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Messages - Mazurka
« on: 04/10/2013 15:32:45 »
I do not disagree that consensus is not science in a traditional sense, but given the complexity of our understanding, science in that sense is a holy grail like goal. For example is the development of new pharmaceuticals a one man "bench lead" exercise or an iterative work of many "scientists"?
"Traditional" science has also been proven wrong on a number of occasions - as an aposite example - reconstruction of fossil skeletons have on more than one occasion be shown to be incorrect, but science picked itself up and changed its view of that particualr creature...
« on: 04/10/2013 15:26:14 »
Notwithstanding what I have just said, there are a couple of points to make about this post.
Fortunately there is very little science in climate "science", so the world continues to enjoy the benefits we toilers at the bench and observers of nature bring to it.
really? As “an observer of nature” would you deny the observations of (for example) the UK Phenology Network ?
Anthropogenic global warming is widely recognised as the third world religion, with more believers and less evidence than Buddhism. Unfortunately like its big brothers Christianity and Islam, politicians use it to justify decisions that would otherwise rank somewhere between stupid and evil, and a lot of crooks make money out of it.
Widely recognised? Really – this is rhetoric - although I would be interested in any evidence you wished to put forward to support it.
The fundamental flaw in the AGW argument is threefold. First, there is no meaningful definition of "mean global temperature", the very parameter that believers try to predict. Second, there are no useful measurements of anything that might be related to it before 1970, and even recent data is subject to "corrections". Third, the only reliable historical proxy, ice core data, clearly shows that carbon dioxide concentration lags behind atmospheric temperature so cannot be the causative factor.
1) yes, there is no “definition” of global average temperature – this leads back to the point in my first post that no one can know everything – to assimilate and normalise all of the possible data to allow a statistical analysis is way beyond “undergrad” level statistics – so a climate scientist needs understand the possible flaws in the statistics and the statistician needs to understand the possible flaws in the climate science… However, there are some widely used proxies to use (with caution) as a shorthand.
2) Cobblers – there are plenty of long standing temperature time series that are well understood which can be used, although these are not global, merely indicative
3) Cobblers – there are a number of well established proxies -oxygen isotope analysis of foraminifera, bristlecone pines etc. that when used carefully (by someone understanding their weaknesses) can be useful in widening our understanding of climatic systems. Otherwise you are making an argument against the principle of uniformitarianism which underlies much of earth sciences. Furthermore, the ice core data shows on one occasion – the Paleocene– Eocence thermal maximum CO2 levels leading temperature. Whislt there is still plenty of geoscience to be done around the PETM, it seems likely that the wholesale release of methane clathrates lead to a global warming event. This is more analogous to the anthropogenic release of greenhouse gases we are witnessing than the Milankovitch lead pattern of iceages observed in icecores
« on: 04/10/2013 15:04:03 »
The biggest difficulty in the anthropogenic climate change debate is that the subject is simply too big. The systems involved are simply to complex. An individual can become quite expert in any particular aspect of the debate, but no individual is clever enough to understand every aspect of the debate and synthesize an “answer” let alone one in “plain english”. This has lead to science by consensus, which can be critisized
Furthermore, the questions that anthropogenic climate change leads to are not ones of science, they are political. “Science” does not say we must act to try to reduce global warming, science is (at least according to the OED) is “The state or fact of knowing; knowledge or cognizance of something specified or implied “ This is, knowing that if temperatures rise by x then the sea will expand by y resulting in sea levels rising by z is science. Deciding what to do if sea levels rise by z and flood large areas of land and render them useless for agriculture is not science but politics.
The problems are compounded by the communication of the science. Most peoples understanding of the “science” comes from the mass media i.e. is filtered (to a greater part) by journalists and commentators with a weak scientific background, looking for a headline. When the headline is attacked as being untrue by self appointed skeptics, it cast the “science” and not the reporting in a bad light.
This was very recently highlighted by the false balance presented by the BBC in relation to the recent IPCC report. (google BBC false balance climate change) This incident has been compared to inviting a practitioner of homeopathy to debate brain science with a prominent neurosurgeon. It is interesting on many forums and discussion about climate science that most arguments end up as Ad hominem attacks against the credibility of the participants rather than the science itself – this comes back to my initial point that the system is too complicated to really understand.
All that said, the majority of scientists – although by no means all – working in the field of climate science kind of agree - leading to the unequivocal conclusions in the recent IPCC report - that anthropogenic climate change is real. I would not presume to disagree with this, however it does lead to the question “What do we do about it?”
