Tips May 2015

Since WordPress has decided that comments on Pages, like the Tips pages, don’t show up in recent comments, it kind of breaks the value of it for me. In response, I’m shifting from a set of “pages” to a set of “postings”. As any given Tips Posting disappears or gets full, I’ll add a new one. That will restore the broken function.

I will be keeping the same general format, with the T page still pointing to both the archive of Tips Pages as well as the series of new Postings. With that, back to the Tips boiler plate:

This is an “overflow” posting from prior Tips pages as they had gotten so large it was taking a long time to load. Same idea, just a new set of space to put pointers to things of interest. The most immediately preceding Tips posting is:

The generic “T” parent page remains up top, where older copies of the various “Tips” pages can be found archived. I have also added a “Tips” category (see list at right) and will be marking Tips postings with that for easy location.

While I’m mostly interested in things having to do with:

Making money, usually via trading
Weather and climate
Quakes, Volcanoes, and other Earth Sciences
Current economic and political events
(often as those last three have impact on the first one…)
And just about any ‘way cool’ interesting science or technology

If something else is interesting you put a “tip” here.

You can also look at the list of “Categories” on the right hand side and get an idea of any other broad area of interest.

This ought not to be seen as a “limit” on what is “interesting”, more as a “focus list” with other things that are interesting being fair game as well.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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90 Responses to Tips May 2015

  1. LG says:

    A preview of Richard Moore ‘s EU2015 talk:

    Richard Moore received his degree in mathematics from Stanford University in 1964. Richard Moore is a professional author and researcher into a vast variety of fields, including cosmology. To A brief preview and introduction of his talk, entitled the Pulsating Universe and Planet Earth.

  2. Steve C says:

    Warning from The Register today: there’s an XSS vulnerability in a default WordPress plugin that allows attackers to hijack websites. According to El Reg, the Twenty Fifteen plugin installed on all WordPress sites is being actively attacked. Probably worth checking.

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    @Steve C:

    Looks like it is in the “Twenty-Fifteen” theme (while I’m using “Twenty-Ten”) and the JetPack pluging (which I don’t use); so I’d guess I’m not on the front lines. I’ll keep an eye on it (and it will evolve over time, so don’t be surprised if a sudden change of ‘theme’ happens…)

    That link is blocking “cut and paste” for me and I’m not willing to spend the time to screen cap and edit, but in summary, it also says that the exploit requires an Administrator to click on a malicious link while logged into the web site, then the attack can take over that vulnerable website. OK, easy enough for me to not click links while I’m logged in as Admin. (Typically I do my browsing in one “box” and wordpress in another anyway, only doing the final integration when ready to make a posting… but I have sometimes ‘browsed while logged in’ mostly as WordPress seems to mandate it if you use the same net-identity (likely as a failed ‘security / identity measure’…).

    I MIGHT come up with an alternate “me” who is not wordpress flagged so as to dodge the login hook. Then I could at least comment without opening that hole… even if folks would have to learn that “there are two me’s”…

    So given my generally already cautious behaviour, my tendency to mostly visit high end sites (academic, WUWT, known folks, big names) who are not going to be putting in “bait” links anyway, and that I’m not running to two identified exposures (though more will likely come), I think I’m a low probability of an “issue”.

    But for a while at least, I think more “log out to browse” and link following, along with more “boot the CD to wander the net” are in order.

    And folks wonder why I used different boxes for different things ;-)

    But I do think I’ll uncheck that “remember me and log in” box on anything I can find ;-)

    Hmmm…. A bit more digging finds:

    Akismet is protecting all sites against the Zero Day XSS vulnerability.
    You may have seen news of a new zero-day vulnerability regarding comments in self-hosted versions of WordPress 4.2.

    All sites — including VIP sites — are not vulnerable: your sites are protected by the Akismet anti-spam service, which is already blocking those comments.

    So only the self hosted have “issues” and if they upgrade to 4.2 or have auto update set, they are cleared too. And those of us site hosted by are not at risk.

    Well, nothing like finding out someone else has fixed things for you to lighten the day ;-)


  4. Steve C says:

    Ha! Good to see it’s not a problem here, but when I saw it in the Reg I notified all the WP users I visit regularly just to keep everyone aware. Except Jo Nova, who is a self-hoster I believe – couldn’t see a “Tips” type page there, so if you know of one, or her email, do warn her.

    Yeah, live CDs are great. I use the latest Tails regularly, though this Mint seems very OK for day-to-day surfing (as well as a LOT quicker than a CD, of course!). Pleasing also to report that I’ve had almost nil trouble going from XP to Mint, except that the Mint (Rebecca / Mate) is just too much like Windows. (And there probably aren’t too many people making that complaint!) However, I have since discovered Fluxbox / Blackbox, so I should soon have a UI much more like my (Litestepped, seriously minimal) Windows one and feel fully at home again. (What do you reckon is the best scripting language for general *nix use? I loved Autoit in XP, but …)

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    Scripting language? Depends on what you want to do. I use shell scripts mostly as I’m mostly doing sysadmin things. PERL is the glue that holds the internet together and great for harder things. There’s a few dozen more…

  6. Steve C says:

    Hm, I saw “Perl for Dummies” in a local end-of-stock type bookshop … as the Dummies books I’ve checked on subjects I know about seem to be pretty sound, I’ve picked up a copy and will give it a whirl. (Perl comes built-in with all Linuces, doesn’t it?) All I ask of a programming language is complete intuitive simplicity and absolute power. ;-)

    In Windows, I mostly use (mostly Autoit, but also Take Command) scripts to do “the whole job” for me on one click or hotkey. Running the program(s) to do what I’m doing, maybe sending ’em clicks or text, positioning windows, setting up the soundcard, shovelling yesterday’s output files into the “honest, I’m going to sort it out one day” directory that fills half the drive, generally doing the chores. Click, everything sets up, use – like it’s s’posed to be.

    As for those “few dozen more”, well, yes. That’s exactly the problem …

  7. Steve C says:

    Totally unrelated to the above. On my morning scan through the news, I’ve just come across a truly stunning example of “post-normal logic”. Make sense of this if you can. Wow.

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    @Steve C:

    Yeah… only White Men are evil and only White Men can be discriminated against with no consequences…

    On Perl: Do note that this is the “Jeep with a Bushmaster on it and crate of grenades” of the scripting world. For “the basics”, just use the shell scripting. (‘sh’ for the Bourne Shell, or ‘bash’ for the “Bourne-again shell” that’s the Linux knock off).

    While there is also a “ksh” Korn Shell (named after mister Korn, just as Bourne is named after mister Bourne) the syntax is almost identical between the three.

    Honorable mention goes to “csh” the C-shell, that has a programming structure more like C than the others. Folks have religious battles over the two approaches. I don’t care and I’ve done maintenance on both (they are mostly close enough to figure it out…)

    Start with shell scripting first, as you WILL use it (even if only to launch your perl scripts…) and it does most of what you need very simply. Then progress to perl when something too hard comes along…

    If you are not aware of it, shell scripts are a threaded interpreted language, so you can make fragments that “call each other”. I do this just out of laziness. (Never type the same thing twice…)

    So when first moving onto a linux / Unix box, I have a bunch of tools I import (if possible) or recreate if needed. Normally you can put programs in your “bin” directory and have them execute (or add it to your search path if it isn’t there already). Then to add a new command, you go into that bin directory, edit the command, and give it execute permissions. That would be:

    cd ./bin
    vi newcommand
    chmod +x newcommand
    cd {back where you were}

    I get tired of this, so I usually only do it a couple of times. First thing I make is a command named “allow”. What is in “allow”?

    chmod +x $1

    That says “give execute permissions to the file in your first argument”.

