Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Truncated Y-Axis Of The Week

From Watts Up With That:

The greenhouse gasses keep the Earth 30° C warmer than it would otherwise be without them in the atmosphere, so instead of the average surface temperature being -15° C, it is 15° C. Carbon dioxide contributes 10% of the effect so that is 3° C. The pre-industrial level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 ppm. 

So roughly, if the heating effect was a linear relationship, each 100 ppm contributes 1° C. With the atmospheric concentration rising by 2 ppm annually, it would go up by 100 ppm every 50 years and we would all fry as per the IPCC predictions.

But the relationship isn’t linear, it is logarithmic. In 2006, Willis Eschenbach posted this graph on Climate Audit showing the logarithmic heating effect of carbon dioxide relative to atmospheric concentration:




As you can sees the, y-axis goes from 230 to 270, that's key to this.
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We can assume that W/m2 are related to temperatures. As a guide, from Wiki: When 1361 W/m2 is arriving above the atmosphere (when the sun is at the zenith in a cloudless sky), direct sun is about 1050 W/m2, and global radiation on a horizontal surface at ground level is about 1120 W/m2.
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From Skeptical Science:

After publishing my experiences talking to science 'dismissives' (or 'skeptics', or whatever you'd like to call them) and then participating in the excellent Denial101x course, I was invited to join the volunteer team at SkepticalScience last year.

Good start, a few ad hominems (refreshingly absent from the first article) to strengthen your case. Einstein famously opened his Theory of General Relativity with "Sit on this and swivel, Newton, you wig-wearing English prick!" Back to the article:

But before all that, one of the dismissives drew my attention to a climate science paradox... Scientists agree that the greenhouse effect is approximately logarithmic — which means that as we add more CO2 to the atmosphere, the effect of extra CO2 decreases.

In the last million years, CO2 levels have cycled between about 180 and 280 ppm during cycles about 100,000 years long. Because this happened in the steep part of the curve, a change of only 100 ppm (together with the Milankovich cycles) was enough to move the world in and out of the ice ages. Even though humans have increased the CO2 concentration by 130 ppm already, this extra 130 ppm has a smaller effect than the 100 ppm that was added naturally before.

But let's zoom in on the part that we actually care about: the modern era:




After zooming in, the logarithm doesn't make such a big difference: it's not far from a straight line. 560ppm will probably take us well beyond the Paris target of 1.5°C, so the 280-560 range is key; we would be unwise to let our civilization go beyond 560.
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Sure, looked at close up, any part of any curve looks like a straight-ish line. But look at the y-axis, it goes from 0 to 4.5. The W/m2 increase (resulting from a CO2 increase from 280 to and 560 ppm) of just under 4 agrees to the first chart, which shows an increase from 257 to 261. But the y-axis is a tad misleading, to say the least.

They are also (deliberately?) confusing units. Fag packet* says 3.7 additional W/m2 = temperature increase (if CO2 levels doubled from pre-industrial levels) no more than 1C.

* Average earth surface temperature 288K ÷ 1,120 W/m2 (when sun directly overhead in a cloudless sky) x 3.7 W/m2 = 0.95K or 0.95C.

If we go by the first, more optimistic chart, the increase would be barely measurable, but let's give the warmenists the benefit of the doubt.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Nobody move or the hen harrier gets hurt!

From the BBC:

Environmentalists fear Northern Ireland could be left behind when it comes to protecting important species and habitats after Brexit.

Much of the current protection is based on EU law, backed up by the threat of fines from a European court. But after Brexit, that oversight will be lost....

Slieve Beagh is a huge area of upland blanket bog straddling counties Monaghan, Tyrone and Fermanagh.

An important EU protected habitat in its own right, it is also a stronghold for the hen harrier, a scarce bird of prey. At present, it is covered by an EU-funded conservation project.

Ecologist Rory Sheehan helps manage it. He said there was great commitment to the area and its wildlife and, with EU directives transposed into domestic legislation on both sides of the border, he is confident protection that will not be diluted.

