Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Told you so.......

Been hitting the keyboard non-stop for the past day or so, so missed the first real weakening in the media AGW assertions now that measurements confirming that a world wide cooling is happening. Not that anyone with half a brain took the AGW alarmists wildest assertions seriously. Not that this is going to be a permanent feature, just another wave in the climate cycle. No heat death of the Universe, no new 'Ice age', just the usual SSDD.

There are more serious blogs that know how to play with the facts and figures to reach a meaningful conclusion. Anthony Watts thoughtful posts about temperature comparisons for example, are always worth checking out. Over at Climate-Skeptic the emphasis is on correcting errors in evidence evaluation, although having looked at Realclimate.net I was interested to note that their site is owned by an organisation with vested interests in pushing their version of the 'truth' about what's happening with the climate.

A look at where some of the 'green' activists get their funding turned out to be enlightening. Activists Cash being a site run by the Center for Consumer freedom. The only problem is that there isn't much to choose behind either side as they are both camps appear to be funded by some highly intriguing interests and have their own pretty entrenched ideas about the 'truth'.

Me, I just look at trends and make historical comparisons against what gets reported in the media. I've also a moderate grasp of basic physics and spend a lot of time researching for stories, which turns up all sorts of things that don't get into the papers. Sorting the wheat from the chaff, that sort of thing. I like to think I have a modicom of ability in this area.

Now even the Mainstream Media are starting to take the 'Look, there isn't going to be a disaster' side of the argument seriously. Although the cynic in me knows that next thing all the pundits will be on the 'OMIGOD! We're all going to freeze to death!' tack and we'll have to pay extra taxes to stop that happening. I'd get depressed at the stupidity of it all, only I'm too damn busy.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The sound of chainsaws

It is a strange thing to contemplate, but this seems to be where destiny, fate, karma, whatever has brought me, yet for all this strange newness, I feel right at home. My inner comfort factor is at an all time high.

Despite the fact that I have never learned to use one, I find the sound of chainsaws comforting. As a child we lived next door to a large area of marshy woodland which was being cleared and felled to build one of the 1960's 'new towns'. From age three, I remember weekend family walks to the background noise of chainsaws and the groans and crashes of falling timber. I took my afternoon baby naps accompanied to the sharp lullaby of ripping whines and splintering crashes as tree after tree was cut down to make room for new housing. To me the sound is comforting. It feels like I belong.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Day off

Nice day yesterday. Took the ten minute ferry ride over to Protection Island and had a very pleasant late lunch at the Dinghy Dock pub. Walked it off wandering round the island, and looking at all the different houses lurking amongst the trees. There's a very off beat vibe, Island residents mostly get about the gravel roads on golf carts which they use as runabouts. One even had his own sea plane, with an ingenious launch vehicle. Notwithstanding all the place names being on a pirate theme, various road names being Pirates Lane, Cutlass Lookout, Captain Kidds Terrace etc. No doubt this was all the brainchild of Nanaimos eccentric Mayor Frank James Ney (A.K.A. 'Black Frank') who was also credited with being a prime promoter of the Nanaimo to Vancouver Bathtub race. We missed last years race, but hope to follow it in 2008. Frank, an ex pilot, died in 1992. I think I would have liked him. The world is a poorer place without people of his character.

Wife was bowled over by the log built homes we saw there (She's always wanted one) and vouchsafed "Promise me Jones, when we build our house, it's got to have a sea view."
"I'm good with that." I replied, but then I can be good at giving out promises when I haven't a clue how I'll deliver. All I know is that the promise will be delivered, though hell itself should bar the way. I'm like that. I haven't failed yet. Nor will I.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hmm

Taking a look at the latest images from the SOHO solar observatory. Still no sunspots. This is not exactly good news for those who enjoy sunbathing. Cycle 24 is very late. Significantly so.

It is a well accepted principle that Earth's climate closely follows the sunspots. Lots of sunspots mean lots of flare activity and more radiant heat hitting the Earth. A 'quiet' sun means less flare activity, and thus less energy being pumped out towards our home world. It gets cooler. The lowered solar activity being mainly responsible for the rather chilly winter we're still experiencing up here on Vancouver Island.

Now this doesn't mean there's going to be another ice age. The Earth would have to cool quite a bit for that to happen, and that will take a century or so. Glaciers will not be rolling down our Streets any time soon, no matter what any prophets of doom in the media might say. They're only out to sell column inches anyway.

My best guess is that we're due a cooling like in the 1940's and 1950's. Maybe even as long as thirty or so years. If the cyclic nature of the climate holds true, then we should be investing in new energy sources and intensive agriculture to make good the inevitable shortfalls. House design standards will have to be improved with better insulation and more efficient heating. Over here, if things do get significantly colder, we might be looking at snow tyres year round.

For myself, I think investment in cold weather clothing suppliers might be a good idea. Perhaps a four wheel drive with snow tyres. No need to panic, just adapt a little.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Inconveniently speaking

The news going round the blogs and right of centre news is causing a number of guffaws. A sequence showing Antarctic ice melting in Al Gore's polemic movie 'An Inconvenient truth' was cribbed from the Hollywood movie that had all the serious climatologists throwing peanuts at the screen; 'The day after tomorrow'.

Can't find any trace of this in any of the mainstream media outlets apart from 'FoxNews', ABC. and oddly enough, the Milwaukee Journal.

