Thursday, December 3, 2009

Do what’s best for the country Darling

As we head for the rocks, will Captain Darling change course?

Next week's pre-Budget report will be the defining moment of Alistair Darling's time at the Treasury. As he picks through the debris of Britain's financial and industrial wreckage, much of it caused by the ineptitude of his predecessor, the Chancellor has a choice: he can do what is right for the country's long-term interests, or he can pander to the short-term needs of his party.

Posted by devo @ 09:26 PM (3058 views)
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59 thoughts on “Do what’s best for the country Darling

  • Darling will make some vague promises that action will be taken to cut spending at some unspecified time in the future.

    Cameron will counter with hard-hitting comments along the lines of ”If elected, we will definitely be making cuts somewhere. Probably.”

    The reason for this banality is obvious: both sides realise that our economy is fecked up beyond all repair.

    Let it go already.

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  • general congreve says:

    TO THE ROCKS!! Darling, please, please (probably don’t need to beg, it’s inevitable) steer us onto the rocks and make me rich!!! I love new Liebour, they’ve given me a once in a lifetime opportunity to cash in on collective greed, stupidity and incompetence. Bring it on!

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  • Is it beyond mankind’s ingenuity to design a system that benefits the majority, rather than the few?

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  • Will he f*ck. Say hello to Iceland.

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  • “According to Deloitte, the accountancy firm: “It is clear that the UK economy has done less well than the Treasury predicted at the Budget in April… Tax receipts so far have declined by 12.9 per cent – rather more than the Budget prediction of an 8 per cent drop to £465 billion.” The biggest shortfall is in corporation tax, which has dropped by 30 per cent, compared with the Chancellor’s forecast of 20 per cent. Before the crunch, Royal Bank of Scotland, for example, was one of Britain’s biggest corporate taxpayers, contributing about £2 billion a year”.

    It’s like a slow motion train crash, isn’t it? No wonder the Tiger Woods story seems to get everyone’s attention. Nobody wants to look at the economy! Even Bloomberg suggested the possibility of the UK following Iceland & Latvia, yeterday. Some people are preparing themselves for impact…its no longer the proverbial “Borin’ Bob’s Blog” that is pointing out the facts.

    The British public still don’t get it….they are off to Lakeside and Bluewater to spend the money they haven’t got to the accompanyment of Slade’s “Here it is, Merry Christmas….”. Wake up! There is still time!

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  • 5. alan said… Wake up! There is still time!

    Time for what, alan?

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  • 3. devo said…
    “Is it beyond mankind’s ingenuity to design a system that benefits the majority, rather than the few?”

    Just beyond the wishes of the rich and powerful and every idiot who aspires to be like them, or scrabbles for the crumbs from their table.

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  • Most men are slaves to their work and enslaved to those for whom they work. The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.

    Henry David Thoreau

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  • BLAAARGHR! I SAY! BLAAAAAAAAAAAARGHR!
    Yes, I’m getting pretty desperate now!
    Oh for the love of………..Something! non money oriented! bOOZE?

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  • He will announce more measures which will basically amount to:

    1. Throwing more taxpayers’ money at the housing market
    2. Throwing more taxpayers’ money at bankers’ bonuses
    3. Throwing more taxpayers’ money at new departmental oversight committee to examine ways of cutting public spending.

    All to aid Britain’s speedy recovery back to ‘normal credit conditions’.

    2 and a half years and counting now …

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  • Perhaps the greatest beneficiaries of globalisation (via the educational potential of the internet), will be ‘the people’.

    Sweet irony!

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  • lobster and caviar sandwiches all round, splendid.

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  • 11. devo don’t bank on it. Google have done well with limited systems of internet access in China.

    7. shipbuilder, You really need to sort that one out. Good luck with that!

    Whilst we are on the subject of the rich and powerful ‘relative to wealth only of course’, how do you feel about them stealing more of your money? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROaLU8g8VA4

    What are you going to do about it, if anything?

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  • devo, The more I think about things the more Globalisation works. The outstanding question is for whom?

    “Is it beyond mankind’s ingenuity to design a system that benefits the majority, rather than the few?”

