Monday 11th of December 2023

a fielding day...

a fielding day .....

Dear reader, dear Senator, please pay attention"
Gus, esquire. unpublished works.

Senator Steve fielding's foray into Global warming:
THE organisation which has prompted the Family First senator, Steve Fielding, to question the science of climate change also believes public health campaigns against smoking are based on "junk science". Senator Fielding, who must vote soon on the Government's proposed emissions trading scheme, has returned from Washington sceptical about humanity's contribution to climate change.

"I think all of us have just accepted without question that carbon emissions are the problem and we need to address that," he said yesterday. It was necessary to consider an "alternative view" put forward by "credible scientists", he said.

Senator Fielding attended a conference on climate change last week hosted by the Heartland Institute of Chicago, which specialises in challenging scientific norms and conventions. Its president, Joseph Bast, also believes the dangers of smoking are exaggerated as an excuse to tax tobacco.

Anti-smoking advocates "personally profit by exaggerating the health threats of smoking and winning passage of higher taxes and bans on smoking in public places", the institute's website says. "The public health community's campaign to demonise smokers and all forms of tobacco is based on junk science."

The Heartland Institute
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Heartland Institute is an American libertarian/conservative free market-oriented public policy think tank based in Chicago, Illinois. It was founded in 1984, and is designated as a 501(c)(3)non-profit by the Internal Revenue Service.
The institute is a member organization of the Cooler Heads Coalition, "an informal and ad-hoc group focused on dispelling the myths of global warming".[4]

Heartland's publications make the following assertions about climate change:

    * "Most scientists do not believe human activities threaten to disrupt the Earth's climate."[5]
    * "The most reliable temperature data show no global warming trend."[5]
    * "A modest amount of global warming, should it occur, would be beneficial to the natural world and to human civilization."[5]
    * "The best strategy to pursue is one of 'no regrets'."[5]

In March 2008, and again in March 2009 the Heartland Institute sponsored a major International conference bringing hundreds of scientests, economists, and policy experts who are global warming skeptics to New York City. Speakers included Dr. Richard Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at MIT; Dr. Roy Spencer, who oversees NASA's satellite temperature record; Dr. S. Fred Singer, who was founding dean of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences at the University of Miami and founding director of the National Weather Satellite Service; Dr. Harrison Schmitt, a former NASA astronaut and Apollo 17 moonwalker; and Dr. John Theon, whose responsibilities at NASA included overseeing James Hansen. Participants criticized the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore.[6][7]


The Institute has been actively involved in debate over tobacco policy, opposing restrictions on smoking and criticizing science which documents the harms of secondhand smoke.[11] Given the close financial and organizational relationship between the tobacco industry and the Heartland Institute, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights described the Heartland Institute as "an active partner of the tobacco industry".[12]

Heartland has been criticized for employing executives from such corporations as ExxonMobil and Philip Morris on its board of directors and in its public relations department.[13][14] The Heartland Institute disputes this criticism, stating that "no one on Heartland's board of directors works for a tobacco company (Roy Marden retired years ago) or for an oil company (Walter Buchholtz was on the board but no longer is)

Heartland Policy Study
Taking Aim at Gun Control

"We are now reaping the consequences of 30 years spent talking about guns rather than doing something effective about poverty and hopelessness," writes David Kopel. "If we really want to reduce the disease of violence, it is time for us to start thinking about how to strengthen families and foster individual responsibility, and it is time to abandon the unscientific crusade against guns."

Firearms are nowhere near the root of the problem of violence and arguably are almost completely divorced from it. As long as people come in unlike sizes, shapes, ages, and temperament; as long as they diverge in their taste for risk and their willingness and capacity to prey on other people or to defend themselves from predation; and, above all, as long as some people have little or nothing to lose by spending their lives in crime, dispositions to violence will persist--and increasingly strict gun controls will do little if anything to improve matters.

