Archive for February, 2016

Waiting...waiting... [credit:]


The seemingly endless saga of the UK’s attempts to get a new nuclear plant rumbles on ad infinitum, as PEI reports. This news comes as UK coal plants are closing at an ever-faster rate.

There are fears that final approval for the Hinkley Point C project in south western England may be delayed for another year, as the company’s board frets about seeking new investors for the project. The Financial Times reports that the company is concerned about being exposed if it doesn’t secure additional backing.

The nuclear power plant, originally set for a 2017 opening, has since been put back to 2025, but analysts now say the latest issue could push that date back even further. EDF has said repeatedly that final investment decision (FID) approval for the plant in Somerset, in the west of England, is “imminent”. Jean-Bernard Lévy, chief executive, said last week the decision was “very close”.

“Nurse!” Scentist loses cool..over the EU

Posted: February 28, 2016 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Sir Paul Nurse gets debagged by Justin Webb.

The Brexit Door

I was driving to down to Upton Park for the early kick off on Saturday morning, with (to the chagrin of both my wife and youngest son), the Today program on the radio. At about 7:50, Professor Sir Paul Nurse was interviewed over the need to ‘remain in the EU’ for the sake of science.

To call it a ‘car crash’ would be to underestimate the awfulness of Nurse’s performance. From a standing start he went from Baritone almost to outraged Soprano in less than 5 minutes, as his arguments unravelled in the face of what was for once, a very well informed interviewer in Justin Webb.

But this foolishness over science should be unravelled once and for all. The arguments put forward that somehow the scientific research community will find work and life intolerable outside the EU is nonsense and must be shown for what it is.

Firstly, Nurse…

View original post 777 more words

Mann Blocks Lew, Loses Betts

Posted: February 28, 2016 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Tee Hee

Carbon cycle [image credit: NASA Earth Observatory]

Carbon cycle [image credit: NASA Earth Observatory]

Somebody seems to have re-discovered the carbon cycle, and true to form the BBC is keen to spread the word by trying to relate it to buses and jumbo jets.

The seas around the UK and the rest of northern Europe take up a staggering 24 million tonnes of carbon each year. It is a mass equivalent to two million double-decker buses or 72,000 747 jets. The number was produced by scientists studying the movement of carbon dioxide into and out of the oceans.

Weekend open thread

Posted: February 26, 2016 by tallbloke in Blog

OK ren, this is the place for your interesting comments and graphics. 🙂

Reblogged from The Ruminating Sheep, this excellent speech is a properly statesmanlike approach to the issue of Britain’s membership of the European Union. The author of this piece is a Yorkshire farmer, who is clearly possessed of a greater sense of diplomacy and vision than our present Prime Minister. This is what David Cameron *should* have said. 

Cameron-stinkyGood evening

When I announced an In/Out EU Referendum in 2013 I laid out my vision for a fundamentally reformed European Union which would be better equipped to face a competitive world beset with economic and security problems. I identified three key challenges that needed to be addressed, namely, problems with the eurozone, competitiveness and the role of national governments including a recognition of the importance of national sovereignty. In my speech I identified 5 principles that supported my vision. First, there should be improvements to European competitiveness by reforming the European Commission to provide a more nimble organisation more focussed on global free trade. Second, the EU needed to adopt a more flexible approach with less emphasis on one-size-fits-all political solutions, and safeguards that recognised national interests and diverse opinion. Third, I wanted power to flow back to the member states, and, fourthly, a greater role for national parliaments to improve democratic accountability in the absence of a European demos. Finally, I wanted to see a fair settlement that balanced the interests of those inside the Eurozone against those outside. My speech was positive and delivered in the spirit of a committed member of the European Union who could see a better way.


We started our campaign to support Martin Durkin’s kickstarter project on Feb 1st and today an increased donation from the generous readers at the Talkshop pushed the total raised to the £100,000 target.


This is a people funded project to finance a project for the people. My heartfelt thanks to all at the Talkshop who have supported and assisted our contribution to making this happen.


Yesterday, Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, had the civil service issue a letter to those ministers in his cabinet who are campaigning to leave the EU in the forthcoming referendum on June 23rd, which debars them from accessing “government material” to help their case.

Who does David Cameron think pays for the creation of that material? It is the people of the United Kingdom. Defending his action, Cameron said:

I’m very happy with the letter that was sent out for this reason and that is the Government has a position on this issue.

