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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.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
During the next month, it is vital that the British public is told the round, unvarnished truth about the so-called effects of current energy policies on 'global warming'. The idea that a few wind farms and increased energy efficiency in the UK will have a significant impact on climate change is so ludicrous that it must be possible to undermine the appalling political spin being put on this issue. To do so, it is not even necessary to question the science of 'global warming'. Simple world energy statistics - those nasty little 'factoids' loathed by journalists like Polly Toynbee - should be enough.
Currently, the UK accounts for c.2.4 per cent of primary world energy consumption (and this does not include the developing world’s use of traditional biomass fuels). This proportion is, however, declining, and it will do so markedly over the next fifteen years through an exponential growth in demand for primary energy in the developing world, especially in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil.
Wind power presently supplies a minuscule 0.4% of Britain's energy, i.e., - just note the figure - 0.0096 per cent of primary world energy demand, and, even with the fairest of political winds, this is unlikely to rise to more than a genuine 0.044%.
If we allow for a suitable proportional reduction in the UK in relation to expanding primary world energy demand to around 1.5 per cent, coupled with a rise in the contribution of wind power to a realistic 7 per cent of this, then wind power in the UK might just seem to be able to contribute a miserly 0.11% per cent of primary world energy demand.
But this does not constitute the whole sorry tale, because wind power is neither carbon nor energy neutral. Wind is intermittent (c. 25%-45%) in its energy generation and wind accordingly requires a conventional back-up from fossil fuels. Thus, the true contribution of UK wind energy to world energy demand will, in reality, be considerably less than the paltry 0.11% per cent estimated above, and it is likely to be around 0.044 per cent.
Donner und Blitzen all round!
Need one say more! The political sleight of hand over this is breathtaking. What we do in the UK will have no direct predictable effect on climate change whatsoever (and this applies whether you believe in 'global warming', or not).
And just think of the political energy currently being wasted in the UK over the daft idea that British wind power will 'Save the Planet'! It beggars belief.
The sooner the British public are advised of this, the better. The sooner we stop destroying our last wilderness in the name of such crassness, the better.
Philip, time for a lot of such little factoids, methinks. Coffee.
Friday, May 27, 2005
I've been asked on a number of occasions recently to define 'biodiesel'. I thought a little 'EnviroSpin' 10-point Friday tutorial might therefore be in order. Thus: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then, I'll begin."
1. Biodiesel is a fuel that is derived primarily from plant oils, although some animal fats may be employed in warmer climates. To use it, you have either to fine-tune engines that burn petroleum-based diesel fuel (petrodiesel) or to modify the plant oil itself. The choice has been the latter, because, since the 1970s, it has been recognised that biodiesel is only likely to achieve c.10% of the petrodiesel market;
2. The basic problem with plant oils is their chemical structure, which comprises three fatty acid chains attached to a molecule of glycerin [hence the technical name for such oils: triglyceride = 3 + glycerin], which is a thick, viscous substance. The precise amount of glycerin varies by plant species, but averages around 20%;
3. The key need, therefore, is to remove the glycerin. This is achieved by a process known as transesterification [esters are simply natural compounds of oils and fats, or the organic compounds formed by mixing an acid and an alcohol]. In the process, every plant-oil molecule is broken down into three fatty acid chains and a free glycerin molecule;
4. For this to happen, an alcohol is added to the plant oil. The alcohol employed is either ethanol (made from plant grains or sugar-based crops) or methanol (made from wood, natural gas, or coal). Each of the three fatty acid chains attaches itself to one of the new alcohol molecules, forming what are termed three mono-alkyl esters. These alkyl ester chains comprise what is correctly termed biodiesel. They are thinner, and thus more usable as a diesel fuel, than the original glycerin-rich plant oil;
5. The biodiesel produced employing ethanol is referred to as ethyl esters; that produced with methanol, methyl esters. The more general term for any alcohol-derived plant-oil diesel is alkyl esters;
6. One additional factor is required in the process, however, namely a catalyst, in order to begin the reaction between the plant oil and the alcohol. The two chief catalysts chosen are sodium hydroxide (or caustic soda) (NaOH) and potassium hydroxide (KOH). [It may also prove necessary to add sulphuric acid when deriving biodiesel from waste and old cooking oils, which possess free fatty acids that result in excessive saponification, or soap-formation];
7. In general terms, the process proceeds as follows: add the correct amount of alcohol and catalyst to the plant oil. The exact amount will depend on the acidity (the pH) of the plant oil and on whether or not it contains, as with used-cooking oil, a lot of free fatty acids. At the small scale, biodiesel is then produced in batches; at the large-scale, by the continuous-flow process;
8. In a more detailed example, the correct quanitities of sodium hydroxide (the catalyst) and methanol (the alcohol) are mixed to produce sodium methoxide. This is then mixed with the chosen plant oil, and agitated (and, in some circumstances, heated). This procedure 'cracks' the oil molecules, allowing the resultant methyl esters (the biodiesel) to rise to the top of a settling tank. The heavier glycerin and remaining catalyst sink to the bottom. After a given length of time, the latter are drawn off, leaving only the biodiesel fuel. Normally, this is then washed (especially at the commercial scale) with water to remove remaining impurities;
