Monday, 30 June 2008

French fire real bullets for first time since WW2

For over 50 years the French have carefully nurtured their reputation as cheese-eating surrender monkeys. Preferring talk and negotiation to taking direct action has seen the French army become the butt of many jokes.
Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion - Jed Babbin

"Somebody was telling me about the French Army rifle that was being advertised on eBay the other day - the description was, 'Never fired. Dropped once.'" - Rep. Roy Blunt (MO).

"Do you know how many Frenchmen it takes to defend Paris? It's not known, it's never been tried." - Rep. R. Blount (MO).

War without France would be like, uh, World War II.
And my favourite...
"It is important to remember that the French have always been there when they needed us." - Alan Kent.
So news overnight that the French army had actually used live bullets and injured people comes as something of a surprise:
Seventeen people, including a child left in a critical condition, were injured when soldiers fired live bullets instead of blanks during an open day display, regional officials have told AFP.

Fifteen civilians and two soldiers were injured in the incident, of which the details remained unclear, involving a demonstration by members of a marines parachute regiment of hostage liberation exercises, the regional authority said.

Four of the 17 were seriously injured, with two described as critical following "incomprehensible" scenes at the barracks near Carcassone, in the country's southwest.

According to local authorities, five children were among the injured.

Five helicopters, 11 firefighters' first-aid vehicles and two ambulances rushed to the scene to help the injured.

One soldier had been detained, although no explanation was immediately forthcoming for why the wrong ammunition was loaded into weapons.
Let's hope that everyone injured is OK.

What lesson will the French take from the incident?

Using real bullets gets people hurt.

Another 50 years of feckless pacifism seems likely in spite of Sarkozy's noise about France rejoining NATO.

(Nothing Follows)

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Sunday night rock 'n' roll

The Moody Blues are an English rock band originally from Birmingham. Founding members Michael Pinder and Ray Thomas performed an initially rhythm and blues-based sound in Birmingham in 1964 along with Graeme Edge and others, and were later joined by John Lodge and Justin Hayward as they inspired and evolved the progressive rock style. Among their innovations was a fusion with classical music, most notably in their seminal 1967 album Days of Future Passed.

Nights In White Satin

The Other Side Of Life

I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)

(Nothing Follows)

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Man in black doesn't understand half black man

The perennially black-clad Phillip Adams represents all that is wrong with today's Left. Full of hatred; enablers of racism; eisablers of solutions for Aborigines; and ignorant of history, which means they lack wisdom.

And truly Morally Incompetent.

In his latest column in The Australian Adams shows that he's certainly a light of other days...
I'm grateful to a reader for giving me a great gizmo. It's a credit-card-sized clock that flashes, to the tenth of a second, the time that Bush has left in the White House.
One has to admit that it's a pretty funny gizmo to have if you're a Bush hater.
As I tap out these words Bush has 214 days, six hours, 14 minutes and 31.6 seconds left, and I'm willing the microchip to move things along; 214 days, six hours, 14 minutes and 29 seconds is still too many days, hours, seconds and tenths - more than enough time for the lame duck to remember that the presidential seal features a Roman-style eagle and behave like a headless chook. Urged on by the neo-cons and theo-cons, the worst president in history could wreak even more national and international havoc.
George W Bush will not only not be rated the worst president in history but will annoy the heck out of the left by being very highly regarded for being one of the few Western leaders who had the moral courage to take on the worst form of extremism.
So it’s better to focus on the fact that the presidential election that will replace Bush takes place in early November, two-and-a-half months before inauguration day. To stay with the avian, should Donald Duck win office as a third-party candidate the world could feel like the cat that ate the canary. Even John McCain would be a considerable improvement – despite the fact he’s abandoned all the principles that made him a “maverick”. He was for the reform of campaign funding, and pro-choice on abortion; he was against torture and took a progressive stand on illegal immigrants. These ideas, he told us, represented his core values. And he’s dumped them all in the interests of getting elected. Every other day, another 180-degree turn. Oh McCain, you’ve done it again.
If Adams would like to look up what the McCain-Feingold bill is then perhaps he wouldn't make such an ignorant statement. Further, if he looked at Obama's record on the issue he'll see more flipping and flopping than a fish out of water. McCain is still against torture and he still has a 'progressive' stand on illegal immigrants so I don't know where Adams gets the idea that McCain is anything other than solid in his beliefs.
I’ve been barracking for Barack since he made his debut on the national stage with a splendid speech at the 2004 Democratic convention. So I’m hoping he’ll storm home. But as I wrote months ago, Obama faces the immense risk of assassination. During the 82 days of Bobby Kennedy’s primary campaigning it was widely believed he’d be killed. Nixon thought it highly likely, and the FBI’s Clyde Tolson thought it highly desirable (he was clearly echoing the hopes of his boyfriend, J. Edgar Hoover). Right-wing shock jocks and columnists called upon patriotic Americans to blow Bobby’s brains out – and the candidate himself, when asked what stood between him and the White House, said: “Men with guns.”
Adams 'wrote months ago' that Obama faces the 'immense risk of assassination' and compares him to Bobby Kennedy. He then goes on to talk about right-wing shock jocks while completely failing to tell us that Bobby Kennedy was killed by a Palestinian, Sirhan Sirhan, ostensibly over Kennedy's support for Israel. His brother, JFK, was killed by a communist, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Martin Luther King Jr was killed by James Earl Ray, a man with a criminal record including burglary, armed robbery and mail fraud. Hardly a rogue's gallery of right wing death beasts, is it? Perhaps it's Adams' own understanding of the violent instincts of the Left that lead him to fear for Obama's safety?
Otherwise Obama risks the death of a thousand cuts, the wearing down of the candidate, employing the many weapons of bigotry. Apart from the rabid, racist right who’ll call a spade a spade, much of it, most of it, will be in code. And it will appeal to the national subconscious.
It is pure projection that the right is racist. The right is perfectly happy to vote for a black man or woman for president as long as they agree with their values. That's why Michael Steele is chairman of GOPAC, for example. Who has included more African-Americans or Hispanics in senior roles than George W Bush? Certainly not any Democratic president hitherto...
It’s one thing to vote for Obama in a primary. That’s no risk. Voters can enjoy the pleasures of being progressive, of expressing the belief in a “post-racial America”. But they’re not actually sending Obama to the White House by choosing him over Clinton. They’re identifying with the movement of history – or, to use a word I detest, the zeitgeist. They can focus on all the reasons it’s time to support an African-American heavyweight in something other than rock music or boxing. It’s a feelgood thing to do.
If there's something that the Left excels at it's doing the feelgood thing. No doubt about it. Horrible outcomes but, gee, I feel good about myself for having tried.
It’s quite another thing to vote for Obama in the presidential elections. From now until election day millions of voters will be looking for reasons not to vote for him. And the Karl Rovelutionaries in the Republican camp will be doing everything they can to help.
I suppose they would. That's their job.
McCain promises a clean campaign but the opportunism he displayed in changing positions on the very issues that enabled and ennobled his career will come into play. At best he’ll claim a disapproving distance from the hate-speak and innuendo while happily accepting any electoral advantage. It’s the oldest trick in the book. And we saw in McCain’s embrace of the looniest of evangelical preachers that he’ll gratefully accept an endorsement from anyone.
Adams shows his intellectual laziness with this comment. John Hagee is no parallel to Reverend Wright and not even close. If any reasonable person was to listen to what Hagee said regarding Catholics and the Holocaust in context then it would be clear what he was talking about and that he is far from loopy.
Many voters believing themselves above and beyond racism will yield to it, in its various guises and disguises. Obama’s youth? His inexperience? His overenthusiastic pastors? His wife’s comparative radicalism? All will be used to eat away at the feeling of hope and safety that he was, in the beginning, able to provide. Barack was a walking, talking comfort zone. But the Sidney Poitier of US politics will be muddied somehow, anyhow, with the stickiest mud they can find or invent. And people will find excuses not to vote for him. Oh, it’s nothing to do with his colour! What a suggestion! God forbid! I’m all for a black president. But not this one. Not now.
The irony is that Adams is talking about Democratic Party supporters not voting for Obama because he's black! Republicans would vote for a black person whose values they agreed with in a heartbeat, which is why they were clamouring so much for Colin Powell to run.
To their eternal discredit the Clintons rehearsed some of the Republicans’ dog-whistling campaign – and in a few states it worked all too well. So Obama will be prepared. And while his dream of a campaign that transcended race is a delusion, his colour is also his greatest advantage. We’re seeing unprecedented numbers of black voters registering and kids of all colours rushing to Obama’s. But dark forces within the American psyche, somewhat repressed of late, are about to be released. Remember One Nation in tolerant Australia?
One Nation didn't beat the Labor Party, Phil, so I don't know what the comparison means.

