Ora Legale: Interrogazione (Parlamentare) Da Cinque In Scienze

Con tutto il rispetto questa interrogazione Poretti/Perduca (basata su affermazioni dell’ADUC) non mi sembra candidata a passare alla storia fra le piu’ decisive ed importanti.

Che fine hanno fatto gli studi che indicano un risparmio, e non una spesa in piu’ quando si passa all’ora legale? Quale sarebbe il vantaggio di non usare, unici e soli in Europa, l’ora legale insieme a tutti gli altri? Ci interessa sapere quante persone in meno muoiano per le strade grazie all’ora legale, visto che si sfrutta meglio la luce solare?

Non c’e’ poi niente di piu’ importante cui dedicare il tempo di un’associazione di consumatori, due parlamentari e il personale di due ministeri?

Faccio anche notare che lo studio sull’Australia non riguardava l’esistenza dell’ora legale ma la sua estensione. Come si legge al termine dell’abstract “These results suggest that current plans and proposals to extend DST will fail to conserve energy.” “Questi risultati suggeriscono che i piani e le proposte attuali per estendere il periodo in cui vige l’ora legale falliranno nell’obiettivo di conservare energia“.

E nel testoOur study challenges the findings in the DST-energy literature that have been used to justify these calls for the expansion of DST.”. “Il nostro studio smentisce i risultati nella letterature scientifica riguardo l’ora legale, risultati che sono stati usati per giustificare le richieste di estensione dell’ora legale stessa“.

In our study, we offer a new test of whether extending DST decreases energy consumption by evaluating a quasi-experiment that occurred in Australia in 2000“. “Nel nostro studio forniamo un nuovo test riguardo la possibilita’ che l’estensione dell’ora legale diminuisca il consumo di energia attraverso la valutazione di un quasi-esperimento che e’ occorso in Australia nel 2000“.

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Per il futuro si suggerisce di relazionarsi in maniera piu’ critica con le fonti, e con l’ADUC

Dieci Spunti Dal Congresso del PdL

Grazie all’invito da parte dell’On. Guglielmo Picchi, ho partecipato al Congresso di fondazione del PdL a Roma dal 27 al 29 Marzo in qualita’ di Delegato per gli Italiani all’Estero.

E’ stata un’esperienza molto positiva (no, non mi sono commosso e non ho sventolato nessuna bandiera. La prossima volta ne porto una con la mia foto…). E’ stata un’esperienza  che mi ha fatto anche esperire lo straordinario spessore trasversale dell’intero movimento fondato e ispirato da Silvio Berlusconi.

L’Italia, senza tutte queste persone, non si puo’ governare.

Di note ne ho prese tante, ma per il momento mi voglio limitare a dieci spunti molto veloci:

1. Senza Confini

Il PdL e’ stato costruito in modo che chiunque possa trovarcisi a suo agio. Chiunque. C’e’ spazio per tutti, a patto che si riescano a mettere insieme almeno una trentina di altri iscritti, e formare una Associazione. Non e’ dato ovviamente sapere cosa succederebbe in caso di conflitto con le alte gerarchie: ma da Statuto, un’Associazione puo’ esistere motu proprio, e non solo in dipendenza dell’accettazione da parte del resto del partito. Da questo punto di vista, a parte qualche increspatura (ma che ci fanno i Probiviri in un partito post-ideologico???), il PdL contiene davvero il principio della liberta’ di pensiero e di azione, e ricorda molto piu’ Radicali Italiani e la loro “Galassia” che un partito vecchio stampo.

2. La Vera Sfida E’ Per I Missionari

Dubito che il Delegato medio abbia compreso fino in fondo il significato del messaggio di Berlusconi quando ha parlato di “diventare missionari”. Andarsene in giro a raccontare il Verbo trasformerebbe il PdL in una specie di versione politica dei Testimoni di Geova, raggiungendo punte di ridicolo invece che la maggioranza assoluta dei voti degli Italiani. Quello che i “missionari” dovrebbero fare e’ applicare per esempio la Carta dei Valori, non chiacchierarci sopra.

3. Un Partito Monarchico

Il PdL e’ straordinariamente centrato sul suo vertice. Non si muove (quasi…) foglia che Silvio non voglia, e la struttura ricorda quasi quella del Paradiso di Dante, con tutte le “anime” ugualmente beate ma pur sempre gerarchicamente divise. Con il mio tesserino blu potevo passare il primo e secondo cielo, ma durante i momenti clou mi era impedito ogni accesso al palco e a volte anche alla prima ventina di file. Insomma per cambiare analogia, mi sono sentito un po’ Vassallo e un po’ Valvassore…

4. In Una Kermesse, Niente Riunioni

Non solo non c’era alcuna Commissione e alcun dibattito, non c’era neanche alcuno spazio usufruibile da parte dei Delegati per delle riunioni fra di loro. Per un motivo o per l’altro, e’ stato deciso che questo non e’ il periodo del confronto fra le idee. Non e’ detto che non sia una scelta molto saggia, anche perche’ opposta a quella del PD dove per mantenere l’unita’ si e’ deciso di far addirittura finta di non avere proprio alcuna idea di alcun tipo.

5. Tocca Alle Idee

Piu’ di uno dei relatori e’ ritornato sul problema delle idee. E’ inutile che il PdL continui a lamentarsi dell’egemonia intellettuale della sinistra se non viene dato spazio alla analisi e alla sintesi comune delle idee. Questo lo sanno piu’ o meno tutti, ma qualcuno lassu’ deve avere il coraggio di lasciare le idee libere di misurarsi l’una con l’altra. Se tutto o quasi il mondo delle think-tank si limita pero’ alla Fondazione Magna Carta o giu’ di li’, allora restiamo fermi al punto di partenza.

6. La Consapevolezza Fra I Colonnelli

C’e’ ovviamente un forte stampo conservatore nel PdL. Ma ogni tanto si sentiva qualcuno dei relatori anche esprimere la consapevolezza della necessita’ di atteggiamenti a volte diversi, con richiami al miglior liberalismo. Forse fra una coltellata e un morso l’uno contro l’altro (un’organizzazione monarchica e’ sempre ed ovviamente anche un covo di vipere), anche i Colonnelli si rendono in fondo conto di quello che andrebbe fatto.

