Thursday, 29 January 2009

Highly Uncertain

I just love this quote

The outlook for the climate over the 21st Century is highly uncertain. There is a word in the English language to express high uncertainty. That word is "ignorance". And ignorance is not a basis for responsible government action

This is part of appendix 2 of the paper produced by Drs. J. Scott Armstrong and Kesten C. Green which I referred to here. The appendix of the paper can be found at the end of here. I recommend reading it.

Only in America?

On February 10th a new law comes into effect in America called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Now with a name like that I am sure you are thinking what on earth can one find to complain about? Well, the consequences of this law would seem to imply that either children will be banned from entering libraries or millions of children's books will have to be destroyed.
This law requires that all products for children under 12, including books, games, toys and clothing, must be tested for the presence of lead. It is estimated that the testing required for a book would cost between $300 and $600. Presumably, for a new book, this cost would be borne by the publisher but what about all the existing books in the libraries? The American Libraries Association says that they cannot afford to test every book and that, as a consequence, millions of books would have to be taken off the shelves and destroyed in order that children will be able to enter a library.
My question is "How many children have suffered from the lead content of books, games, toys and clothing? Is this a problem that needs fixing?" My thoughts are how long before the EU enacts something similar. See here for the story.

It is not a consensus

Curiously news items that do not support man-made or anthropogenic, global warming do not seem to make it to the main-stream media so I will do my bit to raise the profile of two quite astonishing pieces of news. In short Dr. James Hansen's* supervisor, Dr. John S. Theon, has stated publicly that Hansen “embarrassed NASA”, he was never muzzled” and his “climate models are useless.” Read the story here. Then Dr J. Scott Armstrong** makes a statement which states that there are "eight reasons as to why the current IPCC computer models lack a scientific basis." Read that story here.

* Dr. James Hansen is the chief climate scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and is the man who originally raised the alarm on global warming in 1988 in an appearance before congress.

** Dr J. Scott Armstrong is the founder of the International Journal of Forecasting, Journal of Forecasting, International Institute of Forecasters, and International Symposium on Forecasting, and the author of Long-range Forecasting (1978, 1985), the Principles of Forecasting Handbook, and over 70 papers on forecasting.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Biased BBC

For some considerable time I have believed that the BBC was biased. The news no longer appears to me to be impartial. I wasn't sure if it was just due to me growing older and becoming more cynical. Perhaps the news had always been like that but I had just not noticed. Anyway, it would seem that I am not the only one to be disturbed by the journalistic integrity exhibited by the BBC.
In the same way that I would not expect an image in a newspaper to be enhanced in such a way to show something that had never existed. By that I mean something like the Iranian photo-shopped missiles. What then if an editor at the BBC spliced together different parts of Obama's inaugural speech, would that be ethical? Have a read of this article at Stinky Journalism and see what you think.
Incidentally, I love the word fauxdio suggested by the bloggers at The Pool Bar.

Do as your told

I just had to add a link to this and this.

New Years Honours

This is how the New Years Honours List should have been

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Unintended Consequences Again

The EU thinks that it needs to save the planet from excessive CO2 emissions so it has introduced a carbon trading scheme. The idea is that permits are handed out to industry to allow them to produce CO2. If you need more permits then you have to buy them off somebody else who doesn't need all their permits. Thus a fixed amount of CO2 is discharged into the atmosphere.
Each year the number of permits is reduced which has the twin effect of reducing the total amount of CO2 emitted and forcing up the price of the permits. The latter effect is designed to encourage recalcitrant industries to reduce their CO2 output.
The only problem is that this whole scheme is based on a growing economy. Now, you may have noticed that European economies are not growing. In fact production by industry has declined so much that the output of CO2 will be below the amount this years permits allow. Thus companies are selling off excess permits to make a few bob and, in doing so, they are depressing the price of the permits.
It doesn't encourage one to feel good about the EU does it?
(H/T EU Referendum)

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Climate Change

I am neither convinced that man is the cause of climate change nor that climate change is a significant problem so I am amused by the antics of politicians desperately trying, as they see it, to save the world. The latest farce is reported on the excellent Watts Up With That? blog. It would appear that since 2005 all diesel fuel sold in Minnesota has to contain 2 percent biodiesel. The problem is that below 10 degrees F (12 degrees C) this form of diesel turns into a gel like substance and the engines will not work. This became an issue on Friday 16 January when the school buses wouldn't run and, as a consqequence, all the schools had to be closed. The best bit, however, comes in a comment from the district's spokesman, Rick Kaufman, who said that some school districts keep their buses in temperature-controlled garages, and that the First Student bus service, which contracts with several metro-area school districts, keeps its buses in garages or idles them through the night.
I just hope that the phrases 'temperature-controlled garages' and 'idles them through the night' will cause every green Minnesotan representative to consider the so-called law of unintended consequences before they next legislate to save the world.

