* Posts by Douglas Lowe

62 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Jul 2008


Blue sky basic income thinking is b****cks

Douglas Lowe

Sorry, but this comment is so vague and hand-wavy I have no idea what you're trying to say with it. Can you try again (with proper proof, or references to some proof, for your claims)?

Douglas Lowe

Nice. If you disagree with the study that the Joseph Rowntree Foundation undertook on this subject then perhaps you could tell us all what is wrong with it, and provide proof for your arguments, rather than just crass insults?

Douglas Lowe

"...and families who have been without work for generations."

I stopped reading at this point.

If you're going to argue against a basic income then at least have the decency to base your argument on facts.

Research has proved that "cultures of worklessness" do not exist, and that it is rare to even find even two generations of complete worklessness, let alone multiple generations. The myth of the "feckless poor" is a right-wing fairytale designed to excuse our society from caring properly for those who need our help.


Sterling's post-Brexit dollar woes are forcing up tech kit prices

Douglas Lowe

Re: and yet still

Sorry, but you're plain wrong. The euro has got weaker against the dollar, not stronger - it dropped from roughly 1.125 dollars to 1.100 dollars after the referendum.


Brexit? Cutting the old-school ties would do more for Brit tech world

Douglas Lowe

Re: Another remainer...

"I sometimes hark back to the days when the village idiot - or 'natural' would stumble around, get looked after and fed an treated as one would a pet dog, but be generally happy because after all it was a Christian country, and there but for the grace of god...and instead see the mumbling incoherent schizophrenic accosting people in the town centre before being dragged off to who knows where."

I almost took you as a sensible, if on the other side of the fence to me, commentator. Then you spouted this claptrap, and all vestiges of respect for your position that I may have had faded away.

Medieval Britain was not a halcyon period of social responsibility, where we looked after our own with love and respect. Go away and read up on your history (especially on the witch trials that we used to persecute social misfits), don't come back until you actually understand what progress we've made in the last 500 years.

The last time Earth was this hot hippos lived in Britain (that’s 130,000 years ago)

Douglas Lowe

Re: Back in the 70's...

IIRC the new ice age was meant to start sometime before the industrial revolution really got going. I believe it is farming which most researchers credit with stopping us dropping into a new ice age. Which is a good thing, it's just a shame that the burning of fossil fuels threatens to send us to the other extreme instead.

Douglas Lowe

Re: It's true!

"Can anyone recomend a tech site that resembles how The Register was in September 2015 before the PC coup?"

You mean when The Reg rode the post climate-gate denialist-propaganda wave with a deluge of click-bait articles full of half-baked comments dressed up as scientific fact?

Yes, I do remember those times - and I'm glad to see that The Reg has started publishing proper science articles on this subject instead.

There's ONE country that really likes the iPhone 5c as well as the 5s

Douglas Lowe

Re: 5c

I'm still using my 3GS - which is still going strong even after getting dunked in the sink and thrown down a couple of flights of stairs (though admittedly with the help of a rubber case). If I upgrade at some point I'd much prefer to have another plastic backed phone, rather than one with a pointless glass back which just something else to break, so the 5c is looking much more appealing than the 5s at the moment (at least until the app designers have had a chance to make proper use of the 64-bit chipset).

Global warming still stalled since 1998, WMO Doha figures show

Douglas Lowe

Re: The warming has stopped....

It's good to avoid global cooling - and maybe our CO2 emissions have helped us do that - but let's try not to go too far the other way either ;-)

SECRET 28 'scientific experts' who Greened the BBC - Revealed!

Douglas Lowe

Re: Impartiality and scientific theories


Great scientific advances can be made by mavericks who prove the current consensus wrong. However 99%+ of those people who believe that they are such a maverick are just wrong. To the scientific consensus you have to: a) understand the basic physics behind them; b) construct a coherent alternative theory which explains the observed phenomena; c) convince other researchers that your theory is more valid than the currently accepted explanations for those observations.

Most AGW denialists fail at point (a). Of those who have passed that point a few might manage to achieve point (b). But none have provided any theory which survives examination by other experts to achieve point (c). Until someone does that then AGW is the best explanation we have for the observed climatic changes of the last 50 years.

Douglas Lowe
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Re: Impartiality about what?