The Government’s position is that we will be better off in a reformed European Union.

Ministers are free to part from that position and campaign in a personal capacity, that is, I think, a very important statement, it’s right in terms of how we go about it, but it does not mean the Government is neutral, it doesn’t mean the civil service is neutral, the Government has a policy from which people can depart.



Climate scientist Ed Hawkins comments on the paper of which he is one of the co-authors. Others include Ben Santer and Michael Mann.

It has been claimed that the early-2000s global warming ‘slowdown’ or ‘hiatus’, characterized by a reduced rate of global surface warming, has been overstated, lacks sound scientific basis, or is unsupported by observations. The evidence presented in a new commentary in Nature Climate Change by Fyfe et al. contradicts these claims.

Drax mulls mothballing coal-fired plants due to losses 

Posted: February 24, 2016 by oldbrew in Energy, government, News

Drax power station [credit:]

Drax power station [credit:]

No surprise to find that the UK energy policy of financially punishing coal-fired power plants is paying off, as PEI reports. What the consequences may be are anyone’s guess but they don’t look good.

British power group Drax could be set to mothball its coal-fired power plants as low gas prices, competition from renewables, withdrawal of government support and the UK’s plan to close its coal-fired plants by 2025 all take their toll.

Excerpt reposted with permission from Spiked Online

eu democracyFor spiked, the EU is not, as its cheerleaders claim, a coming-together of European peoples. Rather, it represents the outsourcing of key parts of national political life to the unaccountable, unreachable realm of the European Commission and other Brussels-based bodies. It directly waters down our democratic clout through granting ever-greater authority to institutions like the EC and the European Court of Justice, whose edicts and rulings can be imposed on nations regardless of what national governments, far less national plebiscites, think of them. That is anti-democratic. End of. And it should be viewed as intolerable by anyone who considers himself progressive, and who recognises that every radical, inspiring leap forward in modern times – from the Levellers to the Chartists to the Suffragettes – has been about people wrestling from the authorities the right to choose who governs them; the right to political say-so.


Explosion at Didcot powerstation

Posted: February 23, 2016 by Andrew in Energy

credit: BBCOxford

Emergency services have have responded to reports of an explosion at the turbine hall. Waiting for details.


False alarm

False alarm

It may only be the conclusion of one expert, but it makes a change from the usual tidal wave of evidence-light negative assertions about the potential future of our Earth. He said it was ‘extremely difficult’ to find a correlation between carbon dioxide levels and temperature trends.

The global average temperature is likely to remain unchanged by the end of the century, contrary to predictions by climate scientists that it could rise by more than 4C, according to a leading statistician.

£4m a week not to use UK windfarms 

Posted: February 22, 2016 by oldbrew in Energy, wind
Tags: ,

Money down the drain [image credit:]

Money down the drain
[image credit:]

Over-supply of wind energy is a known problem, but it’s getting worse as more windfarms are connected to an electricity grid that wasn’t designed to accommodate them. Wind Watch explains.

Energy giants have been paid a record £4million a week in subsidy this winter to turn off wind turbines. While people struggled to pay energy bills compensation was handed to wind farm owners because the power they generate could not be used.

Masdar personal rapid transit podcar [image credit: Mariordo]

Masdar personal rapid transit podcar [image credit: Mariordo]

Zero carbon dreams make zero sense in the real world, it seems. Is anyone surprised?

Masdar’s failed sustainable city may be doomed to become a green ghost town. Masdar City was supposed to represent the future of sustainable energy and, for a while, it did that.

More than a decade in development, the planned community on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi is falling well short of its original goals. Now, what might have been the sparkling gem of the United Arab Emirates is on its way to becoming the world’s first green ghost town.

The planned carbon neutral city was originally supposed to be completed this year, but as real estate developments go, it’s far from finished. The project’s managers are turning their backs on the initial plan.

Chris Wan, the city’s design manager, admits there is no way the community could reach its zero carbon goals, even if the buildings were to be completed. “We are not going to try to shoehorn renewable energy into the city just to justify a definition created within a boundary,” he said. “As of today, it’s not a net zero future, it’s about 50 percent.”