7. Il Pericolo Fini

Gianfranco Fini e’ “pericoloso”. Per il PD, che ovviamente non capisce niente e si accanisce nelle solite storie su Berlusconi. Fini fini…ra’ davvero per beccarsi piu’ del 50% dell’elettorato. I “suoi” ex-AN ormai sappiamo che lo seguiranno in capo al mondo, anche quando non sono completamente d’accordo. Gli ex-FI comincia gia’ a lavorarli ai fianchi, finche’ acclameranno pure lui. Basta allora aggiungere un po’ di leghisti, gli UDC e una spolveratina di elettori di sinistra, e la maggioranza e’ sua: mentre Silvio e’ difficile pensare che possa raccogliere piu’ consensi di quelli che gia’ ha.

8. “Faccione” Per Pochi Secondi, Del “Caso Umano” Neanche L’Ombra

Il Sen. De Gregorio si e’ visto per pochi secondi sul palco. Poi e’ scomparso per rimaterializzarsi in Sud America, manco fosse la Strega Cattiva dell’Ovest dal Mago di Oz. E’ stato un bene cosi’ non ho dovuto pensare a quale scarpa far finta di tirare a un tipo come lui, che ha preferito gettare discredito su milioni di italiani all’estero pur di appoggiare il sig. Nicola Di Girolamo, definito finanche da De Gregorio come un “caso umano”. Come si sa Di Girolamo, anche se riceve lo stipendio di senatore, lo e’ come io sono il segretario del Papa. E anche Di Girolamo non si e’ fatto vedere, partito per l’Argentina lui “eletto” in Europa (figuriamoci) e ben consapevole che ogni sua parola sarebbe stata accolta da urla e fischi (e non la scarpa gli avrei tirato, ma il passaporto dove e’ scritto che io davvero sono “italiano all’estero”)

9. L’Unico A Rompere La Coreografia

Magari mi sbaglio, ma ho l’impressione che l’unico intervento al microfono nella sala del Congresso (Padiglione 8 ) che non fosse previsto da alcuna scaletta preventiva, e’ stato quello del sottoscritto, a difesa (applaudita, ma vana)di un emendamento allo Statuto che avrebbe garantito un po’ di risorse e autonomia in piu’ per il PdL all’estero. E c’e’ chi si e’ lamentato del mio “rompere” (giustamente, immagino!).

Il video con il mio intervento (nella serata della seconda giornata) e’ disponibile per qualche settimana scaricando questo file e ascoltando dal minuto 29’57” al minuto 31’20”. Il video e’ anche disponibile in modalita’ streaming.

10. La Politica del Dispetto

In ultimo una considerazione solo all’apparenza umoristica. Per qualche motivo, sia Berlusconi che Fini che tanti relatori hanno fatto l’elenco di quello che dovrebbe fare il Partito Democratico per poter diventare alternativa di Governo al PdL. Se Franceschini e compari fossero politicamente furbi se non politicamente intelligenti (ne dubito) prenderebbero carta e penna e ricopierebbero tutti i suggerimenti per applicarli domani stesso. Ma Silvio sa benissimo che pur di fargli un dispetto, al PD sbatterebbero le proprie teste sul muro fino a sanguinare: per cui dice loro cosa dovrebbero fare sapendo benissimo che quelli faranno il contrario, lasciando quindi il PD nella solita confusione sconclusionata in cui e’ impantanato.

Catlin's Arctic Diary: Who's Writing It?

Remarkably, the “diary” messages arriving from the Catlin Arctic Survey Team resemble each other, with a single-phrase beginning sentence, a similar length of around 300/330 words, lexical density around 55%, etc etc.

With the experience in one’s blog that entries can be vastly different from one day to the next for the same person when there is no professional oversight to the text, one is left wondering how heavy an editing is being done on the BBC side before the original thoughts by Hadow, Daniels and Hartley are published to the world.

Is that some kind of high-brow “reality show” that we are being fed with?

AGWers Of The World Unite!

Some people are a bit reluctant in making it clear that the AGW efforts are a political attempt at social engineering on a massive scale, perhaps with one idea or two about a World Government.

That’s definitely not the case for Professor Claus Leggewie, Director of the Institute for Scientific Culture for the State of Essen (Germany), and Member of the Scientific Advisory Group for the German Federal Government on all topics Global Environmental Change.

Professor Leggewie writes on the Sueddeutsche Zeitung (Mar 23) in the aptly-titled “Political Economy As Climate Defence” (SZ, 23 March):

The contemporaneous crisis of the Economy and the Environment requires a radical new way of thinking in a global dimension. It necessitates a structural change of great depth and long duration. If [such a change] is not thought and dared today…we will lose the still-feasible move towards a Low-Carbon Economy. […]

It is clear that Leggewie sees the economical crisis as a good chance to avoid the climate crisis. The latter is the goal, the former just a means to force everybody in the “right” direction…

A “Climate Marx” must surely be in the offing…

Is Humanity Abysmally Clueless On Climate?

Setback for climate technical fix

Leaders of the German-Indian expedition said they had gained valuable scientific information, but that their results suggested iron fertilisation could not have a major impact, at least in that region of the oceans.

No further comment should be needed…

Exhibition "Artists React To Climate Change"

A little-known exhibition is undergoing in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria (Germany) until June 14, 2009: “Promenade Among The Degrees – Artists react to Climate Change“.

There is unfortunately not much available on the web. Plenty of photographs on show, apparently, although it is not clear how any of those would represent Climate Change or any consequence of it. More interesting the “Calling the glacier” exhibit, with a phone-like device where one can hear a melting glacier.

Unfortunately Kaufbeuren is not exactly a place one by pure chance can pass by. Perhaps somebody somewhere will publish a few pictures of the exhibition itself.

Prove Tecniche Di Addio Al Partito Democratico

[…] “Mi sembra di poter dire che tutte le parti fondamentali, costituenti l’intervento, il programma, il progetto politico di Gianfranco Fini hanno una parentela diretta e patente con l’essenziale della storia radicale”, ha aggiunto Pannella […]

What To Do With Abusive Partners?

