White Island

Tragedy on New Zealand’s White Island, which erupted today at 2:11 pm NZDT while about 50 tourists were visiting. About half of them were rescued by boats from offshore. The rest are still missing.

Below are webcam pictures taken just before the sudden explosive eruption (source: Independent):

In the top image, a line of people can just be discerned standing on the rim of the active crater. Ten minutes later they have left the rim, and have moved away along a path. There seem to have been 10 – 15 people in the group.

The webcam seems to have been located at the eastern end of the island, facing west.

It looks as if visitors landed on the east end of the island, and walked about a kilometre across what was actually the floor of the crater to the western end, which was still active. Given an average walking speed of 5 km/hr, it would have only taken about 10 minutes to walk this distance.

Since five people are already known to have died, it seems highly unlikely that the group of visitors shown in the webcam will have survived. Unfortunately, they were probably all killed instantly. And will likely never be found.

This seems to be the belief of NZ police:

Just after midnight, officers said in a statement that after reconnaissance flights over the island, “no signs of life had been seen at any point”.

“Police believe that anyone who could have been taken from the island alive was rescued at the time of the evacuation,” a statement said.

“Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island.”

What’s astonishing is the speed at which news of this sort now propagates around the world. There are already several videos showing the eruption, which happened less than 12 hours ago. And there are already several firsthand accounts from the scene. No doubt there will be many more.

We are all reporters now.

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Ethos, Pathos, Bathos

Three articles I came across yesterday, in no particular order. First:

Regimes that are losing public support always make the same mistake: rather than fix the source of the loss of public trust–the few enriching themselves at the expense of the many– the regime reckons the problem is dissent: if we suppress all dissent, then everyone will accept their diminishing lot in life and the elites can continue on their merry way.

What the regimes don’t understand is dissent is the immune system of society: suppressing dissent doesn’t just get rid of pesky political protesters and conspiracy theorists; it also gets rid of the innovations and solutions society needs to adapt to changing conditions. Suppressing dissent dooms the society to sclerosis, decline and collapse.

Dissent is the relief valve: shut it down and the pressure builds to the point that the system explodes. Regimes that no longer tolerate anything but the party line fall in one of two ways: 1) the pressure builds and the masses revolt, tearing the elite from power or 2) the masses opt-out and stop working to support the regime, so the regime slowly starves and then implodes.

The article was actually about the suppression of dissent by Facebook, Twitter, Google, and others. But it could have been about any dissent. And my dissent is about the smoking bans which give smokers an ever-diminishing lot in life. It’s a dissent that seldom finds any expression anywhere else, which always seems strange to me because smoking bans affect hundreds of millions of people, not just a few dissenting bloggers being muzzled by Facebook.

Second, William Happer, Professor of Physics Emeritus at Princeton University and, till September this year, the science advisor on the Trump Administration’s National Security Council, talking to James Delingpole about climate change, and saying “It’s a scam.”

“I’d have people come into my office in Washington once a week and tell me about the work they were doing. We were spending the taxpayers’ money and had a big budget — $3.5 billion — which was worth a lot back then. Most of them were very happy to tell a bureaucrat what they were doing. They were surprised and flattered to be invited. But the exception was people in climate, who were always very defensive. ‘Why do you want me to come to Washington?’ they’d say. ‘We work for Mister Gore.’

That’s when I began to realise that there was something funny about this area of science […] They would show up. But it would be very painful seminars, not like normal seminars. We were supporting the Human Genome Project and those scientists couldn’t wait to come to Washington and tell me about the latest gene sequencing machine and how well it was doing and how cheap it was. It would be the same with the high energy physicists in their search for the top quark and how close they had come. I wondered: ‘Why don’t the climate scientists feel the same way?’”

Is global warming alarmism a scam? My belief these days, as a result of owning a copy of Raymond Pierrehumbert’s Principles of Planetary Climate, is that climate scientists like him really do believe there’s cause for alarm. But it’s also my belief that as soon as a politician like Al Gore gets involved with something like this, it automatically becomes a scam. The problem isn’t in the science: it’s in the politicisation of science. And these things become politicised when politicians pick them up.

Third, a video of a talk about ‘The EU and the Decline of European Civilisation’ by some Cambridge law professor. He described the period of European history between 1815 and 1914 as one of ethos: amazing, spirited, and fabulous development.

