* Posts by James Smith 3

47 publicly visible posts • joined 30 Jun 2009

Climate scientists agree: Humans cause global warming

James Smith 3

Re: Young Turks

"Any young turk out there will catch the cherry-picking and rush to publish a paper pointing out the cherry-picking, thereby discrediting the first scientist and enhancing his own reputation for scientific acuity."

Well that's fine in theory, but in practice no young turk will be going anywhere near attempting to discredit other scientists, especially when those scientists are leaders in their field and their friends have a say in whether said young turk has a future career in science.

This problem is documented in Lee Somlin's book "The Trouble With Physics" where he discusses how it's very difficult to get a career in theoretical physics unless you sign up to string theory. Any young scientist attempting to confront the orthodoxy is likely not to have a future in physics. I fear that climate science has gone the same way.

Climate watch: 2012 figures confirm global warming still stalled

James Smith 3

Re: Riding Up the Down Escalator

It makes more sense to use graphs that actually cover the last decade if that's what you're going to talk about, rather than a graph from wikipedia that stops at 2006.


Frack me! UK shale gas bonanza 'bigger than North Sea oil'

James Smith 3

Re: @ James Smith 3

However, the real world involves burning the fuel in a power plant, and gas fired power plants have been shown to produce half of the CO2 of their coal fired counterparts.


"The CO2 emissions from Natural Gas Combined Cycle (NGCC) plants are reduced relative to those produced by burning coal given the same power output because of the higher heat content of natural gas, the lower carbon intensity of gas relative to coal, and the higher overall efficiency of the NGCC plant relative to a coal-fired plant.(1)"

“The average emissions rates in the United States from natural gas-fired generation are: 1135 lbs/MWh (Mega Watt hours) of carbon dioxide, 0.1 lbs/MWh of sulfur dioxide, and 1.7 lbs/MWh of nitrogen oxides. Compared to the average air emissions from coal-fired generation, natural gas produces half as much carbon dioxide, less than a third as much nitrogen oxides, and one percent as much sulphur oxides at the power plant.(2)"

James Smith 3

Re: @NomNomNom

In practice, energy now being generated from coal will be replaced by energy generated from gas, resulting in less CO2 emitted, which has already happened in the US.

Fixed for you..... did you read the article?

O2 network staggers across UK

James Smith 3

No no no...

Thumbs DOWN if you think it's time for CEO Ronan Dunne to resign over this.


Pirate Bay founder arrested in Cambodia

James Smith 3

Re: All in a name.

They should've called the site "Google".... but seriously, if the site was called something like "AllTheTorrentsInTheWorld" then it's possible to claim that they were just indexing torrents and the fact that there were torrents to copyrighted material wasn't their fault; they just indexed everything after all.

However, with a site called "ThePirateBay" it strongly suggests that the original intent was to set up a site which promoted the smuggling of illicit material, with a old pirate ship for a logo, just to make sure you're not in any doubt as to the purpose of the site.

Mind you, whether or not the judicial system takes that intent into account is another matter....

Ice core shows Antarctic Peninsula warming is nothing unusual

James Smith 3

Re: Agenda?

In my experience it's quite rare for the mainstream news outlets to stray from the standard pro-AGW reporting. So, yes, the Reg is alternative. Mind you, it appears that Roger Harrabin is starting to get bored of drinking the kool aid in this article about the use of the word "unprecedented" that relates to recent reports about Arctic melting:


McIntyre: Climate policy crippled by pointless feel-good gestures

James Smith 3
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Re: Cleaning Out The Augean Stables.

It's perfectly reasonable for the policy makers to follow the advice of the IPCC. When making decisions about something you're not an expert, it makes sense to take the advice of the experts in the field. Without the relevant scientific knowledge the policy makers cannot question the advice of the IPCC, so must take it as truth. In this way the IPCC effectively defines policy with its conclusions. This is dangerous if the report isn't entirely unbiased, as some claim.