    Ask one of the elites most hated men, Thomas Jefferson for giving them such a hard time.
    What a system. They even had a tradesmans entrance for the elites if the Americans got sloppy and didn’t stick to the rules.

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  • When I was in my teens I came to the conclusion that the world was separated by water for very good reasons.

    It all went wrong when those seas and vast distances could be bridged. A naive conclusion, but one that I have never forgotten.

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  • @15

    You like to eat turnips then?

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  • And the ‘cradle of civilisation’ is….. ?

    A: Mesopotamia, or Iraq as it’s now known.

    It’s a funny old world!

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  • The Telegraph’s doing a better job of being the Dail Mail than the Daily Mail. There’s a free tin-foil hat signed by AEP in today’s edition.

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  • so the question I have is this – with the benefit of hindsight, what would have been the best course of action for an icelandic or latvian prudent saver?

    I need to know as it is starting to get quite predictable what is going to happen here – but I don’t feel 100% sure of what to do about it

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  • The ramifications of a globalised harmony are highly questionable, almost as questionable as it’s idealists and there selfless aims.
    The catalyst ‘converter’ must be protected at all costs even in the face of complete adversity. Never has the word GLOBAL been used so frequently and forcefully as a panacea.

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  • Eternal Sceptic says:

    better buy euros now!

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  • [email protected] Watched and enjoyed http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROaLU8g8VA4. Thanks for that. Why bother with Copenhagen now?

    I’ve always been a sceptic on global warming, and worried about deliberate manipulation by us humans, as opposed to evolutionary paths.

    Why do these scientists destroy unhelpful (to their cause) data, yet retain such damning emails?

    Also it appealed on another level entirely. Did you catch the way the presenter pronounced the University of East Angleeya? 🙂

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  • Randall suggests we are headed for disaster or at least a major accident in the economy.

    As with all transport accidents, the quicker you apply the brakes the less damage you get on impact. A harsh application of brakes will upset the occupants of the vehicle but its nearly always better than going through the windscreen when you hit the solid object.

    Randall urges Darling to do the right thing….Darling reads the papers doesn’t he?

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  • Ohhhh myyyy Garrrd.

    I watched some of this hyperbolic nonsense passing off as news. How much genuine fiddling this all represents we might eventually learn, although I don’t think casual emails between scientists necessarily imply dodgy goings-on. Of course, the Saudis, oil companies, crazy American journos will all leap on this as evidence of science conspiracies, but the overall evidence has not gone away. Scientists are as conceited and self-regarding as the next man, but deliberate falsification is very rare.

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  • Why do these scientists destroy unhelpful (to their cause) data, yet retain such damning emails?
    Because the emails were leaked from within or hacked, I’m not sure which one yet. The fact that remaining data (funded by the taxpayer) was erased just strenghtens the case for a ‘proper’ criminal investigation. Never mind this piffle, whats the latest on Tiger Woods?

    Most people have no idea how important it is to ram this through the next stage at Copenhagen. One of the lynch pins to our future well being. : (

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  • tyrellcorporation says:

    Did anyone else see PMQs this week? Brown was like he’d been given an adrenaline injection through the sternum. With Grima Wormtongue Cambell in the background feeding him stinging one-liners I really do fear this idiot could actually win the coming election (especially with all the structural electoral bias built in favour of Labour). I’ve been banging on for ages about this now but i sincerely believe that if they get a fourth term the brain-drain, emigration and capital flight will be awe inspiring.

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  • I like the chap Darling, perhaps a little misguided but I believe that Brown has exerted too much pressure to tow the line. Will he rebel again? we shall see.

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  • calm down crunchy – as a stato myself I don’t think there is an intentional disregard of data that doesn’t support the cause at all. This is a perfectly straightforward way of doing things.

    Perhaps counting tree rings in outer mongolian will help you work out the earths temperature a million years ago – perhaps not – if not, then you may as well drop that approach as flawed.

    That doesn’t amount to a falsification of anything

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  • “Because the emails were leaked from within or hacked, I’m not sure which one yet.”

    Same argument would apply to the unhelpful data.

    I don’t think any major proposals can now be ratified at Copenhagen. In any case when were decisions taken at major get togethers like this ever taken seriously by all the major players?

