Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity. The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Humanity?

bishop It am de Pope, he be at it agen. Dere be no stopping dis righteous Pontifex. Just for the moment, he’s saying things that I broadly agree with, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to start being happy with religious authority.

There was a one-day “seminar” or “workshop” or “event”, Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity. The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Humanity on Tuesday the 28th (alas for them, and for numerous folk in Nepal, there was a disastrous earthquake the same day), hosted by The Pontifical Academy of Sciences (as they tastefully put it, Founded in Rome on 17 August 1603 as the first exclusively scientific academy in the world by Federico Cesi, Giovanni Heck, Francesco Stelluti and Anastasio de Filiis with the name Linceorum Academia, to which Galileo Galilei was appointed member on 25 August 1610, it was reestablished in 1847 by Pius IX with the name Pontificia Accademia dei Nuovi Lincei, without otherwise mentioning the G-word; and no, don’t try the G-comparison because you’ll certainly get it wrong).

As a one-day event it was no scientific heavyweight. There was a one and a half hour panel on “Evidence on social exclusion and climate science”, others on “Justice and Responsibility” and “Practical aspects from local to global” and finally on “Eliminate Human Trafficking and Resettle its Victims: Next Steps Towards Sustainable Development” which seems only peripherally connected to the main theme. As far as I can tell, the day was held not to reach conclusions – inevitably, those had been reached behind the scenes some time ago – but to bless the conclusions already made.

Which makes the antics of the denialists ever more weird. Marc Morano appears to think that the Pope might be listening to him. Of course he isn’t; he – or his advisers – have heard from the denialists before, and know full well that they have nothing to say. All that linked post shows is the surprising shallowness of the “skeptic” bench they were able to bring.

I ought to say something about “authority”. One of the best “FUD” tactics of the denialists is to insist that you can work all this stuff out for yourself. That you can start from first principles, sometimes even from raw data, and draw your own conclusions. That version is nonsense; the value of it is that people believe it out of ego, and when they find it leads nowhere they blame the science not themselves and end up “skeptical” of the science, which is the denialist goal. But even the version that says you can start off by just reading the raw research papers and form your own conclusions isn’t really believable for more than a tiny few outside the charmed circle of science. Most people are inevitably going to be accepting someone’s authority either for the whole thing, or for bits they don’t have much contact with. Sane people do that by reading, to a greater or lesser depth, the IPCC reports. Mad, lazy or ignorant people do it by reading newspapers. You can do it by reading blogs, of course, but only if you read the right ones :-). Or wikipedia in fact. And you can do it by reading what authorities that you trust have read; which is where da Pope comes in. But you’re still better off reading the IPCC than listening to him.

What did they say?

Oh come on, I didn’t read the details, but the closing statement is the thing, available from here (but that doesn’t copy well, so you may prefer this version):

considered the overwhelming scientific evidence regarding human-induced climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the vulnerabilities of the poor to economic, social, and environmental shocks. In the face of the emergencies of human-induced climate change, social exclusion, and extreme poverty, we join together to declare that: Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its decisive mitigation is a moral and religious imperative for humanity;

and so on; you get the idea, I’m sure. The rather more extended statement starts(my bold)

This century is on course to witness unprecedented environmental changes. In particular, the projected climate changes or, more appropriately, climate disruptions, when coupled with ongoing massive species extinctions and the destruction of ecosystems, will doubtless leave their indelible marks on both humanity and nature. As early as 2100, there will be a non-negligible probability of irreversible and catastrophic climate impacts that may last over thousands of years, raising the existential question of whether civilization as we know it can be extended beyond this century. Only a radical change in our attitude towards Creation and towards our fellow humans, complemented by transformative technological innovations, could reverse the dangerous trends that have already been set into motion inadvertently.

That’s all a bit over-emotional for the likes of me, though doubtless others will like it.

What to do?

There’s a section of a fuller statement called “Recommended measures: climate mitigation”. Most people tend to get mitigation a bit wrong, and forget what it is, and confuse it with adaption (mitigation is making the change itself smaller or less bad; adaption is making our responses less bad). The Vatican don’t disappoint in this regard, since point 3 of “Mitigation” is “Prepare especially the most vulnerable 3 billion people to adapt to the climate changes… that society will be unable to mitigate”. Oh well. Otherwise, its the usual, but they can’t bring themselves to mention Carbon Tax, which is a shame.

Winding up the wackos

Naturally enough this is winding up the wackos. There’s a long stream of posts at WUWT of which the most recent I’ve seen is To whom does a Christian owe their loyalty? which starts, in traditional fashion, by getting the G-story wrong and continues, well, it becomes less coherent after that. I think the Watties are underestimating the ability of religious folk to pick-n-choose; but there does seem to be a certain desperation in evidence; is it possible that Catholics might choose to trust da Pope, rather than putting their trust in his holiness Anthony Watts? Is it even possible that AW is feeling some discomfort in holding so clearly at variance with the head of what he tells us is his faith? Well, never mind. We can always wait for the promised encyclical.

Remember, the G-problem was timing (well, amongst other things). The church, at the time, would have had no great problem switching from geocentrism to heliocentrism, had there been incontrovertible proof, which there wasn’t. Had there been no risk of proof of the correctness of geocentrism, which at the time there was no certainty of absence, if you see what I mean. What they didn’t want to do was switch to heliocentrism, then flip back again; that would have been like mega-embarrassing. The last thing they need is another such episode, which is why they’ll want to be absolutely sure of what they end up encycling.

I’ve just noticed a bit in the Beeb article which speaks to this point: Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, who heads the Academy, said the Encyclical would not be the highest level of proclamation from the Pope, which is reserved for issues of Faith. But he said it was important for all the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to take it seriously. If any Catholic wanted to ignore it they would need “very good reasons – based not on personal or political opinion, but on science”.


*Climate Denial Crock of the Week with Peter Sinclair: “The Pope: Not a Scientist, But Listening to Science” seems sane.
* Climate Change and the coming Encyclical – an unusual WUWT article: mostly sane, and to some extend informative.
* The Economist are fairly boring.

