JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


Advertising

micropace


GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



Archives

Weekend Unthreaded

Wandering thoughts…

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.6/10 (27 votes cast)
Weekend Unthreaded, 7.6 out of 10 based on 27 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/o8kuq3b

56 comments to Weekend Unthreaded

  • #
    the Griss

    I posted this down the bottom of a thread a few days ago.

    So for those of you who never get that far into a thread..

    New paper finds global temperature data trend prior to 1950′s “meaningless” & “artificially flattened”

    Must say, I’m a bit surprised they didn’t say “prior to 1970′s” ;-)

    141

  • #

    I seriously hope that Joanne is not offended here, But I’ve had ten days of the most wonderful fun in ages tracking down something really intriguing.

    Other than saying that, I’m not going to let on, but this link is a Teaser from eleven days back at my home site.

    Tony.

    161

    • #
      the Griss

      Hydro is GREAT.. IF you have the water supply and the terrain. :-)

      80

      • #
        Robber

        But in Australia the greenies say dams are bad. In Victoria we have given up Snowy hydro so the water can run free, and we could have dammed the Mitchell to give us cheap water instead of a mothballed and expensive and power hungry desal plant. The greens should be asked to pay for their folly.

        30

    • #
      the Griss

      Also, think of all that lovely life-giving CO2 released in manufacturing all that cement. :-)

      111

    • #
      Matty

      With all them melting glaciers in tha Himalya who wouldn’t want to capture it for electricity as they dissapear ;-) and if they didn’t dissapear, well that would be a giant bonus as nature keeps on giving.

      60

      • #
        ROM

        If my memory is still functional, a doubtful proposition at 76 years old, somewhere a couple of years ago I came across a mention that China was on track to build [ I think ] some 18 [ ? ] major hydro dams on the headwaters and Himalayan rivers feeding the Mekong.

        The Vietnamese and Laotians and Cambodians are most definitely not impressed by China’s program as they will lose about half of the Mekong’s waters as China diverts the Mekong’s waters to the SE parts of China for irrigation.

        As China and Vietnam who was in the Russian political orbit in the 1970′s which the Chinese most definitely weren’t, have fought a good sized border war in the 1979 with a couple of hundred thousand Chinese troops involved in a cross border invasion of northern Vietnam.
        Plus the current dust up between the bully boy Chinese, the Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysian interests over the ownership of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea and therefore the very large untapped reserves of oil believed to be in the vicinity of the Paracels, expect some more decent fighting flare ups with the Chinese as everybody gangs up, helped along by the barracking from the Indians with the Americans being hopefully coerced into the fray as a suitably biased umpire that can handle itself in a fight if needed, all ganging up on China who is fast becoming regarded as the very large school yard bully of East Asia.

        We think the Middle East is bad.
        Just wait until the Chinese get even more pushy in their scramble to tie up and gain control of a vast range of resources to power their future development particularly to the north in the Russian Far East with it’s declining population base.

        At this stage in their political development as a potential super power, a by no means guaranteed outcome, the Chinese are still very inclined to “take” by force if they can’t acquire by fair means or foul, their demands for resources.
        And thats the path of their history over the last three decades and it won’t cease for another generation or possibly two and until their monolithic governmental system is changed or develops a new path. that can come to a political, business and trading accommodation with it’s neighbours.

        51

        • #
          ROM

          Probably a bit more research was needed here.
          India and Bangladesh aren’t happy either with China’ and it’s program for damming the Himalayan ?rivers such as the immense south flowing Brahmaputra River that joins with the east flowing Ganges in the Ganges / Brahmaputra delta, the largest river delta on earth and which is shared by India and which most of the over 160 million population and at 144 sq kms area , about two thirds the size of Victoria’s 227 thousand sq kms, Bangladesh is built on the Delta of these two immense Himalayan fed rivers which China is on the way to damming.

