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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Environment

Wednesday November 05 2014

Loadshedding, said favourite-blogger-of-mine 6k a few days back, is back, and it makes blogging very difficult.  Is this, I wondered, some sort of psychological affliction?  I dismissed the question as just one of those questions I could perhaps ask someone about, someone like 6k, but couldn’t be bothered to.  Life is full of mysteries, and it looked like, for me, loadshedding would be one of them for ever.

But then came another 6k loadshedding post, this time with a ton of significant looking links, and at that point, I remembered Google.  Google answers questions immediately, if it can at all.

Sure enough:

When there is not enough electricity available to meet the demand from all Eskom customers, it could be necessary to interrupt supply to certain areas. This is called load shedding.

I see.  It’s a South African electricity thing.

Is something like this in my future also?  That’s the kind of question Google is not so good at answering.  All it can do is report on other people asking the question also:

Looking ahead to demand for energy in the UK over the winter, Energy Secretary Ed Davey pledged over the weekend: “There will be no blackouts. Period.”

Period.  The vehemence of that worries me.  It suggests that quite a lot of people are asking the question, and that Mr Davey is starting to get angry about that fact.  And if a lot of people are asking the question, maybe the answer is not as Mr Davey says it is.  See also: “There is no question of …”.  This means that there is, and that someone just asked it.

But, a little bit below the reporting of Mr Davey’s verbiage, comes better news:

Mr Davey’s reassurance comes days after a warning by Professor John Loughhead, of the Royal Academy of Engineering, about the “catastrophic” consequences of a two-day power outage to somewhere like the City of London.

A government science adviser said that power cuts are a bad thing, not that any such cuts are at all likely in the UK this winter.  So, this quote actually works as a rather more reassuring denial of imminent power cuts than Mr Davey’s protestations.

Davey’s position is explained at greater length in this earlier report.  He says that the Tory backbench attack on wind farms could lead to higher energy bills, and I’m sure it could.  After all, if you waste a ton of money on wind farms, you may then get a small amount of energy.  If you then scrap the wind farms you then get even less energy, but you still get the bill for the damn wind farms already built.

If wind farms cost more to keep running than they yield in energy, then scrapping them makes sense, and ought to reduce energy bills.  But, the scrapping of wind farms might be used as an excuse to raise energy bills again, and could in a sense then be described as a cause of energy bills going up, in the sense that it made it easier for people who want energy bills to go up to contrive that.  “Scrapping wind farms could raise energy bills” could be read not as analysis, but more as a threat.

Scary times.

Thursday October 23 2014

Earlier this evening, I attended this gathering.  I took a ton of photos, of which I choose this one to show you:

image

I choose that photo not because it is any great shakes as a photo, but because it focuses (insofar as it does focus) on what was in many ways the most impressive thing about this event, namely the number and quality of those who attended.  In this respect, the evening reminded me of those big Liberty League gatherings that happen earlier in the year. Simon Gibbs and his helpers put in a huge effort to make this occasion work well, and to get a decent turnout of intelligent, paying customers.

Don’t get me wrong, the speakers were numerous and articulate, and all admirably concise, which was necessary given how many of them there were.  A lot of ground was covered.  A lot of food for thought was served up.  If there was a big winner issue, so to speak, that best explains how much harder it has recently got to make ends meet, it was probably the cost of housing.  There was general agreement that planning regulations need to be relaxed, although also general pessimism about the politics of accomplishing that.  Also making a strong showing were energy costs, and the heavy and rising taxes on petrol and drink and tobacco.

But you can have all the speakers up front that you like.  If enough aren’t there to listen, then your event falls very flat.  This one was the opposite of that.

Monday September 08 2014

Yes, I love it when that happens:

image

Congratulations to Jackie D for capturing it.

Monday July 28 2014

Continuing on the getting old theme, when I was young, there were these expressions used by old people that I didn’t get.  I knew what farting was, of course I did.  But why “old fart”?  I now know only too well.

