Werner Krauss is a tosser

#4 in the series. Normally reserved for non-scientists, but WK wins a dishonourable mention. He is part of the stable of kooks that von S gathers round him at klimazwiebel, though as far as I can tell von S has carefully avoided becoming kooky himself.

You’d better go and read what Krauss has to say for himself before you come back to my rantings.

The strongest impression I get is that, as an anthropologist, he really has little interest in the science of climate change. Its all meat to the grinder as far as he is concerned, and reality is of no real importance. Hear him slavering:

For me as an anthropologist, it was a great opportunity to get introduced to different tribes and subcultures in climate science and beyond… Who is allowed to speak and to represent climate science? Who is included and excluded? Those were some underlying discussion threads during this really exciting workshop…

Then there was the bizarre:

current hegemonic climate science appears as a system organized along exclusively academic criteria

which appears to be a tacit argument in favour of blog science, in which case I’m sure he’ll be delighted to be, in his turn, the subject of blog science. Organising science along academic lines is a good idea; you have to have got your post-normal head badly twisted to think otherwise.

But I think for sheer lack of thinking, context or reflection it is hard to beat:

it is hard to imagine how there will be ever done justice to those hurt and overrun by those who are in charge of the IPCC process

which quote earns him the Tosser award. I’ll ask Simon Hughes to hand it over.

[Update: but for real utter bilge, WK can’t compete with Mark Imisides … an industrial chemist working in the private sector.]

More trash from the Indians

The Indian government seems to be making a minor speciality in boosting voodoo science, presumably caring less for their reputations and more for fighting off any restrictions on coal burning. Or it may be all a matter of tedious internal politics and corruption, who knows.

Continue reading “More trash from the Indians”

Romans 8:31-39

At a funeral recently, this was the lesson, from which I excerpt:

31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

(see here for some analysis and commentary, that looks fairly mainstream to me).

And I thought at the time, what doesn’t seem to be in the commentaries: very nice, but what about the other side: if we believe that God gave up his Son (ignoring for the moment the manifold theological problems with a divisible God) to torture and “death”, we can be pretty sure that he won’t shrink from offering the same to us. And observation confirms that :-).

And yes, it leads to this.

[2017: hmm, I wonder why I picked that link. Wiki might have been more permanent; or perhaps I should have gone straight to Dylan.]

Suggestions for coding standards

rowing-and-running-pace-and-speed Actually, its just another pile of links thinly disguised.

We thought that mandating python-style indents with pre-processing back into C might be nice. Alternatively some scheme whereby indent levels reflect coder status, so you can see immeadiately what not to fiddle with. And of course, what font should the code be in?

Watching the Deniers says There will be no US Congressional investigation into “Climategate”: or how global warming sceptics got duped. And may be correct. Even the wackos aren’t really wacko enough to take on the science, it seems: the froth is just for the voters, who are easily fooled.

At last, Tamino confesses all: yes, Phil Jones was wrong. Hopefully that will make the septics happy. Actually that looks possibly publishable. It does however raise the issue of how your dof should be adjusted when you remove “noise”. I’ve asked there, belatedly.

If you don’t erg, Cracknell versus Pinsent will mean little. What I like is the way you can’t tell who has won, afterwards.

Tim Worstall channelling Harry Hutton is worth a larf.

I don’t really do bio-diversity here, other than being generally in favour of it and recognising its loss as being one of the important but hard-to-quantify costs of GW. But Eli makes an effort.

James in ungrateful but can you blame him?

And to conclude, I’d like to say: TF-288! TF-288! TF-288!.

ps: Joke, from the letters page of the Economist: Three religions are asked, “when does life begin?”. At conception replies the Catholic priest. At birth, says the Calvinist parson. When the children grow up and leave home, says the rabbi (that one is for Kevin).

pps: even though I’m late to the party, because it looks like being popular, Getting things right (from RC, about the silly NGO that managed to convince itself of 2.4 oC warming by 2020; see-also Bart’s take)

Einstein and car batteries: A spark of genius?

