Under Pressure

I was thinking about volcanoes this morning. I don’t really know how they work. And I can’t remember ever reading anywhere an explanation of how they work. But for most of my life I’ve supposed that what happens is that when rocks deep under the surface of the earth are heated to melting point, they also expand – since most materials expand when heated -, and it was this expansion that resulted in volcanic eruptions as the expanded liquid rock (molten lava) flowed up out of volcanoes.

But this morning I came up with another explanation. Imagine a cyclindrical barrel half full of water. Then imagine a circular plug of some heavy material (concrete?) which lies on top of the water. Finally, imagine a narrow tube in the centre of the plug through which water can flow freely. When the heavy plug is released to press down on the water, the pressurised water under it will flow rapidly up the the tube, and form a water spout above it. The tube and the water spout form a ‘water volcano’. In a real volcano, the water is replaced by molten lava or magma, and the plug is replaced by the crust of the Earth, and the tube is replaced by a fault or crack in the crust of the Earth. And real volcanoes work in the same way as my ‘water volcano’.

Some simple deductions may be made from this model. The first is that the force or power of the eruption is almost entirely dependent on the weight of the overlying crust: the heavier its mass, the higher the pressure in the magma chamber below, and the higher the resulting column of ejected material above the volcano. If the overlying crustal mass is light, lava will flow gently out of the volcano and down its sides. If the overlying crustal mass is very heavy, lava will be projected very high into the atmosphere. In the Hawaiian islands, where volcanoes produce streams of molten lava flowing down their sides, the crust of the Earth is thin and relatively light. Elsewhere, beneath continents, and mountainous regions of them, volcanoes are likely to produce far more explosive eruptions.

Now it is somehow entirely characteristic of me that I very often translate these sorts of physical models from the natural world to the human world. And so this morning I was thinking that smokers are just like the magma under volcanoes. They are “under pressure” from smoking bans and taxation regimes that are “pressing down” heavily on them all over the world, just like molten rock in the Earth is under pressure all over the world. And at some point the pressurised smokers are going to cause an eruption in the exact same way as real volcanoes. And the power of the explosive eruption is going to be in proportion to the “weight” of the rules and regulations and taxation pressing down on the smokers: The harder they are pressed down on, the larger the resultant explosion.

It might be added that the antismokers in Tobacco Control have a rather different model. In their model, the effect of all their bans and their taxation will simply be to crush smokers out of existence. They believe that all they have to do to eradicate smoking is to increase the overburden of bans and restrictions and taxes to the point where smokers are completely crushed. Or, in a slight variation on my model, they believe that the application of continual pressure on the smokers will gradually squeeze them out of the top of a steadily erupting volcano in which they first become ex-smokers, and then oppressive antismokers. That is to say that as the smokers are expelled from below, they become ex-smokers as they ascend the tube of the volcano, and become antismokers pressing down on smokers when they fall to earth.

Whose model is right? Mine or theirs?

In some ways, things have actually been working out exactly as their model suggests. The application of gradually intensifying pressure to smokers has indeed converted a great many smokers into ex-smokers and antismokers who now press down ever more heavily on the smokers below. And smokers have been under gradually mounting pressure for about the past 100 years. The pressure mounted very, very slowly at first. But in recent years it has mounted very sharply. In some parts or the world (Syria? Philippines?) smokers are now being executed for smoking. And there can be no doubt whatsoever that Tobacco Control is perfectly prepared to execute smokers, if this is what needs to be done to eradicate smoking. That’s how much they hate smoking (and smokers). And all eugenic programmes always entail mass murder.

However the appearance of vapers with e-cigarettes signalled a break-down of their model. They hadn’t expected this development. E-cigarettes provided a way for smokers to carry on smoking in an entirely new way, and to escape the overburdening bans and restrictions and taxation. It should be no surprise that many smokers have become vapers: it was a way of escaping. But the response of Tobacco Control has been to determine that vaping is the same as smoking, and that e-cigarettes are just as dangerous as real cigarettes. In this manner all those vapers who thought they had escaped the crushing smoking bans and taxation have been stuffed back underground with the smokers. There’s no vaping way round the smoking bans and the hyper-taxation of tobacco.

Vaping offered an easy way out for smokers. But that rather elegant way out has now been blocked. So both smokers and vapers must cease putting tubes in their mouths and sucking on them, even if their is no tobacco or nicotine in them. And the result is that the pressure on both has risen sharply, and the likelihood of the sort of explosion (that my model predicts) has also increased sharply.

