Number of the Month

August  2009

What have they got to hide?

"People who are hiding something have something to hide."
Your bending author’s old granny

The naughty child hurriedly tries to brush the crumbs from the stolen cake under the cushion. Fraudulent executives of a failing corporation hold night-time document-shredding parties. Politicians appoint committees of inquiry, but ensure that the vital factors are not within their remit. Since the crime that had “the primal eldest curse” human instinct has been to bury the bodies. So, what are we to make of the panicky erasure of previously publicly available files at the CRU?

In the pre-computer days, science and engineering students were taught how to keep log books, with the admonition “when writing it up always remember it might one day become a document in legal evidence.” Knowledge in the private domain may be treated as private property and subject to protection by patent. It is also sometimes necessary that publicly funded research is kept secret; in defence, for example.

The progress of science as a whole, however, depends on the wide dissemination of knowledge and its exposure for checking of validity and reproducibility. In the case under discussion, weather information has been gathered at enormous public expense and has been used to justify not only a truly gargantuan outlay from augmented taxation but also the disruption of everyday life. In these circumstances it is difficult to see the validity of any claim to a need for secrecy. The public is entitled not only to have access to any data produced at its cost but also to have them available for checking by independent scientists. The high-handed disdain with which such fundamental principles and rights have been discarded would be disturbing in any context, but the thought that it arises from a confidence in protection from high places is even more alarming.

So, CRU, what have you got to hide?


Comment received

Dear Sir

Your remarks about the publication of data are your usual mixture of towering ignorance and blind prejudice. The only mistake those people made was to make their data public in the first place. Here at the PRU we have recently been celebrating the seventh anniversary of the foundation of our own unit. That great man who was our Dean and Founder made sure that our detailed contracts included the duty to keep all data secret. Thus we have been able to keep the public aware of the danger they are in without interference from busy bodies like you..

Yours faithfully

Hugh Jerrors (Sir)

Professor of modelling those little fluffy bits round the edges of clouds

The Metropolitan University of Nether Wallop


At last, the definitive history of climate change.

A remarkable account of how it all happened from But now you know ,via

This is all you need to know about “We’re all gonna die unless we pay more taxes.”


100 metre record broken

Forget Usain Bolt. A new 100 metre record has been set in Britain . It was announced today during a press conference at the Metropolitan University of Nether Wallop. Dr Max Hadcrut, leader of the project, announced a new world record of 9.4239765 seconds. Questioned on whether a computer model could really be said to compete with a real human race, he said that the scientific consensus is now agreed that models are now much more reliable than physical measurements – “for example, physical measurement suggests that the planet is cooling, when everyone knows that it is warming.”

“We have incorporated into our model everything that is known to physiologists, psychologists, nutritionists and many other disciplines. We have been absolutely thorough. For example, the response of CO2 receptors in the brain has to be adjusted to accommodate the disastrously rising CO2 content of the atmosphere. They were exciting and stressful times as we gradually refined our model and the times slowly came down. When we finally broke the record, the scenes were like those at NASA when man first landed on the moon, though we only have fifty staff.”

Asked by one of the serried ranks of media journalists whether he was seeking to replace the human race Dr Hadcrut chortled and said “No, no, no; after all somebody has to write the programs.”

When asked whether he was prepared to release information about the data and processing methods used in the project, he said that it was not institutional policy to do so, especially in a competitive field like athletics. He likened it to the gradual development of chess programs to the point where they could defeat world masters.

It is known that the University of Much Hadham had been competing to achieve this goal, but after all it is Nether Wallop that is now on the map.


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Number of the month – 100

Groucho: "That's in every contract, that's what you call a sanity clause." 
Chico : "You can't a fool a me there ain't no sanity clause"

A Night at the Opera

  100 is the wattage of incandescent lamps the importation of which is, from now, illegal throughout the EU. Even by EU standards this is monumentally insane piece of legislation. It owes its existence solely to the principle of religious sacrifice. They are to be replaced by fluorescent mercury vapour lamps that are inadequate and a health hazard. That it is a gesture of token enforcement is illustrated by the fact that both forms of illumination are soon to become obsolete, to be replaced by technologies such light-diodes and electroluminescent panels. People who have failed to put by a hoard of real lamps will be stuck with illumination that flickers (precipitating migraines) is slow to start (possibly causing the elderly to fall down the stairs when they have to get up in the night) and produces UV radiation (which is a potential hazard to some, such as those on drugs that promote photosensitivity).

The craziest part of it all is that it shortly succeeds the banning of mercury. Not only has this destroyed traditional industries such as barometers, it has removed from medical surgeries mercury based sphygmomanometers. These are absolute and accurate instruments that have now been replaced by machines based on unreliable semiconductor pressure sensors and naïve digital algorithms. The people who most need the traditional form are the ones who will be put at most risk, those with cardiac arrhythmia. Human operators used to be able to dwell at the critical pressures to achieve accuracy in determining them. The machines simply sweep linearly through pressures and make a grossly crude estimate. Because this then appears as numbers on an LCD panel it is accorded a provenance that it has not earned.

Mercury, though a poison, is relatively safe to handle as it is a non-wetting liquid of low volatility. In contrast, the vapour is dangerous as it can be inhaled or condense on food. Not the least mad part of all this madness is that no mechanism has been put in place safely to dispose of these wretched new devices. They also contain electronic components, such as semiconductor devices and chokes, which are allegedly unsafe to incorporate in landfill. The advantages of the new devices are exaggerated (for example, for half the year in the temperate zone the power they consume comes off the heating bill, minuscule a proportion though it is). They are almost universally loathed, the exceptions being those who joyfully sacrifice convenience for their so-called ecological faith. Many of us now have a hoard of incandescent light bulbs, perhaps sufficient to see us through to the next stage of technological development.

This is typical of the way EU bureaucracy works. Secretive committees prepare legislation, taking advice from various groups of zealots, which the EU funds to lobby itself. They do not seek advice from independent scientists and engineers.  The legislation is not subject to democratic monitoring, as the EU Parliament is a powerless charade. It is passed unexamined through national parliaments, which have ceded their powers and anyway are populated by their own zealots and idle representatives of the new political class. The result is onerous and frequently contradictory. Almost an entire continent is sinking into industrial and economic decline. It is no consolation that newly socialist America is now heading in the same direction.


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