“…then between 1914 and 1945 there was an unfortunate episode, which I call pathos – suffering – , when we very nearly destroyed ourselves finally and completely – physically.”

After 1945, he said, we went to sleep: bathos. We were exhausted. And we were ashamed.

That seemed to me to be as promising a summary as any of the past two hundred years, and one that focused on the two world wars, during which Europe tore itself to pieces – an event from which it seems to have never really recovered. It’s something we remember in Britain every year on Remembrance Day, 11 November. But it’s really something we simply can’t forget.

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Only Five More Days

Only five more days needed to carry on ignoring the election, and then it will all be mercifully over at last, and I can take my fingers out of my ears.

I’m expecting the Labour vote to collapse as a result of having an unelectable leader like Jeremy Corbyn, much like it collapsed under the leadership of the equally unelectable Michael Foot in the 1980s. Corbyn belongs to a far Left, antisemitic, Hamas-supporting fringe of the Labour party which has no interest in the working class that Labour used once to represent. And it was MPs like Corbyn who kicked working class smokers in the teeth with the 2007 smoking ban. With luck Boris will have a working Conservative majority by this time next week, and Corbyn will have resigned as leader, to be replaced by some other nonentity.

The same fate looks set to overtake the US Democrats in their elections next year. They once used to represent the American working man, but now, like the British Labour party, they represent everybody except him. And with the Dem-controlled House now running an absurd and embarrassing Stalinist show trial of Donald Trump, I imagine that more and more Americans will be deserting the Democrats. In fact, the once-great Democratic party of FDR and JFK and LBJ looks set for a similar oblivion as the British Labour party, thanks to Reps like Adam Schiff:

“Adam Schiff has been my congressman since 2012. He became my congressman through the redistricting process,” said Jennifer Barbosa, an independent who is challenging Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). Schiff is wasting federal funds trying to impeach President Trump, while his state continues to suffer from an unprecedented homelessness crisis, pointed Barbosa.

“Since he became my congressman he has not presented any legislation that’s become law. In terms of homelessness, what he’s done is he’s basically rubber-stamped Maxine Waters’ bill to deal with homelessness, and her bill essentially replicated the same failed policies that [L.A.] Mayor [Eric] Garcetti has implemented in our city over the past few years.”

“We know they’re not working,” Barbosa continued.

It seems to me that really all that’s needed to guarantee the demise of the Dems next year is for people like Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to be paraded on TV, so that Americans can see just how useless and crazy they really are. And it seems that CNN, MSNBC, etc, are providing exactly the coverage required, even though their ratings are tanking in the process. Give them enough rope, and they’ll hang themselves.

Steve Turley: Dems Risk LOSING 50 SEATS Going Forward with Impeachment!!!

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Nancy Pelosi’s Nervous Fit

Somehow or other I got thinking last night about this exchange between Nancy Pelosi and a reporter in a press conference. I was still thinking about it this morning.

It began when Nancy Pelosi was leaving the press conference, where she’d just announced the start of impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, and the reporter called out a question to her:

“Do you hate the president?”

It was a very simple, blunt question. In fact it was a head shot of a question. And it brought Nancy Pelosi fluttering down like a wounded bird.

Building on the report in ZeroHedge:

“Do you hate the president, madam speaker?” reporter James Rosen asked.

“I don’t hate anybody,” she said, wagging her finger. “We don’t hate anybody, not anybody in the world. So don’t you accuse me.”

Rosen: “I did not accuse you.”

Pelosi: “You did. You did.”

Rosen: “I asked a question. Rep. Collins yesterday suggested that the Democrats are doing this [pursuing impeachment] simply because they don’t like the guy.”

Pelosi: “That’s got nothing to do with it.”

Rosen: “I think it’s an important point.”

At that point, Pelosi proceeded to the podium and said, “I think the president is a coward when it comes to helping our kids who are afraid of gun violence. I think he is cruel when he doesn’t deal with helping our dreamers, of which we’re very proud. I think he’s in denial about the climate crisis. However, that’s about the election. Take it up in the election. This is about the constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to the president’s violation of his oath of office. And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me. I don’t hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president, And I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time. So don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.”

Kids frightened of gun violence, “dreamers”, climate crisis, Catholicism, praying for the president: there’s a lot packed in there. All delivered wearing a holier-than-thou pristine white pant suit, and waving her arms around, in response to one simple question.