    I then make a command “cmd”. It says:

    cd $HOME/bin
    vi $1
    allow $1

    Now, from this point forward, all I need to do to ‘make a new command’ is say:

    cmd nukehere
    {in the editor type in something like “rm -rf ./*”}
    and exit the editor. Now I have a command that will nuke everything below my present directory.

    Hopefully that starts to show the power of threaded interpreted languages and simple shell scripting. Also that it’s pretty simple to start, and can have a lot more depth if needed. Save the full perl syntax for when you have “big problems” that can’t be easily done with a shell script. Things like ‘setting up a sound card’ or similar.

    For example. if you have output in a directory named “yesterday_out” and you want to move it to a directory named “big_archive”, the script in bash would be:

    cd $HOME/yesterday_out
    mv * $HOME/big_archive

    That’s it. The whole thing. This goes into your home directory (something like /users/home/you) and then into yesterday_out, takes all files there (not starting with a . that’s a special ‘hide me’ marker) and moves them to your home directory/big_archive.

    Don’t need perl for that. Now using my tool above, you could make this command (let’s call it ‘mvem’) by typing:

    cmd mvem
    { type in those two lines above}

    and now you can just say “mvem” to do the archive process any time you want. Oh, and if you make some other bulk ‘setup’ script later, you can have that archive step in it just by saying:

    cmd setup_theday
    {type in first set up commands desired}
    {any other set up commands}
    and your are done.

    Now just typing “setup_theday” does all your set up, including that move, or you can do the move by hand anytime via that mvem command….

    BTW, I used an underscore _ in the names for clarity, in reality unix commands are typically just a few lowercase letters. You can make them nearly anything, but as some characters are “special” to the shell, you need to ‘escape’ them to use them (so a blank needs an escape). For this reason, it is ‘better’ to stick to non-special characters until you know what ones get ‘stolen’ by the shell… BTW, when first logged on, you ARE in the shell. That prompt you get is from the shell (unless in a light weight Linux release where nearly identical function is provided by a program like busybox) and you are typing shell commands. Making scripts is just putting those same commands you type into a script that can be executed in bulk.

    Welcome to being a Unix / Linux Sysadmin! ;-)

  9. Larry Ledwick says:

    Pretty much my experience too, except I started out in a ksh environment and tend to stick to it even though our current OS is a linux variant. The alias command is also your friend, easy way to get often used things to happen with just a few key strokes. Same goes for getting friendly with your .profile contents, so that some of this stuff gets setup when you open your session.

    I write a lot of brute force club simple scripts for my daily tasks in ksh (Korn shell). I much prefer very simple single function scripts, they are easy to edit when you make a change that breaks them 2 years after you wrote them. One of my co-workers used to like to use lots of fancy constructs in his ksh scripts and they are almost impossible to de-bug years after they were written and he has left the company. I like the unix philosophy that a shell script should do one thing and do it well (that includes being easy to understand years later). Comments in your scripts are also your friend, explaining what you are doing and why you did it that way can save lots of time at a later date.

    I also always use underscore in file names in linux/unix saves lots of grief, especially if you are doing something that interprets white space (space, tab) as a break in the command.

    I create a “tools” directory in my home directory and put lots of these simple tools in there so I always know where they live. I don’t change the permissions to allow execute until I am satisfied the basic script does what I expect, by calling it with a ksh prefix. If you are in the directory the script lives in this will run even without the execute permission

    someservername > ksh do_something_i_need
    I prefer setting permissions using the numerical triplet method, but that is again sort of a religious thing.
    chmod 755 uptimeservers

  10. E.M.Smith says:


    That’s where my Irish ancestors originated when somewhere around 900 A.D. Mil de Espania took a load of folks to Ireland and displaced the resident Pict like folks.

    The Wiki claims it is a myth, but we know better ;-)

    Then some of the Irish ran over to Scotland again displacing Picts. Thus all true Celtic Scots are just Irish once removed, and derived from Hispania. The Celts spread from near Turkey (in northern parts of Anatolia and on up and over west) over pretty much all of Central Europe, eventually getting to the various Islands. So even if the “Soldier of Spain” story is a bit fanciful, it captures the history told by “things in the ground” fairly well. Eventually the “Italo-Celts” divided into Celts and Italians, who spread around the big lake of the Mediterranean. Eventually blending back in in France and Spain, but leaving clusters of un-absorbed Celts in places like Spain, Coastal France, Ireland, Scotland, Manx, and Nova Scotia & Kentucky ;-) (Just follow the whiskey…)

    The Germanic types were way up in the frozen north (but might have originated down near Troy and Thrace), and eventually they went running down south during a “bit ‘o cold” and ended up ruling Spain for a while, along with England to this day (yes, THAT queen is a German…) and France has been a bit skitzo ever since the German Franks and the Celtic Gauls decided to blend cultures… When you get done unscrambling the movements, most all of non-semitic non-slavic Europe is some degree or other a blend of Italo-Celts with Germans. (Oh, and a ‘rump’ of the original occupants as the Basque peoples who were largely run over and destroyed by the invading Indo-European types.) Only down in the Slavic / Greek area do you get into the other main type. They pick up in Eastern Europe and extend to the Pacific, eventually running into Turks and Asians of a few kinds.

    But I digress…

    But you knew that ;-)

  11. Steve C says:

    Well, that was an unanticipated little tutorial – and a helpful comment, and it all looks just the biz. Many thanks to you both – I shall work through your advice with care and hope not to break too much. Probably not on this (main) machine for the initial learning phase, though, even so; dunno whether the expression ever crossed the Pond, but “I’m not as green as I’m cabbage-lookin’!” ;-)

    TILs aren’t any sort of problem – my favourite programming language is Forth, so quite happy with that. I think mostly the scripting is going to be a case of learning new names for pretty much the same functions and getting a few straightforward scripts working right. I’m also used to “Take Command” (and before that 4DOS), so already rely on doing a bit more nuanced things with MSOS-based command lines than the usual. Most of my batch files are fairly tidy nests of subroutines and calls to other batch files, so I tend to end up with an overall structure not too far from decent programming.

    Agree also re the underscore – I already use them within scripts, and keep filenames short enough to type repeatedly during testing, anything that gets used regularly will end up on a menu or hotkey eventually anyhow. Spaces are a PITA generally, but it seems always with us.

    The full Jeep should be interesting to play with, though I suspect I’ll need a bit of work after reading the Dummies book so I know where to kick and how hard. I’m used to (eg) being able to call individual functions within DLLs with Autoit, so know how to tread carefully around system calls (and how to image a hard drive with a boot CD if I’m really not sure). ;-)

    And I’m currently trying to find the time to get to know Fluxbox (or possibly Blackbox, as they seem always to be mentioned together), so then I should be getting somewhere close to my accustomed workstation (but with different underworks). Nice minimal interface, decent file manager (I do miss PowerDesk), and bag of spanners, and I’m happy. Oh, and all animations, sound effects and other distractions strangled at birth, but that’s just part of “minimal”.

    A few more hours in the day would be nice …

  12. sabretoothed says:

    Interesting article on compressed air propulsion from past

  13. Another Ian says:


    Around your gardening activities

    Well I’ll Bee!

    and the link!

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    @Another Ian:

    I’ve been contemplating a “dive’ into the bee issue. Found some stuff saying native bumble bees are declining in number. Also lots of interviews with bee keepers saying hive collapse is much more frequent now (which is why simple hive count is a bad metric for health as they are making more hives to try and stay ahead of the loss rate increase). So there is loss, but not yet a disaster.

    But I’ve not posted anything yet as it is something of a mess. No real answer as to “why”, and no real idea how to fix whatever is wrong.