Two new reviews of the homogenization methods used to remove non-climatic changes

I’ve stolen VV’s title. Why not? He’s the man who knows. Moyhu also has something interesting to say. All I have to say is: WTF?

In case you’ve missed it, there’s a real one, and then there’s the GWPF’s comedy one. You can read the GWPF’s stuff at, though why you’d bother I don’t know. As Moyhu points out, the figure used on that page is badly misleading, and certainly unbefitting any serious review. Anyone with a clue would refuse to be associated with anything with that on its terms of reference; but then again, anyone with a clue would refuse to be associated with the GWPF anyway.

I really can’t see how this can possibly even be supposed to work. People have tried attacking the temperature records before, and its always a dismal failure. Think of BEST; think of the nutters in NZ; think of the children… oh, hold on. Anyway, the last thing the GWPF wants is an actual credible serious review of the biases. Or at least; the last thing they should want. Perhaps they’re so self-deluded they really think there is something there.

Which brings me back to: how do they think this will work? Do they seriously expect the various national meteorological services to make submissions to their tinpot panel? I rather doubt that will happen. All they’ll get will be a few like Moyhu, and a pile of nutjobs.


* Denier Weirdness: A mock delegation from the Heartland Institute and a fake enquiry from the GWPF – HotWhopper
*ATTP is also somewhat puzzled by this nonsense.

Now we know why UAH v6 is so late…

doom I said that AFAIK S+C’s code for UAH isn’t available but VV pointed me to Eli who pointed me to which offered me RSS and UAH. UAH is the one we want to take the piss out of, so read it and weep, below.

First, though, as far as I can tell it doesn’t even tell you what version of UAH this corresponds to (ah, but actually it 5.4. You can tell this by reading things like “The program txx_1_5.4”. Yay). Under “1.3 Document Maintenance” it does say: When requested by NOAA, if there have been any changes in procedures required for the production of the products or if the description of procedures has inadvertent omissions or errors, we will update this; and there certainly have been updated to UAH since 2011; but the doc is still the original.

I’m also a teensy bit unclear about what its describing: on the face of it, its missing rather a lot, because it says The deep layer temperature products described here come from measurements produced by Advanced Microwave Sounding Units (AMSU-As, hereafter “AMSU”) … Before AMSU, the Microwave Sounding Units (MSUs) flew on the NOAA polar orbiters since late 1978. Processing of the older MSU data, except in the homogenization routines, is not addressed by this document. WTF?

[Update: by bizarre co-incidence, S+C+B have just released, or announced, v6. As they say Many procedures have been modified or entirely reworked, and most of the software has been rewritten from scratch. There’s just a hint that they may have rushed this out: After three years of work, we have (hopefully) finished our Version 6.0, but who knows.

Ha. Actually, there’s rather more than a hint that this may be rushed: if you read to the end, they back off: This should be considered a “beta” release of Version 6.0, and we await users’ comments to see whether there are any obvious remaining problems in the dataset.

Eli, never one to stand on ceremony, steps into the torrent of ignorant praise over at Roy’s to ask where’s the code? But its not available “yet”.]

Anyway, onto the excuses (my bold):

The codes described here and provided to NOAA have not been optimized in a software engineering sense. Much of the programming structure originated over 20 years ago, starting around 1989, and was written by the authors who came from a generation of self-taught programmers and have little formal computer programming training. Much of the work was done with little funding support, so no professional programmers were utilized. In Christy’s code, there are numerous sections devoted to image creation through NCARgraphics for detection of problems, but which are not necessary for the production of the ASCII files desired by the users.

There is little use of subroutines in Spencer’s code, but more in Christy’s. Continuity of operational procedures has taken precedence over elegance or speed of execution.

As algorithm enhancements were tested, many were abandoned, but those portions of the code were simply commented out rather than deleted, i.e. they are vestigial in reality. While this is somewhat sloppy from a software design standpoint, the practical advantage of this is to provide a detailed reminder of what has been tried before.

In some cases, rather than having unused code commented out, there are sections which are never branched to in the operational running of the code because an initial adjustable parameter is always assigned a single value. A good example is diurnal adjustment of the AMSU data, for which much code is included, but has never been used operationally. In other cases, a particular ancillary analysis was needed for a publication, but not needed for production runs. These sections are usually commented out.

Most of the programs have array dimensioning and assignments which must be manually updated every month and year, since (at this writing) they only handle data through July 2011. Similarly, if a new satellite is added, then there are program changes which must be made to accommodate those new datasets.

The programs were originally developed on an SGI workstation or an IBM mainframe,and then later transitioned to Linux. As a result, all previous binary input and output files had a byte-ordering issue. We retained the SGI handling of binary files, so some of the programs must be run with a byte-swap option used on execute. This might not be an issue if NOAA re-generates all output files from scratch, but if our previous outputfiles are used, there will be a problem.

Also, we have had problems processing of a month’s worth of global AMSU data causing some sort of memory size allocation exceedance during a single program execution, which leads to only a portion of the data being processed properly. This is also handled with a special option during execute.

Well, that looks like a perfect way of making sure that no-one at all ever reads your code. But it also looks like a way of ending up with a hideous heap of gunk that even you can’t update.

Update: mmm

                ksat1 = 18 ! NOAA 15, 16, or 18
                ksat2 = 18

      klun1 = 165
                klun2 = 165



      do 1000  ksat=ksat1,ksat2  !...15 or 16 or 18

c....OPEN OUTPUT FILES ..................................................................
                end if

                end if

                end if

c.....input files.......
c          OPEN(11,FILE='/rstor/spencer/amsu/grids/amsu_n15_9808_newLC.grd',form='binary')
c          OPEN(12,FILE='/rstor/spencer/amsu/grids/amsu_n15_9809_newLC.grd',form='binary')
... 100+ similar lines still in the original removed...
c          OPEN(157,FILE='/rstor/spencer/amsu/grids/amsu_n15_1010_newLC.grd',form='binary')
c          OPEN(158,FILE='/rstor/spencer/amsu/grids/amsu_n15_1011_newLC.grd',form='binary')
c          OPEN(159,FILE='/rstor/spencer/amsu/grids/amsu_n15_1012_newLC.grd',form='binary')
c               OPEN(160,FILE='/rstor/spencer/amsu/grids/amsu_n15_1101_newLC.grd',form='binary')
c               OPEN(161,FILE='/rstor/spencer/amsu/grids/amsu_n15_1102_newLC.grd',form='binary')
c               OPEN(162,FILE='/rstor/spencer/amsu/grids/amsu_n15_1103_newLC.grd',form='binary')
c               OPEN(163,FILE='/rstor/spencer/amsu/grids/amsu_n15_1104_newLC.grd',form='binary')
c               OPEN(164,FILE='/rstor/spencer/amsu/grids/amsu_n15_1105_newLC.grd',form='binary')
        end if


* Does He or Don’t He via Eli, and others: Luther the anger translator.

