Monday, September 28, 2009

"if the data don't fit, just make up some shit"

The purple avenger at Ace is channeling the ghost of johhny cochran and gives the
pithy summary of a great article over on Climateaudit:

"if the data don't fit, just make up some shit"
The much touted hockey stick is no longer mostly dead,
it's all dead.
All of the sudden, it isn’t the “hottest period in 2000 years” anymore.

Steve writes:

The next graphic compares the RCS chronologies from the two slightly different data sets: red – the RCS chronology calculated from the CRU archive (with the 12 picked cores); black – the RCS chronology calculated using the Schweingruber Yamal sample of living trees instead of the 12 picked trees used in the CRU archive. The difference is breathtaking.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Strong king, weak king or Strong Horse, Weak Horse

From the telegraph:

Barack Obama’s chances of re-election in three and a half years’ time may be evaporating at unprecedented speed, but his presidential ambitions could still be realised in another direction. He would be a shoo-in to win the next Russian presidential election, so high is his popularity now running in the land of the bear and the knout. Obama has done more to restore Russia’s hegemonial potential in Eastern and Central Europe than even Vladimir Putin.

His latest achievement has been to restore the former satellite states to dependency on Moscow, by wimping out of the missile defence shield plan. This follows on his surrender last July when he voluntarily sacrificed around a third of America’s nuclear capability for no perceptible benefit beyond a grim smile from Putin. If there is one thing that fans the fires of aggression it is appeasement.

We've already seen the jihadi response to what they perceive as a weak horse, now
what we'll see is the Russian response to that same problem. One history class I took in school was a history of England to the to the glorious revolution of 1688. A point that was
repeated several times during the class was that England did better as a country
when there was a strong king. Strong kings (or queens) hammered the scots, or welsh or irish,
weak kings lost land to the french or powers to the parliament or to the protestants.

History will tell us which presidents were strong kings or weak kings. Clinton
was lucky in that history took a vacation when he was there. Bush did the best
he could and was strong at times, but I think truly strong kings delegate less than he
did. Obama is starting off looking like a weak king who doesn't care much about
foreign policy. I'm afraid that we're going to find out that if you don't care about
foreign policy, sometimes foreign policy cares about you.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Green Death

Dr Brignell at Numberwatch is channeling Tom Clancy this month

A clear starry moonless sky looked down upon a frozen Britain . A deep depression had passed through and deposited unprecedented quantities of snow on town and country. Snow ploughs and gritting vehicles had cleared a way through on the major routes, but footpaths and side roads were still not negotiable. A stationary high had now settled across the country and in the windless air the temperature was plunging steadily, already below -10C. On the hills giant wind turbines stood motionless in the still air. They were giant impotent icons of a failed religion and stark monuments to onerous and now pointless taxation over many years. In the gloom they seemed to point accusing fingers up into the sky.

At the control centre of the national Power Grid there was a nervous quiet, punctuated by short bouts of hushed conversation. They knew the crisis would occur in an hour’s time, at about 7 am. They had already made the dreadful decision as to which towns would be made to experience suffering and death by being deprived of power. This was a different world from the last time there were serious power cuts in 1970. It was now totally dependent on computer and related technologies. Owing to decisions made (or, to be more accurate, not made) in the first years of the century, the nation was grossly underpowered for such a circumstance. The domestic demand was already high, as almost everyone had left the heating on over night.

Some people had managed to get through to places of work. Cleaners turned on the lights and the great machines of industry began to hum. The power consumption crept up towards the critical point.

read the rest

I like the idea of green power, but it is not very good for base load without a lot
of storage and planning. It can work for a house with a battery backup (or generator),
or for a town that has a fuel cell storing electricity or a pump filling a reservoir, but
for a national grid it's not so great.

I think we should look more like France, not like Denmark. Denmark is hip and cool
and green, but it depends on the kindness of strangers for power when the wind doesn't
blow. France is nearly self sufficient in nuclear power that powers their great metro system
and superfast trains, etc. If we're borrowing the money anyway, we can build the windmills,
but we should also build the nuclear plants and clean coal fired plants.

Who Dat!