If you talk to any young person at university and particularly those studying in the Arts faculties then they all sound like little versions of Phillip Adams. Like Adams their knowledge of history is abominable and, like Adams, they use pejorative terms against their opponents in place of the arguments that they haven't bothered to learn. Like Adams they think that being smart creates wisdom.

Obama is odds on favourite to be the next US president but not for any of the reasons Adams puts forward.

(Nothing Follows)

Friday, 27 June 2008

Climate models cop another battering

Do climate models include an allowance for the destruction of ozone over the tropical Atlantic Ocean?

Let's have some time to think about that.

Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock...

Large amounts of ozone -- around 50% more than predicted by the world's state-of-the-art climate models -- are being destroyed in the lower atmosphere over the tropical Atlantic Ocean. This startling discovery was made by a team of scientists from the UK's National Centre for Atmospheric Science and Universities of York and Leeds. It has particular significance because ozone in the lower atmosphere acts as a greenhouse gas and its destruction also leads to the removal of the third most abundant greenhouse gas; methane.

The findings come after analysing the first year of measurements from the new Cape Verde Atmospheric Observatory, recently set up by British, German and Cape Verdean scientists on the island of São Vicente in the tropical Atlantic. Alerted by these Observatory data, the scientists flew a research aircraft up into the atmosphere to make ozone measurements at different heights and more widely across the tropical Atlantic. The results mirrored those made at the Observatory, indicating major ozone loss in this remote area.

So, what's causing this loss? Instruments developed at the University of Leeds, and stationed at the Observatory, detected the presence of the chemicals bromine and iodine oxide over the ocean for this region. These chemicals, produced by sea spray and emissions from phytoplankton (microscopic plants in the ocean), attack the ozone, breaking it down. As the ozone is destroyed, a chemical is produced that attacks and destroys the greenhouse gas methane. Up until now it has been impossible to monitor the atmosphere of this remote region over time because of its physical inaccessibility. Including this new chemistry in climate models will provide far more accurate estimates of ozone and methane in the atmosphere and improve future climate predictions.

Professor Alastair Lewis, Director of Atmospheric Composition at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science and a lead scientist in this study, said: "At the moment this is a good news story -- more ozone and methane being destroyed than we previously thought - but the tropical Atlantic cannot be taken for granted as a permanent 'sink' for ozone. The composition of the atmosphere is in fine balance here- it will only take a small increase in nitrogen oxides from fossil fuel combustion, carried here from Europe, West Africa or North America on the trade winds, to tip the balance from a sink to a source of ozone"

Professor John Plane, University of Leeds said: "This study provides a sharp reminder that to understand how the atmosphere really works, measurement and experiment are irreplaceable. The production of iodine and bromine mid-ocean implies that destruction of ozone over the oceans could be global".

Dr Lucy Carpenter, University of York and UK co-ordinator of the Observatory added: "This observatory is a terrific facility that will enable us to keep an eye on the chemical balance of the atmosphere and feed this information into global climate models to greatly improve predictions for this region in the future".
No matter that the world is cooling and that models are yet to get anything right even once. Let's spend trillions of dollars anyway.

How will the James Hansens and Al Gores and Nicholas Sterns and Tim Flannerys be viewed in years to come?

Not well, I suspect.

Probably in the same light as eugenics advocates.

(Nothing Follows)

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Demographic survey results give Obama the edge

Rasmussen Reports does some fascinating work in the field of political surveys.

Here are the summaries from June's Demographic factors:
June 25, 2008: Just 22% now say the McCain is too old to be President, down from 30% who held that view earlier. Forty-one percent (41%) continue to believe that Obama is too inexperienced.
Age will probably not be that much of a factor in this election. There are too many hot issues that will frame the debate.
June 23, 2008: Currently, Obama and McCain are essentially even among men while the Democrat leads by twelve among women. McCain leads 49% to 42% among White Voters but trails 93% to 3% among African-American voters. Among voters who see economic issues as most important this year, Obama leads 59% to 32%. As for those who view national security issues as most important, McCain leads 59% to 37%.
How amazing is that? McCain trails 93%-3% among African-American voters. That really does show how much race is a factor this year. What's equally amazing is that Obama has such a big lead on economic issues given that every policy he's ever supported has pretty much come from Karl Marx's handbook.
June 22, 2008: New data released today shows that 63% of voters think McCain views U.S. society as generally fair and decent. Forty-five percent (45%) believe Obama holds that same view.
Again, if the economy was going very well then this might affect people's vote.
June 19, 2008--McCain leads among voters who earn $40,000 to $75,000 a year. Obama leads among those who earn less than $40,000 annually and those whose income tops $75,000.
Now, that is amazing. The average American supports McCain. The poor and the well-to-do support Obama. The less well off I can understand but it still amazes me that educated, high earning people do not understand that an Obama presidency would not only reduce their income but reduce the poor's income, as well.
June 15, 2008--Obama is viewed favorably by 58% of women and 50% of men. McCain earns favorable reviews from 54% of men and 50% of women.

June 14, 2008--Obama is viewed favorably by 58% of women and 52% of men. McCain earns favorable reviews from 54% of men and 51% of women.

Among voters under 30, 62% have a favorable opinion of Obama. Those ratings decline steadily by age—just 49% of seniors (65+) have a favorable opinion of the Democratic candidate. McCain is viewed favorably by 59% of seniors, his highest rating from any age group. His weakest reviews come from 30-somethings. Among these young adults, 49% have a favorable opinion of the Republican standard bearer.