This is a political question. As there is considerable disagreement as to the impacts of anthropogenic climate change and the timescales over which it is going to happen this is where debate gets really bad. Some people consider a rise in temperature will be a good thing – longer growing season, lower winter mortality (in Europe). Others consider that we can do little to stop it, so we should not bother, or that we should attempt some form of “geoengineering” to counteract its effects. (Personally I would argue against such an approach as it will almost inevitably have unforeseen consequences). Do people in the privileged, resource hungry “west” have a right to tell less developed countries what they can and cannot do?
So in answer to the question – it is impossible to tell whether the “global warming argument” has damaged scientific credibility as what is “scientific credibility” in the first place? – no one seems to have disputed that CERN found the Higgs, most people seem to be happy with improvements in medical science/ latest drugs etc… What it is possible to conclude that the “global warming argument” is so poorly understood by the general public (and I would say by people on both sides of the argument) that vested interests – by which I mean us westerners with a resource hungry lifestyle as well as big business – can believe what they like and it is broadly impossible to gainsay
Very interesting, but as a pedantic point, it depends on how you define cyborg.
Using the Oxford English Dictrionary defintion "A person whose physical tolerances or capabilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by a machine or other external agency that modifies the body's functioning; an integrated man–machine system."
A very common, temporary human augmentation is the bicycle.
It allows a human to extned their capabillity to travel distance, it is a machine (albeit a simple one) and perhaps critically, once learned, it does not require conscious thought to ride so it is undoubtedly an intergrated man-machine system.
It follows that many people have been cyborgs before Professor Warwick was born.
Rock is rock. If it contains heavy metals, it may be worthwhile extracting them. "Just hard silicates" still makes useful ballast for concrete. Clay, slate and other alluvial gunge makes bricks. Waste not, want not.
No, all rock is not equal - physical properties vary considerably and this means some rock is suitable for use as an aggregate in concrete and others are not. Equally with clays and "alluvial gunge" the properties vary considerably - particularly the size distribution and Atterberg limits - a glacial diamict is almost completley useless for making bricks as the cost of seperating clay from gravel would not be economic.
In any case, a 1000m deep 300mm diameter well will produce less than 280m3 of rock so depending on the type of rock, this will could be up to about 750 tonnes. A small "production" blast at a quarry will release around 10,000 tonnes...
It is simply not economic to haul a few tonnes of waste material to a suitable plant (concrete batching / prodcuts, brickworks etc.). in any case often the core is retained to help geologists characterise the rocks and better understand the formations being drilled.
I agree with Cliffordk that where possible fracking fluids should be reused and I understand that this is increasingly happening in the US, but, this returns to my original point, this Industry will only do something if it is either cheaper/ more convienient than the alternative or it is required to by regulation. The bottome line is that regulation tends to cost the industry money. If the costs exceed the revenue generated, it simpy won't happen. Whislt it remains the case that UK / EU legislation to protect the environment is a lot tighter than that in the US, some of the risks assocaited with Fracking are so poorly understood / characterised that the regulation has not yet caught up.
Eh? You can turn drill core into building material or industrial feedstock? Really??? I had not heard of that - any references?
It is not necesarily what comes into the ground to frack the well, it is what is returned to the surface after being put into the ground to cause the fractures and get the proppant into the fractures. OK, fluid recovery rates are only around 1/3 of what is put down, but that can still be anywhere between 1000 & 4000 metres cube per fracking episode. OK, per individual well this is not a huge amount, but if the industry develops as hoped, this adds up very quickly.
If (and sadly I have no faith that they will do it) the current UK governement put in place the level of regulation that will reassure the public and genuinely protect the environment, then Fracking is unlikely to lead to the economic boom that the advocates of fracking predict.
One of the prime potential sources of pollution that the article overlooks is the water used for the fracturing process and returned to the surface (as compared to the risk of groundwater contamination). This is highly contaminated. It can of course be treated to an appropriate standard (whether to go into a sewer if there is one nearby or to be discharged directly into a stream or river. If this is done in a traditional lagoon system (rather than an enclosed tank) should there be an extreme weather event and the site flood (even over a very short time) there is a significant risk - as has just been demonstrated in Colorado.
It is also remarkable that the more obvious middleground - coal bed methane extraction - seems to have been overlooked. CBM does not necessarily need to be fracked as seams can be directionally drilled. It can extract from seams too narrow to work by traditional underground methods. The seatearths assocaited with the coal tend to be highly impermeable so tend to confine both gas and water to particular horizons. Ok it still results in the fossil fuel dilemma, but significantly reduces the risks to the environment of extraction.
