Wednesday, December 31, 2008

happy new year

Another year in the can. Great year personnally, sucky year
professionally, double sucky based on world events.

Idiots outside are shooting off fireworks in a cold drizzle. It's not
quite cold enough to snow, but it's gotta be really close. Most of the
fireworks are plain old firecrackers, but some are m-80's or cherry
bombs, and the smart-asses are putting them in communal trash cans
at the end of the street. They've been doing that intermittently for 2
weeks, with a single bam scaring me every other night. Now it sounds
like a world war 1 artillery duel. tiring.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Penguin time

Scary new article on Watt's up with that from a gentleman named
Don Easterbrook. The article is written
by the same scientist that predicted global cooling back in 1998.
This is what the agw modelers should be doing, making predictions
that are then confirmed by data. If a prediction based on a theory is confirmed by data
that might mean the theory is true. Currently, global warming
is changing to 'global climate change because the data doesn't fit
the theory.

If another theory is proven by data; such as climate runs in cycles
that are mostly driven by the earth's orbit and the sun's varying output
that can be most easily measured by the number of sunspots over time,
then AGW is pretty much disproven.

It might be true that adding carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can warm
things up slightly, maybe 1 degree over 100 years, but that is just noise
compared to the signal that is imposed by the sun.

Here's a current picture of the sun from

Here's another chart from wikipedia with an explanation
that seems to knock the idea of the sun having no influence
on global warming on the head:

On longer time scales, the sun has shown considerable variability, including the long Maunder Minimum when almost no sunspots were observed, the less severe Dalton Minimum, and increased sunspot activity during the last fifty years, known as the Modern Maximum. The causes for these variations are not well understood, but because sunspots and associated faculae affect the brightness of the sun, solar luminosity is lower during periods of low sunspot activity. It is widely believed that the low solar activity during the Maunder Minimum and earlier periods may be among the principal causes of the Little Ice Age. Similarly, the Modern Maximum is partly responsible for global warming, especially the temperature increases between 1900 and 1950. One study (Stott et al. 2003), argues that residual warming due to the sustained high level of activity since 1950 is responsible for 16 to 36% of recent warming.

I can't say for sure what is going to happen with the climate, it might
be warmer or colder, but the AGW crowd seems to say that earth's climate
will change and that will confirm their theory so we need to put a large dent
in productivity and especially in the United States we should all move into large
apartment blocks and sweat in the heat. On the other hand, Don Easterbrook is
making a prediction that the sun will have fewer spots and it is going to be colder
over the next thirty years then the previous thirty years.

If I were designing two experiments and presenting them in an undergraduate
engineering lab, I'd get laughed off of the podium if I presented AGW. It's not
testable, the only way to see results is wait 100 years or make models that don't
match any data. The global cooling theory is a great experiment, you can do it
with cheap equipment, just a telescope, a thermometer and a notebook and it will give
a yes or no answer within3 years. Are we back on the normal sunspot cycle yes
or no? If no, then put a stop to trading carbon credits and other nonsense and focus
on what is important, energy security for the USA and for the people of the world.

On Don Easterbrook's website he has a great presentation that explains why co2
didn't cause temperature changes up to 1945, so it's unlikely that it is changing the
climate now.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Global cooling, global warming

Fabius Maximus has a standard good post on the current financial
crisis with a summary of what could happen going forward:
The new world brought another period of peace and prosperity, perhaps the greatest 5 decades the world has ever seen. Now the two superpowers of that era both have uncertain futures. The world sinks into a severe recession. Beyond that new challenges await.
  1. Peak Oil
  2. Climate change
  3. The shift of power from west to east
  4. The second demographic transition, aging populations and perhaps extinction for some major cultures.

Perhaps the new world will be even better than we can dream. It’s up to us.

A commenter there leaps on the climate change item. Fabius leaps back:

Fabius Maximus replies: The climate has never been static, but the changes have often been bad news. Like the little ice age. I suggest you study that period, as there are tentative indications we may be entering another cooling cycle. Not necessarily as long or cold, but even a few years of cold would be unpleasant with world grain inventories (per capita, or days demand) at 50-year lows.

He makes a good point. I might be a an "AGW denier", but I do worry about
climate change. Here in Italy it's much colder than I'm used to and it makes
me see that without heat it would be pretty hard to live through the winter.
If it is several degrees colder it would be much worse, going from 3 degrees above
freezing to zero would mean snow every day instead of just rain every day.

If it is just warmer then things might suck, we might be sitting under ceiling
fans stirring barely moving air as we sweat like a scene from In the Heat of the
Night, but we won't die. We need to be spending money to mitigate current problems
now, and not wasting trillions to prevent a potential one or two degrees
temperature rise in 100 years. Problems #1 is my real worry.
If we have energy, we can survive heat or cold. If we don't have energy, then
instead of surfing the internet while watching my new 40" LCD I'd be in
bed with 2 comforters on top of me.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

How do we want the future to think of us?

This video is required watching. Whether or not AGW is real and
temperatures are increasing, this approach from Bjorn Lomberg will
give better results. Rather than spending billions to try and mitigate
global warming to little (or I think no) effect, we can spend billions of
dollars and fix real problems that are killing people or making them
needlessly unhealthy today.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Global warming my butt

Ace links to excerpts from a report on the senate website (I connected via
interweb pipes) where 650 earth scientists are saying they are global
warming skeptics. I'm a skeptic too, but as a paid minion of the oil industry
that's part of my job. These guys have day jobs as scientists so believe
them (hypnotic voice on) believe them, believe them, it's getting colder,
(hypnotic voice off)

here's my favorite quote:

“The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn’t listen to others. It doesn’t have open minds… I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists,” - Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported International Year of the Planet.
There are better quotes, but that gentleman complains about non-geologists winning the nobel,
as a geologist.