But he is concerned about funding and whether colleagues in Northern Ireland will continue to be able to draw down EU Peace money in future.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Nobody move or your clothes will strangle you!

From The Guardian:

Dangerous cars, electrical goods and toys could flood into the UK after Brexit unless the government urgently reforms the current “failing” safety enforcement system, a consumer group warned on Monday.

Which? says the public will be vulnerable to delays in spotting and dealing with unsafe products unless continued access to the European Safety Gate system is negotiated. Its new analysis shows the scheme, under which 31 European countries alert each other to products with serious safety problems, issued 34% more notifications in 2018 than a decade ago.

In recent months, alerts have included a toxic children’s putty that could damage youngsters’ reproductive systems, and clothing which posed a strangulation risk. Recall notices have also appeared for fire-risk HP laptop batteries, explosive Honda airbags and a flammable children’s Star Wars Stormtrooper outfit.


Yes, one of the things which European countries seem to do very well is product safety/consumer protection. It's a combination of government regulations/inspections and importers doing their own testing, in which a bit of cross-border information sharing is very helpful.

But I'm not aware that Norwegians, Swiss, Icelanders and Liechtensteiners are all dying in bizarre accidents. There are only 28 27 EU Member States so I assume that they are on the list of 31 countries which have signed up to the European Safety Gate system:

Every day the European Commission receives alerts from national authorities in the EU/EEA concerning dangerous products found on their markets. These alerts are sent through the rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products - "Safety Gate". They include information about the type of products found, the risks posed and the measures taken at national level to prevent or restrict their marketing. Weekly reports of the alerts are available below.

Aha, as I thought, it's not restricted to EU Member States, although it is a (weak) argument for remaining in the EEA, which would necessitate rejoining EFTA, which is a good idea anyway.

The Overton Window

From BBC, seven months ago:

Labour says it would scrap laws allowing private landlords to evict tenants without giving a reason. The law, in force since 1988, is thought to be the biggest cause of homelessness.

Labour's shadow housing minister John Healey announced the policy at the party's conference in Liverpool. Mr Healey also unveiled plans for a £20m fund to set up "renters' unions" to support tenants in disputes with landlords.

So-called "no-fault" evictions - when landlords throw people out of their home without saying why - have been growing in recent years.


From the BBC, today:

Private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants at short notice without good reason under new government plans.

The change is intended to protect renters from "unethical" landlords and give them more long-term security...

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said that evidence showed so-called Section 21 evictions were one of the biggest causes of family homelessness.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the changes would offer more "stability" to the growing number of families renting and mean people would not be afraid to make a complaint "because they may be concerned through a no-fault eviction that they may be thrown out".

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Missing beats round

I only noticed this today (forty years later), but the intro to "Rock and roll" by Led Zeppelin is weird. The drum intro is clearly a few bars of 1-2-3-4, but the others start playing the riff just before the third beat (not exactly on the third beat, which I would have understand) and they continue, perfectly in time as if that were the most normal thing in the world:

Saturday, 13 April 2019

"Who plays Diana in The Crown?" is not the interesting question

From The Radio Times:

Rising star Emma Corrin is set to play lady Diana Spencer – the future Princess of Wales – in Netflix’s The Crown.

The actor will not appear on screen until season four of the royal drama – season three is expected to be released later in 2019 – but her casting is a major step forward for the young British star.


The series has managed to cover Royal history from the 1950s to the 1990s in about four years, at this rate, they will be as far as Harry/Meghan in two or three years' time.

So the interesting question is, which actress will play Meghan Markle, who is herself an actress with a real life job of playing a Royal? If they manage to persuade Meghan to play herself, then the real and a parallel universe will overlap. If not, we'll have an actress playing an actress playing a Royal, which is also pretty self-referential.

Either way, I expect that Meghan will have strong opinions on who gets to play her part. This'll be fun.

Friday, 12 April 2019

No, that's the opposite of what they should be doing...

From The Evening Standard:

BT is facing demands from councils and police to disable the free calls function on its new “smart” telephone boxes amid claims they facilitate drug dealing and anti-social behaviour...