You're right that forming another panel isn't the way to go. It would be really obvious political maneuver in an attempt to change the result of the science. Science is supposed to be the driver of policy, not the other way around, but it shouldn't seek to define that policy - that's the job of politics. The real answer is for the current panel to be more transparent and amenable to criticism. There is evidence that what makes up the IPCC report isn't entirely unbiased. They don't appear to mind where the results come from as long as it looks like the right answer and keeps the report "on message". (See GlacierGate for a good example). I think that the attempts by members of the IPCC to define policy rather than just present an honest picture of the science is a great deal of what Climate Audit is all about.

US ecosystems basically unaffected by global warming, studies show

James Smith 3

Re: PNAS Review

I'm not denying the consensus. Just your evidence for it.

So I can't suggest a better metric. Doesn't mean the one used in the paper is any good. It doesn't mean their conclusions are sound either.

Imagine two researchers tossing coins. Each time they perform the experiment they write a paper. One researcher always gets "heads", the other always "tails". If there was an editoral bias towards publishing "heads" papers (it sells more journals for instance) then the first researcher would appear to have greater expertise due to having more papers published. Do you see how the bias has obviously affected the link between getting published and expertise?

For the conclusion of the paper to be valid it must prove that the result is not affected by any potential bias. It's an obvious source of error that must be accounted for.

Do you think we can solve the problem of wave-particle duality by looking at how many papers were written about each? Quantity does not equal quality.

James Smith 3

Re: PNAS Review

I was just pointing out that your call to authority is based on publication counts and is therefore potentially affected by all sorts of bias. (Funding, peer review, confirmation, editoral... the list is endless) Sure, expertise can be measured by publication count, but only if you assume that there's no bias. There's so much politics involved around climate change, I'm not sure that's true in this case.

In fact, Dr Mouse's post was about sources of bias and your post about the PNAS review does nothing to answer those points. It may even be evidence of the bias he's talking about.

Was the review peer reviewed itself or is it just "grey" literature?

James Smith 3

Re: PNAS Review

That paper just measures "expertise" by counting how often a researcher got published.

Anyone see a problem with that?

James Smith 3

Re: Interesting.

Please could you elaborate on where you got "6 of 17" from? I can't seem to find it in either the article or the paper itself.

Ice age end was accelerated by CO2

James Smith 3

Re: Dodgy science

I'm not convinced by their explanation of this either. The BBC has a good article with a clearer explanation and some nice graphs to back it up: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17611404

The sun warms Antarctica and that then causes a CO2 increase which warms the rest of the world. Sounds logical, but wouldn't the CO2 derived warmth then feed back into the Antarctica temperature graph? I can't see evidence of that; the global temperature just looks like a delayed version of the Antarctican one.

They could well be onto something with their theory, but I'm not sure they've got all their ducks in a row yet.

Lords give automatic smut censorship bill the once-over

James Smith 3
Big Brother

Already in use

Certain mobile phone providers already have a system like this in place.


and as you can see from the comments of that article it worked soooo well.

30-year-old global temperature predictions close to spot-on

James Smith 3

Re: What if its a hoax

Your post is very similar to Dave 126's post earlier. Have you guys been comparing notes or something?

Pacific nation prepares to flee rising seas

James Smith 3

Re: Think of it as insurance...

You don't mind because the amount you pay for your insurance is relatively small. If you had to pay a life changing amount for your home insurance because the insurance company says your house is very likely to get flooded in the near future, you'd be quite annoyed if they turned round ten years later and said "whoops, sorry we got it wrong". You'd be asking for your money back. (with a pitchfork.)

Your second point is an interesting one. I was thinking long the same lines.

James Smith 3

Re: Well done to the Kiribatians

Huh? Surely "whether sea levels are rising or not" has a great deal of bearing on whether relocating the entire Kiribatian population is a "sensible approach"?

James Smith 3

Re: Think of it as insurance...

