Number of the Month

July  2007

Shame, Triumph and Triumphalism

First they came for the smokers…

Black Sunday!

Today in England we have a smoking ban.

bulletInnocent children are being stabbed to death by feral gangs who chase them down the street screaming “Kill! kill!” – but we have a smoking ban.
bulletChild gangs fight deadly pre-arranged battles with clubs and chains – but we have a smoking ban
bulletOver a quarter of children have taken illegal and dangerous drugs – but we have a smoking ban.
bulletGun crime is rife in our inner cities – but we have a smoking ban.
bulletYou are far more likely to be mugged or burgled in London than in New York – but we have a smoking ban.
bulletPeople are being killed in their thousands by filthy Government run hospitals – real people with real autopsies, real tissue samples and real grieving families, not imaginary people produced by fake statistics – but we have a smoking ban.
bulletThe entire population are seized with a new fear, acairasthenephobia , the fear of being taken ill out of hours, which has already resulted in death – but we have a smoking ban.
bulletPolice in crime and drug infested Scotland spend their time looking out for smoking van drivers – for we have a smoking ban  

The most evident contemporary characteristic of the ban is its irrelevance to our broken society. It has come about as a result of the most ruthless and mendacious campaign in modern history. At least the American campaigners (such as the CDC and EPA) went to the trouble of committing gross statistical fraud to accomplish their ends. The British campaigners simply invented numbers – and then kept increasing them.

The complete disregard of cost is so typical of politically correct government.

Every public building (so-called; in fact most of them are private property) now has to show a no-smoking sign. Taxpayers now have to fund the training and wages of anti-smoking snoopers: yet another bunch of wage-parasites. Even churches and cathedrals have to display the signs, though oddly enough they don’t have to show signs banning, say, copulation or excretion. This is pure triumphalism, the arrogant and pointless display of power by the victorious armies of political correctness. In terms of the punishment decreed, smoking is now a far more serious crime than theft or vandalism. Even for those who are not of the faithful, the desecration of a beautiful building by offensively sited signage is an affront. Just as the pagan religions gave way to the new monotheistic variety, so the latter in turn must give way to the godless religion of political correctness.

Almost without exception the great physicists and philosophers of the last two centuries were pipe smokers. Tobacco has long been known to be an aid to cerebration, as expressed in Sherlock Holmes’s “Three pipe problem.” Now physics has been virtually banned in Britain (it causes people to ask awkward questions) while philosophy has descended into a post modern morass of nonsense.

The triumphant zealots are now not only telling untruths, they are telling the reverse of the truth, such as “To avoid Alzheimer’s disease, do not smoke.” Before the Great Censorship began, Woodrow Wyatt (The Voice of Reason) wrote the following:

In February, the Australian Bureau of Statistics published a national health survey taken in 1989-90. To much surprise, it revealed that, generally, the health of smokers is better than that of many former or non-smokers. Unsurprisingly, the worst sufferers from hypertension  caused by stress were the ex-smokers (16.1 per cent) and the “never smoked” (13.4 per cent); the steady smokers registered 7.4 per cent.

It is well known that smoking , particularly at work, relieves stress, and to outlaw it increases demands on hospital  beds. Even the US Surgeon General, in 1964, recognised that Parkinson’s disease (a degenerative disorder of the nervous system) occurred at around half the rate among smokers. In the International Journal of Epidemiology , in 1991, a review of 11 studies showed that non-smokers suffered 50 per cent more Alzheimer’s  disease than smokers. And researchers at Erasmus University Medical School , Rotterdam , found that more non-smokers had early-onset dementia than smokers.

In the Daily Telegraph, Dr. James Le Fanu  wrote: “Smokers have a 50 per cent reduced risk  of developing Alzheimer’s  and the more smoked, the greater the protection.” The New England Journal of Medicine. in 1985, reported that endometrial cancer  of the womb occurs at around 50 per cent the rate among smokers as non-smokers. Colon cancer and ulcerative colitis also seem to be about 30 and 50 per cent respectively less frequent among smokers according to articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association and in the New England Journal of Medicine, in 1981 and 1983. The American government’s first Health and Nutrition Examination Survey has found that osteo-arthritis  is five times less likely to occur among heavy smokers than non-smokers.

