* Posts by Tom Richards

14 posts • joined 11 Feb 2007

Pressure group aghast at Hillingdon ID card scheme

Tom Richards

What's with the headline?

I don't think it's fair to say that "Pressure group aghast at Hillingdon ID card scheme" when NO2ID then say "This scheme looks fairly innocuous" and only have concerns about where it might go in the future. They're certainly not aghast!

I also don't think it's appropriate to say in the first paragraph "Has Hillingdon Borough managed to find a way to introduce an ID card scheme that is non-intrusive, respects civil liberties – and is actually welcomed by local residents? According to pressure group NO2ID, the answer is....no" when the NO2ID spokesperson doesn't address the question of the popularity of the scheme and implies that it isn't a threat to civil liberties or intrusive at the moment.

Rewrite please! I look for red-top journalism at The Register, but this is yellow.

Climate Bill scores a fail in economics

Tom Richards

If the final paragraph is true, why is global climate change happening at all?

I can only assume it's because the American and Chinese consumers are paying next to nothing for their oil products.

The effect on the climate of the carbon tax also does depend on what it goes to. I'd say revenue should be directed towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and I don't care how this gets done, energy efficiency, renewables, carbon capture, outright bribery, whatever's most effective.

Robot airliner anti-missile escorts proposed

Tom Richards
Thumb Down

Opportunity cost?

This sounds like a classic movie-plot threat, and movie-plot response. Wouldn't paying this money to informants inside the terror community be a better use of the money? This proposal was being discussed six years ago (see http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2002/11/22/missiles/index3.html), and there are significant problems associated with it: like, given the very small number of missiles that might be fired at commercial aircraft (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MANPADS#Notable_uses_against_civilian_aircraft; four attacks since 1993, mostly in warzones), and given the hundreds of drones that would need to fly 24 hours per day, isn't an aircraft more likely to be brought down by a faulty drone than a properly launched missile? It's the base-rate fallacy all over again.

What's Auntie for, exactly?

Tom Richards

Science paper on the unknown effect of the stratosphere

As for that stratospheric paper, and I quote from it, "Inclusion of stratospheric ozone-climate effects in coupled atmosphere-ocean climate models will not significantly alter the overall estimates of globally averaged surface warming." It goes on to state that effects may be felt in polar regions and rainfall in the middle latitudes - it's a case of dotting the i's and crossing the t's on climate change rather than ripping up the rulebook as the article suggests.

As many commenters here have said, saying that global climate change is not largely human-derived makes you more like Gene Ray than Giordano Bruno.

Hitachi ships Travelstar 7K200 encrypted hard drive

Tom Richards

I'm sorry, is this prnewswire.co.uk?

I'm wondering how useful a press release from a PR company is in evaluating this product.

"Sageza’s Go-to-Market services provide clear messages to key audiences about product launches"


NASA chief regrets having unpopular opinion

Tom Richards

Alarmists over global cooling in the 1970s

The scientists said "it might happen. We don't know yet". The papers said "OMG WE'RE ALL GOING TO HELL IN A POPSICLE!!!". But if you have any proof that respected climatologists screamed about global cooling in the 1970s only to scream about global warming now, Bill Connolly would like to know: http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/

ESA spies space tsunami

Tom Richards

And the actual paper

http://www.copernicus.org/EGU/annales/abstract.html?url_prefix=/EGU&journal=annales&volume=24&issue=7&firstpage=2005. Though no pretty pictures, boo!

And thanks for a content-rich story, Lucy!

Polar caps wane as Mars tries global warming

Tom Richards


And when you find someone who thinks they've proved that putting (currently) seven million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year can't have any effects, have a look at what the Met Office has to say at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/index.html or the Royal Society at http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?id=6229.

Also, can we have numbering on the posts? It's fine when there's only a few posts, but this is getting confusing now.

1) There are possibly some (very rare) occasions when the earth has warmed very rapidly before. See http://www.whoi.edu/institutes/occi/viewArticle.do?id=9986. This is worrying research, since it shows that feedbacks may produce larger swings in temperature than previously thought.

2) The likely effects of global warming are disastrous. Take a look at this IPCC's Policy-maker's Summary: http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg2/005.htm.

Some global warming is inevitable. Reducing carbon emissions now, however, will let us avoid the worst.

Also, Martin, the IPCC is funded by the UN and written by publishing climatologists - less partial than reports by the Exxon-funded AEI and written by White House PR men, surely?

Tom Richards

Source for the goose

Look at the sources. The Wikipedia picture uses data from the international scientific community, whereas State of Fear is not reality-based.

What does the World Health Organisation have to do with anything, anyway? You might as well ask UNESCO what their position is on world trade. The competent authority is the IPCC.

Natural factors have always caused climate change. The addition of six billion carbon dioxide emitting humans is just another factor - one which the scientists take into account and Crichton et al do not.

Tom Richards

Sauce for the goose etc.

Martin, I'd sooner trust Granma than the Oregon Institute for Science and Medicine: http://sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Oregon_Institute_of_Science_and_Medicine. There are rules about calling yourself an Institute here in the UK, and it wouldn't pass them.

Tony, solar output has been increasing (see the graph I posted earlier). In the article, you'll see that other scientists are saying that albedo changes may be measurement error. In answer to your question, increased solar output could cause the temperature to rise, which could make the dust devils worse, which could uncover some darker rocks, which could cause the temperature to rise further, forming a virtuous circle.

In any case, I'm not going to judge the interpretation until I see the research. Lucy, can you provide a link to where you got these findings from? I can't find anything using Google Scholar.

Tom Richards

Sauce for the goose

Changes in solar activity are a part of Earth's climate change, too. We would expect a small rise in average temperature, if that were the only thing operating on Earth's climate. We are experiencing a large rise instead, and the difference is due to the effect of around 6 000 000 000 humans. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Climate_Change_Attribution.png.

Boffins cook up ultimate bacon sarnie

Tom Richards

Enough with the bloody 'equation' stories!

Jeezus, this really has been done to death. The ideal equation for parking your car, for this, for that, for the other. Stop printing press releases, and do some analysis! This really is Tesco Value Science, as Ben Goldacre puts it: http://www.badscience.net/?p=324.

You think you know about the brain?

Tom Richards

Cite your sources, please.

After the whale telepathy article, I think Dr Juan should cite his sources for these claims.

If whales can communicate by telepathy, why can't humans?

Tom Richards


Matthew Barker, you're right about one thing: it's not worth wasting emotion over this. Honestly, though, whale telepathy? What Journal of Holistic Positivity did he get this load from? Killfiled, and the Reg should just syndicate The Straight Dope.


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