    As an alternative data point, my bees are happy in my garden ;-) I’ve seen lots of the carpenters, at least one bumble, and as of this week, several honey bees. All is right in the Smith Garden… (Oh, and the various non-bee pollinators are doing fine too. The humming birds are making rounds of the red runner bean flowers, and various pollinating flies and other bugs seem to be around. For reasons I can’t explain, the parsnips seem to attract a particular odd fly like thing that walks around on their tiny little flowers…)

    So I’m not worried about loss of food supply. But there IS something going wrong per the bee keepers…

  15. Larry Ledwick says:

    Dig here — light period for starting plants
    Have some really good info down in the comments section.

  16. Another Ian says:



    I think this bloke needs to read more widely! I can’t comment but have sent your post on Mt-T’s latest and greatest to a friend who might. We’ll see.

  17. p.g.sharrow says:

    I was a beekeeper at the start of this “Decline” , up to 50 hives, so I remember the before and after “Bee culturing” problems. Modern western Bee “industry” has been hit with several problems since the mid 1985s. 2 kinds of mite infestations, saturation of available “bee browse “, the introduction of African genetics and contamination of persistence powdered toxins.

    Northern types of Honey bees acquired the genetics for large hive populations and heavy storage of food stores to insure their survival over the long cold northern winters that followed the heavy blooming spring and summer. These bees rarely abandon a good hive. Good hive trees are relatively rare so population densities per acre are low. Just high per hive.

    African bees live in open exposure and abandon a site often to avoid disease, predation or poor browse. These bees swarm out new clusters often as their numbers increase and do not create food stores. They create Bees. Theirs is “Normal Bee Behavior” as they do not have to survive “killer cold” winters of the northern woods.

    When lack of food starves them, bees swarm and move. If population in the hive space gets too large, they swarm. If pests that torment them, gets too upsetting, they swarm. If the food stores, honey or pollen, prove to be toxic to the Brood, they swarm. If the queen gets to be too old and produces defective eggs, they swarm. So the abandonment of a hive location is natural behavior. Not abandoning a location under stress is not normal for all bees. Swarming too often cause hive populations to collapse or disappear totally.

    Breeders in Brazil Thought they needed African genetics to create a better bee for an Amazonian bee industry. Some of these Africanized Queen Bees escaped and bred with the local European bees and this genetic tendency to swarm often has slowly infested all bee populations because of the speed of modern transportation.

    Contrary to popular opinion there are huge numbers of other native pollinators available and honey bees have gone wild as well. European Honey Bees were just an easily domesticatable species. pg

  18. E.M.Smith says:


    Good summary.

    In my garden I have plenty of carpenter and honey bees. (Nearest real ag use with commercial hives would be about 20 miles away, so I’m pretty sure these are ‘wild’ honey bees). Also the occasional bumble bees.

    There is some evidence that bumble bees are having issues from the same mites and pesticide causes, but I’ve only done a top scan on it. A few articles but little hard proof.

    I’d only add that pervasive corn pollen saturated with Bt toxin covering everything for a thousand miles in ‘corn country’ just might also be an issue… One German researcher was looking at mites. No collapse. Introduced some Bt, and the mites then caused a hive collapse. His theory is that multiple assaults go over a trigger point and the Bt caused the mites to be too much. He’s trying repeat trials…

    @Larry: Thanks!

    @Another Ian:

    TPTB have a problem. They want to cream income off of “renewables”, but can’t get the price low enough to make it economical to “cut the cord” and exit the grid. So MUST stay in a region that requires subsidy to be economical. Too cheap, we all cord cut and they get no money. Expensive but without subsidy, nobody buys it. So for subsidy farming, you want to assure it never gets economical…

  19. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith; I would have to agree about the Bt gene carrying corn pollen being toxic. In fact, on balance, there are just too many unintended consequences caused by that GMO to justify it’s continued

  20. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith; Patrick Burn of was just on Fox Business and hinting about “Silicon Valley” types working on “eating Wall Street’ lunch with a new way to digitally trade stock that will put an end to the big boys manipulations that “fix” the market in their favor. Not much in the way of details. pg

  21. E.M.Smith says:


    Might be something like this:?

    Robinhood, which was announced last December, is Silicon Valley’s latest attempt to disrupt the American stock brokers business model. They plan to grab young people away from online brokers such as E*Trade and TD Ameritrade by promising they will no longer be paying up to $10 per trade.

    The revenue is meant to come by offering additional premium services, known as the “freemium” model, popular with mobile and web apps. For example, Robinhood will charge for margin trading.

    In the announcement on the firm’s blog, they take aim at the biggest brokers directly by saying: “The markets are a complex system of regulation that may seem daunting to new investors, and with the financial crisis, distrust in Wall Street has never been higher. Traditional brokerages — many of them established in the 1970’s — have been slow to adapt to new technologies. Many still rely on paper-based accounting and the few that have mobile applications, are built off of archaic interfaces.”

    Per BT:

    I really wonder why / how the EPA lets millions of pounds of Bt toxin ridden pollen and corn stover and stalks be splattered all over the country and not think maybe it might be an issue with endangered species of bugs… Guess Ag has more pull than green on that score…

  22. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith; Not sure about “Robinhood” that was not mentioned. Burn talked about putting an end to “front running”, “naked shorts” and “rapid fire program trading” and other insiders gambits that are used to shear the sheep by Wall Street traders.

    As to the Bt problem, I doubt that Ag in general has that kind of pull. Likely in this case, it slipped under the radar of the enviros and regulators that this would grow to be a problem. After all just how many or maybe how few deep thinkers, other then you and I, spend their brain time on real indepth thinking about long term effects of actions. pg

  23. E.M.Smith says:


    Ah, sounds more like putting some electronic teeth into some of the supposed “rules”. Like having a requirement that a “short” have a matching “borrow”. When you leave stock in a brokerage account, they have a nice little word in all the things you agree to. That is “hypothecate”. It means that the broker can loan your stock to a guy who wants to short it, who then ‘sells short’ the stock. AFTER he drives the price of your stock down, then he can buy it from you (or any seller) when you have panicked out then has “covered his short” and doesn’t need the borrow… Basically it lets an operator sell your stock before you can react and do it yourself. Overall, increases the rate of market drops dramatically (as folks don’t need to actually decide to sell their stock themselves… just needs a big money bag to short…) So having a forced “computer match” would prevent doing the short without actually having the borrow in hand. (At one point, Overstock was sold short by more shares than were outstanding… the CEO complained, but nothing was done.)

    The “rapid fire” is harder to stop. There are computer based traders with very fast wires straight to the exchanges. One would need to slow those or put limiters on them… Doable, but not without the cooperation of the exchanges who make money of those fast transactions…

    Front Running would be even harder to stop. You place an order to sell, and the broker just needs to slide his order in front of yours. Would require a few million “order of arrival” audits per day for a small house. They how to prove it? Maybe if all orders are forced via one computer system with no opportunity for the broker to enter an out of order, order… maybe… And that would require the cooperation of all brokers.


    Ag in general may not, but Monsanto who owns the GMO does. It regularly salts related government bodies with alumni or ‘alumni-to-be’ with a big bonus on hire… Also don’t forget the Ag State Senators… Think the guys from Iowa are going to be called “anti farm progress” by the $Millions Monsanto and “friends” can cough up to their competition?…

    The Monsanto folks got Daddy Bush to give them a pass on testing. (It is fairly well attested) There was a rule in progress to treat each GMO as a new thing needing full testing. That got changed under Monsanto guidance to GRAS as “all the parts are known and it is just like other plant varieties via breeding”… or something close to that.

    A random web search gave this as the first link ( i.e. I’ve not gone looking for a decent non-biased source):

    Monsanto also has strong ties to the core players in the U.S. administration of George W. Bush, including John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, Ann Veneman, Tommy Thompson, and Clarence Thomas, a former attorney for Monsanto who was appointed to the Supreme Court by George H. W. Bush.

    A revolving door exists between Monsanto and U.S. regulatory and judicial bodies making key decisions. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a former Monsanto lawyer, was the one who wrote the majority opinion on a key Monsanto case. Michael Taylor once worked for the FDA, later represented Monsanto as a lawyer, then returned as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Policy when rBGH was granted approval.