I do not claim that smoking  by those with unhealthy diets cannot activate illness (that passive smoking  may be dangerous is a preposterous joke). But we urgently need a serious, objective, unbiased study of the causes of ill health, including the advantages and disadvantages of smoking, the impact of faulty diet  and of inherited genes. It requires open minds, not the blinkered political correctness  of the Department of Health. Telling the truth would unmask the futility of the many millions of pounds of public money wasted on ill thought-out and unscientifically based attacks on smoking. The campaign against smoking has certainly caused more crippling illness and premature death than if it had never begun.

Why has this assault on freedom happened in Britain today?

bulletWe have had a decade of attrition in which the Government, with a new law every four hours, has chipped away at personal freedom from every direction, until the once fiercely independent mongrel island race have lost their will to resist.
bulletThe quality of our politicians is at an all-time low. They are venal, corrupt and lacking in judgement. As a class they are despised by the electorate, who now have no real choice. A growing proportion of them have never done a real job. They have surrendered their once considerable powers to Brussels and the Prime Ministerial sofa in exchange for high salaries, pensions and perks. They listen to the loudest claque and respond to the current hysteria.
bulletThe House of Lords, which was always the fierce defender of our liberties, has been emasculated, in part with the specific purpose of  preventing it from carrying out that function.
bulletThis is the culmination of one of the most ruthlessly dishonest campaigns in modern times. When the forces of political correctness broke out of their fastness in California , the storm troopers in the van were the anti-tobacco zealots. Tobacco was the symbolic evil and its defeat would be the demonstration of their power. In America they relied mainly on statistical fraud, but in more secretive Britain they were able simply to invent numbers and increase them steadily.
bulletThe media are supine and conformist as never before. They practise self-censorship in the name of political correctness. Only a few mavericks such as Christopher Booker dare to tell the truth in defiance of the dogma.
bulletPolitical power now resides in Brussels , among an unelected elite who have no regard for truth or science. They produce and propagate the really big lies. As Booker reports, for example, they claim 20,000 passive smoking deaths for the UK, which pro rata for population is over thirty times higher than the demonstrably fraudulent EPA claim for the USA . There is no actual evidence that anyone, anywhere has ever died of passive smoking.

This is a black day for the human spirit. It is a precedent that zealots will seize upon. Already the alcohol and diet lobbies are lying with renewed vigour. They will not be the only ones. Among the casualties will be that last bastion of essential Englishness, the country pub. Already, those that still survive are filled with mindless rock music and uncontrolled screaming  kids. Pubs will lose the traditional old men sitting in the corner calmly smoking their pipes and contentedly supping their ale, their very continuing existence giving the lie to the propaganda.

The prescient George Orwell realised that the oppressive society would need campaigns such as this in order to reinforce its control. He invented the Anti Sex League. In 1948 this must have seemed appropriate, unlike tobacco, which had just helped millions cope with the trauma of violent war and had not yet been associated with disease.

There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always – do not forget this, Winston – always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face …for ever."

What an interesting contrast to his socialist thoughts in 1941, when England stood alone against the might of the forces of authoritarianism!

 

This war, unless we are defeated, will wipe out most of the existing class privileges. There are every day fewer people who wish them to continue. Nor need we fear that as the pattern changes life in England will lose its peculiar flavour. The new red cities of Greater London are crude enough, but these things are only the rash that accompanies a change. In whatever shape England emerges from the war it will be deeply tinged with the characteristics that I have spoken of earlier. The intellectuals who hope to see it Russianized or Germanized will be disappointed. The gentleness, the hypocrisy, the thoughtlessness, the reverence for law and the hatred of uniforms will remain, along with the suet puddings and the misty skies. It needs some very great disaster, such as prolonged subjugation by a foreign enemy, to destroy a national culture. The Stock Exchange will be pulled down, the horse plough will give way to the tractor, the country houses will be turned into children’s holiday camps, the Eton and Harrow match will be forgotten, but England will still be England, an everlasting animal stretching into the future and the past, and, like all living things, having the power to change out of recognition and yet remain the same.

