[...] Overy’s account of the ignominious defeat of Italian airpower is utterly fascinating, especially in current circumstances, because – permit me a brief diversion – it was a result of the same pathologies that today condemn the Italian economy to relentless decline under the euro, that most un-Italian of currencies, which Italy’s ruling élite is obliged to hang onto whatever the cost, in order ‘to be able to look Germans in the eye’, as one of that élite recently confessed to me. In other words, Italy should accept impoverishment because the ruling élite has to pretend that it is far more efficient industrially than it is or could be. In the process, the peculiar but very real talents that continued to raise real standards of living for decades after 1945 must be nullified in the hopeless attempt to compete with the Germans exclusively on German terms. The nation of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati must compete only with Volkswagen. [...]
Instead of accepting Italian aviation talents for what they were – artisanal rather than mass-produced, with individualist ace-pilots rather than mass-trained war pilots – Mussolini just had to compete with the Germans. The disasters started as soon as German-style air fighting started, with the arrival of the Corpo Aereo Italiano at Ursel in occupied Belgium in late September 1940, to participate in the bombing of Britain. [...]
because of consistently unrealistic plans, utterly irresponsible command decisions and absurd priorities, 2293 Italian pilots were dead, invalided out or prisoners of war by the autumn of 1942, while only 1920 new pilots qualified in 1940-43 – and all for naught, since Italy could neither attack by air nor defend itself from air attack.
Radar, searchlights, anti-aircraft guns and night fighters: all were in short supply and incompetently used. Civil defence preparations relentlessly favoured form over substance as is still the Italian habit. In spite of very strict blackout regulations and years of theatrical drills, when RAF bombers arrived over Turin on the night of 10 June 1940, the city was entirely illuminated [...]
There was a commenter at a blog I shall not mention who simply could not get anything I mentioned. Anything at all.
There was the blog owner at another unmentioned site who simply could not see anything wrong in people describing a prominent climate skeptic’s work as non accidentally cherry picked bad statistics [that] generated misleading graphs – all in the comments section of a blog post allegedly questioning where the dividing line stands between scientific criticism and libel (on the back of Mann’s latest juridical foray).
There was the anti-GMOer who turned pro-GMO for reasons that virtually coincide with all that’s good in climate skepticism, and still refused to abandon the “planet is doomed, skeptics are evil” party line. And he was not alone.
There was the superstar multimedia physicist who simply could not make any reasonable point about climate change, and wrote what was probably the longest badly thought-out column in the history of the Multiverse. And he was not alone.
There was the accidental Nobel Prize winner who wrote column after column about how fearful climate change is, and how wrong it is to live in fear. Sadly, those points never appeared in the same column.
There was the famous environmentalist who took a February flower for the end of the world, in the first recognized case of weather-related anthophobia.
There was the climate scientist who became the best thing that ever happened to climate skeptics, and would not have been able to win a debate against a primary-school Year-1 distracted opponent.
There were countless climate scientists who were so specialized in their own little field, they started reading and linking to the almighty pile of scientifically sounding garbage written by a cartoonist and the climate blogger with the biggest conflict of interest imaginable, a site where no research was safe from manipulation.
When climate alarmism is around, rooms really look clever.
A recent tweet has inspired some curious fact-finding.
Land on earth where there is also land on the other side. pic.twitter.com/t9AXKyYpbZ
— Amazing Maps (@Amazing_Maps) December 19, 2013
It shows that there is little dry land on Earth where the antipodes are dry land as well, instead of just ocean. This can be explained at least partially by there being only 29.2% of land.
In theory then, every piece of land has only 29.2% chance of being a place where “if you drill through the globe, you’ll hit land on the other side” (as written by a commenter on Twitter to describe the situation very briefly). However, since the land is concentrated in huge continents the actual number is likely smaller.
For example Africa covers 20.3% of the Earth’s land, i.e. 5.9% of the total surface. The simplified chance of finding land on the other side of Africa is therefore (remaining land)/(ocean surface+remaining land), i.e. (29.2-5.9)/((100-29.2)+(29.2-5.9))=22% (this is because Africa cannot be at its own antipodes).
End of story? Not quite. A comprehensive look at the situation reveals it as full of tantalizingly curious details.
The picture above (click to enlarge -hope it’s clear enough even if a bit rough!) uses transparency to show what’s on the other side of the world (original Mercator projection by Google Maps -used here as I’m interested in directions – the map by Amazing Maps uses the Peters projection instead).
Among the amazing peculiarities:
- Australia seems cut out of the lower North Atlantic ocean. Its coastline follows the contours of the eastern US coast, then the coasts of Venezuela, the Guyanas and Brazil, and even partially the western coast of Africa
- Likewise North America has the perfect shape to fit in the Indian Ocean, roughly following the south-eastern coast of Africa and then curving as if to “avoid” Australia
- The northern coasts of Russia and Alaska eerily follow (on the other side of the world) the same path as much of the coast of Antarctica: what is land to the north is ocean in the south, and vice-versa
- The antipodes of Africa and of most of the Eurasian continent sit comfortably in the Pacific ocean. Europe manages to just touch New Zealand, and only partially so (mostly, this concerns the volcanic northern island of NZ)
- The entire path of India’s migration from Madagascar to the Himalayas is antipodal to and follows the contour of the ocean to the west of Mexico
- The odd ones out are (a) the area of Chile and Argentina, corresponding to central China and eastern Mongolia; (b) the Antarctic Peninsula, just to the south of Chile and Argentina and jutting towards them and (c) Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago
- Note also that almost exactly on the other side of the narrow strip of land known as Central America, there is the elongated archipelago known as Malaysia and Indonesia.