    A search on those folks names ought to turn up the full story. IIRC it was Ashcroft or Rummy who were the “go between”..

  24. p.g.sharrow says:

    Ah yes that revolving door. Ted Stevens explained it to me back in 1975. How he made a living as an Alaskan politician. After a stent in the Alaskan government he would do work for the businesses that he had regulated as he knew all the loopholes, He had written many of them!. pg

  25. LG says:

    Astrophysicists take real-time 3D images of Plasma Tubes in Earth’s atmosphere.

    “Using the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), a radio telescope located in the Western Australian desert, Ms Loi found that she could map large patches of the sky and even exploit the MWA’s rapid snapshot capabilities to create a movie – effectively capturing the real-time motions of the plasma.”
    “We saw a striking pattern in the sky where stripes of high-density plasma neatly alternated with stripes of low-density plasma. This pattern drifted slowly and aligned beautifully with the Earth’s magnetic field lines, like aurorae,” Ms Loi said.
    “By creatively using a radio telescope to see in 3D, astronomers have detected the existence of tubular plasma structures in the inner layers of the magnetosphere surrounding the Earth.”

    Press Release:


  26. E.M.Smith says:



    @Another Ian:

    Well that’s gonna leave a mark…

  27. Another Ian says:


    Note the limericks by Ruairi at Jo Nova’s site – but usually in comments. I hope they’re working on a collection

  28. Larry Ledwick says:

    Little item on peer review scandal — seems peer review manipulation is endemic in the scientific community now (probably has been for a long time just now becoming mainstream info).

  29. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting tech bit:

    High emissivity surface, so black they human eye can see no texture to the surface. Great for applications which need to suppress reflections and light scattering. Interesting how broad banded it is as well extending from the UV to the FIR

  30. Another Ian says:


    From comments at


    June 9, 2015 at 9:41 am · Reply

    How similar are deciding where to have a World Cup and where to have a UNFCCC Climate Conference?

  31. LG says:

    Randall Carlson on the end of the last ice age and the interglacial:

  32. Larry Ledwick says:

    Another little technical tid bit you might find interesting. Seems you can build all sorts of interesting things using graphene

  33. Larry Ledwick says:

    The PR blitz continues:
    John Holdren saying by the year 2050 means that “cars, trucks and planes” will be powered by “electricity, biofuels or hydrogen.”

    “Cars, trucks and planes are going to have to run on electricity, biofuels or hydrogen,” Holdren said, adding that electricity will be generated “primarily from renewables and nuclear energy,” and that fossil fuel emissions will be eliminated.

    “Emissions from most of the remaining fossil fuel combustion are going to need to be diverted permanently from the atmosphere,” Holdren said.

    At least he mentions nuclear, it will be interesting to see if the environmental movement actually is willing to embrace new Nuclear designs for power plants.

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    So 35 years to, starting from hiring design engineers to research hydrogen jet engines, design, test, redesign, qa, prototype, endurance test, modify, type certify (govt approval), build, ship, deliver, train crews and put in service replacements for EVERY class of airplane, ship, car, boat, truck, and diesel train on the planet…

    “Good luck with that”… not enough engineers or money on the planet to do it.

  35. Larry Ledwick says:

    Not sure the best place to reference this so figured putting it in tips might be the best solution.
    Great concise discussion of the computational difficulties in doing a climate model.
    Might be worth capturing for future reference.

    rgbatduke June 9, 2015 at 4:53 pm

  36. Larry Ledwick says:

    along with the above another of his posts in the same thread about code complexity and getting unexpected results if you are not very well versed in coding that sort of problem (which the GCM authors obviously are not) or you don’t have the good sense to use a well tested code library which was written by such experts and repeatedly tested by similar experts on real world problems.

    I tend to concur with rgbatduke that the math and computational challenges of writing a reliable stable GCM are beyond reach for any near future time, and certainly out of reach for the currently existing code set.

    It is simply too big a nut to crack and they are doing it wrong in any case.

  37. Larry Ledwick says:

    Oh no it is worse than we thought!
    Study says we are entering the next great extinction event.

  38. LG says:

    Joseph Farrell comments on leaked encyclical:


    You’ll recall that Carlin lampooned the whole technique of “linguistic avoidance” of reality in what was probably the most non-politically correct comedy routine in history: “death” became a “terminal medical event,” “crippled” or “handicapped” people become “handi-capable,” “toilet paper” became “bathroom tissue,” and so on. Similarly with “de-population,” the “soft” term for genocide, be it by “slow” and “soft” means such as involuntary and covert sterilization regimes, or by the more tried and true Soviet, Maoist, and Nazi methods. “De-population’s” real meaning is genocide, plain and simple.

    It is therefore with a great deal of sadness that I note that now Francis I has thrown his mitre into the ring of the Malthusians and appears to have infallibly bought into the whole globaloney agenda(in reality, I think he’s simply showing his true “colors”), including not only calls for “de-population” but for a “global government” to address such issues:

    Pope Francis warns of destruction of Earth’s ecosystem in leaked encyclical

    Fortunately, Francis is apparently proposing no such “de-population” scheme in any genocidal sense:

    “Francis also called for a new global political authority tasked with “tackling … the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions”. His appeal echoed that of his predecessor, pope Benedict XVI, who in a 2009 encyclical proposed a kind of super-UN to deal with the world’s economic problems and injustices.”(Emphasis added).

    But disturbingly, Francis slips back into the model of his predecessors:

    According to the lengthy draft, which was obtained and published by L’Espresso magazine, the Argentinean pope will align himself with the environmental movement and its objectives. While accepting that there may be some natural causes of global warming, the pope will also state that climate change is mostly a man-made problem.

    “Humanity is called to take note of the need for changes in lifestyle and changes in methods of production and consumption to combat this warming, or at least the human causes that produce and accentuate it,” he wrote in the draft. “Numerous scientific studies indicate that the greater part of the global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases … given off above all because of human activity.”

    The pope will also single out those obstructing solutions. In an apparent reference to climate-change deniers, the draft states: “The attitudes that stand in the way of a solution, even among believers, range from negation of the problem, to indifference, to convenient resignation or blind faith in technical solutions.” (Emphasis added)

    If this is true, then Francis has decided to cherry-pick – doubtless with his charism of infallibility – among those scientific studies only those supporting his hypothesis, and has decided – again doubtless by dint of his charism of infallibility – to ignore all those indications that the data itself has been molded and squeezed in some cases to fit the theory. Of course, we’ll hear from people who want to protect their system about the distinctions between “ordinary magisterium” and “extraordinary magisterium,” but such details are beside the point, for the contradictions implicit in this latest encyclical, if the articles about it are true, are bad enough. How does one note “the need for changes in lifestyle and changes in methods of production” (left mystically undefined of course), without recourse to a technology? And once one admits this, one must admit of technological solutions to the dilemma that may possibly dispel the whole Malthusian meme.

    Then we come to the ultimate and typically papal mystification, the attempt to “declare, define, and pronounce”(to paraphrase the words of Boniface VIII from Unam Sanctam) any opposition as “blind faith in technical solutions” while the pope conveniently and blithely ignores his(and the globalists’) own blind faith in global bureaucracy and global governmental solutions. In other words, no countervailing arguments or data are – in the pope’s infallible charism – of any merit whatsoever; by papal definition, to argue against the proposition is to be obstructing the proferred governmental and regulatory solutions. To believe otherwise is, by implication, a kind of socio-political heresy. And with papal claims being what they are, one wonders if the real motivation here is not only to “define away” any opposition as a kind of heresy, but also to align the papacy with the left-leaning tendencies of the global fascism that is being sponsored by the western oligarchs. And we know what the papacy’s response to heresy has been from its gruesome, murderous, genocidal, barbaric, brutal and inescapable historical track record have been: imprisonment, torture, murder, and an “index of forbidden books”, and hence ideas and notions, running contrary to the infallible whims and caprices of whatever occupant the See of Rome decides to champion at the moment.

