More random stuff

Every now and again I’m surprised by the contrast between the sanity that you’ll find on good blogs, and the madness that reigns in our useless press. In this case, its dead children again which is very sad, but should not be used as entertainment schlock-horror fodder as our gutter press does.

Mind you, I’m less impressed by Timmy on the Greeks. For all I know the conclusion is correct, but the reasoning – small fraction of bonus – is faulty. By putting it that way Timmy is trying to minimise the numbers, which might work, until you realise that a large fraction of profits are paid out as bonuses. But at least its better than green folk trying to do economics.

Briefly on climate, Mabinogogiblog tried the old trick of “it its science, it must (in theory) be refutable, so what could refute your position, Oh sceptics?” But Benny Peiser is canny enough to reply we should wait 20-30 years until we know the magnitude of AGW. “If we were to experience a decadal warming trend of 0.3 to 0.5 in the next 20-30 years, I would consider global warming to pose a potential long-term problem” which stuffs that one. Peiser is a wazzock, of course, but he isn’t going to be caught that easily.

Back to Timmy who explains why increasing manufacturing just isn’t a big source of employment any more. Its an interesting argument, and not one I’ve heard before. If you can dent his numbers, please have a go.

For all the peak oilers out there, Early Warning, and in particular “Latest Saudi Oil Stats” is fun. From the end of that post Saudi Arabia is managing its oil production in a completely reactive manner with very little planning ahead for forseeable rises in demand. They only start amping up the rig count when they actually hit a situation where they’d like to produce more, or maintain production at a certain level, but can’t. There’s then a significant delay before they can restore/increase production. is, in some ways, a bit scary, because of what it says (if true) about the Saudi structure. It confirms, in my mind, the image of a bloated plutocratic dictatorship (am I allowed to call things both? I don’t know) that doesn’t really know what it is doing, dedicated to nothing other than staying in power. Arab summer here we come?

And in true dog-bites-man style, Bob Carter has been talking utter bollocks again, in fact pretty much the same bollocks as ever. Tim L rips him up and by odd chance the Phytophactor picks up on the same point.

Lastly, wikipedia. There is a minor leak of some arbcomm mailing-list material onto wikipedia review. Nothing terribly exciting so far, and indeed suspicions that the material has been rather heavily selected pre release. But worth a browse.


* ACE – wossat, then?

Sun down?

Don’t bother read this post. Watch the video “Earth facing mini-ice age!!” say the media. Now for the science… instead. Or read the RC post.

I ignored this when it first came out, and am only posting now because the Economyth has picked it up. They lose points for not putting a question mark in their headline, but gain points from the byline “Several lines of evidence suggest that the sun is about to go quiet”, i.e. not talking rubbish about a new ice age. And similarly, for spending much of the article on what it is actually about, viz solar activity. They lose somewhat for not putting in the proper caveats of “but we don’t actually know this is true”. But then they blow it right at the end with And it is interesting news for those who worry about global warming. If the Maunder and Dalton minima actually did affect the climate, then a new one might counteract the effects of the extra greenhouse gases people are now pumping into the atmosphere–at least, until the solar cycle returns which appears to be entirely made up. As far as I can see from the graph at RC, the suggestion that the solar-relative-cooling would counterbalance GHG warming is wrong.

[ht to Eduardo the neck-biter for the Economist link, and for the lulz of his not being able to say Rahmstorf’s name -W]

Betting on sea ice: $10,000

This year’s story so far: in May, I accepted some bets but was still trying to come to terms with Rob Dekker. In the comments there we came to agreement on the following:

If both NSIDC and IARC-JAXA September 2016 monthly average sea ice extent report are above 4.80 million km^2, RD pays WMC US$ 10,000. If both are below 3.10 million km^2, WMC pays RD US$ 10,000. In all other cases the bet is null and void

The numbers are a bit of a compromise, and of course the large “null gap” in the middle means a no-payment result is quite likely. Now is a sort-of good time to announce this, because this years ice has temporarily stopped falling off the cliff:


My previous post contains my reasoning, and also the other bets. At some point I’ll transfer that and those to here for completeness, but just for now its getting late so I’m going to put this post up.
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Clegg calls for gross economic stupidity

I despair sometimes at the stupidity of our politicians. More and more it becomes obvious that the less they have to do with running the economy, the better. The latest stupidity is from Clegg: Clegg calls for RBS and Lloyds giveaway. The idea is that when the government sells its (i.e., our) stakes in RBS and Lloyds that it (i.e., we) were forced (i.e. decided) to acquire, then there should be some kind of bizarre complex free-share giveaway scheme, the biggest experiment in “shareholder democracy” since the Thatcher era of the 1980 as they put it.
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The Beeb winds me up again


Yes, its the wazzocks at the Beeb yet again. It would be quite nice to have some decent estimates of the reactor death toll – or at least, whether the confirmed killed-by-radiation toll is above zero.

