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The million hit Blog


If you are reading this it means that the hit counter for the Sandpit has ticked over the one million hits milestone  which is worthy of note in anyone’s  language, more so in the case of this blog because for most of its existence there has been a sustained campaign to harass and denigrate yours truly and the other authors who post here.


I started blogging on a whim mainly because I needed to register with Blogger to comment on an Anti Andrew Bolt  blog, I have  changed the name and the platform on which this blog is published several times until I settled upon the current title and I am  very happy to n0w share this blog with three other regular contributors who ad greatly to the diversity of  the posts published here. The heart of blogging is not so much the posts themselves but rather it is the comment threads that those posts inspire and over the years we have had some very lively discussion threads that have given their participants lots of fun.


You see fun is what this blog is all about. Even when we have covered the most serious issues I like to think that we can do so with enough levity to keep it friendly.


So in the style of an awards night I have to offer a very sincere thank you, firstly to my fellow authors Ray Dixon (and his alter ego SockPuppet),  GD and to  Leon Bertrand, further I want to thank our readers for coming back on a regular basis to enjoy the musings on this page especially those of you who disagree with what I and the other authors write because without that disagreement we would not have the lively arguments in the comment threads. I also want to thank my wife and family for putting up with this sometimes grumpy blogger on a daily basis and last but not least I want to thank our family dog Bonnie for reminding me on a regular basis that I am only human and that nothing is more important than “walkies “

Cheers to all of our Comrades



Half a million page views at the Sandpit

I know that statistical miles stones are really meaningless but that does not stop you feeling pretty good when you reach them. Well if you keep an eye on the hit counter at the bottom of the page some time today I expect that you will see the counter tick over t0 the magical “500,000” mark . That is pretty good for a modest blog written as a bit of fun .

Thanks very much to all of those who take the time to read what I and my friends put up  here and a special thanks to all of those who take the time to comment and argue with what is on this web-page. Commentary and argument is the life blood of blogging and long may it keep pumping at the Sandpit.

Cheers Comrades

For my Waminista readers…

If you think this list is all true then how do you reconcile those contradictory claims?

Cheers Comrades


Hat tip Luboš Motl

Global warming stopped circumcisions in Kenya

Saturday, November 03, 2007 … Deutsch/Français/Español/Italiano/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Global warming stopped circumcisions in Kenya

In Kenya, a young man must undergo circumcision before he has the right to marry a woman. However, no circumcision ceremony has occurred for 14 years. About 40,000 men, some of them in their late 20s, are waiting their turn. Meanwhile, young women became impatient and married old men who are allowed to have many wives.

Al Gore’s Australian counterpart, the inventor of the global carbon military junta, and Australian of the Year 2007, Tim Flannery, went to Africa to find out the reason behind these developments. And he figured it out: it was caused by global warming because global warming is responsible for drought in Sahara and the circumcision ceremonies are started as a complex function of rain patterns. “I could never have imagined that climate change would have such an effect on an entire society,” Flannery says.

This is a cautionary tale for James Watson, too. Low scores in African IQ tests are not caused by genetics but by global warming! When the dust is settled, it is clear that the white man who drives his car is responsible for all problems in the world, particularly for the forgotten circumcisions in Kenya. 😉 Moreover, that’s not the end of the story. If the immature men without circumcision start to behave as mature ones, global warming will also be responsible for higher rates of HIV/AIDS. Well, that’s a topic for Flannery’s new book.

Thanks to Noel Sheppard and Robert Ferguson.

Lubos Motl can always be counted on to find an interesting slant on the green religion and it’s liturgy of man’s responsibility for Global Warming. The piece that I quote above brought this sceptic more than a few chuckles this morning so I thought I’d share it here.

Cheers Comrades

Hap bombs out again

Sunday, 14 October 2007


An Aside on the Environment

Environmental issues are not a particular interest of mine. There are plenty of bloggers who do a much better job than I could of discussing issues such as climate change, for instance.