9. Bingo: the biodiesel is ready.
10. The prime sources of plant oils are as follows:
(a) Tropical and warm climates: oil palm; coconut; Jatropha; peanuts;
(b) Temperate climates: maize (corn); mustard; oil-seed rape (canola); safflower (warm climates also); soybean; sunflower;
(c) All climates: used vegetable-based cooking oil;
(d) Future possibilities: algae (enormous potential; see also the excellent post on this by Back 40 over at Muck and Mystery: 'Bio-Fuelish');
(e) Alternative in warmer climates: animal fats may also be used, including: fish oil; poultry fat; and beef tallow. However, in cold climates, biodiesel from these sources does not work as well as plant-oil derived biodiesel.
To read more about biodiesel, I recommend: Greg Pahl 2005. Biodiesel. Growing a new energy economy. Chelsea Green: White River Junction, Vermont [ISBN 1-931498-65-2 (pbk)]. This is currently available from Amazon UK for £8.68; Amazon US for $12.24.
Philip, "Hm! Now, where can I get a nice 55-gallon drum?" Oh dear! The weather is too nice. Coffee in the garden is much better.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
First, last week's New Statesman online poll went pro-nuclear by 73.8% to 26.1% (my last reading of it, just before it was expunged from the ether).
Now this: 'Nuclear power: a convert' (The New Statesman, May 30):
"Mark Lynas was sure it would be a disaster - and then he looked at the alternatives....."
Just so. Mark is a real, hot, scorching 'global warmer' - so this is noteworthy. Time for Polly to do the same.
Philip, glad to see the Old Left starting to see sense, and Mark's own new Lynas. Some flexibility of thinking there. Time for a jolly glass, methinks.
The Daily Ablution also lays into Polly Toynbee's extraordinary statistics: 'Coldplay, Radiohead Dispute the Nature of Absolute Evil; A Lesson in Polemics' (The Daily Ablution, 26 May - scroll down to the second part of the post, on 'A Lesson in Polemics'; see also my own blog of yesterday, below).
Philip, wondering if the sub lost a few zeros? Just back from some urban ornithology. Feathered, yes. Did you know that more than 330 bird species are recorded for London? And with a bit of warming, this number should grow. Tea in the garden with Jenny wren. "Oooh! Look! A bee eater!" Gives one quite a buzz.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
This Wednesday, I fear, there is not much competition for 'Rant of the Day'. Polly Toynbee over at The Gloomiad outfisks even The Independent (and that is saying something): 'Capitulation to the nuclear lobby is a politics of despair' (Comment, The Guardian, May 25).
Journalistically, there is little to match Polly when she is on full wing. Just witness all that 1960's left-over angst and violent anger that the good folk of Britain, the bedint, just won't do what they are told (i.e., what Polly thinks they should). So we have a mighty temper tantrum about everybody, and everything, relating to energy, from Tony Blair to you frequent fliers - interestingly, this is quite a contrast to the latest comment from that 1960's-70's Thinking Man's icon, Joan Bakewell (see: The Guardian, May 13).