Tobacco Control always wants to increase the pressure on smokers to stop smoking. But how much higher are they prepared to go? Undoubtedly many (most?) antismoking zealots would like to see smokers being murdered. But is the British government prepared to embark on a programme of mass murder? Are Theresa May and Boris Johnson planning a Final Solution to the Smoking Problem? Somehow I rather doubt they have any intention of doing any such thing (although Jeremy Corbyn is probably different: perhaps somebody should ask him?). My impression is that the likes of May and Johnson are quite happy to encourage smokers to quit smoking, and maybe even to gently nudge them to quit, but they’re not prepared to stuff them into gas chambers if they don’t. Or not yet. And that may be another reason why the government could be becoming disenchanted with the endless calls from Tobacco Control to ratchet up the pressure on smokers. For ultimately the government can be held responsible by an electorate which still includes a great many smokers and vapers, and Tobacco Control is accountable to nobody, except the savage gods they worship.

Somewhere down the line, a breaking point will be reached. And we are now getting very near that breaking point.


About Frank Davis

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22 Responses to Under Pressure

  1. buckothemoose says:

    The pressure on the remaining smokers at the bottom will eventually cause them to solidify, creating a mass that the plug can no longer exert force on, stopping the process in it’s entirety

    Or something…

    • Frank Davis says:

      Yes, that’s another slight variant model. The last remaining smokers get compressed into unyielding rock.

      • Rose says:

        Tobacco got the country through two world wars, it will get us through this.
        Especially now we know that it’s a natural antidepressant, which goodness knows is needed these days.

        ““Researchers have found a marked decrease in the levels of monoamine oxidase (MAO) in the brains and peripheral organs of smokers . MAO is an important enzyme responsible for breaking down dopamine.
        The decrease in MAO results in higher dopamine levels and may be another reason that
        smokers continue to smoke, i.e. to sustain the high dopamine levels that lead to the desire for repeated drug use.It has been suggested that this change is likely to be caused by a substance in tobacco smoke other than nicotine.

        Certain tobacco constituents are reported to be MAO inhibitors, such as
        2,3,6-trimethyl-1-4-naphthoquinone …”
        It’s an ugly way of putting it, but then it is from the savagely prohibitionist WHO.

        “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”

        Use of antidepressants doubles in a decade
        June 30 2017

        “The number of prescriptions for antidepressants is growing faster than that of any other type of medication, with almost twice as many handed out as a decade ago.
        Last year 64.7 million prescriptions were written for antidepressants, up 6 per cent in a year and more than 90 per cent higher than the 33.7 million ten years earlier.”

        • Emily says:

          I’ve always felt that there’s something in tobacco that I like but it’s not the nicotine. I like smoking tobacco and using snus but the few times I have tried vaping and nicotine gum I hated them. I’ve read about MAO inhibitors before, it’s pretty interesting.

        • Rose says:

          It’s taken me ten years to find out some of the other things in a tobacco leaf and so far my best guess is this, which also appears to be a possible source of the MAOI but I’m a gardener not a chemist,

          Solanesol: a review of its resources, derivatives, bioactivities, medicinal applications, and biosynthesis

          “Solanesol, which mainly accumulates in solanaceous crops, including tobacco, tomato, potato, eggplant, and pepper plants, is a long-chain polyisoprenoid alcohol compound with nine isoprene units. Chemical synthesis of solanesol is difficult; therefore, solanesol is primarily extracted from solanaceous crops, particularly tobacco leaves. In plants, solanesol exists in both free and esterified forms, and its accumulation is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Solanesol is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry as an intermediate for the synthesis of ubiquinone drugs, such as coenzyme Q10 and vitamin K2. Solanesol possesses antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-ulcer activities, and solanesol derivatives also have anti-oxidant and antitumour activities, in addition to other bioactivities. Solanesol derivatives can also be used for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and wound healing.”

  2. Frank Davis says:

    Emily has just emailed me to say that she and Stephen Helfer are going to be in the Smoky Drinky Bar tonight at 7 pm EST, which is midnight in the UK.

