Maurizio – Omnologos

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Archive for November 2007

The Best Science Blog 2007 Saga (2 of 3)

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Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy (BA) and Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit (CA) have been awarded the 2007 Weblogs Award for Best Science blog. Remarkably, they are both prisoners of their own devices: BA cannot criticize mainstream science, CA can only criticize mainstream science. They are both great blogs and their shared Award is a honest snapshot of their relative merits. PZ Myers’ Pharyngula, on the other hand…

The Best Science Blog 2007 Saga (1 of 3) – Introduction and The Bad Astronomy Blog
The Best Science Blog 2007 Saga (2 of 3) – The Climate Audit Blog and The Weblogs Award for Best Science Blog committee
The Best Science Blog 2007 Saga (3 of 3) – Pharyngula and Conclusions (and a Prayer)

Climate Audit
CA is a great blog too, especially if you have a fixation with climate.

It is very much different from BA. Its remit is almost exclusively climate-related stuff, and there is an apparent generational gap (so we don’t read of McIntyre’s favourite actresses, TV shows or cartoon characters).

As it says on the tin, CA is a long-running audit of the various claims done in the name of Climate Change and in particular of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). It is a great way to learn the details of all that has to happen before things get published, as we are lead through various investigations on where and how bark samples are collected for example, and what needs to be thought and done (a lot) to translate an ice core into a record of past temperatures. At every step of the way, the list of assumptions grows while unavoidable errors pile up.

Having seen a few egregious examples, one would be tempted to say the AGW motto is, never let actual data get in the way of with a good interpretation.

Curiously for an audit, CA ends up doing much original research: the way the AGW community is presented by McIntyre, a great deal of samples and raw data are hidden away from the view of almost everybody but the original authors (a rather awful, unscientific way to conduct scientific research).

With these obstacles nastily thrown in his path, all the activity and attention for the detail that make Steve McIntyre an indefatigable auditor may also make him sound at times verging on the insane. Yet one can only admire him for a remarkable Climate Audit career that includes the effective destruction in 2003 with Ross McKitrick of Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick of temperature, once the Great “Smoking Gun” Hope for the AGW community and now hidden away in obscure temperature graphs (yes, not even the IPCC believes in it any longer, even if they can’t help inserting it here and there) (just look at it now, it’s a golf club at best).

More recently in August 2007, McIntyre got interviewed by major media outlets after discovering a 1-degree C “y2k” jump in NASA’s published temperature readings for the USA (note that the consensus on global warming so far is only 0.6C so the “jump” was 40% bigger) (by the way: James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, recognized the error but couldn’t help kicking and screaming, demonstrating once and for all that “AGW science” is not “Science” but a political party if not a religion, or even a personal quest for glory).

Notably, both of those errors were towards warming. Perhaps that means the AGW community if left to its own devices only corrects upwards. Or perhaps, as pointed out by Phil Plait of BA, the CA blogger only tries to find the warming-ward flaws in the climate science mainstream, not in the sometimes absurd counter-proposals circulating in the AGW-skeptic community. Time will tell which is which. Perhaps one day McIntyre will find a NASA flaw pointing in the other direction.

The criticism about not auditing the claims of anti-AGWers is valid up to a point. What is the CA “audience”? It is not the general public. CA “competes” with other climate-science blogs, such as for example RealClimate, created and managed at NASA by “real scientists” who unfortunately don’t think twice about being partisan, censoring adverse commentaries and even preventing the release of their methodologies and raw data.

McIntyre’s personal fight is not with the whole world, but with the most unscientific bits of the AGW science community.

The Weblogs Award for Best Science Blog committee
One wonders how often it happens. A poll is set up online for some good-natured fun competition among a disparate set of people. Everything goes fine until a few days before the poll closure, when for some reason a group of voters hijacks the poll, making a storm in the proverbial teacup.

I remember ten years ago an internet poll to vote for the most beautiful (British?) girl, with several of my colleagues happily clicking away for somebody called Laudie the Toadie or something of the sort (yes, an amphibian).

