Friday, 31 December 2021

E5 v E10 petrol

I was advised to put only E5/super in the 1996 Honda Del Sol, which costs £1.60/litre as against about £1.45/l for the homeopathic E10 stuff.

No big deal really. I get at least 10% more miles per gallon out of the E5/super than I used to do out of the E5/normal (which is no longer available at local petrol stations), and an unknown amount more than if I used E10 (which I don't dare), so in terms of pence-per-mile, it comes out about the same.

I suspect that the whole thing is just greenwashing by the car manufacturers to trick us into buying new cars.

Bonus conspiracy theory - the fuel shortages/panic buying that we had at the end of September was triggered by the switch from E5 to E10.

Friday, 24 December 2021

Interesting moral dilemma

The Mini was parked where the red Audi is, but the handbrake wasn't fully on and it rolled gently down the hill, coming to rest against the rear bumper of the black monstrosity (the driver of which is so stingy that instead of paying to park in a bay, they park it where is will cause maximum blockage of three surrounding driveways. So gets zero sympathy from me.): There are rules on this.

If the Mini driver gets back first, it is their duty to cast a cursory glance at the back of the black monstrosity for obvious damage, convince themselves it looks OK and then drive off and hope that nothing comes of it.

But what if the black monstrosity driver gets back first? If they just drive off, they know that the Mini will roll off again and hit the car in the next parking bay down, which is another twenty yards down the road i.e. the Mini might have build up enough speed to do proper damage, or veer onto the pavement or into the middle of the road. Which means they have to wait until the driver of the Mini gets back, unless they manage to find something lying around to use as chocks.

Hmm. I know I'd at least look for a couple of bricks or something, but I'm not sure I'd find anything suitable. Does the Highway Code cover this type of situation?

Sunday, 19 December 2021

Windows 11 upgrade is shit and other PC-related trivia

1. My PC had been bombarding me with messages for several weeks, starting with "Upgrade to Windows 11 - it's really great!" which I ignored. The messages got progressively more threatening until they ended up with something like "If you don't upgrade then we shut down your PC", so against my better judgment, I caved in yesterday.

The inevitable result was that it took me over half an hour to turn it on this morning, and another quarter of an hour to open, update and save a simple spreadsheet and then send one email. Why do they bother? It was working fine.

2. Last year, I bemoaned the dearth of USB ports on modern PCs.

I had a good clean of my desk yesterday, including removing everything from on and under the desk, scrubbing everything down and plugging it all back in with less cable tangle. Oops! There on the back of the monitor (it's a Lenovo all-in-one job) are another three USB ports for my permanent stuff (keyboard, mouse, external hard drive), leaving me with two at the side for occasional stuff (CD writer, USB stick, charge cables for iPod and phone).

3. When we were kids, our Dad taught us the rudiments of typing on a proper old fashioned typewriter. We bashed away happily for a bit and then asked how you do capital letters. Our Dad explained you press down the shift key, and illustrated by pressing down the left hand shift key. So for the whole of my life I used the left hand shift key and never realised the right hand one existed.

My daughter asked me recently why I never use the other one and told me where it was. Well bugger me! There it is, right in front of me, twice as large as the left hand one with the same upwards arrow on it. How did I never notice?

I still can't bring myself to use it though. I always keep my left hand little finger resting on the left hand one, and it requires a conscious effort to use the other one, i.e. if I need to type a capital P or 'close parantheses' single handed.

Monday, 13 December 2021

Oh the irony.

From The Daily Mail:

A Catholic Bishop has been forced to apologies to outraged parents after telling a group of children that Santa Claus does not exist. The Roman Catholic diocese of Noto in Sicily insisted that Bishop Antonio Stagliano did not mean to dash the dreams of youngsters two weeks before Christmas.

Why stop there? Why not tell them that the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny (or their Italian equivalents) are also completely made up, and really piss off your employers by admitting there is no Sky Fairy?

Saturday, 11 December 2021

My 2021 Xmas CD cover

"How do we know more CO2 is causing warming?" Part 2

Easy, just take it as a given.

The British Antarctic Survey, who really ought to know better, have come up with this piece of nonsense:

It is often said that the temperature ‘leads’ the CO2 during the warming out of a glacial period. On the most recent records, there is a hint that the temperature started to rise slightly (at most a few tenths of a degree) before the CO2, as expected if changes in Earth’s orbit cause an initial small warming.

But for most of the 6,000-year long ‘transition’, Antarctic temperature and CO2 rose together, consistent with the role of CO2 as an important amplifier of climate change (see Fig. 4 overleaf).

