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?

11 thoughts on “More random stuff”

  1. Your links for Tim Worstall and Early Warning got mangled together, it seems.

    [Thanks. Missing quote. Fixed now -W]


  2. I remember when I took my first climate related classes in the mid 90s. One professor said that something to the effect of “the verdict is still out on agw, but the warming continues for a decade then I will be convinced”.


  3. “until you realise that a large fraction of profits are paid out as bonuses.”

    No, not really, 0% of profits are paid out as bonuses. For bonuses are compensation to the employees, compensation to employees is a cost of doing business and is thus deducted before profits are calculated.

    You might think this is hair splitting and to some extent you would be right. But it is more accurate to say that bonuses are paid out of gross margins, what’s left after they’re paid is the profit attributable to shareholders.

    [Yes, I do think of it as hair splitting. I could rephrase it as “a large fraction of bonus+profit is bonus” if that makes things better. The point is that unlike most industries, bonuses are not a small number on the balance sheet, which is why I think your comparison was deceptive -W]

    But the larger point, that £1.25 billion for the London banks is a pittance still holds. Barclay’s alone has £50 billionish of shareholders’ equity. The potential Greek losses are just not a material number.

    [On the larger point, I’m not really qualified to agree or disagree, but I accept that it is entirely likely -W]


  4. A banker, a Daily Mail reader and a benefit claimant are sitting at a table sharing 12 biscuits. The banker takes 11 and says to the Daily Mail reader: “Watch out for the benefit claimant, he wants your biscuit”

    h/t: my girlfriend


  5. Sorry, but Peiser’s attempt to delay things for another 30 years’ wait-and-see does not “stuff” the plan to identify the skeptics’ central case. Peiser was coy in our correspondence,
    but it is quite clear that the sceptics’ proposition is that climate sensitivity is well below 1.5*C. They advance this against a mass of evidence from three separate lines of enquiry, and the evidence to support their low value is skimpy in the extreme.

    [Well yes I agree. But the game is to pin them down, if you wish to play such games (I’m not desperately interested any more, for reasons I could go into) -W]

    If we can focus on their case for low sensitivity and refute it methodically and conclusively, we could finally purge the doubt out of the minds of the commentators and decision makers.

    [It already has been refuted, many times. But who ever bothers to read the details? -W]


  6. If we can focus on their case for low sensitivity and refute it methodically and conclusively, we could finally purge the doubt out of the minds of the commentators and decision makers.

    Someone should note that you must also refute the case for sensitivities above 4.5 or 5C as they are as far from 3C in probability. I will note that on another blog Mosher called the great sensitivity debate a delaying tactic.

    Once again, the term climate agnostic. American Charles Krauthammer uses it too.


  7. W, I detect a note of word-weariness with the sceptics. I don’t blame you. I’ve been there. I thought, “stuff it, we’ll have to wait for the Great Flood of London or something”, and turned to other things. Until I thought, now what would Popper have done?

    The fact is that the sceptics have convinced the journos that climate science is “controversial”, and therefore that they must balance every climate scientist exposure by having a sceptical “scientist” on too. Result: Joe Public is split 50/50 on the topic, which means that politicians are not going to take any radical action.

    [I disagree with you on that, but I think it is a mistake that many people make. I might try to get my thoughts about it into coherent enough order for a post, because it is important. I think that JP is uneasily aware of the truth. But doesn’t really want to hear the answer, if it is going to involve, effectively, JP losing money or making involuntary changes in lifestyle. Sure this is all played up by the media, but, while it is fashionable to say the Evil Meeja is controled by Evil Forces that dictate JP’s every thought, actually the Meeja mainly gives JP what he wants to read: infotainment. Climate change is spun into infotainment, because that is what people want to read -W]

    If we can demonstrate to key intelligent journalists (yes they do exist) that the sceptics’ position is refuted by the facts, the need routinely to “balance” coverage will disappear, public opinion will change as the facts are set out again, and politicians can get onto some serious decarbonisation. Which, incidentally, will provide a much needed economic stimulus.

    [Again, don’t really believe this. Any intelligent journalist (or person) already has quite enough facts to make up their mind on. There are so many facts that no-one can read them all (indeed, part of the septic plan is simply to generate more “facts” just so that people never know where they are) -W]

    Obviously, I am not suggesting that we will be able to convert Monckton & co. They are ideologues, and their writings and speeches will continue to satisfy a niche market.


    Paul – the key question is whether sensitivity is lower than 1.5*C. If anything, it would be the need to refute high sensitivities would cause delay.

    Far from being a delaying tactic, focus on the sceptics CS<1.5 thesis, the strategy of taking the attack into their camp, assaulting their position (instead of defending the science against their attacks) does offer a chance for us to refute and defeat the sceptics, end the "controversy" and enable the decision makers to make some serious decarbonisation decisions.


  8. It ain’t just the Greeks, but what a default does to the ratings of the other EU countries loans, and if ratings go below a certain level then the bonds have to be sold for certain holders, etc. And, of course, the great Eurowide run on the banks. . . . Should be amusing. Eli recommends you buy a cow and some hens.


  9. Just wondering if you have come across this, appantently a CIA document on global cooling as a potential issue:

    Click to access 1974.pdf

    It seems rather speculative of whether rapid climate change is occuring but does seem to be focussed on global cooling as a problem rather than warming. It isn’t necessarily representative of what scientists were really thinking. Conceivably it could merely be suggesting a worldwide threat scenario for internal planning?

    Just wondering if you had seen it and your reaction.


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