What happened with the BSB 2007 was obviously much less good-natured. My impression is that the toxins came out of the nasty atmosphere surrounding climate change discussions. At one point somebody decided either that CA had to be prevented from winning, or that CA had to be helped get the top spot.

It doesn’t matter, as “the opposite party” quickly decided to fight with the same arms, and so the mad voting started. Whatever the original BSB poll was for, we can be sure that it lost any validity as soon as fellow competitor JunkScience encouraged people to vote CA, and fellow competitor Pharyngula suggested their readed to vote BA.

Voting rates reached then amazing levels. Worse, even if the count at closing time indicated CA in front of BA, mysteriously the subsequent “checks” put BA in the lead. Talk about a hot potato. At one point I wondered if the competition would be decided by the Supreme Court after a hurricane of lawsuits perhaps even brought up independently of Plait and McIntyre.

At the end, some “fancy footwork” meant BA and CA got recognized at Best Science Blogs, with 20,000 votes each. Surely, this will leave some lingering issue with the awards…who gets on top is not “Best of” but “Most capable of getting clicks”. Perhaps in 2008 they should rename it as “Most popular”?

Congratulations though, to the committee.


Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/30 at 21:18:05

Posted in Uncategorized

Temptation for Kinky Dentists

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in case anyone thinks the robot is too real, it also has a sensor on the breast area that keeps track if it has been touched inappropriately, an engineer said.

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/29 at 23:20:37

Posted in Humor, Technology

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The Best Science Blog 2007 Saga (1 of 3)

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Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy (BA) and Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit (CA) have been awarded the 2007 Weblogs Award for Best Science blog. Remarkably, they are both prisoners of their own devices: BA cannot criticize mainstream science, CA can only criticize mainstream science. They are both great blogs and their shared Award is a honest snapshot of their relative merits. PZ Myers’ Pharyngula, on the other hand…

The Best Science Blog 2007 Saga (1 of 3) – Introduction and The Bad Astronomy Blog
The Best Science Blog 2007 Saga (2 of 3) – The Climate Audit Blog and The Weblogs Award for Best Science Blog committee
The Best Science Blog 2007 Saga (3 of 3) – Pharyngula and Conclusions (and a Prayer)

The 2007 Weblogs Award for Best Science blog has been jointly awarded to Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy (BA) and Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit (CA) after a nail-biting finale that has seen the lead swing back and forth (amazingly, even after the poll had closed, demonstrating that the Internet is a province of Florida).

I cannot but be very pleased with the result, as I have been a regular subscriber to both BA and CA for years and months respectively (yes I am an astronomy and climate basket case).

Are Bad Astronomy and Climate Audit the best science blogs on the web? Surely not. This is the best blog about everything in the whole Universe, I am sure you’ll all agree.

The circumstances have made both Plait and McIntyre rise in this reader’s consideration, alongside of course the extremely smooth operators of the Weblogs Award. The only protagonist that has lost several hundreds points is PZ Myers, the author of the close-minded gratuitously-offensive flame-throwing Brighter-Than-Thou fundamentalist Pharyngula blog.

The Bad Astronomy Blog
BA is a great blog, especially if you like astronomy. It comes out of a great website (“Bad Astronomy” of course) that has been pointing out for years the scientific fallacies of public astronomical depictions, including in the media, and especially in the movies (silly sounds in the vacuum of space and all that). Of course there is also much to learn, mostly in the form of ever-more-spectacular astronomical pictures, but there are also extraordinarily good posts on the absurd attempts by certain astrologers, fear-mongerers and deluded “religious” people to scientifically demonstrate their craft or beliefs. (Plait gets all my envy when he talks about his friendship with James Randi and Penn Jillette).

The series on pareidolias is particularly humorous. In fact, pretty much everything on BA is great fun (including the sometimes harrowing love confessions for all sorts of pop-culture heroes).

Phil Plait (bless!) has even dedicated a blog entry to my discovery that National Geographic Magazine has “sexed up” at least one recent article. And of course he has written a “Bad Astronomy” book and is going to publish a new one “Death from the Skies!” soon.