If confirmed with a more accurate map, my impression would be that there is a hitherto-hidden physical law at play here. It seems that continents cannot simply hang about at random locations, and their place in the Big Schema of the Planet depends on something that has been overlooked until now.
For example, consider that Pangea was constituted 300 million years ago and began to break up 200 million years ago. Now, if we reduced 100 million years to just one year, Earth would be spinning at more than 1,000 revolutions a second. From the point of view of a continent, our planet is like a centrifuge. This has to have its consequences.
Some early morning realization here…
What Steven Goddard, suyts, WUWT, the Bish, McI and many others are writing about (and myself at times during the years) is not so much what climate science should be and actually isn’t. Climate science is obviously being done somewhere else. You need time, money, political support, access to mainstream media, and much more, in order to do public health policy-affecting climate science.
They/we are describing the elusion that has taken over much of what passes as climate science.
It was surface temps before it was heat hiding in the deep oceans. It was decreasing snow before it was increasing snow. It was ice extent before it was ice volume. Etc etc. Whatever happens, there is always a new story devised/concocted to “explain” that whatever is happening is wholly compatible with AGW and especially with the “it’s worse than we thought” meme.
And sadly that’s all true. Whatever happens _is_ wholly compatible with AGW. We all know that there is no possible observation that would disprove the idea that the climate is changing for the worse (if anybody knows of of any, please do tell). This has made the whole enterprise extremely foggy, and constantly bordering between science and faith.
We have no way to tell what is scientifically plausible to think about future climates.
An urban heat island (UHI) is a metropolitan area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human activities. The phenomenon was first investigated and described by Luke Howard in the 1810s, although he was not the one to name the phenomenon. The temperature difference usually is larger at night than during the day, and is most apparent when winds are weak. UHI is most noticeable during the summer and winter.
Does UHI have a large role to play in global warming? Maybe. Maybe not. But it surely has a very visible impact in the Po Valley in Italy.
This is a Eumetsat picture from sometimes on Dec 8, 2013. Can you spot where the city of Milan is?
As a rough guide to the areas involved, Milan covers 70 sq mi, and the fog on that day around half of the Po Valley‘s 17,760 sq mi (4 parts in 1000).
(H/T Meteogiornale where the original news appears)
Remember when rabid arch-warmist Dana Nuccitelli of Skeptical Science and Guardian fame was discovered to be in the pay of an “oil and gas” company (Tetra Tech) (aka Dana’s Dirty Little Secret) and thus probably the worst person to pontificate about eg how bad coal and tar sands could be for the world’s climate?
It actually gets worse.
It turns out that Tetra Tech has a subsidiary company called Tetra Tech Construction, Inc. And what do they do? For example, they do “energy” (of the ALTERNATIVE variety that is):
Tetra Tech Construction expertise in the alternative energy field allows us to support and deliver energy-related projects using engineer-procure-construct (EPC), design-build and/or bid-build models. We provide design and construction services for wind, solar, hydroelectric, cogeneration, geothermal, natural gas drilling and extraction, combined-cycle, waste-to-energy, and electric transmission projects. [...]
Surprise, surprise, they are also big in…”wind energy“:
Tetra Tech Construction brings our expertise to support and deliver energy related projects using engineer-procure-construct (EPC), design-build, bid-build models. We provide design and construction services for solar, hydroelectric, cogeneration, geothermal, natural gas drilling and extraction, combined-cycle, waste-to-energy, and electric transmission.
[...] We have completed construction services to clients on 19 wind construction projects in the past two years valued at more than $340 million. These projects supported nearly 1,700 MW of power, over 1,000 foundations, and over 600 turbines installed in states from New York, Alaska, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, Washington, Texas, Idaho, to Oregon. In fact, the Tetra Tech family of companies has experience on more than 250 wind projects in 34 states and Canada, totaling more than 20,000 MW of wind power generation. Our experience in the construction of wind facilities provides a more practical understanding of front-end activities, including environmental compliance and engineering, thus providing a more complete perspective for achieving project goals.
Wind power is so important for Tetra Tech Construction, it takes special pride of place in their Projects portfolio map:
It also means Tetra Tech Construction is in trouble if wind power subsidies disappear, as mentioned in a newspaper article published just two days ago. In what has to be a fantastic coincidence, Tetra Tech is juxtaposed to “interests” linked to “fossil fuels” and the “XL pipeline”:
Renewal of the wind tax credit, which can provide up to $1 million to developers of a large turbine, is a politically contentious issue. In addition to tea party congressional Republicans, opposition to continuing the wind credit comes from the American Energy Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based industry group linked to petrochemical interests that promote expanded drilling for fossil fuels, including in the protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, and approval of the proposed XL pipeline to bring Canadian tar sands oil to refineries in Texas and the Gulf Coast.
