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English Humor

Unfortunate Assonances

Paul Potts
Paul Potts
Pol Pot
Pol Pot
Categories
Etica Italia Italiano Politica

Il Coraggio Di Parlare Di Eutanasia

TESTAMENTO BIOLOGICO: SENATORI RADICALI, REGOLARE EUTANASIA

(ANSA) – ROMA, 26 FEB – ”Le decine di emendamenti che come delegazione Radicale abbiamo presentato sull’articolo 2 del testo unificato dal Senatore Calabro’ in materia di testamento biologico erano derivati da una proposta di legge depositata nei mesi scorsi e intendevano arrivare a una chiara regolamentazione dell’eutanasia”: e’ quanto sostengono in una nota i due senatori radicali eletti nelle liste del Pd, Marco Perduca e Donatella Poretti.

”Come emerso durante il dibattito in commissione, e in quello in aula nei giorni del disegno di legge ‘Englaro’, il fenomeno dell’eutanasia sommersa e’ strutturalmente presente – sostengono Perduca e Poretti – nei nostri ospedali. La mera proibizione, come recita l’articolo 2 del testo Calabro’, non scalfira’ l’eutanasia, oggi di classe, consentita a chi si affida alla zona grigia del silenzio e dell’aiuto di medici caritatevoli. Solo una regolamentazione di questo fenomeno, che recenti sondaggi evidenziano come accettato se non auspicato da percentuali rilevanti di italiani, potra’ consentire – concludono – di rispettare le volonta’ individuali di fine vita e difendere i pazienti anche da possibili abusi di posizione dominante che parenti o tutori potrebbero giocare in quelle fasi drammatiche”. (ANSA).

Il punto importante e’: difendere i pazienti da possibili abusi. Nascondere la testa nella sabbia serve solo a lasciare i piu’ vulnerabili ancora piu’ vulnerabili.

Categories
America Economics English Ethics Politics

Rick Santelli Discovers The Real World

Categories
Filosofia Italiano Umanita'

Per l’Animale Sociale, Un Abisso Di Solitudine

C’e’ voluto un po ‘di tempo, ma ho finalmente trovato la fonte originale del “divario” menzionato da Elissa Ely recentemente sull’International Herald Tribune.

E’ da uno scritto di Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, intitolato “Confronto“, e apparso in “Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Thought“, 1964 Volume 6, # 2. Citazione tradotta dal testo pubblicato sul sito del Boston College:

E’ paradossale, pur tuttavia vero che ogni essere umano vive sia in una comunità esistenziale, circondato da amici, sia in uno stato esistenziale di solitudine e tensione, dove deve confrontarsi con estranei. In ogni persona con cui mi relazioni come essere umano, trovo un amico, perché abbiamo molte cose in comune, così come un estraneo, perchè ciascuno di noi è unico e totalmente diverso.

Questa diversità impedisce una completa comprensione reciproca. Il “divario di unicità” è troppo ampio per essere colmato. Infatti, non è un divario, è un abisso. Ovviamente, molto spesso prevale una sintonia di interessi – economici, politici, sociali – riguardo i quali due persone possono concentrare la loro attenzione. Tuttavia, due persone che guardino allo stesso oggetto possono continuare a condurre esistenze isolate e chiuse in se stesse. Il coordinamento dell’interesse non fa comparire per magia una unione esistenziale.

Noi spesso ci impegniamo insieme in questa o quella iniziativa, e con prudenza cerchiamo di perseguire obiettivi comuni, viaggiando temporaneamente lungo strade parallele, ma le nostre destinazioni non sono le stesse. Siamo, nelle parole della Torah, compagni di aiuto gli uni degli altri, ma allo stesso tempo esperiamo lo stato di rimanere diversi e anche opposti gli uni agli altri. Noi pensiamo, sentiamo e rispondiamo agli eventi non in sintonia, ma singolarmente, ognuno nel suo modo individuale.

L’uomo è un essere sociale, con l’anelito per un’esistenza di insieme fatta di mutuo servizio e esperienze condivise; e una creatura solitaria, timida e reticente, che teme l’invadente, cinico sguardo del vicino della porta accanto. A dispetto della nostra socialità e natura diretta verso l’esterno, restiamo estranei gli uni agli altri.

I nostri sentimenti di solidarietà e di amore per l'”altro” sono appannaggio della nostra personalità superficiale e non raggiungono i recessi piu’ interni della nostra personalità profonda, che non lascia mai la sua solitudine ontologica e non si fa mai coinvolgere nella comunita’ esistenziale.

Categories
English Humanity Philosophy

For the Social Animal, An Abyss of Uniqueness

It took a while, but I have finally found the original source behind Elissa Ely’s “Bridging the abyss – if only briefly” thoughtful contribution to the IHT.

It’s from Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik‘s “Confrontation“, and appeared in “Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Thought“, 1964 volume 6, #2. Quote only very slightly modifed, from the Boston College’s website:

It is paradoxical yet nonetheless true that each human being lives both in an existential community, surrounded by friends, and in a state of existential loneliness and tension, confronted by strangers. In each to whom I relate as a human being, I find a friend, for we have many things in common, as well as a stranger, for each of us is unique and wholly other.

This otherness stands in the way of complete mutual understanding. The gap of uniqueness is too wide to be bridged. Indeed, it is not a gap, it is an abyss. Of course, there prevails, quite often, a harmony of interests, – economic, political, social – upon which two individuals focus their attention. However, two people glancing at the same object may continue to lead isolated, closed-in existences. Coordination of interest does not spell an existential union.

We frequently engage in common enterprise and we prudently pursue common goals, traveling temporarily along parallel roads, yet our destinations are not the same. We are, in the words of the Torah, a helpmeet to each other, yet at the same time, we experience the state of remaining different and opposed to each other. We think, feel and respond to events not in unison but singly, each one in his individual fashion.