@Dodgy Geezer

Except that global temperatures have risen in line with the scientific predictions made for the last 30 years. And there have been no proposed CO2 sources other than anthropogenic sources which could have caused the increase in CO2 concentrations observed over the last 50 years. It's only in denialist circles are these basic scientific facts disputed.

Douglas Lowe

Re: Impartiality about what?

"is the the eco-totalitarian astroturfers of the UN would like to implement policies which reduce atmospheric CO2 to levels at which plants fail to grow"


Where the hell did you get this juicy tidbit of mis-information from?

Douglas Lowe

Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

"Impartiality always requires a breadth of view: for as long as minority opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space."

I've seen few arguments from the sceptics against the current scientific knowledge which are truly coherent - most seem to rely on a scatter-gun approach to trying to deny the anthropogenic influence. Additionally, while sceptics persist in claiming that ice-loss in the Arctic is somehow balanced by sea-ice gains in the Antarctic, and cherry-picking short (~10 year) time periods in the temperature record in order to "prove" that warming has stopped, we cannot truly call their claims honest either.

"The BBC has many public purposes of both ambition and merit – but joining campaigns to save the planet is not one of them."

This seems fair to me too. Still doesn't mean that those who argue against the scientific consensus without providing an equally coherent and reasoned theory of their own should be given equal consideration.

Douglas Lowe

Impartiality and scientific theories

You claim that the BBC has abandoned it's impartiality over climate change. I would suggest, instead, that it is simply reporting the best scientific knowledge that we have at the moment on the subject. If impartiality means that the BBC has to give airtime to every person who thinks that they know better than the scientific establishment then we'd be up to our eyeballs in documentaries on faked moon-landings, perpetual motion machines, and world governments run by giant lizards. Impartiality is not the same as credulity.

Last month ties for WARMEST September on RECORD

Douglas Lowe

Re: Nice graph, however...

There are natural cycles superimposed on top of the warming that we are causing - however we should also remember that a lot of the air pollution that we were pumping out in the early half of the 20th century formed a hazy layer of aerosol particles which actually had a cooling effect. The clean air laws introduced in the middle of the 20th century did a lot to reduce mortality from lung diseases, but as an unintended consequence they skewed the anthropogenic influence more strongly towards heating the atmosphere.

Polar sea ice could set another record this year

Douglas Lowe
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How many strawmen can you fit into one article?

You can't claim that sea-ice loss in the Arctic doesn't matter just because there's an increase in the Antarctic. Nor that everything will be fine because ice cover will recover quickly again if given a chance.

The reason why Arctic sea-ice loss is important is the influence that the Arctic has on weather patterns in the whole of the Northern hemisphere. Changing the radiative balance in the Arctic has consequences for the strength and position of the jet stream, which plays a major role in controlling our weather. Reducing the strength of the jet stream, as will happen if the temperature gradient between the equator and poles decreases, is likely to result in longer-lasting localised weather events, such as the heat wave over the Eastern US and the severe rain over the UK that we saw this summer.

Study fingers humans for ocean heat rise

Douglas Lowe

Re: I wish my thermometer were this accurate

"As I read the graph, we have one tenth of 1 degree Centigrade in 50 years. It's a long way short of the "5 degrees per decade" of the Warmist cult. And, it's not clear if a small change in solar heating levels over this period could be the cause."

The temperature increases shown are well short of 5 degrees per decade - but as that's the kind of temperature increase which only a Hollywood disaster movie would predict I think you're simply constructing a strawman to knock down here.

Also, if changes in solar radiation over this period were responsible for this heating then it would be *clearly* visible in the records. There is nothing in the records of solar activity that matches this increase in heating, therefore it cannot be due to this.

Toy Story: Mystic Met needs swanky new kit, swoon MPs

Douglas Lowe
IT Angle

Thanks for the political spin...

Now can we have an article on why the Met Office need a supercomputer for their forecast models, rather than just using a distributed grid? And while you're at it an article on the difference between *weather* forecasting models and *climate* models would be appreciated too, as there seems to be a lot of confused people round here (including on your writing team). This is meant to be an IT news site after all, not the Daily Mail.

Met Office wants better supercomputer to predict extreme weather

Douglas Lowe

Re: Upgrade the software, not the hardware

I trust Met Office predictions past 48 hours - but then I use them to get a general idea of what the weather will be like over a period of several days, rather than trying to determine when this evening I'm least likely to get rained on walking the dogs.