Let me deconstruct a fraction of Polly's diatribe:
(a) "Despair is the great peril in climate change policy. Nothing can be done, we're all doomed! Democratic politics reaches its nemesis here: who dares to stand for election on a consumption-cutting agenda? No one. What opposition will hold its tongue as a government takes tough measures? None. So who dare put unpalatable truths to voters?"
Quite, Polly. The "unpalatable truths" are that Britain is heading for a serious energy crisis. Wind farms and new nuclear stations are not genuine alternatives in confronting this crisis, which involves the demise of North Sea gas and the closure of our older coal and nuclear plants. Your beloved 'renewables' (some of which, by the way, are not 'renewable') supply but 4% of our energy; wind less than 0.4%. With the problem of intermittency, these 'renewables' will struggle to achieve a realistic 7%. Moreover, increases in energy efficiency will be absorbed by your friend Gordon Brown's much-touted economic growth. The key political question is thus how to generate the core 93% of Britain's energy needs. The answer - as any sensible person knows - has to be some flexible mix of clean coal, imported natural gas, and nuclear power. The rest is aeolian ephemerality.
Polly, it is you, and your head-in-the-sand, utopian ilk, who represent the true danger - not the nuclear lobby, not the anti-wind lobby, not the coal lobby, not the frequent fliers and the SUV drivers. You are the one who is unable to face up to the "unpalatable truths", and it is your ragged and ill-tempered rants that are making it difficult for a good Labour government to deal with this energy issue as quickly as is required. Do please put a windsock in it.
(b) "What would it take to cut carbon emissions enough to save the planet?"
One does, indeed, despair. Please do read my earlier blog on the detailed science of 'Long-term climate change' (May 22, below). Your talk of 'saving the planet' is codswallop. Even if we grounded every 'plane, crushed every car, closed down every power plant, and put 4 billion people out of work (and into abject poverty, I might add - very Left wing), climate would still change, and often dramatically. The earth doesn't need saving - it is a tough old boot that has survived asteroids, earthquakes, fires, floods, and moving continents from the beginning of its existence. The idea that wind farms, providing 10% of power in the UK, will 'save the world' is like trying to stop Niagara Falls with a child's sailing boat.
(c) "In this convenient climate of political despair, one easy solution steps in smartly. Let's all go nuclear, it's the only way. By pre-arranged plan as soon as the election was over, the nuclear lobby accelerated its campaign. Already nuclear is becoming the grown-up, bien pensant solution. With a sigh, the world-weary declare that renewables are trivial beside the nuclear option."
Polly, who says nuclear is an easy option? Nobody I know. But have I found a core cause for your vented spleen? Is Polly no longer the only bien pensant on the perch? Move over, Pol, there are some new Chicks in the pecking order. And, if we want to talk about the grown-up politics of energy, this is a most serious issue that will demand a complex energy mix involving many different forms of energy production. The childish whim is to look for a single silver bullet and to shoot down major options.
(d) "No, turbines are not taking over the country: only some 800 hectares are needed to reach the 10% target. No, they are not unpopular: 80% support them and 66% would like some in their area. No, the intermittent wind dropping is no problem, since the farms are spread far across the county and existing back-up is quite sufficient. (Eyesores? Britain had 90,000 windmills in the 17th century.)"
Where on earth did Polly come up with that figure of 800 hectares? To replace one 1,000 MWe nuclear power plant providing 1/65th of peak demand would require a wind farm with an ecological footprint of around 150,000 acres. I think I am correct in saying that 800 hectares = 1,977 acres. And those C17 windmills were small, wooden, and of their age, i.e. they helped to run a pre-industrial, rural economy. Even Kipling replaced his wooden water wheel when the industrial alternative came along.
And, talking of polls, Polly, did you see the last New Statesman poll - on nuclear power? This finally - it was taken down at noon today - stood as follows: 'Does nuclear power meet our future energy needs?' Yes = 73.8%; No = 26.1%.
(e) "But don't underestimate the immense power of the pro-nuclearists. They will begin with the reasonable claim that nuclear is just 'part of the mix'...."
