Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Climate-change denier and quack weatherman Piers Corbyn writes to the paper:
The problem for global warmers is that there is no evidence that changing CO2 is a net driver for world climate. Feedback processes negate its potential warming effects. Their theory has no power to predict. It is faith, not science. I challenge them to issue a forecast to compete with our severe weather warnings - made months ago - for this month and August which are based on predictions of solar-particle and magnetic effects that there will be periods of major thunderstorms, hail and further flooding in Britain, most notably July 22-26, August 5-9 and August 18-23. These periods will be associated with new activity on the sun and tropical storms. We also forecast that British and world temperatures will continue to decline this year and in 2008. What do the global warmers forecast?
This was printed on the 24th of July. Yes, I certainly agree that British temperatures will indeed decline between now and the end of the year. Science! And what do the global warmers say to that?

Corbyn is an extreme example, but the symptoms of dysfunctional statistosis are more widely distributed than you might think. David Davis is highly rated by some bloggers (Dans Hardie and Davies, I think) as a possible bulwark against Blairite continuity and the Home Office. This is a role we badly need, in the light of current news: Brown's announcements today that he wants 56-day detention without charge, and that he is still steaming full pelt towards the rocks on the National Identity Register. But he's not invulnerable. Recently, the tokens broke out upon him.

You may recall that for many years, the British Crime Survey and the count of crimes recorded by the police disagreed. The recorded count was rising, the survey count falling. Nothing would convince the Tories that the BCS, as the more inclusive measure, was more likely to be right - Michael Howard even argued that the exclusion of murder from the BCS explained it, as if hundreds of uncounted corpses littered the streets.

Now, the position is reversed. The BCS shows crime rising; the police count falling. If the Tories had ever been honest about this, they would have to agree that the situation was not quite so fearful, but the BCS useless. But no; Davis has seamlessly flipped from one measure to the other. Now, the BCS is right, and the police wrong. Clearly, the actual content of the statistic is irrelevant. What matters is its ideological purity. It being the central tenet of Conservatism that the past was always better, crime must by definition rise.

The Government is no better. Thanks to the god-like genius of Roger Ford, I read the detail of the Government's new railways plan before it was announced. It seems that an old trick is in use. Greens, and techies, are unlikely to forget the infamous DTI report in the 1980s that accidentally-on-purpose increased the cost estimate of wave power by a factor of 10.

Now, they're doing the same damn thing with regard to railway electrification. Electrification is great; more bigger faster trains, and energy efficiencies as high as 95 per cent (for the regenerating trains on the London, Tilbury and Southend route), and the juice can come from almost anything. For some reason, the DfT (Rail) and the privateers hate it - DfT(R) is trying to claim that hydrogen fuelcell trains are a better idea. God knows why; why would you convert electricity to hydrogen and then back into electricity when you can just use electricity?

So, who is surprised to see that a Network Rail spokesbot exaggerated the power requirement for full electrification by a factor of four?


Tom said...

Captain Deltic has made a rare but welcome appearance on the uk.railway newsgroup in recent days, on the HLOS/SoFA malarkey:

chris y said...

Corbyn runs a business making long term weather predictions from sun spot activity, so it's not surprising that he defends his product. Conventional snake oil salesman behaviour.

The odd thing is that, before he went commercial, he made quite a lot of money betting on the weather at bookies. So there may be an element of method in his madness.

Alex said...

Hey, if the bookies let him get odds on the temperature falling between July and December, they deserve to lose every penny.

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