People talkin’ #7

The last open thread is now well over 500 comments, and the threading/nesting of replies has long since got its knickers in a twist, so here’s a new thread for March — and this time I’ll try not to fsck it up. Usual rules apply, and I’ll issue another plea to keep the discussion polite.

52 thoughts on “People talkin’ #7”

  1. The government are planning on selling Solid Energy. Solid Energy is planning to mine thousands of hectares in Southland for lignite – I assume they have purchased that land. Does that mean that a huge swathe of Southland could be in foreign ownership when the sale goes through? And would those foreign owners be obliged to mine the land or could they run farms on it instead? (It’s very good farm land)

    1. Talk about scaremongering. The Government has no plans on selling majority ownership rights to Solid Energy or any other SOE let alone selling the company to foreigners.

  2. A little bit of good news

    DOE-funded battery breakthrough to halve cost, triple range

    “A new breakthrough from California-based Envia Systems will yield lithium-ion batteries that are less than half the cost of current cells, while also having three times the energy density. And guess who funded it? The Department of Energy. That’s right: Sometimes, when the government invests in innovation, it pays off moon launch-big.”

    “Envia’s announcement said that its packs would deliver cell energy of 400 watt-hours per kilogram at a cost of $150 per kilowatt-hour. ………”

    at Grist
    http://grist.org/list/ev-battery-breakthrough-to-halve-cost-triple-range/

  3. Gareth reports that it has been a poor year for aubergines (eggplants) and chillies, and my experience is that it has been an unduly grey and rainy summer in Canterbury.

    Is this a generally held view across NZ for this summer?
    I’d be interested to see what the stats are for sunshine hours, rain etc.

    1. NIWA is your friend: they produce monthly and seasonal climate summaries for all NZ, going in to considerable detail. For summer 2011/12, they said:

      National Climate Summary – Summer 2011: North Island and Nelson – short changed!

      • Sunshine: Record cloudy for much of North Island and Nelson/Marlborough.
      • Rainfall: Wettest summer on record for Takaka and Nelson. Very wet across the North Island, Otago and South Canterbury. Extremely dry over southwest of South Island.
      • Temperatures: A cooler than average summer between Timaru and Gisborne, as well as for the Central Plateau and Bay of Plenty. Warmer than usual for the West Coast of the South Island and Fiordland.
      • Soil Moisture: Above normal by the end of summer for Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Tasman, Otago and south Canterbury. Below normal for coastal Southland, Fiordland, Wairarapa and southern Hawkes Bay.

      1. I presume that the record wet for Nelson/Takaka is due to the bad flooding they had around Christmas time.

        The cloudy on East/dry in South West would tie in with an unusually high number of southerly systems (and corresponding lack of northerly/nor’westers) which I am guessing is what has happened this summer

        1. andyS March 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm
          ” I presume that the record wet for Nelson/Takaka is due to the bad flooding they had around Christmas time”.

          No, Andy, the flooding was actually a result of the record wet – please try harder.

          This has been the worst summer I can remember.

          1. The record wet is, presumably a measure of the amount of rainfall in the area, which is an aggregation of the individual parts of the weather record. The flooding was one part of the weather record.

            Therefore it is reasonable to state that the record wet was due (in part, possibly) to the flooding, as this put the average up.

            As an analogy, I could say that Team X scored a record number of goals in a football season, and that in one match they scored 10 goals. The 10 goals contributed to the record number of goals. It is not reasonable to say that the record number of goals caused the 10 goals in one match.

            1. From the NIWA Feb monthly report linked by Gareth above

              February was characterised by highs to the southeast of New Zealand, and more lows than normal over the north Tasman Sea. This produced more easterly winds than usual over the country. It was an extremely cloudy month for much of the country, due to both the moist easterly wind flows, and cooler than usual seas around New Zealand. Well below average temperatures were observed in eastern regions of both Islands, because of the onshore easterly winds

              So I was incorrect in my southerly interpretation, there have been more easterlies.
              However, the general summary seems to fit with my experience, but not with everyone though

            2. I think I see your problem, Andy – you appear to be travelling backwards in time, which accounts for your confusion of cause and effect.

              FYI, flooding is not weather, flooding is caused by weather – to be specific, by “rain”, which is water falling from “clouds” in the “sky”.

              Similarly, “climate change” is a result of human-caused emissions of “greenhouse gases” at a rate approx. 100 times that of all geothermal emissions, including RC2’s fairy-tale deep-sea eruptions.

              Capiche?

            3. Rob Taylor March 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm

              FYI, flooding is not weather, flooding is caused by weather – to be specific, by “rain”, which is water falling from “clouds” in the “sky”.

