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Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

Oh come on......

Posted: 27/06/2015 at 13:11


So it seems I need to repeat an explanation of something here.

"Global warming" doesn't mean "exactly the same weather every year just 0.05C hotter each year." It doesn't. Really. St George's Day this year is not predicted to be exactly like St George's Day last year but 0.05C warmer and exactly like St George's Day the year before but 0.1C warmer and St George's Day next year is not predicted to be exactly like St George's Day this year but 0.05C warmer.

There are cycles. There are many cycles, with various lengths. Some are "2- to 5- but typically 3-year" cycles, some are "about 7 year" cycles, some are "10- to 11-year" cycles and so on. Back around 1970, a scientist studying these cycles identified many of them and found a rather curious discrepancy: the 1950-1970 trend was pretty much flat, when it should have been downward. Having given the matter some thought, he concluded that the most likely explanation for this was anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the upper atmosphere since the industrial revolution having a warming effect. At the end of his research paper (yes, I have read it) he said that we didn't have enough information to know what effect continuing CO2 emmissions would have, that based on the scant info available at the time it could make the world hotter and hotter exponentially or steadily, make the world a bit warmer and then stabilise or even trigger a worse mini-ice-age, and that further study would be required before we could be sure what we were doing to ourselves. Ever since then, people have been saying: "Back in the 1970s scientists thought CO2 would cause another ice age!"

Let's get something cleared up here. The prediction is of an upward trend in global annual average temperatures. See the black line on the graph above? TREND. It's not a year-on-year increase. It's an upward trend. If I posted a graph of the amount of money in my current account, day by day, it wouldn't be a smooth line. It would have big jumps where I get paid and big drops where my credit card bills get paid. If you were to draw lines across the monthly highs or across the monthly lows (how much I actually have available for new plants) or across the monthly averages, you would see the trend. Maybe I buy some new hiking gear or pay for a holiday, and there's a drop, but over 5 years you'd see an upward trend. Taking the point after I'd just been paid the month before I got new hiking boots and broke them in and the point after I'd just paid off the credit card bills that included those boots and that holiday, drawing a line across them and saying there's a downward trend and I'm about to go broke would be bullshit. Going from that low to after the next time I got paid and predicting I'd be a millionaire in 2 years would also be bullshit.

That's "trend."

Now let's look at "global." That's the world, not 22 Acacia Avenue, Strengville, North Carolina. It's the whole world, all of North America, all of South America, all of Central America, all the Caribbean islands, all of Scandinavia and Europe and Africa and the Middle East and the Antipodes and the Orient and Indochina and the Arabian Peninsula and the Caicos and Galapagos and South Sea islands and Antarctica all the water too. It's a very big place. It's also quite a complicated shape. If you put a small saucepan of water on the stove, the temperature in the saucepan goes up or down pretty evenly with the heat under it. If you put a huge steel bathtub with all sorts of interesting rocks in it as well as a lot of water onto the stove, though, you'll get currents through the rocks and those currents will change with the temperature. The Earth is way more complicated than a bathtub full of rocks and water. We've got reflectivity, clouds, glaciers, deep ocean currents and all that. Different parts can be affected in diffe

Oh come on......

Posted: 27/06/2015 at 13:08

A major review of global temperatures by a leading US Government agency has failed to find support for the view that global warming has slowed down since 1998, as many climate sceptics have repeatedly claimed over the past two decades.

The prestigious US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has re-evaluated its surface temperature records over land and sea and concluded that the rate of global warming has been just as fast at the start of this century as it was at the end of the last.

NOAA scientists believe that the global warming “hiatus” highlighted in the last report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – and exploited by sceptics to undermine climate change policy – is nothing more than an illusion resulting from artefacts in the data.

There's even a handy graph:

 If you compare 1983 and 1993, and totally ignore all the other years, you can see "a slight decrease," which "sceptics" cited non-stop from 1998 until 2025, saying "There's been no global warming for 10 years." After the way-above-trend spike of 1998, the ventriloquists in the car and fossil fuel industries and Murdoch's empire were rubbing their hands with glee, just waiting for a low. In 2012, they got it, and their puppets started saying there'd been no global warming for 14 years.

You won't see actual scientists comparing 1993 and 1998 and saying there's been a massive acceleration in global warming, because actual scientists just aren't that dishonest, and the sort of person who pays attention to them isn't generally quite that thick.

Compare 1981-83 with 1992-94 or 1997-99 with 2011-2013 and you see an increase. Compare 1978-1982 with 1989-1993 or 1994-1998 with 2009-2013 and you see an increase.


So it seems I need to repeat an explanation of something here.