Target practice? Practical lessons for aspiring torturers? Food and fun for killer ants?

The video was produced by DoSomething.org.

Another Good Argument About The Greenhouse Venus Hypothesis

From JoNova’s “DeSmog accidentally vindicates The Skeptics Handbook

The next time a warmist yells Venus. Just yell back Mars. Its’ atmosphere is 95% carbon dioxide and yet, oops – it’s not 400 degrees, instead, it’s minus 40. The warmists with half a brain might come back at you with the explanation that Mars’s atmosphere is thin, but that’s just fine. That IS the point really isn’t it? Mars is cold because it’s atmosphere is so thin, and for exactly the opposite reason, that’s why Venus is Hot.

ps Hugs&kisses for linking to Omniclimate, of course! A list of my Venus-related blogs is available at this link.

In the Obama Administration, Two Mutually Incompatible Takes On Climate Change

In the Obama Administration, Energy Secretary Steven Chu wants to start “addressing the scientific and technical challenges of climate change“. Meanwhile, Climate Czarine Carol Browner is on the record for stating that global warming is “the greatest challenge ever faced“.

But is that a vision shared by the President himself? Hardly so. Very recently at the Costa Mesa Town Hall Meeting in California (March 18) President Obama singularly failed to mention climate in a list of upcoming challenges including the cost of health care, the dependency on oil imports and education.

It appears that for the current President, “climate” is a useful but merely ancillary issue to “energy”. But how can “the greatest challenge ever faced” be subordinate to energy or anything else? And how long will the likes of Chu and Browner, and everybody else one the side of Al Gore, tolerate such a situation?

It will be interesting to see if the “doom and gloom” camp will be able to get any traction against President Obama’s very own “Yes we can” mantra.

Immigrants as Guests? Not Really…

Since when do people ask their guests to pay taxes, to pay for the accommodation, and to find and keep a job? And since when have guests stopped being almost sacred?

Evidently, immigrants the world over experience something completely different from being “guests”. And so they are not.

Il Mito Degli Immigrati Come “Ospiti”

E da quando in qua sarebbe comune far pagare le tasse al proprio ospite, fargli pagare pure l’abitazione, mandarlo a lavorare e non considerarlo piu’ sacro come dovuto?

E’ ben evidente che gli immigrati non sono trattati come ospiti. E quindi, non lo sono.

In The Obama Administration, Two Incompatible Faces On Climate Change

Is Climate Change such a high priority for President Obama as he sometimes claims it to be, and for what reasons exactly?

Apparently, US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu is convinced that “a shift away from fossil fuels is essential to combat global warming“. So for Chu the course of action is to change on Energy in order to deal with Global Warming. In other words _the_ problem is Global Warming, and Energy just a means to solve it.

In truth, though, Chu is (still?) not the person taking “the key decisions on energy and climate change policy“. That is in the hands of a restricted group headed by the “politically savvyCarol Browner, an Al Gore’s “acolyte” and President Obama’s Climate Czar.

Browner believes that climate change is “the greatest challenge ever faced“, so we are back to Chu’s stance.

However, there are still all indications that the President himself takes a different approach, considering Climate Change as just one part of the wider issue of Energy, and not viceversa. For Obama himself, in other words, _the_ problem is how to get a safeguarded and stable supply of Energy, and Climate Change just a politically useful, additional reason to push for it.

As an example to support the above, take the President’s speech at Costa Mesa Town Hall Meeting, last March 18. The one and only mention of climate change is in an undescript part of the full text, and just as a corollary to the Energy problem. It is so tiny, I am underlining the relative sentence to make it stand out:

Because we know that enhancing America’s competitiveness will also require reducing our dependence on foreign oil and building a clean energy economy, this budget will spark the transformation we need to create green jobs and launch renewable energy companies right here in California.  It makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy.

It invests in technologies like wind power and solar power and fuel-efficient cars and trucks powered by batteries like the ones I’ll be seeing in Rosemead tomorrow, all of which will also help combat climate change — because the weather is already nice in Orange County, we don’t want it to get warmer.

Just as interestingly, there is talk about Energy but no Global Warming or Climate Change even when the President makes a list of upcoming challenges

Well, I say our challenges are too large to ignore.  The cost of health care is too high to ignore.  The dependence on oil is too dangerous to ignore.  Our education deficit is too wide to ignore.

What will Czarine Browner think of the above?

Politically, the situation appears to be on the edge of untenable: if they really believe in what they are saying, Gore’s “acolytes” will not be able to accept being simply a “side-show”, subordinate to Energy. And if the President wants to carry forward the “Yes, we can” mantra, there will be no much space left to the doomers and gloomers. As I wrote last November:

Climate Change has been explicitly presented time and again as “THE challenge for the present generation” by the likes of Al Gore. Well, Barack Obama’s “Change” is enough of a generational challenge in itself, much bigger than Climate Change and perfectly capable to outlive it

Darwin 0 – Climate Change 1

Either an episode of censorship, or the reaction to an overeager editor trying to change a magazine’s content at the very last moment, but in any case what should one make of the fact that in Turkey as in many other places in the world, it is easier to talk Climate Change than Darwin?

Left: the rejected cover for "Science and Technology". Right: Global Climate Change
Left: the rejected cover for "Science and Technology". Right: Global Climate Change

Whose side is Science’s, one wonders?

Stop Press! West Antartica Is Melting!!

Or maybe, not yet…

In warmer past and likely future, West Antarctica melted regularly, raising seas tremendously“: yes, but the “likely future […] will be hundreds if not a thousand years from now“.

From a “news” viewpoint, this is definitely one for the record books. Printed just a few centuries earlier than usual…

Upcoming breaking news: will the USA strengthen itself after the economic crisis of AD 6358? What to do to prepare for the influx of refugees in the Siberian wars of the 86th century? And will the Chicago Cubs win the World Series of AD 11,908, for the first time in a 10,000 years?

(yes some things will never change)

Troubled Times At The U.S. Capitol

With President Obama fully back on the campaign trail (will he ever thank his colleague Bill C enough?), shouting out loud “It’s my responsibility” often enough to convince everybody that it is not, it’s those poor Senators and Congressmen that find themselves in uncomfortably hot seats. When oh when will they learn to beware of clever guys?