“This lack of certainty over the wind credit creates a boom and bust cycle, which is really detrimental to wind project developers,” said Valerie Strauss, executive director of Alliance for Clean Energy New York, an Albany-based lobbying group for alternative energy companies.
One such local business is Gloversville-based Tetra Tech Construction. Its website says it has built 21 wind projects in the U.S. It is currently involved in building the Orangeville wind farm outside of Buffalo, owned by Chicago-based Invenergy, and the only wind farm project under construction this year.
A Tetra Tech official declined comment, referring questions to a corporate office; phone calls to that office were not returned.
The article continues revealing another fantastic coincidence: Tetra Tech’s fortunes go down with the expansion of fracking.
Wind energy plans have been shrinking in the state, as the industry faces a glut of cheap natural gas from hydrofracking, uncertainty over federal support and dwindling financing. The amount of wind power expected to one day plug into the state’s electrical grid has fallen by more than two-thirds since 2009 as developers shelve projects.
I think that’s digging enough. Dana Nuccitelli, rather understatemently described by a reticent Guardian as “blogger on environmentguardian.co.uk [...] environmental scientist and risk assessor, and also [contributor to] SkepticalScience.com” has for all intents and purposes an undeclared conflict of interest the size of a planet.
I’ll let readers decide how much such an individual can be trusted with speaking anything near the bare, honest, transparent scientific truth in anything climate change, global warming or even energy in general.
Disclaimer: I never blog or tweet or write on facebook about my day job exactly to avoid any conflict of interest. Because if you write positively about the company you work for, everybody will be entitled to believe you’re brown-nosing or worse. And if you write negatively, you’re immediately out of a job.
Plenty of gnawing of teeth by newly-famous heat-discoverer Robert Way, having been found out as a McIntyre Supporter, or rather, as a singularly scientifically well-prepared SkS “secret forum” member who behaved in public very, very differently.
In the course of today, Steve McI decided to remove a comment of mine, here reproduced for future reference.
Mr Way may have a point. This thread allows him to bring himself into disrepute, if only because duplicity and lack of integrity is the opposite of an excuse. Whoever thinks any good of Albert Speer?
You see, somebody like Buzz [see thread at CA] can always find refuge in ignorance and inability to understand. For example I have demonstrated him that “secret” doesn’t mean “private” because a forum of strangers cannot be considered as “private”. Yet his answer completely misses the point.
That’s different from a person who we now know was fully aware of what was going on. Way’s intellect is way above the SkS average, that is, his behaviour is way below.
As for motives, I find this assertion [by Way] particularly revealing: “I was speaking reflectively on the history of exchanges with climate scientists as a whole rather than this individual case”. So Way’s Crusade has been fuelled by a desire to defend “climate scientists”, with whatever means one suspects. In other walks of life, it is not hard to imagine Eugène Terre’Blanche possessed a very good intellect too, and put it to work to “defend” people he believed to deserve defending with whatever means was necessary. And whoever thinks of any good of Eugène Terre’Blanche?
And just to clarify, when Way asked “Really? Comparing me to a white supremacist?” I replied (comment also removed)
No. Comparing your behaviour to the behaviour of some other people, notorious for their behaviour. As for who is the real you, I have no idea.
(For some reason, Way didn’t find issues regarding the mention of Speer)
This being my blog, let me state that I am not too comfortable with Steve McI’s approach to the topic. First of all, given that he wasn’t born yesterday, he surely must have know that the revelation that Way had supported CA’s stance time and again, would have put Way in deep trouble and caused him the aforementioned gnawing of teeth. As per another comment of mine:
Imagine [Way's] PhD discussion…a large room with a giant desk, a small army of stern-looking professors sitting as if to surround Candidate Way.
A balding, goatee-sporting professor starts roaring with an even sterner voice: “Tell me, boy…what do you agree with MCINTYRE on?”
A sound of thunder fails to break the icy silence. In the boy’s mind, a portion of fries, and a customer to serve…
I suspect this comment is still live because Way didn’t understand the obscure references especially at the end.
Secondly, Steve McI went way out of his way for Way…to the point of meaninglessly snipping comments a-way:
All these snips are meaningless. These guys [Way and friends at SkS] think the worst of the author of this blog, and deserve protection from imaginary abuse as much as a rhino needs band-aids after stampeding through a china shop.
Anyway, since … cannot be named and … cannot be named either, does anybody know of any historical figure that has been found to be secretly candid and publicly a follower of the party line? WIth 1933-1945 … impossible to mention, I shall presume the state with Moscow as capital is out of bounds as well.
I would just like to know how people who behaved similarly in the past, went on to become great citizens and pinnacles of their profession, that’s all.
(I am still looking for such individuals)
The end result is that we do not have any idea if the CA post was the coldest of revenges, or an invitation to work together in the future.