          The Brahmaputra: Water hotspot in Himalayan Asia
          [ quoted ]

          China is now predictably casting its eyes on the Brahmaputra’s hydropower potential on China’s side of the border.
          According to Tibet researcher Tashi Tsering, China has already constructed ten dams on tributaries of the upper Brahmaputra, with three more under construction, seven more under consideration, and yet eight more proposed (Tsering 2010). Those dams already built are small in scale and, since none are on the Brahmaputra itself, have stirred little interest outside China.

          China’s plans, however, apparently include building five major dams directly on the Brahmaputra mainstream. Completion of construction on the first of them, the US$1.18 billion 510 megawatt Zangmu hydropower project in the middle reaches of the river, is expected by 2014.

          More worrying yet, from the the perspective of India, is the possibility that China’s aggressive search for promising hydropower dam sites in Tibet might
          ultimately drive Beijing to focus on the so-called Great Bend in the Brahmaputra, the point in the Himalayas where the river curves south onto India’s Assamese plain.
          It was reported in May 2010 that research had indeed been carried out for a massive project at the bend (Watts 2010). Tsering (2010) predicts that China
          is likely to construct a 38,000 megawatt hydropower station and large storage dam near Motuo and, if built, ‘China will gain significant capacity to control the Brahmaputra’s flow.

          Basically, India will become dependent on China for flow of what is now a free-flowing international river’ (Hindustan Times 2010;

          [ / ]

          31

          • #
            ROM

            Lets upgrade Bangladesh’s area are by a couple of magnitudes from 144 square kilometres to 144, 000 square kiolmetres

            Derrrrr!

            21

      • #
        NielsZoo

        I’ll play. How about we yank all the mirrors out of the solar bird barbeques and move them to the Himalayas. If we don’t get catastrophic global warming we can use the mirrors to melt the glaciers to run turbines at a convenient lower altitude. Much smaller dams needed as we can “control” the melt rate and leave our water frozen until we need it. There aren’t as many birds up there and the energy density we need to melt the glaciers is much lower so the avian cooking problems will be lessened. There you go. HydroSolar renewable energy that’s nicer to nature. If we do get catastrophic global warming we can use the mirrors to protect the glaciers from the sun so our grandchildren can go look a them after the rest of the planet is a boiling h*llhole.

        (Hey, it makes as much sense as the rest of the Climateer’s ideas.)

        40

    • #
      Peter C

      We know that Hydro is the only renewable energy resource that actually works.

      What about pumped hydro as storage?

      I have thought for a long time that the Kiewa scheme in North East Victoria is a perfect project for pumped Hydro storage. There are a series of dams already constructed with power stations already built at each one.

      What is needed is the pumps to push the water back up to the higher dam. Given the occasional high prices for electricity during Summer hot days, I imagine it has been thought about. Has anyone seen any modelling?

      30

      • #
        the Griss

        I’m pretty sure that pumping water up a long pipe is very inefficient.

        Pipe losses, pumping inefficiencies, etc etc.

        I suspect you would be lucky to get even half the pumping energy back, especially if any distance was involved.

        50

        • #
          Graeme No.3

          Pumped storage currently runs at 70-75% efficiency, but that is with ‘conventional’ hydro i.e. with power plants sited for best efficiency, not for political reasons.

          21

          • #
            the Griss

            “Pumped storage currently runs at 70-75% efficiency “

            I would love to see the calculations for that. :-)

            20

            • #
              Graeme No.3

              Sorry, running on my iPad which I find not much use for searches. I suggest you try pumped storage cycle efficiency calculations using Google Scholar. Take your choice.
              Using a general query leads to one of three things
              Wikipedia
              Gushing from renewable energy advocates
              A number of PDFs, usually with enormously long links.
              oz-energy-analysis.org may be your best bet for a quick calculation.

              I was relying on frequent comments I have come across, especially from the UK regarding Dinorvig, on the actual efficiency achieved.

              20

              • #
                Graeme No.3

                Sorry,
                for Dinorvig read Dinorwig.
                Operating efficiency 74-75%.

