New year, new theme (2016)

The new look, that is. The WordPress official theme of the year, and I like it enough to make it Hot Topic‘s new look. Simpler for me to maintain than the old, very customised theme, but it does mean we’ve lost the comment editing facility. Sorry about that. Meanwhile, please use this as an excuse to discuss whatever climate-related issues you like. More substantive posts may appear soon.

[Update #2 Feb 2nd: I may have tracked the comment issue down to a conflict with an anti-spam plug in. We’ll see… Thanks to Andy and Mr February for helping me try to diagnose the problem. GR]

[Update #3 Feb 4th: The Jetpack guys at WordPress are trying to unpick this problem. Thanks for your patience. GR]

[Update #4: Working again, but without “social log in” enabled, while WP fix the code. Thanks again to everyone who helped us diagnose the problem. GR]

[Update #5: And while we’re on the subject, please be warned that very long comments are difficult to post, because of a coding fault in the theme – basically the “post” button disappears… So try to keep your thoughts succinct, until the theme is updated. 😉 GR]

A (relatively) new Lowe for Christmas

As Nick explains in the intro, this is one, if not the best of Christmas songs. Please enjoy it with my compliments while sipping white wine in the sun, sweltering in the USA, or storm-tossed in the North Atlantic. For your reading pleasure, why not spend some time in the company of Skeptical Science’s retelling of the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol — or even revisit my own little attempt at Dickensian levity from a few years back.

The compliments of whatever season you celebrate from all at Hot Topic.

Hiatus explained

It’s been a long time since a new post appeared at the top of Hot Topic’s front page. You might almost call it a hiatus — but like that other mythical pause it wasn’t brought about by any change in the underlying forcings. Climate change and the ever-increasing impacts of warming have not dropped out of the news, nor are they likely to as we approach the end of another record-breaking year for global temperatures. The denialati remain active, as one might expect, though I have tired of that particular game of whack-a-mole pending any upturn in the originality on display.

Nope. The truth is I’ve been busy tending trees and vines and catching up with work on our small farm, preparing for what looks all too likely to be a summer of drought. What passes for normal service will resume before Christmas — but in the meantime, keep an eye open for reports from the COP21 climate negotiations. HT’s roving correspondent Cindy Baxter will be on a bateau mouche beneath the bridges of Paris, keeping us up to date with events.

Meanwhile, consider this to be an invitation to discuss all matters climate related — an open thread, no less. Usual caveats apply.

Stuffed birds and hot years (Merry Christmas)

The fourth LP I bought (after Sgt Pepper and The Monkees first two albums — this was 1967/8, and I’d just acquired a record player that could handle discs larger than singles) was a Stax sampler called This Is Soul. It triggered a life-long love of that Memphis soul sound, and in particular the voice of Otis Redding. His version of White Christmas is a thing of joy. Play it today, and think not of the fact that this year is likely to set new records for hottest year on many of the global temperature series.

Nick Cave’s take on Christmas is (characteristically) a little gloomier than most, and perhaps more appropriate.

Things down here are fragmented

In fact they’ve exploded all over the room

I think everything’s a little off-center, babe

I do dear, I do

So, dear reader, allow me (and all the contributors to Hot Topic) to wish you the very merriest of whatever season it may be that you are currently celebrating. In the Waipara Valley it looks like it’s going to be a long hot day. A turkey is truffled and soon to be cooked, there is too much good wine to drink1, and Rosie the beagle is looking forward to a break in her post-harvest diet. Nadolig llawen.

PS: If confronted by a climate-denying family member over the holidays, here’s some advice on how to approach them, from The Conversation via the NZ Herald.

  1. Considering the supplies laid in for the next week, and my intention to have a dry January, my liver is going to take a hammering. Do not expect much in the way of posts here. []

Oops… (normal service will be resumed as soon as possible)

There will be a brief intermission while I sort out the problem with the comment system. I (stupidly, without checking, because nothing ever goes wrong when you’re on the bleeding edge of an upgrade, does it?) upgraded Hot Topic’s WordPress underpinnings to the latest version — 4.0 — only to find that now comments don’t display properly. I’ve tracked it down to a problem with the theme (the code that makes HT look the way it does), and I now have to work out how to fiddle with things to get them back. There may be a marked change in the site’s appearance…