Few surprises are seen on a partisan basis. Obama is viewed favorably by 82% of Democrats and 25% of Republicans. McCain is viewed favorably by 81% of Republicans and 29% of Democrats. For all the talk of post-partisanship, the campaign is shaping up so far along fiercely partisan lines. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, McCain is viewed favorably by 55%, Obama by 51%.
Given those figures you would have to say that Obama is looking good in November. The fact is that the young don't get out to vote so that's no advantage but that will be made up by the lead Obama holds in the 30s age bracket.
June 13, 2008--Obama attracts 84% of political liberals while McCain is supported by 76% of conservatives. While there are more conservatives than liberals in the nation today, Obama also enjoys a twenty-eight point advantage over McCain among moderates.
The moderates will decide the election and if he holds a 28 point lead through to the election then he'll have a clear win.
Fifty percent (50%) of voters say federal spending will increase if Obama is elected and 33% say the same will happen if McCain wins. Forty-five percent (45%) say taxes will increase if there is a President Obama. Twenty-eight percent (28%) say tax hikes will result from a McCain Administration.
It's strange that people reckon taxes and spending will increase under Obama but trust him more on economic issues.
Voters see a clear distinction between the two leading candidates on the issue of Iraq. Eighty-one percent (81%) say Obama is more interested in getting troops home from Iraq than finishing the mission. Seventy-four percent (74%) say that McCain is more interested in finishing the mission An earlier survey found that 52% of voters say getting the troops home is the higher priority.

Forty-three percent (43%) of voters say McCain is a better leader than Obama while 38% hold the opposite view. When asked which candidate has personal values closer to their own, 43% name McCain and 42% say Obama.

June 12, 2008--Obama currently leads by eleven points among women but trails by a single point among men (including leaners). Thirty-nine percent (39%) of women say they are certain they will vote for Obama in November. Another 10% say they would vote for him today but could change their mind, and 3% are leaning towards voting for Obama. For McCain those numbers are 30% certain, 8% who could change their mind, and 3% leaning towards voting for him.

Thirty-six percent (36%) of men are certain they will vote for McCain while 34% say the same about Obama.

Obama is now viewed favorably by 56% of voters nationwide and unfavorably by 42%. The numbers for McCain are 54% favorable and 44% unfavorable. Among women, Obama is viewed favorably by 57%, McCain by 52%. Among men, McCain earns positive reviews from 56%, Obama from 54%.

Opinions are held more strongly about Obama--33% have a Very Favorable opinion of the Democratic hopeful while 27% hold a Very Unfavorable opinion. For McCain, those numbers are 18% Very Favorable and 18% Very Unfavorable. As with the topline numbers, these ratings reflect a slight softening for Obama and little change for McCain.

June 10, 2008--In December, before the Iowa caucuses launched Obama’s successful campaign for the nomination, the Illinois Senator was seen as politically liberal by 47% of voters nationwide. By April, that number had grown to 54%. Today, 67% see him as politically liberal including 36% who say he is Very Liberal.

A similar pattern is seen for John McCain. The presumptive Republican nominee was seen as politically conservative by 31% of all voters in December, by 41% in April, and by 57% today. Just 19% say he is Very Conservative.

These numbers reflect much more movement than was seen by the more established candidates running four years ago. While the number seeing Obama as liberal has already shifted by twenty percentage points, John Kerry’s numbers shifted just eight points in a roughly comparable time frame. Kerry was seen as politically liberal by 37% in January 2004 and by 45% in May 2004. By the end of Election 2004, 53% saw Kerry as politically liberal.

McCain’s numbers have shifted even more than Obama’s this year—twenty-six percentage points so far. Four years ago, President Bush was seen as politically conservative by 48% in January and 57% in May. That’s a shift of just nine points. By the end of Election 2004, 64% saw Bush as politically conservative.

It’s worth noting that both Bush and Kerry experienced as much of a shift from May to October as they did in the first part of the year. It is certainly reasonable to assume that more changes are ahead for McCain and Obama. Rasmussen Reports will be tracking this data on a weekly basis to monitor ongoing movement.

June 9, 2008--Obama is supported by 81% of Democrats and now holds a very modest three-point edge over McCain among unaffiliated voters. Both those figures reflect a significant improvement over the past week. McCain attracts 83% of Republicans Still, 30% of all voters either have no preference at this time or could change their vote before Election Day.

June 7, 2008--Obama’s bounce is primarily the result of Democrats beginning to unify behind his candidacy. For the first time all year, Obama is supported by 80% of Democrats over McCain. In recent months, his support from Democrats has typically been in the high-60’s or low-70’s range.

McCain is supported by 84% of Republicans and holds an eight-point lead among unaffiliated voters. The bad news for McCain is that there are a lot more Democrats than Republicans. Obama’s party now enjoys a ten-percentage point advantage in terms of party identification.

June 5, 2008--As the General Election season begins, Obama attracts 96% of the African-American vote while McCain holds a thirteen-point lead among White voters. Obama leads by nine among voters of other racial and ethnic backgrounds, primarily Latino voters (these figures are based upon the results including leaners).

Obama leads by a two-to-one margin among voters under 30 and holds a significant lead among 30-somethings. McCain has the edge among those 40 and older, attracting the votes from 50% of these voters.

McCain leads by ten percentage points among White Women. However, Obama has the edge among White Women Under 40 while McCain enjoys a substantial advantage among older White Women.

Government employees are essentially evenly divided between the two candidates. McCain has a 53% to 39% advantage among Entrepreneurs while Obama leads 50% to 41% among those who work for someone else in the Private Sector.

From a partisan perspective, McCain attracts 83% of Republicans while Obama is supported by 76% of Democrats. McCain has an eight-point advantage over Obama among unaffiliated voters. Keep in mind that many of this year’s unaffiliated voters were Republicans four-years ago. The number identifying with the GOP has declined from just under 37% in 2004 to 31% today. At the same time, many unaffiliated voters from four years ago, now consider themselves to be Democrats.

June 4, 2008--As the General Election season begins, Obama attracts 96% of the African-American vote while McCain holds a thirteen-point lead among White voters. Obama leads by nine among voters of other racial and ethnic backgrounds, primarily Latino voters (these figures are based upon the results including leaners).

Obama leads by a two-to-one margin among voters under 30 and holds a significant lead among 30-somethings. McCain has the edge among those 40 and older, attracting the votes from 50% of these voters.

McCain leads by ten percentage points among White Women. However, Obama has the edge among White Women Under 40 while McCain enjoys a substantial advantage among older White Women.

Government employees are essentially evenly divided between the two candidates. McCain has a 53% to 39% advantage among Entrepreneurs while Obama leads 50% to 41% among those who work for someone else in the Private Sector.
Yesterday's Gallup Poll shows that Obama and McCain are even at 45% each.

While things are going well in Iraq McCain has a chance in November but he will need the economy to show some improvement from its current lethargic state.

The Republican brand has been hurt on a number of fronts but especially by their own hand in the form of undisciplined spending. McCain has fought hard to maintain his 'maverick' image in order to not be seen as an extension of Bush-Cheney.

The Democrats are referring to a McCain presidency as "George Bush's third term" and the Republicans are saying that Obama represents Jimmy Carter's second term. That won't work, especially as too many voters don't remember what an unmitigated disaster Carter was not only for the United States but also for the rest of the world.

As things stand Obama has a clear edge over McCain.

(Nothing Follows)

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

It's time to put James Hansen on trial for fraudulent science

So Al Gore stooge and Climate High Priest James Hansen now wants to put oil company CEOs on trial for 'crimes against humanity'?
James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.

Hansen will use the symbolically charged 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech (pdf) to the US Congress - in which he was among the first to sound the alarm over the reality of global warming - to argue that radical steps need to be taken immediately if the "perfect storm" of irreversible climate change is not to become inevitable.

Speaking before Congress again, he will accuse the chief executive officers of companies such as ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy of being fully aware of the disinformation about climate change they are spreading.

