Friday 27 November 2020

How much radiation can 1kg of CO2 'trap'?

Further to my previous post, I shall continue my merry trolling of AGW theory.

Here's a graphic to illustrate the point. The AGW theory is that if CO2 is above a certain concentration (about 0.5g/m3) then radiation (at certain frequencies) emitted below that altitude cannot escape to space and warms the atmosphere, oceans and land. If CO2 levels increased by 50% above current levels, the effective emitting altitude (for certain wavelengths) would go up from 5 km to 9.5 km. As a result, everything below that altitude warms by about 1.5 degrees. All figures expressed in terms of a 10km high column of air with a 1m2 cross-section.
In round figures:

1. The amount of energy required to heat such a column of air by 1.5 degrees is about 15 million Joules.

2. The additional CO2 in each such column which has this effect is the amount above the dashed line and between the orange and yellow lines, which looks to be about 1.5 kg.

3. Therefore, each kg of extra CO2 above the line must be able to 'trap' about 10 million Joules, or about 12 hours' worth of all the radiation from each m2 of Earth's effective emitting surface (which is two-thirds clouds).

4. In case you're wondering, that is a huge number. The biggest number in this context is the latent heat of evaporation of water, which is 2.256 million Joules/kg. Remember, the additional energy required to get boiling water to turn to water vapour (i.e. 'dry' steam rather than visible steam, which is a mix of water vapour and water droplets) is five times as much as the energy required to get water from just above freezing point to boiling point. So it is a huge amount of energy.

5. Or to put it another way, if 1 kg CO2 could absorb 10 million Joules and convert it all to thermal energy without being able to cool down, it would be about 10,000 degrees (difficult to estimate, as specific heat capacity is higher the hotter you go). "That's hot", as Paris Hilton would say. To put it another way, if you did CO2 capture from the air, collected one-third of it, heated it to 10,000 degrees, released it back into the atmosphere and let it mix again, the average temperature of the whole atmosphere would go up by about 1.5 degrees. Clearly, that is a silly analogy, but would lead to the same result.

This just does not seem plausible, does it? Especially as this extra energy seems to be both radiation (electro-magnetic energy, which has no particular temperature) and warmth (thermal energy, which is not electro-magnetic energy on the large scale) at the same time. That's never made clear is it? Is it one or t'other? Or would we need double that amount of Joules, which flip constantly back and forth between the two forms?

Wednesday 25 November 2020

CO2 and the effective emitting altitude

From The Motherlode:

This is how the Greenhouse Effect works. The Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and water vapour absorb most [yes, they say 'most', so let's run with it] of the heat radiation leaving the Earth's surface. Then their concentration determines how much heat escapes from the top of the atmosphere to space. It is the change in what happens at the top of the atmosphere that matters, not what happens down here near the surface.

So how does changing the concentration of a Greenhouse gas change how much heat escapes from the upper atmosphere? As we climb higher in the atmosphere the air gets thinner. There is less of all gases, including the greenhouse gases. Eventually the air becomes thin enough that any heat radiated by the air can escape all the way to Space. How much heat escapes to space from this altitude then depends on how cold the air is at that height. The colder the air, the less heat it radiates.

So if we add more greenhouse gases the air needs to be thinner before heat radiation is able to escape to space. So this can only happen higher in the atmosphere. Where it is colder. So the amount of heat escaping is reduced. By adding greenhouse gases, we force the radiation to space to come from higher, colder air, reducing the flow of radiation to space. And there is still a lot of scope for more greenhouse gases to push 'the action' higher and higher, into colder and colder air, restricting the rate of radiation to space even further.

Let's follow their logic and see where it takes us...

Here's a chart showing approx. current CO2 levels at altitudes up to 12 km (vertical axis) in orange, and what they would be if they went up by 50% in yellow. The current effective emitting altitude is at about 5km, where the average temperature is about 255K and CO2 is about 0.5 grams/m3. So we assume that if there is less than 0.5 grams/m3, the atmosphere is no longer opaque to infra red radiation and radiation emitted at that altitude can escape to space.
According to them, the new effective emitting altitude would be wherever CO2/m3 is 0.5 grams/m3, i.e. at about 9.5 km. The average temperature at that altitude is 226 K. If you calculate the amount of W/m2 radiated, it would go down from 239 W/m2 to 148 W/m2, a complete imbalance and not plausible.

