What Global Warming?

A while back I noted the bitter disappointment of the green lobby with the progress made in the Copenhagen summit. Greenpeace, the doyen of the green lobby, had this to say on their website:

‘World leaders have failed us. They have walked away from the global summit in Copenhagen without a treaty to save the climate. They still have a chance to get it right and we will not let them fail. The future of 6.5 billion people is at stake… You are one of them.’

Now, we could argue that Greenpeace are motivated by the ‘bottom line’. After all, if the environment were to be in perfect health and everyone stopped killing whales and seals and stopped pumping oil, the organisation would be out of business. It is therefore in their interest to have some sort of environmental topic to harp on about, and this perhaps reduces their credibility.

In fact, Greenpeace have previously jumped on the strangest of bandwagons despite the lack of genuine scientific evidence to back up their claims, such as the banning of using DDT against Malaria which cost some 50,000,000 lives since the 1970s, and the campaign against GMO which was based on fear, uncertainty and doubt but not a shred of genuine scientific evidence, and has contributed directly to the decline in farming in poorer nations.

So, we can safely disregard Greenpeace’s hype as a less-than-completely-credible source of alarm, since it has been demonstrated that science and fact-finding is not their concern.

When, on the other hand, the Met office devotes a large portion of its efforts and website to climate change, one begins to wonder whether there really is something to all this doom and gloom. After all, the Met office is one of the most prestigious scientific organisations with regards to meteorology. Clearly, it cannot simply be dismissed on the same grounds as Greenpeace.

As laymen, we are frequently presented with problems that we are unqualified to make decisions on of our own accord. Should someone be ill chas vesholom, without the advice of a doctor they would be unable to make a rational decision regarding their treatment. Even with the advice of a medical professional, the decision they will be making will be based on the evidence presented by the practitioner, which the patient will have to assume is factual and correct, and hence this decision would not be made entirely by the patient, anyway. After all, the doctor has narrowed down the options available to the patient based on his – the doctor’s – opinion.

When it comes to the climate, we are in the same position. The science involved in weather prediction is terribly complicated. It is so complicated, in fact, that computer models for weather prediction have to be run on supercomputers; there are billions of calculations to be made for any given scenario, and hundreds of factors to be considered. The sheer complexity, therefore, is beyond the average layman’s capabilities of understanding.

How can we, therefore, make an informed choice regarding the whole climate issue? Or, more precisely, can we make an informed choice regarding the climate change issue? After all, there are eminent scientists fighting on either side of the fence; we have recently seen two important researchers being caught falsifying the data; just how are we supposed to know whether or not global warming or climate change is an issue we should be concerned with?

Fortunately, there is a very simple test we can apply to resolve the matter to some satisfaction. In order to explain how the test works, a brief example is in order.

Suppose we were to stroll down to our nearest racing grounds and discover two chaps who are avid fans of the sport. For the purposes of the exercise, we will call one Albert and the other Brian. Both Albert and Brian, as well as being scientists, bet on the horses, and each claim to have a scientific system they use to determine winners. In Albert’s case, he refuses to divulge his method. Brian, on the other hand, has not only revealed his method, but published it on his website and has had it peer-reviewed in a statistical journal.

At first glance, Albert comes across as a less-than-credible source for racing tips. After all, we have no idea how he calculates his predictions. For all we know, he has no system at all and simply makes random guesses. Brian, on the other hand, has made his method abundantly clear and has had the principles of his method validated by qualified statisticians, and therefore we should have considerably more faith in his predictions than those of Albert.

On the face of it, should we require some advice regarding potential winners, the choice is obvious. We choose Brian for our racing tips, since his method has been published and peer-reviewed. Consider this, though. Albert contends that Brian gets terrible results, and that he, on the other hand, does really well and that we should reply on him for betting tips.