As for the religion of Anthropogenic Climate Change, if one of the founders of GreenPeace says there's no proof, I mean, what are we to think? What the hell is going on? What's more to the point - when do we get the money from all the extra 'green' taxes back? I'm not holding my breath.

Victoria

Day trip down to Victoria yesterday. Wife had an evening meeting to go to, so we thought we'd make a day of it. Left Dog with friends around nine, and headed south down the Island Highway. It rained all the way down until we crossed the Malahat, then all of a sudden, no rain. This sort of thing often happens when you travel through Vancouver Islands many micro climates.

We began the day off at the Maritime Museum, and a surprisingly spooky experience. On the third floor of the Museum is the Assizes room, where felons were tried, and sometimes sentenced to death. Now I didn't know this at the time, and just popped my head round the door and stepped in to the old court room. As court rooms go, this one looked pretty average for a Victorian court room. Having done jury duty (Twice!) I'm fairly familiar with the layout of a courtroom, including how hard those bench seats can be on your arse after two or three hours. The furniture and panelling was all built from the same gold coloured timber, with a raised bench at the back for the Magistrates / Judge to sit at, framed by heavy velvet hangings, stepped seating down both sides of the room, an enclosed witness stand by the court recorders bench in front of the judge, and a raised dock about a third of the way in to the court room from the rear. As I stepped level with the dock my back muscles knotted a little, and a vague sense of unease made me look up and around the plain panelled room. Looked behind the judges bench to see a fire extinguisher and old plain wooden chair. Passed by the dock again, and felt the same tightening. Very odd, seeing as I was the only person on that floor at the time. Not just the room, the entire floor. Rejoined Wife down at the gift shop and mentioned that 'you can feel a sense of history' when you walk in the old assizes. She pointed out an article about ghosts and what have you that we had missed on the way in. "You felt the ghost then?" She smirked at me.
"Don't know. All I know is what I felt." I said, so she wrote down that I had 'felt the ghost' in the visitors book, a thinly disguised expression of glee playing about her lips. Sometimes I should think very carefully about what I say to my better half.

Today we didn't head down to the Empress for tea. At sixty five bucks a head they can go whistle, but instead lunched at one of the many coffee shops in town. I chomped into a very nice Chicken and Mushroom Calzone with Olives, and wife had an Italian salad. After that, we spent our time visiting the Market Place and a number of stores around town. The dread 'shopping' experience was ameliorated by the various sales people, who lightened our path with friendly banter. We tried on hats, shopped for stationery and art materials, Wife looked at necklaces while I found a chair to lounge in. It could have been worse. Supper was at the Four Mile Bar and Grill over towards view Royal. Great chairs, guys. Terrific Garlic Chicken wings and vegetable dips. Wife went to her meeting around seven, and I took an hours snooze in the car when it became too dim to read. Drove back to friends to pick up Dog at twenty past ten, then Wife drove the last ten klicks home for tea, and a couple of episodes of 'Yes Minister' before bed. All in all, not a bad day.

A Statement

It is the view of this site;

"Hunters make the best environmentalists"

Anyone who doesn't understand this statement understands nothing.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A complete list of things caused by global warming

Well I never. Here's little old me thinking it was only the threat of the Gulf Stream likely to grind to a halt, the ice caps melting and drowning us all, and all the Polar Bears dying. I had no idea that it was causing Bulgarian Brothels to struggle and the Earth to explode.

Well spank my buns and toast them on a cycle 24 Sunspot. Sorry, too busy laughing. They want to raise taxes how much to 'fight global warming'? That's like fucking to save virginity. Glory be. The snake oil salesmen have been busy.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Aftermath

Took the camera with me to get a closer look at what the snow had done at the weekend and came up with the following shots;


Had to get my hatchet out and cut my way through quite a tangle of downed trees and branches just to get down to the shoreline.


Down at the shoreline, this was the view up the Narrows towards town.


Heading back towards the old boat ramp Dog and I came across this half metre thick Arbutus tree. The wood was healthy enough, but when these things go, they hit hard enough to shatter like glass.
This fir was almost sixty centimetres across at the point of breakage.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bird watching

Successfully identified the Hummingbird that put on the aerobatic display for me before the snowfall as a Rufous Hummingbird. Got a good look at one yesterday afternoon and it's distinctive copper gorget was clearly identifiable. Checked out it's song characteristics, and confirmed that I really observed a 'defensive' display by one. Cute little critters, and quite entertaining to watch.

Also got a look at two Belted Kingfishers from a distance down in the Narrows. Ah yes, and Common Loons have been clearly seen and heard. According to my books, they tend to be a positive indicator of relative freedom from human intervention. In short, they like the wide and lonely places with few people around. Which is what we have round here.

Still plenty of snow around, although no fresh falls at the time of writing. The Deer have gone for the moment, and we're looking forward to a bit of a thaw today.

Was haunting a couple of climate forums last night and read a comment from one of the pro anthropogenic climate change camp to the effect that people who did not know what they were talking about should not post or discuss the subject. My thought was 'Well that isn't stopping you and Al Gore, is it?' Evil snigger.

Time for coffee, orange juice and scrambled eggs. Heavy sigh.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Surprise package

Going nowhere fast.
From the kitchen window over the bottom end of Dodd Narrows.
From the front room Window over the front yard.

Today was scheduled to be a busy day. Wife had filled up the van with kit to take to a charity event up in Nanaimo this morning. Everything was proceeding so smoothly, so we hunkered down and cuddled up for the night until just before our scheduled early morning.