In an interview with the Guardian he said: "When you are in that kind of position, as the CEO of one the primary players who have been putting out misinformation even via organisations that affect what gets into school textbooks, then I think that's a crime."

He is also considering personally targeting members of Congress who have a poor track record on climate change in the coming November elections. He will campaign to have several of them unseated. Hansen's speech to Congress on June 23 1988 is seen as a seminal moment in bringing the threat of global warming to the public's attention. At a time when most scientists were still hesitant to speak out, he said the evidence of the greenhouse gas effect was 99% certain, adding "it is time to stop waffling".

He will tell the House select committee on energy independence and global warming this afternoon that he is now 99% certain that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has already risen beyond the safe level.
You mean the James Hansen whose software code is so robust and whose algorithms are so sound that he is 99% certain that we're all doomed?

Luckily for the real world, Steve McIntyre has been doing yeoman's work analysing Hansen's code:
Here are some more notes and scripts in which I’ve made considerable progress on GISS Step 2. As noted on many occasions, the code is a demented mess - you’d never know that NASA actually has software policies (e.g. here or here . I guess that Hansen and associates regard themselves as being above the law. At this point, I haven’t even begum to approach analysis of whether the code accomplishes its underlying objective. There are innumerable decoding issues - John Goetz, an experienced programmer, compared it to descending into the hell described in a Stephen King novel. I compared it to the meaningless toy in the PPM children’s song - it goes zip when it moves, bop when it stops and whirr when it’s standing still. The endless machinations with binary files may have been necessary with Commodore 64s, but are totally pointless in 2008.

Because of the hapless programming, it takes a long time and considerable patience to figure out what happens when you press any particular button. The frustrating thing is that none of the operations are particularly complicated.
There's much more of that at Climateaudit, one of the most important sites on the web today in the field of climate science.
I’m finally stating to come up for air after dealing with the fetid grubs and maggots of Hansen’s code. Needless to say, key steps are not mentioned in the underlying publications, Hansen et al 1999, 2001. I’m not going to discuss these issues today. Instead, I want to show 3 case studies where I’ve been successful in replicating the Hansen adjustment. In the more than 20 years since Hansen and Lebedeff 1987 and the nearly 10 years since Hansen et al 1999, to my knowledge, no third party has ever examined Hansen’s adjustments to see if they make any sense in individual cases. Some of the adjustments are breathtakingly bizarre. Hansen says that he doesn’t “joust with jesters”. I guess he wants center stage all to himself for his own juggling act.
NASA recently had to correct an error in Hansen's work after McIntyre pointed out an error. The result was that the warmest year in the US record now belongs to 1934 not 1998.

The fact is that Hansen has been fudging the temperature data for many years and the consequence has been to increase apparent recent warming.

It's climate scientists like Hansen who should be put on trial. Because of people like him money that could be used for worthy causes such as those listed at the Copenhagen Consensus Centre go unfunded.

I've pointed out previously that James Hansen will be remembered in history alongside other scientific fraudsters such as Lysenko and Hwang. The sooner his scam is exposed to the world the better off we'll all be.

(Nothing Follows)

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Aussies fatter, drunker and carry more STDs than ever before

A report released today highlights an important social issue:
Australians are fatter, drunker and have more sexually transmitted diseases than ever before...
The truth is that those things are connected.

Women are getting fatter. Men need to drink more to be interested in sex. More alcohol means less chance of remembering to practice safe sex. Thus, more are getting sexually transmitted diseases.

That seems a reasonable enough connection to me.

The report includes:
AIHW director Penny Allbon said about 7.4 million Australians were overweight and almost one-third of those were obese.
That's about 2.5 millions obese people.

From a report dated 20 June:
Almost four million Australians are obese, according to a comprehensive study.
Can someone please make up their mind about the real figure? It sounds like they've pulled a number out of their clacker for the purpose of scaring/forcing us all into action. And if the study that found that 4 million of us are obese was 'comprehensive' then what was the study from the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare's study showing 2.5 million?

According to a report in The Age on 20 June says:
AUSTRALIA has overtaken the United States as the world's most obese nation, a new report says.

The report, Australia's Future Fat Bomb, says 26 per cent of adult Australians - almost 4 million people - are now obese, 1 million more than the last calculation in 1999.
Woohoo! First the America's Cup and now, after years of stuffing our faces with pies and chips, we can claim the World's Fattest Nation title. Brings a tear of pride to a patriot's eye...

Naturally, the government is going to tackle the crisis in the same feckless way it's going about dealing with high fuel and grocery prices - by forming a committee to look into taking action sometime. According to Health Minister Nicola Roxon:
Obesity was a national priority and the government hoped to have an effective nation-wide strategy implemented in the next 12 months, Ms Roxon said.

A government-initiated inquiry into obesity would consider a range of measures, including gym membership rebates, Ms Roxon said.
"We expect to have a full comprehensive strategy in place by the middle of next year ... obviously this (report) increases the urgency for that work to be undertaken."
Rebates on gym membership. That's the ticket! Why didn't anyone think of that before?

The whole issue is, of course, a stalking horse for the anti-fast food fascists who want us all to eat lentil soup and spinach as our staple diet.

A Deakin University academic told the inquiry a tax on junk food and reducing junk food advertising targeting children was essential.

Professor Boyd Swinburne, the director of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, said a junk food tax could be offset by subsidies on healthy foods.

Taxing junk food first emerged earlier this year at the Rudd Labor government's 2020 idea summit.
Taxing food is an idea from the 2020 Summit?

Is there anything that it wasn't suggested should be subject to a tax at the Summit?

(Nothing Follows)

Monday, 23 June 2008

Climate common sense still prevails among the British

How does it come about that most Britons don't believe that humans are the cause of climate change given the propaganda bombardment from those who stand to gain the most from the imposition of a carbon tax on Western societies?

From one of the world's most left wing major papers, The Guardian, comes this article describing the results of a recent survey:
The majority of the British public is still not convinced that climate change is caused by humans - and many others believe scientists are exaggerating the problem, according to an exclusive poll for The Observer.

The results have shocked campaigners who hoped that doubts would have been silenced by a report last year by more than 2,500 scientists for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which found a 90 per cent chance that humans were the main cause of climate change and warned that drastic action was needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
To those of us who know what a scam global warming catastrophism is it comes as no shock at all that 'campaigners' (aka left wing political activists) were shocked that the years of hard work indoctrinating the public with their loopy ideas has had little effect.
The findings come just before the release of the government's long-awaited renewable energy strategy, which aims to cut the UK's greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent over the next 12 years.
It is completely impossible for any Western country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent in 12 years. Impossible.
The poll, by Ipsos MORI, found widespread contradictions, with some people saying politicians were not doing enough to tackle the problem, even though they were cynical about government attempts to impose regulations or raise taxes. In a sign of the enormous task ahead for those pushing for drastic cuts to carbon emissions, many people said they did not want to restrict their lifestyles and only a small minority believe they need to make 'significant and radical' changes such as driving and flying less.