Man is a social being, yearning for a together-existence in which services are exchanged and experiences shared, and a lonely creature, shy and reticent, fearful of the intruding cynical glance of his next-door neighbor. In spite of our sociability and outer-directed nature, we remain strangers to each other.

Our feelings of sympathy and love for our confronter are rooted in the surface personality and they do not reach into the inner recesses of our depth personality which never leaves its ontological seclusion and never becomes involved in a communal existence.

Categories
Climate Change Global Warming

Climate Expertise Inflation By The BBC

Richard Black’s desire to defend the BBC is natural and even commendable. Still, his or any defence of the (unsigned) Feb 15 “Global warming ‘underestimated’” article is untenable.

That article is clearly misleading.

Black tries to make a point about Field’s political weight and the breadth of the IPCC “Impacts” Working Group remit:

As the new co-chair of the IPCC working group on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, he now has a leadership role in the periodic assessments of global climate change that are the most politically significant documents in the field; so his views on the subject will presumably carry some political weight, and are therefore worth reporting.

As to how well qualified someone who started life as a biologist is to pronounce on climate change; well, if you look at the scope of that IPCC working group, it’s extremely broad, and I suggest it would be impossible to find anyone who has formally studied all of the relevant disciplines.

That situation, though, is hardly unknown in science. Even within universities, a dean of science could hardly be expert in every subject in his or her faculty; yet many intelligent and able people seem to make a decent fist of it, and it’s highly unlikely, I would suggest, that Chris Field would have got the job if his peers didn’t think him qualified.

But that’s not the issue with the Feb 15 article. The problem is that the BBC chose to describe Field as a “leading climate scientist“. And whilst Black is right in stating that Field is a leader, and a scientist, and a biologist with experience in the potential impacts of climate change, by all means Field is no “climate scientist“.

Why couldn’t the BBC write of Field as a “leading biologist in the field of climate change“? As things stand instead, casual readers of that article will have no clue of the fact that Chris Field’s take on future temperatures is not a climatologist’s.

A quick search in past BBC news reports reveals how Brian Austin for example, Dean of Science at Heriot Watt University, was characterised first and foremost as the exact kind of expert he was (microbiologist) (“Sponge puzzles superbug experts“, 26/12/2005).

The BBC faux-pas about Field is perhaps telling of a mindset that conflates all kinds of experts under the all-encompassing umbrella of “climate”, whenever anybody mentions climate change/global warming within the IPCC orthodoxy.

And that mindset can only succeed in cheapening up the very concept of “climatologist”.

Categories
Climate Change Data Global Warming Omniclimate Science

World Temperature Records

Original figures by Maximiliano Herrera

This is a “polished up” list of temperature records around the world, “only what is comparable with the current design standards“.

Just out of curiosity:

  • Temperature records for the 2000s: 3 (MINs: 1; MAXs: 2)
  • 1990s: 4 (2; 2)
  • 1980s: 2 (1; 1)
  • 1970s: 1 (1; 0)
  • 1960s: 3 (0; 3)
  • 1950s: zero
  • 1940s: zero
  • 1930s: 3 (2; 1)
  • 1920s: zero
  • 1910s: 1 (1; 0)

And so for future reference:

# World Records
MIN -89.2C: Vostok, Antarctica, 21 July 1983
MAX +53,9C: Death Valley, USA, 18 July 1960, 17 July 1998, 19 July 2005, and 6 July 2007

# Africa
MIN -23.9C: Ifrane, Morocco, 11 February 1935
MAX +50,7C: Smara, Western Sahara (Morocco), 13 July 1961

# Asia
MIN -67.7C: Oymyakon, Russia, 6 February 1933
MAX +52,8C: Jacobâbâd, Pakistan, 12 June 1919

# Europe
MIN -58.1C: Ust’Schugor, Russia, 31 December 1978
MAX +48,5C: Catenanuova, Italy, 10 August 1999

# North America
MIN -69.6C: Klinck, Greenland, 22 December 1991
MAX +53,9C: Death Valley, USA, 18 July 1960, 17 July 1998, 19 July 2005, and 6 July 2007

# South America
MIN -40.0C: Puesto Viejo, Chile, 21 June 2002
MAX +47.3C: Campo Gallo, Argentina, 16 October 1936

# Australasia
MIN -23.0C: Charlotte Pass, Australia, 29 June 1994
MAX +50,7C: Oodnadatta, Australia, 2 January 1960

# Antarctica
MIN -89.2C: Vostok on 21 July 1983
MAX +19,8C: Signy Island, South Orkney Islands, 30 January 1982

Categories
Humor Italiano

Irlanda: Identificata La Primula Rossa Delle Infrazioni Stradali

Imbarazzatissima rivelazione da parte della Polizia Stradale in Irlanda, riguardo il misterioso Sig. Prawo Jazdy, automobilista apparentemente capace di commettere innumerevoli infrazioni stradali fornendo pero’ ogni volta un indirizzo diverso, e rendendosi percio’ pressocche’ introvabile alle autorita’.

La rivelazione e’ scaturita da un controllo nel piu’ vicino dizionario polacco.

La “Garda” di Dublino e dintorni ha insomma scoperto di aver inseguito per diversi mesi un inesistente signore di nome “Patente” (in polacco “Prawo”, “Diritto”) e di cognome “Di Guida” (“Jazdy”).

Categories
AGW Climate Change Data Global Warming IPCC Omniclimate Science Skepticism Warming

Behind Climate, Weather Is Still King

Twenty-third century historians debating who would be so anti-scientific as to associate an episode of extreme weather to climate, and especially to global warming, will have to look no further than two recent blogs on the recent Australian disaster:

A few things need to be firmly kept in mind:

With that in the background, let’s have a look at Brook’s work first. And it is not a pleasant one:

So, in Adelaide we have two freakishly rare extreme events happening with a 10 month period. How likely is that? Well, if the events are totally independent, we’d expect the joint likelihood of two such heatwaves (of 0.25% probability per year [the 2009 event] and 0.033% per year [2008 event], respectively), occurring within the same 12 month period, to happen about once every 1,200,000 years. Is that unlikely enough for you? But if there is ‘autocorrelation’ (dependencies between the two events due to a linked cause — such as climate change), this calculated probability is not valid.