At about five forty I heard the phone bleep, which is always a bad sign, as it means the power is off. Five minutes later it bleeped again and Wife vouchsafed; "I think the powers gone."
I gave my customary neanderthal grunt, eloquent but sub lingual; swinging my legs out of bed on automatic pilot. Noted that all the friendly little lights from the cable modem and phone were off before stumbling into the kitchen of our tidy little domicile. Was rather surprised at the amount of light coming from outside at this time of the morning. Took another look. "Bugger me." Was my first expostulation.
"What's up?" Called Wife from the bedroom.
"It's snowing. I can't see Mudge Island."
"You're kidding."
"Straight up." There looked to be six inches of the bloody stuff, and more coming down all the time. Peered out of the rear window to see our Ford Van covered in a good seven or eight inches of white stuff. "Think we ought to get an early start." I said, lighting our propane cooker by hand and putting the kettle on to boil. Wife turned out, and we both dressed quickly, layering up for the cold.

Dog bounced around excitedly. He loves snow like a two year old with new wellies loves puddles. "Come on dog, out the way." Wife scowled at him as he begged to be let out. I piled food into his dog bowl and stepped back while his manners took their usual holiday in the presence of food.

Outside, Dog and I made a beeline for our usual walk through the woods until we got about fifty yards in. All of a sudden there was a loud crack ten feet away, and a tree fell down. Literally. Thump. Not ten feet away from me. A whole six inch thick tree just gave up the ghost under the sheer weight of snow. Then another, and another. Dog and I beat a hasty retreat into open ground to the background of several more ominous cracks and thumps.

Heading back to the house I eyed the small hill that leads up to the main road from our small house. Six inches of untrammelled snow did not bode well for the days travail. By the time Dog and I returned home, wife had extra kit ready for the journey.

BC snow is generally wet snow. Not dry like they have out on the prairies. I was rather unrealistically hoping that this would let our laden Van struggle to the top of the slope. This was not to be. We just about got to the road before losing traction completely and could go no further. Wife scowled at me as if I was being deliberately obstructive. "Try it if you like. We're not going anywhere." I told her. Managed to get the van off the road and onto the drive so that anyone who was better equipped could get past, but gave up all hope of getting our vanful of toys to the kiddies we were supposed to be helping out at the charity do.

All morning as the snow slowed and finally stopped, I could literally hear the steam coming out of Wife's ears. She had a lot of emotional capital laid up with this particular event, and when she gets a bee in her bonnet like this, all I can say about my huggable darling wife is that she can be a real pain to live with. Saw neighbours pickup sally forth around nine and sail sedately up the road as if it was a normal day. An hour and a half later he returned at the same pace as if nothing had happened. I reflected to myself that we needed to be likewise equipped for next year. Regrettably this did not help Wife's mood. I definitely got the impression that she was going to deliver those toys, and damn the metaphorical torpedoes. A phone call to friends confirmed that there was 'about ten inches or so' of snow in town. All mobile calls to here fellow charity event organisers were met with the annoying soullessness of voicemail, which was not helpful.

Around eleven the sun came out, and I took the liberty of a small look outside. There was a lot of melting going on. Water dripping everywhere in the sunlight and rivulets running down the tyre tracks in the drive. Walked down to the road to check things out and noted how clear the tyre tracks left by neighbours snow tyre equipped pickup truck were. Walked up the road to the top of the hill and saw that further towards the main road the Snow had been cleared. Sauntered back to the house and bid wife to get ready to move again. "Might as well, no phone, no heating." She said resignedly, and followed me out to the van.

This time we managed the steep little hill with only a couple of little skips and jumps as our tyres ploughed through the melting snow, which was still a good six inches deep. Once at the top of the hill there was relatively little snow to cause me acute driving anxiety, and we got onto the main drag towards town. In one two kilometre stretch there were nine places where trees had fallen, blocking the road and disrupting the power lines. Neighbours and BC Hydro had already been busy with chainsaws and pickups, so the road was more or less clear. Oncoming traffic would spray us with massive tsunamis of slush every once in a while, but after a couple of bits of faulty navigation by wife we arrived at the charity venue just after twelve.

Caretaker popped his head out of the door and informed Wife that all events had been cancelled because there was no electricity. Wife returned to van, and tried to phone her principal who had given her the job of bringing the toys. No reply. After five minutes watching kids and adults tobogganing we elected to take a trip out. Wife had a hairdressing appointment later that afternoon north of town, so we headed out to the Woodgrove Mall. Snowploughs and bobcats were busy shovelling the last spaces clear of snow as we came in. It was almost surreal. Brilliant sunshine and half a foot of snow. Salvador Dali would have said it was impossible.

To commiserate for not succeeding with our mission of the day we lunched on junk food for the first time since Christmas and treated ourselves to some sounds. Wife went off for hairdo, and I went back to the van to crash out. It had been a long day, and quite draining emotionally. I just slumped across the front seats and was dead to the world for an hour. Wife returned, much mollified with her pampering at the hands of the hairdresser, informing me that despite the inclement weather, no one had missed their appointments. Says a lot for the determination of Canadian womenfolk.

Driving home we looked at the damage done by the snow, and I was moved to consider that I would dearly love to take some of the anthropogenic global warming alarmists by the scruff of their neck, stuff their faces into the freezing whiteness and tell them; "This is the worst snow in over thirty seven fucking years bozo! It is the nineteenth of April and it's fucking snowing! This is happening all over the world! It is not getting warmer! Are you blind, stupid, or what?"