The more sophisticated Alarmists say that the temperature of the new, higher effective emitting layer - and everything beneath it - will increase to whatever it needs to be to emit 239 W/m2 and reinstate the equilibrium between incoming solar and outgoing infra red. Sounds plausible until you realise that would require a temperature increase of nearly 30 degrees all the way up, which is also completely implausible* and ten times as much as the most pessimistic predictions, before we treble it for the 'positive feedback of water vapour' (to the extent it exists, which it doesn't). As a matter of fact, CO2 levels have gone up by about 50% since the end of the Little Ice Age pre-industrial levels and temperatures have gone up by 1.5 degrees at most.

If you get nonsense answers, you can safely assume that the logic is nonsense!

* To make it make sense, you could assume that CO2 only absorbs/re-emits about 5% (one-twentieth) of infra red, very much at the low end of most estimates. In which case, we can divide the 30 degree potential warming by twenty to get 1.5 degrees observed warming (the other 95% is unaffected). If they explained it like that, then I'd have to accept the explanation as plausible and at least internally consistent. There's no such thing as "warm" or "cold" radiation of course, it doesn't have a temperature, it is just a form of energy (like potential energy or electrical energy which don't have a temperature either), so that part of the explanation is still flimsy.

For a more nuanced version of all this, see Clive Best, who thinks there would be a very small increase in temperature of about 0.3 degrees.

Monday 23 November 2020

What missing radiation?

From The Motherlode:

The red area shows radiation emitted from Earth's surface, assuming average temperature 288K (total 390 W/m2). The green area shows actual outgoing radiation measured from space (total 240 W/m2). Their argument is that the red area that is not overlapped by green shows the missing radiation that is 'trapped' by CO2. Game, set and match to the Alarmists!

Here's a simplified version to illustrate the point they are trying to make: the surface emits 390 W/m2 but only 240 W/m2 gets to space. How do we explain the missing radiation? The usual suspect, CO2?

Having given this some thought, it strikes me that this way of looking at things is a massive fudge and ignores the full picture.

Let's go back to the beginning and look at incoming solar radiation. On average it's 685 W/m2 during the day. One-third reaches the land or ocean surface, which reflects 10%. Two-thirds hits clouds, which reflect 40%. Overall, 30% is reflected (i.e. Earth's albedo is 0.3), so 480 W/m2 is absorbed during 12 hours of daylight. Temperatures (and outgoing radiation) don't change much by day and night, so let's assume that a steady 240 W/m2 is radiated back to space by day and by night. So it's all in equilibrium. 480 W/m2 x 12 hours incoming = 240 W/m2 x 24 hours outgoing. (Clouds and the surface beneath them have their own separate equilibrium, which need not concern us further).

Outgoing radiation is the reverse process. We treat clouds as part of the surface when calculating albedo, net incoming radiation and effective temperature, so we also have to treat them as part of the surface when looking at outgoing radiation (or else we get nonsensical answers).

One-third of the surface, land/oceans is 288K (effective temperature as adjusted for gravito-thermal effect and latent heat of evaporation/condensation aka "the lapse rate") and they emit 390 W/m2 (they are close to behaving like a 'black body'). Two-thirds of the effective surface, clouds, emit 165 W/m2*, so the overall average is 240 W/m2. (390 + 165 + 165) ÷ 3 = 240. So there is no missing radiation to explain away in the first place!**

* The calculation for clouds is as follows. Average altitude of clouds/emitting layer = 6 km. At 6 km, the temperature is about 250K, i.e. surface temperature 288K minus 6 x 6.5K for the lapse rate. If they behaved like 'black bodies' with emissivity of 100%, they would be emitting (250^4) ÷ 10^8 x 5.67 = 220 W/m2. But clouds' emissivity is only 75%, so they actually only emit three-quarters of that = 165 W/m2. Emissivity is a bit like 'albedo' but in reverse, look it up.