And how could you be ”under the weather”?  Again, I understand this now.  It is extraordinary how much an old person’s mood depends on the state of the weather, and in particular the state of the sky.  Is the sky clear and blue, and do you strut about in the world as if you owned the entire thing?  Or are there these great piles of grey clouds bearing down on you, for you to stagger about under, in a state of gloom?  Are their benign electronic particles wizzing about energising you?  Or do other electrical influences blast into your brain and make it ache?

Just lately, London has had a lot of weather for me to be under, because it has been so hot and humid, and electrically active.  But now, here I sit, in my kitchen/office, in my blogger’s uniform (pyjamas), next to my big old computer (which is also a big old fan heater), with the window as open as I could get it (it is a huge bother either opening this or shutting it so it will now remain open), and I am feeling fine, and in particular … rather cold.

Bliss.

Sunday July 20 2014

As of right now, late afternoon, there is rain and wind outside my window, and not long ago there was thunder.  That’s in London SW1.  And yet over in St John’s Wood, there is a test match going on, and there is no mention of any weather getting in the way of things.

Oh, as if to prove me wrong, Nasser Hussain has just talked about how the rain is staying “east of Regent’s Park”, in other words travelling northwards from me.  North east and Lords would be getting a little bit of moisture some time around now.

It’s very tense, with England 62/1 and chasing just over three hundred, with an hour and a bit this evening and then all of tomorrow, weather permitting.  Ballance and Cook have put on fifty, with Cook batting like his life depends on it.  Which it does.  He won’t die if he gets out soon, but how well he does today and tomorrow could have a big impact on how he lives from now on.

NOT MUCH LATER: 80/4.  Cook just got out, for 22.  Ballance and Bell already gone.  England are not playing at all well at the moment.

Yesterday, someone emailed or tweeted Test Match Special, saying that the Notts captain, Chris Read, could be drafted in, to replace Cook as captain and Prior (who is now dropping catches) as wicketkeeper.  It may eventually come to that.  Continuity of selection is all very well, but what if they continuously selected team keeps on continuously losing?

See this earlier piece.

Saturday July 05 2014
Monday June 16 2014

Indeed:

image

Taken by?  No prizes for guessing who.  Country?  “Poland/Georgia”.  Date?  “Jan/Feb” of this year.  That’s what it said in the email.

Friday May 23 2014

I don’t like my mobile phone, because I don’t use it enough to justify the expense.  Only the map app is of any real use to me.  I rarely use either the phone itself (i.e. for phoning) or the camera.

Or rather, I did hate it, until I read this, at David Thompson’s blog, about how much power it takes to charge up a mobile phone, and therefore how much it enlarges the carbon footprint and hence the self-hatred of an agonised mobile-phone-using Guardian writer:

How terrible should I feel, and what can I do?

A helpful commenter, apparently, responded thus:

Telephone chargers use pathetic small quantities of energy.

Is that true?  I had been assuming that my mobile uses a formidable large quantity of energy whenever I recharge it, and hence a formidable large quantity of money.  Which is why I have been hating it.  All that juice, just for a map and about three calls a month.  But if my phone only uses a pathetic small quantity of energy, and hence only a pathetic small quantity of money, then I am happy about it again.  I may even get to like it.  It’s a Google Nexus 4, by the way.

So, how much does it cost (to hell with my carbon footprint – let the trees around whatever power station I use gulp that in for their breakfast) for me to power my phone from empty of power, to full?  Answers gratefully received in the comments.  Educated guesses welcome.

Incidentally, a pet hate of mine is when I ask someone, who knows something quite accurately (that I want to know) and far more accurately than I do but who nevertheless refuses to guess, because he can’t be as accurate as he would like to be.  (It’s almost always a he – only human males are regularly this socially obtuse and lacking in empathy.) How much does this cost?  Don’t know.  Guess!  No, can’t, don’t know.  Rough figure?  Less than a quarter of a pee?  Oh no, definitely more than that.  More than ten quid?  Oh no, less than that, obviously.  (Obviously to him, in other words.) Right, so you do have a rough idea.  So, what is this rough idea?  Five pee?  Five quid?  What?  What?!?!  You get the idea.

