Thursday, 31 May 2012

Things I don’t understand – the first of an occasional series. Underground heat



I have long been a ‘denier’ of man-made global warming alarmism. I am certain our climate varies but I don’t believe carbon dioxide emission, which is a minute fraction of the atmosphere, has had or is likely to have, a significant effect on that variation. Having a science background I have read the literature and public science materials with increasing disbelief and incredulity at the childish logic, idiotic pronouncements and absurd certainty of the alarmists.

One of the trigger reasons for my disbelief was how anyone could suggest a huge effect from a minor change to a naturally occurring trace gas while ignoring the great big nuclear reactor in the sky which continuously bathes us in energy and which has always been known to be variable in its output. The power arriving also varying because of the Earth’s orbit, which changes the distance with a complex periodicity. Astronomical orbits are not perfectly circular.

Recently another thought occurred to me. The alarmists are also ignoring what goes on below our feet. The Earth is not an inert, cold, dead lump of rock. The temperature increases very quickly -  some22 degrees per KM of depth, which is a lot - below the Earth’s surface. Basically just 50 miles below the thin surface crust there is liquid rock and below that increasing heat and pressure from nuclear decay, with a temperature of 5,700K at the centre, that’s around the sun’s surface temperature. The Earth’s crust provides some insulation for our feet but cannot hold all that heat in. Were the Sun to switch off completely the Earth would not be an inert lump of rock at absolute zero degrees. 

We also know that the internal heat of the Earth is neither static nor completely enclosed. There are areas of geothermal activity and areas where the heat breaks through as volcanoes, pouring enormous energy and heat onto the surface or heating the sea. Piers Corbyn is (I believe) using the Sun’s influence to try and predict activity that may cause volcanic and earthquake activity.

So how come I have never seen anything about the internal energy workings of the Earth in any literature or discussion? At the most trivial someone needs to prove that the Earth’s internal heat is constant and that a constant contribution to surface temperatures can be validly ignored in any models or discussion. Otherwise no assessment or calculations about energy and temperature at the surface can have any meaning whatsoever.

Monday, 28 May 2012

On holidays north of the border


A few weeks ago Subrosa had a post about the Scottish Tourist Board. Taken together with the recent non-stop wet drought weather conditions and now the switch to summer it had me thinking about holidays in Scotland. Unashamed personal nostalgia follows.

Growing up in the South East of England in the 50s anywhere north of about Cambridge, was a large unexplored area where the map legend said ‘here be dragons’ - or if it didn’t it might as well have done because it was beyond the range of the family transport. But in the very early 70s, having promoted my girlfriend into Mrs W42, she and I decided we would brave the barbarian hordes and aquatic loch monsters to see what this land of heather and whisky was all about.

Armed with the eternal optimism of youth, and the empty pockets of students, we bought an old 1950s Bedford Workabus. Anyone with a long memory will remember them. Rather like a slightly rounded brick with a short stubby bonnet that ensured you could only access the front end of the engine from outside, while the rear was accessed from inside the cab and all the essential twiddley bits that needed maintenance or adjustment were totally inaccessible somewhere up under the dashboard. It had sliding front doors designed to fall off if opened too vigorously and three forward gears selected (using the word in its very loosest sense) by waggling around a small stick on the steering column until something useful or exciting happened. It also had a considerable quantity of rust disguised under an excellent Dulux gloss hand painted finish (if I do say so myself). I had spent the early summer trying to get all four cylinders to cooperate and fire in synchronised regularity and had converted it into a sort of proto-camper van. We gamely set off for the wilderness. 500 miles of old A class roads enlivened only by the Doncaster by-pass, my first ever encounter with a motorway.