    And if you think it could not happen again under the auspices of this institution with its trendy “people-friendly” guitar masses and Saturday afternoon “quickies”, think again, for that alignment of the papacy with the Mathusian agenda is what the international oligarchical mafia has perhaps been seeking: a religious “sanction” for all manner of tyrannous methods, regulations, and an infallible quashing of anyone who dares raise a voice in protest over the data and their interpretation of it. No Martin Luthers, Jean Calvins, Thomas Cranmers, or (much worse for such papal people) Photiuses of Constantinople or Gregory Palamases, or Marks of Ephesuses, thank you very much. There can be no “socio-political Protestantism” or “socio-political Eastern Orthodoxy” on these matters, because all that, says Francis, is “blind faith.” Thus the papal call for a global government to “deal with” the “over-population problem” could be the modern equivalent of the medieval practice of handing over convicted “heretics” to the secular authority for execution, a wonderfully casuistical sophistry designed to avoid having to commit murder itself. The claims have not changed, only the methods have, and the “older methods”, so long as the claims remain, could come roaring back, and with a vengance. And this encyclical – whether intended to or not – could be laying the groundwork for it.

  39. Larry Ledwick says:

    Publishing bias study, could not get published in journals until it took out all references to liberals.
    Even though the same conclusion was evident in the data tables. Seems selection bias for publishing is alive and well in more areas than just climate change.

  40. E.M.Smith says:


    But in defense of the Pope:

    At least he has finally agreed and pronounced that Man controls nature, and not some god fantasy… He also is denouncing faith as a basis of endorsement, so soon “the faithful” don’t need to accept the church position or rulings on faith… Truly a brave new world.


  41. Larry Ledwick says:

    Solar flare activity today, causing northern lights as far south as Boston.

    While checking on that with stumbled across an interesting article.
    … For the first time, the group’s Space Weather Payload included a bubble chamber for measuring neutrons. The device flew 109,012 feet above California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, then parachuted back to Earth, landing near Death Valley National Park. The results: Neutrons were detected.

    By counting the bubbles, it is possible to estimate the total dose of neutron radiation absorbed during the 3 hour flight. The answer is 600 microRads (energy range 200 keV – 15 MeV). Interestingly, this is almost the same dose detected by onboard X-ray and gamma-ray sensors: 620 microRads (energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV). Lesson: if you only count X-rays and gamma-rays, then you are missing at least half of the radiation in the atmosphere. Neutrons matter, too.

    Hmmm wonder what the cloud forming effect is from neutron cosmic radiation?

  42. Another Ian says:


    Spell checkers highlighted

    I guess that says it all.

    Warren replied to candy
    Wed 24 Jun 15 (01:53pm)

    A Little Poem Regarding Computer Spell Checkers…

    Eye halve a spelling chequer
    It came with my pea sea
    It plainly marques four my revue
    Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

    Eye strike a key and type a word
    And weight four it two say
    Weather eye am wrong oar write
    It shows me strait a weigh.

    As soon as a mist ache is maid
    It nose bee fore two long
    And eye can put the error rite
    Its rare lea ever wrong.

    Eye have run this poem threw it
    I am shore your pleased two no
    Its letter perfect awl the weigh
    My chequer tolled me sew.”

    From comments at

    Plus the article as well FYI

  43. E.M.Smith says:

    @Another Ian:

    I like it!

    Folks forget that just a couple of hundred years ago the language was often spelled phonetically. Any spelling you liked that sounded right was fine. It was Daniel Webster I think that foisted the notion of ‘only one right way to spell’ on all of us. IMHO there isn’t just one right way. But anyone who reads my stuff will notice that soon enough ;-)

    @Larry Ledwick:

    IIRC the Svensmark theory came from speculation about cloud chambers and neutrons… just saying…. if it makes tracks in cloud chambers it ought to make clouds…

  44. Another Ian says:

    E.M. With a bit more thinking on this.

    Maybe it should be mandatory that such “aids” be turned off in English lessons.

    Like in my brush a long time ago with radiation courses – where exams were open book, open calculator except in dosimetry . On the principle that one day you might have got in a situation that needed a familiarity with the numbers and allowed no time to use a calculator..

  45. Another Ian says:


    Now here is a “ponderer” for you!


    June 24, 2015 at 8:43 am · Reply

    Consider, the potential nocturnal contribution of the planetary biomass to atmospheric heating through plant respiration. It’s described as ‘plant thermogensis‘

    Plant endothermic photosynthesis requires 15MJ of energy (sunlight) for every kilogram of glucose that is produced:
    sunlight + 6CO2(g) + H2O(l) = C6H12O6(aq) + 6O2(g)

    Having considered this, then we need to consider what plants get up to at night?
    They RESPIRE — an exothermic reaction and in addition…..

    Cellular respiration in plants is slightly different than in other eukaryotes because the electron transport chain contains an additional enzyme called Alternative Oxidase (AOX). AOX takes some electrons out of the pathway prematurely – basically the energy is used to generate heat instead of ATP.
    …We know of at least one plant (skunk cabbage) that exploits this pathway to generate enough heat to melt snow.

    Does the settled climate ‘skience’ take into account the nocturnal chemistry and thermogenesis of the planetary biomass, that has grown 15% since the start of the 20th century (if I recall correctly)?

    A fairly quick squizz around google largely confirms a deafening silence on the subject.”

    From comments at

  46. Another Ian says:


    When scientists break all the rules,
    Using dubious methods as tools,
    To find as required,
    The result they desired,
    Then skeptics must take them for fools.

    – Rauiri


  47. Another Ian says:


    Via email – bin if you’ve seen it


    In ancient Israel , it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a healthy young wife by the name of Dorothy(Dot for short). Dot Com was a comely woman, large of breast, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.

    ……and she said unto Abraham, her husband, “Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?”
    …… and Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, “How, dear?”
    and Dot replied, “I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price.
    The sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah’s Pony Stable (UPS).”

    Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums. And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.

    To prevent neighboring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew.
    It was known as Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures – Hebrew to The People (HTTP).
    ……and the young men did take to Dot Com’s trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung.
    They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.
    and lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land.
    Indeed he did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates’ drumheads and drumsticks.

    ….and Dot did say, “Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others.” And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel , or eBay as it came to be known. He said, “We need a name that reflects what we are.”

    ….and Dot replied, “Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators.”
    “YAHOO,” said Abraham. And because it was Dot’s idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.

    Abraham’s cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot’s drums to locate things around the countryside.
    It soon became known as God’s Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).

    That is how it all began. And that’s the truth. I would not make up this stuff.”

  48. E.M.Smith says:

    @Another Ian:

    Thanks for the chuckle!

    Needs Abraham’s Pretty Pleasant Ladies Enterprise though… ;-)

  49. LG says:

    New study explains previous observations of ocean water flowing through the seafloor from one seamount to another

    About 25 percent of the heat that flows out of the Earth’s interior is transferred to the oceans through this process, according to Andrew Fisher, professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz and coauthor of the study. Much of the fluid flow and heat transfer occurs through thousands of extinct underwater volcanoes (called seamounts) and other locations where porous volcanic rock is exposed at the seafloor..
    In a 2003 paper published in Nature, Fisher and others reported that bottom seawater entered into one seamount, traveled horizontally through the crust, gaining heat and reacting with crustal rocks, then discharged into the ocean through another seamount more than 50 kilometers away.

