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Maldives Mania

The Maldives Cabinet met underwater last Saturday to draw attention to the tiny nation’s fate if global warming and accompanying rapid sea level rise continues. All very cute and colourful.

Maldives Cabinet Meets Underwater
Maldives Cabinet Meets Underwater

Except for a couple of small points:

1. The world isn’t getting any warmer. That hasn’t stopped the WWF, who are still shouting the world will come to an end if the global economy is not shut down in the next four years.

2. There is no recorded rise in sea level at the Maldives over the last 40 years.

That links opens a PDF document by IPCC author Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner, head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden, past president (1999-2003) of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution, and leader of the Maldives Sea Level Project.

Interestingly, he says the same thing about Tuvalu – no recorded sea level rise. He also notes that of the 22 authors reponsible for claims about sea level in the 2000 and 2006 IPCC reports, not one is a sea level specialist.

The whole article is well worth reading.

Tricky Cherry Picking

Lucia at The Blackboard has an interesting article on how a global warming scientists can justify the kind of massive cherry-picking that went into the infamous hockey-stick.

First, an explanation of ‘proxies.’ Proxies are so called because we cannot measure past temperatures directly, but have to use stand-ins. These stand-ins (or proxies) may be growth rings or changes in glaciers or sea level or other indirect measures of temperature. The problem with all of these proxies is that temperature is not the only thing that affects them. So they need to be cross-checked and recorded very carefully.

Lucia points out that you can cherry-pick without even meaning to, simply by removing the proxies (sets of tree rings or whatever) that do not correlate with other records of temperature.

I am sure this is possible, but I am not so sure this is what happened in the Mann / Briffa hockey stick invention. The cherry picking in that case seems so clear it is hard to avoid the notion that it amounted to scientific fraud.

To be fair, Briffa insists there was no deliberate pre-selection of data. He now says there were problems with the methodology. We are working on it, he says. In the mean time, everyone should still believe it.

Right.

The Death of Dianne Brimble

The death of Dianne Brimble is a horrible messy tragedy.

Dianne was a kind and likeable woman who lived a reasonably quiet life, and who was never either exciting or attractive by contemporary standards.

She went on a P&O cruise in 2002, and seems to have decided that for once in her life, she was going to break all the rules. Breaking the rules included taking illegal drugs, and having sex with strangers. Her behaviour on the cruise was sordid and degrading.

It is no wonder her family and friends do not want her remembered in this way.

It is also clear that some of the men who ‘befriended’ her on the Pacific Sun are pigs, users and cowards of the first rank.

But the desire to have someone to blame for her death, and the shame of her actions prior to her death, should not be allowed to cloud the fact that no one forced Dianne Brimble to do the things she did on that cruise.

She was an adult. She made choices to behave in ways that, however out of character for her, contributed to her death. This is sad, a terrible way to end her life. But that in itself does not make it OK to blame someone else for her death.

So far, the jury has agreed on a verdict of one of two charges against Mark Wilhelm. The two charges are supplying a prohibited drug, and manslaughter.

It doesn’t take much thought to work out which one the jury is likely to have agreed on. If I am right, then that verdict is reasonable and fair. A guilty verdict on the other charge might be more difficult to justify.

Nicholas Sarkozy is a Nitwit

Firstly, for his gushingly warm congratulations to Barack Obama on his totally unmerited win of the Nobel Peace Prize:

By awarding you its most prestigious prize, the Committee is rewarding your determined commitment to human rights, justice and spreading peace across the world, in accordance with the will of its founder Alfred Nobel. It also does justice to your vision of tolerance and dialogue between States, cultures and civilizations. Finally, it sets the seal on America’s return to the heart of all the world’s peoples.

Setting the seal on America’s return to the heart of all the world’s peoples?    Oh, puh-leese….

And secondly, for being the first head of state publicly to criticise the arrest of Roman Polanski on child rape charges.

Whoopi Goldberg’s angle on this was, well, hey, it probably wasn’t rape, and anyway, he’s one of us, you know creative genius  Hollywood film people, so it’s OK.

One expects that sort of thing from the zombies of Hollywood. Apparently we must now expect a similarly dimwitted level of thinking about justice from heads of state.

Sarkozy’s view appears to be that if a criminal runs away and avoids any punishment for his or her crime, then after a while we should just forget about the whole thing, and politely pretend it didn’t happen.

Blog Milestone?

