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Topic Title: Interesting article on Climate Change
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Created On: 27 June 2012 12:30 PM
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 27 June 2012 12:30 PM
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rogerbryant

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 30 June 2012 10:40 PM
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stableford

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Indeed it is, the Aussies are on the bleeding edge of changes, with their droughts, and extreme rainfall events.

Regards
Derrick.
 01 July 2012 09:16 PM
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ectophile

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It's OK so far as it goes. What it doesn't mention is all the vested interests on the other side of the argument.

For years, respected scientists told us that smoking doesn't cause cancer, and that nicotine isn't addictive. They caused enough confusion that nothing was done to discourage smoking for decades.

Having seen this "scientific debate" trick work for the tobacco industry, the asbestos industry tried it, but with limited success. The sugar industry are busily doing it now, telling us that sugar is harmless, natural, and definitely doesn't cause obesity or diabetes.

Now we have a constant supply of scientists who tell us that CO2 is harmless and natural and couldn't possibly cause climate change. And some of us can't help but wonder who is funding them.

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S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 02 July 2012 09:00 AM
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StewartTaylor

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Given the nature and the stridency of the literature/propaganda ( call it what you will), you have to wonder who stands to gain from the other side too.

One of the biggest problems with things like this is that there's no money or publicity in presenting sane and carefully reasoned and balanced viewpoints. Remember the Millenium Bug disaster anybody?

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Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
 02 July 2012 01:15 PM
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westonpa

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Both CO2 and sugar are natural and essential for life. As with most things it is an exessive amount which is harmful.

Regards.
 03 July 2012 12:16 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
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Originally posted by: StewartTaylor
Remember the Millenium Bug disaster anybody?

That's an interesting one: Because it was identified loudly and clearly as a major risk a huge amount of effort was spent checking and modifying code so that failures did not occur - with the result that (generally) they did not occur. For some reason this is now presented as "nothing happened, therefore the problem didn't exist in the first place". No. The reason nothing happened was because a lot of people worked blooming hard through 1999 to make sure that it didn't.

There may be a moral (or several) here somewhere...

-------------------------
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
 03 July 2012 01:10 PM
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StewartTaylor

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Andy,

I disagree. A lot of people did spend a lot of time looking for trouble but mostly it didn't turn up because (surprise, surprise!) responsible engineers had seen the millenium coming and for about the previous twenty years had taken it into account.

Don't you remember that aeroplanes were to fall out of the sky and your microwave was going to shrivel up and die? As if anybody would design safety-critical software that had a date dependency (date aware maybe, but dependent?); and of course you can always lie to the microwave - but the voices pointing this out were never heard.

It's unfortunate but the doomsayers (and scandalmongers) will always have the ear of the media and the public. It doesn't mean that climate change isn't going to be a big problem, but it does make balance discussion/debate very difficult. And that's without the quasi-religious fervour with which many proponents of doomsday scenarios approach the whole issue.

-------------------------
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
 03 July 2012 02:07 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: amillar
That's an interesting one: Because it was identified loudly and clearly as a major risk a huge amount of effort was spent checking and modifying code so that failures did not occur - with the result that (generally) they did not occur. For some reason this is now presented as "nothing happened, therefore the problem didn't exist in the first place". No. The reason nothing happened was because a lot of people worked blooming hard through 1999 to make sure that it didn't.

I think it was Mark Twain who said something like 'bad news travels half way around the world before good news has his boots on'. It was overplayed because the media wish to sell bad news and have very little interest in a balanced discussion. Most electronic devices were never going to have a problem with the millenium bug and those that were going to were obviously not designed correctly and thus the issue would have been poor design and not a 'bug'.

Climate change has been the same and we even had our PM with his '50 days to save the planet' statement. The problem with making strong statements is that when the evidence turns out to be a bit inconsistent or falsified then there is going to be a kickback which is equally strong and which then makes it harder to believe the messenger the next time. Let's take the old Iraq and WMD case, there was no WMD and so now hardly anyone wants to believe that Iran is developing a Nuclear bomb.

What have we seen over the last while:

Falsifications to get into the Euro,
Falsifications by banks,
Falisifications by MP's on expenses,
Rich people doing their best to avoid paying their fair share of tax,
Bonuses for nothing,
The same agencies giving their ratings to banks and countries who once gave AAA ratings to subprime mortgages,
Falsifications by parts of the media,
Very dodgy evdence to support wars in other countries,
Politicians who are a whole lot of hot air and little else.

What chance does the environment have I ask myself. That is why we need reasonable and balanced discussion on the environment, it effects a lot more people and is significantly more important for our way of life.

Regards.
 07 July 2012 12:08 PM
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jencam

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Originally posted by: StewartTaylor
Remember the Millenium Bug disaster anybody?


I was attending a local carnival in October 1999 where one of the floats was about the Millennium Bug. It featured a timer with a large LED display counting down the days hours minutes and seconds to the start of the Millennium. Such a display would of course attract the attention of my son who started to generate questions about doomsday scenarios resulting from computer failure and whether he would make it to his 10th birthday which was on the other side of the Millennium leap day where he was convinced that the bug would really bite. I told him it was just a light hearted reminder for small businesses to check their computers and machinery because all the software for our important national infrastructure like the banks and utility companies is now Y2K compliant.