The bit where the BA blog falls short is when Plait “the Bad Astronomer” talks climate change and/or launches in long tirades against the current White House inhabitant. The two things are obviously related. Plait sees himself fighting for “Science” against the Bush Administration’s admittedly rather clumsy attempts at getting only the “right” messages across, even in matters of science. When there is climate involved then, Plaits sides with the “scientists” (i.e. the mainstream) in opposition to the White House’s reluctance e.g. to follow the recommendations of the IPCC.

Alas, in the process Phil Plait forgets to apply to climatology the same healthily skeptical methodology he is so good at using with the various nutters usually so skilfully dealt with.


Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/28 at 21:11:10

Ever Heard of Cretinism?

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Graham Robb’s dreams about French villagers sleeping their ways through winter in extraordinarily unhealthy bovine and swine company could perhaps be disregarded as idle fantasies. (“Why work when you can hibernate?“, IHT, Nov 26)

Actually, it’s worse than that.

Has Mr Robb ever heard of “Alpine cretinism“, a condition that made people lose muscle tone and co-ordination, restricted their height and greatly impeded their cognitive development?

“Alpine cretinism”, as the name implies, was endemic in much of the Alps until very recently, when diets finally became rich in iodine.

Rather than practicethe forgotten art of doing nothing at all for months on end“, those people may have been literally unable to do anything else.

Are there “lessons to be learned from those hibernating ancestors“? Well, there is one: get your recommended dose of iodine, daily.

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/26 at 20:29:30

Masqued Finland Resident Arrested in HMRC Privacy Fiasco

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London, 25 November (MNN) – The Metropolitan Police has announced today the arrest of a notorious character living in Finland for the recent disappearance of two discs containing the details of 25 million United Kingdom residents.

The elderly looking man, of whom only the first name is known (“Claus“), has been implicated by his interest in the personal behaviour and whereabouts of children all around the Kingdom.

The initial alibi (Mr Claus says he has “a big job to do in exactly a month’s time“) has been dismissed as “feeble and unproven to say the least“.

An assistant constable has further declared: “When I have been a naughty boy in my youth, this dodgy bearded guy gave me no presents at Christmas. It’s only just for me to take revenge upon him with all sorts of made-up accusations“.

ps In unrelated news, police have revealed Claus’s nickname among low-lifers such as helpers and elves to be “Santa“.

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/25 at 17:46:48

Posted in Christmas, HMRC, Humor, MNN, UK

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Football: Support Maurizio for the Top England Job

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(1) Won’t do worse (can’t)

(2) Won’t stand underneath an umbrella when the players are out in the rain

(3) At only £300k/year, I’ll be a bargain

(4) Achingly boring private life will ensure newspapers concentrate on the football instead of girlfriends and meet-ups with dodgy, super-rich people

(5) Highlights of press conferences will be geeky, controversial remarks on global warming

(6) I promise to move footballing strategy beyond age-old “kick the ball forward and run

(7) I can speakka Inglisch (other candidates cannot)

(8) As an additional bonus, after retirement from competitive football, aging players will be able to work as Murex IT Consultants

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/24 at 10:52:52

Posted in Fabio Capello, Football, UK

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Men Like It Bigger + Sarkozy of Id

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Newly-published research on Science magazine is said to show that men prefer to have a bigger bulge in the pocket than anybody else


Are French President Nicholas Sarkozy and the slightly taller King from The Wizard of Id comic strip related?

King with flag        Sarkozy with friar

I think we should be told

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/23 at 21:17:38

Posted in Humor, Science

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Top 10 Positive Things About England and Euro 2008

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From the most likely to the least likely…

1- Hosts Switzerland and Austria have no chance of winning

2- HM Revenue & Customs won’t be able to lose the details of the 25 England players selected for the tournament

3- Relief for the New York soccer fans as top star will be available

4- Fewer chances for the Government to bury bad news

5- A good English goalie will finally be discovered, perhaps in Third Division

6- Free-to-air matches as no broadcaster will compete to buy them

7- Opportunity for an England-Scotland friendly in early June

8- Beckham’s haircut won’t be considered relevant to a football tournament

9- Due to lack of WAG pictures, plenty of newspaper surface available for serious discussions

10- European friendship ties strengthened with English supporters cheering for France, Germany or Italy


ADDENDUM: Support Line for Beleaguered English Fans

Call 688 63 3876 08 for help in these difficult times.