Hey, I don't really care what they say so long as it doesn't mean more sodding pointless 'green' taxes. It is of no matter. I am now full of tea and nicely chilled. Bright sunlight can do that for you.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Art has boundaries

Via Small Dead Animals; an 'artist' gets some children to round up a stray, then ties it up in an art gallery to die of starvation.

I think that the people who went to see the 'art' are just as culpable, if not more so, than the 'artist'. Jeez, I like to hunt and fish. I'm quite relaxed about taking my dinner from field and sea to my dinner plate but prolonging the suffering of any creature is the true meaning of 'cruelty'. Poncing around drinking wine and talking, watching something die slowly while dog food is used to spell out the word 'work' in the local language out of reach of the poor bloody creature. A small boy pulling wings off flies is the closest comparative social stereotype I can think of.

A memory tugs in my head about another piece of 'Art' like this. In 1971, the comedian Spike Milligan smashed a glass door at London's Hayward Gallery in protest at American artist Newton Harrison's plan to electrocute catfish, oysters and shrimps as part of his Portable Fish Farm installation. The 'catfish controversy' was widely discussed in the media.

Art does have boundaries, and this kind of crap crosses them all. Hope the 'artist' never sells any of his work in his lifetime. Let him starve.

Global Censorship

Picked this little item up via my daily perusal of Drudge Report. It's about the censorship in the media about mans alleged effect on the climate. The Business & Media Institute report outlines how the voice of the sceptics like myself is being deliberately sidelined.

My point of view is this; the climate changes as it always has, with or without a contribution from mankind. For proof, one only has to look at the fossil or historical records. Mankind has very little effect on the global climate compared with the other major factors; which are the sun's variations in output, vulcanism, deep ocean temperature, orbital tilt, and magnetosphere variations. Mankinds contribution by comparison is like trying to heat an olympic size swimming pool with a travel hair dryer. It just doesn't stack up. The energy levels are too small.

As for the current state of things over here on the Island; for the past few days we have been graced with Hummingbirds. Speedy little critters that zip past, performing incredible aerobatics. Late yesterday afternoon I took Dog for his usual post prandial stroll, to be greeted by a high speed display. The Hummingbird, not sure of the species, came to a complete stop four metres away, made a noise like a child tooting a tiny plastic trumpet, then jinked upwards twenty centimetres. The following manouvre would have made an aerobatic pilot sick with envy. The Hummingbird dived in a half metre semicircle before flying dead level for five or six metres, turning ninety degrees into a five or six metre vertical climb. At the top of the climb neatly turning another semicircle and diving vertically before another smooth ninety degree turn and level flight brought it back to where it began. For a second or two it hovered before repeating the tiny trumpeting noise and almost exactly the same flight as before. I watched it perform the same aerial dance three times before Dog, being less endowed with patience than I, pulled me onwards to his next sniffing point.

The black tail deer are haunting our back yard this morning, and simply looked somewhat surprised when I opened the back door. They didn't run, just fed off the Tulips and Daffodils, little tinkers. Should have chased them off, but I didn't have the heart to do it. I could shoot one, but our freezer isn't big enough for all that Venison.

I hope the Hummingbirds are going to be okay, because we've already had a nasty dose of sleet this morning, and snowfalls are prophesied for this afternoon. The snow is clearing off Mt Benson, but I have an awful feeling it will be back with a vengeance before long. The leaves may be back on the trees, but Winter awaits it's cue for a dramatic late cameo appearance. Think I'll layer up for this afternoon.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chant-BC

ME that ’ave been what I’ve been—
Me that ’ave gone where I’ve gone—
Me that ’ave seen what I’ve seen—
’Ow can I ever take on
With awful old England again,
An’ cameras both ends of the street,
And lines on two sides of the lane,
And the Council and traffic between,
An’ fillin’ out forms every day —
Me that ’ave been what I’ve been?

Me that ’ave watched ’arf a world
’Eave up all shiny with dew,
From the huge endless plains in the sun,
Long highways to horizons sharp edge,
And no clue as to where you’ve begun,
Not a sign of a truck or a train,
Over valleys as big as a shire—
Are we there? Are we there? Are we there?
An’ then the lone siren afar . . .
An’ I’m doing odd jobs on the car,
Me!

Me that ’ave driven the dark
Three hundred mile, often, on end,
Cross Northern Ontario’s swamps,
With only the stars for my mark
An’ only the headlights for my friend,
An’ things runnin’ off as you pass,
An’ huge things steppin’ out from the grass,
An’ the silence, the shine an’ the size
Of the ’igh, unexpressible skies—
I am takin’ some letters almost
As much as a floor to the post,
An’ “mind you come back with receipts”!
Me!

Me that saw Cape Bretons rain,
When we dropped through the clouds to the sea,
An’ we saw our first Moose in the dawn,
Me that drove through New Brunswicks scrubland,
An’ stared down a bear in the dusk—
From Vancouver to Halifax all—
Sleeping all night in the back of a van,
Breakfasts cooked over open log fires—
I am doin’ my Sunday-school best,
By the ’elp of the DHSS
(Not to mention the Council and all),
To come in an’ fill forms an’ wait turn,
An’ honestly work for a wage,
My livin’ in that state of life
To which it shall please God to call
Me!