                10

              • #
                Graeme No.3

                the Griss:

                Slightly O/T but the original wide spread use of wind electricity depended on ‘pumped storage’.

                It was used by farms etc. in the Mid West of the USA in the 1920′s and early 30′s.

                It used a windmill to pump water into a large elevated tank. If the tank was full the overflow pipe took that to the stock watering troughs. At the bottom of the tank was a stop valve, followed by a small turbine generating DC power, which was fed to a bank of batteries. The water exiting the turbine was also piped for agricultural use.

                The house etc. used the battery bank as a source of electricity. you will note that this scheme was much in advance of current arrangements as it couldn’t be overloaded by too strong a wind. Both the tank and the batteries acted as storage to cover times of low wind (and bear in mind that a pumping windmill is less dependent on the wind being just right).

                It wasn’t perfect and required a lot of attention, so as soon as electricity was available from the grid the equipment was scrapped or turned to some other use.

                40

      • #
        Andrew McRae

        I was wondering earlier today how renewables will ever find a dense energy storage solution to cure their base load envy. Hydro is the obvious one if the terrain is suitable; use solar and wind to pump up the water and let it run down when the stored energy is needed.

        But all that water takes up a lot of space and you need the vertical drop. I wondered if some kind of thermal storage could work instead, like a confined plasma or a really hot material. Obviously the solar towers are already using molten salt, that’s because it can be done at ambient pressure, no pressure vessel required. Disadvantage of molten salt is it is highly corrosive.

        You’d need a material with a high heat capacity to really pack in the Joules. Molten salt is only 1.56 J/g/K. While water is pretty high on the Cp at 4.1, there are others. I started looking at ammonia. At 100 atmospheres and 125 Celsius the Cp of liquid ammonia is over 17 J/g/K, and it’s at least 8 at 110 degrees. The gas phase is even higher capacity at those temperatures. Get the figures here from NIST.
        Raising 4t of ammonia from 110°C to 125°C will store roughly 672MJ into the liquid phase, plus even more in the gas phase above it, so say 800MJ total (that’s after losses).

        Compared with hydro, to store that amount of energy gravitationally you would have to raise 4t of water up 20km… or raise 1632t of water up 50m. The advantage of pumped hydro is its low tech so it’s safe and reliable, and there’s not nearly as much losses as with thermal storage. But you still need a high place and that severely limits where it can be used.

        By contrast I’m sure nobody would mind a pressure vessel of 4t of ammonia at 100 atmospheres and 125 degrees sitting in their suburb. Hmmm, okay, that almost makes nuclear look good. :D Hey solar sycophants, at least I tried thinking of a solution for you.

        50

        • #
          Andrew McRae

          BTW, that 800MJ is only enough for 96 homes to use 10A of 230Vrms for 1 hour. Basically nothing. The area to volume ratio of a sphere decreases with size, which helps in scaling it up, but I don’t think it could scale up by 10,000 times, which is what’s needed to make it actually useful. The required 40000t of ammonia would be a sphere 70m across and is probably more ammonia than there is in the whole world.

          Perhaps the lesson here is an old one. It’s a lot easier all round if the electricity can be generated at the same rate it is consumed so there is no need for storage.

          30

        • #
          James Murphy

          I dimly recall hearing about an experimental power station which used ammonia to conduct heat. The plant was built on the coast (in Hawaii, I think?). The ammonia was cooled by circulating it via a pipeline in mid-deep water – easily done in Hawaii. How it was heated and how power was actually generated, I cannot remember. I think it relied on the fact that ammonia is a gas at standard temperature and pressure, but could be wrong…

          However, using ammonia in large volumes may be a matter of confusing base power generation with basic power generation… sorry, but someone needed to take a run at a chemistry joke, didn’t they?