              Yes of course it is correct to say that flooding is not weather. I was being less than precise here. What I meant by “flooding” in this context was as a proxy for “heavy rain”

              I could have written, for example “flooding caused by heavy rain”, shortened to “flooding”.

              What the public remembers is the flooding event. If I referred to :”heavy rain” in the Nelson context, it would be a little vague.

              So, just to clarify, when I said that the “flooding” contributed to the record wet, what I actually meant was

              heavy rain, which caused flooding, road slips etc in the Nelson region, contributed to the record wet that was recorded by NIWA. The concept of a record wet comes from aggregating individual weather records from rain gauges over a given period of time

              It is a little long winded, but a more precise statement than saying “the flooding contributed to the record wet”

              I hope that clarifies things a bit.

              It is important to be careful about making such vague statements and I thank you for bringing this to my attention.

        2. To avoid confusion on the part of casual readers, I will clarify this one for you andyS, since your language is vague and imprecise. The record high summer rainfall totals observed at Nelson and Takaka had their main contribution from the extraordinarily high totals both recorded in December. In the case of Takaka (where one Kotinga site reported 1233mm, about equal to Wellington’s annual average), its December total was not only by far the highest it had ever recorded in any month, but it is also easily the highest ever recorded in or near a significant New Zealand town, the previous highest being about 800mm at Stratford. {Occurrences of phenomenal rainfalls are becoming more common, andyS – I wonder what notions come to mind?}

          1. RW March 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm

            To avoid confusion on the part of casual readers, I will clarify this one for you andyS, since your language is vague and imprecise. The record high summer rainfall totals observed at Nelson and Takaka had their main contribution from the extraordinarily high totals both recorded in December. In the case of Takaka (where one Kotinga site reported 1233mm, about equal to Wellington’s annual average)

            That was pretty much the information that I was trying to convey. Namely that high rainfall in December was the main determinant in the “record high’ rainfall for the summer.

            I am sorry if my previous comment was not precise enough. I will try to be more precise in future and give figures to the exact mm, name of nearest town, etc.

            I think we should advise all readers that such simplistic comments like A caused B are to be rejected and require a full and lengthy explanation using detailed scientific nomenclature, fully referenced and hyperlinked to approved sources.

            1. Don’t push it. My first explanatory sentence made clear what you were trying to say, since what you said was not clear. I did not imply that you should have provided reams of statistics and links for confirmatrion.

              The remainder is supplementary information provided to emphasise that a “dull, uninteresting” summer produced some remarkable records. Even in the less dramatic matter of cloudiness, 2 of the 3 summer months at Blenheim (Dec, Feb) had sunshine totals lower than ever previously recorded there, by a comfortable margin in the case of February. Offhand, I cannot think of another occasion when two record lows (or highs) for this statistic have been set at any NZ station in a 3-month period, though there may be a couple of instances.

            2. RW March 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm

              Don’t push it. My first explanatory sentence made clear what you were trying to say,

              My first comment was making a statement contextualised within the framework of my personal sensory perceptions.

              In common parlance, this is known as “moaning about the weather”.

              This happens as a result of a number of human-sensory interactions, including but not excluded to:
              (1) Walking outside
              (2) Looking out of the window
              (3) Observing the lack of growth amongst certain vegetables and flowers.
              (4) Observing the lack of sunshine, perhaps manifested by a reduction of sunscreen lotion applied.

              There may be other factors external to my personal sphere, such as the “flooding” (i.e the flooding caused by heavy rain, which itself is an aggregation of several “cloud events”), or perhaps some sunshine in another city or town, or even a drought on the other side of the world.

              These may be outside my frame of reference because they do not immediately impact my sensory framework, which is not a result of upbringing or sociopolitical context, but more practically what my senses perceive over a period of time.

  4. Well done, Andy – you will be surprised how useful rational thought can be, once you make it a daily habit!

    For instance, who do you think knows more about the Earth’s climate: Michael Mann, a trained and accomplished scientist at the forefront of climate research, or Anthony Watts, a former TV weather caster?

    C’mon, Andy, I know you can do it – just try a little harder… almost there…….

      1. …and by the same, um, ‘logic’ (schoolyard variant) you just employed, Andy, you must idolise Anthony Watts! Oooh! You love him! Andy loves the Weatherman!…

        (So, remind us, which out of Mann and Watts has the actual qualifications again? Playing a Scientist on TV doesn’t actually count, you know.)

        Also, [smiles sweetly] – you’re aware that this is the Open Thread, right?

