Stupidity Archive


Just when you thought life couldn’t get any worse.

In a previous post, I described some of the setbacks that those pushing the idea of man made global warming (or whatever today’s name is) were facing. Things have continued to go downhill at an ever increasing rate. If you are committed to the idea of man-made global warming (AGW) life sucks.

First came an opinion poll in the UK which showed that the British Government faces a backlash to their AGW policies caused by the rapid and steep increases in energy prices, with the prospect of worse to come.

Only 25% of the population are in favor of continuing the current policies if it means increased energy prices.

Reuters, 25 July 2011

This was accompanied by a paper published in Remote Sensing, which shows that satellite measurements and those of the global warming models have huge discrepancies. Of course, the discrepancies are in the direction of showing that some of the basic assumptions used in the models are vastly exaggerating the potential for future warming.

The paper is available here.

The reaction was predictable – when there is a clash between the models and reality, then there has to be some problem with reality.


Then there is another paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which tackles the idea that the reason that global warming has been absent for the last 10 years while CO2 levels continue to rise is because of all those coal-fired power stations (you know, the ones that we have to shut down and replace with windmills!) that China is firing up (about one per week).

Of course, claiming that more coal-fired power plants reduces global warming while saying that we have to shut down coal-fired power plants to reduce global warming strikes even the dimmest minds as maybe a rather strange idea. So to explain this, the claim is that Chinese coal is different. Very special coal, which creates lots more sulfate particles which reduce incoming sunlight intensity.

Well, this paper knocks that idea firmly on the head.

Again, this research is based upon actual observations and measurements, so again it is refuted on the basis that models must be right, and reality is obviously flawed.

That argument is used a lot, isn’t it?

Next, comes a paper published in Nature Geoscience,  which looks at the AGW proponent claim that hydro-electric reservoirs are huge emitters of greenhouse gasses (CO2 and methane). The Green Lobby doesn’t like hydro-electric generation, because it falls under the heading of “renewable”, but actually produces large quantities of cheap electricity, whereas their view of the world requires small quantities of hyper-expensive electricity, so they came up with the idea that the reservoirs cause global warming. Somehow, these reservoirs are aware that the water is intended to produce electricity, as opposed to be for drinking, washing etc.

Anyway, this paper takes a real scientific look at the idea and determines that the actual emissions are approximately 1/6 of those claimed.

Next comes a report from the university of Copenhagen, which examines the claim that there is a “tipping point” for Arctic ice, beyond which there is no possibility of recovery, and once reached, will ensure that the Arctic becomes totally ice free, forever.

This is patent nonsense, of course, because the Arctic has been ice free in the past, and since we have ice there now, obviously “recovered” — of course, recovery implies that there should be ice at the North pole, which is a bit of a stretch. There is absolutely no such requirement.

Anyway, this study, to be published in Science, looks at the last 10,000 years and determines that there is no “tipping point” for Arctic ice.

Next, a poll by Rasmussen finds that 69% of people believe that Climate Scientists have very likely falsified global warming research data and findings.

Another nail in the coffin comes from Prof. Murry Salby  the Chair of Climate, of Macquarie University. He takes a look at the claim that the rise in CO2 that we see is all due to man. The argument was that it is possible to deduce that CO2 comes from fossil fuels rather than other sources by looking at the ratio of two carbon isotopes (C12 and C13). Prof. Salby takes a close look at this and comes to the conclusion that atmospheric CO2 is most likely increasing due to increasing temperature, not increasing temperature increasing due to rising CO2 — which is agrees with observations based upon ice cores covering many thousands of years, which have always shown a CO2 rise lagging a temperature rise. This was even visible on Al Gore’s graphs, which were actually shown reversed, to make it appear that CO2 led temperature rises unless you paid very close attention to the graphs X axis.

There is a very good write up on Prof. Salby’s work on Jo Nova’s website.

Perhaps the most telling comment he made after doing his research is this one:

“Anyone who thinks the science of this complex thing is settled is in Fantasia.”

All this almost makes you feel sorry for those who have hitched their fortune, credibility and finances to the AGW hype.




Taming the Lion

Apple has released their latest version of OS X, named Lion.

Having downloaded and installed this a week ago, I have spent a number of hours fighting with this beast, trying to disable most of the new “helpful” features which are anything but helpful.

Given the success of Apple’s other operating system iOS, which runs on the iPhone and iPad, Apple seems to have decided that the two operating systems should share a common interface.