Clearly, "two-thirds", "6 km", "250K" and "75% emissivity" are arbitrarily chosen reasonable mid-estimates to illustrate the point - you get the same effect if clouds are lower (hence warmer) and with a lower emissivity; or they are higher and emissivity is higher. Nobody really knows what these variables (cloud cover, height etc) are as they change constantly and they largely cancel each other out.

** OK, I accept that the 'missing' radiation appears to be in the wavelengths absorbed and emitted by CO2. They are saying that CO2 absorbs but doesn't re-emit? Or are they saing that CO2 does emit radiation to space, but if there is more CO2, it emits less radiation? You can never pin them down.

Sunday 22 November 2020

Another Official Property Scam

Recently there was a piece on Radio 4 about "shared ownership", which is buying a house on the never never, but with the added joy of paying a mortgage on the part that you "own".

As far as I can see this is yet another "initiative" to try to blow some air into the housing bubble and get round the rules on lenders designed to stop borrowers reducing themselves to penury whist they desperately try to get access to the magic money tree that is housing in the UK. It combines the worst aspects of renting - it's not your house to do what you want with - with the worst aspects of buying - the properties are leasehold and, so long as you only own a small percentage, your share is almost unsaleable, so you are stuck with it.

It has all the makings of a mis-selling scandal of the future, I expect the ambulance chasers are already gearing up.

Saturday 21 November 2020

Car hits house

Article and photo at the BBC.

How on earth did he manage to get the front door of the house lodged in his windscreen at that angle, all without totally wrecking the front of the car? The angle suggests that the door flew in from above and behind.

The photo appears to have been taken from here.

"Rishi Sunak to reform anti-Northern spending bias"

From the BBC:

Part of what will change is the Treasury's Green Book - a set of rules it uses to determine the value generated by government schemes. It will mean - as the first portions of £600bn in planned public investment are delivered - the process of ranking transport, energy, schools or hospital investment will be widened beyond a narrow definition of benefit compared to cost.

Those calculations, the Treasury now acknowledges, have inherently favoured the government investing continuously in the South East of England and London. That's because the values of economic return are influenced by existing high property prices in those regions. For example, a transport link between London and Reading would always have ranked as better value for money for the taxpayer than linking two northern cities.

I'm reading between the lines a bit here, but I assume what they mean is that if spending £X billion on better transport links increases economic activity in an area by Y per cent, then it is better to spend it in a densely populated = high wage = high land price area.

On a national level, that makes sense. It would be pointless spending umpteen billion on bridges connecting sparsely populated Scottish islands.

The real issue is not where the money is spent, the issue is who benefits from the spending. Under current rules, it is mainly people who own homes or business premises in the South East, so a double slap in the face for people and businesses in other areas, who have to pay their share of the cost via taxation. Or indeed tenants in the South East who end up paying more tax and higher rents.

If LVT were a major source of revenue, then money would still be spent on whatever things in whatever areas where the extra LVT exceeds the cost, but instead of all the benefits going to landowners there, everybody in every area of the country would benefit because that surplus LVT would be used to reduce taxes on output and earnings for everybody. Like people who pay £100 for a front row seat subsidising people in the back row who only have to pay £10. If the theatre charged a flat £50 on a first-come first-served basis, they'd only fill half their seats and the back rows would be empty.

Thursday 19 November 2020

"Sainsbury’s defends Christmas advert as customers threaten to boycott store for featuring black family"

From The Metro

Since it was first aired, the advert has received controversial feedback online, with some slamming the commercial for ‘not representing them’.

Others went as far as to say they were boycotting Sainsbury’s because of their ad. One shopper tweeted: ‘Isn’t the UK supposed to be all about Diversity and Inclusion? Don’t see any of that here. Virtual signalling if ever I’ve seen it!’

