Cold – not heat – is the real killer

May 24, 2015

Climate will change as it always has. While there is a religious belief among the radicalised of the true faith that man-made global warming is real, the reality is that there is no signature of man-made global warming that can be distinguished from the natural variations of climate. I have no doubt that whatever change occurs, humans will cope as well as they are able to, and history shows that even glacial conditions have not held back human development. When (not if) the current inter-glacial ends, humans will have access to energy levels and energy intensities magnitudes greater than what was available during the last glacial maximum (20 – 25,000 years ago). And we will have fossil fuels and nuclear energy to thank for that. Hydro Power will virtually vanish during glacial conditions. The more time we have to prepare, and the preparations we make, will determine how well we cope and how many deaths may occur while we do adjust.

It is cold which is by far the more dangerous and which requires the greater preparation. It is far, far better we prepare for the ice age that will undoubtedly come than for any imaginary man-made global warming.

A new paper in the Lancet reports on an analysis of over 74 million (74,225,200) deaths between 1985 and 2012 in 13 countries with a wide range of climates, from cold to subtropical. The results show that moderate cold or heat cause more deaths than extreme weather and that cold kills 20 times more people than heat.

Antonio Gasparrini et alMortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational study. The Lancet, May 2015 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)62114-0

The Lancet (press release):

Cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analysing over 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries. The findings, published in The Lancet, also reveal that deaths due to moderately hot or cold weather substantially exceed those resulting from extreme heat waves or cold spells.

“It’s often assumed that extreme weather causes the majority of deaths, with most previous research focusing on the effects of extreme heat waves,” says lead author Dr Antonio Gasparrini from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in the UK. “Our findings, from an analysis of the largest dataset of temperature-related deaths ever collected, show that the majority of these deaths actually happen on moderately hot and cold days, with most deaths caused by moderately cold temperatures.” 

…… Around 7.71% of all deaths were caused by non-optimal temperatures, with substantial differences between countries, ranging from around 3% in Thailand, Brazil, and Sweden to about 11% in China, Italy, and Japan. Cold was responsible for the majority of these deaths (7.29% of all deaths), while just 0.42% of all deaths were attributable to heat. The study also found that extreme temperatures were responsible for less than 1% of all deaths, while mildly sub-optimal temperatures accounted for around 7% of all deaths—with most (6.66% of all deaths) related to moderate cold. …

The study also shows that cold has greater impact in Japan and Italy than in Sweden but that is only to be expected. Warm countries will be more unprepared for cold and vice versa.

President of India has difficulty distinguishing between Swiss and Swedish

May 24, 2015

Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India is visiting Sweden next week, the first ever State visit by an Indian Head of State. There have been two Prime Ministerial visits; Nehru in 1957 and Rajiv Gandhi in 1988. In preparation he was interviewed “in depth” by the Editor-in-Chief of Dagens Nyheter, Peter Wolodarski. The English version of the interview is here.

But there was very little depth to the interview – either in the questions or in Mukerjee’s parrotting of the “official line”. The interviewer was not incompetent precisely, but none of his questions were particularly insightful and some of his questions were considerably less than intelligent.

Imagine asking a serving Head of State what he thinks about another serving Head of State, “You’ve met President Putin several times. How would you describe him?” Would he have thought to ask the Swedish King what he though of Prince Charles, I wonder. Or the profundity on display in his question “Is the Chinese one-party system more effective (than Indian democracy)?” On Bofors, the interviewer tries to get Mukherjee to claim that it was all a “media scandal” but does not quite succeed. The interviewer is of course keen to display his own political correctness for his readers with What is the most important thing that can be done to strengthen the position of women in India?” The interviewer’s questions regarding why there is a higher rate of female foetuses being aborted in India (and I have written before about the 2,000 abortions of female foetuses every day), seem to suggest that he is asking how the rate of abortion of male foetuses can be increased, as if a higher total rate of abortion is probably a good thing. (Of course Sweden today has abortion on demand and abortion rates today are at the same level as infant mortality rates of 300 years ago). The interviewer dwells on the Nirbhaya, Delhi rape case and tries to get the President to admit to some institutional or ingrained social failing rather than that it was just an isolated and aberrant case. Mukerjee asserts that extreme poverty can be eliminated with 10 years of growth at 8-9%, which the interviewer takes leave to doubt.

