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Topic Title: Discontent with E&T content
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Created On: 08 August 2010 09:48 PM
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 30 August 2010 10:46 AM
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roddalitz

Posts: 125
Joined: 19 April 2002

No, I do not wish to call you an idiot; apart from anything else, anyone on this forum is unlikely to be an idiot. My words are a long-standing traditional quotation (check google), applicable to many situations, for example you might wish to apply it to Abraham, or Viscount Monckton, or whoever. This quote is to me more about the process of discussion in general.

Another applicable quotation is:
"The sage does not talk. The talented ones talk. The stupid ones argue."

I can also quote:
"Intelligence is no guarantee against being stupid."

As far as climate change is concerned, another good quote comes from Woody Allen:
"More than at any time in history, mankind faces a crossroad. One path leads to despair and hopelessness. The other leads to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

However, in the present circumstances, I should say:
"The more crap you put up with, the more crap you are going to get."
And that is where I started, reading a comment about "...the idiotic depths now being plumbed by the IET" which I was unwilling to let stand unchallenged.

This forum might be expected to be expert in many aspects of electrical engineering, including power, management, design, and all kinds of other things, but is rather unlikely to include many experts on weather, climate, geophysics, or indeed climate change. The IET is about Engineering, which is fundamentally different from Science. There is a distinction between Religion (dogma which is untestable), Science (gradually refined laws which are testable), and Technology (don't care whether the result is perfectly accurate, as long as it works).

Although I have enough personal experience of climate change over the last fifty years to be confident that the experts are indeed pretty well correct, I acknowledge that I am not the ideal person to put forward the justification, just as I am not the ideal person to present the case for evolution, or relativity, or the world being round rather than flat. An expert on climate change is unlikely to read anything on this forum, and may well not bother to reply to any statements made here.

No-one would take seriously (for example) a dog-breeding journal making comments on the relative merits of condensing boiler versus electric storage heater, there is a relevance, but they would be out of their area of competence. Equally I am annoyed by those who pontificate about how the "Y2K" bug was a non-event, when I do know about the issues, the effort and expense which went into preventing it, and have heard a few accounts of places where Y2K did led to problems. On the other side, perhaps there is something to the JFK conspiracy theory, which has politicians rather than scientists denying it.

Increasingly I see a picture of ordinary people believing that they are equal, that their knowledge and understanding entitle them to have an opinion alongside experts, and to debunk the experts they do not like. That attitude was taken by the Nazis in the early 20th century, who denied relativity (possibly as a Jewish product), and by www.conservapedia.com today - the bible-thumpers alternative to Wikipedia.

The IET is not qualified to debate the science or politics, but it excellently qualified to advise on the pros and cons of implementation, for example the issues with wind power and energy storage.

So to sum up my position: "Cobbler, stick to thy last."

-------------------------
regards, Rod Dalitz (CEng MIEE FInstP)
rod.dalitz@blueyonder.co.uk
 30 August 2010 08:50 PM
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virnik

Posts: 24
Joined: 06 April 2009

Did this topic go off on a tangent a little...

I find the E&T magazine an enjoyable read with a good range of content. The technical level is probably right for the range and variety of engineers in the IET. If there is anything of particular interest in my fields of work, then I will research it further before coming to my own conclusions.

Best Regards to all
Nick
 31 August 2010 05:32 PM
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mike.mcclory

Posts: 30
Joined: 26 April 2006

Originally posted by: virnik

Did this topic go off on a tangent a little...



I find the E&T magazine an enjoyable read with a good range of content. The technical level is probably right for the range and variety of engineers in the IET. If there is anything of particular interest in my fields of work, then I will research it further before coming to my own conclusions.



Best Regards to all

Nick
You know how it is:

Someone is wrong on the internet!

 01 September 2010 12:57 PM
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roddalitz

Posts: 125
Joined: 19 April 2002

Off on a tangent, yes, I apologise for letting a discussion on another topic spill over into this one.

E&T magazine is much more interesting than whatever the equivalent publication was (IEE News?) ten years ago, now it is a good general-interest read which sometimes provokes thought. The IET covers such a wide range of subject matter that specialist topics would miss most members, it needs to assume an "intelligent layman" audience.

-------------------------
regards, Rod Dalitz (CEng MIEE FInstP)
rod.dalitz@blueyonder.co.uk
 02 September 2010 02:58 AM
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Ipayyoursalary

Posts: 265
Joined: 21 November 2009

All I find in Viscount Monckton's reply is a rehashing of the same lies...

Can you cite a specific example of an alleged lie so I can check it out? Having listened to Abraham's ad homimen bilge and Monckton's scholarly reply the only lies and misrepresentations I could find were those in Abraham's talk.

It seems the good Viscount screams about ad-hominem attacks.. yet is quite happy to launch them himself.

Monckton's 'Over-cooked prawn' comment was a joke - and hardly comparable to the unprovoked and libelous assault Abraham's launched on Monkton's honesty and integrity.

I fail to see your point about government funding.