Wikipedia: Grant Shapps

[Update: June 6th: Chase-Me has definitely been a very naughty boy indeed. The only question is whether he’ll hang on to his sysop bit.]

By popular request. And I’ve not seen anyone else wiki-literate discussing this, so I will (update: Wikipedia sockpuppetry is a problem, but baseless accusations are no better by a former checkuser is worth a read; it mostly supports what I’ve said here). the Graun says

Grant Shapps accused of editing Wikipedia pages of Tory rivals.

Online encyclopedia administrators block user account believed to be run by Tory party co-chairman or ‘someone else … under his clear direction’. Wikipedia has blocked a user account on suspicions that it is being used by the Conservative party chairman, Grant Shapps, “or someone acting on his behalf” to edit his own page along with the entries of Tory rivals and political opponents.

(and I should probably note that Grant Shapps denies Wikipedia claims according to Aunty). Some of this is the usual misunderstandings: Online encyclopedia administrators is wrong, indeed necessarily wrong, in using the plural: you can only be blocked by any one admin at any one time, and in this case there’s only one block, by User:Chase me ladies, I’m the Cavalry. Who I rate rather lowly, for reasons too obscure to go into or possibly even remember. But he should not be confused with Chase me, ladies, I’m in the cavalry who is much funnier (Colombia’s most feared terrorist, alias El Paisa, drinks Bailey’s Irish Cream according to this report. I went right off him when I read that. What a gigantic wooftah). References to the actions of “The online encyclopedia” are almost always really the actions of individual editors or admins. In this case, it does seem to be very much an individual action.

Update: Wikipedia administrator who accused Grant Shapps of editing pages of Tory rivals is Liberal Democrat activist says Torygraph. As does C4. There’s an archive of the archive of the twitter profile; the original has, oddly, been taken down; no hint of guilt there! Note that the Torygraph gets the quote from the twitter profile fractionally wrong.

Update: Grant Shapps Wikipedia edits: the key questions is potentially interesting, and reads as though its written with inside-wiki knowledge, but its riddled with errors, some of them serious. For example The internal investigation found, using an internal tool to compare the network/IP address of the accounts, that Contribsx and Hackneymarsh were “likely” the same IP addresses. That’s totally wrong. As it clearly says at the SPI (that C4 link to) Hackneymarsh was long stale by the time the SPI was filed; no checks against its IP were done. Note that the wiki page has now been “courtesy blanked” but the history is still there; or try this archive. Note further that Chase-Me claimed I ran a Checkuser, and it yielded a ‘likely’ result. That is a lie; Hackneymarsh is stale.


My best guess is that the block on User:Contribsx is spurious on the grounds given: there’s no obvious socking; the evidence looks to be far below the standards that would usually be expected. However, assuming the account really is run by GS or a minion, which appears at least plausible, User:Contribsx is unlikely to appeal the block and so will probably stay blocked.

User:Contribsx blocked by User:Chase me ladies, I’m the Cavalry

User:Contribsx was blocked at 2015-04-21T15:13:41 by Chase-Me; see the block notice. The block notice uses a standard template for sock-blocks, saying This account has been blocked indefinitely as a sock puppet that was created to violate Wikipedia policy. Note that multiple accounts are allowed, but using them for illegitimate reasons is not… This, on the face of it, is distinctly dubious and not at all the same thing as the Graun’s accusation that Wikipedia has blocked a user account on suspicions that it is being used by the Conservative party chairman, Grant Shapps, “or someone acting on his behalf” to edit his own page along with the entries of Tory rivals and political opponents. Editing a page about yourself is permitted, if discouraged (I have edited William Connolley in the past; I stopped not because anyone told me to, but because a combination of the COI rules and general stupidity make even reading the thing painful; I no longer watch the page). Its certainly not grounds for a sock-block.

Other people have noticed this, and asked Chase-Me about the grounds for the block: see his talk page. Note there the classic block-n-run: I’m currently off work with the flu – and I didn’t expect the sort of reaction that’s happening – so please bear with me if I don’t reply as quickly as you would like. This is a transparent tactic for when you don’t want to answer questions about something dodgy that you’ve done. Its so transparent that I’d either call it an admission of guilt, or a deliberate “fuck off”, but I’m not sure which.

Chase-Me was asked for his evidence that the account was a sock, and responded Sure – see [2] and [3], and dozens of similar edits..

The first of those is from April 2013, and so is the second. However, Contribsx first edit was in August 2013, so those two anon edits are not evidence of socking at all. I can’t tell if Chase-Me is bullshitting, lying, or just incompetent; but it certainly doesn’t look good. Someone points out that CM’s evidence is crap; CM has no reply, other than to switch to… Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Hackneymarsh. See below.


This is all sufficiently dodgy that its gone rather rapidly up to Arbcomm: see The LOL-note for those familiar with WP:BLP and its many failings is the convoluted and entirely pointless way that case avoids mentioning GS’s name. That’s already got 4 “accepts” in very little time, so will be going ahead, possibly (in complete reversal of arbcomm’s norms) urgently.