Sez the Economist:

For, according to Dr Pyykko’s calculations, relativity explains why tin batteries do not work, but lead ones do.

His chain of reasoning goes like this. Lead, being heavier than tin, has more protons in its nucleus (82, against tin’s 50). That means its nucleus has a stronger positive charge and that, in turn, means the electrons orbiting the nucleus are more attracted to it and travel faster, at roughly 60% of the speed of light, compared with 35% for the electrons orbiting a tin atom…

If the problem isn’t immeadiately obvious to you, pause a moment before proceeding over the fold.
Continue reading “Einstein and car batteries: A spark of genius?”

Simon Hughes is a tosser

#3 in the Is a Tosser series. For his grauniad article Universities must cut private schools intake, says Simon Hughes. Disclaimer: I went to private school, and to Oxford. My son is also at private school [*]. But this article is *not* going to be about my own experience. Meta-disclaimer: in England, it is obligatory for middle-class parents and politicians of all varieties to agonise about education, its funding, and its quality. In the case of politicians, it is strictly required for them to only talk about the quality; they are forbidden from doing anything to improve it [#].

Continue reading “Simon Hughes is a tosser”

Focus lies are selling poorly

Or so says KLIMARETTER.INFO. Here is the google auto-trans from the German:

Provocative it is, but apparently it is not enough: the issue of the conservative magazine, Focus on the benefits of global warming is only a little German kiosks have been sold to the. The booklet, entitled “Great atmosphere!” is , according to the Hamburger Abendblatt 84 000 times over the counter moved only – that is the worst result in the entire year 2010.

Just in time for the world climate summit in Cancun, Mexico made the Focus a frontispiece with, the polar bear with sunglasses showing a. For this, the headline: “New thinking: Global warming is good for us.” In the summary, the claim into perspective: Climate change conferred no damage, but it is in many regions a blessing for man and nature. The The article itself is “new studies” spoken of, which showed that heating also) ADVANTAGE (! – but actually it is a truism, which is known since years.

In retrospect, the high density of a notorious facts not worth it for the Focus: The kiosk was selling about 25 percent below the average for the previous year.

So, denialist lies aren’t selling well – though you’d need to compare it to other GW issues to see if it isn’t just because people are bored with the whole topic.


Via TW (who says Inflation’s a tricky thing you know) this interesting inflation calculator.

From the Torygraph, the Jetlev flyer. A ridiculous boys-toy, but it did cause my daughter to say “I must have one”. Did I mention that reading the Torygraph in the Waitrose cafe is one of my guilty pleasures? Its not quite as good as it looks, because not only do you have a huge hosepipe trailing after you, there is also the jetski-like boat you’re tied to (that’s the Jetlev, not reading the TG).

Also from the TG a delightful story about Empty wine bottles sell for £300 in China because, of course, if you’re cunning you can take an empty Lafite ’82, refill it with merely good wine, and resell it for £2000. Because (again, of course) the people buying them don’t know good from bad: the stuff is a mere status symbol (I suspect this is true the world over and not just in China). But what really made me laugh out loud was a delightful quote from one of the counterfeiters:

“The bottles need to be in the best condition possible,” said another dealer, called Mr Ye, at a Shanghai company. “It is very important. And I only want genuine bottles, no fakes,” he added.

Yes, that is right: he is happy to sell fake wine, but wants to do it in genuine bottles. Which makes sense: it is a lot easier to inspect a bottle to see if the label looks faked than to inspect the wine.

Again from TW, nice to see him standing up for principle. He didn’t add, so I will: terrorism is a trivial threat to this country. We are not justified in using extraordinary measures to fight it. Wake me up again when terrorism deaths/year exceed 10% of those on the roads.

The pic is from xkcd, obviously, though via SE.