If that isn’t a true example of why statistics have such a bad reputation (“lies, damned lies, and…”), then I do not know what is. And if that doesn’t show that Brook cannot properly talk about climate, as he doesn’t look like having even the faintest clue of what makes some days warmer than others, then I do not know what does.

And what does make some days warmer than others? Weather. By definition.

The 2009 Australian summer around Adelaide and Melbourne has seen some particularly hot days because of a peculiar weather pattern, with winds bringing hot, dry desert air towards the inhabited coast (there might have been also an intervening Foehn (warming) effect, but let’s keep that aside for the moment).

The underlying weather pattern has been described by the National Climate Centre at the Australian Government’s Bureau of Metereology:

The presence of a slow-moving high pressure system in the Tasman Sea, combined with an intense tropical low off the northwest coast of Western Australia and an active monsoon trough, provided the ideal conditions for hot tropical air to be directed over the southern parts of the continent

NASA’s Land Surface Temperature Anomaly picture reinforces this point: one can clearly see how warm air has been pushed towards Victoria, just as cool air towards Queensland. And an intervening band in the middle has then experienced whatever temperatures it usually experiences.

It’s just the same air movement. If you push “oceanic air” over Queensland, the existing “Queensland air” will move towards Victoria, and so on and so forth closing the high-pressure system circle somewhere to the East of Australia. You can get a similar result with a low-pressure system somewhere to the West too. If the two combine, so much more evident the Queensland cooling and Victoria warming. Does one need to be a veteran metereologist to understand such an easy point?

Even the briefest introduction to metereology and climatology should  make very clear to everybody how incredibly naïve and totally anti-scientific is the belief that “global warming” means hotter days in this or that part of the planet. In fact, the question Brook should have asked is: do that “slow-moving high-pressure system” and “intense tropical low” in those particular places, and that “monsoon trough”, have anything to do with (anthropogenic) climate change?

But of course Brook just about cannot get anywhere in that direction

the heatwave that struck Europe is 2003 provides a good way to illustrate my final point, thanks to a neat analysis published in Nature in 2004

Who knows, one day he may wake up to a 2007 paper, three years later that is, by Chase et al. published in the Geophysical Research Letters, asking “Was the 2003 European summer heat wave unusual in a global context?” and responding

Regression analyses do not provide strong support for the idea that regional heat or cold waves are significantly increasing or decreasing with time during the period considered here (1979–2003)

I am all for free speech, and Brook and the likes can keep on blaming perversity for the worst kind of climate change denial but there must be a point where they have to recognize how silly it is to appeal to science without understanding a iota of it.

=========

Karoly’s contribution is of a different quality, with no absolute-weather-beginner mistaken mention of reality-divorced probabilities (Karoly even talks, briefly, about weather patterns…).

His point appears to be a rather old one though. Why would heatwaves be attributable to anthropogenic global warming? Because Karoly himself, with Braganza, managed some time ago to simulate observations using climate models that include “increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases and aerosols” (see his 2004 paper referred to in the blog).

Actually, to be more precise, what happened is that Karoly and Braganza were unable to simulate observations using “natural climate variations alone“. Perish the thought that the problem might have been an inappropriate definition of those “natural climate variations”…

In any case, given the apparent strength of Karoly’s convictions dating from 2004, one might start wondering why the Chair for the “Detection and Attribution: State of Play in 2009” (Parallel Session 9) in Copenhagen would be Ann Henderson-Sellers of all people. Who she? The one claiming in the session’s very description that

the detection and attribution story was incomplete [at the time of the IPCC AR4 in 2007] due to ‘Key Uncertainties’ listed by IPCC

and listing in a September 2008 article, among the seven “Serious inadequacies in climate change prediction that are of real concern

  • The rush to emphasize regional climate does not have a scientifically sound basis […]
  • Until and unless major oscillations in the Earth System (El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) etc.) can be predicted to the extent that they are predictable, regional climate is not a well defined problem. […]

Notice how Henderson-Sellers goes on to say that “WGII is easily the weakest of the three reports. The reasons seem to be two-fold: (i) poor downscaling and (ii) the lack of a coherent methodology for impact study“.

I am sorry for Prof. Karoly but either Prof. Henderson-Sellers is very wrong on more than one point (and then what would she be doing as Chair of one session in Copenhagen?); or Karoly’s own 2004 work, and his present stance are just an example of what Henderson-Sellers describes as the rushed, scientifically unsound regional climate emphasis around a non-well-defined problem, plagued by poor downscaling and dealing with a climatic impact without a well-recognized methodology.

Does Karoly understand this problem? I think he does. Cue his large caveat about his large claim

Although formal attribution studies quantifying the influence of climate change on the increased likelihood of extreme fire danger in south-east Australia have not yet been undertaken, it is very likely that there has been such an influence

Karoly’s own language gymnastics is remarkable, with just about the right mix of “clear” and “likely” to pass most logic tests, in case things don’t turn up as expected. He’s not the first athlete to enter such a competition though.

Finally, it certainly doesn’t look too good when Karoly provides three papers linking “observed and expected increases in forest fire activity […] to climate change” but no mention of the lack of any comprehensive analysis (think of the absence of trends in fires around the Mediterranean region for example).

=========

It is rather sad to see what started as the science of climate turning pretty much into a parody, with reports and explanations forever running after the latest disaster. Very simply, this cannot be right.