Best case? Well, that depends who you are. If you're someone involved in the decision to move or a scientist/enviromentalist that said that the sea was going to rise, then you might be in a bit of trouble. Everyone isn't going to be breathing a sigh of relief; they'll be round with their pitchforks demanding to know who was responsible for turning their lives upside down for no good reason.

This is the age old "better to do something just in case" argument. What really matters is getting the correct information and making the decision correctly. This is an excellent example of why good science is vital and how alarmism could cause unnecessary pain and suffering.

I'm not saying that the Kiribati people shouldn't relocate in the face of a grave climate threat, but there better actually be a grave climate threat or there will be hell to pay.

CBOSS puts out operator bait: Dinner date with 'booth babe'

James Smith 3

Re: Still none the wiser

Well quite... sounds like they're actively trying avoid describing what the company actually does.

Also reminds me of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuhYd9L_d7w

Climate models need revising: Droughts, heat waves not such a big deal

James Smith 3


I think you got the definition of dogma wrong. It should be:

Dogma - writing a definition of the word "dogma" on a forum that is obviously biased by your own political viewpoint.

New sat data shows Himalayan glaciers hardly melting at all

James Smith 3

No strawman

Ok, I'm confused. Even the IPCC don't follow your "realism":


Which is the link from the article. Do you even read it?

James Smith 3

Of course you can draw a conclusion. You can conclude that the amount of change is smaller than the accuracy of your equipment. And as that is quite a bit smaller than the previously accepted figure you can also conclude that the accepted figure is wrong.

James Smith 3

Not really. It just means the change is so small that they're having trouble measuring it accurately with the tools they're using, but they do know that the change is small.

Yes, the change could be between +16 and -20, but it's more likely to be in the middle of that range. All depends on what's causing the potential errors.

EFF helps MegaUpload users claw legit stuff back from Feds

James Smith 3

I think this is a better example:

The local church has a notice board that people put documents on so everyone else can read them. A load of people posted things they shouldn't so the church has been cordoned off by the police and the vicar hauled into court as he was making a lot of money by turning a blind eye. Trouble is, the notice board was rented and the owner has come to collect it, threatening to put all the documents in the bin in the process.

James Smith 3

Huh? What on earth are you guys on about? The feds aren't deleting the data. The hosting companies will be because they're no longer being paid by MegaUpload to keep the data.

Except of course they won't be deleting anything, because no-one in their right mind would delete data that is central to such a large scale investigation to avoid the chance of being hauled into court themselves.

Ocean currents emerge as climate change hot-spots

James Smith 3

amanfromearth asked a perfectly reasonable question (which still hasn't been addressed in any sensible level of detail) and as was swiftly set upon by a pack of wild dogs.

It is this kind of argument that makes me not want to take my climate change medicine and instead ask awkward questions. Lots of very awkward questions.

Some people seem to think it's correct to distort and exaggerate in order to close the door on the argument because they believe they're right. This is very dangerous. It is important for science that there is an open and mature discussion about these very important issues.

Bit-part actress slings sueball at IMDb over age gripe

James Smith 3


Well Famke Janssen was born in 1964 and she isn't exactly short of work!

Duff Mars probe team sweats under Medvedev menaces

James Smith 3

Too much pressure

With such fantastic opportunities to win a large fine or even imprisonment, what's the betting that everyone involved has suddenly lost the appetite to work out exactly what went wrong?

iPhone 4/4S 'self combusts' in airliner inferno

James Smith 3

593ºC or more. Sounds pretty hot to me.


DfT 'unwittingly' bigged-up speed camera benefits

James Smith 3


@Suspicious Git: Actually I have to apologise. In turns out that Germany has 4 times as much autobahn as the UK has motorway. That makes the accident rates pretty much the same.

On relfection, looks like I should concede the aerodynamics point as well. The effect isn't significant enough to argue against raising the limit by 10-20 mph. And the motorway design should cope without any trouble.

Let's go for it. 80mph for the win! That's what everyone is doing anyway.

Mines the one with humble pie recipe in the pocket.

