Tories shaft Blair

More kinjy stuff :-).

Mostly Iraq inquiry publishes legal advice to Blair on war and in particular 30.07.02 Goldsmith advice to Prime Minister re: Iraq.

Hugo regrets that the prevalence of electronic instruments may prevent adequate supplies of piano wire being available. But that is an extreme position.

In case my headline confuses you: yes I think the release is a good idea.

Kinky stuff

Sorry, typo on the first letter, hope you aren’t too disappointed :-). And nothing to do with the video: which is just a song I’d forgotten how much I liked. We owe so much to YouTube. Anyway, on with the show:

James Annan is ranting about Climate sensitivity again. I wouldn’t normally bother remark something so commonplace (:-))) but he also disses the Lenton et al. paper that came up recently in comments and which I’ve snarked about before (summary for the New Bugs: does the concept of “tipping points” really mean anything and/or actually help you discuss these issues?).

DeepClimate is laying into McIntyre: auditing the “auditors” as I believe the phrase has it. They don’t like it up ’em, you know (summary: what happened post-1960? Not what McI would have you believe).

mt [Michael Tobis] is attempting to say intelligent things, but alas trying to say them to people for whom subtley and nuance are unfamiliar. Meanwhile CapitalistImperialistPig is trying to say intelligent things about intelligence.

More techy is the exciting story of the Ariane 5 disaster. I won’t spoil the fun by telling you the answer, but making sure that you don’t include pointless 10-year-old software that doesn’t know how to fail is a good idea.

Wiki rescue article of the week: [[Law of maximum entropy production]]. Don’t be frightened, you can’t make it worse.

[Note: post lightly edited for comprehensibility post-TS (;-) comments -W]

Adding Steve Easterbrook on tenure and switching fields. Oh, and Climate models are good quality code.

Flaunt the stupidity

This post is about the ridiculous “hide the decline” video. I watched it when it first came out. It wasn’t funny, it was dull. Apparently it has now been pulled from YouTube, but who cares?

But… because the thing is anti-science, the std.anti-science septics on wiki feel inclined to have an article on it. Sigh. There enough real subjects to create articles about without wasting time on vapour. I really ought to point you to the current version, and the current edit war: should this edit be included – viz, is the fact that some guy with a blog thinks the video is funny worth noting? I don’t think so, but I’ve created this post so we’ll see if that fact that some other guy with a blog thinks the video is dull is worth noting. I wonder if you can predict people’s reactions? Hopefully the whole thing will be deleted.

Perhaps I should create “Hide The Incline” instead.

Update: since I’m talking about generic stupidity, you may like to read The Trend from Wootsup by Steven Goddard.

You are old father William

‘You are old’, said the youth, ‘and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak –
Pray, how did you manage to do it?’

‘In my youth’, said his father, ‘I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.’ [1]

Yes, yet another post with zero science but don’t go away – there is some rowing later after the tedious bits. And so: exhibit 1 is the glasses, which you’ll immeadiately note are varifocals. I have spent the past 2 years gradually learning to peer over the top of my spectacles like a headmaster and now have to learn to look down instead. Incidentally, did I slag off the last Dr Who yet? Shamelessly self-indulgent and insufficiently inventive.

And another part of growing old is attending your son’s first Speech Day / Prizegiving. I’ve forgotten what they were like at my school, probably due to the extreme tedium. This one too was fairly dull but could have been a lot worse. Highpoint was, oddly enough, D getting his prize the “SIO technology prize”, possibly for doing well in exams, we are a little unsure. Must ask the school. Meanwhile Miranda took her Grade One piano exam today, with a result eagerly anticipated.

DSC_5007-mystery-pink-flower Oh yes, the rowing: sorry to leave you in suspense so long. Today was my first Double outing (which is to say, an outing in a double, as in double scull), thanks to Dave. We sneaked in a lock in the cool of the early morning before the speechifying. I don’t scull much, and not terribly well, so it was an experience to be in a more balanced version and actually able to reach fully at the catch. We were both natural bowsiders and found the boat had a tendency to pull round to bowside (there is no rudder – you steer by pulling harder one side ot the other (well ideally you steer by reaching just a little further on one side rather than by hauling the finish, and I started to get the hang of that by the end)). We didn’t hit anything (apart from a very rude City IV that came steaming up the Reach and tried to go through a gap that was clearly too small for it). Dave was in the bows and did the watching-for-steering-direction and indeed most of the steering. We didn’t manage to hold off any VIII’s for long – nor should we have been able to, really, but I was hopeful. The familar when-pushed-speed-up-the-slide-and-slow-down-the-boat-speed came up. Must try to learn.