Gus: I am not suggesting for a minute that there is collusion between the institute and the oil barons and handshakes with the tobacco companies. But some of the institute's findings are baffling.
May I say, from the death of my uncle Roberto to that of my good friend Nick in this lovely country — and plenty more in between and since — many friends/smokers have been taken to an early grave (before the age of 40) by lung cancer, brain tumors and other ailment that one can suspect was related to their habit. Numerous lab tests have shown that prolong (or short, if one is "susceptible") exposure to tar (including that from cigarettes) has a strong chance to lead to cancerous cellular activity. And I would suggest that when my doctor told me I had incurable chronic bronchitis — mostly a "smoker's disease" (I never smoked in my life, except once at christmas), I can relate it to the many times I coughed when I was stuck in the same place as smokers (including Nick). Always irritated by cigarette smoke, even outdoors. And the evolution of this ailment has been somewhat contained, as cars are less polluting and as there are less smokers about. Whenever I see smokers puffing outside offices or pubs, I walk on the other pavements or stop breathing till well clear. The same way as I stay clear of guns .... In the gun lobby words: ... cigarettes don't kill people. People smoking cigarettes can...

On the subject of guns and gun laws, I would say that the "gun-ho" mentality — even if "guns are divorced from the violence" inside the US borders — has bled into the United States foreign policy and general non-conservation policies: see a bear, shoot it... See a Saddam, shoot it. See a whatever on the move and the trigger finger is itching... Ah! the power of the line of sight... The dream of blood is fared daily on US teevee shows (about twenty murders are committed weekly on the box, which in truthfulness is far less (10 per cent) than those committed in the streets) .. More could be said here, but I will only mention that around 40,000 people die each year in the US from "small-gun" (not including carbines nor large automatics) shots — and may I add here as well, that about 1.3 per cent of the adult U.S. population is in prison and some who are not in there should be. And the figure of people who've died, shot with small guns, does not include the greater number of injured, purposefully or accidentally, by Cheney.
Our venerable Rattus, had a gun removal policy that worked to some extent, after the Port Arthur massacre... But it is impossible to measure the true efficiency of such policy, not even in the study of statistics, because invariably, there is no possibility of setting up a "control" group, such as in the pharmaceutical industry, using placebo... (Imagine the population being split in two groups, one with real guns and the other group with wooden spoons...) Thus the deniers-of-anything-except-god have a field day at saying you can't prove that your policy works... Yet, in the US, not a month that goes by, without a "mass" senseless shooting in this school or this supermarket making a gun sale...

On the subject of global warming, science cannot "prove" anything irrefutably
to which the observations on the ground seem to be correct so far ... except the predictions time-line is restrained by a factor of 3. Thus the deniers have their field day and their Fielding day. Their attitude is a bit like pushing someone off the cliff and, each time, those of their study group manage to catch the branch of small tree to save themselves from death. Obviously the only conclusion is: pushing people off the cliff does not kill people... (a sophism)

In erring on the side of caution, the global warming scientific models have been too conservative. They have to. And there is no choice at this level than to use statistics and data that sometimes conflict. From slight shifts in wind direction averages, to minute variations in extreme weather conditions — and to humidity in the air, the enormity of the task is huge. And we are looking at incremental change in which there will be some advance and some retreat, and in which the trends are not so obvious on all fronts. And remember climate-wise we are studying a very complex system in flux, over many years with varying decree of precision... This is why I go to the simpler system below:

The facts and figures tell us that CO2 is a greenhouse gas (so is water and methane and...) and that we're pumping 30 billions tonnes of CO2 in the atmosphere — raising the CO2 by an average 1.5 ppm per annum — (increasing to 2ppm per annum by 2020).
if we believe this wont have any effect, we live on planet dreamland...

But be reassured: the Heartland Institute tells us: "A modest amount of global warming, should it occur, would be beneficial to the natural world and to human civilization."

How would they know that???? For sure?!?!?! What a lot of rot!!!
This is the glibbest of all glib argument, this is the gun with which the good people at the institute shot themselves in the foot. Heartless institutionalised...

Global warming trend is on, sun spots or no sun spots...

In the cartoon above, I show Mr Fielding smoking... I have no idea if he smokes or not, but his general position (and I must mention the gutless Liberals) is somewhat as if smoking was good for you...

a day of fielding

a day of fieldinga day of fielding

absolutely a joke.

Family First Senator Steve Fielding has defended his decision to attend Parliament despite the possibility he may have contracted swine flu.

Senator Fielding's sister-in-law has the virus and is staying at his Melbourne home.

Senator Fielding says he is taking Tamiflu tablets, but has not had any flu symptoms.

"There is some concern that I may be a carrier for the swine flu and touching the doors of the Senate chamber is apparently some concern," he said.

"Now I don't know the advice from the Health Minister is saying you shouldn't be confined to your bed.