And lastly, from the astoundingly, eternally, unbelievably hyperbolic Phil Plait, a video of the solar eclipse seen from satellite. What I thought most interesting about it was how little the sun’s surface changes. because all the sfc features look like fires, I expected them to flicker and burn and so on. But no, they are still. Too big, probably.


A running post I’m afraid. I don’t think I promised to move them all across.


Courtesy of the generous Maz the Merciless I have a pair of “footgloves” wot am all de rage, or at least they were all de rage a year ago or somesuch. Naturally, I’m late to the party. Today I gave them my first try-out, a 5 km run round the local “countryside reserve”. They are really called “five fingers” (of VFF’s, as the hip cats say); as they say: we recommend wearing Vibram FiveFingers for exercise, play, and for fun. Stimulating the muscles in your feet and lower legs will not only make you stronger and healthier, it improves your balance, agility and proprioception and I’m sure you can read the rest of their PR if you want to. I didn’t bother. In a token attempt at balance on the issue, I also point you to The Dangers of Foot Gloves like Vibram FiveFingers but! Please remember that I don’t really care.

Starting off, it did feel very much like running with bare feet, surprisingly so. The soles are very thin and the feel of feeling the surface comes through (incidentally James T says that one problem with them, for longer races over cold or wet ground, can be your feet getting too cold, because there is also little thermal protection). You have to run on your toes, this is the entire point, and a few steps trying heel-striking convinced me it was too jarring. Therefore, this puts a lot of strain on your calves. I cycle a lot, and run a bit, and row, but still after 1.5 km it was hurting, and I was happy to get onto the Reserve where I had the choice of running on the concrete track on my toes or switching to the slightly soggy grass verge on my heels to give my calves a rest. I gratefully did the latter. That gave me 2 km rest, and when I came back to the road and my calves still hurt I compromised between toe and heel a bit. So clearly, extending this out to even 5 km is going to take some practice, let alone 10 km or longer.

I was a minute below my 5 km best, but then I wasn’t racing anyone (though I did overtake that James E on the spine route, which was nice, though I suspect he was on the last leg of a longer run so I won’t count my chickens yet). I think they definitely slowed me down. I believe that the True Believers will tell you that ultimately they can speed you up – the theory being, as I understand it, that instead of losing energy as your heel strikes the ground the energy is retained elastically in the muscles/tendons/ligaments/whatever. But I’m clearly not there yet. After a little warm-down I came in, sat down on the sofa, and broswed the web for 5-10 mins in a fairly static position. I then tried to get up and nearly collapsed – my calves had set solid like rocks, or that was how it felt, briefly.

all in all an interesting experiment. I’ll try them again. But at least for now, if trying for my best pace, I’ll go back to the Mazuno’s (which also, by not-quite-coincidence, came from “Imelda”).

[Update: one week later (when my calves had nearly recovered), I went for a 1 km run instead. Felt like lots of stress in the calves, still, and probably as well not to go further.]


* My running injuries – how exciting.
* NEW BALANCE MINIMUS TRAIL REVIEW from the shouty Barefoot Running University (also a review of Merrell Trail Glove). This clearly answers one of my questions: when will people start doing knock-offs. Though those both look more like “real shoes” than the VFF’s.

R. W. Wood: Note on the Theory of the Greenhouse

This has been on my website http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/wood_rw.1909.html for some time now; but websites are so tedious to update. So I think I’ll copy it here; more may follow. And it will distract the squabbling children. Note that as of now, this is the maintained copy; the version on my website is now longer “live”.

R. W. Wood: Note on the Theory of the Greenhouse

The following text is from the Philosophical magazine (more properly the London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine (and Journal of Science?); its name has morphed since), 1909, vol 17, p319-320. Cambridge UL shelfmark p340.1.c.95, if you’re interested.