You will be presented with a selection of teams to cheer for in June 2008:

Press (1) for France
Press (2) for Germany
Press (3) for Italy
Press (4) for Croatia
Press (5) for Russia
Press (6) for Turkey
Press (7) for Argentina if you’re really that desperate
Press (0) for Scotland. Or Ireland. Or Wales. Or Belgium

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/22 at 22:24:01

Posted in Euro2008, Football, Humor

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Indianification – Part 2

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Ennu Munde, IT punters india inda bartare..!

Hogi Barthene!

Godhicharmahuduga Durgajana

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/21 at 20:35:13

Posted in India, IT

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Ban Ki-Moon’s Remarks on Chilean Children

In “Alarming UN report on climate change too rosy, many say” (IHT, Nov 18) Elisabeth Rosenthal and James Kanter report that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has “described […] children in Chile having to wear protective clothing because an ozone hole was letting in so much ultraviolet radiation.

Is that actually happening in Chile?

I have not been able to find any evidence supporting such a strong statement.

(1) Pubmed through keywords “chile”, “ultraviolet” and “children” shows an article by Aranibar et al [Association between sunburn in children and ultraviolet radiation and ozone layer, during six summers (1996-2001) in Santiago, Chile (33,5 degrees S)] Rev Med Chil. 2003 Sep;131(9):1011-22.

I cannot find the original article, but the abstract seems to report that the behaviour of children 6-10 is at risk of sunburn (hardly world-shattering).

(2) From that article I was able to find more relevant stuff. There is one by Abarca JF, Casiccia CC., “Skin cancer and ultraviolet-B radiation under the Antarctic ozone hole: southern Chile, 1987-2000. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2002 Dec;18(6):294-302.

It reports that people of whiter skin may suffer in Punta Arenas due to repeated exposure, and increased rates of skin cancer may be occurring, and recommends further research.

(3) Another related article is by Abarca JF, Casiccia CC, Zamorano FD., “Increase in sunburns and photosensitivity disorders at the edge of the Antarctic ozone hole, southern Chile, 1986-2000”, J Am Acad Dermatol. 2002 Feb;46(2):193-9.

It indicates the worries but lists no actual skin cancer data.

(4) Then of course there is Molgó M et al, [Sun exposure behaviors and knowledge among Chileans] Rev Med Chil. 2005 Jun;133(6):662-6. Epub 2005 Jul 22. In Spanish.

It’s a survey and reports risky behaviours. Once again, no data on Skin Cancer.

(5) I then visited the website for CONAC, the Chilean ONG about Cancers. The pages of the National Network of Ultraviolet Medicine mention a prevalence of 10/100,000 among Chileans for skin cancer

(6) As a comparison, in England the prevalence among Europeans is 13/100,000

(7) “Environmental Journalist” Stephen Lehay writes a year ago that “Ailments Surge as Ozone Hole Widens” indicating that “Diagnoses of malignant melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, have doubled in recent years, leading Chilean health authorities to recommend avoiding direct exposure to the sun between 11:00am and 5:00pm, and especially to protect children”.

No sources and no absolute values are reported for this information.

(8) The same Lehay writes a couple of months ago “Skin Cancer Rising Despite New Ozone Deal to Cut CO2 Emissions” making a controversial connection betweeen skin cancer rates in the USA and a “crippled” ozone layer.

Being an environmental article (here in full) it can’t help predicting soaring numbers of cancer victims by 2060


In conclusion:

(a) Peer-reviewed work has not find much interest in Chilean children, or better yet in any Chilean skin cancer.

(b) At best, CONAC (the Chilean ONG on Cancer) is recommending protection in the middle of the day, but that is good advice the world over especially in summer, and nothing special about Chile.

Either children in South America are risking their lives as we speak among a global indifference, or the UN Secretary General has “sexed up” the truth.

One wonders.