Me that ’ave followed my dreams
Cross the place where the Lightnin’s are made,
’Twixt the Rains and the Sun and the Moon—
Me that lay down an’ got up
Three months with the sky for my roof—
That ’ave driven my need to feel free,
Eight thousand raw mile on the road,
With the Fraser and Lawrence for cup,
An’ the Great Lake Superior for dish,—
Oh! it’s ’ard to be’ave as they wish
(Too ’ard, an’ a little too soon),
I’ll ’ave to think over it first—
Me!

I will arise an’ get ’ence;—
I will trek West and make sure
If it’s only my fancy or not
That the sunshine of England is pale,
And the breezes of England are stale,
An’ there’s somethin’ gone wrong with the lot;
For I know of a sun an’ a wind,
An’ the sea and a mountain be’ind,
An’ some rock all surrounded by trees;
An’ a Canuck I’ve thought ’oo might give
Me a job were I ever inclined,
To look in, go fishin’ an’ live
Where there’s barely a road nor a house—
But only my Maker an’ me,
And I think it will kill me or cure,
So I think I will go there an’ see.
Me.

With huge apologies for amateurishly rewriting Rudyard Kiplings ‘Chant Pagan’.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Now I don't normally talk about US politics but......

What has been going on between the two US Democratic hopefuls has me scratching my head in wonderment. To me it looks like a real bitch fight. Lots of slapping, scratching, and pulling of hair, but no real punches. Fun to watch of course, but nothing of genuine substance.

One thing did jar with me though. The remarks Barack Obama made about working class voters 'clinging to God and guns'. The exact quotation being;
“It’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or antitrade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

I think Barack Obama has got it wrong here. I don't think he truly understands working class Americans. Maybe he considers their attitude 'small town', 'insular' or 'backward looking'.

Having done a bit of travelling through the US in 2002, particularly through small towns populated with many of the kind of people he appears to be referring to, I'm moved to disagree. No one 'clings' to anything. The people I met and talked to at the time truly believe that God and Guns are what made America great. No 'clinging' about it, they have a deeply held faith. A solid faith in God. A solid faith in the constitution of the United States of America, part of which enshrines the 'right to keep and bear arms', not to mention 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'. The belief is not 'God and Guns' but 'God and the Constitution'. This belief is very strongly felt, so much so you could almost bend iron bars with it, no matter what the individuals economic circumstances might be. It is too much a part of what 'white' working class America is. 'Small town'? Maybe, but from my own personal observation, 'small town' and 'working class' are the backbone of the USA and the politician who forgets that is bucking to lose.

Just for the record, I'm not a 'fan' of any of the candidates. Just an interested bystander making observations based on personal experience.

Dear diary, nothing much happened....

Spent a good deal of yesterday on researching supersonic wing configurations for a story that keeps on popping on and off the back burner. Soporific stuff sometimes, but writing without research isn't worth the effort. A good tale needs a well coloured background, or it comes out as insipid and somehow unsatisfying.

Read the blogs etc, and as always put my big clumsy but well meaning oar in. Hey, I may be opinionated, but that doesn't automatically make me wrong.

Today I pitched back into one of the three major projects I have going and added a thousand words to one, two thousand to another, and decided project three needed a new direction. Tonight I have a meeting to attend, people to talk to, and fund raising to organise. Somehow I've even got to engineer an appearance on the local cable TV station. I'll talk to my guys first and find out what they want me to say before I do anything else.

Well, the sun shone, it rained a bit, then it shone again. Must be spring. About time too.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bring it on

I read in this mornings UK papers that the British trade union, UNISON, which is a Public Service trades union has demanded ‘Make the climate wreckers explain actions to children'. As one who tends to fall on the sceptical side of the argument, I say good idea. Brilliant. Superb. Let's do it, like now. Immediately.

I think business people and their proxies should go out into the schools and colleges with the side of the argument that the Mainstream Media mainly seem to ignore, and certain of the educational establishment don't want the kids to hear. The only criteria should be that the children should be allowed to ask their questions without intervention from their teachers, or anyone from the educational establishment. Like in a high school debate. No conditions which do not impinge on the safety of the children should be imposed.

Not that it will ever happen of course, unless under tight controls which do not permit dissent from AGW dogma. Those pro AGW'ers who have control of School boards or Educational Authorities would never allow that. It would have to be a one sided, soviet style 'show trial' to satisfy them. Denouncements and accusations rather than open and free debate; which is what the subject truly needs.

Oh well, I don't see why I should bother. It's a beautiful morning out there, the air feels like cool silk on my skin, and I feel truly, really good about my life.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spring is a bit rusty this year

Well, temperatures have finally cracked double digits in the Celsius scale, and I can't say I'm unhappy about it. The wind has shifted, and although the snow is still on the mountains, and there is fresh cover on the tops, for the most part things are gradually getting warmer. The local Deer are getting bolder, fearlessly attacking the tulips in our front yard. It's spooky to see them so close to the house. I was surprised that Dog didn't kick up a fuss and scare them off, but no, he just lay in the front room and snored. Idle mutt.

Buds are breaking, there is a mist of new green on the Birch, the Cherry blossom is now in full flower, as are a number of other ornamentals, and next door have been trimming the hedge with some heavy duty looking kit.