"I don't want to take a sickie; I think that's absolutely a joke."

Senator Fielding is currently using crutches due to an injury from playing squash.

sedation in the senate

sedation in the senatesedation in the senate

It's raining, ideologically...

From Unleashed


In our world, the implication is that too much conviction can be construed as "ideology", that rather than being a cool suite of tools the elites devised to confuse the masses, "ideology" became the belief system driving hotheads, and fanatical adherents to an unarguable set of directives from the cadres trying to overthrow the prevailing social, economic and political order.

When they take control their opponents are characterised in the same way.

Scientists can be as wrongheaded as anyone, but (except for those who use funding from interested parties to twist results of their research) I think we should suppose that they too are sincere in their aims rather than trying to crucify the aluminium industry for ideological reasons.

Philosophers, however, are conflicted: torn between trying to create immutable scientific laws for their theories, while at the same time allowing for the infinite flexibility afforded by dynamic doubt.

While we're waiting for them to resolve the issue, we need to watch out for ideologues pretending it's only their enemies who are ideologues.


see toon at top and other comments on this line of blogs....


Family First Senator Steve Fielding has written to senators on both sides of politics urging them to demand more proof from the Government that carbon emissions are the main driver of climate change.

Senator Fielding remains unconvinced that human activity is causing climate change and says there is evidence to show that over the past 15 years global temperatures have not risen in line with escalating carbon emissions.

His letter to senators appeals to them to consider the issue before casting their vote, which he says is too important to take along party lines.

He also believes there are Labor senators who do not agree that carbon emissions are responsible for climate change.


Dear Mr (Thomas) Fielding...

The Australian government and the US government have little choice. Government of the world have little choice., even if they try to delay as much as possible their dealing with this issue. Most of the serious world scientists are showing that global warming is on. Sure, there are some sceptics and sure some temperatures might not appear to react in accordance with the rise of CO2.

There are many factors that do affect climatic status.

One of them for example is that average sea temperature is 3.5 degrees C, but as the water warms up IT CONTRACTS until it reaches 4 degree C (unsalted water). But not all water temperature is uniform. thus there could be small surface expansion of water and small deep contraction of volume cancelling themselves out in regard to sea level rising. 

Yet sea level is rising, nonetheless — despite what Andrew Bolt claimed recently on "the Insiders (ABC-TV).

In regard to temperature rising, It has been my personal observation that weather patterns are not as predictable as previously. Cloud bands, low and high pressure systems appear to me slightly out of whack. My fruit trees are now fruiting in erratic ways in winter — for example I had a small crop of mulberries a month ago and am about to get another larger mature crop in a couple of weeks. My passion-fruit vine now is having two to three crops a year and presently, in the middle of the Sydney "winter", is having another bounty.  This is due to slight variations in temperature and humidity in which although the temperature maximums and minimums are not breaking records, the days are nonetheless showing signs of carrying more energy than average. I will explain: when temperatures would vary say from 9 to 17 on an average winter day they would follow a reasonably regular pattern of dropping and rising. Presently, even if the average temperatures are below 17 and 9, the temperature stay longer closer to 17 than going below 9. Thus in the long run, there is more warm energy in the air even if the temperature maximum stays below the average. Thus it has been my observation that more often than not, temperature at 9 o'clock in the morning or at 8 o'clock at night, say, are above average while temperature at maximum might be above or below average — the point being made here that although maximum temperature are not above average, there is slightly more warming in the air than on average...  

There are other factors interfering with climatic complexities, such as climate dimming (dust, clouds and "cooling gases"), not discounting the changes in climatic patterns in which for example more water vapours in the air might reduce the maximum temperature, but a cloud cover will increase the length of "warm" during the day.  Furthermore the sun has been very quiet for the last few: there is no sunspots that tend to flare more energy out of the sun.

Yet, the ice is melting, glaciers are retreating, the permafrost is still defrosting, releasing megaloads of methane into the atmosphere. There are other natural signs pointing to "global warming".

In the end, as mentioned before, one has to go with the ppms (parts per millions) of CO2 (and other human produced greenhouse gases). Past aeon record studies tell us that methane and CO2 are greenhouse gases (note: methane is also a carbon based gas). The carbon cycles are quite clear in the geological record and the stored carbon that once was in the ground is now "resurfaced" and turned into CO2 via our activities... Geological records tell the serious scientists that there are levels at which climatic conditions and presence of CO2 are correlated... (other factors are also factored in, such as the position of land-masses).  