        1. How do you draw the conclusion that I “idolise” Anthony Watts? I can’t even remember mentioning him.

          Rob T’s comment was gushing with idolatry. That is why I made the comment. it had nothing to do with my previous comment, which stemmed from a discussion of recent summer weather in NZ.
          I provided some clarification around the use of the terms “flooding” and “record wet”, which somehow segued into whether Michael Mann “knows more” about climate than Anthony Watts, which in itself is an ill-posed question,.

          1. Andy, is reasoning and reading comprehension your forte, do you think?

            Rob T’s comment was gushing with idolatry

            I seriously doubt that Rob’s views on Mike Mann are undermining his relationship with the One True God (which would be Mammon in your case, I presume? 😉 )

            However I’m finding it even harder to understand how

            a trained and accomplished scientist at the forefront of climate research’

            is evidence for even the vernacular interpretation of your claim. These are simply statements of fact.

            You’re seriously going to stick out your lower lip and maintain Mike Mann isn’t a trained and accomplished scientist? Isn’t at the forefront of climate research? You’re content to stick to the primary school model of ‘debate’ in this public forum?

            So we’ll take it as read that this sullen, pouting short-pants resentment is a result of knowing full-well how Prefect Mann’s qualifications stack up against the mostly visigoth notoriety of your bully-boy heroes The Weatherman and the Sticky Bishop, shall we?

            1. Well, clearly a much easier route in life is to become a graceless, gormless, witless, leaden-footed, uninformed verbose braying imbecile.

            2. bill March 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm

              Well, clearly a much easier route in life is to become a graceless, gormless, witless, leaden-footed, uninformed verbose braying imbecile.

              Clearly the path you have taken Bill,
              or perhaps we have (person with their insults to me appended).

              Rob Taylor (Rent Boy)
              RW (Ignorant Troll)
              Ian Forrester (liar, despicable person)

              etc etc. with various morons, trolls, etc thrown in for good measure.

              Now perhaps you’d actually like to address some of the technical points i have raised Bill, instead of giving me your content-free opinions about my views on the world with your braying, smug, supercilious attitude to anyone who doesn’t share your tedious beige anti-human, anti-science worldview.

            3. Another joke from andyS:

              perhaps you’d actually like to address some of the technical points i have raised

              andyS wouldn’t recognize a “technical point” even if he sat on one and it stuck him where the sun don’t shine.

            4. Ian Forrester March 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm

              andyS wouldn’t recognize a “technical point” even if he sat on one and it stuck him where the sun don’t shine.

              Perhaps you’d like to give us your input to the issue on Bayesian priors that I raised here

              I eagerly await your abusive and patronising response.

            5. The ‘technical points’ you have raised? You’re kidding again, right?

              ‘Idolatry’? Non-starter.

              The puerile question about actual qualifications of actual scientists, (rather than, say, the professional disinformers and/or sad-act wannabes you derive all your information from)? Won’t be bothering with that one.

              I find the kind of sullen, loutish stupidity that, having no abilities of its own to mark it out from the herd, can only indulge in the witless, nihilistic denigration of those whose greater intellect and more honest purpose it feels threatened by both tedious and offensive, Andy.

              You wail the martyr’s cry about ‘abuse’, but, seriously? I mean, even you must be aware how ludicrous this is; ‘ecotard’ ‘climate skinheads’ ‘chimpanzee imitations’ ‘Zyclon [sic] B manufacturers might be more up your alley’ ‘junk scientists like you’ ‘anti science, anti intellectual, and ultimately anti human’ all that stuff that had to be deleted from the last open thread, etc. etc. And you’d better watch I don’t get motivated to spend some time hunting back through your previous incarnations…

              You know, Sweet Pea, we really do have to put up with a lot from you, but, like most remarkable boors, you cannot even begin to acknowledge this, and bleat like a hypocritical brat when your perceived rights – the only ones you find sacred, apparently – are impinged.

              From me ‘imbecile’ is perhaps too stong, but the rest is the purest description.

            6. bill March 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm

              the stuff that got deleted from the other thread was triggered by a particularly offensive comment from Rob Taylor, for which no apology or retraction has been forthcoming. His comment, and my reply to it, was deleted by the moderator without any explanation.

              Maybe a [snip] might have helped.

  5. For the record, here is a selection of Michael Mann’s awards:
    NOAA Outstanding Scientific Publication; John Russell Mather Paper of the Year; American Geophysical Union Editors’ Citation for Excellence in Refereeing; Member of IPCC that shared 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

    Anthony Watts’ awards: under-the-table payments from the Heartland Institute, a lobbying firm that spruiks tobacco, toxic waste and climate change denial.