Hap should be awarded some small amount of kudos for announcing his own inadequacies on this topic from the very beginning, inadequacies that he clearly demonstrates as he goes on further.

As Al Gore has just won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in this issue, we might predict that the blogospherewill be working overtime, particularly with rightards eager to denounce climate change as a vast left-wing conspiracy.

No hap it is not a “left wing conspiracy” it is a religious movement disguised as science that owes more to the Luddites than the Marxists.

To be clear, I am no fan of Gore, and I haven’t seen his movie. To me, all post-WWII Democrats are merely Republicans with velvet gloves. Besides, the Nobel literature prize is usually more interesting than the one for peace.

Some things here that I can agree with, shock horror!! Does this mean That I have a dose of Leftism??

It should also be remembered that environmental issues are by no means traditional leftist causes. To be sure, Marx noted that capital’s insatiable need to reproduce itself was likely to have disastrous environmental consequences, but this observation was an aside from his more general theses on capital. As recently as a few decades ago, leftist interest in environmental issues might well have been seen as a petite-bourgeois indulgence.

The most sadly ironic thing that anyone looking at the treatment of the environment in the world since the industrial revolution is that it is the socialist utopias, inspired by Hap’s beloved Marx, that have created the most devastating environmental cankers on the face of the earth.

This has changed more recently, with climate change being recognised almost universally as an ‘issue’. Greens parties, across a number of Western parliamentary democracies, increasingly represent a form of organised leftism.

Well I can’t disagree that “climate change” has risen to prominence of late, nor do I dispute that the green parties of the world are an expression of Leftism. Crikey I’m agreeing with Hap again !

What are we to make of this phenomenon? Clearly, there is strong opposition to the notion of climate change, and to any consequent environmental remedies. It is appropriate to examine the source of this opposition.

Ah! At last hap reverts to type and makes a claim that is up to his usual standard when it comes to silliness, because opposing the notion of climate change would be as pointless as trying to order the tide not to rise or the sun to cease shining. The essential point is not that the climate should remain changeless, but that the extent to which the perceived changes are attributable to human activity instead of being an artefact of natural variability within an intrinsically chaotic system.

It is hardly surprising that oil companies and the like should voice strong opposition. It is also sadly predictable that these companies’ pimps in think tanks and the intelligentsia should likewise attack any notion of climate change.

Hap could never let an opportunity to bang his favourite conspiracy theory drum go by now could he? Sadly his profound misunderstanding of the actual bones of contention in the AGW debate let him down very badly here.

What is more surprising is the other opposition that has emerged. The opponents of climate change engage in such poor reasoning and, frankly bizarre belief systems as to almost represent, a fortiori, evidence of that which they oppose. There can be no greater argument in favour of man-made climate change than the oil companies, their unctuous salesmen, and the right-wing ideologues and conspiracy theorists who oppose it.

I almost love the predictability of Hap’s mode of attack here, where he essentially uses a sort of back door ad hominem to say that all of those who are sceptical about the more bizarre claims, like a 100m rise in sea level within a century by Robyn Williams, are all in the pay of big oil or big coal interests. If that were so I would surely have the biggest plasma screen in from t of the couch given how many times I have argued for a sceptical position on AGW.

Can there be any serious doubt that industry and capital impinge on the environment? The climate change sceptics need only inhale some of the polluted air of Athens, or Budapest, or Beijing, or any number of other places to see that yes, pollution has a discernible impact at a local level. If this impact exists locally, what reason exists to think it would not exist globally, or have ramifications beyond the the(sic) immediate surrounds of a given industry. After all, as Heraclitus noted some time ago, air and water move.

You know what? I don’t for one minute dispute that cities generate waste and pollution and that said waste and pollution does have an impact on the environment but the issue is does that impact extend to significantly changing the climate of the planet? I don’t think that Hap has any understanding at all of the dynamics of the global climate but he is none the less, like all of the other members of the green congregation willing to jump up and shout Hallelujah when required by the liturgy.