One drug gang is thought to have made £1.28 million worth of sales from a panel in Whitechapel. After the call facility was switched off, there was a “significant decrease in anti-social behaviour” in the streets around the phones, a council spokesman said.


Assuming that catching drug suppliers and their customers is a worthy aim (it isn't, but the law is the law), that's the opposite of what the authorities should be doing. This is an ideal opportunity for a bit of easy data mining and a fishing expedition!

Firstly, don't flag up that you know something which the other side doesn't appear to know that you know.

Sift out which 'phone numbers are rung most often and which of those result in clandestine handover meetings.

Maybe some customers are so dumb as to withdraw cash from nearby cash machines. So you know exactly who they are, with corroborative photos from the banks' CCTV, or maybe clear up a debit card theft.

Follow callers on CCTV or for real - nowadays, it is perfectly normal to see people standing or walking around wearing an ear-piece, staring at and talking to a mobile 'phone. They can use that to see CCTV footage while keeping in contact with base - now you know where they live and/or where they meet.

Clearly, you don't want to nick customers or suppliers a few minutes after they've put in their order from the public 'phone, that would give the game away, so spend a few weeks or months getting plenty of CCTV footage and incriminating photos, compiling your list of 'phone numbers, names, addresses, when the deliveries seem to come in etc.

Finally, you do a dawn raid in random nearby areas at random intervals and present the Court with some nice fat folders full of evidence.

(If you just turn off the 'phones, suppliers and customers will find some other way of getting touch, making the police's job all the trickier.)

Job done.

Until the next generation of drug suppliers steps up to the plate, rinse and repeat until they legalise,  regulate and tax the supply of the stuff.

"Unregistered schools given council funding"

The BBC at its PC best.

You can guess pretty well what this is about just from the headline, but you have to slog two-thirds of the way through the article before they come out and actually say it.

There were a couple of tantalising clues along the way. They've removed the reference to the school which taught "English and Arabic" as that would have been too obvious, just leaving this to keep you going...

... inspectors said that many children were still being taught in this "murky world", with the biggest number in London and the West Midlands.

A bit like the Daily Mail articles where they don't mention the house price until the very end.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Yes, but who will stand up for the thieves and adulterers?

There has - quite rightly - been an uproar about Brunei's threat/promise to punish homosexual acts by stoning people to death. Anybody who thinks this is justifiable clearly has a very, very sick mind, because being gay or lesbian is in fact perfectly natural.

It's not 'normal' in the sense that a huge majority aren't gay, but it is still a natural part of the human condition, like being left-handed is perfectly natural. That's not 'normal' either but perfectly natural. Some people just are.

But... they intend/hope to stone adulterers to death as well. Personally, I think adultery is despicable behaviour, but it's certainly not a 'crime' that requires a state-sanctioned punishment. Maybe some readers are swingers, or think that adultery is not so serious; and maybe other readers take a dimmer view than I do, those are minor differences of opinion.

Same goes for 'thieves'. Typical Western penalties - social shaming; fines; community service or prison in serious cases (such as burglary) - seem reasonable to me. To want to chop somebody's actual hand off requires an equally sick mind as wanting to stone people to death for non-crimes like being gay or cheating on your spouse.

But unfortunately thieves and adulterers don't have their own lobby, for obvious reasons.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

More Brexit LOLZ

From The Electoral Commission website:

European Parliamentary elections (Great Britain)

We have published our guidance for the European Parliamentary elections scheduled to take place on 23 May 2019.
The elections will take place in other EU Member States between Thursday 23 and Sunday 26 May 2019.
This page contains our guidance and resources on how to comply with the rules in Great Britain.
An overview document gives instructions on how to use this guidance and who does what at these elections. Read the Overview (PDF)
We have produced a timetable with all of the relevant deadlines. View the election timetable (DOC).
If you are a candidate or agent in Northern Ireland please see Guidance for candidates and agents at European Parliamentary elections in Northern Ireland.