(“Dreamers” get their name from the DREAM Act, a bill that aimed to grant legal status to young immigrants residing in the U.S. unlawfully after being brought in by their parents.)

So that’s what’s on Pelosi’s mind these days: Gun violence, illegal immigrants, and the climate ‘crisis’. Who knew?

Nancy Pelosi always seems to me to be on the brink of some sort of nervous breakdown. Trump later called it  a “nervous fit.” And that’s pretty much what it was.

As far as I can see, the answer to Rosen’s question is quite simple: Yes, she hates the president. All the Dems in the House hate the president. They loathe and detest him. And for the past three years since he got elected, they’ve been doing their level best to get rid of him.

As far as I can see, they don’t hate him for anything he’s done: they hate him for what he is.  They hate him because he’s rich and brash and boastful, and because he comes from the wrong side of town. They think that someone like him should never have become president: the post should have been reserved for one of them. It should have gone to Hillary Clinton. It was Her Turn.

Donald Trump is being impeached because he’s Donald Trump. That’s all there is to it.

Seen from a distance, from the other side of the Atlantic, it looks to me like it’s Pelosi and the Dems who are going to end up the casualties of all this. Rather than get on with the nation’s business, they’re spending all their time simply trying to stymie Trump in every way they can. They’re looking increasingly petty and vindictive and small-minded. And the mud they’re slinging at him is just ending up covering them. I won’t be at all surprised if most of them lose their seats next year.

Is Pelosi an antismoker? Of course she is. Antismokers are petty and vindictive and small-minded people. She was antismoking back in 2007:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has banned smoking in the Speaker’s Lobby. Even after other federal buildings banned smoking, the Speaker’s Lobby remained a haven for the House’s smoking members who congregated there for a puff. But non-smoking members and staff complained about second-hand smoke.

In issuing the ban, Speaker Pelosi said that the House needs to set an example for other American workplaces.

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Accelerating Climate Craziness

I first noticed the Global Warming scare in about 1990. But it only became difficult to ignore about 15 years later, when it started being all over the mainstream media, and I stopped buying the Independent when it got far too pushy about it.

The scare suffered some reverses. The release of The Great Global Warming Swindle of 2007 was one significant pushback. And Climategate in 2009 was a disaster for them, when they were caught “hiding the decline.” Since then, the Global Warming scare seems to have been treading water, going nowhere much.

But I’ve gained the impression over the last month or two that it’s on a roll again. Partly that’s the appearance of Greta Thunberg. But it’s much more than that. Sample headlines from the past month:

U.N. Blames Climate Change for Global Mass Migration (link)

U.N. Summit to Hear Call for Rich Nations to Pay ‘Climate Damage’ Reparations (link)

Pope Francis Scolds Nations for ‘Weak’ Response to Climate Crisis (link)

EU Votes to Declare ‘Climate Emergency’ (link)

Nigel Farage to Boycott Channel 4 Climate Change Debate, Slams Network’s Left-Wing Bias (link)

Climate Wunderkind Greta Thunberg to Guest Edit Major BBC Radio Show (link)

Climate Hysteria: Labour to Ban Companies from Stock Exchange for ‘Failing to Act’ on Climate Change (link)

Watch – Prince Harry Applauds Greta Thunberg: ‘Whole World Is Paying Attention’ (link)

Vatican: Rising Sea Levels Provoking ‘Armed Conflicts’ (link)

Hillary Clinton Says ‘Grown-Up’ Male Leaders Are ‘Scared’ of Greta Thunberg (link)

Italy’s Leftist Government to Indoctrinate Schoolchildren in ‘Climate Change’ (link)

Alarmists Propose Rebranding ‘Climate Change’ for Greater Shock Value (link)

Spanish Leader Scolds Climate Change Deniers, Urges ‘Fanatics’ to Repent (link)

Danish Academic: U.N. Might Use Military to Enforce Climate Agenda (link)

There are plenty more where these came from (Did I mention Coldplay stopping touring?) They feature the UN, the EU, political leaders, media outlets. religious figures, assorted stars and royals and boffins. And there are very few dissenting voices:

Former Prime Minister of Iceland: ‘Melting Glaciers Are Nothing to Panic About’ (link)

Pretty much everybody seems to be marching in lockstep. There seems to be a new global consensus among the great and the good, and the rich (for example Michael Bloomberg) and the powerful. They’re all agreed: Something must be done. They’re on a roll. As James Delingpole recently wrote: “Ten years on from Climategate, the most shocking thing about Climategate is that the bastards have got away with it.”