'It's disappointing and the government will be really worried,' said Jonathon Porritt, chairman of the government's Sustainable Development Commission. 'They [politicians] need the context in which they're developing new policies to be a lot stronger and more positive. Otherwise the potential for backlash and unpopularity is considerable.'
As oil prices rise that potential is becoming reality and represents a huge problem for governments who are trying to take their countries back to the 1920s.
There is growing concern that an economic depression and rising fuel and food prices are denting public interest in environmental issues. Some environmentalists blame the public's doubts on last year's Channel 4 documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle, and on recent books, including one by Lord Lawson, the former Chancellor, that question the consensus on climate change.
It's amazing, isn't it, that the left's massive propaganda campaign could be defeated by a one hour video, The Great Global Warming Swindle, and one book that questions the consensus.
However Professor Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, said politicians and campaigners were to blame for over-simplifying the problem by only publicising evidence to support the case. 'Things that we do know - like humans do cause climate change - are being put in doubt,' said Lomborg. 'If you're saying, "We're not going to tell you the whole truth, but we're going to ask you to pay up a lot of money," people are going to be unsure.'

In response to the poll's findings, the Department for the Environment issued a statement: 'The IPCC... concluded the scientific evidence for climate change is clear and it is down to human activities. It is already affecting people's lives - and the impact will be much greater if we don't act now.'
The population of Europe is in the process of having an unwanted European Constitution shoved down their throats by an undemocratic, unrepresentative European Union. They are highly sensitised to the ability of multinational organisations to make things worse for them. Thus, they view what the IPCC, a UN body, promotes with justifiable suspicion.
Ipsos MORI polled 1,039 adults and found that six out of 10 agreed that 'many scientific experts still question if humans are contributing to climate change', and that four out of 10 'sometimes think climate change might not be as bad as people say'. In both cases, another 20 per cent were not convinced either way. Despite this, three quarters still professed to be concerned about climate change.

Those most worried were more likely to have a degree, be in social classes A or B, have a higher income, said Phil Downing, Ipsos MORI's head of environmental research.
That's right. You must have gone to university and been immersed in the left wing claptrap that pervades campuses and curricula to be fooled by the climate change argument. The reason is that people who have been to university are more likely to believe authority figures and experts than those who are less educated. Therefore the '2,500 scientists agree' argument carries weight.
'People are broadly concerned, but not entirely convinced,' said Downing. 'Despite many attempts to broaden the environment movement, it doesn't seem to have become fully embedded as a mainstream concern,' he said.

More than half of those polled did not have confidence in international or British political leaders to tackle climate change, but only just over a quarter think it's too late to stop it. Two thirds want the government to do more but nearly as many said they were cynical about government policies such as green taxes, which they see as 'stealth' taxes.
See? Two thirds of people still have common sense. That must drive the left nuts.

(Nothing Follows)

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Sunday night rock 'n' roll

Devo (pronounced DEE-vo or dee-VO, often spelled "DEVO" or "DEV-O") is an American New Wave music group formed in Akron, Ohio in 1973. They are best known for their 1980 hit "Whip It", which made it to #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Their style has been variously classified as punk, art rock and post-punk, but they are most often remembered for their late 1970s and early 1980s New Wave sound which, along with others (such as Gary Numan, Peter Gabriel, and The B-52's) ushered in the synth pop sound of the 1980s.

Devo's music and stage show mingle kitsch science fiction themes, deadpan surrealist humor, and mordantly satirical social commentary via sometimes-discordant pop songs that often feature unusual synthetic instrumentation and time signatures, and their work has proved hugely influential on subsequent popular music, particularly New Wave and alternative rock artists.

Devo was also a pioneer of the music video, creating many memorable clips that were popular in the early days of MTV, although their use of the video medium dates right back to their very first appearance on stage at Kent State University in 1973, which was recorded with an early black-and-white portable video system.

Some years ago, I'd just had lunch with one of my female business contacts and we'd returned to my car. When I turned on the ignition the CD started playing the B-52s. She said, "The B-52s; I used to go to parties with them." Obviously, I asked how that would come about. Apparently, when she lived in the US she had dated one of the members of Devo. I then asked what they were like. She said that she started with plastic hair, smiled and walked to her car. I never did find out.

Whip It Good

Beautiful World

Freedom Of Choice

(Nothing Follows)

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Indian woman mistakes rapist for husband

One of the great things about reading the papers from India, Pakistan and Turkey etc is the wonderful use and occasional mangling of the English language that takes place.

This article
from The Times of India reports on an Indian woman who let a man rape her because she thought he was her husband.
NAGPUR: In a bizarre incident, a 20-year-old woman in a village around 9 kilometres away from Kalameshwar near here, initially mistook her rapist for her husband, and let him have intercourse with her, while her husband slept only a few feet away from her. However, realising her mistake, she soon raised an alarm, and her husband chased the miscreant, but he escaped into the night.
Rape aside, it sounds like a scene from an Errol Flynn movie...husband only a few feet away...miscreant...escaping into the night... When was the last time you saw the word 'miscreant' used in a news article?
The couple later lodged a complaint with Kalameshwar police station, who then registered a case of rape against the miscreant, who remains untraced. Local police say that a search party has been sent to nab him.
" him"...that's great! Can you imagine the Times of London using such language? "A 25 year old South Asian miscreant was nabbed today by Interpol as he tried to board a plane to Prague." Perhaps 'miscreant' can replace 'terrorist' in politically correct papers around the world. 'Islamic Miscreant' has a nice ring to it.
The incident took place at around 10 pm on Tuesday, when both Savita and her husband 23-year-old Harish (both names changed) were asleep in their house. Harish was sleeping on a cot, while Savita was on the floor only a few feet away.
As is the correct order of things. Sensible people, those Indians.
Sources say that the accused, identified as one Sanjay Khade (35), somehow broke open the locked door to the house, entered the room they were sleeping in, and lay down beside Savita. She apparently assumed that it was her husband, and let him continue his advances.

Soon after the imposter had finished his act the lady, felt that the person beside her was of a stockier build than her husband, and started shouting. Hearing her scream, Harish woke up and chased Khade, who was a resident of the same village. The accused fled into the night, and the couple lodged a complaint against him on Wednesday. Further investigation into the matter is under way, it is reported.
"Soon after the imposter had finished his act..." - where do these journalists learn their use of English? At the Oscar Wilde school of writing?

It could happen to anyone, I guess?

(Nothing Follows)

Friday, 20 June 2008

"Saturated greenhouse effect" wrecks climate models

Ken Gregory from Friends of Science summarises the work done by Ferenc Miskolczi demonstrating that the atmospheric greenhouse effect is controlled by water vapour content and that the system maintains equilibrium via this mechanism.

It's an important step to understanding why the predictions of the IPCC's computer models cannot possibly be correct.

UPDATE: Ken left a note saying that he'd updated his post with more information. The following includes the changes that wreck the models even more:
The paper,Greenhouse Effect in Semi-Transparent Planetary Atmospheres by Ferenc M. Miskolczi shows that the current greenhouse effect equations are incomplete because they do not include the correct boundary conditions. The new theory presented in Miskolczi's paper shows that the atmosphere maintains a “saturated” greenhouse effect, controlled by water vapor content.

Considering that we are told "the science is settled", one would think that the strength of the greenhouse effect (GHE) on Earth would be calculated based on atmospheric physics. That is, the computer models of the atmosphere would incorporate the physics of how the greenhouse effect works, so that by inputing some measured physical properties, the atmospheric gases, the models would determine the strength of the greenhouse effect and the surface temperatures. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

There are no physics, no equations in the models that determines the strength of the GHE. Parameters are just set to obtain the observed temperature.

The GHE is dominated by water vapour, so how it changes with increasing CO2 is critical. All the General Circulation Models (GCM) or more commonly called Global Climate Models just set various evaporation and precipitation parameters to achieve approximately the result:

Relative humidity = constant.