In our modern era, of course, it is human emissions of CO2 that are expected to kick-start the sequence of events. We see no examples in the ice core record of a major increase in CO2 that was not accompanied by an increase in temperature.

If we look at Fig 4: we can also see that the converse could be true, as they start to imply, then rapidly back-pedal from, presumably before they are hauled up in front of the Inquisition for heresy. They then go on to state a fairly conclusive proof why CO2 isn't causing warming, presenting it as proof of the opposite.

From the air in our oldest Antarctic ice core, we can see that CO2 changed in a remarkably similar way to Antarctic climate, with low concentrations during cold times, and high concentrations during warm periods (see Fig. 3 overleaf). This is entirely consistent with the idea that temperature and CO2 are intimately linked, and each acts to amplify changes in the other (what we call a positive feedback).

Well, no, if it was positive feedback, the warming would release more CO2, which would cause more warming, which would release more CO2, which would cause more warming and so on, until the seas boiled away into space. This they haven't done, from which we conclude that a rise in CO2 levels cannot both cause warming and be caused by it. Since no-one seems to dispute the latter, then the conclusion about the former is obvious.

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

"How do we know more CO2 is causing warming?"

Easy, just measure A and claim you have measured B.

From the Motherlode of Shite, they make the obligatory and wrong assumption that sea level temp's should be the same as cloud temps (it is the clouds that absorb most of the arriving sunlight; not the sea level surface - this is the basis for the correct explanation of the Greenhouse Effect because that is what we are measuring - difference between cloud temp and sea level air temp = 33 degrees) and then crack on with the flimsiest of evidence:

The temperatures are going up, just like the theory predicted. But where’s the connection with CO2, or other greenhouse gases like methane, ozone or nitrous oxide? ... Is there a reliable way to identify CO2’s influence on temperatures [over that period]?

There is: we can measure the wavelengths of long-wave radiation leaving the Earth (upward radiation). Satellites have recorded the Earth's outbound radiation. We can examine the spectrum of upward long-wave radiation in 1970 and 1997 to see if there are changes.

This time, we see that during the period when temperatures increased the most, emissions of upward radiation have decreased through radiative trapping at exactly the same wavenumbers as they increased for downward radiation. The same greenhouse gases are identified: CO2, methane, ozone etc.

OK, CO2 tends to block and/or re-radiate infra red at about 14 nanometers (= about 700/cm), there's less going to space and more hitting the ground. Clever scientists say so and they have measured it and who am I to disbelieve them?

But WTF does that have to do with temperatures?

Wien's Displacement Law tells us the relationship between an objects temperature and peak frequency; the object absorbing that frequency can't get any warmer than the apparent* temperature of the emitting object. 14 nanometers = apparent temperature approx 200K (minus 73C).

* I say apparent because the actual average temp of the CO2 is about 250K, but it emits radiation as if it were only 200K, so can't warm anything up to more than 200K.

Even if CO2 emitted radiation at the shorter peak wavelength we would expect from an object that is approx. 250K, that wouldn't be able to warm an object (sea level surface) either, as sea level surface is warmer than that anyway. If you have a forge furnace burning coal at 2,000C, you can't use it to warm anything up to more than 2,000C, that must be obvious.

A 2,000 Watt three-bar electric fire is about 1,000 degrees C (I think, can't be bothered looking it up again). However close you hold something to the bars, even if it's only a millimetre away, it can't absorb so much radiation that it reaches a temperature higher than 1,000 degrees C.

Hold the same object a millimetre away from a 2,000 Watt radio transmitter and it barely warms at all. Radio waves are at very long wavelengths, so using Wien's Displacement Law, the apparent temperature of the transmitter (based on the wavelengths of the radiation it emits) is barely above absolute zero.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Something else that LVT would sort out:

Up in north Wales, local people are feeling aggrieved that mobile home and luxury caravan owners aren't paying enough council tax.

However, a brief glance at the article reveals that the problem is really that the owners of the land on which the luxury mobile homes and caravans sit are not paying enough in business rates. Now if only there was a way to roll up council tax and business rates into a single tax based on the rentable value of the land....

Friday, 3 December 2021

BBC at it again

From the BBC:

Reform UK - formerly the Brexit Party - came third with 6.6% of the vote, with the party's leader and candidate Richard Tice describing it as a "massive result".

The Green Party and Liberal Democrats both lost their deposits.

That's not what it said this morning - screenshot from phone. The fact that Reform UK came third just didn't register properly and had already been forgotten when the next sentence was written: