Monday, 28 December 2009

Bank Holidays... for the hard of thinking

From the Daily Hate:-

Millions of workers will be given a special four-day weekend to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, it was revealed last night.

To mark the Monarch’s 60 years on the throne, her official birthday on Monday, June 4, will be declared a one-off Bank Holiday.

That's the thing... they won't be "given" a Bank Holiday, they'll pay for it.

OK, some employers might choose to take less profit from the business, but most won't. So, your bank holiday either means that some days of holiday get lost, or your pay rises don't go up so much.

Something that's occurred to me about Bank Holidays is that they're a good example of Bastiat's broken window fallacy. People see them as a "good thing", a freebie. They don't see the lost opportunity that occurs because of them, that they lose flexibility because the government decides when they should take time off. They don't see the waste of time and energy that occurs because of the peaks of demand that bank holidays create on roads, entertainment and hotels.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Rage Against The Machine vs the X-Factor Bloke

OK, first up... I've not heard the X-Factor single. It's probably some bland, inoffensive shite like most of the Cowell factory output. Just not my thing at all.

But the campaign against it, in the name of buying Rage Against The Machine's Killing In the Name Of... strikes me as interesting for what it says about the buyers.

Most of the people tweeting about how terrible it is that a piece of Cowell crap will get to number 1 are not regular chart followers. They don't care about the charts. Why would anyone be? We no longer have our choice of music driven by Top Of The Pops or the playlists of Radio 1. We can get tunes from thousands of different channels on cable and internet.

The campaign to get RATM to the top of the charts was a rockist campaign. It meant getting someone who made commercial, manufactured pop off the top of the chart in favour of an act which ticks all the right rockist boxes (politically aware, play their own instruments, write their own material).

It also stinks of control and oppression. Keeping something else off the top of the charts, like the charts have to be controlled. The people buying the Cowell crap don't care. They just like the record for what it is, what it should be. And that's how music should be, not a way to score points against people because you think they're stupid or lower class than you.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Farmer Mandelson

From The Spectator:-

f you ask me where in 15 or 20 years’ time I’d like to be, it will be probably on a farm somewhere close to the land, getting up early in the morning... I want to be near land. I want to be able to grow my own food. Look after my own farm animals, worry about the weather and get the timing of my harvest right.

and in his spare time, ploughing up the dirt track?

Economics and Climate Change

I was watching a report on TV about a town in Kansas which is "going green", spending a fortune on a green school, houses powered by sun and wind and so on, and how it would create jobs.

Now, this is a "nails down the blackboard" thing for me because "creating jobs" using government money simply means "destroying jobs" elsewhere. It may be desireable as a public service, but it doesn't "create jobs".

But I had a new thought tonight. Why is "climate change denial" considered to be so criminal, yet "broken window fallacy denial" OK? And why are so many broken window fallacy deniers quick to talk about science when it comes to climate change, yet ignore the (very simple) science behind the broken window fallacy?

To anyone not familiar with Bastiat's theory, it says that one way of looking at someone breaking a shopkeeper's window is that they're doing a service. The broken window means that a glazer gets employed by the shopkeeper". What's not seen is that the shopkeeper now has less money to spend on the things he wants to do (such as buying some new shoes or a book) which would themselves employ people.

Now, Bastiat's fallacy doesn't take much proving. You can do it with a diagram with 4 stick men. It's been around since the middle of the 19th century.

And let's remember Gordon Brown, the man who talked about the "flat earth" climate change sceptics was also the man who backed a chancellor who believed in quantitative easing. The history of QE (or printing money) is basically proven. The science is settled, if you like. The Mongols and Persians tried it in the 13th century. The Chinese carried through to the 16th century. Germany in the 20th century and Zimbabwe now. As a model being tested, it's run for a lot longer than the CRU models on climate have, and we know that it doesn't work, and the science says it shouldn't work too.