Categories
AGW catastrophism Climate Change Global Warming IPCC Omniclimate Policy Science Skepticism

The Soft Science Of Climatology

Virtual kisses and hugs to Richard Black of BBC Science News fame for his recent “A questioning climate” blog, the work of somebody whose eyes may have just seen some climate sensibility:

[…] In earlier years of reporting climate change, news media were regularly accused of attributing any unusual or extreme weather events to climate change – and often the accusations were justified. […]

some scientists have on occasion gone beyond the data in arguing that climate change will bring global catastrophe […]

clearly, highly intelligent, highly educated people can look at the same set of scientific evidence and come to radically different conclusions – not, perhaps, on the basic issue of whether climate change is or isn’t happening, but certainly on what the pace is likely to be and what threat it poses. […]

These are all disparate elements of a complex picture. How do you rate them? Which do you regard as more or less important?

We are back to what you believe; and if Chris Field sees catastrophe in the picture before him, he is entitled to say so, just as Vicky Pope or Mike Hulme are entitled to urge restraint. […]

On this issue of climate understanding as a (personal) belief, I would especially like to quote the last part of Black’s blog:

Individual pieces of research rarely prove anything by themselves […] In the meantime, scientists, politicians and Joe and Joanna Bloggs down the pub are all entitled to give their own assessments, and often there is a fair amount of belief involved, even for the scientists.

To me, there’s little wrong with that. It’s what we do with politics and football and music and film, and I don’t see why climate discourse should be different.

There are facts out there, and we should recognise them as such, just as we should with medicine and social issues and economics; but there is freedom to believe too, and that, the last time I looked, was supposed to be a universal human right.

In other words, Black is saying that climatology is a “soft science”, just as the Social sciences, Economics (and may I dare suggest for personal experience, much of Medicine). He may have even claimed that the “climate discourse” is akin to pub-based football analysis, but personally I really do not want to go in that direction!!

Now, before the usual voices are heard, let me state that I do not consider “soft” to be a demeaning word for a “science”. Of course we would all want to have all sciences as precise and cast-in-stone as Mathematics, and Physics is perhaps the clearest example of what comes closest to the “ideal” concept of a “hard science”.

But there is no point in wasting time in the realm of the impossible: there are areas of knowledge that can only be dealt with in a “soft” manner. As argued by Massimo Pigliucci for “Rationally Speaking“, under the headline “Strong Inference And The Distinction Between Soft And Hard Science” (Jan 27, 2009), perhaps it’s just that the more complex the phenomenon, the more “soft” its science.

Still, if one recognizes Climatology as a “soft science”, then there is absolutely no meaning in oft-repeated claims such as “the science is settled” and “all skeptics are crank, corrupt and/or perverts“. A soft science, by definition, cannot be settled. Its conclusions are ultimately a matter of belief.

Categories
Italia Italiano Partito Democratico Politica Radicali

I Radicali Ci Riprovano

A Chianciano dal 27 febbraio all’1 marzo, perche’ “Come dopo 20 anni di fascismo è stato possibile e necessario porre fine a quel regime, ora, dopo 60 anni, è necessario chiudere con questo regime partitocratico“.

Insomma un tentativo di catturare l’attenzione almeno di quelli nel Partito Democratico che potrebbero averne abbastanza di quel progetto politico con la vitalita’ di un ectoplasma.

Dubito che succedera’ niente di particolare, anche perche’ se il PD e’ allo sfascio non e’ certo solo per colpa di Veltroni (o di Franceschini). Ma come si dice, tentar non nuoce.

Io, non vedo l’ora che i Radicali in Parlamento si rendano conto che nel PD non c’e’ rimasto proprio niente. Meglio il gruppo misto insomma che il misto stanco e penoso di Franceschini e soci.

Purtroppo non si tratta di una questione di bonta’ dell’idea pannelliana di fondare un partito democratico nella sinistra italiana in alternativa alla partitocrazia moderna (di cui peraltro il PD e’ uno dei massimi artefici). Come dimostrato al tempo della Rosa nel Pugno, affondata consapevolmente per bislacca iniziativa di Enrico Boselli, c’e’ il vuoto totale nelle idee dei dirigenti politici a sinistra, e perche’ no, anche un intruppamento sostanziale dei loro quadri ed elettorato, che voteranno PD comunque, manco fosse la loro squadra di calcio.

Categories
Berlusconi Italiano Partito Democratico Radicali Veltroni

Il Futuro del PD E’ Segnato

Sia quello che il PD dovrebbe essere se ci fosse un granello di sale nella zucca di uno solo dei suoi “leader”

iscrizione accolta senza possibilità che possa essere rifiutata; esplicita rivendicazione della positività della doppia e plurima tessera; nessuna possibilità di poter essere escluso dal partito, perché non ci sono i probiviri e altri meccanismi di espulsione; congresso a data fissa, aperto agli iscritti, che hanno, tutti, indistintamente, possibilità di candidarsi alla guida del partito, proporre e votare documenti; autonomia dei gruppi parlamentari e degli eletti

sia quello che sara’: il solito bello schifo comandato dai soliti quattro comunistacci politicamente imbelli, tutti educati alle Botteghe Oscure.

E’ questo un grosso segnale della pochezza della vita politica italiana attuale, e non certo l’egemonia di Berlusconi. Con un avversario cosi’, anche io sarei Presidente del Consiglio alla grande…

Categories
catastrophism English Ethics Overpopulation

Speaking Out About (Over-)Population

There is a sizable number of people concerned about overpopulation. They are being drawn together by a new initiative, the Global Population Speak Out, aiming at undermining “a taboo of sorts against public discussion of overpopulation”:

GPSO was born of a simple idea: What if a large number of qualified voices worldwide, many of whom might not have emphasized the topic previously, were to speak out on overpopulation all at once? The strength of numbers might help weaken the taboo and bring population issues to a more prominent position in the global discussion.