I am also slightly alarmed that the sustainabillity expert seemed to indicate that a Severn Barrage would be a good thing. Whilst it could generate lots of power it would destroy an internationally important habitat.
If you're going to worry about GM crops, I'd worry much more about possible environmental consequences of introducing pest resistant crops or the widespread use of herbicides on resistant crops than I would about eating them.
« on: 09/09/2013 12:04:01 »
To echo the previous reply:
Yes they are WEEE, which means that (across Europe) importers and producers are legally obliged to join a "producer compliance scheme" or otherwise demonstrate that they are meeting their obligations to re-use or recycle waste electronic equipment. The current target is to reuse / recycle 85% of WEEE that is collected
It is likely that retailers will soon be obliged to take back all WEEE items for reuse / recycling - as they are already obliged to do for batteries. Currently (in the UK) most domestic WEEE disposal is via local council household waste sites.
The actual recycling process for WEEE depends on what it is. CFL's contain a tiny amount of mercury so are more hazardous to recycle, LED's contain various metals, including nickle, lead and arsenic.
Sadly the system is still abused (although less than it used to be as waste companies involved with the producer coimplaince schemes are frequently audited) and some WEEE gets "recycled" in parts of the world where standards are very different - for example it is not hard to find pictures of people in China burning curcuit boards in the open air to liberate copper and other metals for recycling.
All people who transport (any) waste commercially in the UK must be registred with the Environment Agency as "Waste Carriers" and every load of waste must have an approriate "Duty of Care" paper trail from the producer (e.g. collection point) to point of recovery / disposal. These rules do not apply to householders.
« on: 09/08/2013 12:34:55 »
Not sure, how it could work as an antiperspirant, although it might work as a deodourant by reducing the populations of micro-organisms that cause malodour (sweat itself is broadley odourless) when it is applied. Simialrly Potassium aluminium sulphate ("crystal deodourants") work by disrupting the micro-organisms abillity to reproduce.
I suspect that the same drivers that lead to the phenomenon of "Island Gigantism" were at play.
Given the fairly low preservation potential of most terrestial creatures and difficulties in dating sedimentary rocks with an understandable level of precision (+/- millions of years is easy to say but harder to think!) it is hard to reliably establish the geographic and temporal range of most dinosaurs.
Following the principal of uniformitarianism it follows that in many cases that populations could evolved on "islands" even if these are simply virtual rather than actual.
As well as the metals, there is also plastics, rubber and glass.
In Europe, the End of Life Vehicle Directive (Directive 2000/53) requires 85% (by weight) of a car to be recycleable by 1 January 2015 and 95% (by weight) to be recoverable i.e. fuel in a waste to energy plant (incinerator) by the same date. This has driven development of plastic "skins" to cover fascias etc. so they can be formed from more easily recycled materials it has also driven reductions in the use of harmful substnaces (such as heavy metals) in vehicel manufacture.
The directive also puts an obligation on car manufacturers to take back / treat the waste (vehicles) they produce (and more importantly proove they have done it) although this is in effect achieved through the regualtion of breakers / scrap metal dealers and specialist facillities.
As I understand, connecting to onion routers (such as TOR) via VPN will make determining a server's location more or less impossible. Due to the way that each layer of the "onion" encrypts and decrypts it is not possible to meaningfully intercept data, except where it leaves the system
However, it is still (theoretically) possible using a combination of surveilance techniques to identify/ monitor users by looking at the systems that they log into that are outside the TOR network...
Encyption using Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) provides (what is thought/ assumed) to be an unbreakable way to transfer data (files, emails etc) assuming that it is used properly. The weakness in this system sits facing the monitor.
I built a small one mainly with bicycle parts (the gearing is really useful and chains can keep electrical gubbins out of the water) using a paddle wheel connected up to an alternator to charge a car battery for a friend who wanted to live "off grid". Notwithstanding that I expected it to be hugely inefficient, it did generate a tiny but measureable current but signifcantly less than the windmill we also built or the solar panel they bought .
As a consequence, I looked into small scale / run of river turbines more closely and came to the following conclusions:
a) it is difficult to get a useful amount of energy out (short of topping up batteries) without weirs / long pipes and commercial turbines.
b) commercial turbines are really expensive - which in part relates to the complications of having an electrical device in water and in part relates to the precision of the engineering to maximise the power generated.
c) (in the UK at least) getting the necessary permisison due to the impacts on wildlife of blocking rivers is basically imposible except on a commercial scale (and even then it is not easy)
I understand the basic physiology of cholesterol, but still I'm surprised at the huge difference of opinion about the effect of dietary cholesterol, ranging from eggs are harmless - to a 2012 article in the Journal Atherosclerosis that examined the association between the number of egg yolks consumed per week and the amount of plaque in the carotid artery and concluded that eating egg yolks "is almost as bad as smoking when it comes to speeding up plaque deposits."