From the strip first published on 7/7/1995:
From a Calvin and Hobbes search engine:
I’m writing a fund-raising letter. The secret to getting donations is to depict everyone who disagrees with you as the enemy. Then you explain how they’re systematically working to destroy everything you hold dear. It’s a war of values! Rational discussion is hopeless! Compromise is unthinkable! Our only hope is well-funded antagonism, so we need your money to keep up the fight! How cynically unconstructive. Enmity sells.
Calvin is writing a fund-raising letter. He tells Hobbes the secret is to depict everyone who disagrees with you as the enemy. You explain how they’re destroying everything you hold dear. It’s a war of values. Rational discussion is hopeless. We need your money to keep up the fight. Hobbes says that’s cynically unconstructive. Calvin informs him that enmity sells.
Random thoughts inspired by the wettest nighttime walk ever…
- There is only one enemy to worry about in the world and it’s other people but
- Inclement skies and falling temperatures make for safer streets
- Before adopting a dog, get hold of a volunteer who’ll walk that same dog whatever the weather
- You realize you had it with the stormy deluge when the dream becomes having the same clothes as those guys in “Deadliest Catch”
- Nothing like a windswept torrentially rainy English October night makes you understand how much you really really love that dog
Incredibly or maybe not, the media collapse of AR5 is being responded by the usual Great Communicators meeting the usual Great Communicators, trying to figure out who is so evil as to prevent them from greatly communicating (when, in fact, it’s obviously their dumb selves).
Soul-searching what are you.
With climate change “science” reduced to a marketing exercise by marketing amateurs, it’s time to remember two Dilbert strips from exactly three years ago.
Replace “baby-eating hobos” with “deniers”. There is obviously something about the goatee.
Dramatic foretelling by Bill Watterson of why the IPCC has become such a risible failure. It also explains why so many unknowledgeable people are so enthusiastic about the work of “scientists” when it suits their pet causes:
(original run: Sep 21, 1993 - above taken from a recent copy of the IHT)
Calvin (looking at a book):
The more you know the harder it is to take decisive action. Once you become informed, you start seeing complexities and shades of gray. You realize that nothing is as clear and simple as it first appears. Ultimately, knowledge is paralyzing.
Calvin (throwing the book away):
Being a man of action, I can’t afford to take that risk.
You’re ignorant, but at least you act on it.
Nothing can hurt Islam like the awful behavior of those who pretend they’re defending it.
That’s quite a general statement. Replace “Islam” with whatever else highly-held concept, and it works just as well. Nothing hurt Communism like Stalin. Nothing hurt Roman Catholicism like Torquemada. Nothing hurt Anthropogenic Climate Change like Michael Mann. Etc etc.
And yet that is a valid point mostly if not only from a propaganda point-of-view. There comes a point when one has to stand and state that the same awful behavior is no indication of there necessarily being anything intrinsically wrong with Islam, Communism, Roman Catholicism or Anthropogenic Climate Change.
The actual flaws, if there are any, must be discovered and argued for what they are. A simple labelling “Some of their supporters are up to no good” cannot demonstrate if Milwall is or isn’t a good team. Likewise the millions killed by Tamerlane have zero logical relationship with the standard of behavior of the average Muslim citizen. And the fact that France and Germany started a war 99 years ago that led to more than 100 million dead, does not necessarily mean there is something very wrong with France and Germany.
There could be, but we cannot know before finding a proper argument above and beyond the behavioral one.
The above is an introduction to a series of comments I have made in another blog, where the diffuse anti-Islam propaganda has unfortunately found some new victims. I’m posting most of the comments unedited or slightly so.
Let me die a youngman’s death
not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death [...]
To which wonderful battlecry of life I would just add
Or when I’m 120
and far alone on Mars
may my oxygen
supply run out at last
and feeling the rusty air
I’ll smile at the orange sun
as my blood boils away
New David Attenborough series on BBC2 has arrived (“Rise of Animals ep.1. Triumph of the Vertebrates“) with all the usual flashes and bangs, plus some colossal mistake of zoological proportions.
There starts another complaint to the BBC then….
Complaint Summary: ‘Tree of Life’ false, misleading and non-scientific
Full Complaint: The programme makes extensive use of a ‘Tree of Life’ pictorial device depicting species as branches on a tree, with the vertical dimension showing time. All thousands of branches are continuous and ultimately end up together in the present time. This is false, because we all know most species died out long ago (so the vast majority of branches shouldn’t reach the present). It is also misleading, as the viewer will think the present time is much richer in species than the past. It is finally non-scientific, using an antiquated metaphor long ago disproven by the likes of Stephen Jay Gould. Please insert a correction/disclaimer at the beginning of future broadcasts and for the rest of the first showing of the series.
I screen-shot three examples for future memory.