I don’t actually remember much of the holiday, I think the stress of driving with the vibration and noise of sitting inches from the engine probably addled my brain. I remember one incident near the west coast on a very wiggly and upsy-downsy roller coaster of a road where we were halted by road works. When it was time to go the van wouldn’t pull away, the steepness of the hill and the alpine camber of the road aided by the rain induced slickness of the surface and a clutch with only two settings – fully engaged or fully disengaged, free from any namby-pamby intermediate state - caused the rear drive wheels to spin, sliding the van sideways towards a large ditch conveniently positioned immediately adjacent to the road. We avoided it, but it was way too close for comfort. Coming back down that road was fun too, we had to park up and while Mrs W42, staying dry in the van, made a meal I jacked each van corner in turn, removed the road wheels and adjusted the primitive drum brakes to give us a sporting chance of survival during the next set of downhill bends.

We didn’t think of Scotland again for some good few years, not until some friends moved to the very north. By that time we were living in the midlands (note to London housing benefit claimants, real working people have to move to places like Stoke to find work and affordable houses). By then we had a couple of kiddies and just bought a ‘posh’ Rover, the newest car we had ever owned and one of the first mass produced cars with all electronic management. The plan was to take two tents and tour up the Scottish west coast eventually arriving at our friend’s place. 

We set out on an average sunny summer day, arriving that evening in gentle rain at a camp site somewhere on the Ayrshire coast where we were directed to put our tents in the camping area, some distance directly in front of the site shop and bar. We set up, decided on an early night and all went well - until just before midnight. About then a huge crowd of cheerfully inebriated demob-happy Glaswegians appeared from the site bar heading for the acres of fixed holiday caravans thoughtfully sited through a gate directly across the tent area from the bar. Had it not been tipping it down with rain and a pitch black night these Pictish hoards might well have taken the path safely around the edge of the tent area, thus avoiding guy ropes, pegs and other miscellaneous obstructions. But sadly it was both tipping it down and pitch black, so they headed in the shortest straight line direction. Fortunately the children were not severely traumatised because the thick accents and a certain amount of alcoholic slurring made the eloquence of the ensuing language unintelligible to their southern ears. We spent the next wet day in that area and another wet night there before deciding to head for somewhere with more circumspect night life.

Squidging our sodden tents into the car we travelled up to Fort William where we found a pretty campsite, with teetotal café only, for the following night. Putting up the tents in the cooling afternoon drizzle we settled for a more restful night and slept solidly, waking up to something that, to our untutored southern eye, looked surprisingly like a swamp or shallow loch. I had always imagined Scottish lochs stayed in one place, as directed by Ordinance Survey, but clearly I was wrong on that point, they are sentient. We carefully slithered the unladen car onto firm tarmac before packing our soggy tents and soggy people into it, and made our way further north. At this point a downside of electronic vehicle management became apparent. Although the engine started and the car drove, every part of the management system had given in to the elements. No dashboard lights, no indicators, no speedometer, and the engine running on some sort of limp home emergency settings. We headed for the Nessie exhibition along Loch Ness, on the basis it had a solid roof, was probably heated and was unlikely to have standing ground water over our shoes, and in any case we had promised the kids a visit there.

Arriving there I initiated our first serious discussion about the wisdom of tenting in Scotland. One of the few times I have issued a family ultimatum. It went something like; we can drive directly to our friends where there is a roof, warmth and dry beds and be there by evening. Or we can drive home to heating, roof and dry beds and be there in time for breakfast, or Mrs W42 could do whatever she liked provided she dropped me at a railway station, because I was not spending another wet night in an (expletive deleted)  tent! We headed for the friends and had a fantastic week, most of which I can’t remember because we were forced to spend so much of it indoors sampling the local produce from the drinks factory down the valley. There is a vague memory of going to see this wonderful picturesque west coast bay where we spent 5 minutes huddled, soaked and shivering on the path, clinging to the railings in the teeth of an Atlantic storm which had obviously been husbanding its energies while crossing the Atlantic with the specific intent of delivering its wrath to the first upright objects it encountered on the west coast of Europe. We were those objects. Some other intrepid holidaymakers explained that on a good day the water was blue and it looked and felt just like the Mediterranean. Maybe it did, who knows. We went to France for our holidays the following summer.