The "cholesterol hypothesis" i.e. that high cholesterol causes heart disease does not stand up to close scrutiny. There may well be a link, but it is not as causal as it is often portaryed. This is illustrated nicely if you look at regional/ national averages for cholesterol levels and compare with rates of heart disease (sorry, I cannot find a decent reference online will try to later if I remember).
There is an awful lot of money tied up in the food/ diet and lifestyle-pharma industries and much "research" is meta-analysis of (inconclusive) epidimeological data. Whilst this can be a useful method, if not used carefully, it can compare studies that are not quite the same resulting in overclaiming or misattirbution of results. As a consequence, I am deeply sceptical about much of the research in the area.
In respect of eggs, as I understand in the majority of cases, (as dlorde says) dietry consumption of cholesterol is not directly related to levels in the blood, because your liver produces / regualtes production and the body recycles a lot of
The best advice is to consume anything in moderation...
Perhaps you'd like to tell the arctic towns, whose buildings and roads are sinking as the permafrost melts, that it's all just media hype...
Do you mean towns and communities like Akiak, Alakanuk, Barrow, Chefornak, Chevak, Clark's Point, Cordova, Deering , Dillingham, Emmonak, Golovin, Huslia, Kivalina, Kotilk, kwigillingok, Lime Village, McGrath, Napakiak, Newtok, Nunapitchuk, Port Heiden, Saint Micheal, Selawik, Shaktoolik, Shishmaref & Unalakleet? (as identified by the US Army Corps of Engineers)
Recycling paper is a huge subject, with no single solution.
Each time paper is recycled, the fibres that make up the paper are chopped. On average paper can be recycled 6 times before the fibres are too short. This means that it is not possible to have a "closed loop" system and virgin tree pulp will always need to be used.
When the fibres become too short, the "de-inked" sludge is often spread on fields as a soil conditioner.
The biggest problem with paper recycling is that there are a limited number of paper mills. This can result in collected paper being hauled long distances in lorries which has quite a high "carbon" cost.
Paper burns well and also breaks down readily in landfill and (depending on where you are relative to the paper mill or a waste disposal site) it can be better for the environment to dispose of it so the energy can be recovered (either in an incinerator/ energy from waste plant or through landfill gas utillisation).
Arguably the ultimate environmentally friendly way of dealing with paper is to pulp it and make into briquettes to burn in a fire/ stove as it does not involve transporting it any further and permanently destroys any personal information that a phisherman or other scammer could use. However, I accept that this takes a little time and effort, is messy, needs somewhere to dry the briquettes and somewhere to burn them
« on: 20/05/2013 10:03:56 »
I was referring to the observed lag of CO2 levels behind temperatures through most of the quaternary. In other words other mechanisms were forcing the climate change observed - this is likely to primarily be the Milankovitch cycles. The one event where it appears temperature rise lags behind CO2 levels is the PETM.
I first studied the mechanism by which AGW is supposed to work. I will spare you all the scientific details. I quickly figured that the proposed mechanism implies that more GHG would cause a delay in radiation being able to escape from earth, which then causes a delay in cooling, from earth to space, resulting in a warming effect.
Whilst I accept the logic of this, I disagree as it is an over simplification of an exceedingly complex system, that we (mankind) have an imperfect understanding of.
I subsequently took a sample of 47 weather stations, analysed all daily data, and determined the ratio of the speed in the increase of the maximum temperature (maxima), means and minima.
That does seem to be a very small data sample. I vaugely recall an analysis on WUWT in realtion to the locations of weather stations that fell apart quite quickly after it was scrutinised
Having effectively found little or no real evidence of AGW in the temperature records, I did notice that anyone (like me) now querying the “certainty” of “climate change” being due mostly to AGW, are mocked or vilified in the media and the blogosphere.
It depends on where you look. The group think/ confirmation bias seen at WUWT and similar blogs very much applauds "skeptic" coments/ polemic
However, it also appeared to me that most people do not even understand the very basics of the chemistry involved. Any (good) chemist knows that there are giga tons and giga tons of bi-carbonates dissolved in the oceans and that (any type of) warming would cause it to be released:
Whilst I hesitate from making what could be seen as an Ad hominem comment, thus confirming your perception that self claimed climate skeptics are attacked in the blogosphere, I think this statement illustrates the problem. It is partially true. It is a contributory factor as to why mankind is alive today not the "actual reason" why we are here today. There was plenty of CO2 in the atmosphere before the Oxygenation event 1.8Ga...