I have some sympathy for Sainsbury's here. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Clearly, the UK is a 'white' country and 95% of the population consider themselves 'White British'. So if supermarkets always just featured a median family in their adverts, they would all be all white. Which, while fairly accurate, would be a bit boring. And they'd get grief from the virtue signallers (who are all white, rather ironically).

If all supermarkets just used the median family, then we would only see white families, which might be a fair reflection of many parts of the country, but completely out of kilter with larger cities. So a lot of them cop out by having a mixed race family with one white and one non-white* parent.

But, even though I am half of a mixed race couple with mixed race kids, I find this really irritating. It's the least representative kind of family, that's basic maths. Even if every single non-white person married a white person, that's still only one-in-ten families. Clearly they don't, so in truth is more like one-in-a-hundred.

So Sainsbury's marketing team thought "Fuck it, this is all too complicated. We'll never improve on plugboy. Whatever else we do will offend somebody, so for a change let's have an all-black family."

And good for them, to be honest. If a supermarket did an Xmas advert featuring a family of green CGI Martians, would anybody bat an eyelid?

* You're not allowed to say 'coloured' any more (as Greg Clarke found out to his cost, seriously, you can lose your job for this). Hilariously enough we did a 'racial sensitivity' nonsense course at work a couple of years ago and the lecturer insisted that we say 'people of colour', or 'BIPOC', completely made-up phrases which were deemed to be offensive a few weeks ago. 'Black' is the preferred term again for Afro-Caribbeans (they've always described to themselves as 'black' AFAIAA). You have to keep up to date with these things!

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Buy now while stocks last!

From the BBC:

Ban on new petrol and diesel cars in UK from 2030 under PM's green plan

New cars and vans powered wholly by petrol and diesel will not be sold in the UK from 2030, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said. But some hybrids would still be allowed, he confirmed.

It is part of what Mr Johnson calls a "green industrial revolution" to tackle climate change and create jobs in industries such as nuclear energy. Critics say the £4bn allocated to implement the 10-point plan is far too small for the scale of the challenge.

We'll end up like Cuba, where everybody's driving round in lovingly maintained classics.

Monday 16 November 2020

Mr Rashford's Property Portfolio

 From the Daily Mail

Campaigning football star Marcus Rashford has bought five luxury homes worth at least £2 million, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The striker, 23, has ploughed an estimated £1.5 million into three houses on a new estate in Wilmslow, Cheshire, as well as buying a house and flat in Macclesfield.

I could get into how awful it is that a productive footballer and nice guy, becomes a parasitic landlord, but he probably hasn't thought too much about that. But, I think this is a bad investment.

Our host has explained a few times about the relationship of commuting time and rents, that the closer you are to the office, the more your rent rises, and that particularly applies to Wilmslow.

I know Wilmslow quite well. I spent a few months working in Wythenshawe, which is like Syria on a bad day, so I chose to stay in Wilmslow. It's also not far from Manchester Airport and a 20 minute rail commute from Manchester Piccadilly, the main rail station.

If you compare the prices in Wilmslow and Congleton, it's around £450K for a 3 bed semi vs £300K in Congleton. Congleton is 50 minutes from Manchester by train.

But the value of being 30 minutes closer to the office is going to diminish if you're only doing it 2 days a week rather than 5. Instead of there being a £150K difference over Congleton to someone doing that, it's more like a 60K difference. OK, not everyone is going to be doing this post-Covid, but most of those people are office workers in the centre of Manchester and the effect is going to be big there.

This is why London rents have fallen anything from 3% to 7% on a year ago (depending on who you ask) while other rents have risen. If you aren't going into the office, or not that often, you don't need to be in Hammersmith, you can be in Slough, or Swindon.

I think the whole of this is going to take time to work out. Much of it will come as people move. Home owners near to the centre of cities are going to think this is a short-term blip or gully, and hold out, not selling as the prices continue to fall rather than bailing out.

What I want for Christmas...Pt 1

#1 For the bloody HMRC to stop adressing me as a 'customer'.  

Listen up you language mangling patronising sanctimonious parasites I am, unlike any of you, a real tax payer so that's how you need to address me.