  50. Steve C says:

    Don’t forget to have a libation handy to toast the Leap Second at 23:59:60 UTC tonight! (Well, it’s tonight to me …) GMT lagging by a whole 0.7 seconds wrt the atomic scale, the seconds ticking by … wow, I can hardly contain my excitement. Apparently, the BBC’s time pip generator is capable of putting out 5- and 7-pip variants of the usual 6-pip set, but at 64 I have yet to catch one. Yes, I could make a pitch-perfect set on the computer, but I’d know

    Don’t know about anyone else here, but I’m all in favour of leap seconds keeping the clocks honest – it’s just a consequence of our getting too damn good at time measurement. Maybe I’m just being perfectionist but, to me, if your system is going to do nameless things when it encounters a day with a second more or less, it’s a poorly designed system. The more so as leap seconds have been around for decades now, and no-one can really claim that they “haven’t got the resources” anymore.

    And yes, I am aware that the *nix clock apocalypse also approaches … :-)

  51. LG says:

    Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser writes:

    OPEN LETTER To the Academicians of The Pontifical A…
    Principia Scientific International places members’ interests before political ideology or profit. Our universal principle is that good science should be free of pro…
    View on http://www.principia-scienti...

    My questions to you:
    1. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that the trace gas carbon dioxide (CO2) is the basis for all life on earth. Without CO2 in the atmosphere, neither plants or animals, nor human life would exist on earth. DO YOU AGREE?

    2. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that for most of its 4.5 billion year history, the earth’s atmosphere contained much higher levels of CO2 than today. DO YOU AGREE?

    3. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that the process of photosynthesis transformed the then-abundant atmospheric CO2 to “organic matter” with commensurate reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere. DO YOU AGREE?

    4. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that the entire oxygen (O2) in the earth’s atmosphere has been produced from CO2 by the natural photosynthesis process. DO YOU AGREE?

    5. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that the oceans and most fresh water are alkaline, the opposite of acidic. The same photosynthetic process that converts the CO2 to organic matter also increases the alkaline property of neutral or acidic water. DO YOU AGREE?

    6. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that some 20,000 years ago, the northern parts of the North American and Eurasian continents were covered with large ice shields, up to several km thick. These ice shields had melted completely by approx. 5,000 years ago, entirely without human influence. DO YOU AGREE?

    7. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that the atmospheric CO2 levels barely changed during the 15,000-year period when the ice shields melted; it stayed around 250 parts per million for most of that time. DO YOU AGREE?

    8. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that the earth’s plants and ocean algae consume any CO2 stemming from fossil resource use with the same vigor as that emitted from volcanoes and fumaroles. Therefore, is it then not incorrect to consider the life sustaining CO2 as “pollution?” DO YOU AGREE?

    9. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that coal, undoubtedly a major source of anthropogenic CO2, provides a large percentage of the world’s electricity needs. Together, the countries of India and China consume more than one half of the world’s coal production and have already stated that they will not curtail their expansion of coal-sourced electricity generation. That includes the construction of about one new coal-fired power plant each week. Many countries in Africa and elsewhere will (and should) follow their lead and expand the use of fossil energy resources. DO YOU AGREE?

    10. Even an overwhelming majority of identical views does not establish a scientific fact. How wrong the learned majority can be has been shown repeatedly in history, even by the Catholic Church. For example, the Italian astronomer Galileo was recently exonerated by the Vatican, about 400 years after having been found a heretic, solely for his scientific view of a heliocentric system. Similarly, when facing an onslaught of contrary views, the famous mathematician-physicist Einstein remarked “One [scientific fact] would have been enough” to disprove his then-novel theory. It is clear then that the term “consensus” has no meaning in the world of science. DO YOU AGREE?

    Respected Academician,

    11. If your answers to my questions above are in the affirmative, then one has to wonder whether these known scientific facts can be reconciled with statements to the contrary as found in the ENC. For example, the ENC calls CO2 “carbon dioxide pollution.” In fact, CO2 is not a “pollutant” but a vital trace gas in the atmosphere. Therefore, the atmosphere is not being “polluted” by the use (oxidation) of fossil fuels.

    The ENC also asserts that “the use of … fossil fuels needs to be progressively replaced without delay.” Some people even claim that 80% of the currently known fossil fuel reserves in the world need to stay undeveloped and that within a few decades the world could generate its entire energy needs from renewable primarily wind and solar energy sources. This is to avoid a claimed runaway global warming trend, even though the more than 100 climate models have all miserably failed in the past. The models’ predictions of a catastrophic warming trend, based on higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere, have not materialized for close to 20 years and the polar ice masses have been growing rather than shrinking. This is no surprise as the atmospheric CO2 levels follow – not lead – any temperature increases with a considerable time lag.

    Such contradictions also raise the question if the deliberations and opinions of the PAS and its members have indeed been heard and whether the ENC reflects them accurately. DO YOU AGREE?

    12. Your nomination as Academician of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences recognizes you as a scientist of acknowledged moral personality and international renown.

    In my humble opinion, your nomination to the PAS also implies a duty to your faith, The Holy See, the Academy, the world at large and, last not least, to your conscience as an independent researcher in your professional field. DO YOU AGREE?

    In closing, I urge you to publicly and clearly state your opinion as to whether or not you are in full agreement with the scientific views on CO2 expressed in the ENC. However, if you do not agree with the ENC, please say so too; in fact, any dissenting voice should be heard even louder. Either way, please state your views out loud and clearly. The world’s hungry and energy-poor people depend on your wisdom!

    Respectfully Your
    Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser

  52. Another Ian says:

    This term might fit with what you’re highlighting of the GISS activities?

    Started from a reply at

    “Another Ian replied to comment from TheTooner | June 30, 2015 12:06 AM | Reply

    “NASA is the customer because NASA can’t do it anymore.”

    NASA got erectile dysfunction then?”

    And then this thought

    “Same idea but with GISS maybe they’ve got the Viagra problem – can’t get it down.”

    at Steve Goddard

  53. E.M.Smith says:

    @Another Ian:

    Tee Hee… 9-)

  54. Another Ian says:
  55. Gail Combs says:

    E. M. Here is my S.W.A.G. as to what was behind Karl Marx and the Progressives.

    Any thoughts on the swag are welcome.

  56. Steve C says:

    I’ve just happened on a rare delight, referenced in this Telegraph comment piece this weekend. When I went to the blog he’s talking about and just looked around, I felt an awful lot of future spare time vanish instantaneously, so be warned. Topic area: basically English mediaeval history, covering also its contexts and derivative works; the presentation sparkles with scholarship.

  57. Gail Combs says:

    E.M. Smith
    Of interest — Nutrition. (Also your wife may be interested in the third link)

    calcium propionate (or sodium propionate) found in breads and Egg Rolls (OH! crap, I love egg rolls***)

    From a blog:

    Stomach Ulcers

    Food products do not directly cause inflammation of the stomach lining, also called gastritis; however, your diet can greatly affect the ability of your stomach to heal the inflammation or make it worse. HealthAssist website keeps an extensive database of the side effects of many popular food additives. Calcium and sodium propionate have the potential to permanently damage your stomach lining by exacerbating gastritis and inducing severe ulcers. You should avoid fast-food products that have a higher ratio of calcium propionate, such as buns, pastries and pizza. Typically, freshly baked bread products avoid the addition of calcium propionate, which is why they tend to spoil more quickly….

    clinical trial revealed that “irritability, restlessness, inattention and sleep disturbance in some children may be caused by a preservative in healthy foods consumed daily.” These behavioral changes appear to be reversible when the preservative is removed from the child’s diet.

    Calcium propionate, like all forms of propionic acids, is linked to migraine headaches…..

    Well that explains why my stomach is throwing hissy fits today after having commercial egg rolls and a catered ham & cheese on a roll at a birthday party. And why I had a headache yesterday. (Generally I have not been getting headaches since I changed eating habits.)