This result is based on short term observations of temperature changes while CO2 concentrations were approximately constant, so they only hold true over periods when CO2 does not change much. It is invalid to extrapolate these observations to long term periods with increasing CO2. The modellers just assume relative humidity is also constant while CO2 concentrations change.

There is no physics in support of this assumption, and no way to calculate its value from first principles. This assumption means that if temperatures increase for any reason, the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere increases. But water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas, so the GHE becomes stronger and temperatures increase more. The current theory does not determine this - it is only an assumption. If this assumption is only slightly wrong, it completely changes the expected response of increasing CO2 because water vapour is such a dominant greenhouse gas.

The assumption, that relative humidity is constant when CO2 concentrations increase, is completely absurd. This violates fundamental energy conservation laws. There are not separate energy balance equations for different greenhouse gases. There is not one set for water vapor, and a different set for CO2; there is one set of energy balance equations for the total atmosphere including all greenhouse gases. So it makes no sense to assign an arbitrary rule for one of the greenhouse gases.

There is a near infinite supply of greenhouse gases available to the atmosphere in the form of water vapor from the ocean to provide the greenhouse effect, but the relative humidity in the atmosphere is much less than one. Therefore, there must be some greenhouse equilibrium mechanism to control the strength of the greenhouse effect and the relative humidity. Otherwise, climate would be very unstable. The global average relative humidity at the surface is about 78%. It generally decreases with altitude and is about 37% at an altitude where the atmospheric pressure is 300 millibars (mb). Relative humidity is the fraction of water vapour in a small parcel of air relative to the total amount of water vapour the air could contain at the given temperature and pressure. So why isn’t the relative humidity 90%, or vary randomly? Relative humidity is at its current value because it is controlled by the laws of physics.

Specific humidity is the total mass of water vapor in a parcel of air divided by the mass of the dry air. Warmer air can hold more water vapor, so specific humidity increases with temperature.

If some temporary disturbance adds a large amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, temperatures will temporarily increase, as it did in 1998 due to the super El Nino. If it is true that a temperature rise will cause more water vapor, which will cause more temperature rise, and more water vapor yet again, one would expect temperatures to continue to rise after 1998, and result in a run-away effect. But the opposite happened; temperatures fell as the greenhouse equilibrium mechanism restored the balance. The extra greenhouse gases rained out to restore the equilibrium.

The new Miskolczi theory describes this missing greenhouse equilibrium mechanism. He shows that the classical theory does not include all the necessary energy constraints. When these constraints are included in a new theory, the strength of the GHE is determined analytically. The result shows that the Earth's atmosphere is maintained at a nearly saturated greenhouse effect. Detailed calculation show that the greenhouse sensitivity to a doubling CO2 is about 0.24 K.

This greenhouse equilibrium mechanism doesn’t care if an initial increase of greenhouse gases was water vapor or CO2. If somehow we suddenly released an amount of CO2 to the atmosphere equal in GHG effect of the 1998 El Nino water vapor, the temperature effect would be the same. Temperatures would increase by 0.6 Celsius, but would fall within a year to the original temperature, as the greenhouse equilibrium mechanism restores the greenhouse strength to the equilibrium value by raining out the excess greenhouse gases. Adding man-made CO2 to the atmosphere just rains out almost an equivalent amount of water vapor.

Current theory is based on the energy balance assumption that the total out-going long wave-length radiation is equal to the net incoming short wave radiation (net of albedo).

The most important of Miskolczi's innovations are:

- There is an energy balance between the emission from the ground that is absorbed by the atmosphere and the downward radiation from the atmosphere. He uses Kirchhoff’s law, which is a law concerning thermal equilibrium, not to be confused with radiative equilibrium.

- He applies the Virial Theorem to the atmosphere, which states that the kinetic energy of a system is half of the potential energy. The internal kinetic energy is taken as the upward long wave energy flux at the top of the atmosphere, and the potential energy is the upward radiation flux from the surface. This result is used to determine the fraction of the upward radiation from the surface that is transmitted directly to space (rather than absorbed by the atmosphere), which is 1/6.

He uses Kirchhoff's law and the two energy balances (ground to lower atmosphere, upper atmosphere to space) to derive the result: The long wave upward radiation from the surface is limited to 1.5 times the short wave downward radiation from the Sun. This limits the temperature to very close the current temperature. Therefore, Miskolczi concludes that almost all of the global warming of the last century must have been due to changes of the Sun or albedo. The Earth’s atmosphere, satisfying the energy minimum principle, is configured to the most effective cooling of the planet with an equilibrium global average vertical temperature and moisture profile.

The current theory does not assume an energy balance between the surface and the lower atmosphere, and allows the upward radiation from the surface to be twice the short wave downward radiation from the Sun. Also, the current theory gives a large discontinuity between the surface temperature and the air temperature at the surface. This problem is corrected by ad hoc adjustments. The new Miskolczi theory assumes in its formulation that these temperatures are equal.

Miskolczi also provides empirical evidence of the two laws he applies (krichoff.s law and Virial Theorum) for both the Earth and Mars.

Miskolczi says "It is nonsense to think that a system ‘waits’ for our CO2-emissions to elevate its temperature if otherwise the energetic conditions make possible to rise and the necessary resort (a practically infinite reservoir of greenhouse gases in the form of water vapor in the oceans) is at its hands."

Adding some greenhouse gases (CO2) to a near infinite supply of greenhouse gases in the form of water vapour available to the atmosphere has negligible effect.

The new theory implies that adding CO2 to the atmosphere would reduce the relative humidity, contrary to climate model assumptions. So, has relative humidity been falling with increasing CO2 concentrations?

Here is a graph of global average annual relative humidity at various elevations in the atmosphere expressed in milli-bars (mb) from 300 mb to 700 mb for the period 1948 to 2007. The data is from the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory here.
Global relative humidity 300 to 700 mb

This graph shows that the relative humidity has been dropping, especially at higher elevations allowing more heat to escape to space. The curve labelled 300 mb is at about 9 km altitude, which is in the middle of the predicted (but missing) tropical troposphere hot-spot. This is the critical elevation as this is where radiation can start to escape without being recaptured. The average annual relative humidity at this altitude has declined by 21.5% from 1948 to 2007!

Existing computer models forecast that the warming trend due to increasing CO2 concentrations will be greater in the troposphere in the tropics than at the surface. The graph below from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (4AR) shows the predicted tropical troposphere hot-spot at 8 to 12 km altitude as a distinctive red area. The vertical right hand scale is altitude in km, and the left hand scale is atmospheric pressure in mb. The horizontal axis is latitude with the equator (Eq) in the middle. The colours represent the predicted warming trend in Celsius per decade based on the assumption that relative humidity is constant.

However, the Hadley Centre's real-world plot of radiosonde temperature observations shown below does not show the projected CO2 induced global warming hot-spot at all. The predicted hot-spot is entirely absent from the observational record.

The mystery of the missing hot spot is solved by the Miskolczi greenhouse effect theory and confirmed by the declining relative humidity, especially at the altitude of the predicted hot spot. The declining relative humidity reduces the temperature compared to the model projections so there is no hot spot. The GCM assumption of constant relative humidity is wrong and is yet another proof that the climate predictions of the IPCC are wrong.

