Posts by Philip Wilkie

  • OnPoint: Summer of Shadbolt,


    Freedom is the lack of restriction on our actions. Being better informed is something that's good, and it contributes to our capacity to participate in a democracy, but it's not freedom.

    I see your point, but you are using a rather narrow and literal definition of "freedom". Every result springs from three things; knowledge, volition and then action. Without knowledge (and well informed knowledge at that) then regardless of any "lack of restriction on our actions", the end result will be mis-directed.

    Or to put it more simply, I'm not sure how ignorance is much of a freedom.

    Since Mar 2007 • 23 posts Report

  • OnPoint: Summer of Shadbolt,


    After the last election there was an obvious need to revisit the current election laws - there was evident corruption and illegality on the part of both of our largest political parties

    I'm not so sure that's really so accurate. National's breaches of the intent of the 1992 Electoral Act via the use of anonymous trusts, and the parallel EB campaign are clearly established. I'm much less convinced that O'Brady's rulings that caught out ALL the other parties seems were reasonable and fair interpretations of Parliament's intent at all.

    <quote>Instead they've come up with legislation that totally undermined whatever moral high ground the Labour Party may have enjoyed in the wake of Nationals Hollow Men debacle</quote.

    Actually the new EFB seems to have emerged from the Parlimentary process in fair shape. All the major loopholes that National drove a fleet of Mack trucks through have been closed off, and the purpose and intent of a spending cap as enshrined in long established legislation has protected.

    It's easy to say that a "commission" would have been better, but it really begs the question of whether they may have reached a radically different outcome, one that was consistent with existing legislation and one that could have implemented in time for the 2008 election.

    If the EFB is shown to have shortcomings, they do apply equally to all the Parties, and with experience a future Parliament can always amend it.

    Since Mar 2007 • 23 posts Report

  • OnPoint: Summer of Shadbolt,


    The last para in your post interested me:

    These things are, by definition, restrictions on our freedoms. Laws are, by definition, restrictions on our freedoms. But not all restrictions on freedoms are sinister, and they have to be weighed up and judged with open eyes.

    It is a curious thing that in moderation, laws and regulations, far from restricting our freedoms... actually increase them. Our society functions as relatively well as it does because of myriad layers of them. Without them in fact, if left totally free to do whatever we felt we could "get away with", our nation as we know it would rapidly degenerate into barbarism. And that in itself would amount to huge loss to us all. There is in fact no such thing as "absolute liberty", save perhaps that attained by those characters of literature stranded on desert islands.

    A very simple illustration is afforded by that set of "restrictions" which comprise the Road Code. Sure they take away your "freedom" to drive on whichever side of the road takes your personal fancy.... but in return you gain a much larger freedom to actually use the roads to move about from place to place in relative safety.

    The EFB has tightened restrictions around the ability of individuals to anonymously publish electioneering material, but in return we are ALL better informed and are better placed to judge the credibility and motives behind these exhortations. In sum I can see very little detriment to the individual, and a very real gain to the collective.

    It's a no brainer really.

    Since Mar 2007 • 23 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Daily Embarrassment,

    The response that you quoted is a reaction to someone saying nuclear power (no qualification) is intrinsically evil.

    Nuclear fusion is a wholly different process to nuclear fission, and one with a completely different hazard profile. There are no fusion reactors generating power at present, and there will likely be none resulting from the current main line of research, for decades into the future.

    Context is everything buddy. ALL nuclear power generation, both current and foreseeable, is a fission reaction. The original quote can only reasonably be taken in that context.

    Yes they both involve atomic interactions, but that is about where the similarities end. Failing to "qualify" between the two is a spurious and hypothetical argument, akin to worrying about how many reactors can meltdown on the head of pin... or something.

    Look, what you attempted was a slightly sophisticated version of the old "the Greenies are Luddites" smear, which usually crumples up and crawls away when exposed to even the most rudimentary facts. But please feel free to have another go at resurrecting it; opportunity is everything too.

    Since Mar 2007 • 23 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Daily Embarrassment,


    Oh damm, I'll never be able to say anything bad about GWB ever again...

    Since Mar 2007 • 23 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Daily Embarrassment,

    Does this guy know how that life-sustaining ball of fire in the sky works?

    Well yes. Last I looked at the science, Big Yella is supposed to be kitted with a nuclear FUSION reactor under the hood, runs on hydrogen, and burps helium out the tail pipe. Very green and trendy. Gets a 5 five eco-star rating.