Update: the comment at arbcomm is worth reproducing:

Members of the Arbitration Committee are aware of the core issues here. On 21 April 2015 at 1513 hours UTC, Chase me Ladies, I’m the Cavalry (ChaseMe for short) blocked Contribsx (talk · contribs) for abusing multiple accounts.[2] Immediately before that, he had initiated a sockpuppet investigation (SPI) at Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Hackneymarsh in which he alleged that Contribsx was a sock of Hackneymarsh; in that SPI, he states that he was contacted by reporters from the UK newspaper The Guardian. His original statement also implied that the account was managed by or managed at the direction of a specific living person who is the subject of one of the articles edited by Contribsx and also edited several years previously by Hackneymarsh; however, as it was pointed out to him off-wiki that such a statement was a BLP violation (absent direct proof that the living person was directing or responsible for the edits of Contribsx) ChaseMe modified his statement. After he had completed the SPI and the block, he noted that, because the subject of the key article in question is a British politician involved in the current election, there would likely be some media attention. He then added a link to the news report in The Guardian at 1524 hours UTC.[3] The Guardian news story was published at 15.55 hours BST, or 1455 hours UTC[4], and includes nearly direct quotes from ChaseMe’s unmodified SPI statement, and also states that the Contribsx account was blocked by Wikipedia “administrators” – despite the fact that the account was not blocked until 18 minutes after the Guardian article was published. The allegation that the living person was abusively editing Wikipedia using the Contribsx account has now been widely reported through most major news outlets throughout the United Kingdom.

Because the range of sanctions involved includes the removal of both checkuser and administrator permissions, the only body that can appropriately hear this matter is the Arbitration Committee. As well, because this case involves checkuser data, a living person who is a candidate in an ongoing and very contentious national election, and likely some off-wiki information including social media and emails, at least some of the evidence will need to be reviewed privately by the Arbitration Committee; however, there is a fair amount of publicly available and on-wiki information to manage this case publicly with acknowledgement that certain evidence may remain non-public. Risker (talk) 03:17, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

Note the portion I’ve bolded. If that’s true – and not some timezone confusion – then its pretty significant. I’ve added a comment on the arbcomm page with my opinion that the sock-block is spurious, and ought to be overturned, pro tem.

Update: Chase-Me speaks. Happily, the flu wasn’t as severe as he feared :-).

Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Hackneymarsh

Well, the plot thickens. Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Hackneymarsh (go into the archive) is an old SPI. User:Hackneymarsh edited almost only the GS article. And only edited in May 2010, not since. There was a Graun story from 2012 about this, which the account was told about; but that was years after the account was last used, so may not have noticed it.

Note that even if it was clearly established that the same person – even if it was GS – was running Contribsx and Hackneymarsh, there would still be no real policy violation – nothing to justify a block. The SPI was closed as stale; as someone said in 2012: There’s nothing of interest here. The information is stale and the use of the named accounts is serial not simultaneous.

Grant Shapps denies Wikipedia claims

Says Aunty, as noted above. As I noted above, the Grauns claims are distinctly garbled, so it would be possible to Jesuitically deny them, which not talking about the substance. However, he’s not doing that. He says:

Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps has denied claims he repeatedly edited entries about himself and other MPs on Wikipedia.
Mr Shapps told the BBC the allegations – reported by the Guardian – were “categorically false and defamatory”.

Is he telling the truth? I can’t tell. Note, however, that the GS wiki article has a section for “Wikipedia editing” that says Shapps’s Wikipedia article has repeatedly been edited from his office, both to correct errors and to remove embarrassing information.[50][51][52] I haven’t checked those refs, but it wouldn’t still be there if they weren’t reasonable.

[Update: I should qualify that. Indeed, I have. The evidence is not solid at all.]

He’s been asked directly if he’s GS and hasn’t yet replied. That was just before 8 pm last night; not long ago, but certainly long enough to have replied if he’d wanted to.

Its worth pulling out another error, this time by the Beeb:

Creating a fake online identity to mislead other people – known as “sock-puppetry” – is banned.

This isn’t really right. Classic sock puppetry – on wikipedia – is creating a second or multiple accounts, and editing as though those two accounts were not connected (simply having two accounts isn’t banned either. I’m also user:WMC). So, for example: you make an edit as user A, someone else removes it, and instead of re-adding it under user A you re-add it as user B. That’s definitely banned. “Creating a fake online identity” is not a well defined statement – many wiki users are anonymous. Some have names – like Chase-Me – that clearly say they aren’t real names. But some have what look like “real names” that aren’t their own real name. That’s kinda misleading, but not a problem. Creating an account under the name of a real person – attempting to be User:Bill_Clinton if you’re not him – would get your account blocked (or renamed). “Creating a fake online identity to mislead other people” isn’t well defined either. In this case the account – User:Contribsx – isn’t obviously misleading. Its clearly a non-real-name. And it clearly states on its user page I am a keen reader of British politics. I’ve read most contemporary and historic British political biographies at some point over the past 30 to 50 years. My interest stretches from current day to the approximate birth of democratic British politics. However, most of my time is spent on 20th and 21st Century figures. It doesn’t say that he’s GS, but it would not be at all odd for a political figure to remain undeclared. OTOH, editing a page without declaring a COI is bad; and he’s clearly talked as though he was not GS (e.g. here) so if he is, he’s being deceptive.

Wikipedia:Sock puppetry offers its nutshell view:

This page in a nutshell: The general rule is one editor, one account. Do not use multiple accounts to mislead, deceive, vandalize or disrupt; to create the illusion of greater support for a position; to stir up controversy; or to circumvent a block, ban, or sanction. Do not ask your friends to create accounts to support you. Do not revive old unused accounts and use them as different users, or use another person’s account. Do not log out just to vandalize as an IP address editor.

There you go.