    “By their fruits, ye shall know them”

  6. Re andyS post at 4:13pm: Unfortunately for you, your sentence prior to your “dull and uninteresting” riposte was “No, the summer hasn’t been extreme”. This load of unmitigated bollocks was clearly intended to convince some (the feeble-minded perhaps, and those who can’t be bothered to check the facts) that the previous assertion about an extreme summer was wrong or overstated. You are the one who was wrong, and there’s an end to it. I suggest that in future before you buy into arguments about something so easily checked on, you do some research. Fat chance! Goodbye – I have better things to do with my time.

    1. prior to your “dull and uninteresting” riposte was “No, the summer hasn’t been extreme”

      According to my personal experience, as I explained. My personal experience doesn’t extend to Nelson, Bangladesh, Moscow, or Timbuktu.

      If it is deemed politically incorrect to comment on the weather then I am extremely sorry for offending you.

    1. From the video, I draw the following conclusions:

      “Climate Scientists” are all white, thirty something people who find it trendy to emulate the misogynistic, violent gansgta rap culture by wearing sunglasses and using profanities, and dancing really badly.

      Who are the cheerleaders in the video – you guys?

  7. One of the defining characteristics of climate denialism is the atrophied sense of humour symptomatic of a rigid, authoritarian mindset.

    So plod on, guys, plod on…

    1. Nice bit of projection Rob.

      From my experience, it is the climate activists that have no sense of humour, a characteristic shared across the mouth-foaming left in general.

      1. You’re so right, Andy – it’s a grim job we warmists do, destroying the global economy and crushing the Third World in the interests of International Socialism, so you’ll have to excuse us if we get a bit “down” at times.

        What’s worse, George Soros is paying us nearly as much as Al Gore said he would….

        1. – it’s a grim job we warmists do, destroying the global economy and crushing the Third World in the interests of International Socialism

          At least you have some sense of self-awareness. That surprises me.
          The amazing thing is that you probably think this is a joke.

    2. Hang on here.

      For a start I have never seen one of the defining characteristics of climate denialism being described as the atrophied sense of humour symptomatic of a rigid, authoritarian mindset. Where dod you get this from? Did you make it up just then?

      Secondly I actually found that funny, just funny in that watching your drunken uncle at a wedding make a fool of himself on the dance floor type of way.

      Finally I have never denied the evidence supporting the case for AGW so why are you only directing this to Andy S?

      1. You’re right, Gosman, I somehow overlooked that talented American stand-up comedian, Rick Santorum, here riffing on Plant Liberation to a denialist audience:

        “The dangers of carbon dioxide? Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is… I didn’t change as the climate changed, I stood tall… The apostles of this pseudo-religion believe that America and its people are the source of the earth’s temperature. I do not.”

        This is hilarious – its like watching your drunken uncle make a fool of himself on the dance floor!

        http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/rick-santorum-dangers-carbon-dioxide-tell-plant-152230291.html

    1. Thank you John — I’m sure your use of the word “fun” is ironic. Many of us read and publish in Wiley journals. We should be writing to the editors and pointing out that the ethics of their publisher are seriously in question. We must ask them to restate their own editorial position on plagiarism. This is further evidence of the corrosive effect of the denialist mentality on academic discourse.

  8. George: yes. Of course, fun was meant in the sense of “see somethign that is hard to believe!”.

    I have some reason to believe that this behavior does not pervade Wiley journals, but then I don’t know. Letters to editors are excellent ideas.
    For instance, even in Wegman, Said, Scott’s WIREs:CS, I *know* that some articles are just fine, written by people I know are accomplished.
    I feel bad for them as they’ve contributed articles to a journal whose reputation will not be good, assuming it stays in existence. I think the other WIREs journals seem OK, for cursory looks, but the problem is that now one doesn’t know.

    On the other hand, I am not sure I have ever heard of massive plagiarism in several articles by the actual editors or a journal. This is surely a rare occurrence, I hope.

    1. This would be one of the more jaw-dropping episodes I’ve seen. It’s all part of the attack on science posed by CC denial. Our learned Editors need to wake up to what is happening. Thank you John for your careful documentation (sorry to go all serious there!).

  9. Here is Yale economist William Nordhaus’ rebuttal of a recent denialist article in the Wall Street Journal that misquoted his work:

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/mar/22/why-global-warming-skeptics-are-wrong/

    The original article (by “Sixteen Concerned Scientists”) is here:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html

    These links are from the latest edition of the NZ Climate Change Research Institute’s excellent newsletter, which you can sign up to here:

    http://lists.vuw.ac.nz/mailman/listinfo/climate-change

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