Our present dilemma is how far we can go on belching CO2, without making life difficult for us and other species... Most serious analysis show that + 2 degree C is inevitable with the amount of CO2 we've so far released into the atmosphere... In a few of my blogs I have expressed that should nothing be done about it now, with population growth and comfort improvements on the way, we're likely to increase the temperature of the planet by a whopping 6 degrees C by 2100. No kidding.

porkius ergo sum...

From the ABC

Family First Senator Steve Fielding has written to all senators urging them to attend a briefing he has organised on climate change.

This is the second time Senator Fielding has sent a letter out to senators about climate change ahead of the vote on the Government's emissions trading scheme on August 13.

Senator Fielding has questioned whether climate change is caused by human activity because he says there is evidence which shows global temperatures are not rising in line with carbon emissions.

He wants senators to attend a briefing by Professor Bob Carter, who is well known for speaking out against the link made between human activity and climate change.


What is worse than an ignoramus? Someone hell-bent on learning the wrong things... and telling people to listen to him.

No matter how blue in the face, true scientists can explain to Mr Fielding the relationship between carbon dioxide and global warming with all the proper caveats, including sun spots and other factors slightly dephasing the relationship (sometimes the increase in temperature will be more than predicted sometimes less), Mr Fielding deos not want to know. So why don't you go to Getting a grip on Greenland's future, and learn from other scientists than Mr Bob Carter, and be amazed. Then shut up.

And stop making "porkius ergo sum" (I tell porkies therefore I am) your subconscious motto...

over troubled waters....

From Al Jazeera

The waters of the Pacific are moving and in Australia farmers are getting nervous. El Niño, the natural phenomenon known to bring turmoil to global weather patterns, is back.

Over the last couple of months the waters of the Pacific have shifted and the first impacts are already being seen.
During a 'normal' year, the prevailing winds push the warm surface waters of the Pacific toward Indonesia. This makes the waters there about 8°C warmer and half a metre higher than the waters along the west coast of South America.
During El Niño, the winds ease and this allows warmer waters to well up along the west coast of South America, around Peru and Ecuador.
The change is tiny, just a couple of degrees Celsius, but it has a dramatic affect.


wake up, Fielding... see toon at top.

warming waters...

This El Niño is well beyond that, says the Climate Prediction Center of the US National Weather Service. "Sea surface temperatures remain +0.5 to +1.5 above average across much of the equatorial Pacific Ocean," the centre reported last week. "Observations and dynamical model forecasts indicate El Niño conditions will continue to intensify and are expected to last through the northern hemisphere winter of 2009-10."


eat your socks, Andrew Bolt...

dear mr fielding, dear malcolm...

From George Monbiot at the Guardian


Professor Ian Plimer, author of the book Heaven and Earth, is the new champion of the climate change deniers. After I wrote an article attacking his claims, he challenged me to a public debate. Last week I told him that I would accept his challenge as long as he accepted mine. I would take part in a face-to-face debate with him as long as he agreed to write precise and specific responses to his critics' points - in the form of numbered questions that I would send him - for publication on the Guardian's website. Plimer rejected my challenge.

I wrote an article accusing him of cowardice. I sent him the URL in the hope that it would provoke him into changing his mind. It worked. He wrote back, suggesting that he would now answer my questions. So here's the letter I've just sent him. If Plimer answers them and accepts my condition that we can cross-examine each other, we will move on to his challenge - a face-to-face debate. Let battle commence!

Dear Ian,

I am delighted to hear that you have reconsidered your position, and that you are now prepared to engage with me in writing. Here are my questions. Please answer without resort to bluff or bluster. I am looking for precise and specific responses, with references attached.

Read more of Monbiot's questions at the Guardian


Gus: the comprehensive questions form George Mombiot are also for Mr Fielding to survey and ask himself the proper questions and find the reality away from the busllshit coming from the climate change deniers. But Fielding won't do it: he seems blindly committed to the denial of human interference in global climate change...

For those who voted for Fielding in the first place, boot him out next time. We've wasted enough valuable time arguing, while we should be taking some strong actions — of course far more than the Labor government is doing but it's a start at least... while Malcolm blabs on... Malcolm should actually cross the floor during the vote on the Government climate legislation even if it's not perfect. That would be the best apology he could give Rudd for his miserable performance with the OzCar email...

dropping at a rate of up to 16m a year...