User contributions

You can look at Special:Contributions/Contribs. He isn’t prolific:

2015-04-05T14:39:25 (diff | hist) .. (+276)‎ .. Karl Turner (politician) ‎ (Update)
2015-04-05T14:27:28 (diff | hist) .. (+215)‎ .. Grant Shapps ‎ (→‎Political career: Expenses section recovered)
2015-04-05T14:24:13 (diff | hist) .. (+343)‎ .. User talk:Contribsx ‎ (→‎Grant Schapps)
2015-04-05T14:21:52 (diff | hist) .. (+352)‎ .. User talk:Contribsx ‎ (→‎Notability of Les Jones (politician))
2015-03-29T14:15:29 (diff | hist) .. (-3,362)‎ .. Grant Shapps ‎ (Edits following recent heavy anon amends of page)
2015-03-29T13:41:19 (diff | hist) .. (+5)‎ .. Afzal Amin ‎ (→‎Political career: new candidate selected to fight Dudley North seat)
2015-03-29T13:39:27 (diff | hist) .. (+1)‎ .. Afzal Amin ‎ (→‎Political career: new candidate selected to fight Dudley North seat)
2015-03-29T13:23:01 (diff | hist) .. (+231)‎ .. Afzal Amin ‎ (→‎Political career: new candidate selected to fight Dudley North seat)
2015-03-29T13:14:45 (diff | hist) .. (+327)‎ .. Afzal Amin ‎ (Split out political career and added selection as Parliamentary candidate details)
2015-03-29T13:06:05 (diff | hist) .. (+344)‎ .. Francis Maude ‎ (→‎Efficiency and Reform: more neutral presentation of facts with some additional information added)
2015-02-22T14:43:58 (diff | hist) .. (-1,694)‎ .. Grant Shapps ‎ (Removed anon ip changes)
2015-02-08T18:12:35 (diff | hist) .. (+130)‎ .. Francis Maude ‎

And he had only 19 contributions in 2014. Note that he’s not very talkative – there are very few edits to talk space. This is suspicious – it looks like he’d rather avoid getting into discussions. Though he does; just rarely.

But what about the edits?

So far, I haven’t even looked at the quality of the edits the accounts made. Lets try, a bit. Going backwards:

* Karl Turner (politician) – adds “Turner admitted breaking House of Commons rules by sending out invitations to a £45-a-head Labour Party fundraising event from parliamentary email” but its clearly sourced. Gets revered, but I’ve just restored it, as there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with it.
* Grant Shapps – restores a section saying “In the expenses scandal The Telegraph classified Shapps as an “expenses saint””. Its well sourced, and still in the article.
* an evasive reply on his talk page to someone asking about edits to the GS article.
* reply on his talk page about notability of “Les Jones (politician)”.
* Grant Shapps – removes some stuff that GS wouldn’t want to see – “Despite repeated denials, Shapps has conceded that he continued operating as Michael Green for at least a year after becoming an MP and also had a second job at this time… Shapps’s [[Wikipedia]] article has repeatedly been edited from his office…”. That removal was unjustified (and has since been effectively reverted) but doesn’t come close to grounds for a block.

I didn’t bother go back any further. Its fairly clear that Contribsx is (a) polite, (b) interested in politics and GS in particular and (c) distinctly inclined to edit in favour of GS, but not to an unreasonable extent.

Footnote: banned?

The Graun is clearly playing a game of “see how many ignorant errors can I make about wiki”. Nick Clegg mocks Grant Shapps over Wikipedia affair saying Wikipedia has banned Contribsx and said any evidence of future attempts to cover the user’s tracks would be investigated immediately. Firstly, Contribsx isn’t banned, he’s blocked. They aren’t the same thing (hint: the words are different). The difference is in the implied timespan and purpose: blocks are temporary, bans are quasi-permanent. Second, “Wikipedia” hasn’t done this, an individual admin has. And third, its hard to know what “any evidence of future attempts to cover the user’s tracks would be investigated immediately” is supposed to mean.

I lose. Or win. It depends. 3:55:53, anyway.

Another in my marathon posts, but! To a new city, Rotterdam. Which is indeed a fairly new city, having been bombed to buggery (by us, mostly, I presume [update: no, I’m wrong, it was the Krauts]) during WW II. Anyway, TL:DR: 3:55:53. Which is one second slower than Amsterdam 2012.

Here’s my list, in order:

* Brighton 2011: 4:20:32.
* Amsterdam 2014: 3:58.02.
* Amsterdam 2011: 3:57:25.
* Rotterdam, 2015: 3:55:53.
* Amsterdam 2012: 3:55:52.
* Brighton 2012: 3:54:28.
* Brighton 2013: 3:46:34.
* Brighton 2014: 3:43:42.
* Amsterdam 2013: 3:43:06.

So if I’d pushed just a tiny fraction harder it could have been my median marathon. Perhaps it is, to within timing accuracy: my watch gave me 3:55:52. My long term ambition is to get down to 3:30 before I die, or possibly it will be simultaneous, let us hope not.

A few short notes on the marathon, as a thing to run

2015-04-12 14.45.10

Well, it was flat. Even flatter than Amsterdam :-). They didn’t carefully sign post the bag-drop, which lead to some anxious pre-start moments. They kept faithfully to the tradition of all marathons by not having nearly enough toilets at the start. Water was in cups, instead of the wasteful bottles, which is nice but hard to drink from. But, they had a foam-disk insert in the cups, with a cut-out, so you could drink from it without spilling much, and then use the foam as a sponge to cool your fevered brow; good. There were also sponge points.

Overall: a good marathon; I’d go again. Especially if I forget to register in time for Paris, again.

Too long trip report


Caught 19:44 train from Cambridge. Actually had 5+ mins free but had to sweat to get there on time because I wasn’t sure. Next time, leave 5 mins earlier. To ferry fine (they took us on board on a bus onto the car deck, for some unknown reason). Cabin, indoor, fine though not nearly as nice as the de luxe ones. To resto for evening meal, fruit salad and bread roll if I recall correctly. And a coffee, obviously.

Watch a bit of TV, read a bit of stuff (M bought me a new Kindle as a bday present, since she’d nicked mine, effectively; all I’d loaded up was the Bible and I’ve sort-of resolved to read it. Read it on the train, starting at the beginning, but its heavy going – all the begats, and the weird wanderings for now obvious reason; got past Sodom and Gomorrah which really isn’t as exciting as it sounds). But on the ferry I switched to “Poor Economics” which has a punchy beginning and I was getting something from it, though I’d be somewhat hard pushed to say exactly what. To sleep.