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/20 at 22:14:46

Solution to Fossil Fuel Worries

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With crude oil likely going to pass $100 any time now, some people have started arguing that we may be near peak production with a gloomy future awaiting us.

But there is a solution and it has been waiting for us for almost 5 billion years…

It consists of around 36 thousand billion metric tons of methane, good for another couple of thousand years.

Since the known natural gas reserves are 52 million billion cubic feet (corresponding to 1.2 million billion kilograms), it all comes down to an untapped reserve 31 times as much as what is currently available. With around 80 years between now and exhaustion of Earth’s natural gas deposits, we can burn our way through perhaps another 2,400 years of cooking

The upshot is that by the time we’ll be able to source such a giant methane deposit, the technological advances needed for the endeavour will likely have made all fossil fuels a thing of the past.

The downside is that this newly-found source is a bit far.

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/19 at 16:58:34

Ptolemy’s Revenge

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2154 years after being written, and 464 years after being rendered obsolete by Copernicus, the Ptolemaic System is coming back with a vengeance, masquerading as Garrett Lisi’s Theory of Everything

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/18 at 17:12:41

How to Be Right About the Climate: Always!

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Vincenzo Ferrara, the scientist advising the Italian Environment Minister on Climate Changes, explains how to become a famous Climatologist in a 1982 article (“(”Rivista di Meteorologia Aeronautica”, Vol XLII n. 1, Jan-Mar 1982).

The following is an abridged translation:

If you are a climatologist and you want to survive as a climatologist, perhaps even increasing your reputation, all you have to do is provide the exact diagnosis and prognosis that people expect.

To the question “Is the climate changing?“, by all means, never, ever reply “No, everything’s normal“, or “It’s just fakery pumped up by newspapers and on television“: because people would unanimously conclude that you understand nothing about metereology, and nothing about climate.

It would be the end of your career.

The only sensible answer is: “Of course it is changing! It’s a well-known fact, scientifically confirmed and one that none cannot argue against“. You can then launch yourself in forecasting for the next hundred years a climate identical to the current one, amplifying the latest phenomena to extreme consequences.

If it is cold you’ll therefore predict “ice ages“, if it’s warm a “torrid period“, and if there are signs of strong variability “short-term climatic extremes” and more-or-less the same climate in the long term.

You may be wondering, how can a serious climatologist provide impossible, mutually-excluding forecasts without looking silly? Fear not: science will provide all the support needed.

Because climatology has already thought of everything and will supply the right solution in every circumstance, even in the most hopeless cases.

So if it is cold, here’s what you will have to say: “The climate is changing and we are approaching an Ice Age.

This fact has already been scientifically assessed because since 1940, the average temperature of the northern hemisphere has diminished by approximately 0,4°C, probably because of a decrease in atmospheric transparency due to air pollution.

The cooling of the air causes an increase in the extension of glaciers and of snow fields, furthering lowering temperatures with their highly reflecting (high albedo) surfaces. Glaciers therefore increase even more, in a positive feedback that will bring us to a new Ice Age in a hundred years or even less“.

What if it is warm? Then the discourse becomes: “The climate is changing and we are approaching a Torrid Age.

This fact has already been scientifically assessed because since 1850 the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere has progressively increased and just in the last twenty years has gone from 315 to 334 parts for million. That means that in 2020 the accumulation of carbon dioxide will have more than doubled, taking into account the continuously increasing energy demands and consumption of fossil fuels.

The increase of carbon dioxide reduces the Earth’s long-wave emissions to space (greenhouse effect) so within half a century the average air temperature will increase by approximately 2 or 3°C; the polar ice will dissolve and a sizeable sea level increase will submerge several coastal cities“.

This can inspire a new version of an old joke:

An atmospheric physicist, a metereologist and a famous climatologist are interviewed for a position as climatologist. The atmospheric physicist is asked: “What do you predict for the climate next year?” and proceeds to answer: “I am not sure, but give me a supercomputer and I will set up the calculations for a rough forecast“. It’s now the metereologist’s turn, and the answer is: “I am not sure, but provide me with the seasonal charts and the observations from previous years, I will set up the calculations in order for a rough forecast“.