I suppose to be fair I should say we have since been to Scotland and enjoyed some incredible warm dry weather, and it does look beautiful in those conditions, I expect it has this last week.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Alienation


I grew up in a household that was politically aware if not politically active and as a child I knew what was going on. As I developed my own opinions I was frequently annoyed at what politicians did, I disagreed with their policies and methods. Even so there was always the belief that most were, however badly, misguidedly and incoherently, trying to do their best for the country and the people. Democracy had a purpose. Now I see a ‘democratic’ non-choice between two branches of the same world elite. The conservatives want to tax and control us to enrich themselves and their super-rich elite friends in banking and commerce. The Labour party want to tax and control us so that they can bribe parts of the country, specifically the public sector workers and the benefit classes, to vote them into power. Neither party works for the country or the people, and they grow more remote, arrogant, disingenuous and self-serving by the day. I am totally alienated from conventional politics.

In the past, and for hundreds of years, english towns and the countryside around them have lived in a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship. The countryside has provided food, leisure, relaxation space and outdoor activities for townsfolk while the town has provided shops, commerce and services to the rural population. In my lifetime town councils all over the country have destroyed that relationship. I used to travel into town regularly to visit the shops and market but over the years the councils have made their towns increasingly unfriendly for anyone from the surrounding rural areas, especially because we are of necessity car dependent. Many access roads were closed because they were ‘rat runs’. Other roads were made over to the residents, to become ‘resident’s only’ areas, essentially private resident’s car parks, which is very nice for them but removing a valuable public asset paid for by everyone. Nobody has suggested closing the ‘A’ road outside my house so I can park and walk on it! The remaining approved town access routes were fitted with traffic calming, control lights, mini roundabouts and various other ‘improvements’ designed to make travel into to town by car difficult and time consuming. Once in town the only parking was around the edges on expensive council car parks, so anything purchased had to be hauled through the town streets, while in the parking areas the council wardens circled like wolves waiting to fine the unwary delayed returnee.  Having driven people like me out of the town much of the commerce was also forced out, by high rates and lack of customers. The ex-town traders and I now meet up for our essential business on characterless, soulless, wind-swept out of town malls and conduct it as quickly as possible. I now feel no allegiance to the town, I am alienated from it and my local region.

I enjoy live music and there were a number of thriving live venues in my part of the country. The nearest folk club closed when the rural pub went under, the smoking ban being the final nail in its coffin. The town folk club closed when the ‘two in a bar’ rule allowed councils to charge the pub outrageous licence fees for allowing a couple of amateur people with acoustic guitars to play there for free. In any case getting from the club back to the car (on the outskirts of town) through the scum of the binge drinking culture was becoming less and less pleasant. The best club has been ejected because the pub was sold to Wetherspoons. At the same time through a mix of licensing fees, PRS payments, H&S, rates etc the cost of live venue tickets has approximately doubled, one artist who I saw for £15 10 years ago is touring this year at a cost of £25 per ticket, add credit card and handling and parking charge to the night out, so I shan’t go. I’m now forcibly alienated from what was one of life’s pleasures.

I enjoy art and culture. I used to go to London to visit museums and galleries and thrill to the skill of musicians and artists. Preserved sharks and unmade beds are not art, they aren’t even clever. I have nothing in common with today’s ‘cultural’ establishment; it’s totally alien to me.

I was born in London yet it has become effectively a foreign land. It doesn’t feel like my country any more. Actually that’s not because of immigration or race issues, there has always been immigration into the UK and there have always been immigrant communities. Rather it’s because I no longer recognise the attitudes or values of the people I find there, they are not like mine. I have nothing in common with the rich elite who treat it as a playground and I have nothing in common with the chavs and underclass who have no respect for the country or its traditions and values. I don’t even recognise the accents any more, nor do I know how to use an Oyster card or how I should pay the Congestion charge should I want to drive through. I no longer recognise London as my capital city nor want anything to do with it.

I used to get my news from newspapers and the BBC. All news carries an ‘agenda’ and bias added by the media, it’s inherent, but even so they did once report news. What was going on in the world. Nowadays the BBC is a blatant propaganda front for the left wing, Europhile communitarians. The MSM only reports what the Elites want us to hear and in most outlets fills that out with celebrity tittle-tattle and gossip. None of it has any depth or broader perspective and most has no relevance to my life. I don’t bother with the MSM any more, I no longer trust the rubbish they spout.