Photograph: Lars Lindqvist via Dagens Nyheter

The interviewer’s questions actually reflect “political correctness” (the Swedish version) and his own preconceptions much more than eliciting anything insightful. Of course the readers of Dagens Nyheter will probably be very pleased to get the incredible revelation that Sweden has a population of 9 million to India’s 1.2 billion. I think he only insults the intelligence of his readers while displaying his own shortcomings in this dreadful interview.

Mukerjee’s answers reveal nothing new. He is old Congress. He was nondescript as a Defense Minister. He was a disastrous Finance Minister. He is President because of the Peter Principle and because the possibilities of his doing anything disastrous in that post are low. The only real substance comes in his final statement. “One thing I must correct”, he says. “Two, three times during the interview, I have used the word Swiss. I, of course, meant Swedish”.

Oh Well! And was it Switzerland or Sweden which won the Eurovision song contest last night?

US, UK and Canada protect Israel’s nuclear weapons

May 23, 2015

An Egyptian proposal for a nuclear weapons free Middle East as part of the UN nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) was blocked by the US, UK and Canada. The blockage was not unexpected since Israel which is not a signatory to the NPT had already indicated its opposition and on such matters Washington generally obliges Israel. The NPT 2015 conference ended without agreement and the US representative blamed the Egyptians – of course – for making a proposal that had no chance of success. The status quo continues and Israel can maintain all its nuclear warheads. The NPT conference will next be held in 2020.

It is not so surprising that all the western countries which created Israel and now protect its not-so-secret stock of nuclear warheads are the same powers who don’t want any possibility of Iran developing its own nuclear weapons. I can quite accept that Israel will want to protect its own interests. The position of the US and its allies is entirely expected but is also just plain hypocritical. But the myth of Israel not having any nuclear warheads can be put to rest for ever. If they didn’t have any there would be no point in blocking the Egyptian proposal.

Jerusalem PostAfter four weeks of negotiations on ways to improve compliance with the pact, there was no consensus among its 191 signatories. US Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller announced there was “no agreement” and accused some countries of undermining the negotiations.  Gottemoeller did not name any countries but diplomats said she was referring to Egypt. ……. 

Last month, Egypt, backed by other Arab and non-aligned states, proposed that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convene a regional conference on banning weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as called for at the 2010 NPT review with or without Israel’s participation, without agreement on an agenda and with no discussion of regional security issues.

Those conditions are unacceptable to Israel and Washington.

Decisions at NPT review conferences, which are held every five years, are made by consensus. ……. 

Egypt’s proposals, Western diplomats say, were intended to focus attention on Israel. Washington and Israel say Iran’s nuclear program is the real regional threat. Iran says its program is peaceful. It is negotiating with world powers to curb it in exchange for lifting sanctions. Israel has said it would consider joining the NPT only once at peace with its Arab neighbors and Iran.

There were disagreements on other aspects of the NPT but delegates said the Middle East issue was the most divisive.

And in the meantime ISIS has announced that it is trying to get hold of one of the Pakistani warheads to be able to do something spectacular.

The Israeli nuclear stockpile of nuclear warheads probably lies between 100 and 400.

Estimates for Israel's nuclear weapons stockpile range from 70 to 400 warheads. The actual number is probably closer to the lower estimate. Additional weapons could probably be built from inventories of fissile materials.   http://fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/nuke/

Estimates for Israel’s nuclear weapons stockpile range from 70 to 400 warheads. The actual number is probably closer to the lower estimate. Additional weapons could probably be built from inventories of fissile materials.
http://fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/nuke/

“Infinite” is of a lower order than “boundless”

May 23, 2015

In common usage, “boundless” is often used as a synonym for “infinite”. But of course the two words represent two quite different properties and, I think, are unnecessarily conflated: to the detriment of both language and understanding. I generally assume “infinite” to apply to quantifiable or countable (i.e capable of being counted) things, whereas I take  “boundless” to apply to both qualitative concepts and “countable” things.