The famous climatologist is finally asked “What do you predict for the climate next year?“. To that, the answer is “Whatever you want me to predict…“.

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/17 at 22:05:12

The Ascent of Al Gore

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1969 – Bachelor of Arts (Harvard)

1976 – House of Representatives

1984 – Senator

1988 – Joins the Presidential race

1992 – Vice-President

2000 – Most-voted Candidate

2007 – Oscar

2007 – Emmy

2007 – Nobel Peace Prize

2009 – Lifetime UN Secretary General

2010 – Lifetime Chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee

2012 – Lifetime Pope (well, it comes with the job)

2013 – Grand Ayatollah Supreme Leader (idem)

2014 – Joint Chief Rabbi, Sikh Guru, Buddha’s Reincarnation, etc etc

2015 – Replaces Charles III as King of the United Kingdom

2015 – Chooses title of “Defenders of the Faiths and Unfaiths” (that’s Political Correctness for you)

2020 – Becomes Alus Gorus “Caesar” Augustus, Planet Emperor

2021 – Acclaimed Divus in world-wide plebiscite

2021 – Commands Climate not to change. Climate complies (it would not have changed anyway, but that’s a secret…ssshhh!!)

2021 – Temples in his name start to spruce around

2022 – Convenes US Supreme Court, gets reversal of 2000 decision

2100 – Shortly before his death^H^H^Hascent to Heaven, forgets to command Earth to stop earthquakes (alas!)

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/16 at 19:20:36

Posted in Humor, Nobel, Politics, USA

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The Truth Behind the London Olympics Fire

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London, 15 Nov (MNN) – The truth behind the mysterious, spectacular Nov 12 fire in Waterden Road, London may have been revealed today.

Unreliable sources report a huge party thrown at the headquarters of the London 2012 Committee, for “the biggest Olympic Flame in the world“.


Those Chinese, we’ve beaten them by almost a year“, a reveler commented, before adding “their tiny flame in the Beijing stadium on 8/8/8 will look puny in comparison, a hundred times smaller to say the least“.

Now let’s make our own Stadium a hundred times bigger than Beijing’s“, he added, “or that much as expensive, to say the least!

The reveler would not confirm if an even bigger fire is planned a couple of months before the Opening Ceremony on 27/7/2012. “Well, it could be a good idea”, he commented, “if only to remind Londoners where the Games will take place, and how much of their money would have been burned by then“.

In unrelated news: according to badly informed sources, Police is investigating a group of elderly Tories seen celebrating the resurrection of the glorious party logo in the London sky.


A grassroot Lib-dem committee has immediately formed to counter with a propaganda coup of their own: change the old party birdie image into something nearer their aspirations…

…from to

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/15 at 21:29:28

Posted in MNN, Olympics, UK

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Why is the BBC Biased Against Climate Change Sceptics?

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Letter sent to Richard Black, Environment correspondent, BBC News website

Dear Richard

I am not sure what you’ve set yourself up to show regarding “climate sceptics“, in the week “ahead of the launch of the IPCC’s synthesis report for 2007“.

First you treat the “sceptics community” as if it were some kind of monolith, or a political party (“Unravelling the sceptics“, Nov 12).

May I respectfully remind you that it is the Anthropogenic Global Warming proponents that need demonstrate their proposition, not the other way around.

In science, there’s usually only one way to agree, but lots of ways to disagree with something.

So what is “in the fringe” is as varied as it gets: outside the mainstream you will find those honestly doubting the Accepted Truth, alongside people with dodgy goals, and of course plenty of nutters.

It is not for the honest sceptics to answer for the dishonest ones, or for the fools.

And even among those sincerely disbelieving the IPCC’s claims, there will be quite a large range of opinions. That’s because they are not mainstream.


Today (Nov 14) you have published another baffling article “Climate science: Sceptical about bias”  where you argue almost nobody provided you with evidence backing the accusations the “science itself is against” climate sceptics.

First of all it is a rather naive accusation you’ve decided to argue against. How can “science itself” be against scepticism of any sort?

