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Saturday, November 10, 2007


This is part of an article by Freeman Dyson - the whole article is well worth reading but the particular part I want to highlight is about whether natural gas & oil is entirely or possibly even largely created from compressed sea life, in which case the amount must be limited 7 we will hit peak oil at some stage in the foreseeable future, or whether it comes from natural forces & pressures deep underground, in which case quantities must be effectively unlimited. There is some evidence for the latter at least playing a part - oil fields which refill themselves from presumably deeper sources & finding the stuff in the relatively rare occasions when people drill for it in places where the conventional theory says it shouldn't be.

Tommy Gold promoted another heretical idea, that the oil and natural gas in the ground come up from deep in the mantle of the earth and have nothing to do with biology. Again the experts are sure that he is wrong, and he did not live long enough to change their minds. Just a few weeks before he died, some chemists at the Carnegie Institution in Washington did a beautiful experiment in a diamond anvil cell, [Scott et al., 2004]. They mixed together tiny quantities of three things that we know exist in the mantle of the earth, and observed them at the pressure and temperature appropriate to the mantle about two hundred kilometers down. The three things were calcium carbonate which is sedimentary rock, iron oxide which is a component of igneous rock, and water. These three things are certainly present when a slab of subducted ocean floor descends from a deep ocean trench into the mantle. The experiment showed that they react quickly to produce lots of methane, which is natural gas. Knowing the result of the experiment, we can be sure that big quantities of natural gas exist in the mantle two hundred kilometers down. We do not know how much of this natural gas pushes its way up through cracks and channels in the overlying rock to form the shallow reservoirs of natural gas that we are now burning. If the gas moves up rapidly enough, it will arrive intact in the cooler regions where the reservoirs are found. If it moves too slowly through the hot region, the methane may be reconverted to carbonate rock and water. The Carnegie Institute experiment shows that there is at least a possibility that Tommy Gold was right and the natural gas reservoirs are fed from deep below. The chemists sent an E-mail to Tommy Gold to tell him their result, and got back a message that he had died three days earlier. Now that he is dead, we need more heretics to take his place.

If this chemistry works & it clearly does it is highly improbable if there isn't quite a bit of geological oil out there.


An interesting sidelight on the recent oceanic microbe hoax is the degree to which we are now a fully globalised world community.

The hoax was, apparently, produced by a Welsh writer, passed to an international network centred in England run by somebody not born in England. It claimed to be authored by 4 people, 2 with anglosaxon names, 1 Indian, 1 possibly Dutch working out of the Universities of Arizona & Gothenberg, Sweden, published by a non-existent Japanese journal. The repudiations I have received came from all over the world & this was picked up by Reuters (founded in Britain in Napoleonic times by a German-Jewish family) misquoting me, A Scots blogger & a Professor Chen of Gothenberg U.

This was then published by an Australian newspaper & Peter from Australia emailed me providing other links including a US one.

When Mark Twain said
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."
just over a century ago he was being metaphorical but nowadays it is clear that it can & does literally circle the world several times before breakfast.

On the other hand where the net does also score is that it is possible for anybody to link to the most primary source, or those who have already done so as with this saying which has spent decades going round the print media & even politics shows.

By comparison H.L. Mencken's magnificent bathtup hoax kept being reused by ill-informed editors decades after its author's demise.

Friday, November 09, 2007


Here is a very silly article in the Guardian which rather wound me up. It is about how the government should put massive subsidies into getting freight off the roads onto canals because:

"Transportation by water is more environment-friendly than lorries or trains. It can also make sound business sense."

OK we are used to the economic illiteracy of greens telling us that only government subsidy can persuade businesses to go for the more economical alternative, but this article shows an ignorance even more basic than that of the laws of economics.

I commented that transport by canals is not energy saving because the laws of physics make travel through water harder work than travel through air.

"Pushing material through water inherently produces more friction than going through air (try it & see) & therefore, by the laws of physics uses much more energy.

Where water transport scores is that it is possible to transport much larger quantities & the larger the quantity the lower the proportion of surface area to volume (called the square cube law), The lower the surface area the less the friction. This is why a million ton supertanker is such a very efficient transport medium & brings up the average of energy efficiency quite a bit (bigger engines can also be more efficient).

However supertankers don't work very well on our canal system.

This is yet another bit of Luddite special pleading claiming subsidising them is "more efficient". It would be nice if some people in the "environmentalist" movement knew as much modern physics as was available to Archimedes."

Which resulted in an argument with some other commenters who claimed "Water is frictionless. If it were not, then torrents would probably boil. What the problem is, is rather the resistance of the water"

To which I replied - Look Hen that is friction (by definition)

"Physics: A force that resists the relative motion or tendency to such motion of two bodies in contact."