    Mold inhibitor-Baked goods, 80%; Feed grain preservative, 10%…. [Livestock feed]

    Google and (wwwDOT) are not great at showing the primary studies on this additive.
    Here is another link that does indicate what studies were done and includes links:

    That link is a real eye opener. Has several comments from people who kicked the commercial bread habit. MAJOR CHANGES IN CHILDREN’S BEHAVIOR and LEARNING ABILITY!

  58. Gail Combs says:

    Egg Rolls
    ***See Schwan’s Food Service, Inc. vs Baily Inc.

    Schwan’s doesn’t use preservatives and makes their own wrappers instead of using Baily Inc.

  59. LG says:

    Thomas Piketty accuses Germany of forgetting history as it lectures Greece .

    “What was good for Germany in 1953 is good for Greece in 2015”

    Leading Economist Slams German Hypocrisy Over Greek Debt Crisis

    Leading Economist Slams German Hypocrisy Over Greek…

    “Germany is the country that has never repaid its debts. It has no standing to lecture other nations.”

    “But Piketty, who penned the blockbuster 2013 book on income inequality Capital in the Twenty-First Century, slammed conservatives who favor the economic austerity measures Germany and France are demanding of Greece, saying they demonstrate a “shocking ignorance” of European history.
    “Look at the history of national debt: Great Britain, Germany, and France were all once in the situation of today’s Greece, and in fact had been far more indebted,” Piketty said. “The first lesson that we can take from the history of government debt is that we are not facing a brand new problem.”
    Germany, Piketty continued, has “no standing” to lecture other nations about debt repayment, having never paid back its own debts after both World Wars.
    “However, it has frequently made other nations pay up, such as after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, when it demanded massive reparations from France and indeed received them,” Piketty said. “The French state suffered for decades under this debt. The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.”
    Piketty criticized the “infantile” moral uprightness of Germany, whose economic success upon reunification has led it to rebuke nations like Greece for being in similarly weakened financial states as Germany itself was in decades ago.
    Piketty argued that the same debt relief accorded to Germany after World War II should be granted to Greece today. “

    “What was good for Germany in 1953 is good for Greece in 2015”

    Economic assistance under the Marshall plan was important to both countries, but it was the granting of debt relief that made a difference to the Germans.”
    What was good for Germany in 1953 is good for Greece in 2015

    “Germany took $1.4bn (11% of the total), four times as much as Greece received.
    Hans Werner-Sinn, the president of the IFO thinktank in Munich, noted three years ago that Marshall aid accounted for 4% of German GDP at the time, while Greece had, even then, received economic assistance worth 200% of its national output.
    This, though, overlooks two points. The first is Greek resentment at the German occupation during the second world war. As Bevin’s biographer Alan Bullock put it: “Greece was a poor country at the best of times and her economy had been wrecked by the sequence of invasion, occupation, resistance, reprisals and civil war. Eight per cent of the population of seven million had been killed, 10 times the death rate for the UK during the war. The Germans stripped the country of livestock and everything else that could be moved; railways, roads, bridges, ports, had been destroyed.”
    The second is that direct transfers of money were only part of the help Germany received through the Marshall plan. Far more important than the $1.4bn was the granting of debt relief at the London conference of 1953.
    Writing in the Economist magazine in 2012, Albrecht Ritschl, a professor of economic history at LSE, said: “The Marshall plan had an outer shell, the European recovery programme, and an inner core, the economic reconstruction of Europe on the basis of debt forgiveness to and trade integration with Germany. The effects of its implementation were huge. While western Europe in the 1950s struggled with debt/GDP ratios close to 200%, the new West German state enjoyed debt/GDP ratios of less than 20%. This and its forced re-entry into Europe’s markets was Germany’s true benefit from the Marshall plan.” “

    Click to access germany-hypocrisy-eurozone-debt-crisis.pdf

  60. Larry Ledwick says:
  61. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry Ledwick:

    While true, I think you need to remember that “any day now” in geologic terms is “Now, plus or minus a few decades”.

    I’ve been waiting for the Hayward / Calaveras system to let loose for about 25 years now. It’s a tinyh bit “overdue” from the average repeat rate, and it has a history of “going” a decade (or two) before or after a ‘big one’ on the San Andreas. That “big one” was about 25 years back (Loma Prieta Quake or “World Series Quake”) so were well into the ‘window’.

    I looked at the links, and followed up some searches. Basically “new study says what old studies said with new press release”. The two sides of the bay are linked, and the Hayward / Calaveras has locked sections that ought to “go” in geologic “soon” time scale.

    Hopefully before I get too old to enjoy the ride ;-)

    Yes, it could happen today, or tomorrow, or next month, or year, or decade, or century… And the odds are before 2 more decades, with ‘this decade” as a distinct “likely”. Or maybe not….

    I really loved my geology classes and especially the ones on quakes, but one must keep in mind the relevant time scale for “soon” ;-)

  62. Larry Ledwick says:

    That is what I was wondering if the correspondent was reading too much into “any day now”. Normally there is a qualifier included by the geologist “or maybe 10 years from now” to help communicate the uncertainty to the average Joe on the street.
    I was also wondering if in fact they were picking up precursor indicators like higher radon and Helium leakage or increased slow creep in near by fault segments etc.

    With the history of the Palmdale bulge and Parkfield both of which were a lot of noise about nothing it struck me as odd that they did not qualify the uncertainty.

    The other possibility is that given the judgment against the Italian seismologists and their failure to properly warn for the L’Aquila earthquake of April 2009. Perhaps they are just being overly cautious.

  63. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting little item re: underwater volcano which may be going into an eruption phase in the Caribbean.

  64. Another Ian says:


    I think someone is pissed off here

  65. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith; my lady tells me that the sentiment of small business people has decidedly turned down in the last month, the worst she has seen. Everyone is afraid to spend and are putting off services for longer intervals. I fear that the Great Rescission is turning into Depression. The improved economic sentiment of this spring is over. pg

  66. Larry Ledwick says:

    Just an observation since this has been rattling around in my brain for some time, and it does not really fit in any current topic comments.

    Everyone seems to believe that the Limits to growth and the Club or Rome was a total failure. They assert that it predicted we would run out of resources. In fact it did no such thing it laid out a “model” or the world economy and then detailed what that “model” showed would happen [b]if all the imbedded assumptions and structure was accurate[/b]
    What it showed was the consequences of exponential growth on consumption and how rapidly near the final stage of growth that [b]with no substitution or alteration in demand[/b] the plot would go ballistic. This is were things break down. Folks point to that behavior as the failure in Limits to Growth, when in fact the items they use to demonstrate its failure simply demonstrate that the limited assumptions in the model were broken. As that demand peak ramped up there are powerful incentives and forces which drive, improvement in efficiency, and substitution of other resources and processes which use less resources. The basic assertion that exponential growth has a habit of sneaking up on the mathematically illiterate is not proven wrong, only that the model they used for the illustrations which they admit in the book was an early model and would need development did not account for those factors, largely because there is no way to model random discoveries etc. At this point things sound a lot like the climate models, but lets shift gears a bit and look at the Limits of Growth in a different manner.

    Just suppose it was the outline and rational for things like Agenda 21 and that climate panic was just a means to an end. One of the catastrophic consequences of unlimited growth in the book was massive migration (driven by resource shortages, social unrest, food shortages and inability to afford food or oil etc.) [i]All of these things have come true in recent years![/i]

    Hmmm wait those consequences sound familiar — food price spikes and recent social upheaval and massive refugee movements which change the social order in Europe and the Americas sounds awfully familiar – – – – – – – – – Hmmm you don’t suppose that those out comes were the objective from the beginning and the limits to growth and climate panic blitz of the last few decades were just moves on a chess board to make Agenda 21 like changes in society possible?

    Could people in a position to gain from the consequences of oil boom busts, food price spikes, massive movements of refugees and drug culture expansion to feed a massive money and power machine might have been trying to move things in this direction intentionally?