The first four posts on this blog were on 20 and 21 November last year. That was just to get us into Google and other search engines. Real posting began two months later on 21 January 2009, and has continued regularly since then with a few minor hiccoughs related to illness or to personal matters or work crowding out blogging time.

This will be the 575th post in a ten month period – about two posts per day. 575 posts – it’s a lot of thinking, and a lot of writing. But I haven’t been nearly as busy as the spammers.

The blog milestone is that today I deleted the 100,000th spam comment. Extraordinary!

JBC Share Trading Software Part Two

A brief update to my earlier article on JBC.

Others have been caught by this scam.

JBC have set up fake websites to give their share trading /stock trading software credibility. This is dishonest.  It shows clearly that this is not simply a product that does not work for some people, but a deliberate scam.

You can complain via the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

Or via the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Or Scamwatch.

Since JBC is based in NSW, you could also lodge a complaint online at the NSW Fair Trading site.

Please email me or comment if you have been contacted by JBC, or if you have purchased their product. The more people who write or complain about JBC, the sooner they will be shut down, and the more people will be saved from losing hard earned savings or superannuation.

Solar Power is a Waste of Energy and Resources

Seriously.

I wrote earlier this year about the Kangaroo Island Council’s decision to partner with the Federal Government in a scheme to subsidise the installation of solar panels on houses on the island.

About 200 households applied for and will receive grants of $8,000 for solar panels which will produce about 100 watts of electricity per hour. During daylight hours. On a good day.

So taxpayers have paid about $1.6 million to generate enough electricity on Kangaroo Island to run an extra 200 lighbulbs (or globes if you prefer) while the sun is shining.

Does anyone seriously think this is the most efficient way we could spend money and resources to generate electricity?

Total PC Gaming Magazine reports in issue 22 that the 11 million World of Warcraft players around the world, including individual players’ computers, servers, and data transmission, use about 6.6 gigawatts of electricity each day. About the same amount of power each day as was generated by solar panels worldwide for the whole of last year.

That does not mean that WoW players are a selfish bunch of wasters. It just means that solar power is an expensive toy, and will never be a realistic alternative to fossil fuel, hydro-electric, or nuclear electricity generation.

The Big 0 Wins the Nobel Peace Prize – WTF?

President Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Well, I’ll be stuffed, as Phar Lap said.

Obama was nominated after twelve days as president. He must have done something pretty darned impressive in those twelve days, right? Check his schedule for yourself. It includes skipping church, releasing funds for abortions in developing coutries, partying, and taking the day off.

The Nobel peace Prize has no credibility at all. Some people said this after Yasser Arafat won. But at least then the committee had some reason to believe, or at least, it might have thought so at the time, that Arafat had renounced the use of terror, agreed to Israel’s right to exist, and committed to helping Israel to establish secure borders.

Of course that was all nonsense. The terrorism continued, and Arafat continued to get rich off aid money.

Perhaps the selection process was something like this (Via Hyscience) :

Obama Wins!
Obama Wins!

The Saturday Night Live skit mocking the award has Obama say ‘I won the award for not being George Bush.’ An interesting change of pace for SNL. What makes this funny (or tragic) is that it is probably true.

Gateway Pundit lists some geniune achievements by GW, including liberating millions from one of the most vile and violent regimes in modern history.

JBC Share Trading /JBC Stock Trading Software

JBC share trading software, JBC stockmarket tracking software, JBC stock trading software, whatever they call it, is a scam.

Hang up when they call. Run,  do not walk, to the nearest exit! Do not give JBC a cent of your money.

An email from a  friend:

I received a really nice, professional looking brochure from a group called JBC, offering a way to make a some extra income from home trading shares. Then I got a call from a guy called Christopher. It was all pretty convincing. I did a bit of research and didn’t find anything that said there was a problem. They gave me an ABN,  and have an impressive and professional looking website, so it looked like a legitimate business.

Eventually I agreed to buy, but said I would not authorise the purchase and deduction from my credit card over the phone. It was quite expensive. I asked for a tax invoice and a written guarantee. Once I had those things, and I said the invoice had to be dated in the 2009/2010 tax year, then I would either send a cheque or authorise a credit card transaction in writing.

Christopher said that there was only one license left for my state, that they were in demand, and if I wanted the license and software I would need to give my credit card details to hold it. JBC would not deduct any funds until I had the documentation and authorised the debit. That all seemed OK.