A bit of 'please sir' 'no sir' needs to be introduced into your correspondence.

A 'customer' is engaged in voluntary exchange.  Being a 'tax payer' is to suffer coercion.

Saturday 14 November 2020

E&W - weekly deaths up to Week 44

Data from the ONS:

What "second wave?", you might ask.

Week 46 will be a special week, as that week's deaths will include the bastard who terrorised West Yorkshire for half a decade and ruined countless lives. May he rot in Hell.

Friday 13 November 2020

Insider trading and deposit-funded corporations

Stories like this or this always leave a bad taste, however much those involved protest their innocence.

That's another advantage of deposit-funded corporations, which wouldn't have shares which can be bought and sold on the stock exchange. They'd be like building societies (or LLPs, partnerships or unit trusts), you make your deposit, you are allocated your share of profits or losses each year (or month or quarter) and you withdraw your deposit plus accumulated profits when you need the money, or you would rather deposit with a different company which you think will give you a better return.

The point about insider trading is that you buy if you expect good news, i.e. the announcement of future profits, and you sell as soon as the news becomes official or public knowledge and the price has jumped. "Buy on a rumour, sell on a fact".

With DFC's, there'd be no point cashing in if future profits are expected to be higher, you'd sit tight and hope for a share of it. OK, you would still have an advantage if you knew the rumours before everyone else because you could add to your deposit before the news become official or public knowledge. But you wouldn't get your share of those profits until they are actually made and it would leave a longer paper trail.

Similarly, if you have insider knowledge of potential bad news (like the insurance company finding a loop hole that means they don't have to pay out on a factory which burned down), you would be tempted to cash in. But the company would have to make a provision for the future losses as soon as it knows and knock a percentage off everybody's deposit. So if senior managers withdrew their deposits before they make the provision and announce the bad news, that would be straightforward false accounting and fraud and much easier to prove than 'insider trading'.

And there would be no incentive to spread false negative rumours (to give you a buying opportunity) and then refute them (to give you a sell opportunity). Or vice versa. The amount of your deposit is entirely unaffected by rumours either way, the amount you can withdraw is only affected by what has actually happened in the past.

Wednesday 11 November 2020

The American Green Party's successful electoral strategy

Jill Stein, the Green Party's candidate did well in the 2016 Presidential Election, from Wiki: "Stein finished in 4th with over 1,457,216 votes (more than the previous three Green tickets combined) and 1.07% of the popular vote".

In the 2020 election, the Green Party candidate only got 339,000 votes. An apparent failure, but actually nothing of the sort. The Democrat strategists knew that losing votes to the Green candidate probably cost Hillary Clinton the 2016 election, so their 2020 candidate Joe Biden said he was in a favour of a Green New Deal (whatever that is) and clawed most of those votes back. Given how tight the margins were in swing states, that was a very sensible tactic. This is called "shifting the Overton Window", and now the Greens just have to hope he actually implements it.
A similar thing happened to the Libertarian Party, their vote share went down from a very respectable 4.5 milion to 1.5 million votes (as far as I can make out), presumably because Trump (the very antithesis of actual libertarianism) took back most of the votes from right wing nutters who otherwise might have voted Libertarian.

But fair play to the 2020 Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgenson, she is realistic about all this and understand how it works. From the BBC:

"The Libertarian Party's baseline votes will continue to grow [sic]," Ms Jorgensen said in a statement. "The only way Democrats and Republicans can keep us down is by adopting our libertarian policies."
To cut a long story short, the lesson for small parties is - if your policies and principles become widely accepted and politically palatable, the larger parties adopt them (or at least pretend to) and you lose votes.

Tuesday 10 November 2020

"Climate Change May Have Driven Ancient Human Species to Extinction"

From Science Alert:

Researchers have also hypothesized that climate change could have played a role in the extinction of Homo species. In a new study, published in the journal One Earth, a multidisciplinary team of scientists from Italy, the United Kingdom, and Brazil make the case that this factor was the major driver in the extinction of other hominins.

