A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Friday, January 30, 2004

A sad loss to the rational view of climate change.....

It is with sadness that EnviroSpin announces the death of John L. Daly from a sudden heart attack on the 29/1/04.

His famous, and colourful, web site, Still Waiting for Greenhouse: A Lukewarm View of Global Warming, has been a much needed thorn in the side of all those who have tried to hype up the dangers of 'global warming' using unfounded data and specious argument. John has been the voice of common sense in a noisy world, and he will be sorely missed.

We extend our deepest sympathy, and thanks, to his family.


Thursday, January 29, 2004

The famous Huttonian Transition re-examined.....

Geologically, the much-studied Huttonian Transition (dated approximately 82 BBC) remains highly controversial and open to many mis-interpretations. Recent work focusing on the Portland Place Fault Line indicates a rapid change of climate (though opinions differ), possibly related to over-heated carbon dioxide emissions, or to the effects of the dramatic and unexpected Huttonian asteroid catastrophe. Others favour a cold snap.

We know that the Prime Waffle (Homo sapiens blairensis) survived the Transition, developing a grin as wide as that recorded for the Smiling Tiger (Panthera tigris felix), as did the Lesser Hoon (Homo sapiens hoonensis) and the Scarlett Jic (Homo sapiens cardinalis or jicensis). One particularly aggressive predator, Homo sapiens primo-adviserensis or adverserensis, became rampant, feeding off a range of weakened prey, such as the Can't Copepods (very much lower-level plankton). This fierce animal could stun simply by grimacing grimly or by ejecting random missives. It eventually retired to gnaw over old bones in caves.

By contrast, a whole group of species belonging to the Family Loquaxiae (Class: Chattering Animals) became nearly extinct (as reported for the perturbed beds discovered at various locations across North London, primarily beneath Islington wine bars). This was especially so for the sinister group of such species, various of which appear to have leaned to the extreme left, even when they shouldn't. Others were just too right on, Carbon PC analysis has revealed. Remarkably, specimens indicate that some of these animals must have continued chattering to the bitter end, even as they were frozen out.

One unique fossil, however, remains to be identified; this was found in a special volcanic dyke buried with the skeletons of thousands of Reporting Birds (Ciconia shorthandia) (related to Secretary Birds) underneath Portland Place.

Lastly, a group of ephemeral taxa blasted themselves out of existence, as exemplified by the Shouting Howard (Gran bestiensis howardensis) and the Giggling Boris (Gran bestiensis borisone etoniensis). The former proved to be totally conservative and non-adaptive (it could only hurrumph in one key), while the latter remained but a spectator. Even more ephemeral, assorted socialist taxa related to the Tearstained Tribune (Sinister extremis novae-statesmani) just moaned and groaned as usual.

Top-up studies are now needed to see how evolution progressed as the Earth moved into the later WMD Transition (83 BBC). Deposits in Iraq might prove infertile hunting grounds for geologists. Yet, you never know what you can find in a hole.

Philip, Department of Political Geology, University of Life, London. A model of London in 82 BBC is currently under construction for 'Blue Peter'.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Windfarms at Agincourt? Non!

A new affray looms over the renowned battlefield of Azincourt (Agincourt) in Northern France! Windfarms! Never! (See 'Welsh bowmen aiming to win Agincourt battle again' [The Western Mail]):

"The people of Monmouth are again planning to send 5,000 Welsh longbowmen to Agincourt, just as Henry V did more than 600 years ago. But instead of the French Army, the opponent this time is a windfarm development near the battlefield. The Monmouth-born king famously used the devastating power of his outnumbered archers to destroy a huge French army in 1415."

Go lads, get 'em! "Cry 'God for Harry! NO WINDFARMS and Saint George!'"

"O for pity,--we shall much disgrace,
With four or five most vile and ragged foils,
Right ill dispos'd in brawl ridiculous,
The name of Agincourt."

The first Battle of Azincourt was, of course, famously fought on St. Crispian's Day, October 25, 1415, as part of the Hundred Years' War between the small army of King Henry V of England (Hurrah!) and that of Charles VI of France (Boo!), the latter under the command of The Constable, Charles d'Albret, and French noblemen of the Armagnac party.

Before the battle, Henry V gave a soul-stirring speech to rally his troops - a speech triumphantly adapted by Shakespeare in King Henry V (and somewhat less resoundingly by nearly every battle-theatre commander ever since). The English prevailed against the heavily-armoured French cavalry (Hats in the air!), which floundered in the cloying mud and which was scythed down under a hail of arrows (a bit like those from Legolas and the Elvish bowmen in 'The Lord of the Rings').

The battle was fought out in a little defile formed by the wood of Agincourt and that of Tramecourt.

But today, a second rash assault afflicts these quiet fields. So here, with consumate apologies to the Bard, I have re-written the wondrously dark speech made on the night before that first memorable battle.....

"Now entertain conjecture of a time
When whirring turbines and the poring dark
Fills the wide vessel of the universe.
From pile to pile, though the foul womb of night,
The hum of bladed beating's noisy sounds,
That the fix'd sentinels almost receive
The sleepless thumping of each other's watch.
Blade answers blade, and through these, sharpened, slice
Birds, small and large, slash-slaughtered in a trice;
Turbine faces turbine, in high and boastful whines
Piercing the night's dull ear; and from the land
The despoilers, accomplishing the towers,
With busy hammers closing rivets up,
Give dreadful note of preparation."

Thus, once more into the breach! It seems we must have "stomach for the fight" to halt these "four or five most vile and ragged foils" from ruining so famous a landscape. Again: "Cry 'God for Harry! NO WINDFARMS and Saint George!'"

Philip, stiffening his sinews (mainly with age, I fear!). Luncheon - "Hi! Falstaff? Bardolph?" "Oh dear! They're dead!"

Monday, January 26, 2004

The real story of DDT and death from malaria in the Developing World.....

Here is the newly-configured, and now famous, Malaria Clock (presented by Barry Hearn) showing dynamically in real time:

(a) the total number of cases of malaria since DDT was banned;
(b) the total number of deaths from malaria since DDT was banned;
(c) the number of pregnant women and children who have died from malaria since DDT was banned;
(d) the number of people who have contracted malaria and who have died from malaria whilst you have been browsing the malaria clock.

Is this an eco-imperialism too far? Unsurprisingly, some countries are now re-introducing the use of DDT and rightly so.

This clock should lie very heavily on the consciences of the 'green' movement.

Philip, for once far from flippant. Beware eco-imperialism - it is a growing and arrogant curse.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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