          (I also remember reading ‘the mosquito coast’, where the ammonia-based ice machine exploded…needless to say, it didn’t end well)

          20

          • #
            Graeme No.3

            Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) uses the temperature difference between cooler deep and warmer surface ocean waters to run a heat engine and produce useful work.
            The main technical challenge of OTEC is to generate significant amounts of power efficiently from small temperature differences – the theoretical maximum efficiency is 6 and 7 percent for this temperature difference.

            Hawaii plant, dubbed “Mini-OTEC” ran for three months in 1979, a small amount of electricity was generated.

            For OTEC TO BE VIABLE as a power source, the technology MUST HAVE TAX & SUBSIDY treatment similar to subsidized wind systems

            50

            • #
              James Murphy

              Thanks for the information, I am glad i didn’t imagine it…. and am not at all surprised about the necessity for subsidies.

              30

          • #
            JohnRMcD

            and if large volumes of ammonia get loose … it is both poisonous and explosive. Great.

            10

    • #
      Geoff Sherrington

      Tony,
      Visits to China in the early 1990s discussed hydro, re the parallel N-S rivers of the Mekong, Salween and Jinsha Jiang (upper Yangtze) to the west of Kunming and Szechwan provinces, east of India and Tibet.
      What we heard depended on who was telling, but fear of earthquakes was very common. They have had some big ones since then.
      Geoff.

      30

    • #

      A drawback with hydro is that it depends on rainfall. In Southern Brazil, where there is around 25-30GW of hydro schemes on the River Parana and its tributaries, the winters tend to be much drier than the summers. A few years ago a drought caused some power cuts.

      30

    • #
      Roy Hogue

      Hydro in the U.S. is mostly used up in far too many places. But in addition to that, there’s a lot of push to tear down existing dams. And I have to say I have some sympathy for that point of view. The Pacific North West salmon spawning grounds are far up river and far too few make it that far. And I would hate to lose such a magnificent (and delicious) fish. On the other hand, there are solutions and hopefully we can get the best of both worlds.

      The Hover Dam on the Colorado River is another case. Southern California still gets significant power from it but the river deposits silt behind the dam and it’s now to the point where only a few more years will see it overflowing the inlets to the turbines. And perhaps worse in a time of drought, lowering water level threatens the viability of the dam as a power source also. I think they could open inlets further down from the top of the inlet pipes but they are in the silt beds.

      I fear we are about to have a reckoning with mother nature about hydro power.

      I have no idea what the cost of dredging behind Hoover Dam would be. But it would be a bundle of cash far too big for me.

      30

      • #
        KinkyKeith

        Interesting pint Roy.

        I wonder if newer dams have any inbuilt arrangement to help reduce this sediment.

        It may be possible to incorporate some sort of churn and remove system powered by the water exiting the dam during overflow periods.

        KK

        30

        • #
          James Murphy

          The 3 gorges dam project does have such a system in place, relying on a system of strategically placed sluice gates, which, when opened, cause turbulence and flush out sediment. However, it’s not perfect, and the dam is still expected to silt up, albeit at a slower rate than if nothing was done.

          Dammed if you do, and damned if you don’t?

          30

        • #
          the Griss

          “Interesting pint Roy.”

          Was that a Freudian typo ? :-)

          40

          • #
            KinkyKeith

            I did have some wine last night but I think it was mainly due to old age and impatience, not bothering to proof read.

            KK

            30

        • #
          Roy Hogue

          KK,

          The Colorado River carries muddy water all the time. It runs through soft sediment it can easily pick up and for a river with its load is quite narrow through the Grand Canyon so it’s running fast It drains a huge part of North America west of the continental divide. And in the spring it’s running even faster as the snow in the Rockies melts.

          If you look at a map of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado you’ll see that the headwaters of the Colorado are a long way East of the headwaters of the Rio Grande which empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

          Other rivers have this problem too but to a lesser degree. The Colorado and Hoover Dam are the worst case I know of.

          The Mississippi, the Colorado and the Columbia are the major rivers in the united states. By comparison the Rio Grande is pretty tame. In the summer you can walk across it between Mexico and Texas in some places.