But it is a reasonable claim. And nuclear will only ever comprise part of the complex, and I would add, changing mix. This is what is known as a flexible energy policy, but it is one that is vital for Britain to survive and to grow in the medium term. Forget all the conspiracy nonsense, for goodness sake. Every power generator over-sells and over-markets its own system. That is the nature of energy competition. It is also why totally independent souls are essential, because we try to take a dispassionate overview of the whole energy sector and of the totality of the country's future needs. In the medium term, Polly, I can assure you that we will require a mix of imported natural gas, of new clean coal, and of nuclear power. 'Renewables' can only assist at the fringe.
(f) "Everywhere there are green shoots of what might be done, if serious money and political attention were devoted to it now. Take micro-generation. You can buy a small windmill to stick in the garden or on the side of your house for just £900: it plugs into an ordinary 13 amp domestic plug, cuts electricity bills by a third and can feed into the grid. The former energy minister has one."
Micro-generation! Polly, we are talking about the energy required to power the 4th largest economy in the world. Please don't try to reduce the UK to Toy Town politics and engineering. Windy Miller was nice, but he won't do today.
(g)"It is curious that Tony Blair whirls around the world stirring up alarm about climate change yet throughout the election never had a word to say about it at home. While the Energy Savings Trust despairs of getting people to fill their cavity walls or turn off their lights, Blair prefers to talk about the vandalism done by boys in hoodies than about the lethal damage done by irresponsible home owners, big car drivers and frequent fliers. Meanwhile, it is the nuclear lobby that hopes to benefit from a very conservative despairing sense that nothing can ever change."
Polly, try filling the cavity wall of a pre-1930's house, of which there are millions in the UK, some, including red-brick terraces, architectural gems. Yet, sadly, in the end, your hard core venom pours forth, like lava from an exploding volcano. It is YOU LOT OUT THERE WOT ARE TO BLAME. You are full of false consciousness. You, the Bedint. Yes, here we witness the Cromwellian zeal and puritan ardour that fuel hatred of the modern world. And, Polly, isn't it the hoodies who tend to yearn for oily, dirty, large, noisy, old bangers?
Get real, Polly. This is the naive and bitter politics of class hatred, Ludditism, middle class arrogance, metro angst, and often sheer snobbery. You can do better than this.
And why, in the end, shouldn't the nuclear lobby embrace the gift horse-power that you and the other Savonarolas of our age have so generously presented them?
Thank you for helping to make nuclear a rational option once again. Personally, I could happily live with clean coal and gas (but drop most of the wind please. I like our last remaining wilderness).
Do feel free to let Polly know your opinion of her piece: email@example.com
Philip, requiring a triple, wind-generated, espressi. "Don't bother with the tea, Polly. Thanks!" "And, Polly, should I power my patio heater with a little wind mill?" Boom! Boom!
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Before reading about Yoda and his pals in the two blogs below, please remember to take a moment to vote on the nuclear question over at the New Statesman (top right). Thanks as ever. P.
Who cares about 'global warming', wind farms, nuclear power, GM crops, organic nosh, and all that tosh. There is only one question currently gripping our minds:
How could Princess Leia say that she remembered her mother, whom we now know to have died giving birth to Luke and his twin sister? In the Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker asks Princess Leia about their mother. Here is the dialogue:
"Leia, do you remember your mother? Your real mother?"
"Just a little bit. She died when I was very young."
"What do you remember?"
"Just images, really, feelings."
"She was...very beautiful. Kind but...sad. Why are you asking me this?"
"I have no memory of my mother. I never knew her."
Inconsistent, perhaps - or, with the Jedi blood in the female line, did she see, or sense, her mother, which even Luke could not? Perhaps, she looked down on her mother from the hands of the nursing droid at the very moment when Padmé died. After all, Leia senses: "Just images, really, feelings." Female sensitivity and intuition? Or fantasy self story-telling? A mighty mystery, indeed.