I am not calling you an idiot, unless you do have an educated rough idea of what it costs to power up a mobile phone like mine, but refuse to part with it on the grounds of your answer being too vague to satisfy you, in which case I definitely am calling you an idiot.  If you know but can’t be bothered with telling me, or if you know but you now don’t like my tone, well, I can’t say I’m happy about that, but I perfectly understand.

How much does it cost to power up a mobile phone?
Spot the owl
A global temperature graph that seems to fit the recent facts
Vladivostock from above
Photoing the A380 from above – from the ground
Big Thing news from New York and London - and a picture of climate alarmism losing
I’m not the only one who suffers from rightward lean
Dezeen continues to delight
Early start tomorrow
Sperm Bike
Two favourite photos from September 5th
A free man
Cli-fi
Bad and good in bad weather
Why I admire short term weather forecasts but why cricket people don’t
Bridges for animals
BMdotCOM mixed metaphor of the day
Wedding photography (1): The superbness of the weather
Remembering a warmer day
Me and the Six Nations under the weather
Domestic cats are destroying the planet
The strange state of the enviro-argument
Why I do not share Johnathan Pearce’s admiration for Bjorn Lomborg
BMdotCOM Headline of the week
Snaps (in Paris and London - and of the Millennium Footbridge)
Hockey Stick art
Rainbow Bridge
Today I’m in a “How very odd!” mood
Matt Ridley’s demolition of CAGW
Climate science as make-work for former Cold Warriors
On the rise of Bishop Hill
The Green alliance
Yet more redirection
Wagga Wagga has been flooded by the Murrumbidgee River
“There is electricity and water, but there’s no phone line …”
Greenies make a video saying: “We’re a bunch of vile greenie-nazis!”
Why not just sell them?
Nuking the Oil Spill is probably a rather bad idea
Three Gorges Dam picture
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom twitter of the day before the day before yesterday
Everyone who shows this picture needs to add that it is not Photoshopped
Brightly lit buildings against a dark sky
Climategate and a blurry and artificially lit roundabout
Nasa and Gordon Brown both have their uses
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom modified cliche insult of the day
Will I ever tire of writing about the relationship between the new media and the old?
Talking about The Hockey Stick Illusion with Bishop Hill
Towers under the weather - and a steam engine steams to the rescue
Stepping forward into the abyss!
Laughing gas
I EAT RUBBISH!
ClimateGate roars on and Man(n)-made warming is taking on a whole new meaning
The angst of team blogging about stories like the CRU hack
What’s up with this?
Link to a list of peer-reviewed papers supporting skepticism of “man-made” global warming
Saying what we aren’t meant to say
Green cats - feral cats - cats murdered in Wales - more than 113 cats in Livingston NJ
Environmental
Two Samizdata pieces
Why I vote against AGW
Bike made entirely of wood
Monsal Viaduct
Actually quite a big cat
Metaphor muddle alert
Might Gordon Brown pull an EU referendum rabbit out of the hat?
Mockery
Monster buildings and monster people
Will Wilkinson
Towers above the Dubai fog
Strange weather
Smog returns to Beijing
Blue sky in Beijing
It’s blue!
“The air is apparently not getting better …”
Everything changes today
Non-bio oil
More Beijing smog-blogging
Bird’s Nest in smog
What’s this for?
Ducks - frogs - turtles – beavers – Galaxy Quest
A blogger mutates towards being a journalist
LAHTML
Has global warming stopped?
Millau Viaduct with goats
Weather to go out
Operation Cat Drop and some Hello Kitty Bags
Thames Barrier photo first shown here - then used by UNESCO
Engadgetry
Lots of links
City Cat runs on air
Assorted London quota photos
Robot birds to scare away the real birds
Mobile phones are killing the bees!
Just making conversation
Cats cause mice
The Great Global Warming Swindle debate now begins
The daffodils of doom
Svensmark – for and against
Dirty vapour trail over London
What are the world’s biggest problems?
On the ideology of the “climate change” debate
Other people’s photos (3): Ice storm
ASI blog post deleted under fire
Brian and Antoine democracy mp3 number twelve
Presumably the noise is not a problem
Another permanent link
Was that you or a tree?
Ecochondria