We are faced with a dilemma. On the one hand, it makes a great deal of sense to go with Brian, since we know that his method has been reviewed by fellow scientists. But with Albert contending that his method, however clever, is in fact complete rubbish, who do we believe?

There is a simple test, though, that we can apply, that will amply distinguish between the two, which works as follows: we ask Albert and Brian to make four bets on the winner of four races – essentially they are asked to predict which horse will win in four races of our choosing. We then examine their level of success in order to determine which of the two can actually deliver on their claims.

Now let us suppose that Albert wins all four bets and Brian loses all four. This completely changes our view of the situation. Despite Albert lacking the scientific credibility that Brian enjoys, he clearly has a statistically significant advantage over Brian, i.e. 100% success on all four bets against the total failure of Brian. Clearly now, Albert, despite his reticence to share his method, actually knows what he is talking about, and Brian, despite his scientific peer review, is completely useless when it comes to predicting winning horses.

Now this analogy is directly applicable to our dilemma with global warming. Grant me a few moments, however, in order to provide a small amount of background information.

Piers Corbyn is a dead ringer for the ‘mad scientist of the year’ award, purely based on appearances and an inability to conduct a polished press conference. The funny thing is that he simply does not care, because he is in fact a scientist although clearly far from mad. What he is particularly good at is predicting the weather.

He has proven himself to be so accurate in his forecast that in 2000 all the bookmakers in the UK banned him from making any more bets on the weather in their shops. He was making too much money by being right far too often in his predictions for the bookie’s fancy. Now, that’s a recommendation that you simply can’t beat – being banned for being right too often!

Despite having been asked repeatedly to publish his method of weather prediction, Piers Corbyn has maintained a steadfast silence on the secrets to his system. Why? Because he is making money out of it, and essentially argues that giving away his research would be no difference than Coca Cola revealing their recipe.

The Met office, on the other hand, has published their methods in scientific journals and has had their research peer-reviewed.

Are you ready for the clever bit? Here it comes: when predicting the long-term forecast for summer over four years, the Met office got it wrong, four times in a row. Piers Corbyn, though, got it right. Every time.

So, of the two, who would you believe when it comes to long-term forecasts? Piers Corbyn, or the Met office? Amazingly enough, there are some very eminent scientists who are unable to make this simple calculation. They are literally blinded by their own science.

If you were to ask Piers Corbyn what his opinion regarding climate change is, he would tell you that climate change is real – but not affected by man in any way. Piers Corbyn claims, furthermore, that the world has been cooling for the past few years and will continue to do so for the next thirty years. He also points out that the money being spent on researching climate change and technologies to combat it is a complete waste of money, and is diverting desperately needed resources from the very poor who need it to survive. In short, the whole Copenhagen thing is the tip of a really, really stupid iceberg.

Now, the climate change advocates (that is to say, those who are promoting the theory that man can affect the climate, and not people asking for climate change!) will argue that there is a huge scientific body who have irrefutably proven that man-made climate change actually does exist. Who cares if Piers Corbyn is any good at weather prediction and decries climate change policy, when there are hundred if not thousands of scientists who say he is wrong?

The truth is that for every scientist that advocates low-carbon emissions on environmental grounds there are at least two scientist that will inform you that this is quite simply rubbish. Many scientists are completely embarrassed by the poor science, distortion and outright lies that have been used in order to promote climate awareness.

It is the media that has been the strongest advocate of first global warming and then climate change doom-saying, since no self-respecting scientist would consider the evidence presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as anything other than a giant fraud.

The question begs itself, then, just who stands to benefit by perpetrating this huge scam, and how did they get away with it for so long?

The answer to this is self-evident. Everyone from the IPCC right through to Greenpeace and even the oil companies stand to benefit from everyone running around scared about the climate.

The IPCC wouldn’t exist without the climate scare. They were established to prove global warming existed, and when everyone noticed that the weather was making a farce about that theory, they switched to “climate change” instead.