Also, increasing the processing power will allow the use of higher resolution models - which are needed if you're attempting to predict (very) localised extreme weather events. Increasing the efficiency of (already well optimised) code will not make the same increase in resolution possible.

Douglas Lowe

Re: The real problem ...

The "barbecue summer" forecast of several years ago (which went so spectacularly wrong) *was* one which was blown out of all proportion by the news media. The actual forecast the met office was a 60% chance of a hot, dry, summer - it was pure wishful thinking (and the blatant disregard for honesty which our tabloid media displays so widely) which changed this into the "barbecue summer" prediction.

iPhone users richer, brainier, more tasteful than Android-ers

Douglas Lowe


...they'll never have left the US either ;-)

Sun attempts to ID entire FA Cup Final crowd

Douglas Lowe


In all likelihood that section of the crowd was picked by the journalists for the close-up image precisely because it embodied the stereotype of football fans. Confirmation bias can be very obvious at times in news reports.

Give the Met Office £10m, says Transport Committee

Douglas Lowe
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wrong people? you mean Weather Action?

Until Piers Corbyn publishes the details of his forecasting methods, and submits *all* his forecasts (not just a cherry-picked selection) for proper, independent, analysis, I'll not trust his forecasts any more than I'd trust some crazy guy reading the patterns in chicken entrails.

Fukushima situation as of Wednesday

Douglas Lowe

No more...

I agree - Lewis Page please could you stop writing these overly optimistic articles about the safety of these nuclear incidents which have not, yet, been bought under control.

At the same time, I'd also like to request that all the media doom-whores out there also stop writing their overly pessimistic articles about these nuclear incidents which have not, yet, caused significant radiation exposure to very many people at all.

Of course, the second request is never going to be fulfilled; as scare stories = big money. So, while I don't fully share with your optimism Mr Page, please do keep on writing these informative articles.

Anonymous collective begins leaking Bank of America emails

Douglas Lowe


There have been cases of leaked emails before now which have been hyped up like mad, but have contained nothing but innuendo and a few ill-advised phrases.

What excites the public isn't the same as evidence which would stand up in a court of law.

UK biz prejudiced against public sector staff

Douglas Lowe

How does this survey make sense?

The only information of value that can be taken from this survey is that private companies wont be creating jobs as fast as the government is sacking public service workers. Asking companies if they would employ ex-public service staff strikes me as such a poorly defined question, with no situational context, that the statistics are meaningless noise used to back up a newspaper article with predefined conclusions.

What a waste of time and effort - this would never happen in the highly efficient private sector would it.

Oh, hang on a second...

Miniskirted Brazilian is appealing...

Douglas Lowe


The university subsequently expelled her after she was hounded by the baying mob. This they would be responsible for, and is presumably what the judge set the compensation based on.

Texas Chain Saw Massacre declared top horror flick

Douglas Lowe


I guess the Texas Chain Saw Massacre was scary when it was first released, but it has not aged well (unlike, say, The Exorcist or Wicker Man). Too much repetition of shots, and the ridiculous chase scene at the end, had me almost falling asleep when I went to see it 10 years ago in the local art cinema.

I not too that the majority of the judges seem to have only picked English-language films - for supposed "experts" this cultural myopia is very disappointing.

Samsung shows 'airfoil' luxury laptops

Douglas Lowe

Style over substance

Your Mac Air may be slim, but it's got a poor (and non-swappable) battery life. What's the point of a slim-line laptop if you have to keep it plugged into a wall when you want to use it?

Apple Magic Trackpad

Douglas Lowe

Why wireless?

It's a great idea - I find myself missing my macbook's trackpad when using desktops with mice. But I'm resisting buying one because they're only available as wireless. I don't want to have to have a standard wired mouse as a backup for the inevitable time I forget to have charged batteries to hand when it runs out of juice. And why separate batteries? Surely they could just build in the battery and provide a USB cable for recharging from your computer?

Woman sues to force exposure of YouTube bullies

Douglas Lowe

From the NYDailyNews article:

"Franklin, who graduated from Duke in 1999 with degrees in biology and psychology, appeared in several YouTube videos put up by Columbia Business School that show her traveling to Africa and offering advice to incoming MBA students."