George Orwell

01/07/07

Ordinary people (1)

The gap between what the establishment media are saying and what ordinary people are saying seems to yawn with increasing frequency. A sentiment heard repeatedly in the pubs and on the streets in the last couple of days was expressed in a letter to the Daily Telegraph:

Isn't it ironic that, as a result of government incompetence, there will be 11,000 British doctors without jobs at the end of July? But in the meantime, this same government is allowing into this country, presumably without thorough checking, foreign doctors who are suspected of being hell-bent on blowing up British citizens. Surely our home-grown, educated and trained doctors should come first.

What is it with the establishment media? Do they not think it, or dare they not say it?

Ordinary people (2)

A cheering headline from The Guardian:

If half the nation is in denial about the threats we face from climate change, what hope is there?

And there’s this in the article:

It matters. Up to a point, laws can be passed to combat climate change, and offenders who don't conform can be punished. But any successful policies will depend on the cooperation of a population that truly understands the dangers and threats we face. If half the nation continues to be ignorant or in denial, there's not much hope.

Which all goes to show that one arrogant man’s “ignorant” is another reasoning man’s “reasonable.”

Ordinary people (3)

From the Telegraph:

Gordon Brown rules out referendum on EU

Could it be that he knows what the answer will be? Surely not.

Extraordinary people

A reader of our forum reports that the Numby Award Winning perpetual motion machine is now on display. As we said back in December "However, we all look forward to finding out how the payoff actually works."

Footnote: surprising news.

.04/07/07

The ultimate Blair legacy

Consider this only too possible scenario

Two elderly neighbours live either side of the English/Scottish border. The one to the north is entitled to free drugs to combat cancer, dementia or blindness due to macular degeneration. The one to the south is denied all of these. The body that is responsible for this denial not only has an Orwellian name, but also an Orwellian acronym. It is NICE, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

That is the result of Prime Ministerial insouciance.  

05/07/07

Flagging Britain

Britain’s new Prime Minister is wrapping himself in a piece of coloured cloth in order to cover up a couple of rather ugly embarrassments. The cloth in question is the union flag, which was once pronounced anathema in the heady early days of the New Labour project. As in almost everything else New Labour purported to stand for, the movement has completed an about turn.

Embarrassment number one is the festering sore in the flank of the union arising from the insouciant Mr Blair’s quick fix in creating the Scottish Parliament, completely ignoring the infamous West Lothian Question that had so exercised finer minds. Now that we have a Scottish Prime Minister, absurdities pile upon absurdities. The PM’s own constituents (in common with those of another party leader in the adjoining Fife constituency) have privileges that are forbidden to the English, such as free drugs for cancer and dementia, free university education and guaranteed small school class sizes. Furthermore, these privileges are funded out of a massive subsidy to Scots, paid out of English taxes according to the historical Barnett Formula (which, incidentally is now repudiated by its eponymous author). Even worse, Scottish MPs, like the PM, are entitled to vote on matters that only affect the English, such as those proscriptions, whereas the reciprocal relationship does not apply.

Embarrassment number two is that the Prime Minister has declared his intention of reneging on the manifesto promise for a referendum on the question of a new European Constitution. Blair, as his final act of treachery, signed up to a new drastic transfer of powers. All over Europe it is acknowledged that the new treaty is the old constitution in almost all except name. Only in Britain is the fiction maintained that it is not a constitution. That bit of coloured cloth, which is now to fly above all official buildings, is about to become virtually meaningless. In reality it should be replaced by the flag of the other union, and perhaps soon will be. Comparisons with that other great democratic union in North America are spurious. The EU is an undemocratic oligarchy, corrupt and riddled with fraud. Would you invest in a business that has never had its accounts passed by its auditors?

If only Britain had an opposition!

Link to this piece.

08/07/07

Friday 13th

Today Number Watch and its bending author share a birthday. Oddly enough it happens every year. Here (second item) is a rather oblique tribute for the occasion. 

13/07/07

Bespoke research

When, as is the norm nowadays, zealots take over great institutions, they rob them not only of their integrity but also their dignity. It tells you something about the state of the world when the might of the once great Royal Society rears up in defence against a mere television documentary.  John Ray’s Comment on the salvo prompted a closer examination of the ammunition.