You can see the efforts of the participants in this page. The main topics are the concern of overpopulation as a major driver in resource depletion (i.e. there are too many people consuming too much too quickly) and especially in ruining the environment.

Readers of this blog will not be surprised to hear that I do not believe in gloomy forecasts, and particularly so in the gloomiest of them. I am also not convinced that there is a present situation of overpopulation right now: some back-of-the-envelope calculation seems to suggest full capacity would be around 15 billion people, even allowing for everybody to become a well-fed American. And who can forget that the current size of human population is the consequence of a struggle that must have lasted for a good part of the last million years?

Still, I also believe GPSO has a good point to make.

Let’s start considering their sensible attitude to past abuses of the overpopulation issue. Simply too many people have married the cause in the past because afraid of having to deal with millions of poor, black or Asian people. And still to this day, it is not difficult to find pea-brained arguments pitting children against the environment.

I do not see any trace of that in the original GPSO letter.

What I can see among the unfortunate repetitive claims about upcoming disasters, is a concern for what perhaps should not be, but still can develop in a big issue. My model for human activity in general is that of the long-distance travelers putting their stuff into the car’s trunk. No matter how much they plan to take with them, still they will more likely than not occupy the full trunk.

In other words, it is not much a matter of the size of the car, or the volume of things they want to bring to their destination: as far as humans are concerned, the whole available space is always to be wholly used. For another example, just check how many 1-h business meetings amazingly last for a full hour; and how easy it is for thousands and thousands of newspaper editors to fill up exactly all their available print areas, day after day, down to the eighth of an inch.

This ability for making full use of all resources within reach is something we should be very proud of; and wary, as there is little indication for when limits are actually reached. It always looks like there is more space in the trunk, and by speaking just a little faster more topics can be crammed in a meeting. But there is a limit, and the wise traveler will make sure loading is stopped early enough as to avoid damaging the car (or the stuff already loaded).

That’s why population should not be a taboo subject. And besides, it is also a topic closely related to personal freedom. For reasons too long to deal with now, women the world over have always seen their worth measured in the number of children they could bear. In theory, there is no actual need for that to continue any longer, and yet it still happens in one form or another pretty much everywhere.

Population sizes, from this point of view, can be seen as a symptom of an underlying bigger social problem. And who would want to make a symptom a taboo subject?

Categories
Italia Italiano Partito Democratico

Stephen King Presto A Roma Per Incontrare Walter

Il viaggio atteso dopo che il famoso scrittore ha espresso la sua curiosita’ nei confronti di Veltroni. “Lo invidio molto, io una storia cosi’ spaventosa e orrorifica senza proprio alcuna speranza, non sono ancora riuscito a idearla”, ha dichiarato l’autore di “Carrie” e “Misery”.

In altre notizie: esiste davvero il paranormale? Lo chiediamo ai Parlamentari Radicali alla luce della loro esperienza nell’Ectoplasma Democratico.

Categories
AGW catastrophism Climate Change CO2 Emissions Data GHG Global Warming greenhouse effect History IPCC Omniclimate Policy Politics Science

Kyoto and Sons of Kyoto: A Few Months Then The Truth

The text below has been published today on Benny Peiser’s CCNet. The original author is Col. Guido Guidi, well-known Italian TV metereologist, and main author of the Climate Monitor blog (in Italian).

Col. Guidi is a vocal advocate for a return of Climate Science to a proper scientific rather than mostly political debate and has kindly asked me to translate one of his blogs in English.

Kyoto and Sons of Kyoto: A Few Months, Then The Truth
By Guido Guidi, 13 Feb 2009

With minuscule if any expected practical effects, and a prohibitively expensive price tag, no wonder the Kyoto Protocol has elicited little enthusiasm left, right and centre of the climate debate. And at times, it has even looked simply too easy to hijack for many interests that have little to do with climate and/or the environment. For example, the whole European emission trading market scheme has been rather more successful as yet another chance for financial speculation, than as a beaconing example for sustainable development policies.

And yet, future “Sons of Kyoto” will likely be even more glorified, ever more ineffective version of the original Protocol. There is still a little ray of hope though, because in between one and the other International Conferences the Global Warming debate could be finally and definitively settled, with a return to the good old days when Earth’s climate could be analysed in a more objective manner. Here’s why.

In recent years, atmospheric carbon dioxide has been under round-the-clock watch, and global temperature too. Both have increased for a relatively long time, although with very different trends, with temperatures even showing a rather timid cooling during the last decade. Could this be enough to tip the balance of evidence against anthropogenic global warming? Maybe not, as the two factors might still be linked some other way within the vast, mostly unknown complexities of climate dynamics.

In any case, before even trying to understand how carbon dioxide may affect temperatures, we should perhaps investigate the anthropogenic and natural variabilities of this very common gas. The problem is not trivial: palaeoclimatic studies clearly show that high- and low-frequency past climatic changes have led to important changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration. And in all circumstances, temperatures have increased before carbon dioxide concentrations. Understand exactly how much our emissions actually contribute to measured CO2 increases could therefore be much harder than previously thought …unless that is, if something truly extraordinary were to provide us with a key to the solution.

Ironically, such an opportunity might be presenting itself due to the currently disastrous and apparently ever-worsening economic situation. For several months we have been hearing of drastic declines in industrial production. Percentages are nightmarish, with some sectors (especially among those that produce the most CO2 emissions) crashing by a minus 50%. With consumption going down as well, this crisis might drastically reduce emissions, more than any international agreement ever will.

The question is then: what will happen to the rate of growth of CO2 concentration into the atmosphere? Interesting scenarios may be unfurling before our eyes. Let’s make some hypotheses.

Imagine at first if CO2 will stop growing, or decrease significantly but without significant changes in temperature trends. That would mean Kyoto and its Sons deserve to be to trashed, as our activities would be shown as capable of changing carbon dioxide concentrations but not temperatures, and therefore not the climate.