- First image comes from 56’50″ in the episode. As you can see all the branches above a certain line continue unbroken to the present
- I went back to see wherever else the multicolored tree of life was popping up. Interesting, at 20’41″ some branches give at least an impression that those species went extinct (look under the first L of “250 MILLION”)
- No worries though, five seconds later those very same dead branches spruced forward again
- To see what they could and should have done, look no further than a 1994 Scientific American piece by Stephen Jay Gould, when Scientific American was still very much scientific, that is:
One can finally visualize how entrenches is the idea that there is something special in our present time.
Some thoughts I have sent to the BBC Trust’s “News and Current Affairs Review”
Please tell us more about why you say this giving examples of programmes and content. We want to know how well BBC News and Current Affairs (TV, radio and online) is doing in these areas and welcome your suggestions for improvement.
- The “Today” presenters have the habit of verbally assaulting politicians only then to go soft on all sorts of other people making all sorts of strange claims.
- The lineup of news is curiously and disappointingly similar to what one can find in privately-owned newsmedia.
- There is too much emphasis on presenting the negative side of everything, and in finding something to scare people with.
- On the environmental side we’re inevitably treated to a series of half-thoughts pieces by activists masquerading as journalists. That cannot be right.
- Reports from foreign lands are often ruined by the journalist taking side in foreign politics, and thereby distorting the news. There is also too much reliance on interviewing locals who speak English very well, a very limited and self-selected subset of the population in most countries.
How well do the following words describe BBC News:
- Trustworthy: Not well
- Accurate: Not well
- Impartial: Not well
- Up-to-date: Quite well
Please tell us more about your answers, giving examples of programmes. We want to know how BBC News (TV, radio and online) is doing in these areas and welcome your suggestions for improvement.
The BBC is partial to itself. In particular BBC News behaves like a cheerleader for the whole BBC, and is often impermeable to criticism or corrections.
An interesting set of pages on floods in the Boulder, Colorado area, last updated in 2005:
Due to its location near the mouth of numerous canyons, the Boulder area is a major flash flood risk. Following are descriptions compiled by Elizabeth Black of some of the flash floods that have occurred in the region beginning with the flood of 1894. Such floods– and many larger– have happened before the area was developed…. and will sooner or later happen again.
- 1894 (100 Year Flood– over 10,000 cubic feet per second on Boulder Creek)
- 1896 (Damage around the city of Boulder)]
- 1896 (Storm and damage around Marshall and Coal Creek drainage)
- 1906 (Flood down Sunshine Canyon)
- 1909 (Two Die in Two Mile Creek)
- 1916 (Four Mile Canyon Creek flooding)
- 1921 (Coal Creek)
- 1929 (Cloudburst causes flooding)
- 1938 (Eldorado Springs and South Boulder Creek flooding)
- 1941 (Two Mile Creek)
- 1950 (Four Mile Canyon Creek)
- 1951 (Four Mile Canyon Creek)
- 1955 (Two Mile Creek and Four Mile Canyon Creek)
- 1969 (Two Mile Creek and Bear Creek flooding)
There is also a list of flood events, and a map of the at-risk areas of the town.
Anybody interested to know a list of the fools who built in the middle of the HHZ?
This area includes City of Boulder facilities, University of Colorado married student housing, many residences, businesses and Boulder High School.
Yes! There’s some silver lining in watching the initial stages of the giant Costa Concordia salvage operation…
11. Expect a vast increase in tourism as treasure hunters will flock to the area when the ship’s gone
10. Everybody knows now about Giglio island
9. The sea looked spectacularly beautiful on TV, metal parts aside
8. Plenty of thriving sea life attached itself to a million different artificial reefs for a year
7. It’s a marvel of Italian engineering (in the field of marine rescue). Navigation skills might need a review.
6. Everybody knows their way around the Costa upper-deck leisure bits (useful if they have the temerity of trying themselves)
5. Something meaningful at last, in the 24h news cycle
4. At least it wasn’t Titanic-size
3. Dismantling to come – you will soon be able to get your own Costa Concordia original plastic seat on eBay
2. Stuff under the mud will still turn up in 2,000 years’ time telling people then the way we were now (due to series of misunderstandings, statues will be erected and babies named after hero Capt. Schettino)
And the top reason is…
1. Widespread discovery there’s more to life than Candy Crush
They hang on awaiting vindication of their idea, that’s what happens…
George Kukla (born 1930) …became [in 1972] a central figure in convincing the United States government to take the dangers of climate change seriously. Kukla and geologist, Robert Matthews of Brown University, convened a historic conference, themed: “The Present Interglacial: How and When will it End?” Kukla and Matthews then highlighted the dangers of global cooling in Science magazine and, to President Richard Nixon.
The Nixon administration reacted swiftly to their letter, which described calamities such as killer frosts, lower food production and floods, to come. By February 1973, the State Department had established a Panel on the Present Interglacial, which advised Drs. Kukla and Matthews that it “was seized of the matter” and numerous other government agencies were soon included.
Kukla was co-author of a chapter in the book “Natural Climate Variability on Decade to Century Time Scales” published by the National Research Council.
Kukla believes all glacial periods in Earth’s history began with global warming (understood as an increase of area-weighted average global mean temperature). He believes Earth’s recent warming is mostly natural and will ultimately lead to a new ice age.
