A Sceptic University

  • The core to the University will be the supervisor-researcher relationship
  • This relationship will involve a huge commitment from both supervisor & researcher.
  • With no buildings, the University would in effect be an “academic dating site” matching researchers and supervisors
  • Whilst using the internet will minimise costs – it also creates issues, which whilst not insurmountable are not trivial.
  • The University would need to secure additional suitably qualified people for the final assessment and facilitate the process.
  • An important role of the University would be to publish the research and store supporting (electronic) evidence.

In my last post re a: School of Scepticism I looked at the legal position regarding what might properly be called a research University or Institute. I used the name School because there is nothing barring us using this, but to avoid confusion I will now refer to it as a “University”.

The legal issues are a hurdle, but as I started to think about the mechanics of the research, I realised that the real core of any University would be the key relationship between a supervisor and the researcher. Yes, since the University would be aimed at more mature people, they would need less guidance in some areas – but also being longer out of University and more “entrenched” in their ways, they might need far more help in other areas.

So, not only would the researchers be making a huge commitment to do the research, but the “University” would need to find a supervisor who was willing to make a substantial commitment to that researcher to guide them through the process. So, in some senses what I am proposing is a form of academic “dating” site – where the aim would be to match those willing to undertake research with those willing to guide and council them.

A huge question, is would there be enough people willing to be researchers and supervisors and another is whether this relationship would be financial and if so how would it be funded? My original hope had been that enough goodwill existed to avoid all costs. But as I begin to understand the commitments, a totally cost-free University is looking less tenable.

And like any relationship – what happens if the relationship between researcher and supervisor breaks down – particularly if the researcher has made the supervisor in any way. Even if researchers and supervisors are willing to give their own time for free, there will be a significant investment of time and that needs to be matched with a suitably supportive administration function. That needs to be done professionally which means there will be some costs.

The issues with the internet

Continue reading

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School of Scepticism

  • We need to combat the groupthink that has developed in Universities as shown in the area of climate
  • Sceptics from years outside Universities show great diversity of views – and encouraging older experienced people could restore the “genetic diversity” of ideas.
  • Academics are likely to strongly resist any move and/or attempt to enforce conformity to the existing group-think and thereby nullifying any benefits
  • Subject to a small number of constraints, there appears no legal way to stop such a venture and it could proceed without the consent of group-think academia.
  • Such a venture could offer three levels of awards equivalent to “honour’s years”, masters and doctorate.

In the last article (Sceptical of sceptics?) I raised the issue of increasing “groupthink” in academia as seen in their response to climate and I attributed this to the way the internet has created single subject communities with little diversity. In contrast sceptics – largely because of our diverse background from working in many different areas – seem to have more than our fair share of diversity. Thus there is a huge potential to utilise the diversity of older people to offset the increasing issue of groupthink in Universities.

However, based on other research I undertook, it seems likely that academia will inherently be hostile to anyone from outside “treading on its turf” and getting involved in research. And that it would only ever permit outsiders into the area of research if either:

  1. It is in charge, researchers effectively pay homage to the (groupthink) of academia, and basically researchers agree to perpetuate the very groupthink that needs breaking apart.
  2. It cannot stop them (such as industrial research or medical research)

So, whilst I’ve been discussing the possibility of a “Sceptic School/University” awarding “doctorates” for research it is almost certain based on my research (See: The Academic Ape) that any such move will be strenuously resisted with academia doing all it possibly can to stop the project. So, doing this by the front door looks impossible. The question then is can the ends be achieved without giving academia any control or power over it?

So I’ve been looking at the legal position. As far as I can tell: Continue reading

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A Scottish Panama Canal

Panamax_ship_exiting_the_Miraflores_locksThe panama canal is 48 miles cuts through land rising to nearly 100m above sea level is about 35m wide and has 6 locks.

It carries a 1000 ships each year and is supposedly one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

In Scotland we have a canal going from the Clyde to  the Forth. It is  35miles long and passes through land that rises to a “massive” … 35 to 40m (yes Scotland does have flat bits). The canal is 7m wide has  39 locks and is impassable most of the time as you have to arrange for a council employee to lift one of the bridges. As a result413px-Forth_&_Clyde_Canal,_Bonnybridge_-_Larbert barely a handful of boats travel the canal – and I’d doubt that there’s more than one a day going from end to end.