          The Mississippi is a continual flood problem and huge amounts of money have gone into controlling it. And as far as I know it has never had a dam for hydro power. Much of the city of New Orleans is below water level and protected from the Mississippi by levies. Katrina with its heavy rain broke through the levies and much of the city was flooded.

          Probably more info than you wanted. :-)

          10

          • #
            Roy Hogue

            Tragically, so much of the water flowing in the Colorado River is taken out for quenching the thirst of cities in Arizona and California that where it crosses the border into Mexico it’s just a trickle. Mexico has complained loudly about this because the Colorado flows through a part of Mexico before ending in the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California). And Mexico could use that water to their benefit if they could get it.

            Civilization’s ability to manipulate its environment has its downside.

            10

          • #
            KinkyKeith

            Hi Roy

            The silting of dams is something I never thought of until you mentioned it.

            Obviously an issue.

            I don’t know much about dams but my training as a Metallurgist and knowledge of fluid flow prompted the possibility of using the water power stored on the dam to help remove some silt.

            Apparently there is some sort of remedy as mentioned by James above.

            This might explain why our old local dam at Dungog (chichester dam) now has three spillways which I don’t remember from much earlier visits.

            Sounds like USA has a potential water war with Mexico: we have similar interstate problems here in Australia.

            KK

            00

            • #
              Roy Hogue

              Sounds like USA has a potential water war with Mexico: we have similar interstate problems here in Australia.

              There’s a real water war between Arizona and Southern California — at least it’s a very real competition for the water. I’m not sure if Mexico has any possibility of redress through some court and frankly I doubt it. But with all of the southwestern U.S. being a desert and so full of thirsty humans, water is a big issue.

              We get water from the northern part of the state and they complain about it. We get water from the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and there are complainers about that. We get water from the Colorado River and there are complainers about that too.

              We survive quite literally on water brought in from hundreds of miles away and one of the aqueducts dates from the 1930s and is now aging and of unknown structural soundness. We have a very long tunnel that’s part of the Colorado River aqueduct from the Coachella valley under the intervening mountain into the Los Angeles basin that’s also old. And worse, it could be closed off by an earthquake. Actually, an earthquake in the right place could shut down any of it. The result would be devastating.

              And now because of an unprecedented drought — at least unprecedented in recent memory — we’re under mandatory 20% water use reduction. Southern California is up against the wall with nowhere to go. Reservoirs are so low that state water officials calculate that even if the next winter is back to normal snow and rainfall we can’t get everything back to full capacity. And if the next winter is the same or worse…well…I shudder to think about it.

              But what’s new? Humans have fought over water, land, food, even women for thousands of years.

              ————————————

              The Hoover dam wasn’t built with any consideration for the silt as far as I know. If it could, a regular release of water from near the base of the dam might have been able to mitigate the silt problem.

              We have the most attractive environment for living and the least tractable place in the country for getting water.

              00

  • #
    the Griss

    Meanwhile.. the Arctic Ice has turned the corner for this year.

    I suspect it will hug the decadal maximum values all the way up to its NH winter peak.

    All part of the long term cycles of Arctic ice ups and downs, now heading upwards by the looks of it.

    The Antarctic, of course, is WELL ABOVE the 2 sigma mark, but does seem to have topped out for this year.

    111

  • #
    Len

    I noticed on Face Book there is a carpet bombing against the removal of the RET.
    Also complaining about Tony Abbott not attending the Barking Moon’s Climate meeting, Usual scare comments.

    121

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      The last stand of the global warming rent-seekers.

      Once the RET goes there will be no new wind farms, and solar PV will become more expensive.

      Indeed many wind farms could well be shut down as the revenue stream drops drastically, and maintenance costs keep on keeping on. They only have a limited life, and the earning power drops as they age, while maintenance costs increase. Keeping them going in the slim hope of a Labor return in a few years will cost more than they could hope to recoup.

      After all, even some Greenies understand that selling something that costs $110 for $40 means selling at a loss.

