A Very Quiet Sun

March 18, 2009 at 10:56 pm | Posted in Climate, Sunspots | 1 Comment
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Sunspots, nothing of great interest to most people on this small rock spinning around it’s nearest stellar object.  But perhaps we should take more notice, especially as there seems to be proven evidence of multiple cycles happening within the sun.

As a radio amateur (Ham radio), I was looking forward to the start of the coming cycle, Cycle 24 as it gives people like me a chance to speak to people in distant lands without using kilowatts of power.  Cycle 24 is, or will be when it gets going, part of the cycle that occurs event 11 years, well, 11years is an average, cycle 23, now on it’s last legs has lasted almost 13 years.  Cycle 24, first predicted to be bigger than Cycle 23, has struggled just to get going.  There have benn a few “proper” sunspots, many microspots that last just a couple of hours or days, but the sun has had more days when it has presented us with a face devoid of spots than 1933.

When will Cycle 24 take off?  Well, don’t bet on it starting tomorrow.  And in the past, a spot free sun has been linked to colder weather, are we about to see that Global warming was a scam?

Watch this space

NASA, Climate And the MSM

March 18, 2009 at 9:53 pm | Posted in Climate Change, Politics, Science | Leave a comment
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Two different types of media show the difference between old and new journalism and the way that the Main Stream Media (MSM). MSM picks an idea and runs with it, casually ignoring facts while telling us what we should think by feeding us soundbites.

Look at the Guardian today with NASA’s James Hansen saying that “The Democratic Process isn’t working”. What Democratic Process? Where is my right to display what the Science really says rather than the sounbites that the MS cherry pick and feed us. Do they, the MSM, believe we cannot absorb the information? I know I can, as can most people at places like wattsupwiththat.

The Internet is seen as a place for anarchists, paedophiles and the like.  Well, I’m none of those, but I can find Science presented in as much detail as I can take.  Technical details, mathematical formulae, everything I need to get a better understanding of some of the complex problems around us.  There are, no doubt people that are much cleverer and those that have a much better grasp of the intellectual problems, but without the internet, I’d be condemned to looking in old books and have immense difficulties in getting information.

Do they actually BELIEVE all this

March 13, 2009 at 8:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The Copenhagen Climate Conference is providing the BBC with some suitable apocalyptic reports.

Sea Level to Rise 1 Metre in 100 years
Temperature rise 6f 3C will destroy 85% of the Amazon Rain Forest.

I just wonder whether they actually believe, without checking, the information they are fed. Is the Orthodoxy now so great that reporters do just that, they report, but without questioning whether what they are reporting is true. Or perhaps, if there is a any doubt on whether other options may exist, or other scenarios come to pass, a proviso should be added to the report.

When was the last time that there were any scintilla of doubt that “We’re all going to die”? Nover, but if the Beeb has it’s way it will be in some horrible way that involves Global waring or increased sea levels

Quantative Easing

March 9, 2009 at 12:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The Bank of England is going to buy £75 Billion of Gilts to increase the money supply and, hopefully, ease credit problems by getting the Banks to lend. Now having read Roger Bootle in the Telegraph this morning, I see a couple of problems, one of them an absolute humdinger.

Lets do the little one first. getting the banks to lend. This will not happen until the amount of “Toxic Debt” is identified, quantified and accounted. Until then we have the Lloyds Group situation where bank that was always seen as being run conservative way has been brought down by having a merger forced on it by an over eager Government, due mainly to the fact that the amount of Due Diligence done was inadequate. Just on the news today, there was a comment, that I believe could be actionable in the courts, that for the last six months of it’s existence, the corporate lending book of HBOS was not “just” risky, it was extremely risky. Could it be that by this time the Directors of HBOS were aware that things were going down the pan and therefore took bigger and bigger risks like a loser at the roulette wheel? Gambling is an addiction, they were addicted, but they were doing this gambling with money that was either ours, or borrowed. My memory isn’t as good as it used to be, but I can remember from years ago, hearing a Government Minister saying that you should only invest in shares if you could afford to lose the money. They lost, big time, in the process, they made sure we all lost, as their Balance Sheets now hold huge amounts of assets that are have absurdly high valuations. The upshot is that, until ALL these assets are identified, you can assume that the Banks will not lend, to each other, let alone to us.

Now that was the little problem, the big one is much bigger. This is primarily about the £75 Billion the Government, sorry, the independent Bank of England, is injecting into the system by buying up Gilts. Again, my understanding is that Gilts are just a piece of paper that pays a fixed Interest rate for it’s life, followed by the return of the Capital initially invested. So far so good, the BoE will go and buy some of the Gilts it issued and as a result inject money into the money supply. From comments I have read, and things I have heard on news bulletins, it seems the BoE is going to buy mainly at the long dated paper, due for redemption between 15 and 30 years. Most of the holders of these Gilts are Insurance Companies, Aviva and the like. With the thought that Aviva’s share price last week dropped by 25%due to fears of their Capital Reserves not being big enough, what on earth makes people think that any Gilts bought by the BoE will be channelled back into asset purchases? The first thing that Aviva and other Insurance Companies will do is increase their Capital reserves to exceed, by a margin those required by law, once they’ve done that they will consider buying assets, but if asset prices are still falling at the time, they risk, again, eroding their Capital Base. I believe this will make insurance companies do exactly what the banks have done until they see a recovery in asset values, and that means a vicious circle, I expect the BoE to, eventually, inject over £200 Billion to get things moving, by which time there will be too much money in the system and the debasement of the currency will mean that we will no longer be able to say that Zimbabwe is a bad example.

2009 — The year the Glaciers Started Growing?