    By contrast all the nulcear power station technologies currently in use (and for the foreseeable future) use FISSION reactors which, for a whole bunch of reasons are environmentally like running the kids to school in a Hummer that runs on a distillate of humpback whale oil. No eco-stars at all.

    Since Mar 2007 • 23 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Daily Embarrassment,

    Had a read of the Russian link you made and at this point either the English translation is a cockup, or you need to clear a nice big space on the floor to have a good roll around:

    "Hothouse gases may not be to blame for global warming. At any rate, there is no scientific evidence to their guilt. The classic hothouse effect scenario is too simple to be true. As things really are, much more sophisticated processes are on in the atmosphere, especially in its dense layer. For instance, heat is not so much radiated in space as carried by air currents—an entirely different mechanism, which cannot cause global warming."

    I hesitate to have to say this, but given that space is a vacuum, then air currents cannot be the mechanism of carrying heat off into it. I suspect what is being said here is something about the relationship between the troposphere and the stratosphere and the way energy moves between them, but this clumsy article has failed to make its point, much less prove one.

    As for your hurricane data:

    Administration predicted 13 to 17 named storms, seven to 10 hurricanes and three to five intense hurricanes.

    The actual results for the 2007 season: 14 named storms, five hurricanes, two intense hurricanes.

    That is actually not a bad result for a prediction... and one that is still well above the long-term average. Anyhow Russell has already pre-empted you on this one:

    And you also make two other basic mistakes:

    1. Using short-term data from one year to attempt to say something about a long-term trend.

    2. Using data from one region (the North Atlantic) to attempt to say something about the planet as a whole.

    Since Mar 2007 • 23 posts Report

  • Hard News: Random,

    Jeez, that took me more than an hour to write.

    Bit like the cook's lament, "that took me all afternoon to cook, and YOU scoffed it in 5 minutes!!!".

    But thanks, it tasted great all the same!

    Since Mar 2007 • 23 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Daily Embarrassment,

    James, sorry but it isn't like that. By pumping gigatonnes of GHG's into the atmosphere we have ALREADY made a policy decision about impacting the climate. Doing nothing was only an option back at the start of the Industrial revolution.

    What you are really proposing is to simply gamble that the impact of what we are doing will be small. A gamble you are happy to take because you probably haven't considered the possibility of being asked to pay up if you loose the bet. Consider it a form of Russian roulette, only with your grandchildren's lives, not your own.

    Since Mar 2007 • 23 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Daily Embarrassment,

    Sorry to have to repeat myself, but the link Kracklite gave to the US Academey of Science report is a start:

    As Gareth correctly identifies, these attempts to dismiss AGW as come kind of statistical mistake are mere politics. You are not dealing with the science here Steve. If you sincerely wanted to do that you would take your case to Dr Mann directly or at the least the comments section of RealClimate. Many people do and get cogent responses to their misconceptions. Or if you deem the RealClimate team to be an bunch of ignoramus's unworthy of your time, then you could take on any number of other respected figures in the field and try to prove them wrong.

    Now I have taken the time to extensively read McIntyre's work and attempted to reconcile this with the responses from Mann and others. The simple fact is that non-specialists such as ourselves are not really in a position to judge who is right or wrong, and whether the narrow mathematical issues being debated really matter or not. And tossing up out-of-context links that present selected technical snippets, to a blog audience such as Public Address, does more to confuse than to to clarify. Which is your intent I suspect.

    What remains totally uncontroversial however is the infrared absorbtion spectrum of CO2 (and other GHG's), the energy balance of the planet, the thermodynamics of the atmosphere and the measured increases in CO2 from 270ppm to 390ppm over the Industrial era. From this data in isolation we can predict quite accurately a moderate AGW.

    To get to the alarming AGW scenario's we have to include the notion of "feedbacks". In my professional life I make real life feedback loops work all the time. I deal with simple linear processes that can be usually be readily modelled. The planet turns out to have a myriad of complex poorly understood mechanisms that may or may not be coupled, may or may not be positive or negative, and may or may not be chaotic.

    The temperature proxy reconstructions we are arguing over can be interpreted however you want, but they make one thing obvious... paleoclimate exhibits a high degree of apparently chaotic variability, that we simply do not understand. If I was faced with an automation process that behaved like this my professional reaction would be "don't fuck with it".

    Since Mar 2007 • 23 posts Report

Last ←Newer Page 1 2 3 Older→ First