    • buckothemoose says:

      I was speaking with her last week and said that I would be in there tonight to talk to her and Stephen. I’m staying up to watch a baseball game at midnight so will be in the bar having a few scoops

  3. C.F. Apollyon says:

    Interesting thoughts you put forth Frank. I was just thinking about volcanoes last night, and thinking less in terms of heat/cold rising/descending because of Universal energies and rotation and continental drift and expansion/compression and perhaps even misunderstood gravitational movements that are less based on mass and quantities/prevalence as much as they are on “lack of” these more quantifiable scientific premises. But then again, I’m of the opinion that Newtonian is all inclusive, rather than exclusionary…when allowed to breathe that is.

    So yeah…”anti-gravity”…right here…on Planet Earth/Terra, that may or may not “orginate” here per se…it just kinda coalesces here under certain circumstances. Shearing and friction are prolly gonna be ignore quite a bit on some ridiculously short and long timelines.

    Meh…sorry…just…thinking out loud. Been thinking about Texas aquifers and oil/gases all week, and how those relate to changes while changing…especially when the changes are changed mid-change…if that makes sense.

    ^Alice In Chains – Dirt^

    – < Coolest point
    ° <- Hottest point
    /-\ <-Volcano/coolest point
    ° <- Hottest point
    – < Coolest point
    ° <- Hottest point
    – < Coolest point

    If you turn the above 90°, maybe it'll make more sense with respect to rotation, friction and/or shearing action(s). Bernoulli is prolly gonna help us out a bit with respect to pressures and velocities. We are talking about fluids that are moving in several directions simultaneously, and changing states that are usually defined as "rapid changes" or "rapidly changing" in the event of magma or some other fluidic movement(s). But yeah…gonna be lots of areas of low-pressure in there that might otherwise be defined as high-pressure.
    /me shrugs.

    I dunno…just thinking about global temperature(s), and how those relate to pressure(s).
    Mainly…I'm thinking about sea-level(s) and altitude(s), and how those relate to attitude(s)…if that makes any sense.

    • C.F. Apollyon says:

      One more note…

      Our volcano in the above shitty graphical representation? Move it on arcs of 6 and 12 hours…simultaneously.
      One arc that follows our volcano around outside…and one arc that traverses under and inside.
      There is going to be a predictive nature to these movements based on world clocks and times. Nothing wrong with that per se, but it might help to understand vibrations in a more AND less localized fashion, when and where there is activity around volcanoes and/or faults.
      Might help us understand not only plate movement and drift, but also why subduction may not be what we think it is. ESPECIALLY when you start to factor in gravity as less “up and down” and more “side to side and up and down” all at the same time based on time based axises that overlay the corresponding physical axis that the time is operating within.

  4. Clicky says:

  5. Smoking Lamp says:

    Interesting article on prohibition and choice at the California’s Orange County Register: “The ban on flavored tobacco: San Francisco’s nannies are at it again” http://www.ocregister.com/2017/07/06/the-ban-on-flavored-tobacco-san-franciscos-nannies-are-at-it-again/

  6. Smoking Lamp says:

    The pressure’s mounting… A little blow back from New Zealand (where 30% smoke) and they are imposing city-wide smoking bans in Auckland: “Andrew Dickens: The obsession with telling people how to live their lives” http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11886649

    • Joe L. says:

      Thanks for these links, SL! It seems there is a trend in these recent articles to push back against new draconian antismoking laws. A theme seems to have emerged where these authors are recognizing the insatiable desires of the nanny state and the impingement upon personal freedoms. Better late than never. Here’s to hoping the momentum continues!

    • Barry Homan says:

      As I’ve always said, they want to eradicate smoking, but they’ll never eradicate smokers. That’s always been the fundamental flaw in their plan.

      We have to wait it out, time is on our side.

      • Rose says:

        The other prohibition

        The cigarette crisis in post-war Germany
        Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universitat, Frankfurt, Germany


        “Cigarette smoking, once a happy and even glamorous pastime, is increasingly regarded as a dangerous and ugly activity. In most Western societies, there are powerful movements aimed at stigmatizing and restricting this activity, and in some cases it might not be exaggerated to see prohibition loom on the horizon.

        Prohibition is nothing new in the history of tobacco (1). From England in 1603 to the United States in the early- years of our century, tobacco in general or cigarettes in particular were outlawed for economic, political or moral reasons. Today’s battle-cry is health. And, of course, there is no doubt that smoking is harmful to the health of the smokers and to the well-being of their company (while other arguments like economic damage are less convincing (2).