“Infinite” is thus of a lower order than “boundless” since it can be applied only to the subset of “countable” things in the set of all things.

The infinite” is patently impossible since the application of the definite article can only apply to the finite. Of course, “the Infinite” is often used to describe “the divine” which only serves to illustrate the paradox inherent in divinity.

So I sometimes find the use of “infinite” as an adjective a little grating. A specific number is not “countable”, it is itself the “count”. So I find the use of “infinite numbers” or “infinite sets” somewhat misleading. Each and every number or set of numbers is – and has to be – finite. It is only the number of terms in the set which may be infinite. Each set once specified is fixed and distinct from any other set. It may contain an infinite number of terms but the set is finite. You could also say that such a set “extends to infinity” or that the set is “boundless”. The number of such sets can also be said to be infinite or boundless.

The distinction between boundless (or endless) and infinite is of no great significance except when the two properties need to be distinguished. For example, the Koch snowflake is an example of a set of lines of increasing length being drawn within a bounded space. It is only the length of the line – being quantifiable – which tends to the infinite with an infinite number of iterations. Note that every iteration only produces a line of finite length but the number of terms in the set is infinite.

Koch's snowflake

Koch’s snowflake – 4 iterations

The Koch curve has an tends to an infinite length because the total length of the curve increases by one third with each iteration. Each iteration creates four times as many line segments as in the previous iteration, with the length of each one being one-third the length of the segments in the previous stage. Hence the length of the curve after n iterations will be (4/3)n times the original triangle perimeter, which is unbounded as n tends to infinity.

I am told that the universe is expanding and may be infinite but bounded. Or it may be infinite and boundless. Or it may be finite and bounded. Whether the universe is infinite is a different question to whether it is bounded. In fact the term “infinite” can only be applied to some quantifiable property of the Universe (its mass, its diameter, its density, the number of stars or galaxies it contains …), whereas its boundedness can be applied to any qualitative or quantitative property. In one sense the universe where we assume that the fundamental laws of nature apply everywhere must be bounded – if nothing else – at least by the laws of nature that we discern.

Currently the thinking regarding the shape of the universe is:

NASA:

  • If space has negative curvature, there is insufficient mass to cause the expansion of the universe to stop. In such a case, the universe has no bounds, and will expand forever. This is called an open universe.
  • If space has no curvature (i.e, it is flat), there is exactly enough mass to cause the expansion to stop, but only after an infinite amount of time. Thus, the universe has no bounds and will also expand forever, but with the rate of expansion gradually approaching zero after an infinite amount of time. This is termed a flat universe or a Euclidian universe (because the usual geometry of non-curved surfaces that we learn in high school is called Euclidian geometry).
  • If space has positive curvature, there is more than enough mass to stop the present expansion of the universe. The universe in this case is not infinite, but it has no end (just as the area on the surface of a sphere is not infinite but there is no point on the sphere that could be called the “end”). The expansion will eventually stop and turn into a contraction. Thus, at some point in the future the galaxies will stop receding from each other and begin approaching each other as the universe collapses on itself. This is called a closed universe.

A universe with some infinite property in a bounded space only begs the question as to what lies in the space beyond the bounds. It also occurs to me that an endlessly expanding universe has to first assume that empty space – which should contain nothing – must actually contain the property of distance. That too is a bound, for if space did not even contain the property of distance, any expansion would be undefined. (And what does distance mean between two points in truly empty space?).

Imagination can be boundless – rather than infinite – and can even extend beyond the bounds of what we can perceive. In reality even our imaginations are often bounded by the limitations of our modes of expression of language and music and painting. Our emotions can be said to be boundless though they too are bounded by physiological limits.

A bounded universe of boundless infinities it would seem, rather than one of infinite infinities, and certainly not one of infinite boundlessnesses.