Un Iran Pragmaticamente Nucleare

Roger Cohen (notare il cognome!) scrive sul NYT/IHT:

Il pragmatismo è anche un modo di guardare al programma nucleare iraniano. Uno Stato che si deve confrontare con le potenze nucleari di Israele e Pakistan, con l’invasione americana nei confinanti Iraq e in Afghanistan, avendo anche notato che la Corea del Nord non è stato colpita, può ragionevolmente concludere che per preservare la rivoluzione bisogna essere risoluti con il proprio piano nucleare

Perché dovrebbe tutto cio’ essere che una cosa tanto difficile da capire?

Pragmatically Nuclear Iran

Roger Cohen (note the family name!) writes on the NYT/IHT:

Pragmatism is also one way of looking at Iran’s nuclear program. A state facing a nuclear-armed Israel and Pakistan, American invasions in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan, and noting that North Korea was not hit, might reasonably conclude that preserving the revolution requires nuclear resolve

Why would that be such a difficult thing to understand?

Franco Grillini, Il Dodicesimo Uomo

Cosi’ come io sono il calciatore da preferire nella squadra avversaria (date le mie terribili capacita’ con i piedi), altrettanto dovrebbero essere contenti gli omofobi ad avere Franco Grillini come avversario.

Il suo Porta a Porta e’ stato un disastro. Forse dopo un certo numero di anni di lotta quantunque legittima, sarebbe meglio lasciare il campo a persone con meno bagaglio di recriminazioni.

L’Ironia (Senza Confini) Della Sorte

Un po ‘di storia degli attentati suicidi nel mondo islamico, come riportata sulla Suedeutsche Zeitung partendo dal libro di Gilles Kepel “Terreur et martyre”):

  1. Negli anni 1980, durante la straordinariamente lunga guerra Iran-Iraq, la quasi esausta Repubblica Islamica ha da Teheran inizia a inviare bambini per ripulire i campi minati (con i loro corpi, pero’), rifacendosi a una tradizione sciita riguardo l’auto-immolazione
  2. Intorno al 1993, la propaganda iraniana insegna l’uso della tecnica a Hezbollah, i loro alleati libanesi (ancorche’ sunniti), ovviamente solo e soltanto per lottare contro l’occupazione israeliana della Palestina, e spostando quindi la fraseologia da “auto-immolazione” a “operazione di martirio”
  3. Inizialmente, i teologi sunniti non sono stati a favore delle “operazioni di martirio”. Ma cio’ e’ cambiato circa intorno al 1996, con il “bonus aggiunto” di classificare i civili israeliani “obiettivi legittimi” (si sa, la maggior parte di loro sono stati e sono tuttora tenuti a servire nell’esercito a un certo punto della loro vita)
  4. Dopo una serie di sanguinosi attentati suicidi che hanno afflitto Israele per un po ‘di tempo, il top è stato raggiunto, ovviamente, con il 9 / 11 la distruzione delle Twin Towers
  5. Dopo l’invasione dell’Iraq pero’, e’ arrivato il momento della tragedia anche per i piu’ convinti, con terroristi sunniti impegnatissimi in attentati suicidi contro gli sciiti …!

Insomma il cerchio si e’ chiuso, con un supremo senso di ironia da parte del Fato (o di Dio). Ma non dimentichiamo un barlume di speranza per concludere: nonostante le bombe di Madrid e di Londra, più altra in Kenya e altrove, gli organizzatori di attentati suicidi e’ un po’ che vedono le loro opportunita’ in peggioramento.

Deve essere piuttosto difficile sostenere la legittimità dell’uso di di attentati suicidi, una tecnica originariamente sciita, proprio per uccidere altri sciiti. E che tipo di “combattente islamico per la libertà” puo’ mai pensare che il modo migliore per liberare i musulmani sia ucciderli?

Fate’s Unrelenting Twists of Irony

A brief history of suicide bombing in the Muslim world, as reported on the Suedeutsche Zeitung starting from Gilles Kepel’s book “Die Spirale des Terrors” (French original: “Terreur et martyre“):

  1. In the 1980’s, during the extraordinarily long Iran-Iraq war the almost-exhausted Islamic Republic started sending children to clear out minefields (using their bodies that is), following an establish Shiite tradition of self-immolation
  2. Around 1993, Iranian propaganda spread news and use of the technique to Hezbollah, their (Sunni) Lebanese allies, of course only and just to fight the Israeli occupation of Palestine, shifting therefore the phraseology from “self-immolation” to “martyrdom operation”
  3. Initially, Sunni scholars were not in favor of “martyrdom operations”. That all changed around 1996, with the “added bonus” of Israeli civilians being thrown in the lot of “legitimate targets” (you know, most of them were and still are bound to serve in the military at some point in their life)
  4. After a series of bloody suicide bombings afflicting Israel for quite some time, the top was obviously reached with the 9/11 destruction of the Twin Towers
  5. Tragedy (ironic, but still tragedy) struck the  “suicide bombing appreciation society” in the Muslim world after Iraq was invaded in 2003, and Sunni terrorists started to use suicide bombings against…Shiites!

So it has all gone around full circle. Supreme sense of irony from Fate (or God), isn’t it?

One ray of hope to conclude: despite the Madrid and London bombings, plus others in Kenya and elsewhere, suicide bombing organizers have seen things going downhill since.

It must be quite hard to argue for the legitimacy of an originally-Shiite technique to be used to kill Shiites. And what kind of “Islamic freedom fighter” can think in his right mind that the way to free Muslims is by killing them?