Doesn't particularly sound like porn to me, unless Columbia Business School are having to branch out in these hard economic times.

Global warming brings peace and happiness

Douglas Lowe

Who pays which cost?

Economic development could be hindered by both adaptation and mitigation, neither is cost free. Whichever route is chosen, we should aim to ensure that the brunt of the costs are paid by those who can afford to, i.e. us.

Douglas Lowe

Adaptation vs. Mitigation

I agree with you that wealth and technology will provide a substantial shield against the effects of global climate change - but this is no reason to accept that we have to adapt to climate change, rather than trying to reduce it.

The structures underpinning our civilization have been constructed to take best (well, reasonable, anyway) advantage of the current climatic zones. Changes in global mean temperature will most likely lead to changes in these climatic zones, causing us to have to change crops, building designs (due to temperature/weather changes), land use, etc. Large changes in global mean temperature (such as entering another ice age) will also lead to large changes in sea level - which will require us to undertake massive reconstruction of our global transport links as current ports are either submerged, or left high and dry. All this is going to cost money. So, the question is: what would be the costs to our civilization of adaptation for the range of possible temperature changes that we may experience, and would the cost of reducing that change (either partially or fully) be less?

Mega new climate science: 'Runaway' effect exaggerated

Douglas Lowe

CO2 gas/solute balance

The CO2 content of the ocean is influenced by both the water temperature *and* the CO2 mixing ratio in the atmosphere above the ocean (as well as by the composition of the sea water - but we'll ignore that for now).

Increasing the temperature of the oceans will decrease the amount of CO2 that can be dissolved in the ocean, for a given fixed mixing ratio of CO2 in the atmosphere. Conversely, increasing the CO2 mixing ratio of the atmosphere will increase the amount of CO2 which will dissolve in the ocean, for a given fixed temperature.

So, it's a question of which factor increases most: if it the atmospheric mixing ratio of CO2 then the CO2 content of the oceans will increase; if it's temperature then the CO2 content of the oceans will decrease.

There has been no serious suggestion that CO2 released from the oceans will cause runaway heating, in our current scenario, because it's is increasing CO2 content which is causing the heating. It is possible, though, that in the past rising temperatures have led to the release of CO2 from oceans (causing increases in atmospheric CO2).

The only important effect I could imagine for CO2 release from oceans in the current scenario would be that CO2 release from the oceans after we stop large-scale CO2 emissions *could* extend the period of MMGW influence. But that would depend on the rate of gas-solute exchange (compared to reservoir size), and the comparative rates of CO2 chemical decay in the two media.

UK polling stations turn away 'hundreds' of voters

Douglas Lowe

The Beeb says voters were "fuming", but we believe they mean non-voters.


Douglas Lowe

postal votes

should only be a last resort for those who absolutely can't make it to the polling booth.

I think a better idea would be to either have the elections on a weekend, or to declare election day as a national holiday.

Douglas Lowe

See the French as a bad example...

... of runoff's between highest placed candidates.

This led to left-leaning voters having to vote in Chirac in 2002, after a multiplicity of left-wing candidates in the first round of voting left the two right-wing candidates as marginally in front and so able to go through to the 2nd round (even though the left-wing candidates got well over 50% of the vote between them in the 1st round).

A far better system would be Single Transferable Vote.

Mystic Met closed Europe with computer model

Douglas Lowe

I agree...

...it would be great to have the government provide more field work equipment for tracking this kind of event (though I think that we'd be better off having more aircraft, rather than more balloons). However the cost of providing this would be very high, and the equipment would not be as useful for other work if it was required to be readily deployable with 24 hours (our department conducts field experiments in Borneo, Chile, France, etc, as well as ship-based campaigns - none of which would be possible if the equipment and researchers were on call for UK work). If such a network was to be setup it would have to be funded in addition to current research work, it could not be funded by moving money from other projects.

Douglas Lowe


vic 4, I don't think that El Reg (which was who trox was commenting on) advise air traffic control. Well, not on anything to do with weather forecasting anyway ;-)

Douglas Lowe


How many? 20? 30? 100?

Will you chip in for the optical particle counters required for each one too? And the ground crew (plus transport) to deploy, follow and retrieve each balloon? And the trained technicians to analyze the data within the 1-2 hour window in which the data will actually be useful?