An interestingly but flawed report of what was going in 1972 is available via Google Books.
Who knew? In 1999, long before selling its soul to climate catastrophism, the BBC had no problem in letting its listeners know that scientists in the 1970s were convinced about Global Cooling. And that contemporary scientist-activists about Warming are just recycling arguments used agains Cooling.
Or consider where we stand with world climate change. Most scientists well versed in the field believe that global warming is occurring and that measures should be taken against it. Yet only about 25 or so years ago, orthodox scientific opinion was that the world was in a phase of global cooling. Much the same evidence that was deployed to support the hypothesis of global cooling is now brought into play to bolster that of global warming – heat waves, cold spells, unusual types of weather. Is global warming occurring, and does it have human origins? Probably – but we won’t, and can’t, be completely sure until it is too late.
In these circumstances, there is a new moral climate of politics, marked by a push-and-pull between accusations of scaremongering on the one hand, and of cover-ups on the other. If anyone – government official, scientific expert or researcher – takes a given risk seriously, he or she must proclaim it. It must be widely publicised because people must be persuaded that the risk is real – a fuss must be made about it. Yet if a fuss is indeed created and the risk turns out to be minimal, those involved will be accused of scaremongering.
Giddens’ solution is not complicated really, the total opposite of many’s attempts at shutting down debate by proclaiming “scientists say”:
We cannot simply ‘accept’ the findings which scientists produce, if only because scientists so frequently disagree with one another, particularly in situations of manufactured risk. And everyone now recognises the essentially sceptical character of science. Whenever someone decides what to eat, what to have for breakfast, whether to drink decaffeinated or ordinary coffee, that person takes a decision in the context of conflicting and changeable scientific and technological information.
(original published on May 22, 2006 - [updates in square brackets])
Is computing rapidly turning itself into a hi-tech version of Howard Stern’s famous “Who Wants to be a Turkish Billionaire?” ?
My son asked me [seven years ago, so he was four] to explain what is a “Gigabyte”. I tried to describe the meaning of a little bit more than a billion tiny little things hidden in a PC. But then I stopped quickly: how was I going to clarify the meaning of having 40 of those “gigabytes” in my laptop’s hard drive alone [500 since 2011]? And 200 of them in my desktop computer [1,024 since 2013 - but I also have a 4TB external HDD]. And a thousand of them (a terabyte) in the latest high-spec PC [you can buy a 8TB internal HDD in 2013].
And at current growth rates, hard-disk capacity is increasing 10-fold every 5 years [note that the actual figures have turned up to be very near that rate]. It is perfectly clear then that by the time he’s 19 in 2021, we will have to cope with the impossibility of comprehending what we’ve got, and silly-sounding terms like petabytes (well, it sounds like 8-bit flatulence in Italian anyway).
From there onwards it’s going to be exabytes in 2035, zettabytes in 2050 and I’ll be turning 100 literally in yoda-yoda-land (yottabytes, some million billion billion bytes that will grace our computers in the middle of the 2060)
There is however no need for all this aggravation…let’s learn from Chemistry and dear old Avogadro Constant. So here’s my proposal:
1. Dig the Giga, Tera, Peta, Etcetc-bytes asap
2. Define a Mole of Bytes as 6.023×10ˆ23 of them
This will surely give some renewed perspective to the whole business of visualizing trends in computing, and show that there is a long long way ahead before we can declare ourselves satisfied with our computational powers.
[for those with a mathematical disposition: 1 mole of bytes would contain more than 11.2 trillion blu-ray discs, corresponding (at 9h/disc) to 11.5 billion years of HDTV recording, the entire history of the universe. Alternatively, it would contain around 2 hours of HDTV recording from cameras spaced apart so that each of them would cover 10 square meters, or 110 square feet of the Earth's surface, oceans included. If the capacity increase rate is sustained, the first disks with a mole of bytes will be shipped around the year 2067]
John M. Fahey, Jr.
President and CEO
National Geographic Society
1145 17th Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036-4688
London, Sep 10, 2013
Dear Mr Fahey
As an expiring subscriber let me convey the profound dismay in regards to the inane publication you have the opportunity to direct. With a little thank you though, for some aspects of the September 2013 “rising seas” issue are unlikely what you expected them to be.
After decades of uninterrupted reading I gave up a few months ago, having seen the Magazine slide (fall) from its geography mission to open, fear-based “environmental” advocacy (with a lowercase “e”). It seemed and still seems there is no low you would avoid to reach in order to describe the planet or mostly cute species as either ultimately doomed or irremediably ruined: by evil humans, obviously, including one suspects all of your readers.
I stopped reading the magazine with my son, as there was simply too much to skip over what looked liked unwarranted alarmism. Who in their right mind would want to teach their children how intrinsically ‘evil’ they have been found to be (on a scientific basis!!) just because they are humans.
I was actually ready to send you back the September 2013 “rising sea” issue because, as they say, enough is sometimes enough.