I gave you the flower as a special free gift, it was that to us, having appeared by the front as if by magic. I must have planted it – possibly a corm, I’m no longer sure what it might be – last year.

Quick Links:

* David Appell tries to get Roy “Dr” Spencer to say what *would* make him believe GW. It turns out that nothing short of 5 oC will do. This is vaguely like the mental maps of invisible dragons that Paul has mentioned, though not in that post.
* Harry Potter is up to chapter 27.
* If you haven’t met if before, The Euthyphro Dilemma is worth pondering.
* BP share price is down to 305. Ouch, that is painful. Or is it a buy signal?
* Sea ice: still too close to call. Still interesting.

Dumb America

Screen-Shot-2015-02-20-at-16.38.44 An unfair headline; but I think it is a known phrase: the “Dumb America” phenomenon, wherein the public has the hubris to believe that they really have something valuable to contribute to discussions that they can hardly begin to understand (I’m assuming that if you aren’t part of DA then you’re intelligent enough to realise I’m not talking about all Americans).

Yes, I’m talking about the comments in Under the Volcano, Over the Volcano by Willis Eschenbach at Wattsup (ht: mt). Incidentally, anyone tempted to complain about my sneering or elitist tone is invited to comment somewhere else. If you want the department of politely answering stupid questions, you want Eli.

[Update: if you didn’t like the tone of this post, you might find somewhat similar ideas expressed in a more measured way by Bart (and links therein to mt).]
Continue reading “Dumb America”

I’m more cited that James!

I thought I’ve have a go and see if I couldn’t tweak JA a bit.

This is about Expert credibility in climate change by Anderegg et al.. Which tells us what we already know: that there aren’t many “skeptics” and that most of them aren’t much cop. Or in their more measured prose:

we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97-98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.

The usual suspects whine about it – see e.g. Curry in Science who in the std.unthinking style says “This is a completely unconvincing analysis”. Even RP Jr is scaremongering about blacklists. How dull. This is apparently the std.septic excuse for not being published: not that their papers are crap, but the nasty Man in charge of the system won’t let their stuff through. Which is utterly implausible when you consider that stuff like Schwartz got published.

Anyway, the list of scientists by Stuff whch the paper is based on is available so there is scope for fun. I think we (which is to say: Blog Science) should be analysing the categorisation – but that will take time, so Later (e.g. being on Morano’s list doesn’t make you a septic, nor does beig in LS’s awful book; meanwhile, what does NPFhost mean?). For now, lets look at authors by cites: JA is at #1641 (about half way down) and I’m at #1338. Ha!

Eli beats us both though.

That UK budget report in full

Some fairly random thoughts on the budget.

* VAT up to 20%: excellent. Calculating 17.5% was always so tedious. Score: +1.
* Child benefit and public sector pay will be frozen – for no clear reason we (as in, our family) get child benefit, which seems silly. The Economist wanted to means test it, but that would be dull and employ yet more bean counters. Still, it might at least ensure that only those who need it bother to apply. Score: -1. Public sector pay: well, tough. I got no pay rise in 2008 and I didn’t see anyone sympathising. Score: +1.
* Personal income tax allowance: To be increased by £1,000 in April to £7,475 – don’t care. Score: 0.
* Capital Gains Tax: To rise from 18% to 28% from midnight for higher rate taxpayers – don’t care; not planning on selling anything in the near future.
* Fags, Beer and Fuel: no increases. Wimps. Score: -1.
* Buying off the boys in Green: bad. Failure to scrap Trident ditto. Score: -2.
* Pensions: some action, looks sensible: +1.
* Bank levy: looks like small beer, but presumably a sop to the “soak the bankers” lobby. Score: +1.
* Environment: The government will “explore changes to the aviation tax system” such as switching from a per-passenger to a per-plane levy. It will consult on major changes. – ha, rubbish. Score: -1. Failure to introduce carbon tax: -1.

I’m sure there will be loads of arguing about “hitting the poorest hardest” but there are enough sops in there that he can bat that away fairly easily.

We are told that Mr Osborne said the state now accounted for “almost half” of all national income which was “completely unsustainable”. and I find myself in agreement: the state is too large. This isn’t just because I now work for the private sector: it is because I get more reactionary as I grow older, like everyone else.

