Number of the Month

September 2013


Australians have set an example by casting off the yoke of watermelonism that has been holding them in a thrall of economic mediocrity for so long. Labor and its green puppet masters have deliberately deprived that nation of the benefits of its vast natural heritage for too long. If the new government do not make a cock-up of this golden opportunity (which, unfortunately, is not a foregone conclusion) they have a new age of prosperity in prospect.

Sadly, such an outcome is not available in the UK, where the greenies have firm control of the major parties, the establishment media and even the scientific institutions. It seems doomed to continue its steady decline into impotence, a little island that nobody listens to. The USA could free itself, but it would have to pluck up courage to slay the occupying green monster that is the EPA and at present it does not have the necessary political will.

So go for it Australia. The eyes of the world are on you.


Incidentally, Willis Eschenbach has apparently been wandering round our local back yard (i.e. Wiltshire), admiring our past achievements. Meanwhile, Cameron has been defending us in the face of alleged comments from Russia about “a small island that no one listens to”. Trouble is, Dave, that was then, this is now. Under the guidance of our political classes (of all colours) we have demolished our best schools, wrecked the best university system in the world, sacked our soldiers, driven out energy dependent industries etc., while grinding down the population with pointless taxes and vacuous regulation. We invent nothing (apart from the odd vacuum cleaner etc.); but true, we are admittedly now mostly known for our boy bands. Rome and Greece also have a glorious past, but they don’t go on about it as we do. Time, perhaps, for a bit of modest stillness and humility.


 Retirement age – just another modern political myth

In the quest for expenditure reduction, it has become convenient to Government to link retirement age to longevity as a justification for postponement of pensions. There is no scientific justification for such a link. The standard retirement age (65 in the UK) was and is the average threshold at which debilitating deficiencies and diseases set in. It has been established in society by long observation and experience. The modern marked increase in longevity has been produced by developments in medical knowledge and technology, but they have had little observable effect on that threshold. Many people above that threshold age (including your bending author) are kept alive by the machines, pills and skills of modern medicine, but it does not follow that this makes them fit to extend their usefulness in the general workplace. Of course, there have always been and always will be that fortunate minority who are blessed with abnormally good health in old age, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

The efficiency of the organs and systems of the human body peak in the early twenties and then go into a long decline. This is one of the features of the human condition that we have to learn to accept. Over time, each injury or infection leaves its legacy of damage, which adds to the inevitable effects of ageing. It is a reality of modern life that the use of medication increases in the latter years, but the cumulative side effects and interactions of polypharmacy add their own burdens.

Successive governments have engaged in short term problem-solving, punctuated by irrationally exuberant follies, the huge costs of which they bequeath to future generations (HS2 is a potent topical example). What they almost never consider are the inevitable outcomes of demographic trends. Though such trends can be subject to seriously disturbing events (the introduction of efficient contraception, waves of migration etc.) they are still to a considerable extent predictable.

The current campaign does little (in the words of Tony Blair’s immortal broken promise) for joined-up government. One of the most divisive, expensive and potentially devastating, features of modern states is youth unemployment. Putting youngsters in competition with their grandparents for jobs is hardly a helpful move in this respect. Furthermore, retirement at the senior levels of organisations provides the incentive towards promotion that is a vital motivating force to the middle aged. Continuing renewal is a dominant theme over the whole spectrum of life on earth. The human tradition of consulting the experience and wisdom of the village elders, however, has become politically unfashionable. Leaders are increasingly recruited from the insulated ranks of the political classes; youthful, wealthy, glib and largely untouched by the realities of modern life.

Admittedly, Government now has a serious financial problem over longevity, but that eventuality has been self-evident for many decades.  In the UK this has been exacerbated by Gordon Brown’s gratuitous, perverse and destructive attack on what was once the best private pension system in the world. Nothing has been done subsequently to mitigate its effects. Now the next generation are being nagged for not saving for retirement. What incentive do they have, when savers are being systematically ripped off by governments and financial institutions? It might, indeed, become necessary to take drastic measures, but to do so from behind a political myth is deplorable.


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 Poor show, sceptics!

And some fell upon stony ground

In a short piece in August, we tried to restore emphasis on the two most important questions relating to global warming: whether it actually happened and whether the computer models reflect physical reality. This apparently went down like the proverbial lead balloon. Let us be blunter about it. The alleged evidence for the occurrence of global warming was manmade and some of the proponents were quite blatant about it. The models deviated from physical reality from the moment they were launched.

The IPCC fifth assessment report should in all justice have been greeted with widespread derision. That it was not represents yet another relative defeat for the sceptics, although the shortness of the usual orchestrated period of scary euphoria considerably tempers this failure. Admittedly the sceptics are under severe disadvantages in that they face virtually the whole of the political and media establishments who remain in league with their opponents, in defiance of observation and logic.

The global warming campaign has now reached stage 5 of Langmuir’s laws of bad science, though Langmuir’s preceding stages have also unquestionably been evinced: the temperature changes promoted are very small (less than would be noticed when passing from room to room) while the precision claimed from a ramshackle global monitoring system is nothing less than bizarre. Thus, in accordance with Law 5, the consequent reaction of the believers is to throw more and more red herrings into the murky waters. The error of the sceptics has been to rise naively to the bait every time. The key faults within the global warming scare campaign are thus lost in the noise, hidden in the vast undergrowth of petty side issues of which the geeky debaters on both sides endlessly probe the entrails. To repeat the heresy, therefore, there are only two key issues, which provide our number of the month. They are the strength of the experimental evidence that any global warming actually occurred and the question of whether the ramp-like responses of the models are a manifestation of the physical system or an artefact of instability due to the inclusion of dubious posited feedback processes in the models.

It is particularly interesting to note the rate of appearance of alleged measurement evidence for global warming diminished as the degree and quality of independent scrutiny increased.

The current in-topic is the excuse of “the dog ate my homework” type that the warming has been hidden by being swallowed up by the oceans. If suddenly the oceans really are eating the warming, why was this not included in the much vaunted models? And if so what else was left out, or for that matter erroneously put in? There are, perhaps, over 100 models whose results, if not their secret programs, are in circulation. They are all wrong, because they are unstable. They are unstable because they deliberately contain ill-conceived positive feedback mechanisms. The instability manifests itself in the form of outputs that continually ramp up, regardless of any variation of data inputs. Right back to the long-forgotten days of analogue computing, scientists with a great variety of experience of trying to model real physical systems will have made such errors and learnt from them. It would appear that the climate modellers have no such prior modelling experience.

Duty having been thus done, your bending author is content to remain in a minority of one, if that is to be the outcome.

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Number of the month - 2

This is the number of key issues in the climate wars:

  1. A phenomenon cannot pause if it is not happening in the first place.
  2. Models with inbuilt artificial positive feedback cannot represent stable situations.


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