The authors believe the findings could serve as a warning as humanity faces human-made climate change today. "Even the brain powerhouse in the animal kingdom, [the Homo genus], cannot survive climate change when it gets too extreme," says paleontologist Pasquale Raia, of the University of Naples Federico II, one of the study's authors. "People should mind that, given the current mayhem we are causing."

Indeed, so have earlier periods of gradual warming led to mass extinctions..?

For three of the five extinct species - H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, and H. neanderthalensis - a sudden, strong change in climate occurred on the planet just before these species died out. Climes became colder for all three, drier for H. heildelbergensis and Neanderthals, and wetter for H. erectus. According to Raia, the change in temperature was roughly 4 to 5 degrees Celsius, on yearly averages.

I'll take that as a 'no'. When they say "change in temperatures" they must mean "fall in temperatures" (Ice Ages are indisputably bad for humanity). If extinctions had coincided with increases, you can be sure they would have mentioned it.

Monday 9 November 2020

Covid-19 and share prices

From The Daily Mail:

'Stay at home' stocks Zoom, Amazon and Netflix all plunge after Pfizer announces its COVID-19 vaccine is 90% effective
* Zoom shares dropped by 15 percent in pre-market trading on Monday
* The video calling company saw a boost in March when millions of businesses switched to working-from-home
* Amazon and Netflix also saw jumps in their share prices at the start of the second quarter
* They also suffered on Monday while Pfizer's stock went up by 14.5 percent

Those bullet points sum up pretty much all you need to know. I assume that the share price of oil companies will also increase if the vaccine promises to be effective; petrol went down a couple of pence/litre after Lockdown 2.0 kicked in.

And, if you love a right-wing conspiracy theory, you can assume that Pfizer waited until it was fairly certain that Biden would win the election before they announced that their vaccine appears to work. If the vaccine actually works and it all goes live next year, Biden will take all the credit*. It would have really helped Trump if Pfizer had announced this a couple of weeks before the election. I've checked Twitter, and the usual loons are saying that Pfizer was getting revenge on Trump for this suggestion and/or that Bill Gates and George Soros own Pfizer and just wanted Trump out and 'their man' in.

* Like Ken Livingstone, who introduced hire bikes in London shortly before the end of his second term as London Mayor, His successor Boris Johnson expanded the scheme and persuaded people to call them 'Boris Bikes'.

Saturday 7 November 2020

Skeptical Science neatly disproves its own point with a diagonal comparison

From The Motherlode:

Using Modtran [which matches up well to actual measurements, so let's take this all as accurate], I determined the energy output looking downwards from an altitude of 70 kilometers using the US Standard Atmosphere. The result can be seen on the following graph as the green shaded area. I repeated the model run, but this time with the altitude set at 0 km. The result is shown by the outer curve defining the red area in the graph below.

That means that the red area itself, which is the upwards radiation from the surface minus the upward radiation to space, is the reduction in energy radiated to space because of the presence of Infra-Red absorbing molecules in the atmosphere. That is, it is the greenhouse effect.

It's nothing of the sort and the chart does not show it.

1. The effective temperature of Earth is approx. 255K. That means that skilled astronomers elsewhere in the Solar System - armed only with a telescope - who know nothing about our atmosphere and assume that the white clouds are part of the surface would expect the average surface temperature of Earth to be 255K based on incoming solar radiation, albedo etc. If the astronomers also have an IR-meter, they can measure outgoing IR radiation from Earth and work backwards to find out Earth's effective/average temperature.

They would expect Earth's outgoing IR curve to be just below the pink one for 260K. They will be puzzled as to why measured outgoing radiation is above the 255K line at some frequencies and below it at other frequencies, but overall, it looks 'about right' (these things are apparently insanely difficult to calculate properly).

2a. Why do the Alarmists assume here that Earth's surface would be 288K if it had no atmosphere (like the Moon) and use that as their reference line (the top of the red area shows outgoing IR at an altitude of 0km)? If Earth had no atmosphere, its overall average surface temperature would be below 255K (the Moon's actual surface temperature is lower than its effective temperature, partly because it revolves so slowly and partly because it has no atmosphere).