Look at the fawning media attention afforded Greta Thunberg. Look at the rise and rise of Extinction Rebellion and the extraordinary degree of public sympathy these eco-fascist wreckers command. Look at how across the world — with notable exceptions such as President Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro — even conservative administrations, such as Boris Johnson’s, are surrendering to the Green Blob.

The whole French Yellow Vest revolt (which still continues) was a response to Emmanuel Macron slapping a ‘carbon’ tax on fuel. Macron is himself a climate alarmist of course. Same is happening in Chile.

And this is the danger. The greater the alarm is ramped up, and the louder the calls for action, the more likely that draconian measures will sooner or later be imposed. If they can ban smoking, they can ban anything. And the eco-fascists want to do far more than that: they want to destroy a civilisation. They want the complete reconstruction of society. in every way imaginable.

It’s all completely mad. And yet it’s what is happening.

It’s completely mad because none of those engaged in it have a clue what they’re talking about. It’s not just that the alarmists haven’t a clue, but also the sceptics haven’t a clue either. And to top it all the climate scientists haven’t a clue either. There’s no science involved, because nobody really understands what’s going on.

I build simulation models of ice ages these days, because I’m trying to understand them a bit. But nobody understands ice ages. They don’t understand why the Earth got covered in ice a hundred thousand years ago, and they don’t understand why most of it melted about ten thousand years ago. And if they don’t understand that, then they don’t understand our current climate ‘crisis’ either. How can they? We’ve entered a new period of collective madness.

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Ignoring The Election

I’m thoroughly sick of Brexit. We’ve had three years of it slowly dragging on. So I’ve been doing my level best to ignore the current UK Brexit General Election campaign. And I’ve actually been very successful. I’ve hardly noticed it at all. And there’s only about a week to so to go. That’s what comes from not having either a TV or a radio, or reading any newspapers.

As far as I’m concerned there’s never been any debate about who not to vote for: I was never going to vote for either Labour or the Lib Dems. I will never vote any party in which 90 – 95% of the MPs voted for the 2007 smoking ban. That’s all I want to know about any MP: did they or did they not vote for that obscene piece of legislation? Nothing else really matters.

As far as I can make out from the opinion polls, the Conservatives are expected to win a comfortable majority. And this might perhaps be because Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable, and the Labour party is a complete mess. It used to be a very slick organisation back in the time of Tony Blair, but since then it seems to have lost its way. Fifty years ago, the old Labour party used to represent the common working man, but who does it represent now? As far as I can see they represent more or less everybody and anybody except the common working man. They now represent a sort of rainbow coalition of immigrants and greens and Muslims and assorted progressives. And many of these people either don’t regard themselves as being British, or feel ashamed to be British because of the British Empire, the Industrial Revolution, the Slave Trade, and twenty or thirty other Things To Be Ashamed About. But can you really win a British election running on a anti-British platform?

It seems to be much the same in America. The Democrats all seem to be ashamed of America in the same way as the British Left are ashamed of Britain, but for a slightly different long list of Things To Be Ashamed About. And Donald Trump’s crime is to not be ashamed of America, and to want to Make America Great Again. And that’s why the Democrats are trying to impeach him, as far as I can see. But can you win a US election running on an anti-American platform? I doubt it, somehow.

I hope Boris wins a majority next week. And I hope Donald wins a majority next year. But I have my doubts whether Boris will actually deliver Brexit. And I have my doubts whether Donald will Make America Great Again.

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Are Sea Levels Rising?


The UN secretary general has warned the planet is close to “the point of no return” and branded global efforts to combat climate change “utterly inadequate”, as world leaders gather for a vital conference on the Paris Agreement.

Antonio Guterres issued the stark warning ahead of the fortnight-long UN climate change conference (COP25) in Madrid.

Rulers and delegates from almost 200 countries will attempt to firm up the commitments made in 2015, establish new international rules for emissions trading, and broker systems of compensation for poorer countries already affected by global warming.