    Most of us will continue with sensible policies such as recycling, using cleaner energy, protecting and developing forests – we don’t need to be bullied into that.

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  • crunchy
    I believed the emails were hacked. But emails are often little more than chitchat and throwaway remarks, full of humour and irony. In themselves these are nothing to get upset about, though it looks like there’s a good outcry brewing. Looks like the climate people are going to receive a lot more flak than the bankers. And they don’t even get bonuses.

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  • @ #2 general….I couldn’t agree more!

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  • 28. nomad

    This is about taxation and the spin offs, nothing more. That’s what I questioned..If this was valid, would it not be better that revenue went back into government for investment to help cure the problem instead of being funneled into historically dubious private enterprises.

    Our government has an appalling record to date on climate solutions. It did not add up to me on a genuine level.

    In my humble opinion.

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  • cat and canary says:

    I’m not a climatoligist, but in my previous life as an academic, I can say I have never ever ever heard of scientists falsifying or deliberately destroying data.

    But the exchange of emails is highly irregular, and damaging to the scientific world. It would indicate that there may be irregular funding sources, driving both the for and against camps. But its not a global conspiracy IMO

    I believe in global warming is true, not because I know anything about it, but because a panel of thousands of scientists believe it.
    No scientist I have ever met are so motivated by money that they would be part of a huge conspiracy, funded by the government. 99.9% of scientists I’ve known were motivated by one thing…getting there name on papers. Because that gets them recognition within the university and a Professorship.

    And if I could prove that global warming was a complete hoax then I would no doubt get my name printed in every major prestigious scientific journal going. There’s no way a global scientific conspiracy could be hidden for very long. The government has a very bad track record for hiding things anyway! But then I could be bluffing 🙂

    Now they could be wrong about global warming. But do you want to take a “wait and see” approach???? True, its going to cost a lot of money, but there is one very positive side effect: That we get rid of our dependency on oil, and hence hopefully one day stop meddling in middle eastern politics. That would make the world a safer place would it not?

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  • Did you know that carbon readings have been so much higher on this planet without cars and that C02 is a natural substance that the planet needs for survival. It’s what you breathe. Any dependency on oil will be increased as the coal companies may be regulated out of business. Some of the initial finance for this whole programme is being raised by some oil companies ‘check’. (Stop meddling with the middle east?)

    You state that you are not a climatologist. Many of those scientists you mention are nothing more than bureaucrats and there are thousands of independents that disagree with government funded results, some of which have been surplus to past government requirements or have resigned in disgust. Did you also know that the temperature of the sun changes. In the sixties it was cooler, in the eighties it was warmer, hence “global warming” and now it is cooler again, hence the generic term of “climate change.”

    If you are interested in this subject there is a lot of information out there. Hope this info helps.

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  • @cat and canary
    “And if I could prove that global warming was a complete hoax then I would no doubt get my name printed in every major prestigious scientific journal going.”
    Quite – anyone that had compelling evidence showing that global warming didn’t exist or wasn’t caused by our actions would make one hell of a name for themselves – perhaps you would like to submit your evidence to a journal Crunchy? – your genius would then receive the attention it deserves.

    Anyway, since you’re so interested in how data goes into these things – here’s some exceptionally dull excerpts from an email exchange with my colleague about a paper that’s just been submitted to GRL (which amongst hopefully publishing my crap is also a leading global warming type journaly thingy):

    “Hi — apols for delay in reply but was in uni all day and only just got to aol email account. Many thnaks for this and these looks great. On these a couple of things:
    1) If you can it’d be good to have depth scales as on the adcp comparison plot…so can you do this and make this scale the distance from the water surface?…do they then match??
    2) On these plots, the vector arrows are a bit fat..the ones you sent me before (one attcahed here) had thinner arrows…coudl you do these and send as as high as resolution as possible as a tiff?
    3) Presume sed concn scale is mg/L?

    But these look great – I think for the mean one it may be best to go with absolute value but with x5 exagg you have now.

    If this works then superb..woudl then need the 5 singel swath plots in same format and also the background plot with Sv…you sent me this before but woudl be good to have one that showed colour scale that brought up diff Sv values a little better? Plus of course themovie with a decent time and several events moving through…did the one you did before have absolute vertical vels of relative to mean?? Which do you think is best??