Today is brilliantly sunny and Wife and I are having a relatively lazy day, although I've been hitting the keyboard since six am, and she's researching for the local library. It's a nice day.
video

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Just a thought

Spring looks like being a few weeks later this year, at least according to friends of mine who have lived on Vancouver Island for the past twenty plus years. There was frost in our front yard this morning and the temperature hasn't quite broken double figures yet this year. This is pretty well what you'd expect from a La Nina year with sunspot minimums, yet even now, there are some people who call themselves environmental campaigners who insist that everything is to do with their pet theory, regardless of what the thermometers read, or how much rain and snow is falling.

One even managed to blackmail a BBC journalist into changing a story from a studied observation of current climate trends to an account more supportive of her pet theory. The thought occurs to me that if the views she espoused were so obvious, cut and dried, then the arguments she puts forward wouldn't need to use the tactics she did to support them. To simplify; if she was right, she wouldnt have needed make veiled threats against the journalist.

Charles Dodson, Mathematician and Author had a little phrase; "What I tell you three times is true". The subtext of which is "The truth is what I say it is, no matter what the facts are." Regardless of how bloody cold it is outside.

With this in mind, I am inclined to make the following observation. A 'denier' is someone who cannot accept reality, and insists that what they believe is true regardless of proof. To put it as a flat pack analogy (Some self assembly required) cap, the, if, wear, fits, it.

Stuff their theories, I'm wrapping up warm.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Always knew I was good for something

How many cannibals could your body feed?
Created by OnePlusYou

Quiet backlash

Had a peruse of the Torygraph and a few other online papers about the current debacle over the Chinese Olympics. For myself, I have no axe to grind one way or another, but other people don't feel the same ambivalence. My only view of the Olympics is irritated impatience at the overhyped media sports coverage, which rather swamps everything else going on in the world.

A quick Google brought out these two articles;
The Huffington Post has an article on "How to protest against the Beijing Olympics"
The Capital Times has an article on "Human rights and the Olympics".
They appear to be very symptomatic of what is going on in te media right now.

Over here on the Island we have a more tolerant attitude to matters Chinese. Even so, a few months ago Wife and I went shopping with friends. Friends were very picky in what they bought, and rejected anything made in China out of hand. I didn't push the matter much, but was interested to hear a similar point of view from quite a few other people as well. When asked, they cited things like the current Chinese regimes support in the Darfur killings, its invasion of Tibet, its Human Rights record. Ergo they were not going to buy anything made in China until the Communist regime was gone.

From a personal standpoint, I was rather disturbed to watch footage of the protests, and reckoned if the blue tracksuited heavies hadn't been there, the whole event might have gone a little more smoothly. The blue tracksuited security detail appeared to have pissed many people off with their heavy handed behaviour, even British Members of Parliament. What were they thinking? That's like barging into someone's house and rearranging their furniture without asking.

I hear the Australians aren't going to allow them a repeat performance when the Olympic torch is paraded over there. The Aussie PM's announcement, in London no less, made the British Prime Minister look a right wally. That seems to be nothing new, the man appears to be a reverse King Midas, a Jonah.

I've got a horrible sinking feeling that these Olympics are going to end up with a colossal 'loss of face' for the Beijing regime, and not a few punch ups, on the Streets and diplomatically speaking. The Chinese do not like to 'lose face', there is nothing that annoys them more. Yet I think this is what will happen. We'll be dealing with the fallout from this for quite a whle.

Over here? Most people just shrug their shoulders and quietly carry on doing what they were doing. Following our individual consciences. Watching the Olympics or not, buying Chinese goods or not. The world will keep turning.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Bloke-lit

Wonder if there's a literary market for 'bloke-lit'? Stories based around real life that address the mores and instincts of the average male. Where the girls have near-real life tales of sex, shopping, stress, and chocolate; maybe the guys could have something about what goes on in their near-real lives. Sexual frustration, demanding partners, loathing of shopping, male bonding rituals and receding hairlines?

Is there a whole new genre out there? On the chance that there is, I'm toying with a tale I'm calling the 'odd machine' about how a strange family heirloom helps trigger all sorts of unforseen events. The main project is bumbling and stumbling along, and is due for it's first major surgery shortly.

Brrr!

Just had a look at the latest sunspot data and I think I shall be investing in winter sports companies and some serious cold weather gear. Sunspot cycle 24 is late, and the tail end of sunspot cycle 23 is coming up with a lot of 'spotless' days. This does not bode well for those who enjoy sunbathing.

The upside is that the cooler climate we should be enjoying as a result of the lower solar output generally means better sea fishing. Cooler upper layers in the sea mean better conditions for plankton, more plankton means more fish food, more fish food means that there will hopefully be more fish.

Looks like my best investment is going to be some long underwear and a spare set of snow tyres for fall.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

CO2 Omissions

Having now come out of the closet so to speak and nailed my colours publicly to the mast, just for a giggle, I thought I'd do a little joined up reasoning over this climate change nonsense.

Postulation; Trees and plants are good for the planet. No problem there; Trees give shade and do all sorts of good stuff for the environment. Birds nest in them, they hold otherwise unstable soil masses together and prevent erosion. They provide habitat for all sorts of other creatures. Trees, I think we can all be agreed, are really good. Terrific. Wonderful things. No problem with trees at all. Trees are excellent. Amazing things, trees. Hold the phone! Trees and plants need Co2 for photosynthesis, ergo cutting Co2 emissions will harm trees. Too little Co2 means trees and plants can't photosynthesise properly and will die. No more trees and plants, no more bunnies to hug. Soon no more people. Ergo; Co2 is good for trees and pretty plants. Therefore what is good for trees is good for people. Ergo we need more Co2, not less.