Stockholm city to provide priority for social services for returning ISIS murderers

May 22, 2015

Even if one didn’t want to accept the case for capital punishment the least that could be contemplated for ISIS murderers would be a chemical castration and incarceration for ever, with an exit only via an assisted suicide. Neither the world nor the human race have any benefit from any ISIS murderers continuing to exist or to have any off-spring. I do have some qualms with capital punishment but these all vanish when confronted by barbarous murderers such as these. Not for “revenge” but because they have nothing positive to contribute and neither do their genetic offspring. They are a contaminating virus which kills the sapience in homo sapiens.

But the Red/Green/Pink (Social Democrats + Environmental party + Feminist party) majority in the Social Services Committee of Stockholm city have now approved and adopted a sanctimonious and monstrous strategy for rewarding any ISIS terrorists of Swedish nationality (and there are many) who return. They and their families are to get adequate support by getting a priority for handouts, housing and jobs.

The same committee, in its wisdom, also provides financial support to Swedish Muslim organisations such as the Islamic Association of Sweden which just happens to be the Swedish “branch” of the Muslim Brotherhood.

It is sanctimonious do-gooding gone mad.

The world may someday be destroyed by an asteroid impact or a super-volcano, but the greater risk is that the human race will degenerate into something barbarous because of the behaviour of naive, sanctimonious, well-meaning, self-righteous, politically-correct do-gooders.

Metro:

When the red-green-pink majority of Stockholm’s social services committee on Tuesday adopted a new strategy to counter violent extremism the criticism was not long in coming. The strategy, which proposes that people who want to leave extremist groups or return from fighting abroad should be helped with sustenance, employment and housing, is being attacked for providing the “cream” for criminals, and because it does not give any concrete proposals on how people should de-radicalised-

“I think that is extremely naive and completely lacking any realization that that under Swedish law these people are serious criminals. They have committed genocide, and it is one of the worst crimes one can commit. They should be prosecuted and put in prison” says Lotta Edholm (FP), opposition member of the City Council of Stockholm to Metro.

The City of Stockholm has a system for social preference, where people with strong medical or social needs can be given priority in the housing queue. According to Lotta Edholm, the new strategy will lead to, for example, the returning ISIS murderers getting priority in Stockholm’s housing queue.

“The strategy contains a lot of fuzz and the majority probably mean well. But if this strategy means anything it must mean that these IS-murderers should get a social priority. It’s so stupid”, says Lotta Edholm.

Stupid is an understatement.

Per Gudmundson on his blog has this picture uploaded by a barbarian, “Abu Ikrema”,  from Stockholm who writes ” It is impossible to describe the joy one feels….”

The new social strategy will apply to people like him.

The fall of Ramadi: Is it “very serious” or just a “tactical setback”?

May 22, 2015

What is clear is that 2,500 soldiers of the Iraqi “army” entrenched in Ramadi ran away when faced by 200 ISIS fighters. They left their heavy weapons behind. They did not even make any sustained effort to evacuate the city.They left the civilian population to flee as best they could. Today there are reports that virtually all those left behind have been slaughtered by ISIS.

But the spin doctors are in full flow. The Iraqi forces were not driven out. They drove away – of their own free will.

They were just tired of being in Ramadi.

BloombergObama Dismisses Fall of Ramadi in Iraq as ‘Tactical Setback’

The fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi to Islamic State was only a “tactical setback” and not a sign the U.S. and its allies are failing in the fight against extremists, President Barack Obama said in an interview published Thursday in the Atlantic magazine.

“I don’t think we’re losing,” Obama said in the interview conducted by Jeffrey Goldberg Tuesday at the White House. “There’s no doubt there was a tactical setback, although Ramadi had been vulnerable for a very long time, primarily because these are not Iraqi security forces that we have trained or reinforced.”

Nothing to worry about then. Obama the brave has all under control.

CNNU.S. calls fall of Ramadi ‘very serious’

A senior State Department official acknowledged Wednesday that ISIS’s seizure of Ramadi, Iraq, over the weekend was major blow in the fight against the terror organization.

His comments came, however, on the very same day that the Chairman of the Joint Chief Staffs Gen. Martin Dempsey insisted Iraqi forces chose on their own to leave.