    Cheers – for all of this and once I get these I’ll finish paper and send…there are a few details for you to fill in and of course comments on script etc. ”

    “- I have been compiling the main figure and will use frames 57, 65, 72, 84 and 91. I have assembled these all into the figure and just printed it but it is very hard to see the arrows on the dark blue colour bar we have..and think it will be when the figure is reproduced as each panel will be small. So, is there any chance you could change the colour scale on these (and then all rest for movie) so that the colours aren’t so dark and allow the vectors to be seen better. Maybe a colour scale from red to yellow to light blue woudl work better – or just yellow- green to red, tho’ know you need to have a scale that picks out the sus sedt! But we need one that allows easier viz of the black vectors.

    Big apols -but only just found this on these new ones and when I printed it. If this is OK, I’d also need this new colour scale appyling for the mean plot as well. If ou wnat, send me oen to tets first and then do the rest? also, don’t forget the raw swath plot with new depth scale. I have finished text now and can send it to you/-asap I do the final figs..would liek to get this done Tuesday?? night if poss. before I depart to Argentina for the week to get to you guiys for review,

    Cheers and apologies and let me know what you think……..”

    “OK -and thanks for that and I’ll call it raw data and explain …you can amend in text when I send to see I’ve explained it right! We can wait pon movie…if i can egt papetr to you and – tomorrow and you both can get it to me in say a week…we can then have movie ready for then (and havea sequence that shows 3-4 structures advecting thru’)….and I can then seek to get quick review from other co-authors (-, – and -)..and then try to submit ASAP.

    Many thanks for all the work on this…and sorry to be a pain in asking for so many plots etc.

    Cheers and I’ll complete paper tonight and send to you and -..there are some details/figures you’ll need to put in and also do acareful check of how I have incorporated your earlier text on the method to make sure I have got it right!”

    ” please find (at last you say!) a first version of the GRL paper. FIRST tho, BIG BIG thanks to -for all the work on this – and especially for putting up with me asking for yet more plots and continually asking probably daft questions (-is used to this now!!)……thanks for sticking with it and hope you like the product.
    I have tried to produce as complete a first version as I could, in GRL format, and now turn it over to you to edit/change/comment etc. Once I have got your changes, I will revise and then seek very quick views from -, -and -..and then hopefully send it off (as long as you like it!). So, on the attached paper:
    1) There are a few places highlighted in yellow where we need figures on different values…these are mainly for -to complete or cut.
    2) -– can you read methods especially carefully to see I have faithfully captured the text you sent me before on the steps in the method….I have reworded etc but let me know if this is correct!
    3) We still need MBES planform map and cross section of dune for Fig. 1 and -has said he can get onto this when he gets back to UK
    4) You’ll see the paper is at the word limit now…I think maybe it could be pruned a bit at the front end..tho’ I note GRL do allow some papers that look over their limit. But if you add stuff in, we’ll need to remove from elsewhere!
    5) -is working on the animation to be submitted as online material – this will hopefully show 3-4 events going through the volume.
    Ok, so hope this is OK. I would suggest, if its OK, that -go through this first and makes changes/comments in track changes and then send to us both but then -work on -‘s version. This will make it easier to deal with when I revise. I am now in Argentina from 24th Sept – Oct 5th (but will be on email part of this time)..would you both be able to get to it in this time..-first and then -and then back to me by 5th? I’ll see -in BA on Friday (wish you were with us -…in the future I hope).
    Cheers..I think this will be a great paper to publish and we should let it act for basis for i) the next paper I want to do on using the Missouri dune data (-– will your code be useable by dummies like me? Can we see if we can get a GUI on it..maybe find some cash to do this?) and ii) EPSRC grant and others to take this and other MBES stuff further between us,”

    etc, I could go on, but I’m really bored now. Would you like to take anything out of context?

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  • crunchy
    Do you think company funded research would be more trustworthy – oil company “research”, for example. Scientists are not bureaucrats: that’s why they’re called scientists.

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  • “99.9% of scientists I’ve known were motivated by one thing…getting there name on papers. Because that gets them recognition within the university and a Professorship.”