James Smith 3

Some figures

@Suspicious Git. Yup, miles travelled is relevant. Surprised you didn't go and look. From the same EU source as above:

Germany 6613 fatal accidents / 682161 million km = 9.69 fatal accidents per 1000 million km

UK 3508 fatal accidents / 503318 million km = 6.97 fatal accidents per 1000 million km

_Still_ not safer.

@Adam 10. Yes. Some cars have more problems with lift at high speeds, but lift is still an issue for everyone else. From "Competition Car Aerodynamics" by Simon McBeath, p44. Production cars which do not carry airdams and spoilers generate around 70 - 80kg of lift at 100mph. That's net of any downforce generated. Ok, maybe that's not as big an effect as I was expecting, but my point is that once you start travelling faster than 70mph, the aerodynamic effects start to become increasing relevant, and the more you'll rely on the car's aerodynamics to keep the car under control. We not talking about motorway corners here... Imagine an emergency lane change at over 100mph? Or some oil on the road? As most people think that spoilers generate downforce (they don't, they reduce lift) I'm not confident that the average UK driver has the necessary knowledge and skills. They just _think _ they do.

As for high speed blowouts... this one's a classic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Naa3qhFUlUE

James Smith 3

Germany is pretty good example

Wrong. http://www.unece.org/trans/main/wp6/pdfdocs/RAS_2007.pdf

Check pages 29 vs 44 for Gemany and UK accident counts. As a percent of motorway accidents vs total accidents (for 2003):

Germany = 22646 / 354534 = 6.4%

UK = 8746 / 214030 = 4.1%

and for fatal motorway accidents it's worse again:

Germany = 811 / 6613 = 12%

UK = 217 / 3508 = 6%

So Germany has a 56% higher proportion of motorway accidents and a much higher fatality rate. That's NOT a better safety record.

James Smith 3

Something about the laws of physics....?

Well, yes actually. 70mph is around the kind of speed where aerodynamic effects start to play a role in the car's handling. A car is effectively a crude aerofoil shape: flat on the bottom and curved over the top. This can generate lift and reduces the amount of lateral forces the tyres can generate to steer the car or keep it stable. Empty motorway or not.

80 mph. Ok not too bad, but imagine with a 30mph headwind...effectively 110mph. Mark Webber knows lots about this after launching into the trees at Le Mans one year caused by lift forces! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow3rxq7U1mA

Now there's now real chance of having an accident like that in a road car, but less grip doesn't help your chances of keeping it on the black stuff, especially if it's wet.

But of course, you knew all that. You're not just bombing down the M4 at 90mph on a windy day in the rain, completely oblivious to the possible dangers. No, not all.

And don't start talking about how it's fine to do whatever speed you want in Germany. Their accident rate is far higher as a result.

Daily Star is sorry for Grand Theft Auto Raoul Moat blunder

James Smith 3

Proper Apologies

I reckon that any paper printing such garbage should have to print an equally large story about how they screwed up, and on the same page too. No hiding a small grovelly statement somewhere at the back where no-one will see it.

Imagine... full front page running "Aliens have landed!", should be followed the next day by full front page running "Oh dear. We're a bunch of cocks!"

Miracle-tech that could fix almost everything: Major advance

James Smith 3

Submarine Commander's Exam Part I: Responding to Garden-Launched Threats

Q14) Your sonar operator has suddenly discovered a new enemy target at close range. They have identified it as a "Canopy" class attack gazebo. How should you respond?

a) Change heading to a collision course with the target and accelerate to ramming speed as soon as practical. It is only a gazebo and therefore offers no threat to your vessel.

b) Engage the target using appropriate and proportional force. For example, a high-explosive Mark IV Picnic Table with a 30 second delayed fuse.

c) Your sonar operator has mis-identified the craft due to its pseudo-gap superconductor derived magnetic sheilding. It is in fact the much larger, and more deadly "Pavillion" class. Command your helmsman to take appropriate evasive action and deploy weevil based countermeasures.

d) Cower in fear at the mere thought of a submersible stealth attack gazebo.