A few days later I noticed they had debited my credit card account with the full amount. A couple of days later I received the paperwork. The invoice was dated in the 2008/2009 year. I rang straight away, annoyed about the date on the invocie (which didn’t who any GST anyway) but more annoyed that they debited my account after I specifically told them not to, and they said they wouldn’t.

Christopher said he had come udner pressure from the directors because this was the last license, it was not fair to other investors to hold it, and so they had to debit my card to keep it for me. I could cancel the payment and get it reveresed, but the license would show in their system as available, and would be sold to someone else. He suggested I compete the paperwork, try the JBC software for a while, if I wasn’t happy they would refund my payment, or I could just my bank to do a chargeback.

I did this, and made a small profit in the first couple of weeks. But after that it just fell in a hole. I had about $4800 to invest in stocks. One of the companies the program told me to buy was delisted a few days later – $1200 gone. Another announced its intention to delist. $600 gone. Two others dropped to half their value a few days after the JBC program told me to buy them. After a month my $4800 was worth less than $2500.

I rang JBC to say I definitely was not happy and wanted my money back. The receptionsist said she would pass on my message. No one rang back. I sent an emal saying the same thing. No reply. A few weeks later I had rung JBC again and sent another email with no response.

I have asked my bank for a chargeback, and will complaint to consumer affairs. But even if I get the money I paid JBC for their dud trading program back, I have still lost over $2,000.

JBC advertise on Google with an ad that looks like this:
JBC
Make money with JBC. Proven Returns
Simple to use-Get the JBC Advantage
www.globaljbc.com

Make Money. Proven Returns. It sounds good. And their website does look impressive. But anyone can make promises, and anyone can write an impressive website. (Last time I checked, one of JBC’s ads appeared on this page, much to my amusement – please feel free to click on it – Google will pay me a few cents).

Potential buyers may be directed to a site called Sharesweek (I am not going to link to it) for an ‘independent’ review and recommendation. But Sharesweek is not a genuine publication. It is a fake website set up purely for the purpose of fooling people into buying JBC’s software.

The JBC share trading software package is a known scam. Genuine investment publications in the UK have warned about JBC for at least the last eight years. See Moneywise magazine for one example, under the heading Avoid This Investment Scam.

Update:

A reader notes that the International Stock Market Assembly is another superficially impressive fake web site, belonging to a fake organisation, which exists solely to give the JBC stock trading package an aura of credibility. I would be interested to hear from any others who have been caught in this trap. Comment or email me. If others have been caught in this scam, and are willing to provide details (not for publication) I will consider contacting the police.

Andrew Bolt is Back, and the World is Cooler

Andrew Bolt leads off after his return from holidays with a tightly written summary of the world-is-hotter-than-ever-the-hockey-stick-proves-it fraud.

There is no doubt now that it really was fraud and not simply incompetence.

The incompetence was discovered by statisticians McIntyre and McKitrick in 2003, and independently confirmed by Edward Wegman.

Now it is clear that there was not only incompetence in the handling of data, but that the data was cherry picked so egregiously there can be no serious doubt that the intention of Mann (the hockey-stick man) and Briffa and their collaborators was to deceive.

A part summary of why on climateaudit.org – essentally the result was based on recordings from just ten trees, carefully selected from over forty.

Interesting comment from a Finnish professor whose specialisations include climate change and carbon cycling:

‘When later generations learn about climate science, they will classify the beginning of 21st century as an embarrassing chapter in history of science. They will wonder our time, and use it as a warning of how the core values and criteria of science were allowed little by little to be forgotten as the actual research topic — climate change — turned into a political and social playground.’

And an example of how science has gone so badly wrong is:

‘.. a study recently published in the prestigious journal Science. It is concluded in the article that the average temperatures in the Arctic region are much higher now than at any time in the past two thousand years. The result may well be true, but the way the researchers ended up with this conclusion raises questions. Proxies have been included selectively, they have been digested, manipulated, filtered, and combined, for example, data collected from Finland in the past by my own colleagues has even been turned upside down such that the warm periods become cold and vice versa. Normally, this would be considered as a scientific forgery.’

Of course Richard Lindzen, possibly the world’s leading atmospheric phycicist, said some years ago that he believed future generations would be astonished by the panic generated by, and money spent trying to control, a perfectly natural cyclic rise of a few tenths of a degree over a century.