Think instead if CO2 measurements keep growing, and temperatures continue to fluctuate following natural climate forcings. That too would mean Kyoto and its Sons deserve to be to trashed, as CO2 variations would demonstrably be primarily a response to natural temperature variations, starting from the current interglacial stage and the exit path from the temporary cooling known as the “Little Ice Age”.

Third and last option, if CO2 concentrations stop growing and temperatures keep falling or remain stable, even when the Sun and the oceans – largely responsible for the recent, slightly cooling phase – will have had time to run through one of their cycles, then and only then the real impact of anthropogenic global warming might finally become clear. It would mean that the post-Kyoto agreements have to be implemented rather seriously, that is with little or no political and financial speculation.

We could truly be on the verge of very interesting times for CO2 and the climate, and some hard facts could begin to show in the very next few months. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.

Categories
Economics English Politics

The Crisis Is Hitting Hard And Here Is Its Symbol

Categories
Economia Italiano

Un Simbolo Dell’Attuale Crisi Del Consumo

Categories
English Politics USA

Dr. Dismal, or Why Obama Is Likely Doing A “Sarkozy”

No, I am not suggesting that President Barack gets rid of Michelle and marries an Italian Supermodel or two, with a wild past and a musical career. What I am referring to, is the tactic of getting ready for re-election by… lowering expectations!

Paris-based Nicholas too, in fact, came to power with enormous hopes by an electorate ready for anything. Everything fizzled out quickly though, with Sarko more interested in reforming his bed companionship than the economy.

The positive thing is that nowadays, when he achieves anything concerning his Presidency, Sarkozy is hailed as the next best thing after the invention of the baguette, with a good chance of getting re-elected. Had he not performed so miserably during the first few months, he would have had instead to forever run after his own Myth, bound to certain political disaster and electoral defeat.

Expect a few more weeks of Dr. Dismal at the White House then. It is just too early to sparkle for 2012…

Categories
Cattolicesimo Etica Italia Italiano

Su Eluana, Una Chiesa Sincera

Dopo tante occasioni di silenzi e troppe parole da parte della Chiesa Cattolica in Italia, tutte azioni dalla scarsa innocenza e magari suggeritorie di fini nascosti e giochi troppo politici e troppo poco Cristiani, forse forse sulla vicenda di Eluana Englaro la Chiesa ha agito in maniera davvero sincera.

E’ il sospetto che viene verificandone il comportamento dopo la morte della Englaro. A differenza di quel covo di iene e sciacalli chiamato Palazzo Madama, dove il minuto di silenzio e’ stato solo una parentesi bianca fra le parole “ti odio”, la Chiesa Cattolica ha abbassato praticamente subito i toni. Addirittura, il Parroco di Paluzza dove si sono tenuti i funerali ha scoperto il valore della morte per i Cristiani:

Su un quotidiano – ha aggiunto il parroco rivolgendosi a Eluana – ho visto l’annuncio della tua morte con accanto un quadrato nero. Ma per noi cristiani non e’ cosi’. La morte e’ luce. Ora tu sei libera e puoi riposare in pace. Sei vicina a Dio e quindi conosci la verita’. Ti prego – ha aggiunto – di illuminarci tutti e soprattutto di stare vicino alla tua mamma e al tuo papa’.

A testimonianza del fatto che non si sia trattato dell’estemporanea uscita di un Parroco qualunque, le parole dell’Arcivescovo di Udine

”Vi siamo sempre stati vicino – ha scritto mons. Brollo – e soprattutto siamo stati vicini a papa’ Beppino e mamma Saturna. Eluana merita una grande manifestazione di affetto. Lei ci ha parlato e ci ha interrogato. Tu ora sei nella verita’ – ha concluso Brollo – e conosci piu’ di noi la verita”’.

Troppa grazia (Grazia?), verrebbe da dire. Allora forse si puo’ discutere pienamente di eutanasia e testamento biologico, senza temere di rimanere legati a una macchina, non piu’ vivi e non ancora morti fino al Giorno del Giudizio

Categories
AGW catastrophism Climate Change Culture Global Warming IPCC Omniclimate Science Skepticism

Climate Predictions? Climate Predictions????

My comment posted to Nature News’ “Australian bushfires rage“:

People that could know better should also really refrain from using words such as “prediction”. I cannot believe we still have to discuss this, but here we are…there is no such a thing as a “climate prediction”. The IPCC is not in the “prediction” business, and it has never been.

What climate models do is run “scenarios”, “what-ifs”, computations in which some parameters get changed, and everything else remains equal. That is a normal way of conducting risk analysis, but only if everybody keeps in mind that OF COURSE in the real world everything changes, and nothing remains equal.

Climate models are therefore tools to probe risks and sensitivities, not crystal balls. As a matter of fact, they can’t, won’t and never will tell us anything precise about future weather, weeks, months, years or centuries in the future: just as no donkey will ever win the Kentucky Derby.

That doesn’t mean climate models (or donkeys) are useless: rather, they should be used for what they are worth using.

So much has to be agreed by all, otherwise what are we discussing about, I do not know. And I invite Quirin Schiermeier to correct the article accordingly. Then and only then we can talk in a sensible fashion.

Categories
Etica Italia Italiano Politica

Dal TG1 Una Speranza Per Il Testamento Biologico

Marinella Chirico del TGR Friuli, l’unica giornalista ammessa nell’ultima stanza di Eluana, ha descritto la sua esperienza nel Telegiornale delle 20 del 10 Febbraio.

Un paio di minuti che andrebbero trascritti, ripetuti, trasmessi, rivisti e presentati tutte le volte che qualche anima bella parla di impedire che sia possibile stabilire nel proprio testamento biologico la sospensione di cibo e acqua.