"Global warming" doesn't mean "exactly the same weather every year just 0.05C hotter each year." It doesn't. Really. St George's Day this year is not predicted to be exactly like St George's Day last year but 0.05C warmer and exactly like St George's Day the year befo

monkshood/devils helmet/aconitum

Posted: 27/06/2015 at 10:50

Carrots? Poisonous? Surely not. They're in the same family as giant hogweed, and that's not ... oh, wait.

As for whether you're dead and dreaming in limbo, unconscious and dreaming in hospital, asleep and dreaming in bed or wide awake and actually experiencing this, how would you know? One thing, though: if you dreamed up Blair, Murdoch, Rumsfeld, Mandelson, Wolfowitz and Cameron, you're sick.

Camera Corner

Posted: 27/06/2015 at 10:32

lily: the large red splash is what happens when you point all those lenses at a big, bright, nuclear fireball. What I can't explain is the little greenish-yellow Pac Man in the top of it. If you want some crazy solar effect pictures, check out the "See also" links at the bottom of the Wikipedia "Sun Dogs" page.


DavidK, love that honey-syrup-gold sunset.


donutsmrs, that pansy is gorgeous.


Found (and uprooted) next door today: more b____y ground elder!

 Looks like I got there just in time. I also found one nettle and one bramble. Should have worn gloves.


Shock!!! Horror!!!

Posted: 25/06/2015 at 19:10

Just you wait until someone sees the Seed Swap thread where I'm sending corncockle seeds to Clitheroe and Scunthorpe. We'll get this site blocked as pornographic yet!

Poisonous Plants

Posted: 24/06/2015 at 18:02

I think you're unlikely to accidentally inhale a 2mm pericarp from a poison hemlock Conium maculatum plant, and even if you did one seed won't kill you before you cough it out. You're even less likely to accidentally inhale a seed from giant hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum on your way past. That's probably the one you've heard you have to avoid because it's bad for your skin:

If you've got that and no weedkiller in the shed, your options are Agent Orange, "nuke the site from orbit" and digging it out to at least 18 inches deep then incinerating the contaminated soil on site because transporting it away is illegal. As it's not visible in winter, that means digging a pit in full biohazard protective suit in warm weather. You can thank Avaaz for getting glyphosate banned from sale there.

If you're curious about how toxic a poison really is, you can look that sort of thing up these days. 15mg of arsenic per kg of rats, eaten, will kill half the rats. 140mg of caffeine per kg of dogs, eaten, will kill half the dogs. 850mg of chlorine per kg of rats, inhaled, will kill half the rats. Caffeine and aspirin turn out to be way more toxic than chlorine? Good job they're in fairly small doses when we meet them, yes? LD50 explainedMore examples here. Scary small numbers in there, like VX down at the bottom: 0.0154mg/kg. There are a fair few things that can top that, though, mentioned on page 2 here. Actually (somehow) swallow a whole castor bean, though, and you'll probably suffer no more than a slight stretching sensation about 24 hours later, as your digestive system won't get the ricin out at all efficiently.


Posted: 22/06/2015 at 23:03

Lily beetles are unmistakable. They tend to drop off onto soil when disturbed, which can make them hard to find, but if you get a hand under them first they'll drop into your hand. I smash them onto the wall top where I put bird food every day, and hope the birds will learn to munch them. Only seen one this year after diligent patrols last year.

The larvae crawling around under a protective layer of their own poo are repulsive things, but you can pluck them off, smear the poo off on a wall or fence and squish them for the birds too.


Which? Compost reviews

Posted: 21/06/2015 at 18:45

Could be a weedkiller. Some of them are persistent. People use a broad-leafed-weed-killer to "improve" the grazing for a horse or their livestock, and then the manure gets mixed in with other stuff to make compost for plants and the weedkiller is still active despite having been through a horse or cow, so it's good compost for sprinkling on the lawn, but no use for your veg plot.

Poisonous Plants

Posted: 20/06/2015 at 11:02

mica, I've looked for anything about skin contact toxicology for foxgloves, and there's nothing. All I've come up with is that skin contact may cause irritation in some people, which is also true of oak, elder, ash, maple, beech, birch, most honeys, turnips, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, mace, cardamom, cotton, hemp, privet, apple, rose, ...

If the contact happened "yesterday" and there's no sign of a reaction "today," no sweat. Foxgloves are perfectly safe to handle as long as you make sure they don't get in your mouth (and you don't poke yourself in the eye with a broken stem or drop the spade on your foot while moving one, and suchlike precautions).

Someone once freaked out because I caught a moth in my hands and carried it outside. She was almost screaming at me that I was crazy and it was really dangerous because the moth might bite me. For the benefit of the phobic, image behind spoiler: Look out! She's got a curly straw!


Posted: 19/06/2015 at 18:22



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