“The ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) was not driven out of Ramadi. They drove out of Ramadi,” he told reporters while on a trip to Brussels.

Just as with Tikrit, Obama will do little beyond making token gestures about retaking Ramadi. He is waiting for the Iran -backed Shiite cavalry to come riding in to redress the situation

German Greens apologise for their paedophiles and abuse of over 1000 children

May 22, 2015

The German Greens have long been advocates of paedophilia as being one of the basic human rights. The Lib Dems in the UK also have a long history of condoning the abuse of children (Cyril Smith for example). Even The Times has picked up this expose of the German Greens but it is not being reported (yet) by other “environmentalist” media.

The Times: A paedophile network was active in the Berlin branch of the Green party until the mid-1990s, with potentially hundreds of victims, the party revealed yesterday after a lengthy investigation.

There was a “misunderstood tolerance” of paedophiles within the Green movement for many years, party leaders admitted, as they invited victims to come forward and share in a compensation fund. The figure of “up to 1,000” victims of paedophiles was suggested before yesterday’s report.

Pierre L. Gosselin has the story:

Berlin’s leftist daily Online Tagesspiegel here reports comprehensively on the German Green Party’s troubled past involving it’s earlier advocacy of pedophilia and practice by some of its former leading members, see background here, here, here and here.

Green Party Chairwoman Bettina Jarasch has just publicly apologized for what she calls an “institutional failure,” ….. 

….. The Greens’ advocacy of pedophilia rights was part of the party’s platform in the 1980s and early 1990s as it pushed neo-liberal ideas like “free and open relationships”. It still remains unclear as to why the Germany’s top environmental party took so long to issue an apology. 

…… The number of victims is not known. However one Green Party Berlin parliamentarian and author of the report, Thomas Birk, in March mentioned “up to 1000 victims”, though he said the figure was “speculative”. The report itself gives releases no figure.

Current Green party official Daniel Wesener said that there were at least two repeat offenders who were tolerated within the party, one was convicted in 13 cases.

Currently the child sex abuse within the Green party is now under investigation by a special commission. The Green Party leaders pledge their full cooperation and to provide compensation to victims who step forward.

According to the Tagesspiegel, the investigation shed light into an “abuse network” within the forerunner of the Green party, Alternativen Liste, which included at least three leading figures who set up a “youth center” in Kreuzberg recreational center.

….. Though some media outlets such as the Tagesspiegel reported on the story, much of the German media has been pretty mute on the topic.

I am afraid that the term “liberal” – which once stood for something fine – has been degraded and despoiled by the extremists to now come to mean “no limits, no ethics”. Liberalism is no longer about humanism but all about permissiveness. And if all is permitted and anything goes and any kind of ethical standards or limits are “evil”, then it follows that paedophiles and ISIS should be given free reign.

Mapping Älvdalen to Middle Earth places Rivendell at Trondheim

May 22, 2015

In my previous post I suggested that the municipality of Älvdalen in the county of Dalarna in Sweden was probably as close as one could get to Tolkien’s Lothlorien.

Trondheim to Älvdalen

I have posted earlier about Peter Bird’s wonderful mapping of Middle Earth to a pre-Holocene Europe where sea levels would have been some 120m lower than today.

Middle Earth by Peter Bird

Assuming

  1. that present day Älvdalen corresponds to Lothlorien in Middle Earth, and
  2. then taking Peter Bird’s mapping of Middle Earth to a Europe where sea levels were some 100m lower than today, and
  3. that the Misty Mountains lie between present day Norway and Sweden, and
  4. The Gates of Moria are not to be taken as the present day Mora in Dalarna, and

since the Fellowship of the Ring travelled south and east from Rivendell and through the Gates of Moria across the Misty Mountains to get to Lothlorien, then,

it follows that present day Trondheim maps to Rivendell of Middle Earth.

Frodo's Journey Rivendell to Lothlorien

Frodo’s Journey Rivendell to Lothlorien

Runes and elvish in the Valley of the Älv

May 21, 2015

“Älv” in Swedish means “river”. But the origin of “elf” in English is the old English “ælf”. So when it is found that in Älvdalen, runes were used just 100 years ago and they still speak their own ancient Norse language, Elfdalian, it is difficult not to conjure up visions of Legolas and Elrond and of Galadriel in Lothlórien.