As a result the Panama canal is a huge asset to their country – the Clyde-Forth canal a huge drain on ours (almost literally given the detritus chucked in it). It need not be a drain – or at least we could have a canal that was a huge economic asset to Scotland.


As with all my proposed projects, such as the bridge from British mainland to Ireland, we need politicians of vision and not clone like yes-men.

As there has always been, there is certainly the demand for a route from Europe to the Atlantic, the West Coast of Britain and Ireland, that bypasses the crowded English Channel and avoids the treacherous route and fast currents around the North of Scotland. And such a route could potentially revive ports on the east or west coast of Scotland – turning them into a freight transport hub not just for Scotland but for the North of England.

ScotlandMapThere are two potential routes:

1. Following the Clyde-Forth Canal

The southern route shown above largely follows the existing canal – which would be widened to 35m and dug down to sea level. This would create a lock-less route through Scotland. Because the canal largely follows the flood-plain of the River Kelvin (west) and the Bonny Water in the east, the route is mostly devoid of housing and other buildings. However, the western end would cut a rather large swathe through parts of Glasgow – however rather than following the canal – it would make a bee-line for the Clyde.

2. The Lock Lomond option

Loch lomond is 7.6m above sea level. The forth at the A81 is about 15m. Canals could relatively easily be cut from these points to the Clyde and Forth respectively with just one or two locks either way at most.

Between them is a hill rising to a massive 80m. If this were dug down 65m to match the Forth at 15m – and if it were 35m wide with a cut 45degrees, the cut would be a maximum of around 165m wide and 9km long (~7km with more than 35m cut)

However, this route would cut a large swathe through Alexandria which lies between Loch Lomond and the Clyde. Although much of the land near the present river is open and/or industrialised.

See also

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Sceptical of sceptics?

When I first decided I had to campaign on climate, I knew that the subject had been corrupted – I knew that if this evil dogma was not controlled it would literally destroy western civilisation – and coming from “within the beast” (I worked in the wind sector and was a member of the Green party and attended the Scottish Parliamentary Group) I had met government civil servants, politicians and media and I knew that very few of these people had the knowledge or guts to stand up to the Global Warming beast.

It was the right thing to do.

What I didn’t have when I started was a detailed knowledge of the climate – indeed, in retrospect no one did! So I cannot be overly critical of myself. And I’m happy to say that after many years I have finally developed a good (not great, just good) understanding of the climate I’m reasonably content that I did not mislead anyone through my initial ignorance.

So, yes, both from a moral and from a scientific point of view – I took the right line.

I would liken what I/we have achieved to that of a immunisation jab. When I started as a sceptic, the politicians, public and press were entirely gullible about climate – they were like a human body that had no protection against a new foreign disease – and that diseases was rapidly spreading and taking over every organ of the body. We few sceptic could only reduce the rate of spread – but by doing so we kept that disease from getting out of control and taking over to such an extent it could not be stopped. We stemmed the flow, slowed the bandwagon, allowed a pause for thought, just long enough that society itself developed an inherent “scepticism” of what it was being told about the climate.

That I think is what counts as “winning”.

That does not mean new infections cannot start – but it does mean that society has an inherent “immune response”. There are now many people – like anti-bodies in a body – who are embedded in society and will recognise the alarmist hype and will be ready and willing to create a robust sceptic response to any new alarmist threat.

However … now I see a new threat … one which is that if the sceptical response to any new ideas is too strong, sceptics themselves may repress all scientific progress. By being too dogmatic about “the scientific method” … we may deny the free thinking and discussion that is essential to scientific progress.

Yes I agree, when it comes to public policy, it should not be based on highly speculative and unproven “science” as occurred in the naughties and teenies in climate. But the problem was not the academics who had the courage to imagine that CO2 could be dramatically changing the temperature of the globe.

The problem was not those who originally considered CO2 – it was the academics (and many non-acdemics posing as “experts”), who without the skill, knowledge or experience to pontificate on the subject then said in a completely dogmatic way that CO2 WAS CHANGING the global temperature (and worse given they might know some science, but were totally ignorance of economics) that GOVERNMENTS MUST END THE SUCCESSFUL FOSSIL FUELLED ECONOMY. The result was a move toward what appears to me to be a perpetual motion machine powered economy (For good reasons I don’t believe windmills produce more energy than should be attributed to their manufacture, installation etc. – in simple terms – each windmill we put up uses energy not saves it).