The reason is, of course, that most greens are watermelons who will gladly wave the flag for science when it suits them (climate change) but when it comes to economics, mathematics, psychology, medicine or genetics, they frequently choose to ignore it.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Copenhagen: Insane

From The Times:-

China has indicated that it is likely to scupper a far-reaching climate deal at Copenhagen as Gordon Brown downgraded his ambitions for the outcome of the 192-nation summit on global warming.

The Copenhagen Summit is like a bacon producer phoning up an Israeli supermarket, getting politely declined and sending their sales team anyway: a team selling something that has not only been refused, but which the client has no incentive whatsoever to buy. Anyone in a company who did this would be fired or sent for psychological evaluation.

But no. We sent thousands of people at a huge cost to the taxpayer (and the environment) to a conference which was going to result in nothing but political blather (and anyone who'd read the position of China and India knew this).

Climate Change Update

From the Daily Hate:-

The Met Office said 'disruption to travel networks' was likely tomorrow following heavy snow showers across London and the home counties.

It issued a severe weather warning, with forecasts of two to four inches of snow on lower ground and six to eight inches over hills.

I've got this wonderful vision in my head... a story about the Copenhagen agreement following a story about traffic disruption due to severe snow

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The G77 Man

Watched the G77 representative (from Sudan) talking about how the west was killing Africans through climate change.

I guess they don't like the competition.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Arctic Ice Predictions

Here's Al Baby:-

COPENHAGEN (AP) — New computer modeling suggests the Arctic Ocean may be nearly ice-free in the summertime as early as 2014, Al Gore said Monday at the U.N. climate conference.

We could go back to 2007, when the scientists predicted it would all be gone by 2013.

Or 15th October when a scientist predicted it would be gone "within 20 years".

But I guess those Germans might be suggesting it's not going to happen for a decade as their model predicts no further warming for a decade in 2008.


Of course, the BBC simply had to mention people in Tuvalu protesting they could disappear underwater.

One simple question: Who gives a shit?

No, seriously. Tuvalu has a population of... 12,000. That's right, something like 1/500000th of the global population.

BA Cabin Crew Strike

Good. Fuck 'em.

Let's just say that I had a customer service problem with BA, and this just reinforces my view from that day that BA somehow think they're fucking special somehow.

You provide a bus. A nicer bus than Easyjet. One that flies into more centrally located airports, but unless you're going to be competitive, not a bus most people will fly on.

A bit of advice for the BA staff: people have tried this before. They've seen their position eroded, either by regulation or by technology. The history of strikes is overwhelmingly that strikers lose. Your customers will go elsewhere and you'll be out of a job.

They Stole Our Words...

... it's time to steal some back...

I'm thinking mostly of how many people on the left have used the word "liberal" to mean "not very liberal, actually".

So, the two I have in mind are:-

- Social Justice
- Progressive

Both of these are of course, utterly meaningless. "Progressive" isn't a philosophical statement, it's giving yourself a gold medal before you've even put your running shoes on (and while the left is sometimes socially progressive, it certainly ain't economically so any more).

And "social justice" is just an utter "blargh" expression. The socialists have rarely delivered on it. They've just made

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Those Bloggers Can Never Replace the MSM, CAn They

From Francis Davey, a piece about the powers in the Digital Economy Bill which would be given to the Secretary of State to close down websites.

You know, because I'm sure that you've seen all those papers doing the sort of Analysis of it that Francis Davey has.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Excellent News For Messrs Dromey and Timney

Pre-Budget Report 2009: new scrappage scheme for old boilers

Magic Non-Carbon Burning Pixie Dust


A special type of non-polluting airline fuel used to transport celebrities, pop stars, politicians and musicians around the planet to make them very rich. Not to be confused with standard, polluting airline fuel used to transport evil capitalists around the planet to make them very rich.

