26/11/2009

What the leaked CRU emails and files *don’t* mean

Filed under: — Bravus @ 11:57 am

As you probably know, 61 MB of emails and other files from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia were recently released on the web (the linked articles speculates a bit about by whom).

The CRU is one of the two centres that record and collate global climate data, the other being NASA in the US. The emails contain some damaging exchanges, where it at least appears (analysis is still on-going, and there’s an awful lot of quoting-out-of-context going on to muddy the waters) that the scientists were colluding to ‘cook’ the data to show climate change that either wasn’t really happening or that they were exaggerating.

Of course, in a heated debate and in the lead-up to the Copenhagen conference, climate change ‘skeptics’ immediately trumpeted this as showing that all climate change is just a huge hoax perpetrated by scientists. But let me make the following points:

  • Even if the CRU data set was proved to have been entirely fabricated (and we’re a million miles from that), these emails reflect not at all on the completely independent NASA data set – which also clearly shows a strong warming trend.
  • These emails don’t unmelt the Arctic sea ice, or glaciers all over the world, and don’t change back the breeding patterns of creatures that have adapted to a warmer climate, nor do they invalidate the measured sea level rise.

So – some scientists did some dumb, and arguably even unethical, things with the data, as well as made mistakes, and then wrote about it, and had their private correspondence made public (remember, kids, if you don’t want it made public, don’t write it down in the first place!) But, in terms of whether global climate change is real, nothing has actually changed. The evidence is robust and multifaceted.

18/11/2009

More Awesome Video Coolness

Filed under: — Bravus @ 6:49 am

‘Beneath the Massacre’ is a super-fast, super-brutal technical death metal band from Montreal1.

Here’s their guitarist recording a track from their album: http://www.bravus.com/beneath.mov (Quicktime, 1 MB)

Check it out, even if you hate death metal. It helps if you like dogs, though.

  1. You can check them out on YouTube, if you like, but I can pretty much guarantee you’ll hate them – and possibly be scared2
  2. With the possible exception of David in Bruges and Leon in Seattle

17/11/2009

Awesomely Cool (in several senses) (but rough on penguins)

Filed under: — Bravus @ 12:56 pm

The leopard seal is always one of my favourite things to see at the Sydney zoo – so huge, so powerful, both graceful and menacing.

Check this out: amazing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zxa6P73Awcg

15/11/2009

Why I won’t be taking any devices to Opeth

Filed under: — Bravus @ 11:26 am

A much-anticipated concert next week, and the temptation is to try to record it in some way, with one of the plethora of devices we have available to us these days, and to share it. I even thought about smuggling in (or, heck, asking for permission for) a ‘real’ video camera, rather than a cellphone1. But nope: I’ve actually said for a long time that I’d rather experience life directly than mediated through a camera lens or other device. Why vitiate the real experience, mortgaging it for a vitiated future experience?

I’ve talked before about the way in which intending to review a show also mediates the experience… and since I’ve reviewed Opeth shows here twice before, I plan to avoid reviewing the show, too, and just soak it all up – the show plus Cassie and Matt’s enjoyment of the show.

  1. And for pity’s sweet sake, please people, stop posting cellphone videos, particularly of metal bands, on YouTube. The quality is abysmal, it’s impossible to hear anything at all, and it just clutters up YouTube for everything else.
  2. And, while we’re at it, put your damn cellphone down! It’s hard enough to see over the heads of all the tall people in the crowd, but I came to see the band, and in a dark venue a bright screen stuck up above the crowd for half the show is incredibly distracting. Enough already!