August 31, 2012
Wettest Summer Forecast Fail
The washout summer ending today was the wettest in Britain for 100 years, the Met Office said yesterday.
And the forecast was.....
SUMMARY - PRECIPITATION:
For UK average rainfall, the forecast for this summer is very uncertain, due to a lack of any strong driving factors. Although there is a somewhat elevated chance, relative to climatology, of the summer being wet, it looks unlikely that there will be very wet conditions. However, the probability of very dry conditions remains close to climatology.
The probability that UK average rainfall for June July August will fall into the driest of our five categories is around 20%, whilst the probability that it will fall into the wettest of our five categories is 25 - 30% (the 1971 - 2000 climatological probability for each of these categories is 20%).
Met Office 3-month Outlook
Period: July – September 2012 Issue date: 20.06.12
SUMMARY - PRECIPITATION:
For UK averaged rainfall, the predicted probabilities slightly favour above normal rainfall during both July and the JulyAugustSeptember
period, although the spread of possible outcomes is large. Consequently, confidence in this prediction is not high, and there is still a significant
probability of below normal rainfall.
Recent wet weather, which has helped to improve groundwater resources in much of the south of the country, is likely to continue into the first
part of July. Indeed the forecast for July includes a significant probability of the monthly accumulation being above normal.
The probability that UK precipitation for JulyAugustSeptember will fall into the driest of our five categories is around 20% whilst the
probability that it will fall into the wettest of our five categories is also around 20% (the 19712000 climatological probability for each of these
categories is 20%).
With this forecast, the water resources situation in southern, eastern and central England is likely to deteriorate further during the April May June period.
The probability that UK precipitation for April May June will fall into the driest of our five categories is 20 - 25% whilst the probability that it will fall into the wettest of our five categories is 10 - 15% (the 1971-2000 climatological probability for each of these categories is 20%).
August 30, 2012
Looking for Lewandowsky's Sceptics
Just a note to say that this semi-retired sceptic blog wasn't approached either.
I don't tweet so this post acts as confirmation for Lucia.
August 28, 2012
Are You A Nutter Or A Callous Bastard?
“We find that endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science,” the paper says. “We additionally show that endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories (e.g., that the CIA killed Martin Luther King or that NASA faked the moon landing) predicts rejection of climate science as well as the rejection of other scientific findings.”
The paper says that a staunch belief in free markets was an overwhelmingly strong factor in the rejection of climate science and was a stronger factor than conspiratorial thinking.
“Blogs have a huge impact on society and so it’s important that we understand the motivations and the reasoning of those who visit blogs to contribute to the discussion,” he said. “There has been much research pointing to the role of free-market ideology in rejecting climate science, but this is the first time it’s been shown that other scientific facts, such as the link between HIV and Aids, are also subject to ideological rejection.”
So you are either a nutter or a free-marketeer if you reject the "science". The idea that someone of a scientific turn of mind could just find the science unconvincing obviously isn't possible.
I wonder what the correlation between being an alarmist, believing in the benefits of Big Government and rejection of the free-market is.
August 27, 2012
Peter Gleick's Mates Promise Veggie Hell
Leading water scientists have issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world's population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages....According to research by some of the world's leading water scientists....at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)
Ah the SIWI! Dr. Peter Gleick's stomping ground....
August 22, 2012
Conform! Conform! Conform!
It will take the kind of conformism and sense of moral obligation offered by religious thought and ritual if we are to save the planet
.... members of the lay public who are most science literate, and the most proficient at technical reasoning, are also the most divided on climate change – in other words, the deniers of climate change are among the most scientifically literate members of the general population....
"Positions on climate change have come to signify the kind of person one is. People whose beliefs are at odds with those of the people with whom they share their basic cultural commitments risk being labelled as weird and obnoxious in the eyes of those on whom they depend for social and financial support."
There may be ways of fixing that and averting catastrophic global warming that don't make use of religious resources, but I can't think of any.
It's important to this argument to understand that religious resources need not be theistic. All they need do is make manifest a higher rationality than self-interest. ...
What religious thought – and ritual – can supply is the two things absent from normative consumer liberalism. The first is a belief that the choice between ends is not arbitrary or wholly personal: that there are moral facts of the matter; that saving as much of humanity as possible is an obligation on all of us, and that this is actually true, and not just a matter of preference.
The second is the kind of conformism, reinforced by all kinds of social ritual, large and small, which will enforce the social discipline needed to carry societies through some pretty ghastly changes. Let's face it, any adjustment to an ecologically sustainable standard of living is going to be a lot nastier than anything Greece is going through now. It will need considerable determination and solidarity.
And there you have it. Bring back the Inquisition and witch trials to ensure the social conformity needed to bomb ourselves back to the stone age.