Greepeace stands to make more money by joining the fray. They now have a campaign that has popular support from governments with seemingly bottomless pockets for the whole matter, from industry who want to be seen to be green, and from the general public who have been scared witless by the media. Not to put too fine a point on it, Greenpeace want to make as much money out of this as they can.

Scientists now get far more funding for climate research – and with far less effort as well – than for almost any other branch of science.

As any scientist will tell you, were someone to submit a request for funding in order to count the squirrel population in the Great Forest, they would be flatly turned down; were they to amend their request to include the effects of global warming and climate change, they would stand a far higher chance of succeeding. Basically, scientists have finally figured out a way to get onto the gravy train, big time.

How about the oil companies? They are perfectly well aware that oil is running out. Not this week or next, but in a decade or two, oil will become very much more expensive, resulting in petrol prices doubling at the very least. It won’t be long before the oil companies will have to turn to some other source of revenue, and at the moment, this new source of revenue will be hydrogen.

Oil companies are touting hydrogen as saviour of all mankind. Hydrogen is clean, they say, and green and has no harmful emissions. This is perfectly true, provided you ignore the sheer amount of energy it takes to produce hydrogen, which will result in far higher emissions than producing electricity, for example.

Were money to be spent on researching better batteries, oil companies will have nothing to turn to when oil becomes to expensive and consumers turn to electricity to power their vehicles. Petrol stations will close down and become a thing of the past. So will oil revenues.

It is therefore in the interest of all the above mentioned parties to keep on lobbying politicians and convincing the world that they need money to save the climate.

When will all this madness end?

Incredibly, it is unravelling in front of our eyes. Politicians at Copenhagen have been very cautious when it comes to making concrete agreements. Even Britain’s prime minister is touting his green credentials whilst simultaneously supporting a third runway at Heathrow. Scientists are less cautious about debunking the CO2 myth, and it won’t be long before the media will stop touting the IPCC as a scientific body, and start presenting it as the political entity it really is.

You might wonder as to how we managed to get into this mess in the first place. It all boils own to what the Torah warns us in Shoftim, that “bribery blinds the eyes of the wise”. The current world-wide expenditure on combating climate change has exceeded a hundred billion dollars. Now, is that isn’t a bribe to “blind the wise”, what is?

The gentleman’s choice for a Venusian hunt

If lashings of brass, copper and wood are your thing, chances are you would appreciate the steampunk genre.

There are two art periods that, despite thir utter contrast, fascinate me the most: Art Deco and Art Nouveau. Steampunk is simply Art Nouveau with sci-fi tacked on the end.

The Gargleblaster is a typical exemplar, with antiqueing to lend it some authenticity. Originally created for a WETA competition (didn’t quite make it due to the time zones yada) I really wanted to achieve a complex pipes-and-wires-everywhere thing.

It really is a work half completed, so given some spare time I will attempt to give this model its due.

The full glory of this fabulous weapon. Brass, copper and wood with cogs and complicated bits.

Observe the hair-pin trigger, the complicated-looking knob the most certainly makes this piece of kit do something impressive, the beautifully printed “Gargleblaster” logo and so much more.

The gunsight was especially developed for the Gargleblaster and has unique features. I think.

“Pull the cavitation lever, adjust the Trebinthium injection manifold pressure, and enjoy some Earl Grey until the green lamp has been illuminated,” advises the manual.

For those of a more curious nature, observe the Trebinthium injection manifold that is perched above the main quantization chamber.

Finally, the Trebinthium pressure chamber itself. Oh, what fabulous glory!

Split screen in KDE

I cried, wept, screamed, railed against a cruel fate and then decided to wander the interwebs for an easy way to pull this off.

You see, I had to create a split-screen animation, and there was no apparent simple solution. Using of the crop and pan and zoom effects caused more problems than they solved.

In the end, I used rotoscope, which I should have thought of originally. Except I had no idea that it existed, and even if I did, how was I supposed to know what it did?