      131

      • #
        NielsZoo

        After all, even some Greenies understand that selling something that costs $110 for $40 means selling at a loss.

        Uh yea… ummm… right. Not sure I buy that one. Could you name three of them?

        50

    • #
      Geoff Sherrington

      Len,
      There is a lesson to be learned from the RET.
      A wind down will happen because the pollies were given a tactic that was novel and not hacked to death by advocacy groups. It was the evidence that electricity was in oversupply. Pollies can sell that apolitical observation.
      It has set me thinking if there is a similar way to obliquely argue there is no need for a policy reaction to global warming claims. Way to go?
      Geoff

      30

  • #
    mmxx

    The global public has been beset with dire predictions of a “need to evacuate or perish” nature for more than ten years by CAGW activists and followers.

    Escalated hurricane/cyclone frequency and intensity, droughts causing major cities to be without water, polar bear die-off, sea level rises of a property value collapse scale, frequency of “one in a hundred year” floods; all causing devastation of contemporary life.

    I am encouraged by more and more attentive citizens now calling these alarmist and unsubstantiated scare campaigns to account.

    100

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      mmxx:

      It is now 31 years* since the CAGW activists started predicting disaster in 5 or 10 years. I think the ordinary citizen has realised that it hasn’t happened and probably will not.

      141

      • #
        ROM

        Running through a couple of the more technical luke warmer blogs this evening I got the funny feeling from the commentary of the luke warmers that it is all over.

        Anthropogenic global warming is dead, finished but it’s rotting corpse will take quite a lot of getting rid of.

        It most certainly was not posted directly but this was the tenor of the comments from the climate science luke warmer types which in a very subtle way were giving that impression even if they themselves weren’t aware of it,
        They were moving on.
        There was science, climate science to discuss but CO2 / carbon and etc just didn’t rate or make the cut any more.

        I am having trouble putting a finger on anything exact and direct but the very subtle shift in the commentary all seems to have happened so quickly as in only a few weeks

        The ones left behind are fighting a war to keep a cult alive.

        They are the third, fourth and fifth raters in the science field, the eco loons, the cult followers, the MSM publicity junkies and those who can’t survive without a weekly public appearance and interview and a desperate scrounging for even more public recognition.
        In short a whole gamut of individuals who can’t accept that what they so fervently believed in either in a spiritual sense or due to the amounts of money and publicity they were getting and for most at a lower again level, the fact that they BELONGED to an idealistic planet saviour group who would be the only ones to recognise and “take action” [ their version of "taking action" always intrigued me as it always seemed that those same groups were actually on every occasion vociferously demanding that somebody else "take action to Stop global warming" which is apparently classed by themselves as "taking action" . ] gave them a purpose in life, a purpose which is now being increasingly seen as a futile pursuit of a mythical chimera of a supposed climate catastrophe which they were going to help prevent.
        And a mirage of the glorious honors they were going to collect for being of the incredibly dedicated group who saved the planet from annihilation.

        Now it is all fading into the fogs of the past and their desperate delaying of the harsh realisation that all they believed in is for nought with nothing but the scathing commentary of the hated skeptics left to face, a situation that is almost more than most of them can stomach.
        So they fight on hoping for some miraculous piece of science to turn up proving them completely right and the true saviours of the planet as they so firmly believed they were in the first place.

        If you don’t believe me then why did so many associated with the IPCC immediately claimed the personal recognition of being recipients of the Nobel prize when it was awarded to the IPCC?
        So much so that the Nobel Committee had to publicly declare that the Nobel Prize had been awarded to the IPCC and NOT to all the IPCC’s hanger ons, some of them only very remotely associated with the IPCC’s climate scientists.

        102

        • #

          Those types are simply members of a long line of those who demand the sacrifice of others to assuage their fears of being inadequate to survive in reality. Never did they sacrifice themselves. It was always others to be burned at the stake, put to the knife, or tossed into the volcano. They have nothing to offer themselves. They only take. There is a long and bloody history of such misbegotten creatures.

