Saturday, January 12, 2013

Jimmy Saville vs Socialist Worker

As a former leftist (yes, I admit it, but I was young, dark-skinned and working class and trapped on a council estate..) I still keep an eye on what the "comrades" are saying. The latest edition of the Socialist Worker (and to be clear, I was never keen on the Trotskyite SWP, especially as an ex-anarchist), includes this snippet from the annual SWP conference:
Julia from Sheffield pointed to the establishment cover-up of the Jimmy Saville case saying that it showed that "the ruling class protect their own".
Who knew that Jimmy Saville was a member of the ruling class? There was me thinking that he was just some creepy light entertainer from up North... Now we know, Saville was a member of the grand bourgeoisie out the keep the proletariat in chains. Still, the comrades of the SWP are on the case. Yep, so long, that is, as the abuser is white and a member of the working classes:
She contrasted it to the racism that has gone along with the discussion of the grooming and abuse of young women.
The moral of this tale is that if you're going to abuse young women make sure you're my colour and not Jimmy Saville.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Thorium Power - In The News Again

I've written about the prospects for thorium power a few times in the past, here for example:

Periodically the subject rears it's head in the mainstream press, the latest example being a piece by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at the Telegraph. He finishes his article thus:
If the Chinese can crack thorium, the world will need less oil, coal, and gas than feared. Wind turbines will vanish from our landscape. There will less risk of a global energy crunch, less risk of resource wars, and less risk of a climate tipping point.
Well, forget the nonsense about climate tipping points, the real good news is that cheap power is essential for global economic development. And, as he rightly points out, a cheap source of power - like shale, as well as thorium - could finally tip the balance away from wind farms once and for all. And that's precisely why the greens will do all they can to fight thorium power in the same way they're fighting shale. Some of the more far-sighted environmentalists will even concede the point about wind farms but will advocate we go for fusion power instead - precisely because that's so far from reality.

Still, if does look as though the prospects for commercial thorium power are improving. However, it would be a shame if the cheapness and relative abundance of shale actually ended up stifling thorium research...

Friday, January 04, 2013

No correlation between global temperatures and CO2

For a good start to the New Year how about taking a look at a recent paper published in the journal Earth System Dynamics? Entitled 'Polynomial cointegration tests of anthropogenic impact on global warming' the paper, which is published as open access and can be downloaded for free, the paper uses robust statistical methods to test for spurious correlations between global temperature and the main drivers of the greenhouse effect (eg CO2, aerosols, total solar irradiance).

To quote from the abstract:
We show that although these anthropogenic forcings share a common stochastic trend, this trend is empirically independent of the stochastic trend in temperature and solar irradiance. Therefore, greenhouse gas forcing, aerosols, solar irradiance and global temperature are not polynomially cointegrated. This implies that recent global warming is not statistically significantly related to anthropogenic forcing. On the other hand, we find that greenhouse gas forcing might have had a temporary effect on global temperature.
Or from the paper itself:
We have shown that anthropogenic forcings do not polynomially cointegrate with global temperature and solar irradiance. Therefore, data for 1880–2007 do not support the anthropogenic interpretation of global warming during this period.
Given the complexity of Earth’s climate, and our incomplete understanding of it, it is difficult to attribute to carbon emissions and other anthropogenic phenomena the main cause for global warming in the 20th century.
Also worth reading are the reviewers comments, which are very positive, a point to keep in mind when the paper is attacked by the climate faithful. And, as always in these situations, we can only speculate on the orgy of publicity (not least from the BBC) the paper would have generated had the results shown a true correlation between CO2 and global temperatures...