David Appell back

The first blog I read was Quark Soup, back in the days when the M&M controversy was interesting… gosh that was a while ago. Then he got burned out; now he is back, at http://davidappell.blogspot.com/. Good.

DA doesn’t much like a recent WaPo article on GW, that focusses on William Gray. But I thought it was OK; good even. It gives a good sense of how the s(k)eptics know they are on the losing side (at least of the scientific argument) and are getting rather frustrated by it.


Aegypt is the name of a fantasy book by John Crowley, as well as the title of yet another non-climate-science post by me. I have loved several of Crowleys books – notably The Deep; Engine Summer; and Beasts. Which left me eager to read more, and totally baffled by Little, Big: a book with some ideas in it, a nice beginning, a turgid midsection and a pointless ending. Many people describe it as his masterwork. But onto Aegypt…
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New moderated env sci forum

And the forum is: http://groups.google.com/group/globalchange/. Go have a look. Why? From the welcome message:

We are creating a moderated newsgroup/mailing list for the discussion of environmental science, economics, policy and politics, especially as related to global change issues such as climate change, biodiversity,
and sustainability.

The signal to noise ratio on sci.environment and similar unmoderated discussion lists has dropped to the point where it can no longer sustain interesting or informative exchanges of information and ideas.

The success of the lightly moderated discussions on the realclimate.org blog has revealed that the hunger for serious and informed discussion remains. However, blogs do not fully replicate the broad-ranging
conversational style that usenet once supported even in controversy-prone areas of interest.

And so on. mt gets the credit for actually getting this up and running. Over the past few months I’ve pretty well abandoned sci.env. Too much junk, too many trolls, too many otherwise sensible people responding to trolls.

Hopefully the new forum will work. JA always encourages people to comment on his blog at sci.env rather than in the post comments, and I agree with that in part, though of course *now* I encourage you to use the new forum.

Depressing Grey Day

Today (and to a lesser extent yesterday) was a deeply depressing grey day of rain. To make it worse, it would occaisionally stop, and lighten a bit, just to tempt you into the idea things were getting better. Left alone I would have curled up by the fire with a book and/or an internet connection; but with two young children thats not an option. Still, we survived.

True to form, my pic shows not the rain but the sun that came out just before sunset. Sorry I jogged it a bit, its OK as long as you don’t look at a hi-res version.

Ask a science blogger?

Apparently Seed has a feature called “ask a science blogger” and there is a question of the week. This weeks is “If you could shake the public and make them understand one scientific idea, what would it be?”. If anyone can tell me where to find this, though, I’d be grateful. I found it via Kevin V, and here is his answer.

I don’t have a burning answer, but following on from some discussion down the pub this week I shall go with “as far as physics is concerned, we have no free will”. People have been bashing their heads against this one for ages, because the obvious answer is obviously unpopular, but ever since physics based itself on “the future is determined by the past” free will went out of the window. In fact its worse than that, because as soon as the world is described by a 4-d space-time (or you can go stringy and have 11-d if you want) then the entire structure is there and all we have for free will is the illusion of moving through it. And I don’t think QM helps you.

CO2 scenarios again

Stoat, the blog that has abandoned science in favour of economics, about which I know little. But wait for the musing post on model skill scores…

Anyway, the last post got lots of interesting comments – thank you – dear reader, go take a look if you don’t normally read post comments. I shall pick up on a few of them…

The main issue is how much interaction should there be between economics and climate folk in constructing CO2 scenarios.
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UK CO2 (again)

Interesting little snippet on the news this morning: the EU carbon trading scheme is in some trouble, with prices heading down, because countries have issued excessive permits. Oops: someone has been careless (or naughty: I wonder which?). But thats for another day: today is:

Reducing CO2 emissions from the UK power sector: A report for WWF-UK by ILEX Energy Consulting, May 2006.
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Dying Science Museum?

When I were a lad (a long time ago) I went to the science museum (with my mother? father? both? I forget…) and remember the wonderful gallery of models of steam engine valve gear, models of old engines (some original models by the actual engineers made as demos before the full-sized ones were built), many of which you could turn and watch the bits move. A few years back I started taking my son there, and to my surprise and delight I found that the same old models were still there, the same as ever (or at least much the same as my fading memories).
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