Science Vs. Science-Based Fantasy Embroidery

Andy Revkin’s increasingly more interesting “Dot Earth” blog quotes “Yadvinder Malhi, an Oxford University biologist who is focused on the Amazon and climate” questioning the Amazon-is-doomed “findings presented at the meeting” and decrying “the resulting media coverage“:

(Mahli) I must say I find it frustrating that the gloomiest take on news gets such a big profile. This is based on one model, and that model has flaws, especially its temperature sensitivity that seems too great (David Galbraith’s work), and its rainfall that seems to low

Revkin and Mahli should be not surprised a bit, as the embroidery of fact-based hypotheses (if not outright fantasies) and their presentation as “the latest science” is a popular endeavor (=gets the biggest profile) and not just in climate circles. For example, here’s the decrying of the equivalent behavior, about Pompeii:

Beard, a classics professor at Cambridge University, takes cheeky, undisguised delight in puncturing the many fantasies and misconceptions that have grown up around Pompeii — sown over the years by archaeologists and classicists no less than Victorian novelists and makers of “sword and sandal” film extravaganzas.

While many scholars build careers through increasingly elaborate reconstructions of the ancient world, Beard consistently stresses the limits of our knowledge, the precariousness of our constructs and the ambiguity or contradiction inherent in many of our sources. “There is hardly a shred of evidence for any of it” serves as her battle cry, and it’s a noble one.

Gallup Poll To AGW Believers: Get Real!

The latest Gallup survey on environmental issues in America has been greeted on Climate Progress with a blog entry and set of comments bordering on the absurd.

It’s like seeing people hit a hard wall with their heads, then recover, talk about themselves on a way to get to the other part of the wall, only to finally hit the same wall again, and the same way!

Dear Joe Romm: how long have you been thundering about global warming? How many times have you divided the world in intelligent progressives and retarded conservatives? How many WWII comparison have you made, how many times have you mentioned Hitler and/or denialism, and how often have words of doom and forecastings of disaster appeared in your blog?

If numbers are what they appear to be; and if after all these years and efforts you appear not ot be part of the solution: what, then, are you part of?

By all means, keep proceeding down the same old route, if you so wish. But don’t be surprised if you find yourself in the situation of that joke: where a guy driving on a motorway hears on the radio that one madman’s car is going against the flow of traffic, and then thinks: “One? There are literally hundreds of them!”

Blatantly Misleading Copenhagen Report From The BBC

This complaint has just been sent to the BBC:

I am looking hard for reasons to believe that your “Climate scenarios ‘being realised‘” article has not been written with the intent of misleading the average reader.

There is no indication whatsoever that the “six key messages” from the Copenhagen conference have not been unanimously endorsed by all 2,500 delegates. You could check that with Mike Hulme, no less, who has explicitly stated that

The six key messages are not the collective voice of 2,500 researchers, nor are they the voice of established bodies such as the World Meteorological Organisation. Neither are they the messages arising from a collective endeavour of experts, for example through a considered process of screening, synthesizing and reviewing of the knowledge presented in Copenhagen this week. They are instead a set of messages drafted largely before the conference started by the organizing committee, sifting through research that they see emerging around the world and interpreting it for a political audience

Coming from a supposedly impartial news source such as the BBC, your blatantly misleading report is all the more striking, given the fact that the even the original press release makes the situation very clear with an ALL CAPS disclaimer:

DISCLAIMER: THIS PRESS RELEASE IS WRITTEN BY THE CLIMATE SECRETARIAT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN. THE PEOPLE QUOTED DOES [sic] NOT NECESSARILY SHARE THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED BY OTHERS IN THIS TEXT.

Please amend the text of your article accordingly. I do not want to believe that the BBC is trying to be “more warmist than the warmers”. thanks – maurizio

The Good And The Bad Reporting About Rising Sea Levels

Good: “How high is the sea rising?” (March 12, in German, Sueddeutsche Zeitung), where journalist Axel Bojanowski illustrates the not-so-worrying, middle-of-the-road and worst scenarios (respectively, with a rise in sea levels by 2100 of 18-30cm, 95cm and 2m). Tellingly, Bojanowski writes: “The problem is, all scenarios are based on good arguments”.

Bad: “Sea rise ‘to exceed projections’” (March 10, in English, BBC News), where journalist David Shukman goes for big scary numbers (a metre or more by 2100, 600million people potentially affected) and a collection of adjectives in comparative form (higher, faster, hotter). There is no indication whatsoever about any scientist convinced of lower estimates.

Bad: “Copenhagen summit urges immediate action on climate change” (March 12, Nature News), where journalist Olive Heffeman reports that “sea levels could rise as much as 1 metre by 2100″ and forgets to mention any scientist thinking otherwise.

What makes one of them good, and two bad? Well, if you cannot spot the difference between presenting the scientific debate as it is, and  selecting only the stuff that a journalist deems worth noticing, I am not sure I would be able to help.

Iceland: The Financial Collapse As A Political And Moral Scandal

Translated from “Darf ich Ihnen das Einwohnerverzeichnis anbieten?“, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, 17 Feb 2009

(original German translation by Gudrun M. H. Klöse)

Waiter! The Icelandic Phonebook, please!
Why Iceland’s financial collapse is a political and moral scandal / by Einar Mar Gudmundsson

Once upon a time there was a cannibal flying first class. Given an extensive menu, he politely thanked the stewardess, then handed it back and said: “I cannot find anything good for a snack. Would you be so kind and bring me the passenger list, please?”

I don’t want to equate the richest Icelanders, who together with the Government have left us out in the cold, with man-eaters, at least not in the literal sense: but after becoming incredibly wealthy, it looks like they went back to the Government and the Supervisory authorities and said: there is nothing crispy enough for us to gobble any longer. Would you be please as friendly as to provide us with the list of all Icelandic children?

And I am not saying that anybody should be compared to Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, but the Government and their Regulatory Authorities look like they have replied to the country’s Monetary Aristocracy: “Yes, please, here’s the list of all Icelanders. Can we do anything else for you?”

This is nothing short of treason, and therefore we require and pretend, we, who only can claim to have children and grandchildren, the freezing of everything of value that has been used to enrich people at our own expenses. And those people must be made accountable for their actions. Since the justification for their high salaries was the fact that they were working against targets, then we should now take them at their words, and identify their responsibilities. Instead their loss has been nationalized, and the whole System invited to investigate itself.

Under these circumstances, even Franz Kafka would appear like a dry realist. True, it can be claimed that the Government is now gone, and the leadership of the Financial Control Council has been replaced: still, the old system still leads a good life. Corruption in the finance world extends up to the new government of Geir Haarde, while Iceland sits on a debt of thousands of billions of Krones. And it is us the ones that have to pay those debts, together with our children and grandchildren, now fully dependent on the good graces of the IMF and other lenders.