Let us take a more local example, that of Francis Street, Yarraville, an inner suburb of Melbourne. This street is a short suburban street in a residential area. Unfortunately for the residents, this street also serves as a link between several of Melbourne’s major freeways.{…} The EPA concluded that the air quality had deteriorated, largely as a result of truck activity, and that this deterioration had potentially serious health risks attached. The air pollution in this street was even reported to be significantly worse than that in one of Melbourne’s major arterials, the appalling Hoddle Street.

Well thank you very much for a description of the traffic woes of inner city Melbourne that makes me glad that I live in the country. )

Obviously, it doesn’t take a Nobel Prize winner to work out that spewing massive amounts of fumes into the environment will have some unpleasant consequences. To our climate change sceptics, however, these sorts of results are the product of a labyrinthine leftist conspiracy, intended to recruit followers into the Green ‘religion’. Not prone to hyperbolae, our good sceptics (such as Senator Brandis, or Andrew Bolt) have even compared the Green movement to the Nazi party.

An argument from ignorance can be an almost poetic thing to consider and Hap is the Keats of such arguments in this case. Don’t just take me at face value lets tease it out just a bit Take the first claim here about the “massive amounts of fumes”. Now I don’t for one second deny that there is a great deal of pollution being generated by the traffic in our cities but when we come to considering the impact this may have on our planetary climate you have to judge it on the relativities between the totality of our planets atmosphere and the amount of exhaust gases produced even on the busy streets that Hap cites represent an incredibly small part of a very large whole. Likewise all of the human activity on the entire planet, even with all of our burning of fossil fuel constitute only a very tiny part of the CO2 cycle and what we sceptics dispute is the significance of the admittedly bad pollution in the climate dynamic.

I suspect that ‘scepticism‘ is far too dignified a term for this delusionalists(sic). Scepticism implies a reasoned philosophical position, which in turn, presupposes a degree of reasoning. When you smell the air in the cities I mentioned, when you view the smog-filled skylines, I do not see anything remotely like ’scepticism’, but rather, merely psychotic denial.

I truly wonder If Hap realises how just how profoundly out of his depth he is in the argument he puts in this latest missive. The essence of his argument is to claim that pollution in our cites is bad and this badness proves that AGW is real. That is of course a Non sequitur that any high school science student would be reluctant to make. But he goes further and claims that all of those who take a sceptical view of the more outrageous claims of the green religion do so because they are in the pay of the energy industries and in the absence of any actual evidence (where is my plasma TV??? ) we can easily dismiss such rubbish as an argument from ignorance and prejudice .So our friend Hap bombs out again when it comes to presenting an argument that is deserving of any respect. Were I marking it as an assignment out of twenty marks I would give it about 5 or 6 (for encouragement only) depending on my mood on the day.

Cheers Comrades


Blog of the month nominations/0pen thread

It is nearly June and I want to find a blog that is worthy of being my blog of the month so I thought that I would ask you, my dear readers, for nominations. The blog can have any topic or focus as long as it is interesting and well written. I will even consider blogs with leftist political leanings if they are good enough.

Failing any ideas for blog of the month please feel free to comment on any topic that takes your fancy, except Moi.

I have a very busy day ahead what with Gym classes for daughter number one, a visit to the library, a session on the bench grinder to make some suspension components for my sports car and playing genial host for a musical afternoon; it is going to be all go here today.



Michael Mann vs Alexander Cockburn

This piece By Luboš Motl  should be read by all AGW true Believers; perhaps their souls may yet be saved by the truth. Republished with the permission of the author and the title below links to the piece at Luboš Motl’s blog.