However, another great problem of society is that within my lifetime I have seen science stagnate. Or at least the huge scientific progress in Physics in the early 20th century appears to have slowed to a snails-pace. The evidence is in the text books. My grandfather had completely difference text books from my father, my father had ones completely different (and incomprehensible) to me. But if one of my children did Physics at University, they could largely use the same text books as I had. Massive progress in the early 20th century – followed by a dramatic and sudden stop. Why?

That may be because almost everything there is to discover in this area has been discovered – but more likely I suspect that the inherent scepticism in Physics has stifled new innovative ways of thinking. We saw the same development in climate it took the call of repeated assertions that “the science is settled” that “the consensus” is such and such. But fortunately – whilst the “scientific” elite could assert the science was settled, they could not just stop anyone doing any new experiments (though a “consensus” formed that the science was settled – literally meaning no more research was needed – mother earth just kept churning out the data which could not be ignored).

But imagine if like much of Physics and no doubt other areas of science, that in 2007 when they said “the science is settled” … that they really took that to heart. That like in Physics, they never measured another piece of climate data but instead just kept writing the same text books saying “the science is settled”. How could anyone ever prove the science was not settled? How could anyone ever prove the consensus wrong? Progress would stop and there would be no new ideas.

The science would be settled, not because it was right or there was nothing else to discover, but purely because all further research was deemed redundant.

But that is what in effect has happened in many areas of science. The science was “settled” and as a result the experiments closed down and all hope of future progress was curtailed. Or is it just a coincidence that Physics – which progressed so rapidly in the early 20th century appears to have made almost no substantial progress in fundamental understanding in half a century?

The world needs sceptics – to stop another crazy dumb scheme like global warming apocalypse taking off.

But the world also needs crazy academics like Mann and Hansen who will rant and rage about their crazy politicised beliefs – because whether or not we like it, sometimes …. just sometimes … those “idiots” turn out to be right. But more pertinently, it needs the idiots like Mann – to be like the fairy on the Xmas tree – because like an Iceberg, for every Mann who we can ignore, there are dozens of serious scientists who are the future of science and if Mann were shut up – they too could be shut up and the necessary free thought for progress would end.

And yes – Ironically, the people who would most like to close down the discussion are dogmatic zealots like Mann – who are not only quite crazy in their own views, but who cannot stomach better alternative views. Hypocrites yes! They need controlling yes! They should be prevented from ever seriously influencing public policy ever again (unless they miraculously had concrete evidence – and even then with serious reservations) – but that must come by educating policy makers on the value of real science and scientific diversity – by showing them that Mann is in no way supported by the evidence – not by silencing him and with him many good scholars (even if that’s what he would have done to us).

However, as I watch and even participate in the discussion on WUWT – I sense a growing frustration that neither Anthony Watts nor the commenters are willing to consider, much less support, new ideas (unless they fall into some very slender categories that bash those like Mann).

They are sceptical – not in the sense the Greeks used it

The Greek word skepsis means investigation. By calling themselves septics, the ancient septics thus describe themselves as investigators.

but instead many seem to be sceptical in the common sense way of opposing new ideas – indeed a few are only sceptical when it comes to specific ideas from “Liberals”.

But there seems to me to be little difference between the dogmatic stifling of new ideas by those incorrectly asserting “the science is settled” like Mann and those rejecting or attacking new ideas as we see at WUWT.

To use an analogy: new ideas are like seedlings – not every seedling will grow to maturity or should – but if you’ve got a herd of Sceptical elephants stamping on every seedling as soon as it shows itself, none ever will grow at all. And by no means am I advocating the “consensus” approach – which using the same analogy would be to weed out all seedlings unless they are of the proscribed genetic purity – which are then given over attention to stop these pathetically inbred and sick seedlings dying as they ought.

The problem we have is that somewhere amongst those seedlings are the great ideas of the future. At present they either seem to be weeded out as not being “politically correct” by the consensus merchants in academia – or they risk being stamped on by a herd of sceptic elephants. As a result I’m far from convinced those ideas for the future will ever flourish – and the evidence from Physics suggests they are not. So between these two groups PC dogmatists and sceptics I can’t see much room left in which the ideas of the future can develop.