There were intelligent posters there, in particular Tumblehome, but the fact that the Guardian, which considers itself the home of "liberal intellectuals" could base a whole article on assertions which are clearly entirely contrary to basic physics, purely to push their "environmental" agenda & that so many apparently intelligent readers share their ignorance says nothing good about our county's decision making process. From the number of government job ads it gets the Guardian is clearly in tune with those who run our civil service.

Perhaps the time has come to change entrance & promotion requirements for the civil service so that a knowledge of physics, chemistry, engineering & accountancy might be held in higher respect than what are known as "classics". Running a modern country is a serious undertaking & the people doing it should know such basic stuff.

PS The Scottish Lib Dems also had a motion last year saying that canals are more energy efficient than roads, but then you expect that from them.


This is a teaser for an article I intend to post next week. I suspect a few of you may guess what my proposal for the island is.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

"this paper could not be more damaging to manmade global warming theory"

UPDATE & SPOILER WARNING I put up the undernoted article last night. As the numerous comments have pointed out it is a hoax. Indeed according to desmoblog:

"Hat's off (we think) to UK writer and consultant David Thorpe, the apparent creator for the impressive web-based spoof - a definitive bit of climate change denial as reported in The Journal of Geoclimatic Studies.

Although the "journal" lists two volumes and some very tempting content*, the only research paper on the website is titled: "Carbon dioxide production by benthic bacteria: the death of manmade global warming theory?" The paper reports that rising volumes of CO2 are actually caused "by saprotrophic eubacteria living in the sediments of the continental shelves fringing the Atlantic and Pacific oceans."

Unfortunately, this wonderful news is attributed to a group of scientists who can't be found, working at a series of institutions or departments that don't exist."

Well Mr Thorpe I think the chance of this being mentioned by the BBC has just increased massively - they haven't reported the fact of 1998 being found no longer to be the warmest year on record, but would not be surprised to find them willing to report a hoax. There was a similar incident when "environmentalists" sent a signature to the 17,000 strong Oregon Petition of scientists denying catastrophic warming, in the name of Dr Geri Halliwell. Elsewhere I said that all that that proved is that the Oregon scientists weren't followers of the Spice Girls & that warming alarmists had no compunctions about fakery - neither of which reflect worse on the victims of the hoax than the perpetrators.

This is a much more subtle hoax but the point still stands. The speed of the reaction to their successful hoax is interesting. I would hope that more responsible alarmists, if that is not a contradiction in terms, will advise Mr Thorpe, assuming he is indeed the author, that this is not how science is done.

On the other hand they didn't object to the hoaxed "facts" in Mr Gore's film, which he may be about to assure us were also deliberate :-)


Pete North has sent me the undernoted links from Australia.

"You were quite right about the hoax study now going to be all over the news worldwide- since it is obviously trying to make ALL of the GW sceptics look stupid & discredit them.

I think it may seriously BACKFIRE on the pro-GW crowd in the long run. I sincerely hope it does!

I picked up The Age newspaper (a nation wide Aussie paper) today (Friday) and your name was in the article sourced from Reuters!

The Reuters piece quotes me as having made the "could not be more damaging" remark which, in fact was me quoting the spoof article itself. The second link shows how easy journalism can be when you just rewrite press releases - reminiscent of the way the media carelessly reports not what James Watson & Hasiltow actually said but what other media say they said.

Apparently Rush Limbaugh fell for it too.
This link suggests suggests some widespread alarmist conspiracy which I suspect is overstating it - Mr Thorpe may have had some help in producing what is a well produced hoax but I don't think we have to assume a massive conspiracy.

Numberwatch on the other hand was less impressed having immediately spotted that the formula given was nonsense.

No mention from the BBC, but I just heard somebody on Radio Scotland talking about the supermodel who demands to be paid in Euros not realising that it has already been proven a hoax so I guess I can be pleased to have been able to match their journalistic standards.


The hoax seems to have run its full cycle & it looks, as Pete said, that it has, on balance discredited the alarmists more than the sceptics as the editorial line in the New York Times article shows, precisely because it was so quickly rumbeled.

The article quotes Thorpe saying

"What we wanted to emphasize is that it’s necessary to achieve scientific validity using the peer-review model. Proper climate science makes every attempt to do this, and is a constantly evolving and self-refining process, as all science is.”

The use of the plural does indeed mean a certain level of conspiracy.

I commented on the NYT article that the discovery of this hoax compares very favourably with the Hockey Stick graph, used by the IPCC as their prime exhibit surviving for years, despite peer review, befors McIntyre proved it fraudulent.

Thorpe's own reaction on his blog quotes me saying the "could not be more damaging" which presumably means I am the most prominent blogger to have fallen for this, even for a short time. I do not fool myself as to my prominence. I have replied on his comments section.

"David it appears you are falling for part of your own hoax.