And in these “Tohu va bohu” times, void and without form like the world at the beginning of Creation, one should ask oneself if perhaps Karl Marx had it right all along. A friend of mine, who’s got all the volumes of the “Capital” and has even read them, told me that a condition like the one we are going through is described in the third volume. Few have read this book, and I haven’t, because there is so much mathematics in the second one.

My friend says that Marx deals in the third volume with “fictitious capital”: that means capital not with actual property behind profit, but rather with worthless pieces of paper that change hands, worthless in the sense of unreal.

That’s the box of tricks played with by the Icelandic Neokapitalists, stylishly and zippily wearing the nickname of Export Vikings. They were shining as demigods devoting themselves to noble tasks, and their wives to the plight of children in Africa, all of that, in newspapers which they owned anyway. Men bought themselves a place into companies, won the majority stakes therein, founded new companies, propped up one another and then pocketed the values of the old companies, that is, what was owned by the shareholders. That’s how the box of tricks worked, and many healthy, profitable companies have been lost along the way. Then those men went back to appear on their newspapers, with their own Alpine ski slope, luxury homes in Manhattan and yachts in Florida.

You may have noticed that I used the expression “box of tricks”. That’s not completely true. Actually, everything went according to the rules of the free market. No laws and no regulations prevented the actions of the financial Barons. The Government slumbered on, shrugged the issues away and cheered up the Money Lords, to the point that Ministers would feel more or less offended when not invited to the parties where the glitz and glamor of Hollywood rubbed shoulders with Iceland.

The basis of this system was the coalition between the Independent Party and the Progress Party, as if in a “Fishing Quotas” system, but with the right to trade and make money about fish that had yet not been caught. Soon under the coalition, the banks were privatized, without rules and without any control for the new management. The leaders of those parties, David Oddsson and Halldãr Ásgrímsson, had twelve years of experience at the Government bank. They were so keen with the privatization of banks, they generously threw in summer homes and art collections with the privatization. Anybody and everybody who criticized the new system was summarily classified as jealous, dumb or outdated.

The business sector assumed power in the country. It was based on the so-called Economic Council. Either had legislators in their bag, or these took a long nap throughout their mandate. In one declarition by the Council it is stated ‘Arguments against public regulation and control of the financial market are more convincing than arguments in favor of such meddling. It would be sensible to encourage market partners to define their own rules and abide by those”.

And about the success of their maneuvering: “An investigation by the Economic Council revealed that the Parliament in 90 percent of cases followed the recommendations of the Council itself.”
The Economic Council had de-facto got in charge, without anyone noticing.

The American expert on the financial crisis, Robert Aliber, repeatedly warned that the Icelandic Government and the Central Bank were even less capable than astrologers to steer our modern economy. They did not understand that the economic growth was built upon a pumping system, – loans were taken in order to pay off other loans – and now they do not know how to re-establish a balance, after the paper wealth has disappeared. Aliber added that it would have been unlikely that different leaders, perhaps arbitrarily selected out of the Phonebook, would have been able to create an economic Desaster as extensive as our Government did.

Iceland’s debt in per-capita terms is higher than the crippling reparations imposed upon Germany after WWI. In Icelandic Kronen, it is expected to be as much as the debt in the Italian budget. But Iceland has approximately 310 000 inhabitants, Italy 60 million.

But the Directors of the new private Banks regarded their activity as such good as a performance that they could cash in every month an equivalent sum to the Nobel Prize. Confronted to the large generosity they reserved to themselves, they angrily threatened to go abroad. We could have done well to them to wish them a good trip, like in the saga of Grettir the Strong, and to beg them just never to come back. But they claimed that abroad there was a strong demand for them, and they lied much about responsibility.

And this is now the gist of the matter, now, after the collapse: Why those that were claiming so much responsibility before, now take no responsibility? If somebody talks about the responsibility of the New Rich, it is only in juridical terms, as if something unlawful may ever be found; and as if the Nation should now be forced in rummaging through codes and contracts, in order to get reparation for the damage. This ignores the fact that responsibility lies also in social, economic, political and ethical terms.

Whilst all the wonderful prescriptions to say “sorry” come out of the crater that all that it’s left of the Banks, the New Rich say: there is nothing unnatural or unlawful in what has happened. How could it be otherwise, given the fact that the Market Economy had full control of the Parliament? Example: the Bank “Kaupthing” lent a British pubs chain around 107 billion Icelandic Krona just before collapsing – a sum approximately as high as the sum of the value of all Icelandic mortages in foreign currencies.

Let’s consider what has happened in the light of the Hávamál in the Edda, what can be considered as most ethically representative of our heritage. The question then becomes: Had anybody been able to domesticate Humans, using money to transform people into apes? That would have been the task for politicians, but it seems that of late they were tamed by the apes. How could that happen?

If the government were like our parents, the Children Protection Agency would have already intervened. Therefore it is just logical that the Government had to resign. Now there is a kind of interregnum until elections at the end of April.

Everything now depends on the active participation of the Icelanders and on their fighting spirit. The danger is that the discouse will still be nominated by the well-lubricated election machinery of the government parties, those that during our so-called pot-lid revolution have look like pitiful figures. The struggle that lies ahead is therefore also a struggle for establishing the right language. And for credibility. Currently the Elites pity themselves, angry with their executives, and the former Minister and current Head of the Central Bank David Oddsson is refusing to go, even if invited to do so by the Government. If only all the people currently unemployed would have proceeded according to Oddsson’s model, they would have simply said, upon receiving the contract termination notice, that they felt insulted and would continue to work no matter what.

Compassion, cohesion – during the booming years those were almost ridiculous notions. Competittion was seen as the natural way forward. Everybody ruminated about that. Commentators spoke under a spell, and the Market became part of television news as indispensable as the weather. Nobody dared to ask what the FTSE and Nasdaq exactly were, in order not to look a smaller player.