But The case of the disappearing teaspoons: longitudinal cohort study of the displacement of teaspoons in an Australian research institute is fun.


* Deaths per unit of electricity generate

More hot bumping action

I had such fun watching the last three divisions today that I’m going to bore you with yet more rowing. First, here is Corpus M1 (hello Rob!) catching Christs M2 (note cox’s hand half raised in the process of acknowledging the bump) to cement their place in division 2 and their hopes of blades tomorrow. Pembroke II look on in admiration, having bumped the brightly coloured Darwin.

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Bumping time again


But only the university ones, which don’t matter too much. However, they have been pretty exciting so far and definitely good fun to watch. This year they are Wednesday 15th June and Saturday 18th June, ie we’ve had days 1 and 2 so far. This post is just a convenient place for me to dump the map and some accompanying text that I can point people at, link to my first youtube uploads, review my cheapo camera, and generally enthuse. You can also read CUBCs guide to watching, or First and Third’s.
Continue reading “Bumping time again”

Lindzen goes emeritus

For a fair while now I’ve defended Lindzen {{cn}} on the grounds that he is actually a Real Scientist, albeit edging ever further off onto the sceptical wing. And this has been difficult because whilst his papers have, I think, been reasonable his public pronouncements and his congressional-testimony type stuff has been poor.

But, happily, the recent “peer review gate” nonsense he has been spouting allows me to declare him Emeritus. I was going to say he has jumped the shark but I think that is wrong; this isn’t some Curry-like stupidity, this is more the kind of full blown Black-helicopters-of-peer-review we expect from an incipient fellow of the Breakness Institute.

Eli has the story, as do others: Lindzen writes a paper. It gets rejected. He resubmits it to PNAS and asks for his buddies to review it, including some (like William Happer) who were manifestly unfit to review it. They tell him, quite properly, No. He throws a hissy fit. They keep telling him No, whilst doing their best to accomodate him without destroying the standards of their journal (the way Azen and Wegman managed at CSDA). And all of that could be defended as just a rather strong-armed attempt to get your views published in the teeth of bad reviews. We’ve all wanted to push stuff we “know” is good past review, sometimes; Lindzen is a bit different in that he has (or thought he had) enough clout to lean on PNAS.

What makes him stark staring Emeritus is his belief that publishing this tawdry tale is actually a good idea for him. How mad do you have to be to do that?

Its fun to snark

A headline which is doubtless a hostage to fortune. Anyway, I had fun deriding the Heartland Institute’s failed wiki but, as frank points out in the comments, there is more fun to be had: you can look at Special:ListUsers. If you do this on a real wiki like wikipedia, you get an enormously long list, the first page of which consists of !, ! !, ! ! !, …, ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !, after which whoever it was got bored. And who has been indefed since 2006. In fact, because of the way special characters list first, you have to page through thousands of usernames before you get anywhere. Slightly more entertaining is Special:ActiveUsers. Anyway, the point is that if you play this game with the Heartland’s toy wiki, you get:

* X Abarr (Created on 6 June 2011 at 16:57)
* Admin ‎(Bureaucrat, Administrator) (Created on 26 March 2010 at 07:58)
* X Darren (Created on 7 March 2011 at 01:05)
* Jason (Created on 1 March 2011 at 01:53)
* X Jbast (Created on 11 April 2011 at 20:25)
* Jlakely (Created on 1 March 2011 at 02:56)
* John (Created on 8 March 2011 at 16:54)
* X Jtaylor (Created on 11 April 2011 at 20:27)
* Kendall (Created on 1 March 2011 at 01:52)
* X Marcoestreich (Created on 22 February 2011 at 17:01)
* X Mmartin (Created on 11 April 2011 at 20:25)
* X Nthorner (Created on 31 May 2011 at 21:15)

and that really is it. All of them are redlinks (i.e., no text on their userpage, which on wikipedia is generally regarded as a bad sign), most of them (the ones I’ve marked with an X) have contributed nothing. Jlakey has contributed only one thing, to water use efficiency, which is an obvious COPYVIO of some pap from CO2 science and would have been deleted from wikipedia as a WP:COPYVIO. Which leaves only 3 users with any contributions – hardly a vibrant community.