ScienceNordic: Elfdalian (älvdalska in Swedish and övdalsk in the language itself) sounds like something you would more likely encounter in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings rather than in a remote Swedish forest. But the small town of Älvdalen, which gives the language its name, is not an Elven outpost. It is one of the last strongholds of an ancient tongue that preserves much of Old Norse, the language of the Vikings. …. has preserved linguistic features that are to be found nowhere else in Scandinavia, and that had already disappeared from Old Norse by 1200AD. ….

Because of its relative isolation, Elfdalian evolved in an entirely different direction than the modern Scandinavian languages. Its sounds, grammar and vocabulary differ radically from Swedish. So, while speakers of Swedish, Danish and Norwegian can easily understand each other in simple conversations, Elfdalian is completely unintelligible to Swedes who are not from the area.

Only about 2,500 people still speak Elfdalian but it is now being taught again in primary schools in the region.

Älvdalen is a municipality in Sweden and the name actually means River Valley. It is isolated from the rest of Sweden by its mountains, forests and lakes.

Älvdalen

ScienceNordic: “Älvdalen lies extremely deep within the Swedish forests and mountains. You can get there by boat up the river, Dalälven — a journey of more than 100 kilometres — and getting there and back used to be quite an expedition. So people in the area weren’t particularly mobile and were able to preserve this very special culture, considered in Sweden to be extremely traditional and old fashioned,”

The runic script was the dominant written language in Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia until the advent of Christianity in the ninth and tenth century introduced the Latin alphabet.

By the 15th century the Latin alphabet had almost wiped out the use of runes – but not in Älvdalen. Here, the Swedish linguist Henrik Rosenkvist recently saw a letter dated 1906 written partly in runes.

“The runes we see in Älvdalen are probably the most recent use of the script we know of. Runes otherwise died out in the Middle Ages so their use in so recent times is exceptional,” says Rosenkvist who speaks and studies the unique language spoken in Älvdalen.

The runes of Älvdalen — dalrunerne — are reminiscent of those used on runes stones in Denmark but there are a number of differences. Dalrunerne developed over time, influenced partially by the Latin alphabet. Here are the runes as they looked in the period leading up to the 20th century. (Illustration: Tasnu Arakun/Wikimedia Commons)

Nielsen agrees. “The use of runes in Scandinavia gradually ceased during the 15th century. There are the odd areas of Gotland in Sweden and in Iceland where the rune tradition survived until the 17th century, but in Älvdalen their use was widespread until the early 20th century,” he says.

According to Nielsen the runes in Älvdalen were most commonly found on houses and inscribed in furniture. In addition to this, they were also engraved into ’message blades’ which were sticks of wood that were circulated among the farms in the area. “The people who herded the cattle up in the mountains would write messages to each other in runes,” says Nielsen.

Tolkien took much of his inspiration for his elves (and fairies) from a mixture of Norse and Celtic mythologies and medieval writings. But his elves and their love of ships and their writing are straight out of Norse mythology. In that sense the real world Älvdalen is probably as close to  the enchanted – but fictional – forests of Lothlórien as it is possible to get.

Greenland seasonal ice melt has hardly started and is running more than one month late

May 21, 2015

The Danish Meteorological Institute reports that the Greenland seasonal ice melt is running very late and more than a month behind the 1990 -2011 mean. It is still at very low levels and the lowest recorded for this day of the year. The alarmists would have us believe that Greenland ice was/is/will be/should be melting at unprecedented rates. But there is, as always, a gross disconnect between reality and their models and their wishful thinking.

The percentage of the total area of the ice where the melting occurred from January 1 until today (in blue). For comparison the average for the period 1990-2011 is shown in the dark grey curve. The variation from year to year for each of the days during the melt season ​are shown as the gray shaded area.

Greenland ice melt far behind normal in 2015

Greenland ice melt far behind normal in 2015

h/t Real Science


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