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Three years to the day

April 13, 2013

It has been that long since we put something on this blog.

In fact we almost forgot it was here.

Apparently, it is not unusual for people to set up a blog with a hiss and a roar, and then get distracted by other matters.  We can vouch for the truth of that.

The world has gone mad over the past three years, with: a) A number of significant changes to the economic stability of several European countries;  b) The rising level of vitriol evident in the “debate” over climate change, as the physical world has actually ignored all of the predictions; and c) The projection of Chinese influence, not only into the East China Sea, and the Western Pacific, but also in “reaching out” to the wider Pacific communities.

In this time, Governments have either found more ways of taxing the population (as in Australia), or in reducing its costs by merging agencies and down-sizing its workforce (as in New Zealand).  Both of these have the effect of removing money from the local economy, and that impacts on business.

So, more business effort goes into marketing services, whilst trying to maintain a reasonable level of productive work.  The result being that there is little time left to document random thoughts as they occur.

Perhaps this post is the beginning of a new phase in the cycle.  We certainly hope so.  If not, we can only look forward to another post being written round about mid April, in 2016.

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IPCC report cites peer-reviewed sources less than 60% of the time

April 14, 2010

Donna Laframboise, at NOconsensus.org has mobilised some of the more knowledgeable sceptics to do a detailed reference by reference check of the IPCC AR4 report – not an insignificant piece of work, and all of it unpaid.

Donna says:

Contrary to statements by the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the celebrated 2007 report does not rely solely on research published in reputable scientific journals. It also cites press releases, newspaper and magazine clippings, student theses, newsletters, discussion papers, and literature published by green advocacy groups. Such material is often called “grey literature.”

Something we need to remember, and emphasise, is that the IPCC is actually a three-tier organisation (or four-tier, depending on how you count).

At the lowest level are the “humble” scientists who are the foot-soldiers and cannon-fodder for the AGW campaign. They consist of the lead authors and chapter authors, and also the technical editors (the extra level, if you are counting).

The next highest level is the bureaucracy that direct operations to achieve a set of unstated (and perhaps secret) objectives. This group lives and dies by the rules. If you question any of them on the quality of the material in the reports they will point to the peer review process (as Pachauri has done, on numerous occasions). But peer review is not, and never has been, a measure or assessment of quality.[1] But who cares, quality does not really matter to them anyway. They are measured by achieving their objectives.

At the highest level are the politicians (some of whom are indistinguishable from, or interchangeable with, the senior bureaucrats). These are the folks who are setting the agenda. They are not advised by the bureaucrats. They set the parameters that the bureaucrats need to work within. It is a symbiotic relationship. This is why none of the revelations that have flowed from ClimateGate, and none of the excellent work done by Donna and her team (who I have tremendous respect for) will make a jot of difference to the political or bureaucratic mind. Quality (and truth) are meaningless abstract concepts at this level of society.
The best we can hope for is to see the deck-chairs shuffled yet again, perhaps with a few being thrown over the side if better replacements are available.

If this gets into the MSM I will be a lot more optimistic, but on previous records ….. ?

[1] Measuring or assessing quality requires an established and agreed measure of what “quality” means – I don’t recall seeing one.

State of Virginia challenge to EPA

April 11, 2010

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli has announced that he is challenging the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) finding that greenhouse gases endanger the public health and welfare.

Virginia’s challenge of the EPA has been criticised by Trip Pollard, of the Southern Environmental Law Centre.  Until recently, Mr. Pollard served on the Virginia Climate Change Commission.

Comment: One for, one against.  It will be interesting to see how far the challenge to the EPA goes through the courts.  I suspect the EPA has deeper pockets than the good citizens of Virginia.

Source: Wise Energy for Virginia

Everything has to start somewhere …

April 2, 2010

Intelligence – the verb, not the noun – is sometimes referred to as the great game.  In fact, on the “About” page of this blog, I have done just that.

But really, calling it “the great game”, or “the game of Kings” gives it far too much importance.

Intelligence was, and is, employed at military and diplomatic levels to reduce risk in defence and gain advantage in offence. Sometimes it is good at doing one or the other, and occasionally it is good at both.

But you can forget all about James Bond because, for most of the time, Intelligence is only concerned with handling mountains of mind-numbing trivia.

In reality Intelligence is all about collecting and collating seemingly unconnected snippets of information in the hope that, eventually, a pattern will emerge that gives an insight into current and future trends.

It sounds a futile task, but it actually works in a surprising number of cases. And the interesting thing is that nobody really understands why.

Intelligence – the verb, not the noun – is also not just the purview of “bright” people. A person’s mental capacity has little to do with it, other than having a capacity to comprehend something that has been read or observed, and then having the mental discipline to assess it impartially, but sceptically.

As such, this site is all about acquiring and recording random snippets of information that I think might be material to the world at large. The purpose is to a) see what patterns might emerge; and b) try to separate the “hype” from the merely probable.

Postings will be spasmodic, erratic, irrelevant, inaccurate, and probably biased.

Just like “real-world” intelligence in fact.