Un’intervista alla Chirico e’ su Repubblica TV e la giornalista e’ stata invitata anche a Porta a Porta.

Categories
Etica Italia Italiano Politica

Nessuna Speranza A Sinistra

Ebbene si’, mi sono sbagliato, quando ho scritto nel Luglio 2008

Invito quindi specie i piu’ focosi dei miei interlocutori “sinistri” a un po’ di sano ottimismo. Da ora in poi, la situazione non potra’ che migliorare.

E’ andata peggio? Si’, e non c’e’ nessun segno di ripresa. Anche la reazione al “Pacchetto Sicurezza” si sta avviando verso l’ennesima debacle.

Nonostante quanto urlato da sinistra, infatti, l’articolo 39 del DDL Sicurezza non impone alcun obbligo di denuncia da parte dei medici nei confronti dei colpevoli di clandestinita’

“L’emendamento del Carroccio all’articolo 39 del ddl sicurezza stabilisce che sia soppresso il comma 5 dell’articolo 35 del decreto legislativo 286/1988 che recita: «L’accesso alle strutture sanitarie da parte dello straniero non in regola con le norme sul soggiorno non può comportare alcun tipo di segnalazione all’autorità, salvo i casi in cui sia obbligatorio il referto, a parità di condizioni con il cittadino italiano».”

Si trova quindi improvvisamente ad avere ragione Maroni quando dice

“I medici non hanno l’obbligo di denunciare i clandestini. La denuncia è facoltativa, e dunque non ci può essere obiezione di coscienza”

Tutta la cagnara, e tutte le dichiarazioni sulla obiezione di coscienza, basate dunque sul niente (l’obbligo che anche un bambino puo’ vedere come obbligo non sia) finiscono con il favorire la Lega prima di tutto (“non lo vedete? da sinistra solo demagogia e un coro di falsita’!”)

Prima i medici non potevano denunciare, adesso possono. Punto. Adesso, chi non vuole, non denuncia. Chi denuncia, vedra’ diminuire il flusso di clandestini verso di se’, rischiando anche di avere meno clienti privati.

Non sono mica poi stupidi, i clandestini, hanno spesso attraversato il Sahara a piedi e appena si spargera’ la voce andranno da chi e’ affidabile. Alcuni dottori con pochi scrupoli arrotonderanno infine lo stipendio facendosi consegnare dei soldi in cambio del silenzio. La Corte Costituzionale cancellera’ la norma perche’ in base alle leggi europee non si puo’ fare distinzione su base etnica o di cittadinanza, per cui il Governo dovra’ ripresentare la legge in modo che il medico possa denunciare anche il mafioso, il ladro e il politico corrotto.

Il risultato sara’ che non ci sara’ alcun risultato. Tutto come prima, buonanotte suonatori, fatta la legge trovato l’inganno. Questa mi sembra una critica puntuale e che puo’ capire anche il bambino che da’ ragione a Maroni. Una critica che smaschererebbe anche la demagogia di certa parte della Lega.

E invece…

Categories
AGW catastrophism Climate Change Culture Global Warming Omniclimate Politics Science Skepticism

The Pope Should Learn A Thing Or Two From Certain Climate Scientists

Who could have ever imagined, the white-robed guy in Rome somehow admitting fallibility, whilst there still is nothing, nothing, nothing at all that will ever under any circumstance contradict contemporary consensual climate “science”?

Categories
AGW catastrophism Climate Change Culture Global Warming Humor Omniclimate Skepticism

Is Gavin Schmidt The Best Thing Ever Happened To AGW Skeptics?

One wonders. As one has been wondering. For quite some time.

Categories
Berlusconi Cattolicesimo Etica Italia Italiano Politica

Divieto di Morte

Visto che esistono il cuore artificiale, il polmone artificiale, i reni artificiali, etc etc, non e’ che tra qualche anno ci saranno abbastanza macchinari per cui non connettervi un malato terminale sarebbe interpretato come una forma di eutanasia?

Non parliamo poi dell’invenzione della conservazione criogenica umana reversibile, per cui ci troveremmo tutti o quasi congelati uno o due minuti prima di morire, nel caso la condizione che ci ha ucciso possa essere guarita nell’anno 5546 o giu’ di li’.

Immagino gia’ enormi cliniche magari sotterranee piene di corpi destinati a una vita eterna un po’ diversa dalla Vita Eterna come di solito la si immagina…

Categories
Berlusconi Italia Italiano Liberta' Politica

Sul Caso Englaro, Il Lucido Ragionamento di Berlusconi

Berlusconi sul caso Englaro si sta comportando politicamente in maniera perfetta (per chi non voglia prendere ne’ l’una ne’ l’altra parte).

E’ praticamente impossibile che sbagli. Se Eluana muore, puo’ dire di aver fatto tutto quello che poteva. Se Eluana non muore, puo’ dire di aver fatto tutto quello che poteva.

A stare fermo si sarebbe beccato un fortissimo “traditore” dai clericali e invece un deboluccio “bravo” da anticlericali e libertari, i quali, soprattutto i primi, tanto non lo voteranno mai comunque.

ps alla fine con il DDL siamo arrivati allo scontro democratico con il ritorno del potere del Parlamento sul Governo. Se ne e’ accorto nessuno?

Categories
Berlusconi Italia Italiano Liberta' Politica

Da Eluana Al Cibo Gratis

Pasti e bevande stanno per diventare obbligatori in tutta la Penisola e isole comprese

l’alimentazione e l’idratazione, in quanto forme di sostegno vitale e fisiologicamente finalizzate ad alleviare le sofferenze, non possono in alcun caso essere rifiutate dai soggetti interessati

Insomma da domani, tutti a Palazzo Chigi che’ “sse magna aggratisse!!”

ps chi fa lo sciopero della fame rischia la galera, immagino

Categories
AGW catastrophism Climate Change CO2 Emissions Data Global Warming Omniclimate Science

A Shell Game Behind Ocean Acidification?