One of the largest glaciers in Antarctica is thinning four times faster than it was 10 years ago, according to research seen by the BBC.

A study of satellite measurements of Pine Island glacier in west Antarctica reveals the surface of the ice is now dropping at a rate of up to 16m a year.

Since 1994, the glacier has lowered by as much as 90m, which has serious implications for sea-level rise.

The work by British scientists appears in Geophysical Research Letters.

The team was led by Professor Duncan Wingham of University College London (UCL).
We've known that it's been out of balance for some time, but nothing in the natural world is lost at an accelerating exponential rate like this glacier
Andrew Shepherd, Leeds University

Calculations based on the rate of melting 15 years ago had suggested the glacier would last for 600 years. But the new data points to a lifespan for the vast ice stream of only another 100 years.


see toon at top....

most extraordinary month...

Australia has experienced its warmest August on record amid soaring winter temperatures.

Climatologists have blamed both the effects of climate change and natural variability.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology says that August was a "most extraordinary month" with mean temperatures 2.47C above the long-term average.

August in Australia culminated in a record-breaking heat-wave across much of the continent.

In the Queensland town of Bedourie the temperature reached 38.5C.

Elsewhere, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have had their warmest winters on record.


As someone who lives in Sydney, one is aware of these milder conditions... see toon at top and make sure all the global warming deniers — in these times of low sun activity — are defeated... And make sure action is implemented by governments around the world to reduce the impact of global warming... See toon at top...

dear mr fielding ...

Arctic temperatures are now higher than at any time in the last 2,000 years, research reveals.

Changes to the Earth's orbit drove centuries of cooling, but temperatures rose fast in the last 100 years as human greenhouse gas emissions rose.

Scientists took evidence from ice cores, tree rings and lake sediments.

Writing in the journal Science, they say this confirms that the Arctic is very sensitive both to changes in solar heating and to greenhouse warming.

The 23 sites sampled were good enough to provide a decade-by-decade picture of temperatures across the region.


Dear Mr Fielding, you will end up costing the earth... see toon at top.

to mr fielding and mr bolt...

The National Climatic Data Center has released its review of worldwide sea surface temperatures for August and for the stretch from June through August and finds that both the month and the “summer” (as looked at from the Northern Hemisphere) were the warmest at least since 1880, when such records were first systematically compiled.

Sea ice in the Arctic appears to be starting the slow late-summer freeze after reaching its minimum extent several days ago, by a couple of estimates ( National Snow and Ice Data Center;  International Arctic Research Center / Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). Here’s the  global sea ice trend, combining what’s going on up north and down south. This season’s Arctic ice retreat ranks well behind the extraordinary  ice retreat of 2007 and also last year’s but remains below the average ice extent for the stretch since 1979, when satellites started monitoring Arctic conditions with some precision. Here’s a compilation of  various groups’ experimental ice forecasts for this year and the results.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration summarized ocean temperature conditions for August in  this description of the video [on the site]:

The world’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest for any August on record, and the warmest on record averaged for any June-August summer season, according to N.O.A.A.’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Worldwide records began in 1880. Shown here is a visualization of the August global temperature anomalies — or in other words, how the average temperature in August differed from the average climate of 1961-1990. Notice that in some areas, such as the western United States, temperatures were much cooler than average. But overall, land and ocean temperatures were several degrees above normal.


When on Insiders (ABC-TV, Sunday), Andrew Bolt, opinionator of the Murdoch empire, a few weeks ago categorically stated something to the effect that "the seas had cooled and global warming was rubbish".

Please note, sirs, Thomases, that localised hot and cool variations are taken into calculation account yet overall, land and ocean temperatures were several degrees above normal. That's on the surface... You can thank mother earth for having deep oceans (but they can hold the sea temperature average down for so long — it's rising nonetheless).

In his column of sarcastic rubbish, Bolt "exposes" the 10 worst warming predictions... And fair enough too as it is silly for anyone to be so fierce with precise predictions... but my dear Andrew, most of these predictions can happen at any time within the next ten/fifteen years without warning and it's likely (surely) to go on from worse to worse. So what? the predictions appeared to be out of whack with the "timeline-reality" but the real compounded (averaged) observations are damning your inane "skeptologism"...