August 21, 2012
ffinlo Wants Wiltshire Whirlygigs
Wiltshire Clean Energy Alliance - note teh URL http://www.costaincommunications.com/WiltshireCEA-OurCampaign.htm
Yes that is Costain, as in construction, but this is the ffinlo Costain not the company. ffinlo "is a professional change campaigner" (ffinlo is a silly first name, not an acronym, though I'm working on that).
ffinlo has rounded up the usual suspects to complain that Wiltshire Council actually took a decision without asking ffinlo's opinion, and that the decision was that the good folk of Wiltshire weren't to be threaten by bird mincer blades flying off within a couple of miles of their houses. Which rather buggered up the chances of any more bat beaters being erected on our green and pleasant.
ffinlo wants you to compain - details of how to contact him are at http://www.costaincommunications.com/WiltshireCEA-Contact.html or you could contact the co-ordinator Sophy Fearnley-Whittingstall - yes, she is Hugh's sister.
There seems to be a pattern emerging here...
August 20, 2012
Windfall Tax Not Medals For Olympic Heroes
Sponsors, advertisers and management teams are now swarming around the stars of Team GB. A month ago, many of them were nobodies; now they are the faces of the most successful sporting event in British history. So who will the biggest earners be?
Gold medal-winners will make the most money, predicts Nigel Currie, director of sports marketing agency brandRapport. “Ennis could probably earn £3.5 million a year from sponsorship and media appearances; and Farah could get up towards £2.5 million,” he says. “Rutherford will do well, as will Sir Chris Hoy....
So the taxpayer has stumped up millions to enable these athletes achieve their best, to become an elite, and they get to keep the loot. "Privatizing profits and socialising losses" - if they were bankers I think there would be outrage.
One Jags Green
Because you are dealing with Teh Greens?
(Actually running an old car means all the emissions of manufacturing are amortised over a longer period so it can be a green idea, just don't expect her party to understand that though.)
Best News of The Day
AN ingredient in red wine may help to keep older people steady on their feet, research suggests.
The findings may have implications for preventing life-threatening falls in older people, say scientists.
Lead researcher Dr Jane Cavanaugh, from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, US, said: “Our study suggests that a natural compound like resveratrol, which can be obtained either through dietary supplementation or diet itself, could actually decrease some of the motor deficiencies that are seen in our ageing population.
“And that would, therefore, increase an ageing person’s quality of life and decrease their risk of hospitalisation due to slips and falls.”
"dietary supplementation" - doesn't he mean just having a glass or two of claret? Though I can't say I have noticed it helps me keep my balance.
August 17, 2012
Olympic Decimation Of UK Tourism
....a national survey of UKinbound members which was carried out over the weekend across all sectors of the membership to establish the impact of the 2012 Games on inbound tourism businesses.
The research, conducted by Qa Research in conjunction with UKinbound, showed that for the period of 23 July - 12 August, 66% of members surveyed stated that year on year inbound tourism bookings or inbound tourism visitors numbers were significantly lower and a further 22% stated they were slightly lower.
Furthermore, 59% of those who believed numbers were considerably lower stated they had seen decreases in excess of 10%.
For the post Olympic period 13 August – 9 September, 82% stated that bookings or visitor numbers were lower or significantly lower year on year.
72% of members agreed with the statement that ‘lack of accommodation for advanced booked groups in London had adversely affected destinations around the UK’ during the Olympics.
Rita Beckwith CEO City Cruises commented: “As an industry we knew the Games would have a negative impact on international visitor numbers to London but the impact on the rest of the UK, combined with domestic visitors staying away, has been deeply disappointing.
After a party always a hang-over. This disaster won't make the UK papers.
Buying Children's Minds
Daily Kos: Heartland Institute plans to instill climate-change denialism in every schoolchild
Brad Johnson has come into possession of internal documents of the Heartland Institute. These show that the organization "is planning to develop a 'global warming curriculum' for elementary schoolchildren that presents climate science as 'a major scientific controversy.' This effort, at a cost of $100,000 a year....
Teachers in Maryland are about to get new help and encouragement to talk about the touchy topic of global warming in their classrooms. The National Science Foundation announced Wednesday that it is awarding $5.8 million for improving climate-change education in Maryland and Delaware through a partnership including universities and school systems from both states.
The two-state initiative is one of six such education projects the foundation is funding across the country and in the nation's Pacific island territories....
The federal funding is intended to cover five years' work, Boesch explained, with the first year largely devoted to holding workshops for teachers and preparing educational resources.
Information to be provided to teachers will be tailored to address how climate change manifests itself in the Mid-Atlantic region, Boesch said.
"Sea level is going to rise," he said. "What will that mean for Maryland, Delaware, and the Chesapeake and Delaware bays? What are the consequences of climate change to our water resources in this region?"
The climate-change initiative was welcomed by national groups devoted to teaching science.
A magnitude of difference in the funding....
August 16, 2012
Totnes - No To Choice
The locals of the Devon resort have gone to war – with Costa Coffee. But why are they desperate to stop a branch of the giant chain opening up in town? And can they win?