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Contrail warming in context

  • Comment: Global warming was not important in my analysis
  • Comment: CO2 was not important or relevant
  • Comment: Natural variation was not important
  • I now understand why researchers tend to “look where the light is” and often ignore the big picture.

We ought to be thinking about climate drivers both natural and human as being like a “plumb pudding” – a lot of things all potentially having an impact rather than one “control knob”.
SpringIn yesterday’s article I showed that my hypothesis that reduced pollution had caused warming was not supported by the evidence and that instead it pointed to a clear link between US holidays and warming in Canada (as above). This and a range of other evidence this points strongly toward contrail warming as causing at least part of the 1970-2000 warming (and for example part of the discrepancy between land and sea temperatures).

However, this created a dilemma. Because now I had to reconcile my understanding that contrails are very likely to be responsible for at least part of the  rise in temperature from the 1970s to 2000, with the fact that there is no discernable change in global temperature beyond what we would expect naturally. Had I lost site of the wood for the trees?

OK Yes – when looking at the global temperature on its own there is no change that can be distinguished from noise, but when there are other very specific changes such as the discrepancy between land and sea, the geographical pattern and now the very clear warming during holiday periods, these specific things when combined are unique enough that they can be attributed to a specific cause even if the overall change cannot be.

But reflecting further, I realise that the whole process of trying to “divine cause” is a very seductive lure. The result is that it tends to mean you lose sight of the wood for the trees. For in that analysis I’ve entirely lost site of the following:

  • Global warming – I did not find it necessary to adjust any data or even to investigate any change in the Canadian data because it had no impact on the quality of data analysis. IT DID NOT MATTER! The variation each day even when averaging over 50years was still much greater than any presumed warming.
  • CO2 – I keep thinking I ought to do more work looking at a possible relationship between CO2 a temperature.  I keep thinking I ought, but I still cannot find a way to attribute any change to CO2. So the best I can do is say: “the best estimates of the effect of the measured increase in CO2 is …”
  • Natural variation – likewise, I find that the more I look at possible connections between various parameters and temperature, the more I lose sight of the bigger picture – which is that the climate always varies quite naturally. But like CO2, it’s almost impossible to work out a way to attribute any variation to natural variation. And I understand why researchers try to attribute every last change to “something” – rather than stepping back and admitting that we’ll never be able to attribute every change to something concrete.

But my worst sin was this: Continue reading

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The cause of 1970-2000 warming.

  • We present initial findings showing a correlation between warming over Quebec & major US “flying holidays”.
  • Research from NASA shows cirrus clouds, formed by contrails from aircraft engine exhaust, can account for a warming trend in the United States that occurred between 1975 and 1994.
  • Previous work has shown a similar global relationship between industrialised and warming “hot spots”
  • As such 1970-2000 warming now appears to be strongly linked to aeroplane contrails

Introduction – the land-sea temperature divergence

As many have identified, the land and sea temperature records have been diverging since around 1970. This from NoTricksZone


Regional Hotspots

Interestingly this graphic comes from a paper linking this same divergence in NoTricksZones with urban heating. However, there is a problem with their hypothesis and that is the regional distribution of this warming as shown below:SO2

I showed that the Northern Hemisphere hotspots over this time period were clearly linked to areas of economic activity by being about 3-8days downwind in the direction of the normal surface wind direction.  (But see discussion).

Continue reading

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Help needed from Old Americans who can remember 1950s re old July 4th celebrations

I’ve found a lot of evidence that pollution in the 1970s cooled the climate and that the ending of this pollution caused the 1970-2000 warming. I’m trying to test this hypothesis by looking for a link between events like the 4th July which involve fireworks and smoke and a dip in temperatures.

The early indications are that I’m finding a definite “dip” (the dip is still in the noise – but almost every station appears to have a dip). But my expectation was that the trend would deepen toward the present. In contrast, I’m finding that the dip is reducing.

My reasoning for expecting a deepening dip, is  based on my experience in the UK where on the 5th Nov, the sky now seems to be filled with fireworks with everyone apparently having boxes of fireworks including massive mega-blasters – nothing like when we were kids. The result is far more smoke than I remember as a child.

But I’m starting to get indications the temperature dip from the 4th July was greater in the 1950s/60s.