An inundated New York City with a half-submerged Statue of Liberty did look more than enough. Is that something likely to happen? When? Did I really want my son to consider the possibility that our very civilization were going to cause such a major disaster by burning fossil fuels (by living, that is)? And didn’t such a picture look exactly what British leftist think-tank IPPR described in 2006 as “Climate (insert a four-letter word starting with P and ending in ORN here)”, the gratuitous depiction of apocalyptic climate-change related visions of the future? A depiction that titillates the worst parts of the readers, increases circulation and ultimately convinces people there is nothing one could possibly do to care for the environment.
In summary: had the National Geographic gone either completely insane or dishonest?
Then I looked at the front-cover a little better. And it actually said “NO ICE”. It’s almost invisible, but it’s there under the large-font cover title. So the Statue of Liberty would be half-submerged if there were no ice at all on the planet? Interesting. But not alarming at all, in fact: because suddenly it was not a matter of dishonesty; rather, as I said, of inanity.
Say, how long before there is no ice in the world? The inside pages tell us. It’s 5,000 years. Let’s just imagine we can make such a prediction for sure. 5,000 years, that is the seventy-first century. How’s that supposed to be today’s problem? Who would be silly enough to even remotely consider what the issues of the year 7000 will be?
Imagine people of 5,000 years ago, thinking about the internet and globalization? Me neither. Most of them had seen no agriculture yet, there was the third Pharaoh ever, and the first version of Troy was getting founded (source: Wikipedia). Them for us and us for them, we might as well be talking about alien worlds.
Perhaps rising seas will affect the 60th century? Or the 50th? Or even the 30th? Once again, imagine people of the year 1013AD, what could have they remotely done to understand/help us of 2013AD? Stop burning wood? Bury horse waste at sea? Repent for their sins? Obviously, it would all have been pointless. They had no idea about polluted rivers, nuclear waste storage, abandoned plastics. Come to think, even the people of 1973 would have only a rough idea about the issues of 2013, apart from a troublesome Middle East.
So the underlying message of your submerged Statue of Liberty is, in fact, a mix of “don’t care too much about it” and “someone else’s problem”. Well, what can I say, thanks! That’s a good message for the children, at last: “stop fearing the future”. Should be told to them as matter of course, no? Even if, I surmise, it’s not the message you wanted to convey, as it went from insane, to inane.
With that in mind I can now sit and enjoy in peace one of my last National Geographic issues. Look, there is even a map of the world as it would be were there no ice. And it’s an amazingly small area of some continents’ coasts that would disappear (that is, become bountiful, shallow seas). Poor Africa for once will be spared. Oh the boredom of it. Get those flying cars of the 55th century to move a little inland, will you.
Do we need to endanger the well-being of seven billion humans for that? Do we need to spread psychological terror among children with scary stories presented as established facts?
Those people of the 71st century better get used to their world, whatever it is. Just like the people of 3000BC. Is there any other way? Let’s do likewise. It’s called Geography. Not that it appears much anymore in “National Geographic”, alas!
Perhaps one day you will stop wasting time in planetary smut…do let me know if that happens, I’ll resubscribe at once!
(signed, with address)
As the guy who beat the BBC at 28Gate i am convinced all that put any trust in the BBC should have their head checked. For example, that list is still not officially confirmed, despite the perps having been caught red-handed with it. More, somebody took the time to make it disappear from the Wayback Machine, further confirming how institutionally corrupt the BBC is.
It’s not anybody’s fault, of course, rather the natural evolution for an organisation that lives on public money without being answerable to anybody but itself. An internal mafia quickly develops, with all the managerial positions filled by those deemed more trustworthy by whomever is in charge of distributing/dissipating the monies. The structure feeds on itself, and will do anything and everything to prevent people from looking in.
So I am not as pessimistic now as JunkkMale…true, with OFCOM it would still be a fairly promiscuous affair. But at the very least, not incestuous any longer. The OFCOM guy, whatever his past, will have to answer to something else than the BBC, therefore breaking the mafia loop.
- Put the CD in
- Open the Properties of “setup.exe”
- Under Compatibility select “Windows Vista SP 2″
- Install the game
- Reboot the PC
- Download patch 1.2, run the executable
- Reboot the PC
The delusion, that is, that Science can be somehow shielded from Politics.
Science is big and needs public money. Public money distribution is dictated by policy. Policies depend on politics. Therefore science depends on politics.
Therefore science is bound to be politicized. In the US it will forever slide between all-Dems and all-GOP according to contemporary mores.
In the UK, Science will remain forever prisoner of the Establishment. In Italy, it will be allowed to do whatever doesn’t hurt whoever is in charge of the “control room”.
The only way out is to make Science become the Fourth Branch of Government.
This just in from Carolyn Porco:
Folks: The only thing I’ve been able to pry out of the Curiosity team is that an announcement will be made on Dec 4 in SF at the AGU meeting
(comment originally left at the LSE “Polis” blog)
[Charlie Beckett] speaks of a “systematic problem of leadership and accountability at the BBC“. I don’t understand how such a problem wouldn’t translate in mistrust by the public?