James Smith 3
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Re: invisible sheds?

Yes. Your shed will soon be invisible to magnetic naval mines.

BT strike ballot halted over possible 'technical breaches'

James Smith 3

Invalid ballot

Let me guess... they didn't ballot the right members... or they balloted people that don't work for BT... or they didn't publish the results correctly... or any number of other obvious things they need to get right?

"restrictive trade union laws"? Give me a break. The ballot isn't valid if it doesn't meet some basic requirements. Anyway, why these people think that a 5% pay increase is fair when 10-20% or the workforce of every company in the UK are losing their jobs and the rest are on a pay freeze, is beyond me.

Global warming dirt-carbon peril models are wrong, say boffins

James Smith 3

Cover up?

Well, the proof is in the pudding. What really matters is that this work and its effects on the science are openly discussed in the next IPCC report. We'll have to wait and see, but I'm not holding my breath.

Unfortunately the IPCC reviewers appear to have a tendancy to sideline anything that dilutes their climate change message and replace it with some alarmist nonsense about glaciers.

Will DNSSEC kill your internet?

James Smith 3

Not just config issues

I've seen a router have problems with large UDP packets that wasn't just down to configuration. The packets were being fragmented and when they were reconstituted in the router they didn't fit in one of the internal buffers, leading to dropped packets. Small packets were fine. I can't remember exactly, but it was related to a bug in how the router performed NAT on the packet. The answer was a firmware patch to do things in the correct order.

Trade body doubles efforts against pirate software

James Smith 3

Hang on!

1) Flog software with security holes.

2) Let people pirate your software.

3) Let people exploit security holes.

4) Rush to the aid of users by patching the security holes, but only allow legit users install the patches.

5) Users of pirate copies are sitting ducks for malware. Said users rush to by legit software.

6) Profit!

7) Rinse and repeat.

Sound familiar? So it's in the interests of software developers to have weak security and allow it to be exploited! Nice.

James Smith 3
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Law against it

"Really, there should be a law against making stuff up and spouting it in a press release like it's some sort of scientific fact."

Could a press release be considered as advertising?

Fanbois howl over data-munching Snow Leopard bug

James Smith 3

@Lord Lien

"dime bar"

Ahhh. Memories. Good to see that little gem hasn't been lost to history.

Euro project to arrest us for what they think we will do

James Smith 3
Big Brother


Reminds me of an old RPG called Paranoia: "Trust the computer, the computer is your friend."

Does the Linux desktop need to be popular?

James Smith 3

Killer Applications

I remember when Doom came out. People who didn't want computers were going out and buying top of the line 486 DX2 66's just so they could play it. It was the same with the first spreadsheet app.

People (use my mum as an example) don't want Linux. They don't care what OS they run. Forget the OS features. It's the applications that are key. You need something unique that people want.

The day my mum rings up and asks me how she can get "StuffMyMumWants v3.0", and that requires a Linux install, is the day that they've cracked it.

James Smith 3
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"unless they do an Enron/Lehmans"

Oooh. I feel all dizzy.

Italian Job sat nav driver cops £900 fine

James Smith 3

TomTom Liability

I agree that this guy's a complete idiot, but surely TomTom should take some flak for this?

Their device has provided inaccurate information which put lives at risk. It is implied that the directions given are suitable for a normal car. Where were the directions intending to take him? Off the cliff? Down a footpath?

If the OS produced a map that showed this brideway as suitable for normal cars they'd get into steamy heaps of trouble.

Pirate Bay sells out to Swedish software firm for $7.7m

James Smith 3

Allowed to profit?

I've always thought that the difference between a bunch of harmless freetarding and terrorist-funding serious crime was when those involved started to make money out of it.

They've just gone down in my estimation. Selling your business on so that the buyers can make a legitimate business out of it suggests that they didn't think it was legitimate in the first place!

Why on earth should they be allowed to profit from knowingly setting up an illegitimate enterprise and then selling it on? I hope the year in jail is worth it.