Please let me explain:

Suppose that scientists found that climate change was a natural phenomenon - caused by natural sun and ocean cycles. Suppose they found recent warming was well within historical norms and of no cause for concern. What would happen to all those bureacrats working in the IPCC, DECC, EPA, CRU, MET office, carbon credits traders, climate research departments and green pressure groups? Not forgeting - the numerous climate profiteers and subsidy farmers featured in the IET magazine every month. What would happen to them all?

They'd all be out of a job - that's what. And no more all-expenses-paid jollies to climate conferences in Bali and the Maldives either.

Might this lead to a certain amount of confirmation bias in alot of government funded climate research?

This fact is never acknowledged by 'believers in experts' like your good self and Mr Dalitz here. However, should a researcher receive any support from an oil company - you'll happily dismiss their research without regard, accusing them of being shills for 'Big Oil'.

The fact is that overwhelming government funding support is now behind alarmist climate research - and he who pays the piper calls the tune. Therefore - it is imperative that all research data, code and methods are open and transparent - so they can be replicated and tested by sceptical auditors. Unfortunately - as confirmed by all the Climategate enquires - the ruling clique of IPCC activist scientists have repeatedly obstructed FOI requests for data and methods - and conspired to prevent sceptical research from appearing in the IPCC reports and the scientific literature.

However, I'm optimistic that nature and public opinion are turning against the alarmists - and I look forward to the day I can read some interesting engineering articles in the IET magazine without the constant parade of PR for subsidy farmers, climate profiteers and charlatans.
 02 September 2010 12:23 PM
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rogerbryant

Posts: 874
Joined: 19 July 2002

I do have a concern regarding bias in the reporting in E&T. If I find significant bias in areas where I am reasonably knowledgeable I have to suspect that there is bias in areas where I am less knowledgeable.

The article 'Nuclear safety - an inconvenient maybe' published on 19 April 2010 attempted to portray childhood cancer clusters caused by elevated radiation levels around nuclear facilities as an established fact based on 'cherry picking' one result from the German KiKK report. A study of the available evidence quickly shows this not to be the case. The largest childhood cancer cluster, in Fallon Nevada, had no connection with any nuclear facility and these cancer clusters do not appear in areas with high natural background radiation.
The UK Health Protection Agency offers a reasonable and well referenced summary of the risks posed by radiation taking into account a wide range of views.

http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAw...PAweb_C/1274090258191

I find it difficult to locate similar documents relating to the man made climate change debate. The government body on this subject, the IPCC, is frequently challenged regarding its objectivity,

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/sp...nce.html?cid=28237100

and most other publications tend to have a strong bias or agenda.

E&T articles generally appear biased towards the man made climate change view, and that wind, wave and solar energy will be the saviour of mankind. I agree entirely that the global climate is changing, and also that it has always changed. I also agree entirely that we should reduce our consumption of natural resources and our impact on the environment. I disagree very strongly with justifying this based on bad science, and basing our response on a range of 'renewable' energy sources that have not undergone the rigorous reviews required for more conventional energy sources.

For example, a new wind power generation system is 'headlined' at X MW which is equivalent to Y households. What is not usually stated is that the average power delivery over a year will be 20% or less than X, dropping at times to zero so to support these Y households there either has to be the required MW of spinning reserves of conventional power generation, or a much reinforced and expanded distribution network to bring power from somewhere where the wind is blowing. Very few of the studies seem to take this into account, although some do refer to 20% maximum for renewable energy before the distribution system must be significantly upgraded.

It is also difficult to find unbiased information on some of the other issues such as fires in wind generation and PV systems, where in the case of wind power the fire brigade is unable to reach the turbine head and just has to let it burn out and hope it does not spread to other turbine, and in the case of PV they cannot isolate the power and again just have to let it burn out. The 'antis' accentuate these points and the 'pros' ignore them. Does anyone have a link to real data, from fire and rescue services for example?

I think that the general balance of articles in E&T is good, but as it is the flagship document of a large professional body there should be a much more rigorous review of the articles or much stronger disclaimers for content that has not been reviewed.

Best regards

Roger
 02 September 2010 02:40 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

I woudl hope that the IETs magazines and journals will continue to represent the concensus of the technical and scientific community, together with indicating the realistic variation in that concensus, and will not be biased in its editorial content by the views (however strongly held) of individual members.

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 02 September 2010 04:01 PM
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Ipayyoursalary

Posts: 265
Joined: 21 November 2009

Originally posted by: amillar

I would hope that the IETs magazines and journals will continue to represent the concensus of the technical and scientific community..

Please note, consensus is a politcal concept. Science has never advanced by consensus. Science advances by evidence, repeatable experiments, and testable theories with predictive skill. Political consensus has no place in scientific discourse. Political consensus is anathema to scientific progress.

It should also be noted that those scientists who disagree with the political consensus on climate change face the loss of research funding and tenure not to mention vilification and smears. One only needs to look at the climategate emails or Abraham's talk to see how this works.

And finally - who says the majority of IET members support catastrophic man-made global warming theory?
Who says the majority believe CO2 taxes will prevent bad weather? The membership have never been asked.

Edited: 02 September 2010 at 04:15 PM by Ipayyoursalary
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