This is the story of how field data showing higher CO2 concentrations in the past is what probably lies behind the increasingly louder alarm calls about ocean acidification in the future.

The story ends with the “Monaco Declaration” and “more then 150 top marine researchers” voicing “their concerns [that] he world’s marine ecosystems risk being severely damaged by ocean acidification unless there are dramatic cuts in CO2 emissions“, as per this recent BBC story.

The story starts with two articles by “Pearson and Palmer” in Science (1999) and Nature (2000):

(1) Pearson, P.N. and Palmer, M.R. 1999. Middle Eocene seawater pH and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. Science 284: 1824-1826

(2) Pearson, P.N. and Palmer, M.R. 2000. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations over the past 60 million years. Nature 406: 695-699

According to (1) , “[…] construction of a pH profile for the middle Eocene tropical Pacific Ocean shows that atmospheric pCO2 was probably similar to modern concentrations or slightly higher”.

The abstract in (2) reads “[…] We estimate CO2 concentrations of more than 2,000 p.p.m. for the late Palaeocene and earliest Eocene periods (from about 60 to 52 Myr ago) […] Since the early Miocene (about 24 Myr ago), atmospheric CO2 concentrations appear to have remained below 500 p.p.m. and were more stable than before, although transient intervals of CO2 reduction may have occurred during periods of rapid cooling approximately 15 and 3 Myr ago“.

Lest we forget, it is commonly accepted that CO2 changes follow temperature. Anyway, the two Pearson and Palmer papers show:

  • a +5C warmer Earth than today during the Eocene, for an estimated 385ppmv of CO2 (min:180; max:550)
  • hence, either an extreme climate sensitivity or more likely “that the global cooling since the Eocene was not driven primarily by changes in pCO
  • large variations in atmospheric CO2 concentrations not exactly associated to incredible bloomings or mass extinctions in marine life

It would appear obvious that the above is no basis for any concern about marine life and acidification caused by increased CO2 concentrations. So how does one get from start to apparently contradictory end?

Here’s how. Let’s trace the path backwards.

[i] On the side of the BBC article, follow the link to “The Ocean Acidification Network“.

[ii] Click on “How is the ocean acidity changing?” and look at the graph.

[iii] Note the huge swing 1800-2000, covering almost the whole range experienced during the past 25 million years.

[iv] The caption says “From Pearson and Palmer, adapted by Turley et al. and from the Eur-Oceans Fact Sheet No. 7, “Ocean Acidification – the other half of the CO2 problem”, May 2007“.

[v] The Pearson and Palmer reference is (2) above. The Turley reference is:

(3) Turley, C., et al. (2006), Reviewing the Impact of Increased Atmospheric CO2 on Oceanic pH and the Marine Ecosystem, in Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, 65-70, Cambridge University Press

[vi] Parts of that book are available via Google, and in particular most of the Turley et al. contribution, with a page with that exact graph.

[vii] Note the respective sources for the values displayed:

  • Points before 1800 are defined in (3) as “Past…variability of marine pH” with a reference once again to Pearson and Palmer from 2000 (once again, reference (2) above).
  • The values for 1800 and 2000 are defined as “contemporary variability of marine pH” (i.e. the huge swing as per step [iii] above).
  • The 2050 and 2100 diamonds are “model derived…based on IPCC mean scenarios“.

[viii] What could those models be? Look at “Ocean Acidification” on Wikipedia. The main reference for future predictions is this Orr et al.’s article in Nature in 2005:

(4) Orr, J.C. et al. Anthropogenic ocean acidification over the twenty-first century and its impact on calcifying organisms, Nature 437, 681-686 (29 September 2005) (full text)

[ix] Look at the caption of figure 1 in the full text. Orr et al. write that they estimate “pre-modern DIC” (dissolved inorganic carbon) “by subtracting data-based anthropogenic DIC […] as well as by subtracting model-based anthropogenic DIC“.

[x] The authors refer the readers to the “Supplementary Info” for their article (full text). Therein they mention this 2004 Science article:

(5) Sabine C.L. et al., “The Oceanic Sink for Anthropogenic CO2“, Science 16 July 2004 Vol. 305. no. 5682, pp. 367 – 371

[xi] Interestingly, Sabine et al. write the following in response to a comment about (5): “Our assessment of the impact of climate change on the ocean carbon inventory applies only to the past 200 years“.

[xii] In other words, the estimates done by Orr et al. for 1800 are at the very edge of visibility.

This means that the huge swing as of step [iii] may actually be an artifact of analysis.

——————————————————–

In summary:

  • even if past data suggests that the oceans can cope reasonably well with very large variations in atmospheric CO2 concentrations (1) (2),
  • that same data is taken as evidence of future ocean acidification,
  • using a graph from an article that estimates ocean pH between 1800 and 2100 (3)
  • based on a work that compares pre-modern and modern marine CO2 concentrations (4)
  • according to another work whose results barely cover the whole period (5).

A swift sleight of hand in some kind of peer-reviewed shell game, perhaps?

Categories
Etica Italia Italiano

Eluana Englaro Alla CNN

In prima pagina sulla CNN in questo momento, e anche sul sito della BBC.

Possibile che casi come quello siano cosi’ straordinariamente rari da scalzare tutto cio’ che succede nel resto del mondo? Se cio’ fosse vero, non mi sembrerebbe molto saggio legiferarci sopra.

Categories
Economics English EU Europe UK

British Workers First! Down With Foreign Labour!

I will show my support for the British strikes against the use of foreign labour by leaving the country the day after…getting back all the taxes I have paid in the UK since Nov 1, 1997.

It’s your chance, Gordon, to free up yet another workplace for a native of Albion. And for a relatively minor amount of money too!!!