At most, it would be the scientific Establishment that will show reluctance in admitting being wrong.

Anyway, in that article you proceed lamenting the dearth of evidence, only then to dismiss the biggest of it all, Nature’s rejection of Stephen McIntyre’s and Ross McKitrick’s rebuttal of Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick.

Please do make up your mind: either you are looking for evidence, or you are not looking for evidence.

The fact that you were looking for small stuff should not prevent you from seeing the big “elephant in the room”.

Also if you decide to mention something only to state that it “has been so well documented elsewhere” can you please insert at least a link of where that “elsewhere” is. It’s full of links on all BBC news pages, you know, so there must be a chance for you to help your readers investigate further, at least your own claims.

By the way, are you aware that the BBC and the IPCC have themselves pretty much rejected the Hockey Stick?

Look at this graph from one of the “In Depth” pages

That graph resembles no Hockey Stick anybody will ever want to play with. Looks more like a wide-bodied, irregular golf club…


And finally since you like challenges, how about this one: can you please point me to a page on the BBC new website showing present evidence for climate change?

I do not want to see one of the many lists of things that may, could, perhaps will happen.

All I can find is “Climate change: The evidence” that speaks of tiny raises in temperature, centimeters of melting ice and millimeters of rising seas.

You must admit it does not look like the clearest of cases.


Richard Black has responded. Here my reply to his private message. All text below is of course mine.

(about lack of evidence for anti-sceptic bias)
You’re missing something very important there. Let me try to convey the message with a made-up report:

“Women are not much at risk of domestic violence”, journalist Mr Red reported today. “I have sent a questionnaire to many of them but few bothered to respond. There is little evidence to support that claim”.

(about what “warmers” are finding out in the “real world”)
The real-world stuff is what I am studying at the moment.

In the AR4-WG2 documente there is a map repeated several times (eg fig 1.9, p 116) with numbers and percentages for observed physical and biological changes.

Now, there is an extremely large majority of “data samples” coming from biological changes in Europe (28,115 out of a total of 29,373). Furthermore: of those 28,115 “biological European data sets”, 89% are “consistent with warming”. In other words, 3,093 “biological European” changes (11%) are “NOT consistent with warming”. That is almost three times more than the total 1,177 number of observed changes outside of “biological European” and “consistent with warming”.

I still think the “warmers” need to demonstrate their case better than that.

(about the lack of skeptical articles in mainstream scientific publications)
Aren’t you arguing ad autoritatem there…

And don’t you know, when people publish for example on “Energy&Environment”, we are told that it’s not good enough.


Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/14 at 22:44:32

Twenty Missing, Three Dead, No Space on the Front Page

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Letter To the Editors of the International Herald Tribune

As a long-time subscriber of the IHT I write to complain about your absurd choice of playing down both the death of 3 sailors during the recent storms in the Black Sea, and the fact that 20 more are missing and likely dead themselves due to the cold.

In the front page of the IHT’s paper edition of Nov 13, there is a short unsigned article titled “Counting losses in Black Sea storm“. In 59 words there is not a single mention of the human losses, and the reader is left with the impression that the ships’ captains and owners will be sued only for “environmental damage“. Has human life become as cheap as to be free to be taken?

True, there is a larger article at page 2, by Andrew E Kramer, where finally we learn of the human tragedy in the title “Black Sea toll: 3 dead and 20 lost“. This appears to be similar to an article on the IHT web site, again by Mr Kramer, although over there it is titled “Environmental disaster unfolding in Russia“.

The paper version starts “Three dead sailor and dozen of birds slicked with oil…“. Just a few words later “Another 20 sailors were missing“. Roughly a little less than half of the piece is dedicated to environmental issues (but again, there is no mention of any ongoing prosecution for the loss of human life).

The online version starts with “An environmental disaster began to unfold” and only talks about humans in the second paragraph. But then, dead and missing people are literally forgotten about, and roughly more than three quarters of the article is about environmental problems. For the third time, the only mentioned prosecution is about “environmental damage“.