          Apparently, we are supposed to be grateful that they ask only that we give up technological civilization and return to the status of a diseased, starved, short lived, hunting and gathering stone age tribe. We have the audacity to say a very clear and loud NO! That makes them all the more frightened.

          70

  • #
    handjive

    Marine Biologists Release Incredible Video Of A Borg-Like Sea Creature

    “I can’t believe that’s a living thing!” declares one of the scientists watching this stunning underwater footage of a siphonophore.
    The creature is not just one organism, but several that collectively serve various functions such as locomotion and even preying for food.

    The video was captured by the Hercules diving craft, part of the Nautilus Live expedition, which is exploring the creatures of the deep in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.

    70

    • #
      Andrew McRae

      I’m positive that creature never swam in terrestrial waters until this month.

      I get the same nagging question looking at that siphonophore as I do when looking at bright glittering upmarket fashion shops with no customers in them, or a city intersection with 3 cafes on every corner.
      “How do they survive? Surely there’s not enough here for them to feed upon.”

      50

      • #

        How is a siphonophore fundamentally different from our heart cooperating with our lungs, liver, and digestive system? They work together to provide oxygen and food so they and the rest of our body may continue to live and function. If separated, the whole assemblage soon dies. Isn’t the primary difference merely that we have a living bag that contains them and holds a sea like environment conducive to their continued survival?

        A basic evolutionary principle is that if there is any free energy in the environment, an organism will develop or transform itself to make use of it. Looks to me that a siphonophore is simply a successful evolutionary experiment along the path to more complex and integrated organisms such as ourselves. Its form and function finds enough free energy in its environment to keep on living. If that free energy did not exist, it would not exist. Life begets life and available free energy sustains the process.

        PS: free, not in the sense of a free beer, but in the sense of being able to be put to use by a suitable mechanism and action.

        40

        • #
          tom0mason

          Lionell Griffith

          Indeed so but also our bodies are just large badders of fat, muscle and a lot of liquid all hung on an internal scaffold of bones. Internally microbes, by the millions, can help or hinder our existance in so many bodily processes. Digestion being the major one.
          Also the outer layer of skin is where we and the outer world mingle; at this interface billions of microbes are living and dying on our skin. In healthy skin our body symbiotically assists the heath microbes, promoting healthy skin and hair and helps to prevent infections.

          We are one part, a symbiont, in cooperation with many millions more.

          http://www.sciencemag.org/content/324/5931/1190.short

          40

          • #

            Big bugs have little bugs. Little bugs have still smaller bugs. So on until you get to the level of a virus which uses the cell reproduction mechanism of the bigger bugs to reproduce. As I said, if there is any free energy lying around, life finds a way to use it.

            On a large scale and on the smallest scare, things are simple. It is the middle level where we live that things get complicated and muddled. The really interesting thing is that through all this complication and muddle, we can look at it, learn from it, contemplate it, talk about it, understand parts of it, and use that understanding to make our lives better. In effect, we have learned how to use the free energy around us on a scale impossible for other forms of life.

            30

  • #

    Prof. Stephan Lewandowsky has again made the claim that there is “overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change”. I left this comment on his (Australian-funded) blog and recorded it at my own blog.

    4. ManicBeancounter at 10:49 AM on 28 September, 2014
    You claim that there is “overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change”. Does this apply to:-
    (a) The trivial proposition that there is a greenhouse effect, so a rise in GHG levels will cause some rise in temperature?
    OR
    (b) The non-trivial proposition that the unmitigated increase in GHG levels will lead to significant warming with catastrophic consequences?
    The trivial proposition is something for a few academics to ponder. It is only when there is reasonable scientific evidence for the non-trivial proposition that a global policy to mitigate could be seriously contemplated.
    Having attended John Cook’s lecture at Bristol University a few days ago, I found out that the vast survey of academic papers found a 97% consensus was about belief in the trivial proposition, and some of the papers were authored by non-scientists. That is, Cook presented weak, secondary, evidence of the trivial proposition.
    Cook’s lecture also mentioned the four Hiroshima bombs a second of heat accumulation in the climate system since 1998, the widget for which you have on the left-hand side of this blog. Stated this way, there appears to be a non-trivial amount of warming, that anybody can perceive. It is equivalent to the average temperature of the ocean’s increasing at a rate less than 0.0018oC per annum. That is weak evidence for the trivial proposition.
    So where is the overwhelming evidence that can justify policy?