I have personally experienced the BBC’s willingness to distort its news reporting. Just [on Friday], we’ve learnt of a pensioner having to argue for a very simple FOI request against _six_ lawyers fielded by the BBC exactly to avoid “accountability”.
I have learned to trust very little of the statements expressed by BBC journos. They’re invariably wrong, late and/or half-blind to the news. Plus on an insane competition with Sky News regarding which outlet can broadcast the more scare.
To this foreigner this story reminds of the demise of the Empire, to which everybody kept swearing allegiance even as it could no longer possibly exist. But don’t lose hope, the Corporation will circle the wagons and continue to fail pretending nobody’s noticing.
Everybody knows that, whatever the USADA will try to say, Lance Armstrong will remain the winner of seven Tours de France. Only thing, he might have to wait a long while before the hypocrisy surrounding doping will finally disappear.
In 1912, strict rules regarding amateurism were in effect for athletes participating in the Olympics. Athletes who received money prizes for competitions, were sports teachers or had competed previously against professionals, were not considered amateurs and were barred from competition.
In late January 1913, the Worcester Telegram published a story announcing that Thorpe had played professional baseball, and other U.S. newspapers followed up the story. Thorpe had indeed played professional baseball in the Eastern Carolina League for Rocky Mount, North Carolina, in 1909 and 1910, receiving meager pay; reportedly as little as US $2 ($50 today) per game and as much as $35 ($873 today) per week. College players, in fact, regularly spent summers playing professionally but most used aliases, unlike Thorpe.
Although the public didn’t seem to care much about Thorpe’s past, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), and especially its secretary James Edward Sullivan, took the case very seriously. Thorpe wrote a letter to Sullivan, in which he admitted playing professional baseball:…”I hope I will be partly excused by the fact that I was simply an Indian schoolboy and did not know all about such things. In fact, I did not know that I was doing wrong, because I was doing what I knew several other college men had done, except that they did not use their own names….”
His letter didn’t help. The AAU decided to withdraw Thorpe’s amateur status retroactively and asked the International Olympic Commission (IOC) to do the same. Later that year, the IOC unanimously decided to strip Thorpe of his Olympic titles, medals and awards and declare him a professional.
Although Thorpe had played for money, the AAU and IOC did not follow the rules for disqualification. The rulebook for the 1912 Olympics stated that protests had to be made “within” 30 days from the closing ceremonies of the games. The first newspaper reports did not appear until January 1913, about six months after the Stockholm Games had concluded. There is also some evidence that Thorpe’s amateur status had been questioned long before the Olympics, but the AAU had ignored the issue until being confronted with it in 1913.
And what happened then seventy years later (and 30 years after Thorpe’s death in 1953)?
Over the years, supporters of Thorpe attempted to have his Olympic titles reinstated. US Olympic officials, including former teammate and later president of the IOC Avery Brundage, rebuffed several attempts, with Brundage once saying, “Ignorance is no excuse.” Most persistent were the author Robert Wheeler and his wife, Florence Ridlon. They succeeded in having the AAU and United States Olympic Committee overturn its decision and restore Thorpe’s amateur status prior to 1913.
In 1982, Wheeler and Ridlon established the Jim Thorpe Foundation and gained support from the U.S. Congress. Armed with this support and evidence from 1912 proving that Thorpe’s disqualification had occurred after the 30-day time period allowed by Olympics rules, they succeeded in making the case to the IOC. In October 1982, the IOC Executive Committee approved Thorpe’s reinstatement. In an unusual ruling, they declared that Thorpe was co-champion with Bie and Wieslander, although both of these athletes had always said they considered Thorpe to be the only champion. In a ceremony on January 18, 1983, the IOC presented two of Thorpe’s children, Gale and Bill, with commemorative medals. Thorpe’s original medals had been held in museums, but they had been stolen and have never been recovered.
As reported by the New York Times in 1975, the passing of Brundage in the same year didn’t hurt Thorpe’s case. Likewise, on Oct 22, 1974 the word “AMATEUR” in the meanwhile had finally been “scrubbed from the Olympic lexicon as the 75th session of the International Olympic Committee opens [...] with the avowed intention of eradicating hypocrisy” (my emphasis).
Remember? Harry the Nazi in 2005, the violent serial urinating cousin head of the House of Hanover, Edward the abdicating King of 1936, Albert Victor “the dissipated” grandchild of Queen Victoria. Prince Andrew linked to sex predator in 2011. And Philip too (third cousin to Elizabeth, after all).
Nothing new to report, really. Unless anybody spots a Nazi tattoo on Harry’s…
Bishop Hill has a post quoting Ben Goldacre’s “appeal to authority”:
“you have only two choices: you can either learn to interpret data yourself and come to your own informed conclusions; or you decide who to trust”
That statement misses a crucial point. It should be extended as:
“you have only two choices: you can either learn to interpret data yourself and come to your own informed conclusions; or you decide who to trust” AS LONG AS THEY APPEAR TRUSTWORTHY.
Because the Authority has to regain its authority every single time.
Otherwise it’s just a sell-out of the brain, sheepishly sticking eg to the opinion of the Royal Society no matter how stupid that opinion might become in the future.