Following this he tested every device at home fitted with a clock to ensure that it was Y2K compliant for both 01/01/2000 and 29/02/2000. Investigations had revealed that a PABX console at his primary school was not Y2K compliant and reset to 01/01/80 as the Millennium kicked in which he kept quiet about...

Originally posted by: amillar
That's an interesting one: Because it was identified loudly and clearly as a major risk a huge amount of effort was spent checking and modifying code so that failures did not occur - with the result that (generally) they did not occur. For some reason this is now presented as "nothing happened, therefore the problem didn't exist in the first place". No. The reason nothing happened was because a lot of people worked blooming hard through 1999 to make sure that it didn't.


Did the Millennium bug create an inflated demand for programmers during then 1990s many of which were dumped on the scrapheap on 01/03/2000? The official story is that a DotCom crash took place that year but I have wondered whether this is actually a smokescreen for what really happened and how it became so difficult to find a programming job in business software.
 08 July 2012 12:36 PM
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amillar

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Originally posted by: westonpa
Most electronic devices were never going to have a problem with the millenium bug and those that were going to were obviously not designed correctly and thus the issue would have been poor design and not a 'bug'.


Surely you could argue that all bugs are bad design! Anyone who has worked in safety-critical or high reliability design knows that it is highly dangerous to ever believe that anything can be designed 100% "correctly" (whatever that means). Actually, the majority of issues that I came across during this period was software designed to have, say, a 5-10 year service life but had actually been running for maybe 20-30 years. And this tends to relate to some of the most solidly designed software there is: we all know that your typical transportation system or nuclear power station has to work many, many years beyond its planned service life (there's an interesting research project in there for someone). Interestingly, I still run one piece of software which has a millenium bug, highly ironically this is a (commercial) MIL-HDBK-217F reliability calculator! As you can imagine, this appeals to my sense of humour no end. But I don't suppose that when it was produced in the mists of time anyone expected it still to be used in 2000, let alone 2012.

Also it doesn't matter that most devices were not going to have this bug, if just one of our systems had had it a large percentage of the trains in London (for example) would have stopped running with no short term fix, and people get a bit upset about things like that...

Sorry, it may seem a bit petty to go on about this, but I do get annoyed on behalf of all those who put in a lot of late nights all over the world to work on this and have never been appreciated. (I didn't have to put in the late nights myself I'm very relieved to say.)

Anyway, back to the environment, the evidence for man-made climate change is coming from scientists; not from journalists, career politicians, or environmental campaigners. On the other hand, I agree that the fact that nothing meaningful is done about it may be due to these groups, and indeed to the rest of us.

-------------------------
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
 11 July 2012 01:07 PM
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rogerbryant

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Currently a number of scientists and it would appear most journalists and politicians support (preach) the concept of manmade global warming. If you go back 30-40 years exactly the opposite was being preached, the next ice age was upon us. To quote Sir Fred Hoyle's book from 1981, Ice: How the New Ice Age will Come and How We Can Prevent It, the next (imminent) ice age would;

"...hopelessly compromise the future...This is why our modern generation must take action to avoid catastrophe, an ultimate catastrophe besides which the problems that concern people, media, and government from day to day are quite trivial."

You could replace ice age with global warming and the statement is the same as many being preached today!

The evidence for the next ice age was probably even more compelling that that being put forward for manmade global warming. The was a regular cycle of ice ages over the last 400,000 years, we were approaching a temperature peak and so we were about to go down the other side. There were good explanations for the cyclic nature of the ice ages based on the small oscillations in the earths path around the sun (Milankovitch cycles).

So where are we? Is the world going to cool? Is it going to warm up? Will the warming cause cooling as these scientists were proposing in 2002?

http://discovermagazine.com/2002/sep/cover

If it does cool down apparently at least we will have enough oil as the much predicted (and sensationalized) peak oil event is unlikely for quite some time.

http://www.monbiot.com/2012/07/02/false-summit/

The only conclusion to be reached is that bad news sell newspapers and 'Saving the Planet' keeps scientists and politicians in jobs.

Best regards

Roger
 12 July 2012 03:39 PM
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amillar

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Originally posted by: rogerbryant
[...] and 'Saving the Planet' keeps scientists and politicians in jobs.

I think that's the opposite of what George is saying. I understood him to say that, given the choice between saving the planet or digging for oil, we'll spend the money on digging for oil. So who's making the money now? (OK, I suppose I am, since part of my income comes from the oil extraction industry...)

I don't like labouring points (as I've said this many a time here), but it does seem to be one of the great misunderstandings of our times: There is far, far, more money to be made out of ignoring or disproving man-made climate change than there is in trying to understand or solve it.

-------------------------
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
 19 July 2012 09:48 AM
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ickleant

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It is true there are a lot of steps that are better for us and the environment that cost companies money. most if they didn't have to take these steps would not and we would be stuck surrounded in smog and chemicals
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