    And funding – I would add to that.

    And for the last decade the two words vital to include when submitting a request for grant money, or to be included in a scientific paper you want published are “Global Warming”.

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  • Carbon Monoxide=CO is very different from Carbon Dioxide=C02. Whilst I would agree that there are some enviromental issues, “climate change” as I know it, is not one of them.

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  • Academics are like housewives, maybe worse, the amount of gossip that goes on at these conferences is unbelievable – BTW who is going to get a professorship by being “a climate change denier” (has a certain 1939-1945 overtone to it).

    My guess is that this climate change thing fills a lot of gaps in peoples lives – doing your bit for the environment, increases taxation, revenue stream for academics, creates a new industry (because china has our old ones).

    I don’t believe any system can last millions of years when a <1% change in one parameter (CO2) which must vary by up to 20%+ a year naturally. Also climate measurements over 100 years is equivalent to building financial models based over the boom time of the last 10 years - we know where that got us.

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  • if I said Carbon Monoxide=CO is what comes out of a petrol/oil fuelled car exhaust, it may shed some light on the subject.

    Did you know that the smooth, quiet electric car was around in the 60’s and much earlier. Shame that they were never developed further, then!

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  • How about this one, straight from Orwell’s Doublethink= Climate Denier. I am not a “denier” and nor do I agree with “climate change.”

    However I do feel that valid research may help to clean up our enviroment, that does not solely benefit a niche private enterprise.

    Perhaps I’m just too long in the tooth!

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  • However I do feel that valid research may help to clean up our “dodgy” enviroment, that does not solely benefit a niche private enterprise.

    That’s better, said Orwell !

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  • @37alf garnett 12.29
    Global warming is a myth because scientists are a bunch of housewives who like to gossip. ROTFL.

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  • Well it’s bloody right, aint it. Global BLOODY warming only happens in Africa. lol

    Where did that innocent to ‘some’ humour go? Opps here we go, the charge of the PC Brigade. I’m out.

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  • Come on then phd name all the great scientific breakthroughs reached by consensus and I’ll match each one with an example of where the scientific community were wrong.

    Scientists can’t even forecast the weather next week, still they stick their ruler on a few points and hey presto £1tr industry wasting peoples time. I wish this argument did have some nice side effects; stopping deforestation etc but I fear it will just cost me more to travel whilst a 3rd runway is built at Heathrow. In the meantime I list below all the forecasts throughout history that were correct and not buried in statistical noise….

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  • I jogged alongside you on this one Crunchy.

    It’s been emotional.

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  • cat and canary says:

    Hi Crunchy,

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_Annexes.pdf – shows the list of authors who supported the findings of the climate change panel. If you do web searches against their names you will see their affiliations. Most are Profs, Readers, Postdocs. The list is quite long. For me, I wouldn’t want to argue with their opinion without spending 3-6 years studying climate science.

    I do however recognise the doubts that you raise (historic CO2 levels and sun activity). That’s perhaps why it was so important to reach a consensus of opinion. But just because there are doubts, would you really want to risk doing nothing??

    =====

    Nomad, regarding funding and bias. I can’t speak for the funding of climate science. But I can say that in my line of work, the funding had little say on the outcome of the research. The funding source can only stipulate what the research topic will be at the outset.

    But this is different I accept. There are billions of dollars/euros/pounds at stake. Its so political. In principle, its not science nor scientists that are the problem.

    =====

    matt

    BTW who is going to get a professorship by being “a climate change denier” …I dont understand why you dont believe this is possible. Anyone who publishes 200 refereed papers on the subject would prob become a prof.

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  • Always amazes me how the ignorant think they know better than the informed.

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  • @matt
    Sorry haven’t got much time for a reply here, but just picking up on one or two points.

    I’m not a climate scientist but I think the measurements from things like ice-cores go back a bit more than 100 years. Weather forecasting is not the same as climate prediction, as I suspect you well know. An example of a climate prediction would be to say that it’s going to be hotter this Summer than it is this winter – based on previous observations I’ve made, I think that that is a reasonable assumption – so there’s an example of a climate prediction that I’m fairly confident about. WeathAn example of weather prediction would be trying to predict if it’s going to rain in a specific region in a couple of days. That type of prediction is difficult because weather is chaotic – i.e. the errors in the output of the model accumulate rapidly and will hence produce completely different outcomes with only the slightest purturbation in starting conditions – the old butterfly wing-flapping thing. Climate modelling is not the same as predicting whether it’s going to rain in basingstoke tomorrow.