Average real terms budget cuts of 25% over four years – except for health and international aid. – sounds fairly serious. I wonder how they are going to manage that and what will come of it. Still, it made the markets happy and the chance of us going the way of Greece is reduced.

Overall score: -2. Good, I wouldn’t want to agree with a Tory budget, that would be a terrible thing.

Other stuff: football. Good to see the French being so stereotypically Gallic. Full marks. England seem to be on the way out, which will do no harm.

[Update: I forgot to mention my top tip for saving money: abolish Ofsted -W]

Comedy beekeeping and the river to Clayhithe

Yes, another of those posts about the tedious details of my life that you care nothing about. And also an advert for my honey, hurrah.


In the middle you’ll see my beehive. I’ve finally done most of the honey-related stuff this year (see-also previous bee blogging) so if you live nearby and care to purchase some finest quality Stoat honey with only a few bits of dead bee in it, please email. This year it does seem to be rape, judging by the speed at which it sets. The “comedy” aspect of the beekeeping was the way I managed to stumble around knocking the supers nearly off as I tried to get the lid on. Fortunately the ladies seem quite well behavined, even the one that sneaked into my suit. The kitchen is still full of odd bits of comb waiting to be melted down (I fail again: I left them for a week or more with an empty upper super, so of course they filled it full of beautiful comb which I must destroy, alas).

Saturday saw we few venture off downriver over Baits Bite lock in the Four of Death (drumroll). We didn’t get as far as Bottisham – it was rather windy and the last stretch down there didn’t tempt, unlike Tanya’s coffee which did, since she was moored just before the bridge. And she even gave us chocolate cake, and a second cup of coffee when it rained. So we could truthfully say we had a 3 1/2 hour outing, even if some of it wasn’t on the water. And bits of the rowing were good, and even the unbalanced bits weren’t dreadful. Steven turned out to be a perceptive coach, though I’m not going to straighten my arm, sorry. But full marks for spotting it :-).

Oh, and Brian’s latest is good.

I forgot to mention that today was fathers day, and I got breakfast in bed courtesy of Miranda and Eve, with a menu and a card too, and a chocolate coin.

Cover-up by the Economist: All guns carefully blanked

There is a review of “Merchants of Doubt” by Oreskes at the Economist.

This quote shows roughly their take:

In this powerful book, Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway, two historians of science, show how big tobacco’s disreputable and self-serving tactics were adapted for later use in a number of debates about the environment. Their story takes in nuclear winter, missile defence, acid rain and the ozone layer. In all these debates a relatively small cadre of right-wing scientists, some of them eminent, worked through organisations sometimes created specially for the purpose to take on a scientific establishment that they perceived to be dangerously unsympathetic to the interests of capital and national security.

Notice how careful they are in that summary to avoid saying that these right-wing scientists were wrong. No, all that happened was that the right-wingers “perceived to be dangerously unsympathetic”. Later on they manage

The techniques employed included disinformation of various sorts coupled with an enduring and disgraceful willingness to stick to discredited arguments that seemed to play well. It is a shameful story for many of those concerned

but still they can’t bring themselves to say “and they were wrong”.

More interestingly, although the book subtitle is Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. the Economst somehow contrives to avoid even mentioning GW. I felt moved to tell them so; I wonder if that will prove interesting?

Engineering the Software for Understanding Climate Change

A post about “Engineering the Software for Understanding Climate Change” by Steve M. Easterbrook and Timbo “Not the Dark Lord” Johns (thanks Eli). For the sake of a pic to make things more interesting, here is one:


It is their fig 2, except I’ve annotated it a bit. Can you tell where? Yes that’s right, I added the red bits. I’ve circled vn4.5, as that was the version I mostly used (a big step up from vn4.0, which was horrible. Anecdote:it was portablised Cray Fortran, which had automatic arrays, but real fortran didn’t. So there was an auto-generated C wrapper around each subroutine passed such things, which did the malloc required. Ugh). vn4.5 was, sort of, HadCM3, though the versionning didn’t really work like that. Although that pic dates vn4.5 to 1999 that is misleading: it was widely used both within and without the Met Office until, well, outside it was still being used when I left in 2007, partly because HadGEM (which as I recall was vn6.0/1, though I could be wrong) was much harder to use. Also the “new dynamics” of vn5.0, although in theory deeply desirable, took a long time to bed in.

Note: you should also read Amateurish Supercomputing Codes? and the interesting comments therein.
Continue reading “Engineering the Software for Understanding Climate Change”