The extra 33K temperature at Earth's surface is due to the gravito-thermal effect of the atmosphere (and its fairly short day/night length), which has nothing to do with 'radiation', it's just warmer than the effective temperature lower down (and at the surface) and cooler than it higher up. So inevitably it emits more IR lower down (and at the surface) than it does higher up. That's a result of the gravito-thermal effect and not a cause of anything. It's like saying that something that has fallen over caused the force which pushed it; or that a balloon inflated itself.

2b. In the alternative, we could ask why do they assume here that if there were the same atmosphere but with no 'greenhouse gases' that Earth's surface temperature would be 288K (33K warmer than the effective temperature)? Yes, it would be... because of the gravito-thermal effect. But don't they keep telling us that this extra 33K is due to the presence of 'greenhouse gases'? You can't have it both ways.

3. The article concludes with this: "The effect of a particular Infra-Red absorbing molecule, Carbon Dioxide, is clearly visible. With the publication of this data in 1970, the greenhouse effect ceased to be theoretical. It was an observed fact." Yes, the effect is measurable and real. This would explain to our skilled astronomers from 1. why the actual emissions are sometimes below and sometimes above the expected line just below the pink one. So they would conclude that Earth and its atmosphere automatically compensate for the 'missing' or 'trapped' IR at some frequencies by emitting more IR than expected at other frequencies to keep it all in balance (which is what effectively happens).

So it's a diagonal comparison in various different ways, which enables our Alarmist chums to draw exactly the conclusion they wanted before they even bothered with 'evidence'.
The only counter-counter-argument that I can think of is that the 'missing' or 'trapped' radiation is evidence for additional temperatures at the surface. If that is true, then the 'extra' radiation (above the 255K line) must be evidence for lower temperatures. Which is nonsense, the 'extra' radiation is evidence of a higher surface temperature (higher than effective temperature). So that just goes round in circles, unless you want to have it both ways and claim that both 'missing' and 'extra' radiation are evidence of the same thing (and in which case, of what?).

Friday 6 November 2020

Pointless work emails

One of the bosses sent an email to All Staff saying that (a) some people had had problems with email yesterday evening, and (b) it is now working again.

There are three possibilities:

1. Your email was working fine throughout OR you didn't try to send an email yesterday evening anyway, in which case this email is of no informational value.

2. Your email is still not working, in which case you won't receive it, so the email was less than pointless.

3. Your tried to use email yesterday evening AND yours wasn't working, but is now working again. In which case you are already aware of facts (a) and (b) and so again, the email is of no informational value.

The lesson here is, read your own email from the point of view of the recipient(s) before clicking send!

Thursday 5 November 2020

Estimating square roots made simple

I have sometimes occupied myself (i.e. in boring meetings or at school prize givings where you can't use paper) by calculating square roots in my head by trial and error i.e. guess the root and square it, then if the answer is too high, try again with a slightly smaller guess etc.

D'oh, I am so dumb.

There is a much simpler, quicker and more obvious method. Which most people probably already know, but here it is for the record.

If you have to guess √28, you start with the nearest known square number i.e. 25, imagine a square (illustrated below) with side length 5 = area 25 and overlay it onto a square with area 28. The total surface area of the grey shaded cells = 3 (28 minus 25). There are ten such cells (plus a smaller square in the bottom right, which I'll get to later), so each cell has area of a smidge less 0.3. They are one unit high (or wide) so the width (or height) is a smidge less than 0.3.

So as a first approximation, √28 = 5.3.

This overstates the answer slightly, because of the smaller square (5.3^2 = 28.09). We can do the same process again - divide the area of the smaller square (0.3^2 = 0.09) by ten = 0.009 and deduct that from 5.3 = 5.291.

Checks on calculator: 5.291^2 = 27.995. Close enough.