Someone (I forget who – apologies) suggested that the Heartland wiki was mainly intended as repackaging of the NIPCC “report”. And that seems so; John for example has created the marvel that is West Antarctic ice sheet and sea level, which starts:

From Climate Change Reconsidered, a work of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. Many of the studies of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) cited in the previous sections of this report address its past and future effects on sea level. In this final section on the WAIS, we bring this body of research together in one place and add other research summaries. Bindschadler (1998) analyzed…

Even by the low standards these people are aiming at, that is appalling copyediting: simply pasting in the text and forgetting to leave out the “cited in the previous sections of this report” bit. In fact John seems to quite like adding the fact that text has been ripped from the NIPCC. But there are just too many examples of rubbish copyediting whilst making amateurish cut-n-pastes from NIPCC to bother comment any more. John is also very interested in mercury, a substance distinguished by having absolutely nothing at all to so with climate change. But, it happens to be one of Fred’s pet obsessions: mercury is good for you: Mercury (Hg) is an element that has existed (and will continue to exist) naturally since the earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago. The oceans alone contain millions of tons of mercury.. Etc etc, very dull. So, at a guess John is S. Fred, or one of his minions [update: VB points out that more plausible candidates can be idenitfied from the Heartland staff list]. Though that bit about 4.5 billion would be controversial over at Conservapedia, where they believe in Bishop Ussher.

Jason has had some fun: he first created the IPCC page, by ripping it off wikipedia, but then realised that they had already got a ripped-off-and-cut-down version but he hasn’t learnt about #REDIRECT yet. Never mind, he’ll learn. Poor Jason has a lot of other things to learn – like, that when copying from wikipedia, you should copy from the “edit” tab, not just from the page itself, otherwise you get a lot of [n] type references that you later have to correct (or in Jasons case, simply remove – who needs references anyway?).

Kendall has been editing Technology and Climate Change. What caught my eye was In a major move away from global warming orthodoxy, the United Kingdom is currently in the process of studying the economic challenges of addressing climate change. Sir Nicholas Stern, a fellow of the British Academy, is leading a major review of the economics of climate change to understand more fully the nature of the economic challenges and how they can be met both in the UK and globally. Firstly, calling Stern a move away from orthodoxy is very odd, but secondly the present tense is strange: have I missed something? The answer is no, but Kendall has: instead of ripping off wikipedia, Kendall has been pasting in 5-year-old press releases from Heartland.

So in my (admittedly brief) survey, I could see no evidence at all of what is commonplace on wikipedia: people actually knowing stuff, and writing about it, backed up by references. All I saw was people pasting in stuff from elsewhere, usually without any thought.

The Heartland Institute’s failed wiki

From the Heartland Institute:

Subject: Announcing The Definitive Climate Change Encyclopedia
To: <no-one@cares>
Date: Wednesday, June 8, 2011, 4:40 PM
Announcing The Definitive Climate Change Encyclopedia

CHICAGO – Backed by more than two decades of institutional knowledge and the work of some of the world’s most esteemed climate scientists, The Heartland Institute <; is proud to announce the launch of a new Web site called . It is the definitive climate change encyclopedia.

It is doomed, obviously.

Looking at the Global Warming page (it might be best to look at the version when I wrote this) you see why. The page itself isn’t too bad, of course. A bit dull – no graphs – but the text is basically OK. Which is because it is just the introduction from the wikipedia article. Why would anyone bother read the cut-down Heartland version rather than the real thing? If you want to live in the denialist echo-chamber, you read CA and Watts and watch Faux. You don’t need a broken copy of wikipedia. They’ve moved it into “Category: Politics”, which is presumably a silly joke on their part. Or perhaps, being the Heartland, all articles will be in the politics class?

Also, anyone pausing to compare their claims (“Backed by more than two decades of institutional knowledge and the work of some of the world’s most esteemed climate scientists”) against the reality (broken copies of wikipedia) is going to wonder at the disparity. Good grief: they haven’t even managed to copy across the IPCC page yet.

Or, you can read an article not copied from wikipedia: they push their Introduction to Global Warming. That one is a true Heartland article, and has been written (or copied) straight from their current hand book, whose theme is “if you can’t convince them that you are right, try to convince them that it is all to complicated and confusing for anyone to understand”, aka FUD: Global warming is a complicated issue. It’s easy to get confused by all the scientific arguments and conflicting claims… Scientists disagree on the causes and consequences of climate change for a number of reasons… Again, this is all very well if you’re part of the echo chamber, but a teensy bit useless for anyone else.