Under pressure of time, your bending author has only managed a superficial read through of the paper in question, but a few observations seem to leap out.

The phrase “pre-industrial” in the first sentence does rather tend to give the game away in identifying the villains of the piece, or perhaps it should be read as “a message from our sponsors”.

When you have refereed a few thousand scientific papers in your lifetime, you develop antennae that alert you to the occurrence of the conjuror’s misdirection. One telltale sign is two pages of references, as here. Unless it is a review paper, most of them are almost certainly irrelevant and they simply serve to discourage too deep an examination into the nature of the argument. No one has the time or inclination to search out forty odd papers and examine them to see whether they are germane to the thesis being advanced. In this case the question is whether the sole driver of climate, the Sun, is responsible for a putative sharp increase in global temperature.

A prominent oddity is figure 2, an elaborate colour diagram that seems to be intended to establish that the running mean process exhibits a zero. What a combination of complexity and naivety!

For heaven’s sake! It is over forty years since the publication of Hamming’s classic instruction manual Numerical Methods for Scientists and Engineers. Even the more modest contribution by your bending author, Laboratory On-line Computing, is over thirty years old and shows that, by use of the z-transform, the exact frequency and phase characteristics drop out in about five lines of simple algebra. Although omitted for simplicity in our treatment of smoothing, the phase shows a reversal at each zero of amplitude. That is all the pretty coloured pictures of figure three of this paper illustrate. The whole point of having standard methods of linear signal processing is that we know exactly the properties of the individual techniques and do not need to keep repeating the analyses. As soon as you start creating ad hoc variations based on intuition, you create a situation of uncertainty and a great deal of labour for any potential critic (the Coppock method is a case in point). Anyway, what they seem to have done is scan the parameter of their process in order to eliminate periodicities in the range of 9-12 years. They could have done this by using a standard low pass filter or Fourier Transform methods, and in either case would come up against the uncertainty principle, as they must do here, but in a less clear way.

So let us take their findings at face value. They say that solar studies fail to predict a claimed sharp rise in global temperature. Well that is precisely what others of a more sceptical disposition have been saying, most recently for example David Archibald. The authors of this paper claim to be dealing with recent times, so they have the advantage of satellite data, which are more credible than the earthbound sort. Indeed the satellite data suggest that there has been no significant global warming since the strong El Nińo year of 1998. From Archibald:

But the paper in question chooses to ignore the satellite data and to show as its final figure the usual ground station data with a strong upward slope for recent years. For an explanation of that see How not to measure temperature. Number Watch has been frequently pilloried for item 6 in its ten facts about global warming, yet now that surface stations are actually being systematically  investigated it is clear that there is a great deal of dubiety in those records. 

So what does it all boil down to? They have gone round the houses with a great deal of razzamatazz to tell us something that appears to be generally agreed, that solar activity is in decline. They then contrast this with the dubious totem graph of surface temperatures and end up with the complete non sequitur that the CO2 sceptics must be wrong, which was the point seized upon with great relish and hysteria by the establishment media, led of course by the BBC. Fortunately, there is still the odd isolated cool head among the overheated mass.

Thus the Royal Society, which has throughout its glorious history received and published a significant proportion of the great discoveries of world science, finds itself hosting a cheap, opportunistic gibe at an honest attempt to popularise a return to traditional scepticism in science.

The case of the glaring plateaux

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.
Mark Twain

Here are two diagrams that have occurred in Number Watch in recent times.

Now it seems to your simple minded author that they both exhibit a rather outstanding characteristic, namely a plateau in the the data. In both cases the users of the data have behaved as though they were not there.

The first is the evidence (read to the bottom) on which the drug Vioxx was banned. Despite the fact that it is a logical impossibility for this to be anything other than a freak of statistics, the therapy was taken away from thousands of suffering people and millions of dollars were wasted.

The second is the claimed temperature of the surface of the earth. The users correlate this with the only measure of CO2 in the atmosphere that they permit; yet despite the fact that the latter follows a monotonic rising curve they do not attempt to account for the self-evident hiccup.

It all goes to illustrate Maier's Law.

Funny old world!