The same applies if the nearest square number is larger. So first approximation = √80 = 9 - (1/18) = 8.944. When you are this close, there is no point bothering with reapportioning the smaller square (again, you subtract it from the first approximation), because its area is only 0.056^2, and 0.056^2 ÷ 18 = so close to zero as makes no difference (and mighty difficult to calculate in your head, it's 0.00017).

Checks on calculator: 8.944^2 = 80.003. Again, close enough.

Here's the diagram, in case my explanation is not clear:

Monday 2 November 2020

Landlord affected by cladding scandal has to increase rents or no one will want to rent their flat

From the Torygraph

 Tenants face higher rents as landlords caught in cladding crisis

Mr Coates said he may have to raise the rent if repair costs are passed on to leaseholders. He is also concerned he may be left with an unlettable flat, as tenants may not want to live in a block with major fire safety problems.

Is it one or the other? Increase the rent or is it too high for service being offered and needs to be dropped? While I do feel sympathy for the ridiculous leasehold system whereby no services need be rendered in consideration of huge sums of money, surely this must have looked a bit odd at some point between interview and going to print

To all intents and purposes, the UK already has a UBI system

Here's a list of the main benefits and how many million claim each.

The categories overlap to some extent (some pensioners still do paid work, lower paid employees get WTC etc). The total number of claimants/recipients must be less than the total UK population, not more! And clearly there must be a million or two people who get nothing, but I struggle to think who they might be or why they are singled out.

The cash value of most of the working age benefits to one individual is in the order of £3,000 - £4,000 per year (transferable personal allowance is a lot less, SM/PP is much more, but for a shorter period, disability-related payments are much higher but those would be in addition to UBI, that's a job for the NHS not the DWP). Each has its own rules, rates and allowances, but they all come to the same thing. Seriously, why do they keep up the pretence, apart from creating jobs for civil servants?

Click to enlarge.

Sunday 1 November 2020

Truly a genius header

I'm not that interested in sport, but things like this make you proud to be a human being.

Video at the BBC.

Killer Arguments Against Citizen's Income, Not (33)

I have fallen into this trap far too many times. A lot of the KCNs are arguments against any form of welfare paid out in cash.

So from the right, we get things like "It will just make people lazy" and from the hard left we get things like "A Jobs Guarantee is much better" or even "The government should provide 'universal basic services'" (whatever they are supposed to be, it's never really clear).

Those aren't KCNs and there's no point engaging with people like this, as you are arguing on several fronts and the proponents can constantly change the topic. All you can say is "Those are arguments against any form of cash welfare payments, and if you don't accept that these are a necessary part of a democratic, capitalist system, there is no point me explaining why things like means-testing, the couples penalty and conditionality are ultimately pointless"

These non-KCNs are quite distinct from genuine KCNs, where somebody accepts that there have to be cash welfare payments to certain people in certain circumstances and are merely arguing over who gets them and how they are calculated. So things like "It will be unaffordable", or "why give money to rich people?", or "means-testing helps to reduce the cost of welfare, so means a lower tax burden on everybody else" (the latter two neatly cancel each other out), while completely without foundation are at least proper KCNs and it might be worthwhile addressing them. It usually isn't, because most people have a poor grasp of maths and logic, but hey.

As I've said many a time, if I hadn't taken a few weeks to try and understand our welfare system and how it inter-acts with the tax system, on the level of individuals and on the national level (total cost and revenues) and realised that's it's perfectly affordable (no increase in tax and NIC rates) and do-able (i.e. the UBI would be a £ for £ replacement of Income Support and Working Tax Credits etc), I wouldn't be so keen either.

What is equally annoying is that some UBI supporters see UBI as a matter of principle and are very vague on how it would be paid for or how much each individual could be paid, I spend a lot of time explaining to supporters and opponents alike that if you look at it in totality, the UK has something approaching a UBI or Negative Income Tax. There are just far too many kinks, conditions, complications, loopholes and overlaps, mistakes, non-earners who fall between various stools and get nothing, and to be fair, claimants who completely take the piss. If you ironed all these out and removed the opportunities for fraud and mistakes, you'd end up with a UBI. Few people would be noticeably better or worse off; and total costs and revenues would be much the same.