Now if Apple had paid attention, they would have realized that this was exactly the reason why Microsoft have done so appallingly badly in the smart phone and tablet markets. Microsoft tried to make everything look like Windows, and that just doesn’t translate to the small screen (hand held devices). Now Apple are trying the same trick, and unless they learn their lesson very quickly, they will destroy the gains they have made on the desktop and laptop market.

So what is so bad about this feline monstrosity, and how do we go about taming it?

The first thing that hits you in the face like a dead fish is that they reversed the scrolling direction. They forgot the metaphor of all desktop systems, right back to the time they ripped off the design from Xerox – you scroll the screen by grabbing the scroll bar and sliding it up or down, where up is the beginning of the document, and down takes you to the end. On the small screen its different, the metaphor there is that you grab the document and slide that.

What this translates to is that on Lion, move your cursor down and the document goes up (!). The scrollbar goes in the opposite direction to the cursor, unless you actually grab the cursor, then everything goes the right way. This is obviously somewhat disconcerting, so to top the distraction of the errant scrollbar, they hid it. Well, then they obviously realized that the scrollbar performs other functions, such as giving you an idea of the length of the page, and your location in it, so hiding the scrollbar was not going to work well.

So they hide it, except when you are scrolling.

The answer to this is that in the System Preferences there are checkboxes to restore the correct scroll direction, and to show the scrollbar. Actually, the scrollbar shows in most applications anyway, its only Apple’s apps that have been modified to allow hiding where it flips in and out of existence.

Recent versions of OS X have implemented gestures. That is, using multiple fingers on the MacBook Pro trackpad to achieve various functions. These are generally good, things like tapping once with one finger on the pad for a “left click”, tapping with two fingers for a “right click”, using two fingers moving up and down to scroll, using two fingers moving left and right to move back and forward a page.

In Lion, they not only added more, they changed some of them, so the two finger left and right only works in some contexts. Then they added new features, such as full screen mode, which takes some multi-finger gymnastics to get out of, and back into, inviting lawsuits from people with not enough fingers due to various accidents, and those with arthritis who will have great difficulty performing these gestures. Actually inviting a much simpler gesture which only requires one finger…

Again, you have some control over these gestures via System Preferences. For example, you can turn on an option to allow two or three finger paging, then three finger works (almost) everywhere. Turning them off is possible, but then there are going to be some states you will find yourself in which may be somewhat hard to escape from.

Another evil change is restoring the last state of any application. This is a royal pain. Most times you fire up a text editor, its to edit a new document, not the last one you wrote. It can also be slightly annoying if your boss asks you to look at something, you fire up the editor, and it displays a copy of your cover letter for a job application to another company, or you start up your browser to find that when you let your brother use it, he was browsing three legged midget porn sites.

Apple say you have control on a per application basis, but in reality this means that when you quit the application you have to check a box to tell it not to remember the current state. No way to (for example) tell Safari to never open on the last site visited.

There is an option to turn this off globally, but its hidden in the options settings fot TimeMachine (the Apple backup software), so not trivial to find.

But possibly the worst abomination is file versioning. What this does is to save the current state of a file you are working on every few minutes. It will try to save this to your TimeMachine backup volume if it is connected, but if not, it will store it to your local disk. What this does for you is to eat huge quantities of disk space, and you have no clue where the space is going. It also keeps your disk from going to sleep, and so gobbles battery up rapidly on a laptop.

Of course, not every application does this, only the ones that Apple have converted. So its not implemented in the filesystem, where something like this really belongs if you are going to do it, so you never really know if your work is being autosaved by whatever application you are using or not.

Another interesting facet of this is that you no longer get a simple “save” or “save as” option in (converted) applications, but a confusing array of options asking if you want to create new versions of the file etc.

An added bonus is that if you don’t touch a file fo a while (supposedly 2 weeks by default), it gets locked, so next tim you go to work on it, you are again asked confusing questions about whether you want to unlock it, create a copy etc. There also appears to be a bug. It is merrily locking files much less than two weeks old on my system.

In the pre-release version of Lion, there was a checkbox to turn off versioning hiden away in the TimeMachine options. In their infinite wisdom, Apple removed that option in the released version.

Fortunately, it is still possible to turn this stuff off, but it requires running a command from the command line, as root:

# tmutil disablelocal

This stops backup copies being stored on your local disk.

Execute this, and you disk goes wild for a few minutes, deleting all the saved versions. All your vanished disk space returns, and the disk now happily goes to sleep and you battery lasts that much longer.

There are a few unkind people who have compared Lion to Vista. It isn’t Apple’s Vista, but it is certainly a creditable attempt.

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