I was fortunate to be working in a job where we had very early access to the Internet. I spent a lot of time there (working too), got to know some great people and made lifelong friends. But that was when people could be trusted. Now it’s full of scammers writing trick software to steal from me. The corporates try and monitor every move in order to target me with adds. The Intellectual Property industry wants to take ownership of everything on it (in fact everything in real life too) leaving Internet users a choice to be passive or pay copyright fees for anything you want to publish. Now the government want to monitor everything, it’s too much. I am alienated from the Internet too.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Hague demonstrates he's another arrogant out of touch parliamentarian.


I read yesterday, with growing anger, in my Sunday paper Hague’s article explaining that we should work harder, that we should not just get on our bikes but get on airplanes to create growth because the government can’t create growth.

But he was right about one thing, government can’t create growth. Unfortunately for us however government can very easily prevent it.  All these methods (and others) work to prevent growth:

High taxes. Almost half the money I and Mrs W42 we have earned in our lifetime was stolen immediately by government in direct and indirect tax. Much was spent on subsidising other people to have things we couldn’t afford – no matter whether it’s housing subsidy in an area too expensive for us to consider or whether it’s a duck house in the lake - it was wasted. What wasn’t wasted on those things was pissed up the wall on aid, given to the elite’s friends in Brussels as membership fees and thrown away on vanity projects.  What money was left to us after paying for the home, the kiddies, and being responsible and self-sufficient citizens went into a small pension fund. One that was raided, and is still raided, by government on the pretext that some large businesses once misused pension fund tax breaks. It was then subject to a massive banker created crash and further diminished by deliberate low interest rates. Yet this arrogant apology for a human being has the effrontery to tell us we should work harder! Why should we? We did, we have been, we are, and look what it got us!

Red Tape.  Everything in our lives is made difficult, more expensive and less efficient by vast swathes of legislation, licensing, regulation and red tape all of which actively limit growth, sucking effort, time and money out of business, stunting wealth generation for businesses and making things more expensive for consumers (who ultimately pay all the bills of business). Does Hague not remember that this red tape is the very stuff that his friends promised to reduce? 

High Fuel and energy prices. Every single person and every business is being squeezed by energy costs. We have almost the highest petrol prices in the world, which affect every aspect of cost to every sector of the economy.  It is not true that energy costs are out of our control due to international prices. Over half the cost of road transport is directly down to duty. Our electricity cost is artificially inflated by renewable energy subsidies (mostly to other members of the land-owning elite) because of an imbecilic obsession to try and reduce a trace gas level by an amount so tiny that the UK contribution cannot even be measured. We have domestic coal and shale gas enough for most of Europe. Not only are we in this state now but the moronic schoolkids in Westminster plan on adding more fuel duty and a £16 per ton of C02 ‘carbon price floor’ into the mix. Yet this self-satisfied public servant claims that lack of growth is our fault for not working hard enough!

So here is the deal Mr Hague. You need to collect together all your colleagues. Fill your bags with all the red tape, the rules, the regulations, the duties, the taxes on taxes, the EU paperwork, the renewables obligation, the employment regulations, planning laws, licensing rules, quangoes, NGOs, nanny regulations and the like. Then all of you take your luggage for a long walk off a short pier. Leave us with a minimum levy for security and emergency services and with common law to ensure people act honestly and with respect for one another. Just piss off with everything else. Go away, get out of our hair. Then I guarantee there will be growth like never before in our history and with a fraction of the effort.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Government protecting their friends

The Telegraph have a report on part of the Queen's speech, this supposedly concerned with the remarks about  defamation and libel law tourism. Most of which sounds relatively sensible, until we get to the final paragraph which is interesting:

Scientists will also be given better protection against libel claims if they have published their material in peer-reviewed journals. 

So is this UEA's and the alarmists' thank you for helping government with the AGW carbon scam so that the elite could introduce their energy tax? Immunity from prosecution. These politicians certainly don't miss a trick in protecting their friends and helpers.