That’s raising questions which living in the UK I’m unable to answer. So if you are American and particularly if old enough to remember the 1950s or even 1960s you could help me immensely.

The questions I have are as follows:

  1. When do the US celebrate the 4th July
    This may sound an odd question, but I’m getting a dip in temperatures much earlier than expected. I have read suggestions that it was common at one time to celebrate on the evening of the 3rd July.
  2. Is it always the 4th July
    I read somewhere that if the 4th July is on a Sunday, the celebrations are on another day. Is this true ?
  3. What smoke etc. was common in the 1950s/1960?
    The decreasing size of the dip worries me. So I’d really like to know the relative frequency of the following and whether there is more or less now:

    1. Simple bonfires (both family and community)
    2. BBQs
    3. Fireworks
    4. Was the 4th July an occasion for Long car journeys.
  4. Did Industry Shut down
    Being a holiday many companies would shut down. Again was this more or less common in the 1950s/60s

Finally, is there any thing else that may have caused an electricity or power surge, or resulted in any activity that would increase or reduce energy use or pollution?

Thanking you in Advance

I would really appreciate your help because if I can find what activity has reduced since the 1950/60s then this would really help me zero in on the cause of early 20th century cooling – which if the hypothesis is correct, then produced warming as this cooling pollution was reduced from 1970-2000.

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The biggest global experiment disproving CO2 as the main cause of late 20th century warming

Great news! The UK, Chinese, India and US government and have all consented to allow this hugely important experiment to proceed!

Having examined temperature records and the global distribution of warming I am now convinced that early-style pollution associated globally in the 1970s with SO2 emissions caused cooling, and that the rapid reduction in this form of pollution from 1970-2000 led to the warming spike in this period and consequentially to the Pause in warming approximately from 2000.

greatsmogHowever, as I showed in a previous article, modern technology apparently does not have the same effect. This explains why studies simply tracking pollutants find little correlation. It was not the pollutant so much as how the pollutant was released that had the effect. So  whatever was causing the temperature change now seems to have disappeared – which makes trying to find it extremely difficult: because how do you prove the effect of something that now does not exist?

But the obvious suspect is that “primitive” technology like burning raw coal in an open hearth may have been the principle cause of cooling. Thus the suspect is that widespread low level pollution as you get from burning coal in households. We certainly know it had dramatic effect on the weather creating effects like the London smog (as shown above). Continue reading

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Is the regionality of the little ice-age proof against CO2 warming?

Reading the official mouthpiece of the Greenblob (wikipedia) I read:

The NASA Earth Observatory notes three particularly cold intervals: one beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in 1850, all separated by intervals of slight warming.

“Little Ice Age” can only be considered as a modest cooling of the Northern Hemisphere during this period of less than 1°C relative to late twentieth century levels.

Of course the intention here has been to try to deny the natural variation in the climate. However a thought has struck me. I know Scottish industrialisation was well under way by 1750 – because by that time almost every tree in Scotland had been cut down.

In my last article I was exploring what could have caused the 1970-2000 warming, and a prime candidate is the reduction of previous pollution. But the flip side of that coin is that we expect cooling to have occurred when that pollution was first introduced. If that pollution was coal and wood burning in Europe, then the timing is not bad and it would every easily explain the “Northern Hemisphere” little ice-age.

We are all familiar with images like this used by academia to attack our industrial heritage. But could this image show the cause of the little ice-age? Pollution induced cooling, that – thanks to environmental action in the 1970s was then reversed, causing warming?

Portrayal of Blackcountry

Portrayal of Blackcountry

If so, the following may be very strong proof AGAINST CO2:

  • The regionality of the little ice-age
  • The warming of the Arctic – without the necessary warming of the Antarctic which is what is needed if the GLOBE is warming
  • The warming of the northern hemisphere land – which paradoxically NASA use to scare the pants off the public, but which in fact is PROOF AGAINST GLOBAL warming

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Pause for thought

(Sorry not an April fool – I was planning something but I was making such progress I didn’t have time to complete).

After examining the temperature records with a view to creating a single “reliable” record, I realised that something odd had happened around 1970 that caused Northern hemisphere land records to sharply warm compared to sea based and southern hemisphere.


Then when I found that the long-term warming could be closely linked to industrial zones the evidence seemed overwhelming that in some way pollution and not CO2 was responsible. Continue reading

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