Postulation; Water vapour is a bigger 'greenhouse gas' than CO2 (95% more of a 'greenhouse gas'). Trees give off lots of water vapour. Watch a forest in BC, they give off so much water vapour it looks like the mountains are on fire. Help! Screams nice Mr Gore. Cut down trees to save earth from boiling with too much greenhouse gas! All trees cut down by AGW'ers to 'save earth from water vapour. Oops. No more trees, soon no more plants, then no more bunnies to hug, and no more people. All gone with Dinosaurs. Bye bye.

Postulation; Mankind causes temperature to rise and kills planet. Sun not responsible at all, no how. All mankinds fault. Bad, bad, naughty mankind. Mr Gore says mankind gives off gases. Gases trap heat on Earth. Heat rises. Mother Gaia gets too hot and dies. Mankind bad and sent to bed early. Mankind dies, very bad. Mr Gore says this will happen so must be true. Mr Gore politician not scientist. Mr Gore fly big jet around world telling mankind it is bad and should buy all his nice carbon trading thingies to stop feeling guilty. Mankind too busy buying carbon trading thingies, not put food aside in case of bad weather. Mr Gore get very rich. Mr Gore not care about sun. Sun not care about Mr Gore. Sun gets hotter and heats up solar system. Earth is in solar system. Earth gets warmer. Mankind still stuck on Earth and needs better air conditioning. Sun cools a bit. Solar system cools down. Earth cools down. Mankind relearns how to make snowmen. Mankind try to eat carbon trading thingies. Not tasty. Carbon trading thingies not nourishing. Mankind starve. All die. Hello extinction, next species please.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Why I'm a 'climate change denier'

Made the gross error of clicking on a news link about climate change today. I was thinking about something else and found my eyes roaming across some pretty flawed assertions. It seems that every problem in the world is supposedly the fault of the weather, in particular because we (The Western Nations) live such wasteful and profligate lives, the Earth is going to get hotter until we all die. We must all stop, now.

I don't get this. I also don't understand the blatant failures of logic demonstrated by the pro Anthropogenic Climate Change faction. The 'science' is nowhere near being settled on either side of the argument, but there are those in the pro AGW camp calling people who don't share their apocalypitc assertions 'deniers', as in 'Holocaust deniers'.

Now I object to this sideways comparison most strongly. The murder of six million Jews by the authoritarian Nazi regime from 1936 to 1945 is a well documented fact. We know where the bodies are buried. Allied troops even helped bury some of the poor bastards. The Holocaust happened. The Nazi regime killed Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Allied Prisoners of War, Russians and homosexuals in their murder machine. Mind you, the Russians committed a few 'war crimes', the Katyn Massacre for one. Using the term 'denier' even remotely in this context is insulting and highly inaccurate. As is calling people who aren't taken in by the deeply flawed arguments in Al Gores film 'An Inconvenient Truth' "Great fat stupidheads". That is not only juvenile, it also illuminates the pro climate change factions failure to provide a halfway decent supporting argument for their assertions. All they currently are reduced to seems little better than childish name calling, and demands for the criminalisation of people who do not share their views.

Anyone with any brains knows that the climate changes. No two years are the same, unless of course you live in the middle of the Sahara where hot and dry is the default state year upon year. Rain does fall sometimes, but not very often. Some years have long wet winters and cool summers, some are characterised by storms and high humidity. Sometimes we get a run of warmer than usual summers, but there is no provable overall upward trend that can be definitively linked to human activity. Current data indicates no oceanic warming, and most certainly no global warming since 1998. Run these trends as a graph against human activity and the correlation is far from clear. There is no proof. The empirical evidence is hardly conclusive.

If anything, I tend to look at the overall trend as a cyclic trend. Even anecdotal evidence alone from the early 1900's indicates warm summers despite a great deal of urban pollution caused by the burning of cheap coal. This was followed by a cooler, wetter set of years followed by warmer years in the 1920's and early 1930's, when temperatures were higher than in 1998. I have heard 1934 quoted as an exceptionally hot Summer. After that the weather grew cooler until the panicmongers in the 1960's 70's and early 80's were prophesying a 'New Ice Age'. Then came a short warming phase which has come to an end. Overall, the temperature trend of the past few years has been relatively flat. According to some sources global temperatures have even started a downward trend. All I know is that my friends over here on Vancouver Island are saying that this is one of the coldest, wettest years they've ever known.

People in politics and the media keep on telling us that global CO2 is increasing. I say this is not entirely bad. Plants need CO2 for photosynthesis. More CO2 should be good for plants, and ergo for the rest of the food chain. No CO2 would be disasterous. No CO2-no photosynthesis, no more trees, shrubs, crops or anything else. We'd starve unless we all went cannibal, and it wouldn't affect the climate much. We'd just be another layer of strange fossils. "What caused this strange two legged species to die out?" a future sentient commentator might conceivably say. "Were they responsible for the extreme low levels of atmospheric CO2 sixty million years ago?"

All I know is that the pro AGW arguments simply aren't convincing enough to form proof. If that makes me a 'denier', so be it. Time to go, I've wasted enough time, and Dog needs feeding and walking.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Odd wildlife musings

Saw my first Otter of the year last night. Not a Sea Otter, just a Northern River Otter giving Dog and I the once over from the safety of the water. Did try taking some footage with the phone camera, but all I could see on playback was ripples.