No comment required

This via the Adam Smith Blog Review.

15/07/07

And while on the subject of the BBC stoking up hysteria

From that Blog Review again we have this

Why are we waiting?

Still no news from Steorn. Good job it is a reputable company, otherwise this would be about the time you would expect the directors to disappear abroad.

17/07/07

Footnote: perhaps the payoff has already happened. See here and note the link to an Excel file – if you can make anything of it.

Round

Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel

 

The serpentine coils of incestuous relationships within the institutionally corrupt EU are illustrated by this piece in EU referendum. The organisation is paying for itself to be lobbied in favour of economically disastrous policies based on pure junk science. Or to be more accurate its taxpayers are footing the bill.

The lengths to which the EU inner machine will go in order to preserve the illusion of democracy, while avoiding any actual involvement in that process, are wondrous to behold. The ultimate example, of course, is its refusal to acknowledge the firm rejection of its proposed constitution. It just repackages the whole doohickey in a cloak of  incomprehensibility and brings it back as a treaty, simultaneously launching a campaign to prevent any further disasters in which the taxpayers  are consulted by referendum. As another put-upon group once proclaimed “No taxation without representation.”

Footnote: Correspondence received (from Our Man in Puerto Rico)

Is the population of the European countries really that dumb? I mean, a proposed constitution was soundly defeated in France and the Netherlands and would most probably have been defeated if there had been a referendum in the UK, too. How can they cloak it as "a treaty" and have it passed with no public support? If something like that were even attempted in the US you would see why "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" is part of the US Constitution.

Is there no way for concerned citizens to (legally) fight back?

Reply

Pass.

18/07/07

Hubris

David Owen has a theory. He has written a book about it, called The Hubris Syndrome. The review in the Telegraph bears the title What drugs is Blair on? It seeks to explain the phenomenon of a leader who led his nation into a madness that resulted in the destruction of its culture, constitution and rule of law.

And if there is one person who has day to day experience of the Blair legacy it is the common or garden policeman. In the pseudonymous form of  blogger David Copperfield, he has now produced a book called Wasting police time. Your bending author, who foolishly reported a crime in April and will never do so again, is less than staggered at the contortions the constabulary are reduced to in order to fake the crime targets. Faking targets is now the major industry on our benighted island.

But if ever there was a topical example of hubris followed by nemesis it must be the latest exploit by Stuntman Dave. The candidate in a by-election was not described as Conservative, as has been done for generations, but as David Cameron’s Conservatives. It is like those interminable quiz shows on TV that start out as, say, The Great Newt Quiz and then, as they stutter to ignominious anonymity become transmogrified into Charlie Postlethwaite’s Great Newt Quiz. The eponymous Charlie being some “celebrity” whose name we are all supposed to recognise and therefore flock to. Dave is so wrapped up in his Heir to Blair act that he has lost touch with any semblance of reality. The guaranteed way to lose an election is to cause offence to your core vote. One thing the natural conservative majority in England recoil from is naked self-promotion. All our gloom about the result of the tale of two speeches a couple of years ago turns out to be more than justified. The sheer incompetence in candidate selection at Ealing takes some beating, even by Dave’s standards.

Where is there any cause for hope?

20/07/07

A prat’s a prat for all that

Despite all the desperate spinning, the debacle for the not-the-conservative party in the recent by-elections seems to have clarified a few minds on the subject of Stuntman Dave. EU Referendum nicely surveys some of the reactions and comes to the conclusion “Prat he is, and prat he will always be.” Having used the description “prat-on-a-bike” last December, Number Watch is not going to dissent from that. Matthew d’Ancona Camaroon Editor of the new blandified Spectator takes a different view.

The state of Britain seems to go from bad to worse with a relentless momentum that inspires awe. Not only is the party that dismantled most of what was precious to Britishness still firmly in power, but the official opposition declines to oppose.

One of the tragedies of the nation has been the loss of skills, and one significant area is electoral skills. The decline of the Conservatives goes right back to the days of triumph in 1979. As some wiser heads affirmed at the time, a large majority is not necessarily entirely a good thing. Power was gifted to it and maintained by the unelectability of the opposition rather than the approbation of the electorate. One of the consequences of that easy power was that the Government ignored the party in the country and allowed it to fall into decay. As the eighties wore on, the drift away of membership turned into a stampede.