Michael Mann vs Alexander Cockburn

Alwxander CockburnMichael Mann didn’t like Alexander Cockburn’s essay in which Cockburn correctly compares carbon permits and indulgences – well, your humble correspondent might have been the first person who called the permits “indulgences“. At least, it was an independent invention 🙂 because I had to find the word “indulgence” in a Czech-English dictionary. What is the real reason why Michael Mann considers Cockburn’s text illogical? Well, here it is:

  • As if to drive the point home further, pundit Alexander Cockburn, known generally for his progressive views, has perplexingly disputed the existence of any link between CO2 emissions and rising CO2 concentrations…

Michael MannMichael Mann tells us that it is completely unexpected from a progressive pundit to write something wrong about the global warming orthodoxy. It may be expected from conservative contrarians but if a progressive pundit writes something like that, that’s a real sin! Well, such a comment reveals what are the primary ideas that drive Michael Mann’s thinking and “science”: it’s pure politics. Everything else is adjusted to agree with his politics.

The infamous hockey stick graph, the only well-known result he has, is unfortunately another example.

Incidentally, global warming alarmism and leftism are correlated but they’re not identical. I find it pretty reasonable if a progressive pundit is afraid of similar policies that existed under the Catholic Church – because progressive pundits are generally expected to dislike these religious policies, aren’t they? There are many left-wing skeptics, for example Philip Stott. Many such people dislike the efforts to keep the third world poor. But good scientists must be able to separate science from politics.

In order to assure us that it wasn’t just a typo, Mann makes this political analysis even more detailed. We learn that Cockburn is not allowed to write these things because they sound more skeptical even than the opinions of Patrick Michaels. Well, Patrick Michaels is probably considered to be the ultimate upper bound on the amount of skepticism that a human being can possibly have. 😉

Well, I hope it is not a complete secret what I will tell you: I was sitting next to Patrick Michaels during a lunch in D.C. two months ago and he was the greenest person in the room. Even his shoes (combined with his suit) were green 🙂 and he has raised some arguably legitimate criticism of some of the scientific opinions about the climate held by the organizer of that lunch. 😉

But let’s get to the actual questions:

Cockburn claims that there is zero empirical evidence showing the CO2 impact on temperatures…

…and Mann doesn’t like it, saying that even Patrick Michaels thinks that there is such a connection. But Patrick Michaels says something slightly different: he says that there is a convincing theory that shows that such an influence should exist. This influence is pretty close to the overall warming in the 20th century and the effect from every new CO2 molecule is smaller than the effect of the previous molecule which implies that even if the emissions of CO2 were accelerating, the temperature would only increase linearly or so.

Patrick Michaels, just like any sane person, realizes that CO2 is just one of many factors influencing the climate. In the Swindle documentary, it was him who explained that the people who think that CO2 drove most of the climate change in the 20th century haven’t looked at the basic numbers.

I think that Cockburn is right when he says that there is no empirical observation that proves the relationship and the attribution. If such a paper existed, we would constantly hear its title – instead of vacuous and false comments about consensus. It would also mean that the value of the climate sensitivity would be known. It’s not. How can we have empirical evidence for this effect if we don’t know what its strength, after all feedbacks are included, is? It’s like saying that we can observe a cat but we can’t say whether it’s bigger than an elephant or not.

Who has added CO2

Mann criticizes Cockburn for questioning whether the increase of CO2 is due to human activities. Well, I happen to think that if there were no industry but everything else were kept untouched, the CO2 increase wouldn’t exist or it would be much smaller. But one can’t say that the extra CO2 in the atmosphere is exactly the CO2 that was added by our civilization. There are many other sources of CO2 that are stronger, by orders of magnitude, than our production. But they’re a part of the natural carbon cycle and this cycle would be close to equilibrium without our contributions.

But anyway, it’s not correct to say that the extra CO2 “is” ours. You could equally well say that it came from some portion of dying vegetation.

Millions years ago, the concentrations could have been much higher. Note that the whole transportation produces less CO2 than farm animals, even today, and there could have been more animals around in the past. 450 million years ago the concentration of CO2 was probably around 3000 ppm, eight times higher than today – we can deduce it from the small number of stomata on the fossils of leaves.