Scary big bad wolf coming! If you don't want it then let it open and don't use it, they will soon run away with their tail between their legs if it loses them money. But what? You are afraid if people are given the choice they will prefer to go there than than the hand knitted tofu and acorn coffee shop they currently have to use? You don't people to have the choice?
More on Totnes here
August 15, 2012
August Extreme Weather Event Video
August 14, 2012
St George's Cross Banned From Olympics
What an honour to see Lee Thompson, the saxophonist from Madness, in his St George Cross kilt at the Olympic closing ceremony last night. Looks like the Englishness may have been an issue though as a couple of small Union Flags had been stitched onto the front.
True. He was not allowed to show the England flag in the Olympics as it was against the rules. Did I mention how much I loved the Olympics?
(He also let his "crown jewels" fall out of the kilt which is what is hanging below him.
Going Under The Wire
German wildlife zoo staff search for kangaroo after animals from neighbouring woods dig holes under park fences
The kangaroos got out of their enclosure after a young fox snuck into the park and dug a hole next to the cage's fencing. Two of the three were then able to escape the park entirely through another hole dug by a wild boar under the exterior fence.
Try not whistling the Great Escape theme as you savour the story.....
August 12, 2012
Science Researchers "fabricate results" "frequently"
Science has a dirty secret: research is plagued by plagiarism, falsification and fabrication.
... editor-in-chief of the British Medical Journal, Dr Fiona Godlee...Hammering out an editorial last week at the British Medical Association’s redbrick headquarters off Euston Road in London, she tackled one of the toughest problems of all: science fraud and research misconduct.
“It is difficult to know how prevalent misconduct is,” Godlee wrote, “but there is evidence that it happens frequently.”...
The science establishment’s consensus is that there is no need for outside scrutiny because, apart from the odd sociopath given credence by an “irresponsible” media, science is above the kind of misconduct that has tainted the Roman Catholic church, politics, the press and, of course, the banks.
This is a little like the church saying, as it did, that everything was fine but for a little bit of regrettable priestly paedophilia — or the press claiming that phone-hacking was confined to one “rogue reporter”.
For too long, science grandees have refused to confront the ethical misconduct in their midst, which is driven by the need to generate research funding.
If the mandarins of science shirk a house-cleaning, others will do it for them. In recent months, the quiet, polite voices of traditional science editors such as Godlee have been joined by noisy — and knowledgeable — whistleblowers on the worldwide web.
Science, like other fallen pillars of modern British society, faces a reckoning.
Scientific fraud is classified under three big sins. The first is plagiarism, best exemplified in Britain by the case of Dr Raj Persaud, the celebrity psychiatrist. He cut and pasted others’ work into his books and articles, and in July 2008 was briefly suspended from practising.
The second sin is falsification, such as in the case of Andrew Wakefield, the so-called MMR doctor. He was erased from the medical register in 2010 over what Godlee calls “an elaborate fraud” exposed by The Sunday Times.
And the third is fabrication, admitted only four months ago by Dr Peter Francis, a British ophthalmic geneticist working in the United States. He made up the results of work never done, leading to sanctions by America’s National Institutes of Health.
It is not just in medicine that dishonesty is well recognised. The problem is much the same in every field. Godlee’s editorial includes a reference to a 2009 study by Edinburgh researchers. Trawling surveys, they reported “conservatively” that more than 14% of scientists had said they knew of fakery by colleagues and nearly three quarters knew of other questionable practices.
Godlee is not alone in taking this on. In an editorial titled “Face up to fraud”, the editors of Nature wrote last January: “Some fraudulent researchers might be sociopaths who don’t care about the rules. But many others simply believe that they can anticipate the outcome of a research project, and see no downside to fabricating the required results to save time, or tweaking results to achieve a stronger signal.”
I could swear that rings a bell about some other research I have read about recently, if only I could remember which field of science it was....
Thank God That's Over
Longrider has channelled my thoughts exactly - I wouldn't change a word and I can't better it.
August 11, 2012
Posh Kid Thinks He Understands
"I'm nearly 18 years old," he says. "The changes scientists were predicting when I was a child are already happening today. And in my adult lifetime, it's going to get worse." Scientific opinion regarding the existence and scale of the problem is pretty much settled, he argues, adding that the portion of the public which still doubts the reality of man-made climate change – and remains hostile to legislation that might solve it – is largely ill-informed, although "that isn't necessarily their fault".
Oh thank you. If only we had been as lucky as you to be so bright, and good looking, and well connected and rich and just lovely, we might also know.
Climate Change Lawn Madness Again
In his column, Flowerdew explains: "The last few summers were so dry, so often, that turf almost everywhere in southern and eastern counties was reduced to a parlous state.
"This wet spring and early summer has only shown what a difference sufficient water makes, producing the greenest turf I've ever seen.
"But with the prediction of drier summers ahead and the increasing frequency of hosepipe bans, sadly then, browned-out turf all summer long is going to become more and more likely.
"Indeed having a green lawn may even become seen as heinous a sin as driving a gas guzzling vehicle.
I'm not sure what he is growing in his greenhouse but I want some.