And then will you pay for their upkeep and training during the 20-30 years in between the extreme incidents during which their immediate deployment will be useful?

Douglas Lowe
Dead Vulture

Going to the dogs

That is all

Oops: Chief Climategate investigator failed to declare eco directorship

Douglas Lowe


So the Peer forgot to list one environmental group he's associated with, and you make out that he's hiding his allegiances; even while pointing out that he's listed his affiliations with so many other environmental groups that his interests are quite clear to everyone. Sure, it's interesting to see what the Peer's connections are, but this story isn't even a storm in a teacup.

Climategate hits Westminster: MPs spring a surprise

Douglas Lowe

Show all your workings...

"I have read the Russian report on the Russian part of their data"

So, did you read the Russian report critically - checking whether their claims were correct and what impact the supposed errors would have on the data? Or did you accept their claims without question simply because they fitted with your worldview and were written with a little rhetorical flourish?

The myth of Britain's manufacturing decline

Douglas Lowe

Nothing to do with Maggie?

So the drop of 10% in the value of manufacturing between 1978 and 1982 is just pure coincidence then?

Would be interesting to see what the growth in value of manufacturing is for a similar period for countries which didn't make significant cuts in their heavy industries at the start of the 80's - see if Maggie's cuts enabled better growth of manufacturing in the long term, or if the reduction during the 80's has simply held down the comparative value of British manufacturing.

'Domestic extremism' police called in on climate hack

Douglas Lowe

Well, as I said in the first place...

...it's the content of the documents which matter, not the method of release.

There's issues raised by the documents which do need, and are being, investigated; such as the comments made by Prof Jones on FOI.

However I've yet to see anything come out of these documents which calls into question the validity of the research done at CRU, or the theory behind MMGW.

Please note this isn't a request for links to analysis of single lines of 'dodgy' code taken out of completely out of context - I've see plenty of those already, and none have turned out to have any relevance to anything.

Douglas Lowe


1) The majority of the articles about the CRU hack/leak on sites like realclimate.org have addressed issues raised by the contents of the documents, not focused on the method of release. The only people I see speculating about the nature of the release are denialists - who are the very people I'd have thought would have been going through the documents with a fine tooth-comb rather than obsessing over the mechanics of the release.

2) Nobody's come forward claiming to be the internal "whistleblower" on this issue. Unless that happens then there's no relevance of the whistle-blower protection legislation to this case, because there's nobody claiming it's protection.

3) The only people who participated in a criminal act here are the hackers - nobody else reading these documents is going to get into trouble, nor am I aware of anybody seriously suggesting that people reading these documents will be prosecuted.

As far as I see it, the only reason for denialists to obsess over the method of release is the fact that there's no smoking gun which proves that climate scientists having been engaged in a deliberate scam to make up evidence of global warming. It's the disappointment that their world view has not been vindicated by these documents which makes them clutch at the slim possibility that this is from a whistleblower not an outside hacker.

Douglas Lowe

"hack" vs "leak"

I'm greatly amused by those who insist that this was a leak rather than a hack. It doesn't matter one jot how the emails and data was released - it's the contents by which the CRU centre will either be vindicated or damned.

Tories would scrap 50p broadband tax

Douglas Lowe
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Time warp

So the Tories intend to repeal the hunting ban, and to not fund communication upgrades for the countryside. Welcome to 1910.

PS - AC, the tax hasn't been introduced yet, as the article explained (or would have, if you'd read it).

Snow Leopard forces silent Flash downgrade

Douglas Lowe


I think ThomH was being sarcastic ;-)

Feds break Apple's code of App Store silence

Douglas Lowe


So we've two voice call apps: Google Talk and Skype.

Skype is allowed by Apple, and can use your address book, but doesn't upload it onto their servers (but you can still use the contacts you've added to your servers already).

Google Talk would apparently want to upload all your contacts onto their servers, and so far hasn't been approved as an app by Apple.

There has already been huge (well, huge within the iPhone community...) uproar over apps uploading all your contact data from your address book (i.e. Aurora Feint when it was first released). So it seems very likely to me that Apple are actually delaying approving the Google app because of data privacy issues. Apples approach to apps certainly isn't consistent - but in this case they may well have a valid reason.