The Saints are 2 - 0, this is the happiest time of the year
for a Saints fan, I'm in the "we're goin' to the super bowl baby!"
phase, much better than in the past when I'd think "all we have
to do is win the next 7 games and have los angeles and san fran
lose 4 of those, and we're going to the playoffs". (back in the old
division setup)

I'm not home, so I get to choose between the pro-global warming/anti
american BBC or the anti-american/pro global warming CNN in the hotel.
When I get home I can watch espn america; my sports package has 15
channels of soccer (calcio en italiano) and one glorious channel that is showing
4 or 6 live games per week, plus recorded games and baseball. If the saints
go to the superbowl we'll have the biggest superbowl party ever seen in northeast
italy. Go Saints!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Traveling again

I'm in Tunis for a few days, and the internet is heavily blocked
here, sites like youtube or youpron are blocked. I wouldn't expect
that, it seems very westernized here.

I was hoping to see a video of President Obama awarding the MOH
to the family of SFC Monti. Here's the video on Blackfive from Fox
if your youtube is blocked too.

I saw the story linked on Ace and I read the text from the Army website
and I wondered what Obama's delivery looked like. I'm glad he looked
like the commander in chief and did a good job honoring SFC Monti.

"A moment later, he rose again. And again they fired everything they had at him, forcing him back. Faced with overwhelming enemy fire, Jared could have stayed where he was, behind that wall. But that was not the kind of soldier Jared Monti was. He embodied that creed all soldiers strive to meet: "I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade." And so, for a third time, he rose. For a third time, he ran toward his fallen comrade. Said his patrol leader, it "was the bravest thing I had ever seen a soldier do."

Where do we get such men.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11th

Best article on 9/11 today is from Bill Whittle, with video that
just isn't shown anymore (it would make us angry) I don't need
it to make me angry, but it should be shown to keep people focused
on what is happening around us.

Men of Harlech! In the Hollow,
Do ye hear like rushing billow
Wave on wave that surging follow
Battle's distant sound?
Tis the tramp of Saxon foemen,
Saxon spearmen, Saxon bowmen,
Be they knights or hinds or yeomen,
They shall bite the ground!
Loose the folds asunder,
Flag we conquer under!
The placid sky now bright on high,
Shall launch its bolts in thunder!
Onward! 'tis the country needs us,
He is bravest, he who leads us
Honor's self now proudly heads us,
Freedom, God and Right!

Rocky Steeps and passes narrow,
Flash with spear and flight of arrow
Who would think of death or sorrow?
Death is glory now!
Hurl the reeling horsemen over,
Let the earth dead foemen cover
Fate of friend, of wife, of lover,
Trembles on a blow!
Strands of life are riven!
Blow for blow is given
In deadly lock, or battle shock,
And mercy shrieks to heaven!
Men of Harlech! young or hoary,
Would you win a name in story?
Stike for home, for life, for glory!
Freedom, God and Right!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

80/20 principle

I read the 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch during a trip last week.
It's an excellent book that has some really important ideas for anyone
that is even mildly lazy. He goes through the easy wins of business analysis,
which is obvious until you actually try and do it (shut down unprofitable
businesses, "but they pay the overhead!").

The real heart of the book goes into applying the 80/20 principle to your
life and career. Most of your production comes from a small amount of your
effort, so focus more time and attention on that small amount instead of spreading
yourself evenly across all activities. If you work on the assembly line this won't
work, but anyone with a technical job or a sales job, a lot of time is just wasted
not moving towards the real goals.

The examples I used explaining this to my wife were Dr. house or Don Draper from
Mad Men. Dr house mostly walks around popping vicodin all day while his assistants
do most of the work until he has some flash of insight and solves the problem.
Don Draper mostly walks around drinking and smoking, has short, to the point meetings
then sends his minions to do the scutwork while he goes off to sleep with some chick.

My wife didn't like that part of the metaphor, but either guy gets his real job done
without caring to spend time punching the clock at the office or doing make-work.
The crucial thing is to decide what is the real productive part of the job using 80/20
analysis, then focus on that while drinking and chasing bimbos. (kidding).