Water vapor

The concentration of water vapor in the atmosphere is changing quickly and it arguably approaches some equilibrium value dictated by other quantities but it is a very rough approximation to say that water vapor is “a feedback not a forcing”. In the real world, there is no strict separation to feedbacks and forcings. Every effect is influenced by others and it also affects others.

Water vapor in the atmosphere has a huge impact. Water is the #1 greenhouse gas and, more importantly, it is the material that creates clouds. Incidentally, in April, NASA has published a new finding that there exist “semi-clouds” (my term), a huge “twilight zone” (GRL) around clouds that covers about 60% of the sunny skies. In the existing climate models, these 60% of the sunny skies were described uniformly. The NASA finding makes it pretty clear that the existing climate models don’t describe 60% of the clear skies quite adequately.

At any rate, the dynamics of water vapor is influenced by many quantities and water vapor also has a huge impact on many other things, and if you neglect one of the two groups of influences in this sentence, you are bound to end up with misleading results.

CO2 is a product, not a cause

Michael Mann also mentions the “tiny” problem that the Vostok ice core data show that the primary detectable influence was the influence of temperature on the concentration of many gases – CO2, CH4, and others. The 800-year lag is one of many ways to show the anti-Gore direction of the causal relationship. Everyone who still fails to understand that the ice core data don’t contain any empirical evidence for the greenhouse effect reveals his or her inadequate thinking skills.

We have discussed this issue in detail, including some analysis of the hypothesis of a strong amplification of the initial temperature variations. Such an amplification is not only invisible in the data but it is very unlikely to be significant because it it were larger than the influence of temperature on the concentrations during the 800 years where a change of the trend could be seen, the climate would be a positive-feedback system that would have already exponentially grown out of the control in the past. The data make it much more likely that there are many negative, self-regulating feedbacks in the system.

In fact, I am sure that even most of the part of the public that has been exposed to arguments about this question from both sides has understood that the ice core data don’t provide Al Gore with the argument he needed.

CNN viewers invited to make a Google search

Michael Mann also mentions that the viewers of Glenn Beck’s special were encouraged to make a single, most important Google search. They were told to find about the

You can replace co.jp by com: I am just afraid that Google penalizes such links to their search queries and a smaller version of Google could be better.

Mann thanks CNN because the first hit is their blog. Well, my mouse can be defunct but when I click at his link (search for “Google that” at RealClimate.ORG), the first link shown on my screen is The Reference Frame. 😉 The pages of course depend on the details of the query but you can check that The Reference Frame is ahead of them in most similar queries you can write down, e.g. for the following queries:

  • inconvenient truth ice core graph (#1)
  • carbon dioxide correlation temperature (#1)
  • al gore ice core correlation (#1)
  • 800-year-lag (#1)
  • ice core cause effect (#1)
  • ice core co2 follows temperature (#1)
  • warming or co2 first (#1)
  • ice co2 concentration graphs (#1)
  • or even: al gore’s comments about global warming

and many others. Mann’s statement that RealClimate.ORG is the #1 in “that” query is just another example of his manifestly biased treatment of any data and his cherry-picking.

Entertaining update: When Michael Mann noticed that the Google hit #1 is The Reference Frame, he changed the search query from carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide. According to “experts” at RealClimate.ORG, the global warming is now caused by CO not CO2. 😉 I am afraid that it could take time before people learn this new kind of science.

Nature’s new blog

Finally, Mann has to mention a new climate change blog of Nature. I guess that this entry drives him up the wall much more intensely than Alexander Cockburn and Glenn Beck because one of the first postings on that blog is about the decay of his “hockey stick”. But he can’t quite say it openly because that would damage the illusion of consensus – so he just says that “first reviews [of the new Nature blog] are decidedly mixed.”

It can’t be too easy for a person like Mann to be entangled into an ever more complex web of untrue assertions.

And that’s the memo.

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