That Inauguration Again

I think of all the articles in all the newspapers this one is the definitive record of yesterday's historic events.

A short quiz

Who is the President of the United States of America?
Who is the President of the European Commission?
Who is the UKs representative on the European Commission?
Of the following three institutions which one creates the majority of the legislation that is enacted in the UK?
a) The Congress, i.e. the Senate and House of Representatives, of the United States of America.
b) The parliament of the United Kingdom.
c) The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Political compass

Apparently I plot (4.00, -4.10) on the political compass. I think it should really be called the political axes but perhaps that is being a bit picky. Anyway, have a go and see where you end up.

A reason to watch the inauguration

An intriguing comment on EU Referendum which might make me actually watch the inauguration:
The inauguration of a new President is always exciting and I have watched several in the past on TV, urged by my father to look out for the man with the briefcase that supposedly contained the code that could unleash a nuclear war. As the incoming Commander-in-Chief was sworn in, he maintained, the man quietly detaches himself from the old one and positions himself behind the new one. I never managed to notice the crucial moment and have no idea whether the instructions were accurate.

The end of the Euro?

This article about Ireland's economic woes, this one about Spain's and this one about half the countries within the EU leads one to believe that the Euro is definitely under pressure. Curiously, I heard recently that the only country that has a clause that enables it to leave the Euro is ... Germany.

Other people's politics

I listen to the radio on my forty-minute commute between home and work. Mainly Radio 4, Radio Berkshire and Radio 5. I have to say that I have been dreading today because of that inauguration. Will I be able to escape the coverage? I certainly wasn't able to escape the never-eding primaries. I may even revert to listening to CDs.
Incidentally, isn't it racist to say that Mr. Obama will be the first black president? By pointing out the persons colour isn't that being discriminatory? I don't recall lots of hype about Mr. Clinton being the first president from Arkansas.

Monday, 19 January 2009

The end of my support

To be honest I haven't been sure who I would vote for in a general election for some time. I harboured some hope that the Conservatives would show some anti-EU colours. Following the election of Mr. Cameron as leader I started to lose hope. Now I hear that Mr. Clarke has been brought into the shadow cabinet and all hope is lost.
Who does one vote for if one wants to get out of the EU?

Friday, 16 January 2009

What are they there for?

I did not intend to do political blogging but I find the following tale encapsulates everything that is wrong with the leadership of this country.
The headline is that 500 jobs are to go in Anglesey. Not a surprising headline in the current econoic climate. However, this is nothing to do with the credit-crunch (where did that awful phrase originate from). This is due to the climate-change obsessed government that is incapable of doing the its job. The 500 jobs are at the Anglesey Aluminium Metals Ltd which cannot find anyone to supply its power when the current power supply agreement runs out. Despite working "intensively with Uk and Welsh government authorities and agencies to find a sustainable alternative to the power supply needs of a smelter, [it] has been unabel to reach a feasible solution".
The long and the short of it is that the Wylfa nuclear power station which currently supplied the plants needs is due to be de-commissioned in 2010 and there is no immediate replacement in the offing. Now, nuclear power stations are de-commissioned but what has this government done about replacing them? Approximately one-fifth of the electricity produced in the UK is from a nuclear power station. 56% of that power they produce will be de-commissioned by 2016, 100% by 2035. Of the existing power stations, according to the BBC, one-seventh will come out of service before 2012 due to the european Large Combustion Plants Directive (LCPD). Where is the power going to come from. Oh, I forgot, the wind-farms. Did you notive that during the recent cold spell the wind just wasn't there? Note then when I say it wasn't there I don't just mean inone place withion the Uk I mean the whole of the UK. As was pointed out on the excellent EU referendum website there was not enough wind in the Uk on January 1st to turn any turbines. What use is that?
Between the governemnt and the EU we have got ourseles into a situation where we cannot produce the power that we need. The point at which demand exceeds supply is curretnyl estimated to be around the time of the 2012 Olympics.
I hate this governemnt, I anot see any releif from either of the opposition parties, I detest the Eu and I don't beleive that climate change is a probelm or that it is a preblem caused by man. Is it wany wonder I spend a lot of my time being a grumpy old man?

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder

Well, I am back. Back at work, back on my feet, back blogging and no longer on my back. For those that don't know I have spent most of the last two weeks trying to reduce the sewlling on my right knee by lying on my back with my toes above my nose. Since this didnt work the GP diagnosed gout in my knee and prescribe the usual anti-inflammatory tablets that are beginning to have the desired effect. I am also getting a better nights sleep. The only long term solution that makes sense to me regarding my gout problems appears to be giving up alcohol. I have not had any since January 4. I wonder how long I will manage?
So now I am back on my feet in all senses of the phrase I will start blogging again.