Bing bong! We’d like to tell you that in <quite a long time> we’ll be docking, so why not get up real early and buy stuff? Groan. Nonetheless, get up around 7 – I’ll want to tomorrow – and have a full English buffet breakfast, which is rather good: sos, bacon, egg, fruit, coffee, orange juice. We dock.

I think: well, I have free time, and I’ve always wondered what Hoek van Holland Strand is like, so why not find out? The answer is, “windy”. But also beautiful, in a rather bleak way. Take the 1-minute train from Haven to Strand, then walk down, its only about a km: there’s the low sea wall with road, which protects the channel, and stretching off Eastwards the sand dunes and beach. Mooch around, conscious that I really don’t want to walk too far the day before. There are cafes and stuff, but somehow I don’t feel like going in. Realise I forgot to note the time of the trains from Haven, but as it happens I get back just in time to catch one.

And so to Rotterdam. I’ve been told bad things about it – bombed to buggery in WWII and rebuild in brutal fashion. But actually its rather good. Any number of weird and wonderful modern buildings that I’d consider disaster areas in London, but here they fit. You can do whatever you like it seems, and people do. Some slight confusion over my route, and it rains off and on, but its fine, and cross the Erasmusbrug and then – perhaps a bit further than I’d really like – to Suithotel Pincoffs. Which is gorgeous. They’re terribly terribly nice people, and its all very ecological & the ambience is good. My room is very large, and quite possibly taller than it is long. It contains an enormous wardrobe that it manages to make look small, some decent chairs, a coffee machine, and a good view of the local lifty-bridge and the main river channel and the Erasmusbrug. Fairly soon after I settle in an enormous ocean-going oilrig supply-type vessel (well, its bright red and has a helicopter platform) comes by, and I discover that a bit of the Erasmusbrug is lifty too (they’ve even found a cute way to make the tramway cables connect). And then, a moment of comedy, the local lifty-bridge, which is pretty enormous, raises itself and I think “oh how interesting, something big is coming” but no, its just some little 2-man cruiser that doesn’t quite fit under the road.

View from my room. The ship wasn’t always there, you understand.

Then its time to meet B for lunch, and “Little V”, the V being Vietnam. I go “the other way round” over the red bridge, and see the remains of the old railway lifty-bridge, which is missing its central section and looks like two colliery towers. I’m only 15 mins late, and wouldn’t have been that late except the map deceived me. A good lunch – noodles, veg, spring rolls, that kind of thing, since I’m happy to be veg and B is.

After, to the weird U-shaped “indoor market” which is also an appartment complex – you have to see it. Weirdly, I’d first seen it on The Phytophactor, who’d got slightly the wrong idea – its not a local farmers market. Anyway, after some searching we found decent coffee – from two different shops, B is more picky than me – and somewhere to drink it. And so, goodbye, with the correct *3* kisses because this time I asked. Three in Holland.

That took me to about 4. the weather was clearing. Walk back, via a Spar to buy bread, sliced Oud cheese, and Rembrandt apples, and some blueberries, which were to be my supper, since the hotel doesn’t do supper and I couldn’t be bothered to go out. And so to my room, and sit in the nice white leather chair looking out over the world and using their fine internet. Have a long bath. That was another surprise of the suite – walking into the bathroom and going Wow, because it too was enormous, and desperately tasteful. It even had a watching Buddha.

After, realise that the boat race is on, and I’m in a position to watch it. Woot. I’ve missed the women’s – we won, easily it appears – but the real one (oops, sorry) is on soon. Kewl. Intro, blah, then we’re on the start line trying to get straight. Cambridge are heavier, but we’re favourite, though there will be a headwind which favours the heavier crew. After much faffing they’re straight and started quickly, but Cambridge stuff up their first stroke or two quite badly, and we gain a couple of seats, and then a few more, and then they hold us at 1/2 length. Around the first small bend we don’t get much, and then its their bend, still more or less level, but we hold then. Its an exciting race. I keep waiting for us to fall back because of teh bend, but we don’t. Then after Hammersmith, suddenly, while the commentators are nattering about something else, suddenly, we’re ahead. Looking at a replay on youtube, it takes about 40-50 strokes for us to go from maybe half a length up to clear water, and move across in front of them, at which point it essentially over, because Cambridge get our puddles. but we keep pulling away, and its 6-7 lengths by the finish, and at that distance they have no such excuse. Woo! Post to facebook, where oddly enough my euphoria is not shared.

The rest of the evening, quietly.


Alarm for 6:45 as b’fast starts at 7, but I get down politely at 7:05. They’re very attentive – I’m first down – and have done a special “runners world” museli that I have, though I’d rather have porridge. Also fresh orange juice, coffee, fruit, croissant with honey. Very pleasant. By the time I’m finished its still before 8 so I have an hour to kill by visiting the toilet a lot.

Its sunny, BTW. A very promising day – much better than running with yesterday’s weather. Wind is fairly quiet, too. Set off with an hour to go, because it takes about half an hour, and I’m cool. Over the E’brug, and start wondering where baggage drop is – I’ve elected for delayed checkout from the hotel, but I’m wearing spare clothes and stuff so need it. Eventually, with only 15 mins left, find it beyond the start line around the corner – they really could have signed it better. Join the toilet queue – of course. D’oh: no toilet paper. I’ll spare you the details. Now, where’s the start line / pens? Well, somewhere around, and eventually find the right place to stand with 5 mins to go, turn on GPS, and all is ready. At 10 the race goes off – I can tell from the music and the cheering – and 5+ mins later we shuffle off the pavement into the road, and I cross the start line at 10:13. Which is fine really: who cares exactly when you cross? Am resolved to run a sane race, which means not fast, 5:20-5:30 seems about right, and that’s pretty what I settle at. Its about 3.5 km before I can run at “my pace” anyway.

People I hate at marathons: bozos who are clearly hopeless but who have put themselves into a high start bin. Idiots who run in groups blocking the road.

