Monday, December 14, 2009

What has just turned me in favor of global warming

Not in favor of believing it exists (which I already do, although I'm skeptical of details), but in favor of it happening. As in: I want more of it!

Take a look at this record of historical temperatures from ice core samples in Greenland and Antarctica and quake in fear. Good GRIEF we're lucky to be living in one of those warm, terribly-short interglacial periods! And from the Antarctic data, it looks like this is by far the loooongest interglacial in the 400,000 years recorded in that ice core.

Meaning: fear the coming ice age! Maybe we're meant to be producing extra CO_2 to prevent another ice age and save civilization itself.

A little Rumanian culture

Two items from Rumania today: news and music. A Rumanian friend told us about the pianist Florin Chilian, whose beautiful song "Zece" ("Ten") I've linked to. And for keeping up with the news, there's the foreign broadcast of Rumania's public television network, TVRi, which functions a bit like the BBC World Service. It broadcasts online for expatriate Rumanians, and I just noticed the news ticker at the bottom of the screen has one line in English. Huh.

Amazing libraries

Oddee compiles a picture tour of the 20 most amazing libraries around the world. Fascinating to look through. I'm most intrigued by the private library of Jay Walker, described in much more detail in this Wired article from last year. I've got a friend with an extensive private library in his apartment--something as large as many high school libraries, in fact--but it's still got nothing on this one, which is full of artifacts as well as books.

So are the Brits trying to make a detour around Prince Charles?

I shouldn't be able to care less, but I have some reluctant interest in how succession works in monarchies. In the early days, succession wasn't a matter purely of inheritance, and you could have several competing claims to the throne. This often resulted in battles and hacking and poisonings and the Norman invasion and such, so eventually, the British and other monarchies started clearer rules for inheriting the title. Less bloodshed that way, but the problem arose that the people who are born in the line of succession are not necessarily born with the talents for ruling. Ahh, the problems inherent in a system of inherited privilege. Aristocracy..."rule by the best" my foot.

In the modern day, the monarch in Western countries does a whole lot of nothing but can be fairly said to be a rallying personality for the nation in times of crisis, at least until the whole Princess Diana mess came about, and the famous British stiff upper lip turned into weepy, pouty, maudlin nonsense. Anyway, you still get the problems from time to time that the next in line for the throne will be a nut and therefore, at the least, an embarrassment. So it is, apparently, with Prince Charles, and therefore we are seeing hints that the royal family is finding ways around him.

I'm a little disappointed, to tell you the truth. I think a King Charles III would provide great entertainment for a long time, not the least to us foreigners.

Climategate: roundup of the deeper analysis of "Mike's Nature Trick"

There have been a few really excellent articles lately that probe "Mike's Nature trick" in good depth.

Anthony Watts has cross-posted this article from The American Thinker, which is the best one I have found for understanding just what "Mike's Nature trick" really is. We've been wondering if there was any outright manipulation of the data to reach a predetermined conclusion, and I believe Marc Sheppard has found the smoking gun. Briefly: in the IPCC reports, when they've shown the so-called "hockey stick" plots (a thousand years of nearly-constant temperatures, followed by a sharp rise in the 20th century), they've had several data sets to use for reconstructing the historical temperatures. One of those is from tree rings. Thermometer records aren't consistently applied until about the 20th century, so we can't compare them with the tree rings or other "proxy" measurements except in the 20th century. But the tree ring data show a decline in temperatures from about 1940 (and a steeper decline after ~1960) to now, while the thermometer records go sharply upwards in the late-20th century. The discrepancy is a little embarrassing. So what do you do, if you're trying to convince people that this is all settled science? In order to "hide the decline," you either don't plot the tree ring data after 1960, or you simply fake it to make it match the thermometer records.

The UK's Daily Mail provides a good summary of the foregoing article, along with some context. The American Thinker piece is more technical, and the Daily Mail's might make a good introduction to it.