Tonight there was just one solitary Sea Lion with the Narrows all to itself, leaping half out of the water as it fed. Left Dog to please himself while I just stood quietly and watched until one of the Harbour Patrol vessels sped down the Narrows at close on twenty knots, sending everything diving or flying for safety, temporarily ruffling the placid tidal flow.

Five kilometres away as the crow flies is the centre of town. Three kilometres to the Dukes Point Ferry terminal and a bit farther on the Harmac industrial wood processing plant. All that activity so close, and yet all this wildlife. All this richness. The Canadians must be doing something right in the conservation stakes. That reminds me, must check the restrictions for when I finally get my fishing permit.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Seeing the Sea Lions

Yesterday evenings shoreline walk was interesting. Could hear Sea Lions barking from up towards the neck of Dodds Narrows, but my immediate attention was drawn to a small group of juvenile Herring Gulls. Not far from a rocky little promontory, which is mainly covered at high tide, there were repeated commotions in the water. Approaching carefully, I still managed to spook a Blue Heron, but the rest of the birds on the rocks and water ignored my presence.

Less than ten metres away in the water, several gulls were startled from the surface of the water by a sudden swirl as dozens of small fish jumped clear of the surface, closely followed by a Sea Lion. Almost mistook the big animal for a small Harbour Porpoise, it was so quick. Standing on the waters edge as still as I could be, I witnessed this happen again and again over twenty minutes or so. The Gulls would be startled, the fish would jump, and the Sea Lion would follow through within a second. Every two hunts close inshore, the Sea Lion would move out fifty metres or so to deeper water, and swim roughly parallel to the waters edge before approaching to attack the shoals of fish beneath the Gulls once more.

Two Common Seals approached the hunting place, but were wary of my upright form and got no closer than fifty metres or so. I suppose there must have been plenty for all.

Most of the Sea Birds seem to have moved on to other feeding grounds now. We saw the first lot of Gulls leaving a week ago, roosting comfortably on a log boom being towed up to the Harmac plant south of town. I have been told these are called 'Polish Aircraft Carriers' by the locals. No one seems to be able to tell me where this term comes from though. The back third of this particular log boom was literally white with Gulls. I suppose they were too damn full of Herring to fly.

I'm still waiting for my first paycheck so I can buy my years fishing licence, although I don't think I'll stay out for more than an hour at a time as the temperature hasn't gone above fifty degrees Fahrenheit this year, and when that southern breeze is blowing, it feels even colder.

The new snow on the lower slopes of Mount Benson is still there. Some has melted a little, but if this is indicative of a 'runaway greenhouse effect' I'm not convinced, and neither is anyone else I talk to. They're all saying "Global Warming, eh?" in a rather dismissive way. Can't say I blame them.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Blocked?

Was checking my meagre site statistics this morning and found the line below from the ‘Block options’ menu on someone’s web server.

http://131.235.253.200:15871/c...ions.cgi?ws-session=2684744925

A quick WHOIS IP check later and got the following report. The Web server in Question belongs to Environment Canada.

OrgName: Environment Canada
OrgID: ENVIRO-4
Address: 2121 North Service Road
Address: Trans-Canada Highway
City: Dorval
StateProv: QC
PostalCode: H9P-1J3
Country: CA

NetRange: 131.235.0.0 - 131.235.255.255
CIDR: 131.235.0.0/16
NetName: ECONET
NetHandle: NET-131-235-0-0-1
Parent: NET-131-0-0-0-0
NetType: Direct Assignment
NameServer: DNS1.CMC.EC.GC.CA
NameServer: DNS2.CMC.EC.GC.CA
Comment:
RegDate:
Updated: 2005-03-09

OrgTechHandle: NOC1519-ARIN
OrgTechName: Network Operations Center
OrgTechPhone: +1-514-421-4698
OrgTechEmail: whois-admin@cmc.ec.gc.ca

This is quite amusing. I’m lucky if one or two people a week drop by and then move on, let alone read my empty pseudo environmental ravings. I’m inconsequential, irrelevant in the scheme of any greater debate on anything, yet is this blog now blocked by Environment Canada? I’m amazed they even bothered to look.

Maybe they just block blogs as a matter of policy. That is more likely. Well it won’t make much difference to my non existent readership.

A little birdwatching

Walks on the shore with Dog always pops up a surprise. Last night was a Sea Plane taking off from one of the little coves down the Narrows. This morning I remembered to take my binoculars and indulge my curiosity.

Of late there has been a flock of waterfowl some three hundred strong sitting in a tight ululating raft of adults and young, occasionally taking flight at something under their webbed feet and flying fifty metres en masse. Having looked in my book of birds, I think I've identified the noisy little tinkers as Surf Scoters or 'Skunk Heads'. Also observed this morning, Bufflehead family group, and likewise Ruddy Duck with young in line astern.

Dog ignored me, having found a sea washed deer bone to gnaw on. Still a moderate population of those. Came across a group of four hinds on our afternoon meander through the woods yesterday afternoon, so the two whose remains we have come across on the beach haven't harmed the population much. They heard us and pronked off like a bunch of Springbok.

Oh yes, saw my first Raccoon on Friday. The black masked little burglar was lurking in the ditch just in front of our house, glanced once at me in a furtive, 'Not me guv' way before slowly picking its way up the waterlogged ditch into some sort of shelter. Now I know why Dog wakes me up in the middle of the night. He's barking at the blasted things on the roof.