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Distrust of the Banks

In the United Kingdom feelings run high against banks and bankers. I think that the nation has decided that the bankers are primarily to blame for the depth and duration of the recession. People do not accept that very small increases in growth are meaningful, and so for most people the recession is a continuing event. Continue reading

Emma Thompson’s lecture on the English language; what does she mean?

Emma Thompson is a successful actress who in a recent interview complained that people who do not speak properly upset her. The words she used, as quoted by the BBC, included “we have to reinvest, I think, in the idea of articulacy as a form of personal freedom and power.” She objects to the use of slang because she thinks it makes people sound stupid. Continue reading

Cutting through the climate change anomalies

The problem with climate change is that the topic is genuinely complex, from a scientific point of view. This complexity shows itself in many anomalies. Anomalies are any phenomena which are odd, unusual; they are often unique and deviate from established norms. Climate change science is bursting with anomalies. Scientists, in trying to develop a theory of climate change, have to explain these anomalies. Continue reading

Mr Huhne’s Green Deal – but don’t hold your breath

Mr Huhne is the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate change in the United Kingdom. This post was previously held by Mr Ed Miliband, who is now leader of the opposition. I can only hope, for the sake of the environment, that Mr Huhne makes a better fist of the job than his predecessor. Continue reading

Motives of politicians

It is interesting to speculate on the reasons that people have for becoming politicians. I think most politicians would say that they went into politics because they wanted to improve the lot of people and to put something back into society. They believe that their ideology or political party was the way to do this and so put themselves up for politics. Continue reading

Killing People

I have never supported capital punishment. It is a topic that excites people often into irrational arguments. Personally I have never though it right to kill people convicted even of the most heinous crimes; I have seen the judicial system in action. It is not perfect and frequently grave injustice is done. If a person is convicted wrongfully and not executed, you can at least make some redress, but once executed the matter is beyond redress. However, more importantly, I think that killing criminals is wrong, whether they are killed for sheep stealing (as they have been in England), horse stealing (as they have been in the United States) adultery (as they have been in parts of the Middle East), murder (as they have been in many countries) or genocide and crimes against humanity (as they have been in Germany and Israel). Continue reading

The Balance Sheet of Earth’s Energy –does it add up?

Temperature ranges from the coldest possible temperature (−273.15 degrees Celsius) to the hottest possible temperature. the highest temperature is tens of thousands of time higher than the hottest temperature on earth. Temperatures on Earth range from -89 °C to 58 °C. Humans cannot live within the whole of this range, but part of it, so when compared with the natural range of temperatures it is clear that we need the very hot sun to warm up the earth in order fo humans to live on most of it. The dynamics of the processes must not only warm the earth but keep it warm between -89 °C to 58 °C, so we need energy to keep the earth warm but the earth must also lose energy so as not to overheat. This is called an energy balance. Continue reading

How to decide if there is anthropogenic climate change

The problem with climate change is that the science involves several branches of physics including thermodynamics and electromagnetism, chemistry, biology, as well as interdisciplinary fields such as meteorology, geography, and oceanography. In some ways these various disciplines compete for centre stage in climate change theory and very few scientists are expert in every field of climate change science, which means that to a large extent they must take on trust what other scientists find. Scientists tend to have a bias towards their own field of expertise, so possibly over estimating the importance of their own branch with which they are so familiar. Continue reading

Sweep down to the sea in nature

Irish song writers have written the kind of songs that stay in my memory. Often things that happen can trigger an Irish song in my mind and once in the mind it does not easily leave. One of the greatest Irish song writers was a fellow called Percy French and when I learned about a Genersys Ireland solar thermal installation close to the foot of the mountains of Mourne in the South East of Northern Ireland, I thought that I had better write up this post because Percy French’s song “the Mountains of Mourne” started working through my head. As Percy French told us, where ever you may be, you will remember that the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea. Continue reading