And just in case you need to know:
1. Shmi Skywalker gives birth to Anakin Skywalker parthenogenetically by the Force working on the Midi-chlorians;
2. Shmi, who is a slave on Tatooine (first to Gardulla the Hutt and then to the Toydarian named Watto), is freed by, and marries, the hard-working moisture farmer, Cliegg Lars. They have a son, Owen, also a moisture farmer, who marries Beru Whitesun (see 4 below);
3. Anakin Skywalker marries Padmé Naberrie (Queen Amidala), daughter of Ruwee Naberrie, son of Winama Naberrie, and of Jobal of Naboo, a poor family. Yet, because of her exceptional abilitites, Padmé Naberrie is elected Queen Amidala at the age of 14. Her elder sister is Sola Naberrie;
4. Padmé, by Anakin, to whom she is secretly married, gives birth to twins, Luke Skywalker and Leia (Organa). Leia is adopted and protected by the family of Viceroy Bail Organa on Alderaan and she takes Organa as her family name. Luke Skywalker is given into the Guardianship of Owen and Beru Lars (see 2 above);
(5) Leia Organa eventually marries Han Solo;
(6) Luke Skywalker marries Mara Jade, and they have a son, Ben.
[All links, save one, to the splendid official Star Wars Web Site]
Wow! Jumping genealogies! By the Force, he's got it!
And here is the BBC guide to the whole saga: 'The Star Wars saga at a glance' (BBC Entertainment).
Philip, Homo nerdensis is alive and well. "How old are you, Dad?" And, folks, Star Wars: Epidsode III - Revenge of the Sith is much better than the snooty critics allow. As Yoda would surely affirm: "Better, it is. Go, you must." Popcorn all round.
In a galaxy far, far away.....
The newly-elected President Toxic of the Texanian Republic, a Suv Lord not yet fully-revealed, is planning to control the forthcoming Galactic Council to be held at Ptera Gorge in Tartania. His Suv servants, like Darth Harlan, are already abroad in the galaxy clouding issues and emitting smoke screens around their Master's cunning plans.....
Meanwhile, the Uropian Federation has been disabled by dissent and greed. Chancellor Yoeder of Frankfurtia, a Rotgrun Master and Kyotian Knight, is increasingly challenged by the Lady Thatchangela, the, as yet, hidden Suv twin of President Toxic's galactic assistant, Darth Condo. The Nons of the elite planet, Gaullois, are fighting the Ouids, who support the Federation. Corruption is rife on many planets, with Berlo the Capanna controlling all trade and communications in Pizzania, while galactic bureaucrats squabble at the heart of the Federation. Many newly-federated planets are closet friends of Texania.
Even on Novolaboro, the one true planet, a rebel Suv army, under the command of General Topgearous, is destabilizing the atmosphere for diplomatic action. His 4x4 droid army grows stronger by the day, despite Anti-Suv Zones having been established in the capital city of Livingstonia. In addition, President Antonius Blatherius has been severely weakened through recent elections, in which the bitter Brunonians have played a strong hand, and by war in the Eastern Galaxy.
Moreover, the Knights of the Kyotian Order have been scattered, Kyotian temples and younglings surviving only in Lyratown and Granitania, although the independent Guardianistas of the G8 Force are defiant, despite declining influence.
Savonarola Moonbat and Obi-Rex Kenobi remain strong and uncorrupted, and these alone are ready to serve their President as the darkness falls.....
[Cue: crescendo in music]
Read on: The G8 Force in the Galaxy.
Philip, what a sithuation. Wait to see the film, I can't..... Coffee first, of course. "R57-D908? Where are you? Turn on that patio heater, Droidie." TFBWY.
Monday, May 23, 2005
Oh dear! Why are journalists so daft? Today, I am unable to better Scott Burgess' supreme blog on the 'Green Goddess', Ms Janice Turner, of The (normally much saner) Times, over at The Daily Ablution (May 23): 'Green Times columnist unrepentant after ravaging US ecosystem':
"Ms. Turner thus manages to combine her eco-hypocrisy with breathtaking stupidity, believing as she apparently does that the greenhouse gasses emitted from her giant SUV will remain in place above the United States - deservedly choking the profligate citizenry perhaps, but having no effect whatsoever on Gaia as a whole.
Remind me, please - which circle of the Inferno is reserved for the pious hypocrites? And is there some kind of dispensation for being just plain dumb?"
A gem of postmodern, middle class, metro self-deception. Wet, wet, wet.
Philip, off to see the Sith! "Help! There are the thought cops. The force is with me..." Revenge is sweet. "The least sith the better."
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Before reading my big blog on 'Long-term climate change' (below), please take a moment to vote on the nuclear question over at the New Statesman (top right). Many thanks. P.