But if welfare programs were small during the times of prosperity, how will they become during the period of crisis that is now starting? Not everybody was rich during the fat years. We saw pensioners endure living in tiny rooms, and others become homeless. The lower wages were absurdly so, and medium-level employees had to use all their salaries to keep paying their debts and sustaining their families. It is obvious that it is not people with low wages that have benefited from the “recovery money”.

An American financier said once that the best moment to start buying things up, is during the time of riots, when blood flows through the streets. Is that what our Government is waiting to react? Signs of the beginning of that already exist. Indebted firms find themselves debt-free and back in the hands of their former owners. That goes on particularly smoothly. The same people occupuy the same positions, while each one of us has to contend with being in the red for 10 or perhaps 20 million Kronas. And like everything else, even the exact amount of our debts is a matter of contention, as they should be cumulated with household mortgages, money lost with the devaluation of the Krona, private bankruptcies and unemployment.

Perhaps Iceland is a kind of experiment for what will happen to the whole world. In any case, an at least excessive result of the situation, of the crisis, as much as it can be recognized, is that the debt obligations of the Icelandic banks are twelve times the gross national product. Someone told me that this mirrors the situation worldwide. But it is still premature to state what the crisis actually means and how it will evolve. Before the loss, nobody was right in evaluating their possessions. And now it is difficult to predict whether the “fat servant” will manage to rise, now, in the place where he was made to become a thrashed-up slave..

Einar Mar Gudmundsson is a writer living in Reykjavik.

Scientific Results As Data Interpretations

A must-read for anybody involved in disputes about “what Science says”, from today’s e-mail newsletter by The Scientist:

The Problem of Perception – by Steven Wiley

There is a common perception among young students that the surest path to resolving scientific controversies is to design a clever experiment, one that will definitively resolve conflicting hypotheses. However, I have found that most scientific controversies do not revolve around specific experimental data, but instead are disputes over data interpretation. Data interpretations depend on a scientist’s underlying assumptions and worldview. […]

we were working from a computational model of endocytosis that allowed us to try out different sets of assumptions and see how they would affect the system’s behavior. The other group felt that our computer model was a poor substitute for their own scientific intuition regarding what was happening. […]

Interestingly, our view was vindicated not because people came to accept our use of computational modeling, but because our hypothesis was more successful in predicting subsequent experimental results. Scientists don’t generally care about who is right or who is wrong in a dispute. They want a conclusion that can help predict their own experimental outcomes. Science is built brick by brick from ideas and concepts that can lead to the next successful series of experiments and concepts. If an idea doesn’t support the next brick, it is discarded. It’s natural selection in science.

Scientific disputes seem inevitable in any career, but mine gave me a keen appreciation of the need for caution in accepting simple interpretations of the behavior of complex systems. In science, we do not gather facts. We make observations. Our interpretation of observations is only as good as our assumptions and conceptual frameworks. […]

The above explains how AGW could become such a consensual paradigm for an intellighentsia that has lost all hopes. It is also relevant to the discussion about the use of computer models and the extreme importance of their predicting powers. And finally it states loud and clear how pointless it is to pretend that there is nothing subjective in Science, and especially in the study of complex systems.

Continua La Polemica Sul DDL 1360

Ricevo e rimando. Un giorno di questi diro’ la mia:

I comitati ANPI di Massa Carrara, La Spezia, Lunigiana e Versilia, il Comitato manifestazione contro d.d.l. 1360, Archivi della Resistenza – Circolo Edoardo Bassignani, Arci Carrara-Lunigiana, Associazione Tina Modotti e il Comitato Sentieri della Resistenza hanno organizzato una manifestazione antifascista “La Memoria è viva. La storia non si cancella”, che si terrà a Villafranca in Lunigiana sabato 14 Marzo.

Questa manifestazione nasce dall’esigenza di far sentire la nostra voce sul territorio della Lunigiana contro la proposta di legge n. 1360 che attraverso l’ennesimo atto revisionista vuole proporre l’equiparazione tra partigiani e repubblichini. Il primo firmatario di questa ignobile legge è l’ On. Lucio Barani, nonché Sindaco di Villafranca in Lunigiana. E stupisce il fatto che a farsi portavoce sia proprio un esponente politico proveniente da un territorio simbolo della resistenza italiana, sia per l’alto numero dei giovani che vi parteciparono con il saldo sostegno della popolazione, sia per le numerose vittime civili.

Basterà ricordare la tragica scia di sangue dell’estate del 1944 con le stragi dei civili inermi (le Fosse del Frigido, Sant’Anna di Stazzema, Bardine di San Terenzo, Vinca, Bergiola Foscalina) rispetto alla quali si è ormai accertata la responsabilità indiretta, quando non la collaborazione attiva, di esponenti fascisti, di quegli stessi «bravi ragazzi» che oggi – come non accade in nessuno stato europeo – si vorrebbero glorificare.

Che cosa propone il d.d.l. 1360?

Con tale disegno di legge, la maggioranza parlamentare pretende di equiparare partigiani, militari e deportati ai repubblichini di Salò conferendo a loro un istituendo “Ordine del Tricolore”. La relazione che accompagna il disegno di legge sostiene a chiare lettere la «pari dignità di una partecipazione al conflitto di molti combattenti, giovani e meno giovani, cresciuti nella temperie culturale guerriera e imperiale del ventennio, che ritennero onorevole la scelta a difesa del regime ferito e languente». Analoga operazione fu già tentata dalla destra nelle precedenti legislature, ma venne respinta, grazie anche ad una raccolta di firme indetta dall’ANPI.

Ora si tenta un gravissimo colpo di mano, volendo far passare sotto un “innocuo” riconoscimento pensionistico (che strano! proprio in un’epoca di malaugurata riduzione del Welfare!) l’idea di un’equidistanza tra chi ha combattuto per liberare il nostro paese dal giogo nazifascista e i fascisti stessi.

Infatti il documento prosegue inequivocabilmente: «Solo partendo da considerazioni contingenti e realistiche è finalmente possibile quella rimozione collettiva della memoria ingrata di uno scontro che fu militare e ideale, oramai lontano, eredità amara di un passato doloroso, consegnato per sempre alla storia patria». In poche parole si vorrebbe avanzare, attraverso la Proposta di legge 1360, una sostanziale parificazione tra i partigiani che hanno combattuto per la libertà a fianco del popolo italiano e i fascisti prezzolati della Repubblica di Salò, che invece combatterono alleati all’orrore nazista e furono i responsabili delle tante stragi che hanno colpito il nostro territorio. Contro tutto questo l’ANPI e i giovani antifascisti intendono opporsi.

