how to get in touch with him.


      • GC – I didn’t mention LENR here because I’m not sure that it will become commercially viable in my lifetime. Rossi was always suspect, but recent events absolutely prove he’s lying now and probably always was. If you want in-depth analysis of the court-case and on LENR developments, you could try Abd’s blog at coldfusioncommunity dot net. Trolls and food-fights disallowed there, which makes it pleasant and information-dense.


  17. Doonhamer says:

    Dear Mr Pointman,
    Warning:- There follows a sycophantic comment. No ulterior motive.
    I have been following your blog for a good few years now and in all that time I have rarely commented, thinking that just to say I agree with and enjoy your stuff would be superfluous and a waste of your time.
    The other night I spent a few hours following your links daisy chained from this original post. Using a tablet in bed, I fell asleep following the chain.
    Very enjoyable and reminded me of when I first read them. Thank you for all your efforts – they are much appreciated.
    As in the past I got to wondering on your origins. Also, as in the past, my guesses keep changing.
    USA, Aussie, Kiwi, SA.
    Up until this post I had decided that you were ex-pat British, but then your comment regarding quotation marks and speech marks scrubbed that.
    So now I am thinking Aussie or Canuck, purely because of the USA-isation (ization) of the language, but also with some original UK / Irish isms. Any of which I can not at this instant recall.
    Given that one of your mates and frequent responders is named after a rather nice West Australian beer, I lean towards Aussie.
    Not that it really matters and I would probably not want to get a certain answer anyway, as that would spoil the fun.
    In conclusion, thank you for all you have done. All strength to your elbow and lang may yer lum reek.


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