Interestingly, in the paper article a Greenpeace Russia campaigner, Vladimir Chuprov, is said to have “called the spill a catastrophe of local rather than international scale“. No such a thing is mentioned online.


All in all the above indicates a very poor choice by front-page and online Editors to find an excuse to push the “right buttons” about the environment, for some unfathomable reason deciding to play down the human cost of the Black Sea storm.

Shall we worship the Environment to the point of forgetting the people? That is a false dichotomy. We can take care of the environment and take care of humans too.

Please try.

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/13 at 08:47:56

Japan Shows the Way to Limitless Growth

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Why didn’t anybody else think this before?

Alas…”some environmentalists and local residents are skeptical of the new projects. With no rivers left to straighten, they say, the authorities nowadays are simply starting to curve them instead

Actually, I have a recollection of Soviet tanks being shipped anew to be converted into scrap metal, in order to boost the production reports of both industries.

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/12 at 22:59:54

Posted in Environment

Tagged with

A Different Way to Celebrate Remembrance Day

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Who knows, perhaps some future Prime Minister will take advantage of the somber celebrations on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to announce 11 (or more) years of peace for the British State that “over the last 200 years… has waged more wars and won more conflicts than any other nation in the world

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/11 at 23:37:06

Posted in UK, War

Tagged with

Genetics, IQ and Racism

with 3 comments

Why do many potentially intelligent people decide to look and sound silly for generations to come? Or “given enough bales you’ll find a few straws in all the colors of the rainbow”…

Some bloggers (and likely, some scientists) whose names and URLs I won’t spend a minute linking to, have started using the latest discoveries in biology to suggest “genetics differences between races” and a linking between high IQ and “several snippets of DNA“.

In other words, there are people out there hell-bent in demonstrating that blacks are inferior to whites.

They are wrong. And it’s not a case of being “politically incorrect“…rather, it’s an example of how to be “idiotically incorrect“.

In fact, haven’t we seen this whole circus before (just read Stephen Jay Gould’s “The Mismeasure of Man“)? A circus where invariably:

(1) The most recent scientific findings get used to provide a rational basis to existing prejudices

(2) People jump to “certain conclusions” even before any scientific article is published

(3) Legitimacy is given to the incoherent notion that skin color can be used to classify people into racial groups, but only up to a point: so a Sicilian becomes a White like a Swede, and a Wolof from Senegal becomes a Black like an Oromo from Ethiopia

(I myself am semi-officially White during winter time, then after two weeks in the sun demonstrably a tad more black than an Ethiopian)

(4) It always boils down to black inferiority and white superiority. In fact, never ever in the History of Biology there has been any hint of consensus about the notion that blacks are superior to whites, or far-east asians superior to whites.

(5) We are told that even if it may be difficult to accept, still we have to accept that Blacks be inferior to Whites, because Science is said to say so

(6) People opposing such views are labeled as left-leaning “defenders of social justice” (i.e., “communists”)

(7) The discourse moves then to show Men, White Men that is, as superior to Women. Next, to show that White Men with Ancestors from Northern European Countries are superior to everybody else.

(8) After making a big mess, such a stale soup of fallacies is shown false but then only goes into some kind of “sleep mode” ready to come back to make many potentially intelligent people look and sound silly for generations to come.

This happens every few decases. Truly we never learn anything from history.


On my side, the issue is not about defending social justice or imposing equality to all in the face of contrary evidence.

The issue is that if something has been shown wrong in the past, again and again, then it cannot be accepted as “true” unless there is some extraordinary evidence supporting it.

And at every round, the notch for “extraordinary” gets a little bit higher. I am afraid that the discovery of a few “snippets” among the thousands and thousands available appears way too ordinary, and at best the result of bad statistical analysis applied to extremely large sample sizes (in other words: given enough bales you’ll find a few straws in all the colors of the rainbow)


All in all, I am starting to believe that the one difference between races, is in the genes that predispose to developing an Inferiority Complex.

Those genes are obviously very powerfully expressed among Racist White Men. In fact, for what other reason would they feel the need to try again, and again, and again, to find a scientific basis for their most stupid thoughts?

Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/10 at 22:45:55