While the youthful glue / sits on thy skin like morning dew

Reads a bit oddly, doesn’t it? Yet Donno insists on this reading in her Penguin edition of the Marvell poems, instead of the more obvious “Now therefore, while the youthful hue / Sits on thy skin like morning dew”. Certainly to the modern ear the idea of morning glue conjures up no very pleasant image. I think its just an editor being perverse (the support cited is the very thin “life is nothing else but as it were a glue, which in man fasteneth the soul and body together”, apparently by William Baldwin in 1547 and cited in the OED, but I haven’t checked). She also prefers “iron grates” to “iron gates”, to which ditto.

As to why stoat has become poetry not climate, well, theres not a lot of climate around at the moment. And I just discovered that my old blog is the top google hit for the iron gates of life, which is curious.

Here’s the same extract as before. Its the best bit, though it omits the vast vegetable love. You’ll immeadiately recognise it as a plea for a high discount rate :-).
Continue reading “While the youthful glue / sits on thy skin like morning dew”

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

You know you’re getting old when you start liking Kipling. Still, at least I’m not quoting MacDonough’s Song at you. The solstice is past and the bleak days are getting longer. Unless you’re south, of course.

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place;
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four–
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

. . . . .

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man–
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began:–
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!


Yikes! Said my daughter this morning. I thought the gentle art of saying Yikes had died out. How pleasant to be mistaken. Now all I need is for someone to say Zounds! in my presence.

Meanwhile… you’ve seen the BAS christmas e-card, lightly modified; the CSR one is here.

Coming at some point when I have a spare moment… a round-up of my betting position in case I’ve forgotten anyone. And a pointer to a blog ranking thingy of unknown quality in which I’m #32. 32? Zounds!

The case of the vanishing post

According to google reader, RP Sr posted the below today to his “blog” (only its not really a blog cos it doesn’t allow comments), in a post entitled Question The Weblog Real Climate. And indeed he did; the comment is here. This is something RP has been harping on about for a while. Gavin gave him the obvious answer: I fail to see how you are parsing this to find an inconsistency. The footnote is clear that the term ‘radiative forcing’ in the IPCC report refers to the change in forcing from a 1750 baseline. More precisely, it is defined as the change in radiation at the tropopause after stratospheric temperature adjustment but with all other factors kept fixed when going from 1750 conditions to a new value. The caption to the figure discusses the radiative forcing (which remember is defined relative to 1750) in 2005. i.e. the forcing calculated in going from 1750 conditions to 2005. What is the problem? Oddly, though, RP *hasn’t* posted Gavins response but seems to have deleted the entire misconceived post. Anyway, here is RP’s question:

Climate Science has asked the questions below in a comment on the weblog Real Climate. Their answer will be posted here also.

Climate Science has a question for Real Climate (the answer of which will also be posted on that website). The 2007 IPCC Statement for Policymakers [Figure SPM.2] has the following caption

“Global average radiative forcing (RF) estimates and ranges in 2005 for anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2 ), methane (CH4 ), nitrous oxide (N2O) and other important agents and mechanisms, together with the typical geographical extent (spatial scale) of the forcing and the assessed level of scientific understanding (LOSU).”

but also the footnote on page 2 that

“Radiative forcing is a measure of the influence that a factor has in altering the balance of incoming and outgoing energy in the Earth-atmosphere system and is an index of the importance of the factor as a potential climate change mechanism. Positive forcing tends to warm the surface while negative forcing tends to cool it. In this report, radiative forcing values are for 2005 relative to pre-industrial conditions defined at 1750 and are expressed in watts per square metre (W m-2)…..”

Which of the two are correct?

Assuming that you agree that the footnote is correct, and the figure caption is in error, what is the Real Climate estimate in Watts per meter squared in 2005 (or in 2007) of the radiative forcing components and range for a figure analogous to Figure SPM.2 in the Statement for Policymakers?

[Update: the post is back, with no explanation. RP repeats his question. The answer is that the figure and the footnote are both correct, but “what is the current radiative forcing (i.e radiative imbalance)” is wrong]

Sutera and Speranza?

Lindzen sez Respected Italian professors Alfonso Sutera and Antonio Speranza disappeared from the debate in 1991, apparently losing climate-research funding for raising questions.

This sounds like tripe – they continue to publish; and if they ever said anything about GW, I missed it.

Anyone know what Lindzen is on (about)? RC touched on this.

[Update: SB points out that L says in this, “The Italian situation was more benign. Some of Italy’s leading younger atmospheric scientists like Alfonso Sutera and Antonio Speranza publicly questioned alarm and organized a meeting in early autumn of 1991 in Chianciano under the auspices of the Demetra Foundation. Shortly thereafter they too disappeared from the debate. Apparently their funding for climate research was cut off, but funding for other projects was provided, and they, quite reasonably, moved to other areas of research.” Notice how they have shifted from respected profs to young sci. So the point appears to be that they organised a meeting on an unknown topic that no-one has ever heard of (have you?) and didn’t organise another one. Thin gruel indeed -W]

World Doesn’t End in 2100

Mt wisely points out that the World Doesn’t End in 2100. Its a fair point, and one that is often forgotten. However… its one that I have come to increasingly downweight as time goes by. For two reasons. One is practical: it simply won’t work as a way of motivating people. If thats your best argument, the public won’t listen. And the public, being very impatient of depth, aren’t going to listen to anything but your best argument, if that. The second is that predicting societal and technological changes past 100 years is impossible. Even 100 years is pushing it, but further is just too much.