Archive for April, 2007

Prediction: Global warming not as bad as they’re telling you

The whole global warming panic has just never felt right to me. It is a matter of historic fact the Earth has been both much warmer and much cooler than it is now – in the past 1,000 years alone we’ve had both the little ice age and the medieval warm period. I’m not wholly convinced by the more extreme climate theories that claim that there could be a catastrophic 4 – 5 degree Celsius temperature increase in the next 100 years, causing the ice-caps to melt and a whole barrel of horrors to be unleashed. In fact, I’m far more inclined to believe there will be a 1 – 1.5 degree Celsius temperature increase, largely caused by wholly natural events; no meltdown, no catastrophes, no need to panic. However, we will have been forced to pay billions in so-called ‘green’ taxes to offset our carbon usage.

But, since guessing the temperature 100 years hence isn’t much of a testable prediction, I’ll make one now: the 2007 hurricane season will not be noticeably worse than preceding years. I’m not entirely on new ground here, since the predicted 2006 hurricanes failed to materialise, even after post-Katrina warnings of doom.

I’m not a scientist, nor do I play one on TV, but I am a fan of science and feel that it is being used increasingly as a political bludgeon instead of a tool to learn the truth of things.

So, if there is a lack of major hurricanes this year, try to remember not all the claims of upcoming climate doom are going to be correct and, sometimes, they’re going to be wrong. Not just about hurricanes, but about other things as well.

Of course if Florida is flattened by several category six’s, then it serves you right to listen to some non-scientist’s blog.

[I’m not in the pay of petrochemical corporations, though if Shell would like to give me a few hundred litres of V-Power, I’d be grateful]


April 8th, 2007

Happy 50th, The Sky At Night

The Sky at Night is celebrating its 50th year on television, in all but one case presented by Sir Patrick Moore (caused by food poisoning by a rogue duck egg).

This low-budget monthly programme has introduced millions of people to the wonders of astronomy, the only ‘big’ science in which amateurs still play a major role, and I’m a huge fan.

Back as a callow youth, I basically thought I had three career paths in front of me, electronics, computers or astronomy; in the end computing won but I’m still hugely interested in astronomy (and all science in general). I don’t, however, own a telescope for the simple reason I live in a severely light-polluted town and I’d be lucky to see the moon let alone anything fainter. However I still try to see as many episodes as I can, even given the frequently-absurd times they are shown (they have been edging closer to 2am recently).

I cannot understate the importance Sir Patrick plays in both the show and my continued interest in it, although he decries that it’s the interesting material that keeps people viewing – in part he’s perfectly correct – but I also admire the man personally. He’s one of the few remaining great British eccentrics but he is also knowledgeable, witty, self-effacing and curmudgeonly, and, let’s face it, he’s presented a monthly show for 50 years that has covered every astronomical subject imaginable, and still has far more to cover.

He is no longer a young man, but his mind is as quick as ever, and I’m proud to come out and say he’s one of my personal heroes, and although their numbers are dwindling, their influence will survive them for decades (and more!) to come.

So, happy 50th year, Sir Patrick and The Sky At Night.

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April 2nd, 2007


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