There’s a slight oddity to the start and first maybe 5 km, and actually much of the route: being a fine Dutch road, it had a tramline down the middle. So whichever side you start on, you’re stuck on, for quite a long time. I doubt it matters greatly.

Going over the E’brig should have been a highlight of the race, its glorious and all, but actually I spent most of it staring at the back of the guy ahead of me. I try to run efficiently.

2015-04-12 09.14.39

And so, round we go. I know I’m not in training and feel no obligation to try for a good time, so its all fairly comfortable for the first 20 km or so. Or even the first 30, perhaps; I don’t often have to kick myself up a bit. 27 km passes coming back over the E’brug which is a nice marker. My left calf is starting to talk to me. its not torn, a-la Cambridge, but its clearly not as happy as the right. Weakly, I decide to use this as yet another excuse not to push too hard. I really don’t want to have to limp round. At 27 km I’m doing little calculations to myself like “right, that’s 15 km to go. That’s not so far, is it? And I’m here before 2:30.” (actually 2:28 I think). “So, from this point, if I hit no better than 6:00 I get round in under 4:00 – so that’s good”. I was kinda hoping to stick to 5:30, which might have given me 3:50, but that didn’t happen.

It started to get grim around 32, and really grim around 34. That’s only 8 km to go, which really isn’t far, but when you’re struggling to maintain 5:45 its a long way. My tummy wasn’t terribly happy, and didn’t want me to eat more energy gels, so I skipped the one I would have had at 33 and had one at 38, and finished the race with one spare. Perhaps a mistake. From 39 I could smell the finish and things got better, I even pushed a bit, before realising quite how empty I was. Then I crossed the “1000 m” line, and its really not far from there, although 5 minutes is a long time at that point. And so, over the line, just within 3:56. Woo!

The familiar ritual: medal, banana, drink, baggage reclaim, and walk slowly and stiffly back. I sat down for a little, but not too long, which makes me think I hadn’t pushed myself as hard this time as I have before.

Hotel, long hot bath, post time to M and to Facebook, and sit quietly for a while.

Eventually its time to leave. Its been a very pleasant stay. I’ve checked; trains to HvH are every half hour, so it doesn’t matter when I get to the station; walk back slowly, eschewing the taxi proffered. And catch train with 3 mins spare, good.

The idea is to get to HvH early, so I can go for a walk on the beach. This seemed like a great idea back in a warm sunny hotel, but on the coast its a bit cloudier and a *lot* windier. Hmpf. Well, never mind, do it anyway: walk out all the way along the seawall-road, past even the bit where it says “it can be dangerous”. At the end, lie down to try to be out of the wind somewhat, and watch huge ships.

Then, back to the ferry, on board, and here I am, just finished my Heineken while writing this.


* Overconfident and undertrained
* 58. Addicted to global mean temperature – Isaac Held.

We win!

2015-04-11 19.18.57

Good race, too, at least for the first half. Oxford up a few seats off an untidy Cambridge start, then they pull back, and I thought we’d lose it round the bend but no. Got very tense, boats close together. And then suddenly just after Hammersmith: whoompf and they’re through, and Cambridge can eat our puddles. Cambridge seemed to make a meal of the headwind: lots of water flying around off their blades but not off Oxford.

And the women won too.

Cambridge it finding rough going after Hammersmith. At this point Oxford are about to get clear water, but haven’t yet moved over. Five strokes later they have half a length of clear water and are directly in front of Cambridge.


[Update: interesting and perhaps more informed comment from the Cambridge rowing messageboards: “CUBC went out harder to stay with OUBC and ran out of steam after half way – this is how a slower crew HAS to race it – if you are side by side with another crew you can capitalise on mistakes/force the other cox to think harder about steering etc.” That’s also consistent with what I saw, and with the end: Cambridge were just out of puff.]


* Official race report.
* Youtube, but its in Foreign.
* A somewhat less prestigious victory from 2009, in a category I’m happy to say I’m no longer eligible for.
* Support Continental Movement!

All of this will soon be moot, anyway

No, don’t worry, I’m not giving up. Its is a quote, provided somewhat tactlessly by the normally urbane Crandles:

All of this will soon be moot, anyway. Since last year we have been working on v6.0 of the UAH datasets which should be ready with the tropospheric temperature datasets before summer is out.

Who said that? Woy is the Boy, in 2012: Our Response to Recent Criticism of the UAH Satellite Temperatures. So, not the most convincing of responses, perhaps? This has shades of Happy Second Birthday to Watts’ paper!

Meanwhile, in the “oldie but goodie” department, Russell Seitz’s 1990 A War Against Fire usefully reminds us of Spencer+Christy’s New, precise satellite data (my bold), a claim that now looks somewhat over-optimistic: the dataset they had then is now quite obsolete; it even gets the sign of the temperature change to then wrong.

Roy Spencer is busily defending himself against attacks from the Graun; Quark Soup and HotWhopper take the piss. But its all very well playing with the meeja boyz; where’s the science? As noted above, S+C rev 6 is decidedly late, and RS appears to have no answer to the heavyweight Po-Chedley. Perhaps RS really has dropped science in favour of meeja.


* Andy Lacis Writes to Steve Koonin – from Eli. Well, I suppose someone has to read the comments at Climate Etc. See-also Beneath Contempt. ATTP isn’t exactly convinced, either.
* Stats error has chilling effect on global warming paper – Retraction Watch.

She don’t make me nervous, she don’t talk too much

Obscure, perhaps, but I claim it was by request. My sermon is taken from Removing Diurnal Cycle Contamination in Satellite-Derived Tropospheric Temperatures: Understanding Tropical Tropospheric Trend Discrepancies by S Po-Chedley, T Thorsen and Q Fu, but before I get onto that I need to snark a bit; where would the world be without such?

One satellite data set is underestimating global warming?

I know that one! Its RSS, isn’t it? Wait… you mean it isn’t? Its UAH? I’m confused. And so are the folk in the SS comments. We all know that RSS is the one that “underestimates” “global warming”. You have to be bit careful about exactly what you’re talking about, but lets say its TLT, because that’s the one that is “troposphere” or was close as any of these come to that. Wiki has values up to 2013-13, and HotWhopper has values to 2014… 1.38 UAH compared to 1.26 RSS. So, why are SS picking on UAH?