A NASA study from here says:

A NASA-funded study found some climate models might be overestimating the amount of water vapor entering the atmosphere as the Earth warms. They found the increases in water vapor were not as high as many climate-forecasting computer models have assumed. In most computer models relative humidity tends to remain fixed at current levels. "The increases in water vapor with warmer temperatures are not large enough to maintain a constant relative humidity," Minschwaner said.

Dr. Roy Spencer’s article Global Warming and Nature’s Thermostat here, describes the role of precipitation systems in controlling the greenhouse effect. It is an extension of Richard Lindzen’s “Infrared Iris” hypothesis. Dr. Spencer says we don’t know why the greenhouse effect is limited to its current value.

Miskolczi provides the detailed explanation of why the greenhouse effect is limited to its current value for a constant external Sun forcing. Adding CO2 to the atmosphere just replaces an equivalent amount of water vapour to maintain a constant greenhouse effect. This would have negligible effect on global temperatures.

The global warming the Earth has experienced over the twentieth century is mostly due to the Sun, including the Sun’s effects on clouds via cosmic rays. Increasing Sun activity adds to the greenhouse effect by increasing the specific humidity; increasing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere does not. The actual 20th century warming results may be considered the sum of two processes:

1.Solar forcing increase with constant CO2; plus,
2. Increasing CO2 concentration with constant solar forcing

1. An increase of the Sun's radiation input net of albedo with no change in CO2 concentrations would cause no change to relative humidity. Global temperatures would increase causing an increase in specific humidity with the greenhouse effect (in W/m2) increasing by one-half of the solar input change (also in W/m2).

2. An increase of CO2 with constant net solar radiation causes relative humidity to fall, especially at the 400 mb and 300 mb level, as this is at the characteristic emission level. Changes of humidity near the surface has little effect on the strength of the greenhouse effect as the high water vapor content already captures most of the long wave-length radiation, so relative humidity would not change much near the surface. The CO2 replaces water vapour to maintain a constant greenhouse effect, so global temperature changes would be negligible.

The sum of these two process describe the 20th century warming results. Specific humidity has increased at lower altitudes, but has decreased at high altitudes. The decreasing relative humidity (especially at 300 and 400 mb levels) almost totally offsets the GHE of increasing CO2 content. The warming was caused by the increased solar forcing amplified by a positive water vapour feedback.

The Sun has recently become quiet resulting in declining global temperatures since 2002 despite increasing CO2 content in the atmosphere.

A summary of the Miskolczi theory is here.
A four part critique by David Stockwell is here.
Proving that water vapour keeps the system in check kills climate science as we know it dead. so expect to see a strident attack on Miskolczi and his theories over the next month or two from the usual suspects such as Realclimate, James Hansen and other assorted ninnies whose snouts are firmly planted in the bucket of public money that supports climate research.

(Nothing Follows)

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Asia's grand old man is still as sharp as ever

Lee Kuan Yew is one of the great figures in Asia. In this short interview with NPQ magazine he covers a range of topics that show he has lost none of the intellectual acuity that marked his prime ministership. What is particularly interesting is his reference to a Chinese-made TV series on the rise of the great powers - the Europeans, Russians and Japanese. It gives an insight into how China sees itself.
Lee Kuan Yew, the founding prime minister of Singapore and the "grand old man of Asia" at 84, is now minister mentor in Singapore. He talked recently with UCLA professor and columnist Tom Plate and Jeffrey Cole of the Annenberg Center of the University of Southern California.

NPQ - You said some years ago that America must get the relationship with China right, because that benefits everybody in Asia. And if it's not gotten right, it's going to create problems. Has the US more or less gotten the relationship right?

Lee Kuan Yew - I think it's not bad. Congress is in a fractious mood, looking for excuses for what's gone wrong, believing China's exchange rate offers unfair advantage. Yes, the Chinese should up the value of their yuan -- maybe 10 percent, 15 percent -- but it's not going to help. It's not going to solve the problem. It might create problems for them if they do it so suddenly. But if they do it gradually, as I think they will, it shouldn't be a problem.

Looking ahead a bit, the Chinese are scared of unemployment, they're scared of what happened to Japan when the factories relocated. They need their low-end jobs, making shoes and garments. If these factories move out and there are people without jobs -- that's a real problem for them. Moving up-market to higher-value production is a new game for the Chinese, and they're nervous. The legitimacy of the authorities depends upon solving the economic problems and not having riots in the cities even as their old state-owned enterprises retrench.

NPQ - Does America have to fall as China rises?

Lee - No, I do not see a win-lose, zero sum game here. It was the US that brought China into the (World Trade Organization). It was George H.W. Bush who opened the door, inviting China to start selling to America. That was carried on by President Clinton who helped bring the Chinese into the WTO.

American has two choices with China -- to keep them out or let them in. If you keep them out, then you have them as a spoiler. They're going to do reverse engineering and steal your patents. Where is the profit in that? If you slow down their transformation you are not going to benefit from that transformation.

Back in 1980s and early '90s, America needed the Chinese market to grow,but never factored in the speed at which they would grow. That's scary because it has created enormous problems -- disparity within the cities, between the cities and the countryside. And now with cell phones and satellite TV, everyone sees everything. So they have to change track. Instead of just going helter-skelter for gold. Now they're talking about achieving a harmonious society.

NPQ - Do you still see China continuing in the opening-up direction?

Lee - Their problem now is convincing the world that they're serious about a "peaceful rise." The leadership in China are thinking people. You're not dealing with ideologues.

I was struck by the recent broadcast on Chinese TV of the series The Rise of Great Nations. In my view, it was a bold decision on the part of the Chinese leadership to suggest to the Chinese people the lessons from what made the Europeans, the Russians and Japanese great.

The episode on Britain is quite interesting. The theme was the importance of doing away with the divine right of kings, about how the monarchy was challenged by the barons who brought the king down. And it was about the Magna Carta. Suddenly, "divine right" is vested in the people through the parliament, an no longer in the monarchy, leading to the emergence of the middle class. When Charles I got uppity, he was beheaded.

Now,this series was produced in a communist state! It suggested that, if you want to be a great nation, you must behead the leader if he goes against the people!The key to becoming a great nation, this episode made clear,was growing confidence between the people and the leaders.

I gather that the whole point of this TV series was as a public lesson to support China's gradual opening up without causing conflict -- the "peaceful rise." They have worked out this scheme, this theory, this doctrine to assure America and the world that they're going to play by the rules.

NPQ - Will they be able to do that fast enough to accommodate the middle class who want clean air and so much else?

Lee - My guess is they're going to move pragmatically one step at a time.

The policy will be "Let's grow, let's have more equality in the country and keep the country united. Let's have no trouble abroad. Let's make quite sure that Taiwan doesn't do stupid things which will force the mainland to act. Let's have a successful Olympics and then we are into a new age, one step at a time."

On the environment, the first problem is blue skies for the Olympics. During the 50th anniversary of the founding of modern China in 1999, they cleaned up the air in Beijing by stopping all factories for two weeks. I think they'll do that for four weeks before the Olympics, including cutting down the number of cars that can enter the city by half.

Of course, cleaning up properly, retrofitting coal mines, recycling water and the like, will take umpteen years. It will be a very costly and slow business. They are working with Singapore to create a sustainable, EcoCity. They want to learn. That's important.

NPQ - Since you've been a friend of America over decades, what are two or three things that you worry about in America?