Per saperne di più sul d.d.l. 1360 e sulle iniziative di contrasto messe in campo dalle varie sezioni ANPI, vai sul sito dell’ANPI nazionale.

Il programma della manifestazione

Alle ore 9.00, concentramento presso la Piazza della Stazione di Villafranca in Lunigiana; da qui partirà un corteo che arriverà in Piazza Negrari dove si svolgerà l’incontro-dibattito presieduto dalla partigiana Laura Seghettini (ANPI Pontremoli). Interverranno Raimondo Ricci (ANPI Nazionale); Lidia Menapace (Rifondazione Comunista); Andrea Orlando (Partito Democratico); Fabio Evangelisti (Italia dei Valori). In caso di pioggia l’incontro-dibattito si svolgerà presso il Cinema Teatro Città di Villafranca. Al termine del dibattito i partecipanti si dirigeranno verso la Selva di Filetto dove è previsto un ritrovo e dove si potrà pranzare al sacco.

Alle ore 15.00 partirà la Camminata Resistente per arrivare nel Borgo di Mocrone dove nel dicembre 2008 il sindaco Lucio Barani ha inaugurato, all’insaputa dei paesani, una targa dedicata a Benito Mussolini. Alle 16.00 nella Piazza A. Banedicenti ci sarà l’intervento teatrale “O da una parte o dall’altra” a cura di Blanca Teatro e un momento musicale curato da Apuamater Cyberfolk e Mattia Ringozzi.

Partecipazione e adesioni

Confidiamo in una vostra ampia partecipazione (anche sotto forma di adesione), perché dobbiamo dimostrare che l’antifascismo e i valori su cui si basa la nostra Costituzione rimangono ancora la bussola del nostro vivere civile, un irrinunciabile patrimonio morale e politico che i sinceri democratici non sono disposti a mettere in soffitta, né adesso né mai. Sabato 14 marzo, vogliamo dare un forte segnale alla maggioranza che ci governa ma anche a chi è ormai assuefatto ai continui attacchi alla legalità costituzionale e ad uno smantellamento lento e inesorabile di quei principi che sembravano fino a poco tempo fa inviolabili (lavoro, diritto alla salute, laicità, in una parola: la democrazia). Sarà un segnale chiaro e inequivocabile: in questa battaglia, i giovani antifascisti non lasceranno solo i partigiani e le partigiane; scendere in piazza servirà quindi a manifestare tutto il nostro dissenso contro una legge che offende la memoria dei combattenti per la libertà e dei tanti civili uccisi dall’orrore nazifascista. Ma servirà anche a ribadire, ancora una volta, che la difesa di quel patrimonio di memorie non è semplicemente una questione da dibattito storiografico o il doveroso omaggio alla generazione di chi ha combattuto nella Resistenza; a ben vedere è un qualcosa che non riguarda tanto il passato ma investe il senso più profondo del nostro avvenire, quella speranza, non ancora sopita, di una società più giusta. Noi non vogliamo dimenticare la storia ma non vogliamo nemmeno “smemorarci del futuro”, ovvero la possibilità di continuare a pensare ad un mondo diverso e migliore di quello in cui viviamo. Questa è la più grande eredità che i partigiani ci lasceranno e noi la scaglieremo contro il futuro perché la Memoria è viva e la storia non si cancella!

Hanno aderito: FIAP (Federazione Italiana delle Associazioni Partigiane), APC (Ass. Partigiani Cattolici); ASS: Mutilati e Invalidi di guerra; Comitato delle Vittime di San Terenzo e Vinca; Ass. Vittime e Caduti in guerra; Ass. Vittime e Caduti Civili

Per adesioni e informazioni, scrivete a info@archividellaresistenza.it oppure a anpivillafrancalunig@libero.it . Per ulteriori informazioni e l’elenco aggiornato delle adesioni vai su www.archividellaresistenza.it .

One For The BBC

Nowhere fast, but sometimes at the BBC they do understand when they get it wrong…

On the Science & Environment home page:

  • Yesterday: Arctic diary – The team has a dramatic night on melting Arctic ice
  • Today: Arctic diary – The team has a dramatic night on shifting Arctic ice

Somebody somewhere somehow must have realized that polynias existed long before anybody thought of anthropogenic global warmng…

Chi E’, Il Cattolico?

Ho abbastanza esperienza nel discutere con non-cattolici per non essere sorpreso per niente quando alcuni vogliono stabilire chi sia e chi non sia, appunto, Cattolico. Spesso, specialmente coloro che si dichiarano atei illustrano la loro illusione che un Cattolico è una persona che segue i precetti della Chiesa Cattolica, e concorda con tutto ma proprio tutto ciò che il Papa dice.

Semplicemente, questo non è vero.

Non c’è nessuno, nemmeno un Arcivescovo o un Papa, che può dichiarare chi sia, e chi non sia Cattolico. La Chiesa Cattolica non è una associazione culturale, o un partito politico. Non vi è alcuna tessera, nessun esame di ingresso, e nessuna procedura di espulsione. Al massimo, ci si può trovare all’uno o l’altro livello di “scomunica”, che di per sé è una conferma del fatto che uno è, naturalmente, un Cattolico.

Semplicemente, un Cattolico è chi (sinceramente. ..) ritiene di essere un Cattolico. La Chiesa Cattolica è la comunità di persone che (sinceramente…) credono di essere Cattolici.

Naturalmente si potrebbe discutere su chi sia e chi non sia un buon cattolico. Il Papa e la maggior parte dei Cardinali su questo punto andranno d’accordo, ma allo stesso tempo uno o più tra i fedeli puo’ avere un diverso punto di vista sullo stesso argomento. Alla fine della fiera, l’anelito per essere una buona persona è proprio questo: un anelito, un “vivo desiderio“. Noi non siamo angeli.