Green Sacrifices

One of Groove Armada writes in The Times:-
Our careless use of energy has reached amazing levels. An average European uses enough energy to keep 60 light bulbs shining for every minute of their life. This manic consumption is easy to solve. We have total control over it. We choose what we use.
Here are just a few of the things we can all do straight away:
1) If you can afford it, install a rooftop solar water-heater. In China, where this technology is spreading fast, they are already harnessing the equivalent energy of 49 coal-fired plants. If you live in a block of flats, get together with your neighbours.
2) Bottled water has to go. It takes 70 million barrels of oil a year to make the bottles, and that’s before you’ve got the water out of the ground and flown it from Fuji to Fulham. Fill a reusable bottle before you leave home.
3) Think before you buy. A plasma- screen TV consumes four times as much energy as a normal TV.
4) Walk, cycle or take the train. Drive the most efficient car you can afford.
5) Install top-grade insulation and the latest fluorescent light bulbs. If everybody did this we could turn off all of our coal-fired stations tomorrow.
From his blog:-
Amsterdam is the nearest hotel room to Copenhagen you can get. It also happens to be where I’m doing press for the new Groove Armada album.
I wonder if he'd like to share with us how he got to Amsterdam.

Or how they went to Auckland.

Or Brisbane.

Or Sydney.

That Met Office Data In Full...

The Met Office has released some land surface climate station records.

The data subset consists of a network of individual land stations that has been designated by the World Meteorological Organization for use in climate monitoring. The data show monthly average temperature values for over 1,500 land stations.
But without the full list of stations, we can't verify if the station set is either correct or complete using their algorithm.
The data that we are providing is the database used to produce the global temperature series. Some of these data are the original underlying observations and some are observations adjusted to account for non climatic influences, for example changes in observations methods.
 So, it's not the raw data. Which means we can't verify the adjustments being correctly made.
The data set of temperatures back to 1850 was largely compiled in the 1980s when it was technically difficult and expensive to keep multiple copies of the database.
The unzipped database is 33mb in size. You could comfortably fit that on a mag tape.

Let's be clear about this from a data processing perspective: You don't delete raw data. You keep it because you can always then reconstruct things. Mag tapes weren't so expensive that someone couldn't afford to keep all the data on one.

This is not a new data set. Data sets are only released when they have gone through the proper process of scientific review.

Can someone explain this? We've got altered temperatures, yet no original data and no program code for the alterations. How was this peer-reviewed then?

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Climate Change: A Question of Trust

I've been thinking about the question of Gordon Brown describing people who are sceptical about climate change as "flat earthers" and a little lightbulb went off about the questions about climate change and trust.

Since Climategate kicked off, I've noticed something quite disturbing about the attitude of the scientists, their fans and the bodies that support them: none of them have tried to come up with a convincing argument to support the case of the scientists. They have attempted to reassure the population "there's nothing in these emails to disprove it" or to make accusations about the people who did it, or to call sceptics by names like "flat earthers".

What they don't seem to realise is that climate change has been, for most of the population, a matter of trust. It isn't like "flat earth". I, despite few scientific qualifications can prove the earth is round in about 4 different ways. I don't have to say "trust me, it is round".

Millions have been spent by the UK Government on climate change, and nothing in there has covered how the climate models worked, or why it is warming up, feedback and so forth. Go to a site like Act On CO2. The statement on there about climate change says "The scientific community agrees – climate change is happening and human activity is almost certainly the cause.". The current ad on TV talks about "scientists found that the warming was faster than they thought it was". There is nothing to try and educate people. It just tells them to trust the men in white coats because they know best.

The reason why suddenly Gordon Brown finds himself calling 48% of the population "flat earthers" is because having based the whole thing on trust in scientists, when some emails come out which might set a tone which is that they aren't trustworthy, then you're going to find the argument falling apart for many people.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Let's see how long it takes for the BBC...

From The WSJ:-
The British scientist at the heart of a scandal over climate-change research temporarily stepped down Tuesday as director of a prominent research group amid an internal probe that follows the release of hacked emails involving him and other scientists.

The University of East Anglia in the U.K. said Phil Jones, head of the university's Climatic Research Unit, had decided to step aside from the director's post.
 That was at about 9:30 on the 2nd December.