Well, firstly SS, and Po-Chedley, are talking about TMT not TLT. TMT is “real”, so its better to talk about; but its too high so TLT is more interesting, which is why it was invented, even though its “synthetic”. Refer to the picture, and the wiki article if you don’t understand. But more importantly, they’re only talking about 20N – 20S, i.e. “tropical”, temperatures, which is fair enough – you can talk about any bit you like, but if you do that, and headline your piece “global warming”, and don’t clearly state you’re only talking about the tropics, people are apt to get confused.


Enough dull snark, on with the paper

Yeah yeah. Its about TMT, so lets switch to that. It also points out there’s a third series – Zou and Wang, probably the same as NOAS STAR – which essentially agrees with RSS and disagrees with S+C. Is there anything here other than S+C wrong again?

So, there are various sources of error in a temperature series from satellite, and the most serious of these is believing the idiots who tell you that a satellite based temperature series is simple and more reliable than a surface based series. Cast the bozos aside, and the two most interesting errors we seem to have left when constructing the satellite series, at least in TMT, is diurnal drift and the “NOAA-9 overlap problem”, which turns into the “NOAA-9 warm target factor problem”. Which are both fairly familiar, and both quite well described in the paper, so I won’t worry that I can’t lay my hands on a good description of them elsewhere. The pic helps; you see the little overlap with NOAA-9 clearly enough, which is a problem because the series need to be stuck together with intercalibrations, not absolutely, much like the solar radiometer measurements.

People diss S+C for getting the NOAA-9 calibration wrong, and such people are likely correct, although S+C haven’t admitted it yet. Don’t hold your breath. But its only part of the problem, and this paper is muchly about the other part, E/W drift, i.e. the polar orbiters – which nominally remain at the same solar hour all the time – actually slowly drift with respect to the sun. As the picture shows. Po-Chedley tell me that this drift effect is worse over land, because the diurnal range in skin temperature is higher there (supported by their fig 2, which shows about a factor of 10 difference land/ocean. That same fig also shows minimal corrections over the ocean, which you’d hope would be true, and they take as evidence that their calibration corrections are, errm, mostly correct. Though also that the differences in oceanic correction between the MSU and AMSU indicate that not quite all is well). If you want to correct out the drift changes, which can be larger than the climate changes you’re interested in, you can apply a correction based on a model of diurnal temperature from a climate model (but ZOMG! Models! However, that reaction is stupid, so ignore such bozos) or you can do some weird half-arsed thing (“UAH produces an MSU TMT diurnal correction based on temperature comparisons between three coorbiting satellites carrying AMSU with different local sampling times”) and then “attempt to use [AMSU] during periods when diurnal drift is small”. Weirdly, Christy thinks that S+C’s method is best, and everyone else disagrees.

Simultaneous nadir overpasses (SNO)

Po-C and friends are keen to tell us how they’ve reduced inter satellite calibration problems, by SNO. This seems plausible, but I’m not judging the details: by comparing simultaneous overpasses in polar regions (the (A)MSU, being polar orbiters, meet near the poles every now and again, so presumably can be compared then). So: In this study, we use the most recent version of the level 1C (L1C) MSU/AMSU data produced by NOAA STAR, which was newly released in 2013. The dataset has been described by Zou and Wang (2011, 2013) and The NOAA IMICA calibration is both effective and important to our analysis. There’s a whole pile of other processing description in the paper – do read it, this is J Climate not Nature – one step of which, of course, is to throw out anything too many SD away from what is expected, again outraging the ZOMG-only-use-raw-data Nazis, but they are fools so again, ignore them.

Observationally based technique for removing
diurnal drift biases

So, with – we hope – intersatellite calibration problems minimised we’re left with the drift problem. Because of concerns with the models – I sense, not their concerns, but other people’s concerns; still, its nice to try multiple angles on a problem – Po-C et al. try to develope a different way to tease out the drift corrections.

The actual correction for diurnal drift involves throwing a regression equation at it; I didn’t bother read the details so can’t tell you if its any good or not; most likely the only way to know is for someone who cares to attack it, and see how they respond.

Broadly, from the look of fig 2, their corrections don’t differ strongly from the GCM-based ones. But that broad-brush eyeballing is wrong, as their fig 3 shows.


Their stuff does appear to have done better than the GCM approach, although the difference isn’t huge. See-also their fig 4.

And the winner is

The end result is a TMT trend of 0.115 +/- 0.024 oC / decade, compared to NOAA with 0.105 (though note that this analysis did start out from NOAA’s dataset, before applying their new drift correction, so its by no means independent of it), RSS with 0.089 and S+C with 0.029. So, its clear who the loser is. But remember, this is TMT, not the somewhat more familiar but synthetic TLT, nor is it the surface temperature. They construct a “T24” which is somewhat like TLT in that they try to subtract out the (cooling) stratosphere from the TMT using other channels; and end up with 0.160 (NOAA: 0.149; RSS 0.125; and trailing the field S+C with 0.056). That then allows them to work out the amplification ratio, or troposphere-to-surface warming ratio, which is expected to be greater than 1, and indeed is. Unless you’re S or C.

Spot the deliberate error

Po-C can then plot the difference in TMT timeseries between theirs and others.


Notice the painfully wiggly bits, mostly on S+C. That’s not nice.

Rice terraces in Yunnan

Lovely. Mostly because it looks like a painting, but is actually a picture. My source is wiki commons via Did the Anthropocene Begin in 1950 or 50,000 Years Ago? by David Biello in SA; the original is Jialiang Gao,

While I’m here there’s VV’s Irrigation and paint as reasons for a cooling bias.

I read Safeguarding research integrity in China by Jane Qiu, which wonders why research misconduct is particularly acute in China. Because of lack of rule of law and tolerance of corruption, I’d say.

And that Victor chap is back in Nature. I didn’t bother read it this time; it didn’t seem promising.


* TPP’s take on the same picture.
* Ecology and the environment – ATTP