Again, a facile generalisation, no one is disagreeing with the notion that warmth and CO2 are factors essential to life as we know it. I disagree that in reality "on the ground", that increased CO2 universally leads to more growth. This is because other factors are important to life as well. Furthermore, extremes of weather driven by climate change can, in a timescale as short as a few hours, destroy harvests of particular crops.
« on: 14/05/2013 15:56:29 »
Chris, experimenting on oneself is slightly old fashioned, but it has resulted in numerous breakthroughs in the past
(and presumably you eat the blueberries, bioaccumualted toxins and all?)
« on: 14/05/2013 12:39:55 »
There is no particular "meaning" to the 400ppm level other than as human beings we tend to like nice round numbers - hence the pseudo "science" of numerology. 400 ppm does not represent a “tipping point” or some other sort of point of no return, it is merely a symbolic milestone.
It is entirely true to say that life as we know it would not exist without the CO2 and the greenhouse effect. However, it is facile(*) to suggest that more carbon in the atmosphere is unequivocally a good thing. Changing weather and climate patterns are more likely to result in poor harvests rather than the enhanced ones some people anticipate due to higher CO2 levels because we are growing things in the “wrong” place. These impacts may be compounded by impacts on populations of pollinator species and land use issues caused by the demands of a burgeoning global population. I would accept that higher CO2 is good for life generally, but it is hard to see how it is good for Homo sapiens specifically.
Whilst in the controlled conditions of a lab or commercial greenhouse, increased CO2 can significantly boost growth in some plants, the evidence in the real world does not support it, where, more often than not, other factors – such as soil fertility and water availability are the limiting factors to growth/ production. There are also species that respond to increasing temperatures by reducing growth (often to limit moisture loss).
It is also expected, that increased energy in the atmosphere is likely to result in increasing numbers of extreme weather events – these can devastate production on a local/ regional scale. Good examples of this include the shortage of the right quality wheat for weetabix due to the poor summer in the UK last year http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-northamptonshire-22248961 or the devastation of the Italian basil crop in 2006 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/5267796.stm whilst, of course, any one weather event is impossible to (scientifically) link to increasing CO2, it is an increasingly reasonable connection to make.
We are entering almost entirely uncharted territory climate wise. This is because the paleo-historic temperature increases, whether resulting from Milankovitch cycles, or other mechanisms, appears to drive increasing atmospheric CO2 levels. In the current situation, the reverse is true - the consensus is that increasing CO2 will drive temperatures upwards. The only occasion when there is clear evidence that this happened before is the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. The PETM resulted in a mass extinction (and subsequent re-radiation) of foraminifera species (a kind of plankton) but also in the diversification of mammal species. Unfortunately, the cause of the PETM is unclear, although there is a lot of academic interest in it.
* as is much of the assumption heavy analysis / group think posted on Anthony Watt’s site.
Far be it for me to disagree with Jim Bob, I feel compeled to put my pedants hat on and say that it is weathering not erosion that made the rocks so soft.
I would also add that the mass of rock is not well correlated with its strength or resistance to weathering. For example two different sandstones may appear to be identical (colour, grain size etc) but one will weather more quickly as it is less well cemented than another.
« on: 24/04/2013 10:56:17 »
It is still possible (in England) to get raw untreated milk (green top) directly from farms or from the milkman. It is unlawful for the farm/ milkman to promote its sale, however, if you can find someone selling it - try it is is delicious.
It comes with a blob of cream on the top - the consistency and taste varies through the year reflecting the cows diet.
There is of course a health risk associated with raw milk, but due to the hygiene standards (low bacterial counts) that the big diary companies (Arla, Dairy Crest etc.) insist on farmers acheiving this risk is minimal.
The sole downside (as far as I am concerned) is that the milk goes off far more quickly than the (pale imitation) pasturised & homogonised milk more comonly sold... My nose tells me when this has happened!
« on: 04/04/2013 16:53:34 »
If you are suggesting that democracy should be a considerable number of tiers starting with a base unit of the neighbourhood then a number of neighbourhoods forming a town and a number of towns forming a district and a number of districts forming a county and a numebr of counties foming a region and a number of regions forming a country... With each tier electing representatives to the tier above, you may be interested in the writings of Marx.
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