    I would contend that it would be very easy to get a professorship if you can produce evidence that global warming is a temporary blip that is going to go away shortly. You would also very easily get a professorship if you can produce evidence that the earth is flat. The key point being evidence – that’s what science is about.

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  • Prejudice, self interest. Are scientists above this sort of thing? Are these the honest conscientious people we have been looking for to run our lives? As opposed to bankers and politicians that is.

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  • Ignorance only remains with those that do not seek the advise of the informed. The truth always has a natural glow.

    The falsehoods, a stench.

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  • cat and canary says:

    I dont agree in a global conspiracy to raise more tax. But, Matt, regarding your second point..

    “Scientists can’t even forecast the weather next week, still they stick their ruler on a few points and hey presto £1tr industry wasting peoples time.”

    …thats a good counter argument to funding climate change research. And it doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong, because I still say “would you still risk waiting to see what happens?” Surely you agree the climate change threat needs de-risking?

    It could all be a load of tosh. Even the brightest humans with the most letters after their name are quite stupid! But (being a betting man!) i’d put my money on it being right based on consensus.

    =====
    nomad,

    Prejudice, self interest. Are scientists above this sort of thing?

    – no where not, but we try hard. Just people. However, the system is not flawed, like in the banking world. At uni you can’t lose your job! So if you wanna get promoted all you have to do is publish good papers!

    “Are these the honest conscientious people we have been looking for to run our lives? As opposed to bankers and politicians that is.”
    – i wouldn’t wanna be a banker! it would corrupt me!

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  • “Prejudice, self interest. Are scientists above this sort of thing?”

    No they’re not, but science is. Science is just knowledge – nothing more, nothing less – theories that have been tested against evidence. The evidence at the moment strongly points to global warming being man-made.

    I can remember a couple of years ago (and even now) large sections of the public believing there was a link between MMR and Autism, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I guess some people just need more evidence than others – but even then they won’t be convinced and think there’s a conspiracy.

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  • cat and canary says:

    “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe.” 🙂

    Albert Einstein

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  • 53.&54. PHD and C&C. I’ll read some more on climate change because of what you have said, but I’m with MTH on projections looking more than five minutes into the future.

    Aids, Swine Flu, Mad Cow Disease, Germ Warfare, Terrorism – all were going to wipe us out. I remember reading a book back in the seventies written by futurologists – the Henley Centre I think they were called – heavily funded by us of course. Most of the predictions went by the board quickly enough for me not to hang onto the book, although it was hardback and about five hundred pages, but the one forecast that sticks in my memory is that by 2000 we would all have gills implanted in our necks enabling us to exist under water as comfortably as on land.

    There’s too much fear and apprehension – and this site doesn’t help a lot.

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  • As phdinbubbles says, scientists are pretty much like everyone else, and most people do not go around constructing elaborate deceits (okay, I’ll make an exception in the case of bankers) to satisfy their own egos (or at least they can’t carry them off for long).

    Even though the pursuit of science is subject to cultural influences and prejudices (IQ testing being one lamentable example), in general over time knowledge improves and grows (despite scientists’ failings); and the evidence for man-made climate warming is building and building. Those who dismiss either don’t appraise the work, have a vested interest, or in a few cases can offer some kind of argument via their own work. The science is difficult and subject to considerable uncertainty, but decisions have to be taken on the balance of probabilities.

    And as a plug for scientists, many work hard for lousy pay in the public sector. Imagine oil company scientists urging reductions in CO2 emissions.

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  • nomad

    Aids is wiping out many Africans; mad cow disease could still be incubating, swine flu is not h5n1 (which might).

    And futurology is not scientific prediction.

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  • Of course none of this matters as long as Pete and Kate get back together.

    @53 – interesting snippet about weather forecasters. In Dubai they usually told their audience that it was / would be cooler than it actually was in order to justify making the building slaves work in the excessive heat.

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