After the debacle of the first post-war election, Winston Churchill sent emissaries out into the country to reorganise the party. He also orchestrated the campaign against the worst excess of the socialist government, such as the new phenomenon of snoopers. In similar circumstances, the post Thatcher leaders of the Conservative Party have done nothing of the sort, but Cameron has done even worse: he has antagonised the party membership at large and totally ignored gaping open goals, such as the rebirth of the snoopers. Modern political leaders simply do not understand the importance of ordinary party members. They think that the campaign is carried out entirely by media and that they can identify their potential supporters by computer models. They call it computer profiling, but as in many computer applications it simply reinforces the prejudices of the programmers. Party workers on the ground know that supporters (and opponents) are found in the unlikeliest places, and some of them have to be got out on the day: they used to call it “knocking up.” It can make the difference between success and failure. Canvassing used to be about years of patient work identifying, encouraging and (above all) listening to supporters. Now it is just frenetic rushing about by candidates, hitherto invisible, knocking on doors at the last minute for the television cameras.

The Conservative Party, even in many of its strongholds, is virtually non-existent as an organisation. The two prime duties of an opposition leader are to oppose and to organise. Arranging stunts for the media pack in Norway or Africa might give you a bit of press coverage, but it does not win elections. With the nation virtually defenceless, ill-educated, crime-ridden, terrified of illness and old age, and ground down by political correctness, a few facile stunts in front of the media pack have the opposite effect to that intended. But then, once a prat always a prat.

 

Scientific reality

"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."
'The Go-Between' L. P. Hartley

Over a quarter of a century ago, your bending author was immensely proud to be offered a chair at the University of Southampton. Like much else in modern Britain, the honour now seems somewhat tarnished. Here is an apologia for that paper as a Letter in the Sunday Telegraph, which tells you more about the state of peer review than it does about anything else, and has a second paragraph that is a collectors' item:

No spinning here

I am one of the authors of the Royal Society global warming paper that you say is simple and fundamentally flawed (Comment, July 15). Simple? The idea was to present a straightforward demonstration, without recourse to complex climate models. Flawed? None of the three academic referees the paper was subjected to found any flaws.

Climate change is by far the greatest threat to everyone's standard of living. Unlike political parties, companies, media stars, works of art, consumer products and even social trends and national economies, a scientific reality is immune to spin.

(Prof) Mike Lockwood, Southampton University

No

Is the answer to the question posed in an elegant essay by Philip Johnston Are we a free country any more?

If only we had an opposition!

22/07/07

Le mot juste

He means appalling. 

23/07/07

Carbon dioxide exonerated?

There has been a deal of correspondence about a new paper, Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics, with requests for an opinion, a bit of a tall order for one whose physics is rusty with lack of use. The paper certainly is a blockbuster, 113 pages of verbiage and equations. It appears to belong to what might be called the “kitchen sink” school of science writing. Is it just Teutonic thoroughness, or is there an element of obfuscation? The trouble with having endured a lifetime of refereeing and examination is that you are deprived of the pleasure of being lulled into the secure comfort of a long and soothing argument of persuasive intent. When you see an equation you ask yourself “Why is it here? Is it used later? Does it lend force to the thesis?” When there are well over a hundred equations your progress tends to stutter somewhat.

Let us agree at the outset that the term “Greenhouse Effect” is a very unfortunate one, which has been the cause of endless trouble. It is the misnomer that launched a great religion of enormously destructive economic and political potential. If it had just been called, say, the Caruthers effect, the world would be a far better place.

The Earth hosts a heat engine that we call the weather. This operates between a heat source, the Sun, and a heat sink, outer space. It serves to distribute energy from the high-intensity direct-radiation area at the equator to the low intensity grazing-angle areas at the poles. It is an engine of great complexity, in which physical parameters (such as thermal conductivity, thermal capacity or latent heat) are the cogs and belts that allow it to operate. It is not necessary or productive to get involved in the minutiae of the operation of that machine – therein lies madness.