Taking into account that Sydney has experienced a few more "Indian summers", in winter and spring, that usual this year — including today (17/09/09) with a 32 (89 F) degree high (still at 31.5 at Mascot and 30.1 in Sydney, at 16:40),

taking into account that the Australian winter that has just finished (31/08/09) was 2.4 degrees above average (I would suggest that Perth might have been cooler than usual — taking the higher average down a fair tad — but like the weather in England, "cool conditions" is a firm "prediction" in line with the localised fluctuation of global warming),

considering that it is likely that September in Australia will be hotter and drier than average (so far it is),

considering that the sun is "in recess" (no sun spots and the earth/sun distance is further away than average — although this distance variation is often counted as negligeable* on climate),

considering that Greenland is melting much faster than predicted and some glaciers in Antarctica** are melting at 4 times the speed of a few years ago,

considering that there are many many other indicators of "change' towards warm — including melting of the permafrost*** in Arctic regions,

considering all historical indications, we should be going towards an "ice age" yet we are going towards a warmer period,

considering that we are changing the carbon equation in the atmosphere by about 1.5 ppm of carbon dioxide a year, having added roughly 150 ppm since the industrial revolution and about to add at least another 100 ppm in the next fifty years,
(see the importance of ppm on this site)

considering that — as well as the position of continents and other factors such as volcanic activity (all included in climate warming modelling) — the carbon equation had a strong influence on the thin veneer of the earth surface (atmosphere, biosphere and top coat of rocks) thus has strongly influenced climates, flora and fauna of past aeons AND

considering that climatic changes have themselves influenced the carbon equation,

considering that we are doing nothing of value to stop this ...



*The exact distance between Earth and the Sun varies with its position in its orbit, which is elliptical. The average distance (the mean distance) between the Earth and the Sun is about 150 million kilometers (93 million miles). (The distance from the Earth to the Sun is also called 1 astronomical unit (or AU). This is established as 149, 597, 870.7 kilometers (92,955,887.6 miles). * Aphelion (when the Earth is the farthest from the Sun) occurs around the first week of July. The distance is about 152 million km (94.4 million miles). * Perihelion (when the Earth is closest to the Sun) occurs in the first week of January. The distance about 147 million km (91.3 million miles). The difference in solar heating is negligible in terms of summer temperatures for the Northern and Southern hemispheres because the difference in distances is nothing compared to the the distances themselves.


**One of the largest glaciers in Antarctica is thinning four times faster than it was 10 years ago, according to research seen by the BBC.

A study of satellite measurements of Pine Island glacier in west Antarctica reveals the surface of the ice is now dropping at a rate of up to 16m a year.

Since 1994, the glacier has lowered by as much as 90m, which has serious implications for sea-level rise.

The work by British scientists appears in Geophysical Research Letters.

The team was led by Professor Duncan Wingham of University College London (UCL).


***The amount of carbon locked away in frozen soils in the far Northern Hemisphere is double previous estimates and rapid melting could accelerate global warming, warns a new study.

Large areas of northern Russia, Canada, Nordic countries and Alaska have deep layers of frozen soil near the surface called permafrost.

Global warming has already triggered rapid melting of the permafrost in some areas, releasing carbon dioxide and methane.


See toon at top...

Senator Fielding revealed

Senator Fielding revealed his own experience.

"I was sexually abused as a child by a scoutmaster for years," he told reporters in Canberra today, adding his heart went out to anyone with a similar experience.

"I have very strong emotions and feelings on this issue."


We extend our sympathy to senator Fielding for the wrong that was done to him. We beg him, though, to open his eyes to the reality of global warming and read the articles on this site referring to this subject starting with the above articles and dear readers... Thank you.

snooker is bad for your health...

Former world snooker champion Alex Higgins has died aged 61 after a long battle against throat cancer.

The 1972 and 1982 world champion, a heavy smoker, was reportedly found dead in his flat in Belfast on Saturday.

Recent newspaper pictures showed a painfully thin Higgins in Spain after his hopes of having surgery to get new teeth had been dashed.

Higgins lost all his teeth during his cancer treatment but was not deemed fit enough to have the surgery.

The legendary Northern Ireland player had been suffering from throat cancer for more than a decade and he blamed his illness largely on the cigarette makers who sponsored his sport.