Friday, December 24, 2010

Missing datapoint.

Every year at this time I visit a local haunting and try to get photos. Last year looked promising and I had hoped to build on it this year.

However, I chickened out this year. Temperatures here have been well below freezing, even during the day, and once the sun goes down the frost is severe. It's not forecast to reach above zero until Tuesday. So I have a missing datapoint but then it would have been impossible to hold a camera steady at these temperatures anyway. It's disappointing but the site will still be there next year, and it might not be quite so devastatingly cold next time.

I'm keen to photograph this haunting event but I'm not keen to become part of it.

Apparently this freezing weather is caused by global warming. It seems the alleged scientists involved think we have no memories, because the run of mild winters we had a few years ago were also caused by global warming. We were in fact told that we could expect to see no snow at all in the UK in the future, and we'd all be growing grape vines and Kiwi fruit. Last summer I struggled to grow tomatoes in a greenhouse!

So, if it gets warmer, that's global warming. If it gets colder, that's global warming. If we get a summer drought, that's global warming and if we get summer floods, that's global warming. It seems that if we get any weather at all, it's global warming.

If you doubt that anything and everything is global warming, you are a climate heretic and must be silenced. If you accept that no matter what happens, it's all global warming, you are allowed to consider yourself 'scientifically literate' even though you are self-evidently a deranged lunatic who will accept exactly the same explanation for diametrically opposite events.

When this country is under a kilometre of ice, rest assured that it will be due to global warming and heating will still be frowned upon.

'Weather is not climate' is the mantra these morons spout. Unless, of course, it's a weather event that supports the idea of global warming. Then it's climate. Any weather event is global warming. The explanation comes first, the observation must then be made to fit. This is what passes for science now. Alchemists were far more rigorous.

I'm glad I no longer teach science. Current standards have fallen so far, I'd be castigated for having unreasonable expectations of students.

You see, I wouldn't let them just make it all up.

Anyway, Merry Christmas. Time to get the whisky out.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Busy day tomorrow.

There are a few things happening tomorrow. It's the Winter Solstice and it's also a total lunar eclipse. The eclipse starts at 6:30 am GMT and is visible from the UK. I'm not sure how good it will look from other parts of the globe but I think Eastern parts of North America might get a good view. In fact, I'm a little late with this because Americans will see it in the early hours of the 21st.

Here, the moon will be setting as it goes into eclipse and the sun will be just starting to rise. The last time this happened was in 1638. The years following it saw the English civil war, the Great Plague, the Witchfinders, the beheading of King Charles and finished with the Great Fire of London in 1666. So it wasn't a good omen, really. Fortunately we don't currently have a King Charles, so let's hope the Queen is in extraordinarily good health.

I hope to see the eclipse, but it's full cloud cover at the moment. It doesn't look promising.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Forest ghoul?

(Picture found here)

This made the rounds of UK newspapers a few days ago. It is allegedly a picture taken by an American hunter in Louisiana.

One commenter on the story says it's an advert for a computer game and cites the bottom-left tag 'Wildgame Innovations' as evidence. Nope. Wildgame Innovations is a hunting supplies company, not a games manufacturer. The picture appears under their 'success stories' listing, is taken using an infrared camera and was put there by someone who says it was taken by 'a friend of a friend'.

I am unconvinced.

First, if you were alone in the woods on a dark night, equipped for hunting, and that came at you - what would you grab first? The camera or the gun? I mean, it doesn't look as if that thing wants a conversation, does it?

Second, look at the arms. Huge shoulders with thin arms poking out of them. The musculature makes no sense. Its right arm has straight bones, its left arm has rubber bones. The right leg appears to be much thicker than the left.

My suspicion is that it was a photo that included an interestingly shaped object, perhaps a fallen branch, and that the head was added later. Or maybe it's a totally digital image.

Real? Not impossible, but I'd rate this as having no more than a 5% chance of being real. A second photo would improve that rating, preferably by someone completely unrelated to the first photographer.

Unknown large animals are certainly possible. There are many wild places on the planet where nobody ever goes. In recent years, a new species of ape has been found in Africa and it's only a few decades since the discovery of the giant and colossal squid species.

The thing in the picture, though, looks to have such odd musculature that it would be unlikely to thrive in woodlands. Its arms don't have enough muscle to be much use, it appears to have no fur or scales, its teeth don't look very big and its jaw isn't strong enough to rip through much of anything.

So, for now, I'd file this as 'not very likely at all'.

Unless someone else from Louisiana has seen one?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Something for the Greens.

Two feet of snow and still falling. The earliest snowfall in twenty years, the deepest snow since 1965, the country is once again almost entirely white when seen from space and it looks like this weather is staying for a long while yet. There are icicles hanging off everything and the temperature is not getting above freezing during the day. Tonight it's due to hit -20C (-4F).

Still, we hear about all this global warming. We hear about the less than one degree of increased temperature in the Arctic over the last decade and we keep hearing that Arctic ice is melting.

Well, followers of the Green God of Climatology, here's what they are not telling you.

It has nothing to do with the climate. Nothing to do with 4x4 cars or people flying around in planes or anything else we do. You have been duped and you have demonstrated and demanded tax increases because you were told to.

Now, the cost of heating is to go up again. Last year over 20,000 pensioners died in the winter in the UK because they could not afford heating. So, Greens, are you trying to top that this year?

You'll be pensioners one day. You might regret your zeal in disposing of the elderly by then.