These days, Masdar City is inhabited solely by students of the Institute of Science and Technology – around 300 or so of them. That’s a far cry from the vision for the sustainable city. It was supposed to house 50,000 residents with an additional 40,000 workers commuting to the urban hub for work.

Designed by Foster + Partners and backed by a $22 billion investment from Abu Dhabi’s state-owned investment company, Masdar City was intended to be a beacon of clean energy.Only five percent of the original plan for the city has been built to date, despite sprawling plans for state-of-the-art green office buildings.

Although some 300 companies, including Siemens, GE Ecomagination, and Lockheed Martin, have a presence in Masdar City today, most are said to be more or less in name only, with no solid future plans to increase their foothold. Project planners have extended the completion date from this year to 2030, but giving up on the zero-carbon goal changes things substantially.

Rather than being a shining example of clean energy at work, Masdar City is looking more like an over-ambitious farce each day.

Via The Guardian

Source: Masdar’s failed sustainable city may be doomed to become a green ghost town | Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

I got a slot on BBC Radio Leeds this morning (well, you have to work your way up to the bigtime). They spared me the trip downtown to the studio (they didn’t think I was worth the taxi fare), so apologies for the poor sound quality. The interview was conducted over Skype.  


Why Phi? – lunar eclipses at Stonehenge

Posted: February 19, 2016 by oldbrew in Celestial Mechanics, Cycles, moon, Phi
Tags: ,

Bluestone Horseshoe at Stonehenge - 19 Stones

Bluestone Horseshoe at Stonehenge – 19 Stones

Stonehenge Visitors Guide – under ‘Eclipse Cycles’ – says:

‘Now, it’s widely accepted that Stonehenge was used to predict eclipses. The inner “horseshoe” of 19 stones at the very heart of Stonehenge actually acted as a long-term calculator that could predict lunar eclipses. By moving one of Stonehenge’s markers along the 30 markers of the outer circle, it’s discovered that the cycle of the moon can be predicted. Moving this marker one lunar month at a time – as opposed to one lunar day the others were moved – made it possible for them to mark when a lunar eclipse was going to occur in the typical 47-month lunar eclipse cycle. The marker would go around the circle 38 times [2 x 19] and halfway through its next circle, on the 47th full moon, a lunar eclipse would occur.’


Gatwick Gusher: Exceeding Expectations

Posted: February 16, 2016 by tallbloke in Energy, solar system dynamics


The Daily Telegraph, 16 February 2016

Shares in UK Oil and Gas Investments soared by as much as 77pc after the Aim-listed developer announced that oil from its well near Gatwick Airport in Surrey flowed at a faster rate than expected.  UK Oil and Gas (Ukog) has claimed that oil from the so called “Gatwick gusher” at Horse Hill flowed from 900m below ground level to the surface without extra help from operators, and at a better rate than expected of 463 barrels a day.



UK Parliament, Westminster [image credit: Wikipedia]

The Govt. is running a Relationship between EU membership and UK science inquiry. A group called Scientists for Britain has submitted written evidence, introduced as follows:

The title of the inquiry is ‘Relationship between EU membership and UK science inquiry’, so we are deeply concerned that all of the questions and preamble of the inquiry are on matters that are not contingent upon the UK’s membership of the EU.

Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, Iceland and Israel are all non-EU nations that participate in and contribute towards the science networks operated via the EU.

Norway, Switzerland and Turkey have all been represented on the governing bodies of the ERA, either in the Scientific Council which currently governs the work of the ERA or its forerunner the European Research Area Board (ERAB). European scientists within the ERA rightly see the benefit of ensuring that scientific cooperation is done openly and is not exclusive to political membership. It is within this environment that the UK’s participation in EU science networks would continue if the UK were to leave the EU.


credit:  John Evans and Howard Periman, USGS

credit: John Evans and Howard Periman, USGS

In between the climate scare stories come the excuses for the non-events the scares were about. How the world becomes ‘increasingly hot’ with little or no increase in average temperatures is not addressed.

As glaciers melt due to climate change, the increasingly hot and parched Earth is absorbing some of that water inland, slowing sea level rise, NASA experts said Thursday.

Satellite measurements over the past decade show for the first time that the Earth’s continents have soaked up and stored an extra 3.2 trillion tons of water in soils, lakes and underground aquifers, the experts said in a study in the journal Science. This has temporarily slowed the rate of sea level rise by about 20 percent, it said.