In related news, this year’ s Antarctic ice melt is the lowest on record since satellite measurement began, Arctic ice is thicker – under the headline ‘Scientists Predict Ice-Free Summers for Arctic’ (of course) , and another leading scientist says publicy that CO2 emissions are good for the Earth, increase productivity, and do not cause global warming.

Oh, and this weekend may see the earliest snowfalls ever recorded in Chicago, beating the previous record set three years ago. Damn that global warming.

Earliest Recorded Snowfalls in Chicago
Earliest Recorded Snowfalls in Chicago

Maryam and Marzieh

Maryam and Marzieh Languish in a Teheran Jail
Maryam and Marzieh Languish in a Teheran Jail

Maryam and Marzieh are Christian women. They are from Islamic families. They live in Iran.

So of course, they are in jail.

They are denied medical care or contact with the outside world. One of the prison guards told them they should be executed for apostasy. They were arrested in March. Neither has yet been charged, but when they are, the death penalty is a real possibility.

Maryam and Marzieh’s story in detail at Elam Ministries.

Elam is a Iranian Christian ministry and advocacy group. Support them if you can.

Governments Cannot Create Jobs

Only business can. While the government may seem to create jobs when it hires people or buys things, it destroys at least as many jobs as it creates when it does so.

Via Hyscience, which links to this article from the Wall St Journal about the lessons to be learned from government economic policy in Texas and Ohio.

When governments try to create jobs, or stimulate the economy, or support industry or ‘good causes’, they can only do so by taking money from business. Which means fewer people employed, less reason to take the risk of investing in business, reduced production of saleable commodities, lower profits from which to pay taxes, less income to government, less capacity to care for the poor.

Ohio has an economy burdened by high taxes and work rules that impose heavy costs on employers. Texas embraces free trade, keeps taxes low, doesn’t impose unions on business and has tooled itself for 21st century global competition. Ohioans may not like to hear this, but for any company considering where to locate a new plant or move an existing one, the choice between Ohio and Texas isn’t even a close call.

Texas has lower unemployment, higher average personal income, and creates more jobs and more exports.

The lesson is, the less government tries to do, the better off everyone is.

Government cannot create jobs, only business can.

Are you listening Mr Rudd? Mr Obama?

Art Without Bludging Off the Taxpayer

I know, I’ve said it a thousand times before, almost all subsidies are a waste of time, and end up costing more than any benefit they provide.

There are three reasons:

First, if you are getting a subsidy, you don’t have to worry so much about careful planning, or financial responsibility (because someone else – the taxpayer, usually – is picking up the bills), or whether anyone will like or buy what you produce. In other words, subsidies enourage a lack of efficiency, and the production of goods and services which nobody wants.

Secondly, subsidies are inefficient. Subsidies mean taking money off some people and giving it to other people at the whim of a politician or lobby group. This bad enough, but the process itself, its planning, administration and record-keeping, all cost time and money – which means substantially more money is taken from the taxpayer than ends up in the hands of the recipient. In some instances, the cost of assessing a person or group’s eligibility for a subsidy is more than the value of the subsidy itself.

Thirdly, subsidies (and food and clothing and other material aid, except in the most dire emergencies) discourage potentially viable businesses, and therefore discourage investment of both time and money in creativity, in business, in research and industry. The long term consequence of this is that businesses, artists, causes, etc, that might be successful on their own merits are disadvantaged.

In developing nations, local business people cannot compete with shiploads of food and clothing aid. So the West’s generous subsidies mean local people have no incentive to invest in developing the primary production, trade and industry which produce long-term wealth.

In relation to art, it is sometimes argued that good art is not necessarily commercial. Something may not sell well, and yet be worthy of support.

But who decides this? If no-one wants something enough to pay money for it, on what basis is it judged to be good?

I cannot think of a single piece of visual art or music, or a play or film that people have wanted and enjoyed, or which has shown itself to have lasting value, which depended on subsidies for its production.

On the other hand, there are hundreds of talented artists, musicians and playwrights who stand on their own feet, and who have made the world a more interesting place, by showing us truth or beauty or meaning where we had not seen it before.

My friend Neil Sheppard is one. Neil makes a good living from producing good paintings – that is, paintings that say something worthwhile, and that people enjoy enough to be willing to pay for.

Neil’s (Shep’s) website is on visualartist.info, but you can see more of his work on Flickr.

Enjoy!