I'm skeptical because I look at squiggly lines all day as part of my job. The hocky stick was a
a couple of straight lines made up of all different kinds of data, ice cores, tree rings, thermometers
and satellite data. It's hard enough putting together data that was all acquired the same week,
but splicing a bunch of crep together that doesn't match known historical data points like the
medieval warming period told me its a bunch of spliced crep.

There are more priorities that we should be worrying about now, apart from all the financial
disasters we should be trying to get energy independence for the usa, using whatever technology
is available from drill drill drill to nukes. peak oil is the approaching really big problem, even if
prices go to $8 next month, it won't change how much oil is in the ground. Once the oil runs out we
see what real poverty looks like.

[I'm not sure how to do it, but I'd start with an import tax on oil. If the us energy industry isn't
protected we'll see that most of the alternative energy industry will be destroyed at the same time.
Better to keep prices somewhat high, $50/bbl, and keep pushing ahead to energy independance
and not use cheap oil to keep suckling at the tit of the foreign oil industry.]

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Fun with jetlag

I'm back in Italy and I'm having a lot of trouble with jetlag this trip.
I screwed up and slept a couple of hours thursday afternoon when I
arrived, then I couldn't sleep again until 6 am friday. I was guilty of
asleep at the office all day friday, luckily nothing of importance happened
and I safely made it home without getting myself run off. The really stupid
thing I did was I repeated the mistake last night too, then slept until 1 pm.

Now it's midnight on saturday night and I couldn't be more awake, I'm
stuck watching my crappy sky tv satellite. It's in black and white because
we have an ntsc tv and the analog signal is pal, I switched out the box for
an hd box thinking that hdmi should be the same all around the world, but
all I get is the top half of the screen, so I'm sticking with the analog signal
in black and white. 1000 channels of mostly nothing, with lots of history
channels and nat geo channels, but they are all repeating the same shows
from earlier in the evening. Sadly the only thing on that's interesting are
the dial-a-porn channels, where a model answers the phone and gradually
takes off her clothes. (I'm learning italian, I have to watch)

I can't imagine how they make money unless the guys calling are paying $100
per minute, because they are almost never talking on the phone. Oh well,
you know you're bored when you're drinking italian new wine out of a 3 liter
plastic jug watching italian porno in black and white, and the most interesting
thing to think of is their business plan.

Better than thinking of my business plan. Lou Minatti mentioned in a blog
post that oilfield service companies in houston are about to do big layoffs
according to a high placed relative of his. I understand why that will have
to happen to some extant, the big question will be will they cut to get ahead
of the problem to maintain or increase profitability, or will they just lop off
the bottom 10%. hmmm.

In 1991 they fired almost everyone (90% of staff) because the business
died when prices crashed back to $8/barrel, but they layoffs happened
in stages. In smaller downward dips like 1994, 1996 and 2007 they just
layed off the bottom 10%. In 1998 they tried a different tack and layed
off everyone above a certain seniority who weren't on a management track,
which in one way was more shocking than laying off everyone slowly, because
the guys you'd think would never leave were gone in a blink. Almost all got
hired back pretty quickly as contractors when it picked up again a couple months
later, but it was still a weird higher management decision that I hope they
don't repeat.

It all depends on demand, if demand drops too much too fast until all storage
and all tankers are full, it will go to $10 and all drilling not on deepwater rigs will
stop. The good news there will be a quicker rebound as the rest of the economy
comes back quicker, the bad news is that it will ensure $300 oil in 2 years because
drilling activity won't make it back in time.

oh, well, back to black and white tv.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Ayatollah sheep debate

Mark Steyn demonstrates how to totally destroy someone in a written debate
as he responds to a journalism professor that accused him of a hate crime:

To end where we came in, M J Murphy wrote: “I think you owe Dr. Miller an apology.” Au contraire, I think “Dr Miller” owes me and Oriana an apology. Since he decided to go to such kinky lengths to catch my eye, he has accused me of failing to provide a source for a quote: False. He's accused me of making up famous rulings of the Ayatollah: False. He's declared flat out that there is no such thing as a Khomeini "Blue Book": False. And people pay money to study "responsible journalism" with this guy? At least for his own ill-advised adventures in fact-checking, his unfortunate acolyte, M J Murphy of Toronto, isn't charging cash.

If I were celebrated toilet photographer Warren Kinsella or leading Canadian Internet Nazi Lucy Warman, I’d sue. But I’m not. Nor, despite a flying visit to the Falklands and a couple of wet weekends in Wales, have I ever been attracted to sheep-shagging. But I imagine it feels a bit like dealing with Messrs Miller, Murphy and the Law R Cool kids: No matter how often you roger them senseless, they keep on bleating. I wouldn’t have bothered with this response were it not for the fact that Professor Waggy-Finger traduced not me but a great and courageous lady who is no longer here to laugh her magnificent scoffing laugh in his face. Oriana Fallaci is a hundred times the man John Miller is. Read her interviews with Arafat or the Shah and ask yourself whether she needs any posthumous lessons in “journalistic ethics” from an unread parochial poseur. And, if you are considering a career in journalism, think about what you'd like to be looking back on in 40 years' time: Oriana's resume or Professor Miller's.

This was in response to an open letter from John Miller's Blog.

The whipping that Mark Steyn delivers is almost painful to watch, like the scene from the
movie Casino where the mobsters are beating Joe Pesci's brother to death. It's
amazing that someone can take that beating and still go to work as a professor of
journalism. Just go back to your farm, raise sheep but don't touch them. If you
touch them, look at the little blue book to know what to do.