 The Alliance of Small Island States, representing nations most at risk from rising seas, views the talks as the last chance to avert potential “catastrophe”, while Save the Children warns 33 million African children are facing hunger as a result of cyclones and droughts made more likely by climate change.

Never heard of the Alliance of Small Island States. Are they really at risk from rising seas?

It’s only been a couple of days since I remembered the smallest and most low-lying island I ever set foot on: the Isla dos Amores in Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara bay. If sea levels have been rising all over the world, as a result of melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, then the Isla dos Amores should surely have disappeared by now, because sea levels would have risen in Guanabara bay just like everywhere else. Or it would at least have shrunk in size a bit as the water rose. But, if anything, the Isla seemed to be slightly bigger than the day I set foot on it back in 1958, over 61 years ago.

I suppose that a climate alarmist might say that, actually, sea levels in Guanabara bay can’t rise very much, because Guanabara bay, like the San Francisco bay in the USA, has a narrow entrance through which sea water flows slowly, effectively insulating it from tidal swings in the ocean outside the bay. He might add that sea levels don’t rise the same amount everywhere, and cite cases where islands have actually disappeared beneath the rising sea. He might add that you need to study lots of islands, and not just one. But could he name an island that has disappeared beneath the rising sea?

A remote Hawaiian island has totally disappeared overnight – two decades before scientists predicted. East Island was an 11-acre strip of gravel and sand in the north west of the Hawaiian archipelago. Now it’s beneath the sea, washed away by a hurricane.

Is being washed away by a hurricane an example of rising sea levels? I don’t think it is. Hurricanes cause storm surges that can raise sea levels locally by several metres as they pass through. But after the hurricanes have left, sea levels return to their former levels. And furthermore low-lying islands that are just sand and gravel can probably easily be swept away by storm surges flowing over them. And many Pacific islands are just low-lying sand and gravel. But there are more, as the Guardian hastens to point out:

Five tiny Pacific islands have disappeared due to rising seas and erosion, a discovery thought to be the first scientific confirmation of the impact of climate change on coastlines in the Pacific, according to Australian researchers.

Only the Guardian doesn’t point out the line in the associated report that says:

However, the limited research on reef islands in the western Pacific indicates the majority of shoreline changes and inundation to date result from extreme events, seawalls and inappropriate development rather than sea-level rise alone.

But wait! Forbes has got eight islands that have vanished:

Need a reason to be concerned about rising sea level? I’ve got eight. A recent study found that at least eight islands in the Pacific Ocean have disappeared due to rising sea levels. This is a trend that has continued for several decades, with low-lying, often coral atoll islands being submerged by rising seas.

A recent study documented the effect of sea level rise, which averages 3 mm per year globally and up to 12 mm per year in the western Pacific in recent decades. The team found that islands in Micronesia have disappeared in recent years with little to no evidence they existed at all. Several Solomon Islands had similar fates in recent decades as they were overtaken by the sea.

Do they mean that there is little or no evidence that some of these islands ever existed at all? Perhaps they didn’t. Perhaps they were geographical errors, accidental ink blots that were given names.

But some numbers at last. If sea levels have been rising on average by 3 mm per year, and 61 x 3 = 183 mm = 18.3 cm. No wonder the Isla dos Amores hasn’t disappeared.

Guanabara bay was also a port. So are port authorities worried about rising sea levels? Not Vancouver, it would seem:

Vancouver Fraser Port Authority defends itself

The sticking point is around the terminal’s preliminary design, which forecasts the local sea level to rise by 50 cm by 2100. “Sea level rise is not expected to adversely affect the project over the long term,” reads the planning document.

Yet, according to storm simulations conducted by Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, if hit by a one-in-500-year storm, much of the port’s facilities would be severely impacted. Throw into the mix a 1 m sea level rise expected by 2100, and most of the port would find itself underwater, claims the study.

If sea levels are rising by 3 mm per year, Vancouver might expect a 30 cm sea level rise by 2100. So if they’re planning on a 50 cm rise, they’re factoring in a sea level rise of nearly double that.

Add to all that the fact that sea levels have already risen 60 metres over the past 12,000+ years, and there’s nothing new about it at all. So why the big fuss about it now?

Furthermore, the past 12,000 years have been an interglacial warm period in Earth’s history. If the ice returns, we’ll start seeing sea levels fall, as it gets locked up in new ice sheets. I wonder if Vancouver Port Authority factored that in as well?

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