The world establishment is going apoplectic about Trump pulling the US out of the Paris Accord. Even normally-moderate news channels are broadcasting lectures instead of reporting news, scarcely able to contain their rage. It is as though a country in the Arab Middle East said it did not believe in Islam any more.
There are other views, of course.
Trump is not an ideal POTUS, but it would take a genius to be wrong about absolutely everything. And anyway, it Continue reading
The construction of my swimming pool is coming along nicely. Just in time for winter.
Could global warming be my saviour? One of the acid tests is the Antarctic Peninsular: the bit that sticks out furthest north from that chilly continent. According to Wikipedia:
The Antarctic Peninsula is a part of the world that is experiencing extraordinary warming
No such luck, however. So far this century, the peninsular has been stubbornly refusing the exhortations of Al Gore, Wikipedia et al to hurry up and melt. Instead, it has got colder by about a degree; see Jo Nova. Or if you want to, read the review of the paper itself which analyses the latest results.
Today was a Continue reading
There must be, I guess, some sort of prize out there for the person in the world with the most chutzpah. How else to explain that Al Gore, the man responsible for the disgraceful An Inconvenient Truth, is up for a sequel!
For a few moments, An Inconvenient Truth looked to many people like a serious piece of work. But then people started fact-checking it. It is riddled with errors, and the internet is full of debunking analyses; see for example, The Daily Caller, The Blaze, NewsBusters, Natural News. More authoritatively, the High Court in London declared it seriously flawed as “not supported by current mainstream scientific consensus.” The Artic has nor melted, nor have the snows of Kilimanjaro, and extreme weather events are down, not up, with no runaway global warming.
Still, Gore has made himself a very rich man. His net asset value has gone up from about $1m to some $200m, having recently sold about half of his holding in Apple.
One of Gore’s rabbits has been Michael Mann, the inventor of the now-discredited “hockey stick” – the graph that attempted to hide the fact that it was hotter in Medieval times than today. Mann had a rough time this week in Continue reading
There has been some interesting archaeology coming out of Orkney, and particularly the Ness of Brodgar, recently. And some evidence that Orkney might have been at the cultural centre of Britain a few thousand years ago. Developing the technology that led to Stonehenge.
But why? It’s frigging freezing there!
But here’s the thing. In those days it was quite a bit warmer. Much warmer than today. So quite pleasant. Despite what the bat-shit crazy neo-religious scare mongers are trying to tell you, the ice core data from Greenland (quite a good proxy for the Orkneys) tell us that the Medieval Warm period (when mankind flourished) was warmer today. And the Roman period (when mankind flourished) was even warmer than that. And the Minoan period Continue reading
Some things, course, obviously either true or not true. “The atomic weight of carbon is 14” is not the sort of fact which admits of very much argument. Neither is it a fact which is very interesting to most people. Most people are much more interested in questions which admit of a great deal of argument. Donald Trump is going to be a disaster for the United States. Global warming is an existential threat. The European Union does more harm than good. Hmm. Maybe, maybe not.
I have always thought that a version of Occam’s razor is quite a good place to start. It is the general notion that, where there are competing explanations of something, the simplest is the more probable. Or as Bertrand Russell put it:
Whenever possible, substitute constructions out of known entities for inferences to unknown entities
One application of all of this is the cui bono rule, which is often attributed to Cicero, although Cicero himself ascribed to Lucius Cassius. A court should ask itself who is likely to benefit from a particular crime; that person may well be the criminal.
It is not an infallible rule, of course. Nor is my variant, which goes something like this:
Where there are competing versions of the truth, the one most infected by cognitive bias is the one less likely to be true.
Putting flesh on the bones of Occam’s razor, the simplest explanation as to why someone thinks something is true is often that Continue reading
For a remarkably reasonable price, I have aquired a weather station. Although there was no global warming for the first decade and a half or so of this century, there is some evidence of a modest rise in average temperatures in the last year or so. Far short of the warnings of runaway scorching as we went past some supposed tipping point. But something to watch for. Personally, I am all for a bit of global warming, especially since we now enjoy the beneficial effects of a bit more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – worldwide vegetation has increased a fair bit, almost certainly because of the extra carbon dioxide rather than the temperature. If the average global temperature were to rise to, say, the levels enjoyed by the Roman Empire or even more recently during the Renaissance, there would be huge benefits to mankind.
We no longer get bombarded by hysterical nonsense on the subject from the media quite as much as a while ago. The public at large seems to have rumbled that the scientists whose grant money depends on scary stories about iminent disaster are not to be trusted, and global warming has slipped way down the ratings of issues that the public now worry about. In the USA Continue reading
George Brandis may not be everyone’s idea of a really good time, but this bit of argument deserves a round of applause.
CSIRO is the Australian government’s research organisation. It gets about $1 billion per year of taxpayers’ money. In recent years, quite a lot of that has been spent, not in doing any research, but in proselytising on the subject of climate change. We see for example this on their website:
There is less than 1 chance in 100,000 that global average temperature over the past 60 years would have been as high without human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, our new research shows.
Published in the journal Climate Risk Management today, our research is the first to quantify the probability of historical changes in global temperatures and examines the links to greenhouse gas emissions using rigorous statistical techniques.
Our new CSIRO work provides an objective assessment linking global temperature increases to human activity, which points to a close to certain probability exceeding 99.999%.
Now, I used to be a scientist. That was a long time ago, when I was Continue reading
Looking at his website, WeatherAction, you might think that Piers Corbyn is a bit of an eccentric. But he is not stupid. His younger brother Jeremy Corbyn has an indifferent academic record, scraping together just 2 bare pass (“E grade”) A levels. By contrast, Piers has a first class degree in physics from Imperial College and an MSc in astrophysics from Queen Mary College.
As I have remarked before, I rather like Jeremy Corbyn, although I agree with the consensus view that he will probably keep the Labour Party out of power in the UK for quite some while. And I do not think Jeremy is wrong about everything. Piers, I like rather a lot. As a Marxist (ex-Marxist?), his politics are even pottier than Jeremy’s (they get it from their parents, it seems), but as a scientist, he is a breath of fresh air. He is not just a global warming sceptic, but an outright denier. Like many of us, he has noted that the predictions of CO2 induced warming over the past 18 years are a busted flush – the actual data simply do not support the CO2 theory. But unlike many of us, he has answers as to why this is.
These are largely to do with the Continue reading
As the last of the light fades, huge rain clouds are overhead, heading NW at great speed.
Out in the gulf, there is a pale pink horizon, like a child bride about to be over whelmed.
No rain here yet. But somewhere, probably Continue reading
So, there is an agreement, of sorts, which has come out of COP21. I thought I would have a quick look to see what it says (see below for the text).
Unsurprisingly, it is away with the fairies. For example, we get this on the first page:
Recognizing that climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet…
Now there are a number of problems here, not least Continue reading