        Nevertheless, if prohibition is the ultimate goal of today’s anti-smoking campaigns, a cautious warning might be in order.”

        A particularly informative part.

        “The second argument used by the German government against the prohibition of cigarettes is a more pragmatic one. It would fall into Max Weber’s category of Zweckrationalitat. The criterion here is not conformity to certain values, but achievement of the goal the action was designed for.

        The government argued that prohibition of cigarettes would miss its purpose and produce instead some rather undesirable side-effects. “To outlaw production and trade would not turn smokers into non-smokers. It would, on the contrary, create a situation much like the one after the last war, when – in spite of the shortages – the number of smokers increased.”

    • RdM says:

      Thanks for that NZ link SL. I hadn’t kept up with local news last few days.

      The NZ Herald disallowed any comments anywhere some time ago, but Stuff usually allows them. However, they seem to have buried the story – as far as I find so far – in a small subsidiary local suburban-innercity paper, the online version, and no comments are possible:

      This is the ‘next stage’ in a policy that was “voted on” by Auckland Council in 2013.

      The MSM newspapers radio TV were all over it, press releases by the usual suspects
      https://www.pharmacytoday.co.nz/media-releases/2013/july-2013/24/cancer-society-auckland-want-smokefree-implemented-sooner.aspx for example, many others.
      (Note the Orwellian capitalised Smokefree and Research! ;-)

      I was incensed; went looking for the Council minutes of the meeting, not easy to find, some subcommittee, but eventually found them. Evidently no reporter had.

      Unfortunately my records of those minutes, I realise tonight, were on the laptop that had had its HD die, so I’ll have to repeat the search… but I clearly remember:

      There were 14 Councillors present at the meeting and one Chairwoman.
      7 voted for.
      7 voted against.
      The Chairwoman took a casting vote. In favour. (favor.)

      Now personally I think this is undemocratic.
      If an issue is that hotly contested, in my opinion the chairperson should send it back for further discussion, debate, analysis, calls for further evidence, what have you.

      But that’s the way the local government rules here are set up.
      In business, a chairperson at a stockholders meeting does not have a casting vote.

      That chairperson was Ann Hartley, a former Labour (socialist) list (i.e. not elected directly) MP who left government some 5 years earlier, became Mayor of a couple of smaller Auckland cities before the Auckland supercity was created, was on a Govt Health Committee twice… about 70-71 years old at the time of this “vote”.

      She lost her Council seat a few months later that same year, 2013.

      So this relatively of little account ex Government MP and shortly to be voted out local government city councillor decided, with her single casting vote, on the purported future of the whole of Auckland City, NZ’s largest by far, as ‘Smokefree’ for years to come.

      No journalist seemed to pick this up.
      All the zealot groups s went Rah Rah Rah!!!

      Business owners, especially inner-city bars cafes restaurants may not yet know this.

      It needs to be fought, the history made known, the anti-smoker zealots challenged.
      MPs and councillors written to with alternative facts to the pressure propaganda.
      Public comments made wherever possible.

      So once again, work that I didn’t want – I just want to live my life! – is cut out for me.
      The whole thing makes me so angry, but unless it’s fought it’ll only get worse.
      It can all seem a bit tiring, though! ;=})

      It was good to chat with Some Other Tom and Stephen Helfer (with Emily) particularly, in a loose sort of way, circling around debates on various prongs of approaches to how resistance to these sorts of attacks and overthrow of them might be accomplished.

      In the smokydrinkybar. Thanks! ;=})

      • RdM says:


        Plenty of idiocy to be attacked there.

        I’m reminded of Chris Snowdon’s post:

        It hardly needs to be said that smokers, like nonsmokers, have never volunteered to be role models for other people’s children. The claim that adult activity should be criminalised if it can be witnessed by minors does not have to be taken to its logical extreme for it to be exposed as absurd and totalitarian. It is plainly not a serious argument. And yet, if I did feel the need to act as a role model to children, I would, first and foremost, impress upon them the importance of ignoring and despising unjust laws. I would hope to teach them that there is, in any society, a minority of bigots who resent liberal values and who will do whatever they can to impose their own lifestyles upon them. If flouting a draconian law will help a child realise that the state is not its friend, then I will cheerfully light a cigarette in any street or park.

        And the random quote I found in that lookup seemed appropriate too:

        The only cure for contempt is counter-contempt – Mencken

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