    I am not a conspiracy theory type in the classic sense, but I do recognize that lots of people moving in the same direction for their own selfish reasons can look like a conspiracy from the out side.

    It just struck me recently that world wide we are seeing massive refugee movement problems (most wide spread I have seen in my life time) and this was one of the end case consequences listed in the Club or Rome reports and Limits to Growth.

    What if certain people/groups/corporations have an angle to profit on such movements and social upheaval? Would they not encourage agencies not to enforce migration laws and by various means stimulate rapid population movements because of the social dislocation that they bring and the many opportunities to feed off the plight of all those refugees and social dislocation in both the origin country and the destination country in innumerable ways?

    It has just been bothering me for a long time now, that the break down in immigration control could not have been more efficiently established world wide even if it was intentionally planned to benefit someone one or some group. What if lots of independent groups from drug cartels to political parties and even antagonistic countries could be using immigration as a weapon of war, a slow motion invasion below the radar, or just a market opportunity to rip off the desperate refugees. It might not actually be a massive conspiracy but individual benefit (Cui Bono) might be driving lots of actors toward the same end game.

    Just some food for thought. The inability to control the boarder simply in my mind cannot be accidental, it is either gross stupidity and incompetence or some one some where is getting something for letting it happen and continue.

    Yes I know never underestimate stupid, but what if it has another explanation?

  67. Larry Ledwick says:

    Drat forgot to use angle brackets instead of square brackets.

    Immigration is becoming a big issue world wide. In addtion to our own issues with Mexico and the Americas, we see the same things cropping up all over the place.

  68. E.M.Smith says:


    IMHO, The Club Of Rome and Limits have had social control of the world as a goal from the start. Kings and the UK gov’t as recently as W.W.II have used mixing antagonistic population groups as a way to gain power and keep it since at least the Roman Empire moving Jews to Hispania.

    Limits worked for what it was supposed to do. Create a plausible lie for herding useful idiots.


    There is something very wrong economically and I’m trying to work out the hidden threads. I think that TPTB have reached a jump the shark moment, but the exact state of play and outcomes is murky. I don’t see much good possible, and suspect others are sniffing the same…

    Things need to be radically fixed soon, and are not headed that way, or something big ought to start breaking…

    One small example: As of the latest merger, 3 health insurance companies cover almost all the market. We are 2 mergers from “De facto single payer” then one govt monopoly take over from socialize medicine. This helps average folks how? So medical economics is headed for a hard crash / govt collision. About 1/6 the economy headed for ruin.

    Baltimore and Detroit are disater areas, and the effect is spreading, not reversing. California is building a bullet train to the head and putting a major river into a tunnel when mandated to dump that water to the ocean. Just too much crazies and not enough makers to keep it going.

    So the sane folks can go crazy too, or try to hunker down, or what? How does a 25% minority keep a society functioning? And what happens when they just give up? Greece++ with noone to bail them out…

  69. Larry Ledwick says:

    Maybe this fits your description of what is wrong in the world’s economy.

    A runaway train of over production chasing freak profits from the growth phase of the boom. Hard to stop the inertia of that fast moving train so even though real demand is falling as people tighten their belts to pay down peak debt, the capacity keeps growing trying to create cash flow as margins fall as the squeeze begins. Sooner or later like a dog chasing a car that capacity growth will catch the car and not know what to do with it, then it is fire sale time for lots of production capacity world wide as people are finally forced to liquidate bad investments.

    I fear the result will be a world wide glut of production capacity sitting idle and rotting as the weeds take over the parking lots, and the oldest production assets will be impossible to move selling at scrap prices.

    I think it is simply a question of when and where that train will miss a curve and go into the woods in a massive crash that cascades through all the deeply interconnected just in time supply chain.

  70. Pingback: Tips – July 2015 | Musings from the Chiefio

  71. E.M.Smith says:


    Nice, a DIY swamp cooler of sorts ;-)


    Similar, but not. The issue isn’t IMHO over supply. Look at folks with $Million/year incomes. They find ways to consume more… Folks in Nigeria are not oversupplied. Folks in Greece are not oversupplied. Heck, I’m not over suppied when I’m doing recycle on old computers and growing food in the garden and have not bought a new car since 1986 (though partly that’s because I like the old 80s era Mercedes and don’t like the current junk).

    It’s something else. A mix of things. From “regulation” making it only old ’80s cars that do all that I want (and nothing I don’t – no black box and no hacking) to the movement of middle class jobs to China to the flood of cheap H1B visa computer guys from India (so I told my son to not bother to study computers… ) there’s a “meanness” in the world today that is interacting badly with the fundamental way free economies work.

    The result is the “old guard” being sidlined on government dole ( as in Greece ) while the New Meanies take over, but then the thing degrades and heads for breakage. I’m not sure if it is “by design” or just an accident of evolutionary forces.

    It’s happening on a larger scale EU wide with Germany holding up for now via sucking money out of everyone else and importing labor. But there is an end game to that… and we’re seeing it on the previews now. Greece fundamentally broken, Italy on deck. Spain warming up.

    Japan and the USA in perpetual doldrums. The proposed “cures” being more of the poison. Japan aging into a population die off from old age and not enough workers to run the machines. The USA heading for Nuevo Mexico and a generation of young workers to run the machines who will not give a damn about the anglo culture nor really care to take care of a load of old retired anglo folks on Social Security as 20% of their pay-taxes.

    It’s a blend of demographics, the idiocy of “borrow enough to be rich”, the continental bifurcation of production and consumption (and the inevitable breakdown of consumption) and the notion that you can just print pretty pieces of paper and hand them to everyone (but especially to friends of Big Government) as a way to fix it. There’s too many moving parts, and them moving out of accustomed ranges, to clearly see where it goes “splat” and why; but spinning out of control all the same. (ISIS and friends and the Comming Soon To The Levant! nuclear war don’t help).

  72. Larry Ledwick says:

    I meant over supply in a different sense. A healthy economy requires that the people who want to work have good paying productive jobs, so they can afford to buy things, and they are not in over their head with debt so all their income goes to service debt. In that situation they buy things which creates demand for production and other people get jobs to fill that demand

    Today the worlds manufactures could (if they went to full employment) produce 2-3x the reasonable demand of the world if the people were financially well off enough to buy their goods.

    Since the people are busy servicing debt (both public and private) they are not consuming any thing more than the necessities, which means the factories can’t sell but a fraction of their production capacity. As a result they are not hiring workers. Not only are they laying off once productive workers but they have the negative costs associated with inactive factories.The ones that are still working are scared to death that they will lose their job and are not buying anything but necessities. That lack of production and purchase demand means low demand for commodities like iron (which now has significant over capacity built out to cover China’s massive building boom). As a result they are in a crunch. Prices are dropping on all the major commodities so the only way they can pay the bills is produce more at smaller profit margin, which drives prices down further. This is what is happening in oil. The producers with completed wells are pumping as much as they can to create cash flow to keep the wolves from the door, and that along with reduced demand is pushing down oil prices even in spite of all the problems in the middle east and sanctions on Russia.

    It is sort of a vicious circle death spiral the world’s economies are in. Everything that they need to do in the short term to pay the bills just makes the real problems worse, but it pushes back the judgement day just a little longer. Like the unemployed worker who is kiting checks to cover bills, they are just making a bad situation worse but they dare not take any real action which would fix the problems because citizens would call for their heads if they did (see what is happening in Greece). They have crossed the Rubicon and the only thing left is to choose between bad choices. Sort of like what happened in the great depression when very wealthy individuals poured their fortunes down a rat hole buying back their own company stock trying to prop up its price as it plummeted in value. It delayed the bankruptcy for a while but over all made the outcome worse.

    My only doubt is when the public confidence does like an op amp and suddenly latches to the no confidence rail and when that happens there is nothing anyone can do but stay out of the way of the stampede as people rush toward the exits.

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