You quote me, Neil Craig at 'A Place to Stand' said "this paper could not be more damaging to manmade global warming theory" - now this comes from various newspaper articles which, in turn, are rewrites of the Reuters report in which it does indeed quote me as saying this. However a more careful reading of my post would have shown that I was not claiming this as my view but was instead taking it as a quote from your own article. You are therefore quoting the quote of the quote of myself republishing your quote, which you apparently didn't recognise.

I note you have said that "we" arranged this hoax & since it is indeed well constructed in the style of a genuine paper perhaps the other alarmist conspirators involved might like to take a public bow." We shall see if they do.


This just received via CCNet so even if the MSM were going to report it the blogsphere would have it first. I somehow doubt if this is going to be on the BBC news.

Daniel A Klein*, Mandeep J Gupta*, Philip Cooper**, Arne FR Jansson**.
*Department of Climatology, University of Arizona;
**Department of Atmospheric Physics, Göteborgs Universitet (University of Gothenburg, Sweden.)

Received: 18 February 2007 / Accepted: 9th August 2007 / Published online: 3rd November 2007

It is now well-established that rising global temperatures are largely the result of increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The "consensus" position attributes the increase in atmospheric CO2 to the combustion of fossil fuels by industrial processes. This is the mechanism which underpins the theory of manmade global warming.

Our data demonstrate that those who subscribe to the consensus theory have overlooked the primary source of carbon dioxide emissions. While a small part of the rise in emissions is attributable to industrial activity, it is greatly outweighed (by >300 times) by rising volumes of CO2 produced by saprotrophic eubacteria living in the sediments of the continental shelves fringing the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Moreover, the bacterial emissions, unlike industrial CO2, precisely match the fluctuations in global temperature over the past 140 years.
If under ocean bacteria are producing 300 times more CO2 than us then clearly our effect cannot dominant or even important.

Less importantly, since it is merely politics not science, are these remarks.
It was not our intention in researching this issue to disprove manmade global warming theory. We have received no funds, directly or indirectly, from fossil fuel companies and have no personal interest in the outcome of the debate. We simply noticed an anomaly in the figures used by those who accept the "consensus" position on climate change and sought to investigate it. But the findings presented in this paper could not be more damaging to manmade global warming theory or to the thousands of climate scientists who have overlooked - sometimes, we fear, deliberately - the anomaly. We have found a near-perfect match between the levels of carbon dioxide produced by benthic eubacteria and recent global temperature records. By contrast we note what must be obvious to all those who have studied the figures with an open mind: a very poor match between carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels and recent global temperature records......

These findings place us in a difficult position. We feel an obligation to publish, both in the cause of scientific objectivity and to prevent a terrible mistake - with extremely costly implications - from being made by the world's governments. But we recognise that in doing so, we lay our careers on the line. As we have found in seeking to broach this issue gently with colleagues, and in attempting to publish these findings in other peer-reviewed journals, the "consensus" on climate change is enforced not by fact but by fear. We have been warned, collectively and individually, that in bringing our findings to public attention we are not only likely to be deprived of all future sources of funding, but that we also jeopardise the funding of the departments for which we work.
We believe that academic intimidation of this kind contradicts the spirit of open enquiry in which scientific investigations should be conducted. We deplore the aggressive responses we encountered before our findings were published, and fear the reaction this paper might provoke. But dangerous as these findings are, we feel we have no choice but to publish.

Monday, November 05, 2007


The Observer & other media have pounced on the Tory candidate who said "Powell was right" on immigration but have been careful not to really say what they are criticising. Yesterday David Davis was interviewed & the interviewer asked him to denounce Hastilow not on the basis of the original article but on what the Observer had said combined with the remark "grinning picanninies" from Powell's speech 40 years ago. Criticism should be of what is actually said. The Full article is available here. In fact he very carefully did not say Powell was right but expressed it as a commonly held opinion:
When you ask most people in the Black Country what the single biggest problem facing the country is, most people say immigration. Many insist: “Enoch Powell was right”.
In fact his only criticism of a racial group is of the British
It’s claimed we couldn’t survive without immigrants to work in our hotels, pubs and restaurants, to pick our fruit and clean our hospitals.

But that’s because we make life too easy for the five million or more people who could be working but enjoy life too much living off the state.

Why are 1.65 million people unemployed when it seems as if there’s a job for more or less anyone who wants one? Why are 2.4 million people claiming incapacity benefit when society is getting healthier?

In the past they would have been accused of “swinging the lead”, “skiving”, “scrounging” or “cheating”. Now we’re told they need “up-skilling” and then they would be only too happy to work (but for their bad backs).
The real question is
And no wonder. Does anybody in the country really want to see our population grow by almost half a million every 12 months so that in 24 years’ time it will have increased by almost 11 million?

And if any media critics wish to answer this, or the rest of what he actually said, I will be very surprised.

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