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.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

I told you so.....

Here's a comment, just up, on the first of those BBC 'global warming' programmes that the Bard and I have been warning you about all week (see below): 'Global warping' (Number Watch, July 2004):

"In a midday presentation on July 28th the BBC broadcast a television programme called 'Global Warning' (the first of three). It was possibly the most one-sided piece of blatant propaganda that has ever been transmitted in Britain in time of peace....." (read on).

The comment concludes:

"Lord Reith, the illustrious creator of the finest broadcasting organisation in the world, must be, as the cliché has it, spinning in his grave."

It does seem to have been extremely bad. In the light of the recent critical science, this was clearly unacceptable broadcasting. However, I wonder? In my experience, overhyping can backfire badly and I have a sneaking feeling that this might too - mind you, everybody's away on holiday, or out enjoying the sun, so it probably won't matter.

Philip, feeling a touch like King Henry V - "I was not angry....." Need for a cuppa.
And this after all that 'global warming' hype.....

For the last ten years or so, the UK has suffered from a constant stream of hype about the perils of 'global warming', probably more so than in any other country. During the last three years, in particular, the hype has often reached screaming pitch. Moreover, much of the media has been unforgiveably uncritical in relation to this hype and they have largely failed to grill government, as they would in relation to virtually any other topic, about the basis for their support for the Kyoto Protocol and for their consequent drastic energy policies.

And yet, despite all this, we now have a little survey, reported by Alex Kirby: 'Britons unsure of climate costs' (BBC Science/Nature News Online, July 29):

"Climate change came last of the list of important issues facing the UK, chosen by 53%....."

"..... 43% of respondents said they expected climate change to have not very much effect on them personally, with 9% saying it would have no effect at all."

Reading Alex's report carefully, it is also quite clear that a lot of the answers given are in what we might call 'automatic PC mode', which is hardly surprising after all that hype!

Philip, at last a warm, golden morning. Coffee on the patio? "Oh! Just look at that HYPEricum! It's wilting a little."

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Three days of TV tempests forecast.....

"Oyez! Oyez! Beware ALL citizens of the UK! Starting today, across Planet Beeb....."

'Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o'the world!
Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once
That make ungrateful man!'

[So leary - and that's just the teaser! Eat your heart out 'The Day after Tomorrow'!]

"Tip-toe, tip-a-toe, Tom!" "Let's eaves drop on a planning meeting in a similar thane....."

'First Controller:
When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
Second Controller:
When the proga'rammes are done,
And global warming's no more fun.
Third Controller:
That won't be now nor in The Sun.
First Controller:
Where the place?
Second Controller:
Upon Kew Heath.
Third Controller:
There to meet with Meacher and the King.
First Controller:
I come, Breakfaster!
Second Controller:
24 doth call.
Third Controller:

Hot is cold and cold is hot,
Believe in global warming all you lot!

What bloody man is that?'

"Er! A mere blogger, good Sirs!"

"And, Tom, do we espy a Mission Statement in the pot, perhaps?"

'.......global warming will do such things,-
What they are yet, we know not,- but they shall be
The terrors of the earth.'

"So let's all chant together, Tom!"

'Roundabout the studio go;
In the CO2 and methane throw.

Double, double heat and trouble;
Earth burn, and TV bubble.

Exhaust of car and airy plume,
Fuel of fossil and patio fume.

Roundabout the studio go;
That's the way to beat off Snow.'

"Tom's a-cold."

Meanwhile, back in the real world.....

You have ALL been warned! Time for a picnic, far, far away from that terrible TV cauldron, despite our cool, cloudy summer. Enjoy!

Philip, 'O! That way madness lies; let me shun that.' I'll have none of it, 'proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?' Adieu!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Philip twittering again on Radio 4.....

Our new Series of the critical environmental programme, 'Home Planet', is on BBC Radio 4 again today.

If you are in the UK, the programme is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 every Tuesday afternoon at 15.02 BST, directly after the news summary; if you are outside the UK, you may still listen to it, online, via the BBC 'Home Planet' Web Page:

(a) on the day in question at 15.02 BST, choose the 'Listen Live' button; or, (b) for one week after the first broadcast, choose the 'Listen Again' button; or, (c) after one whole week, select the relevant date under 'Previous Programmes'.

This second week's topics include, inter alia, collared doves/turtle doves, bird song sensu lato, burying your pets(!), and wild flower meadows. Quite a tweet! Don't miss yours truly burbling on about the physiology of bird song! I syrinx I got it right!

Philip, bravely about to face the dentist's chair! A toothsome smile all round. Pull!

Monday, July 26, 2004

UK Weather Forecast for the Week Beginning the 26th July.....

Severe Weather Warning: a deep depression will move quickly over BBC Television Centre in London, leading to dramatic weather on BBC News Programmes from Wednesday through to Friday. Particularly at risk from Hurricane 'Hype' will be BBC News 24, BBC World Television, and the BBC 1 Breakfast Show. Also expect doom-laden cumulonimbus clouds at lunchtimes, leading to fearful flooding down many BBC channels. There could also be King-sized outbreaks of thunder and lightning, not to mention a rising tide of calamitous comment, especially around Meacheringham.

The week will start fitfully, with scattered storms and a cold wind blowing in from Tory Central Office and Kent, flattening wind turbines from Romney Marsh to Ross. Outbursts of hot air will then coalesce to produce a dynamic cyclonic gloom, which will occlude all other responses. Temperatures are expected to rise in studios throughout the UK.

Our cool summer should, hopefully, begin to re-assert itself, along with calmer conditions, by next Monday, but watch out for the odd flurries of snow and a final clap of thunder over broadcasting house up until Sunday evening.

The week should also witness the migration to the UK of the now nearly extinct stormbird (Carbonicus dioxidus var. aypeeseesee), which is noted for its repeated shrill cry of: "Kyyyyotooo! Kyyyyotooo!" The UK is one of the last refugia for this doomed bird of ill omen, which may have just become extinct on the Russian steppes.

Luckily, the human impact will be limited to a few remaining journalists, some of whom will sadly drown themselves in the deluge, while everybody else, including most politicians, will have wisely gone abroad for sun, sand, and Cliff Richard's songs.

You have been warned - stay at home and watch TV at your peril!

End of Severe Weather Warming.

Philip, doing his best to escape the TV tornado. Have you noticed, the more 'global warming' is going down the tubes (joke!), the greater the hype. They are getting desperate. Sugar-Coated Frosted Hail for breakfast, then?

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

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