    150

    • #
      Peter C

      I am seriously underwhelmed by the overwhelming scientific evidence for AGW. Indeed even the scientific evidence for the Greenhouse Theory seems to non existent.

      40

  • #
  • #
    Greg Cavanagh

    As a random out there thought.

    Is it plausible that scientists be certified as competent similar to an RPEQ (Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland)?

    Or at the very least; scientific studies be reviewed by a registered competent pier.

    00

  • #

    Nedlands council’s solar-panel decree labelled an ‘act of socialism’
    (Paywalled article at The Australian. You know the drill.)

    A COUNCIL in Perth’s dress circle has triggered an animated debate with an unprecedented decision to compel home owners to install solar panels or wind-power generation.

    Ian Argyle, a long-time resident and Nedlands councillor, described the rule as an “act of socialism”, but Mayor Max Hipkins argued it was no imposition since the cost was about the same as what residents in the ­riverfront suburb would typic­ally spend on a dining-room table.

    Mr Hipkins … “There is this attitude that the western suburbs are so rich they don’t need to worry about wasting energy, (but) we should demonstrate that there are good reasons for having solar power”…

    Mr Argyle opposed the measures, labelling them an act of “socialism” that stripped home owners of their free will. …

    Easy peasy. Apply to put up a 3MW wind turbine on your property.

    In the local newspaper Cambridge Post (PDF) on Page 1:

    Mr Hipkins said that the mandatory on-site power generators would reduce the amount of power lines and reduce power custs in Nedlands.

    Nobody asked him how people will get their peak electricity in the evening if there are not enough power lines.

    Hipkins evidently has no expertise at all in energy supply and is an environmental vandal. Perhaps an investigative journo can investigate Hipkins’ connections. People don’t become that stupid without good reason.

    00

  • #
    Justin Jefferson

    Senator Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democratic Party on Other People’s Money:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z_PKvUnR-g
    a ‘must-watch’.

    00

  • #
     D o u g   C o t t o n  

     
    Roy, Joel and other lukes and warmists:

    The fact that planetary surface temperatures are higher than the radiating temperature of any planet with a significant atmosphere is entirely due to the gravito-thermal effect first explained by the brilliant 19th century physicist, Josef Loschmidt, and never correctly refuted, not even by Robert Brown of WUWT fame. I have explained why in comments on the latest Rutherglen thread, as well as in my book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All.”

    There is no further warming needed. In fact, the gravitationally induced temperature gradient over-shoots the mark and mean temperatures are around 300K in dry regions. Fortunately in the more moist regions water vapour and any radiating molecules in any planetary troposphere reduce the gradient because of various radiation processes, and so we have cooler temperatures.

    But the IPCC would have you believe that water vapour does most of “33 degrees of warming” and this is absolute nonsense, not born out by any temperature data. Even the 33 degrees is grossly underestimated because only a mean of 161W/m^2 of solar radiation reaches the surface.

    What would the sensitivity be to each 1% rise in water vapour? Rain forests with 4% would be rather hot, and dry deserts at least 30 degrees colder perhaps.

    It’s all so ludicrous that I’m astonished at the lack of due diligence by those who lapped up the hoax. Of course the conjecture doesn’t work at all on other planets, but even that doesn’t seem to worry you all. To put it frankly, you have been brainwashed and one day you will be very red-faced. Radiation is not the primary determinant of planetary surface temperatures.

    10