I found this reference by reading “History of the greenhouse effect”, M. D. H. Jones and A. Henderson-Sellers, Progress in physical geography, 14, 1 (1990), 1-18. This, in its turn, I found from Jan Schloerer’s FAQ: Climate change: some basics.

I present the full text, although the second-to-last paragraph is (in my opinion) regrettable and wrong. See after the text for why I think its wrong.

XXIV. Note on the Theory of the Greenhouse

By Professor R. W. Wood (Communicated by the Author)

THERE appears to be a widespread belief that the comparatively high temperature produced within a closed space covered with glass, and exposed to solar radiation,
results from a transformation of wave-length, that is, that the heat waves from the sun, which are able to penetrate the glass, fall upon the walls of the enclosure and raise its temperature: the heat energy is re-emitted by the walls in the form of much longer waves, which are unable to penetrate the glass, the greenhouse acting as a radiation trap.

I have always felt some doubt as to whether this action played any very large part in the elevation of temperature. It appeared much more probable that the part played by the glass was the prevention of the escape of the warm air heated by the ground within the enclosure. If we open the doors of a greenhouse on a cold and windy day, the trapping of radiation appears to lose much of its efficacy. As a matter of fact I am of the opinion that a greenhouse made of a glass transparent to waves of every possible length would show a temperature nearly, if not quite, as high as that observed in a glass house. The transparent screen allows the solar radiation to warm the ground, and the ground in turn warms the air, but only the limited amount within the enclosure. In the “open,” the ground is continually brought into contact with cold air by convection currents.

To test the matter I constructed two enclosures of dead black cardboard, one covered with a glass plate, the other with a plate of rock-salt of equal thickness. The bulb of a themometer was inserted in each enclosure and the whole packed in cotton, with the exception of the transparent plates which were exposed. When exposed to sunlight the temperature rose gradually to 65 oC., the enclosure covered with the salt plate keeping a little ahead of the other, owing to the fact that it transmitted the longer waves from the sun, which were stopped by the glass. In order to eliminate this action the sunlight was first passed through a glass plate.

There was now scarcely a difference of one degree between the temperatures of the two enclosures. The maximum temperature reached was about 55 oC. From what we know about the distribution of energy in the spectrum of the radiation emitted by a body at 55 o, it is clear that the rock-salt plate is capable of transmitting practically all of it, while the glass plate stops it entirely. This shows us that the loss of temperature of the ground by radiation is very small in comparison to the loss by convection, in other words that we gain very little from the circumstance that the radiation is trapped.

Is it therefore necessary to pay attention to trapped radiation in deducing the temperature of a planet as affected by its atmosphere? The solar rays penetrate the atmosphere, warm the ground which in turn warms the atmosphere by contact and by convection currents. The heat received is thus stored up in the atmosphere, remaining there on account of the very low radiating power of a gas. It seems to me very doubtful if the atmosphere is warmed to any great extent by absorbing the radiation from the ground, even under the most favourable conditions.

I do not pretend to have gone very deeply into the matter, and publish this note merely to draw attention to the fact that trapped radiation appears to play but a very small part in the actual cases with which we are familiar.

Why is his second to last paragraph wrong?

Firstly, note that unlike the earlier paragraphs which describe the results of experiments, this paragraph merely expresses his opinion.

Second, although the troposphere is subject to convection, the stratosphere is not.

Third, in contradiction to his assertion about “the very low radiating power of a gas”, the troposphere is largely opaque to infra-red radiation, which is why convection is so important in moving heat up from the surface. Only in the higher (colder) atmosphere where there is less water vapour is the atmosphere simultaneously somewhat, but not totally, transparent to infra-red and thus permits radiation to play a part.


* Note sur la th̩orie de la serre, par R.W. Wood РFrench translation, refers back to my web page.
* Someone really really dumb wrote a paper saying that because the greenhouse effect is a misnomer, it couldn’t possibly warm the earth. Mercifully I’ve forgot who. Can someone remind me?
* What appears to be the journal website