I have just been reading an excellent, and most timely, review paper by Stuart A. Harris of the University of Calgary: 'Thermal history of the Arctic Ocean environs adjacent to North America during the last 3.5 Ma and a possible mechanism for the cause of cold events (major glaciations and permafrost events)' [Progress in Physical Geography 29 (2), pp. 218 - 237 (June 2005)].
In this, Harris points out that long-term climate change is the product of an immensely complex interaction between many cyclical (and non-cyclical) controls with different periodicities, periodicities that may vary in time, space, wave-length, magnitude, and predictability. A significant climate change occurs when enough of these are synchronized sufficiently for air temperature to cross a critical threshold - yet, this is itself dependent on local environments and latitude.
In an earlier paper ['Global heat budget, plate tectonics and climate change', Geografiska Annaler 84A, pp. 1 - 10 (2002)], Harris helpfully provides a list of 11 major climate controls, arranged into 4 orders of temperature magnitude:
A. First Order (potential temperature change - c.30 degrees C):
1. Difference in heat absorption by sea and land as contolled by the global position of the continents and oceans;
2. Changes in the geometry of the solar system;
B. Second Order (potential temperature change - c.15 degrees C):
3. Changes in the ocean currents and thermohaline circulations;
C. Third Order (potential temperature change - <10 degrees C):
4. Milankovich cycles;
D. Fourth Order (potential temperature change - <5 degrees C):
5. Fluctuations (both natural and anthropogenic) in carbon dioxide and other 'greenhouse' gases;
6. Large-scale volcanic eruptions;
7. Elevation of large tracts of land, e.g., Tibet;
8. El Niño and La Niña events (ENSO);
9. Short-term cycles, e.g., the 2- and 7-year cycles (see below);
10. Variations in solar output;
11. Agriculture (clearing the land), deforestation, urbanization, re-afforestation, etc.
This is a valuable approach, in that it, for once, melds geological, oceanic, atmospheric, and solar cycles, and non-cycles. Its application results in some fascinating conclusions:
(a) with respect to the Arctic Ocean, a long-term cooling trend, right down to today, and evident from as far back as 3.5 Ma, which exhibits some 130 fluctuations of random spacing and magnitude, and which was primarily triggered by the drying up of the Tethys Sea;
(b) medium-scale fluctuations that are still poorly interpreted, but which appear to relate especially closely to the so-called Milankovitch cycles. For the last 15 ka, there seems to have been a strong relationship between the 23,708-year Milankovitch cycle and 8 periodicities of 1,500- to 280-years, including the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age, which are both well-defined. This relates closely to the European palaeoclimatic chronology for the last 15 ka;
(c) More strikingly, however, these periodicities would seem to predict cooling in the coming centuries (see: Figures 5 and 6, on p. 228);
(d) 150-years of climate data exhibit four short-term cycles of 2-3 years (the quasi-biennial oscillation); 5-7 years (ENSO); 20-25 years (the bidecadal oscillation); and one still only poorly defined, namely a 50-75 year cycle;
(e) Other non-cyclical climate controls, incuding changes in carbon dioxide in the air, volcanic dust, elevation of large tracts of land, variations in solar output, and landscape change, "...result in relatively minor changes in air temperature and some are quite short-lived in terms of geological time" (p.230).
Thank goodness for a study which looks at climate fully, in both geological time and geological space.
Please bear all this in mind when anyone tries to tell you that we can manage climate change entirely predictably by fiddling at the margins with one selected, non-cyclical factor.
The European 'global warming' myth is poppycock of the First Order.
By the way, this Issue [29 (2), June 2005] of Progress in Physical Geography also contains one or two other particularly interesting reviews, including Martin J. Siegert on 'Reviewing the origin of subglacial Lake Vostok and its sensitivity to ice sheet changes' (pp. 156-170), J.A. Salmond & I.G. McKendry on 'A review of turbulence in the very stable nocturnal boundary layer and its implications for air quality' (pp. 171-188), and D.M.J.S Bowman & D.C. Franklin on 'Fire ecology' (pp. 248-255).
Philip, temperature rising to boiling point. Lunch, and a cooling sauvignon blanc. Cheers. A paper well-worth the read. And don't forget to vote on that nuclear question over at the New Statesman. Thanks.
[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]