Furthermore, trying to separate the solid, liquid and gaseous components of the Earth is a fruitless exercise. They are close-coupled by such processes as conduction, absorption, evaporation and precipitation. Treat the Earth as an indivisible entity or you might as well try to predict the paths of all the individual molecules.

In order to understand why the Earth is warmer than it would be as a black body, we may therefore ignore its internal mechanisms of heat redistribution. It does not gain or lose any heat through convection, only by radiation. What matters is the colour of the Earth, meaning colour in the general sense that includes non-visible radiation. So-called greenhouse gases change the colour of the Earth – predominantly water vapour and marginally others such as CO2, methane etc. Unfortunately, however, it is not as simple as the idea of the colour of a billiard ball, which is purely a matter of absorption and reflection; for the incident energy is absorbed, stored, redistributed and then radiated from a lower temperature than that of the original source, with a consequent different energy distribution.

The paper in its early pages rightly pours scorn on some of the former accounts of the effect, including the IPCC and its wretched “consensus”. By page 34 we have disposed of the traditional and incorrect greenhouse analogy. Although the 1909 baby greenhouse experiments by Wood probably produce a correct result, there is still a fundamental naivety in them, and it is this. The form of instability that we call convection is very much controlled by boundary conditions. The boundary conditions in a shoe box are much tighter than in a glasshouse and very much tighter than in the Earth’s atmosphere. It all depends on the size of the cavity compared with the likely size of a convection cell, which is why a string vest under your shirt keeps you warm.

The central part of the paper is largely concerned with various anomalies and paradoxes that seem to arise from the attempt to break the earth into component parts, in particular separating out the atmosphere. By page 79 we are getting on to the question of climate modelling. There is an entirely valid critique of the whole idea of computer modelling of the climate, but then things take a queer turn. This is the “kitchen sink” point, in which all sorts of things are packed into the luggage that cannot possibly be of any use during the voyage. We have the law of electric charge conservation and then (for heaven’s sake!) Maxwell’s equations. Now we know that clouds carry space charge and that lightning strikes reveal spectacular current densities, but that electrical and magnetic quantities should have any relevance to a discussion of terrestrial temperatures is a leap of logic that requires at least some explanation, but none seems to be forthcoming.

Why are Maxwell’s equations here? Are they just decorative filigrees and curlicues to add interest to the account; or are they perhaps just included to provoke shock and awe among possible doubters. Perhaps the answer is in the dedication to the presiding genius of fluid dynamics, Chandrasekhar.

Anyway, to cut a very long story short, the end result seems to be equation (143), the answer to life, the universe and everything. It is an equation for entropy density (beat that for obscurity!). After a very long shaggy dog story, this seems to lead to the punch line. We are told “there is no term that depends on carbon dioxide concentration.” To which one, in all ignorance, is tempted to reply “Which term includes excited electrons, vibrating bonds and other quantum effects?” Is it not entirely reasonable that if you specifically exclude quantum mechanical processes at the outset, they are not going to contribute to your ultimate equations for energy and entropy?"

To be frank, and no doubt simple minded, it is difficult to see how writing equations to describe the electro-magneto-hydrodynamic behaviour of a classical fluid continuum contributes to the solution of the problem in hand. Furthermore, the argument about CO2 applies equally to water vapour, and even some of the most vehement climate sceptics would find it difficult to accept that this has no influence.

Does all this amount to a falsification in the Popper sense? Perhaps it does, but your bending author is not clever enough to see it.

Link to this piece.

29/07/07

Number of the month – 1,000

“Less than 1,000 to go” is the cry from the intrepid investigators of surfacestations.org. In a modern David and Goliath story they have taken on the might of the politico-religious establishment and exposed the truth behind the “high quality” climate monitoring network in the USA.

“But what about the UK?” rightly asks the Englishman, who is also rightly nervous about the extraordinarily detailed “adjustments” that have been applied to past measurements. Your bending author, still punch-drunk after going through the German blockbuster above, started reading the paper, but half way through began to lose interest in living. Perhaps those nice people at Climate Audit have more tenacity.

One would like to think that the British would be somewhat less cavalier in their treatment of sensor sites, but it would be reassuring to see some photographic evidence.

31/07/07

Index

 

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