Lee - I think the next 10 years you have got to extricate yourself from these problems in the Middle East. It may take you five years to get it stabilized and then after that, you gradually have more time and energy to think about the other big problems in the world.This is sucking up too much of your resources.

To solve this, you have got to tackle the two-state problem in Israel. As long as that's festering away, you're giving your enemies in the Muslim world an endless provocation from which they can get new recruits for crazy adventures to try and knock you down by blowing themselves, or trying to blow the world up.

NPQ - What about inside America itself?

Lee - For the next 10 to 20 years you will keep going as the most enterprising, innovative economy with leading-edge technology, both in the civilian and military fields. You will lose that gradually unless you are able to keep on attracting talent. That's the final contest. Because of the path you have blazed, the Chinese and other nations are going to successfully adopt parts of it to fit their circumstances.

They are also going around looking for talented people who can build up innovative, enterprising economies. After all, this is now an age where you will not have military contests between great nations because you will destroy each other. But you will have economic and technological contests between the great powers. I see that as the main arena of competition by 2040, 2050.

But long-term for America -- projecting another 100 years -- whether you stay on top depends upon the kind of society you will be. If the present trends continue, you'll have a Hispanic element in your society that's about 30, 40 percent. The question is whether you make the Hispanics Anglo-Saxons in culture, or whether they make you more Latin American in culture.

If they came in drips and drabs and are scaterred across America, then you will change their culture. But if they come in large numbers, like Miami or in California, then their culture will continue and they may well affect the Anglo-Saxon culture around them. That's the real test.

The Chinese won't have this problem. The number of Chinese Hans is so great they can absorb any number of new migrants. If they just stay with their "peaceful rise" and they just contest for first position economically and technologically, they cannot lose. If they are not number one, they will be number two. If they are not number two, they are number three. They have figured that out.

NPQ - China has not given up hope in terms of trying to control the content on the Internet. But is this new technology going to overwhelm efforts to control it?

Lee - Right, it is not possible (to control it). Look, if you are going to have a PDAthat is also running video you can have your servers blocked. But if you've got a 3G phone, you use another server, and so then you are through. It's already happening. Otherwise, how did you get all these pictures of the monks in Myanmar or Yangon or Mandalay coming out? It's all on cell phones.

NPQ - Is it plausible to ask China to work behind the scenes, as it did at the six-party talks involving North Korea, to help move Myanmar out of the Middle Ages and into the real world?

Lee - I'm not sure the Chinese have got that power. And in Myanmar, these are rather dumb generals when it comes to the economy.

How can they so mismanage the economy and reach this stage when the country has so many natural resources? It's stupid.

I do not believe that the generals in Myanamar can survive indefinitely. Look, the day they decided to close down the government in Yangon and go into this new government zone called Pyinmana, where there's nothing, and they are putting up expensive buildings for themselves and a golf course. And then, one of the top generals had a lavish wedding for his daughter, which was then posted on YouTube. The daughter looked like a Christmas tree! Flaunting these excesses must push a hungry and impoverished people to revolt.

What will happen, I don't know because the army has got to be part of the solution. If the army is dissolved, the country has got nothing to govern itself with because they have dismantled all administrative instruments.
(Nothing Follows)

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

The dishonesty of using Tuvalu as proof of man made global warming

I have a stalker commenter from the UK who is, unfortunately for him but amusingly for me and my readers, a true Climate Disciple.

Anonymous commenters here earn the name fudgie. This particular commenter is such an ignoramus that we call him Fudgie.

Anyhow, his latest offering is that Tuvalu is actually affected by global warming.
Seriously, f---y, are you not able to answer that numerical question? It should be quite easy. And do do that search for 'tuvalu global warming' - I expect that you've got what you think you know about it from immature bloggers like yourself so reading some actual science would be good for you.
He thinks its funny to use a swear word to refer to me and then calls me an immature blogger. He also thinks that because there are 116,000 items returned by a Google search for 'tuvalu global warming' that it somehow qualifies as scientific research.

When a Climate Disciple uses Tuvalu as proof of global warming you know that they're completely ignorant of the science and accept uncritically everything that is spewed forth from Big Green.

So I thought I'd provide the real story of Tuvalu. Here's the start of the Wikipedia entry:
Tuvalu (IPA: [t:u:'valu]), formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean midway between Hawaii and Australia. Its nearest neighbours are Kiribati, Samoa and Fiji. Comprising four reef islands and five true atolls with a gross land area of just 26 square kilometers (10 sq mi) it is the third-least populated independent country in the world, with only Vatican City and Nauru having fewer inhabitants. It is also the second-smallest member by population of the United Nations. In terms of physical land size, Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country in the world, larger only than the Vatican City—0.44 km²; Monaco—1.95 km² and Nauru—21 km².
And want to know what it looks like? Here you go:

Now, you can clearly see that the place is at risk from a sea level rise. In fact, if a boatload of tourists pitched up and pissed into the bay then the place would probably go under.

The key to understanding Tuvalu is that it's an atoll. So what's an atoll?
An atoll (is an island of coral that encircles a lagoon partially or completely.
Check out the Wikipedia link, as there's an animation that describes how atolls are created. It is also the reason why they are unstable and tend to sink; their foundation is not solid in the same way that a mountain may be.

Here's climate scientist Willie Soon's take on the Tuvalu sea level:
There are three estimates of sea level changes for Tuvalu. The first is a satellite record showing that the sea level has actually fallen four inches around Tuvalu since 1993 when the hundred-million dollar international TOPEX/POSEIDON satellite project record began. Second comes from the modern instruments recording tide gauge data since 1978. There the record for Tuvalu shows ups and downs of many inches over periods of years. For example, the strong El Nino of 1997-98 caused the sea level surrounding Tuvalu to drop just over one foot. The El Nino Southern Oscillation is a natural - as opposed to man-made -future of the Pacific Ocean, as areas of the Pacific periodically warm then cool every few years, causing significant sea level rises and falls every few years in step with the co-oscillations of the ocean and atmosphere. The overall trend discerned from the tide gauge data, according to Wolfgang Scherer, Director of Australia's National Tidal Facility, remains flat. "One definitive statement we can make," states Scherer, "is that there is no indication based on observations that sea level rise is accelerating." Finally, there is the new estimate by scientists at the Centre Nationale d¹Etudes Spatiales who also find that between 1955 and 1996 the sea level surrounding Tuvalu dropped four inches.
The fact is that not only has Tuvalu suffered a sum total of no rise in sea level but it may well have fallen a few inches in the last half century.

So you might conclude that Tuvalu is free from man made influences.

Au contraire, mon ami. It really does have some man made issues. And what might they be?

Basically, the local inhabitants have been excavating sand from the coastline for use as a building material. The result has been that it looks as though the sea level is rising and inundating the place. This was even admitted by Elisala Pita from Tuvalu's Ministry of Natural Resources.

Tuvalu is, in fact, representative of the impact that land use changes are having on micro-climates all over the world. The 'melting' of the snow atop Mt Kilimanjaro is a classic example.

The sooner the scientific world can get back to studying the real impact of land use change instead of trying to pin everything on CO2 so that they can get their research money the better off we'll all be.

In the meantime, though, Tuvalu will keep on keeping on, completely unaffected by all that CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere.

UPDATE: Andrew Bolt has a piece on Melbourne's Age newspaper (Australia's version of The Guardian) using such drivel as the Carteret Islands off Papua New Guinea as proof of rising sea levels.

(Nothing Follows)