March 8, 2009 at 12:12 pm | Posted in Climate Change, Sunspots | 1 Comment
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So here we are at the start of 2009, OK already almost 25% through the year, but, Temperatures are down, worldwide. Forget the idea that ice is melting, this year, look at facts, not hearsay. So why do I think the “Global Warmers” have got it wrong?

Some facts

1) we are at the end of a solar cycle, the “Little Ice Age” happened at the Maunder Minimum where there were very few sunspots for a period of over 60 years.
2) The other known time of temperature decreases was the Dalton Minimum, which although nowhere near as long or as strong as the Maunder minimum did produce an overall decrease in world temperature.
3) The sun appears too have “switched off”, see this graph from the excellent wattsupwiththat notice the drop in activity in 2005, given it seems that a 3 year gap translates to a cooling, we are well on our way.
4) An unprecedented, at least in the last 35 years, Stratospheric warming is indicative of further cooling to come for the Northern hemisphere during this winter
5) The PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation) looks as though it will be negative for 2009, again leading to an overall decrease in temperature.
6) El Nino is the past, La Nina seems to be the dominant process for 2009 as it was for 2008.
7) Despite all the Global Warmers comments, the Antarctic, as a continent is gettingt colder, NOT warmer and ice is accumulating in greater quantities rather than not forming during the Antarctic winter.  Western Antarctic needs to be looked at with a wider view, as the volcanoes under the ice COULD have a significant effect on surface temperature.

Add these facts together and what do you have? Global cooling to a point that will arrest, overall, the retreat of glaciers worldwide. Ther may still be some areas on the planet that get warmer, but overall, cooler is the trend and a miniscule change in global temepreature will be enough to stop the retreat

Climate Change vs Global Warming

March 6, 2009 at 10:03 pm | Posted in Climate, Climate Change | Leave a comment
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PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE

Can we have an informed debate on Global Warming? The terms Global Warming and Climate change are bandied around in the press all the time, the problem is that most journalists don’t understand that they are two totally different things.

Climate Change refers to cyclic changes in long term weather conditions in a region. Basically, what that means is that if area A warms, it means that area B may cool. A great example in long term climate change is the Sahara Desert. About 8-10,000 years ago there was a North African Monsoon. That meant that the Sahara wasn’t a desert, the whole of North Africa ranged from.Jungle to Savannah,with very few areas that were very dry. Then the monsoon failed as the weather patterns moved North. Why did the patterns move North? Because the ice of the last ice age melted.

Global Warming on the other hand is what it says it says it is, an increase in temperature across the WHOLE planet. Global Warming could be caused by several things, increases in Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere, an increase in Total Solar Irradiance (TSI), or a decrease in albedo of the planet. If you look at the average world temperature since 2000, there has been no Global Warming, however, in the same period, Australia and California in the US have both suffered exceptional droughts, Southern Spain is in a similar position as hot dry air encroaches from Africa.

While These areas have warmed and dried, other areas have cooled.

Credit Agencies? WHAT????

March 6, 2009 at 9:26 pm | Posted in Finance, Politics | Leave a comment
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OK, so we’ve seen some of our banks bailed out to the tune of Billions, and then, guess what, their Share price drops. Why, because a Credit Rating Agency says they are not ‘AS’ Credit Worthy as they were.

Just answer me a simple question, just WHY should we listen to the people who are primarily responsible for the credit crunch and Deflation that we are currently undergoing. Of all the people that should be blamed for the position we are in today, the Credit Rating Agencies must top the list. They were the people that put AAA ratings on the CDO’s and other debt that now is deemed Toxic and is the reason why so many of the are in such a dire state.

But, on the ‘Financial’ TV Channels, we get the news that Rating Agencies are cutting someones rating and the shares plummet,

Just answer me, WHY should we be listening to ANYONE who works for these supposed guardians of wealth

Deflation, Inflation and what lies between

March 6, 2009 at 3:09 pm | Posted in Finance, Politics | Leave a comment
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This is a Work in PROCESS

last update 01-May-2009

I’ll put the update date at the top every time I change it.

So here we are, the third month of 2009, still in a world where the monetary orthodoxy has been turned on it’s head. Without boring anyone with the details of what’s happened to date, perhaps we should look at where we go from here.

The “Current Thinking” across the world seems to be that “Debt Deflation” is in full swing, what had value as an asset yesterday may be worthless today. So much for the brilliance of the business community and especially the bankers, the so called “Masters of the Universe”. Many perfectly good businesses are now in debt up to their necks due to the banks telling people that Leverage (debt by any other name) is a good thing. Companies, especially the big corporations have been leveraging themselves up, to you and me, going into debt, because it was seen as a way that profits could be enhanced. I think the idea was that if you borrowed a wodge of money, the debt repayments would be less than what could be earned off the money if it was reinvested. Now, that may work for a while, but there is a significant problem in that the system is a closed system, that is, there are finite boundaries to what can happen. How do you explain a closed system as opposed to an open system?

In an open system, growth would be unrestricted, and any constraints would be overcome by the normal process of supply and demand. Bear in mind that if we start from a baseline of 100 with an AVERAGE of 2.5% growth per year, the growth acts in the same way as Compound Interest on money in a bank. To explain this I have to talk a little maths, and I’ll also make a couple of assumptions. The first is that the Average growth over a long period is constant, in this example 2.5%. I’ll ignore inflation which has the opposite effect to growth because it destroys the value of money and wealth, but that’s a different post. So starting at year one with baseline 100, we ‘grow’ at 2.5%, at the end of the year we we add the growth on to our baseline and we get 102.5%, so growth has made the economy bigger. What happens at the end of year 2this time we ‘grow’ from a baseline of 102.5 (not 100), and we increase by 2.5% of 102.5. That is NOT 105, but 1.05063, not a lot of difference you think, jump forward 10 years. If the Growth was 2.5%on the initial 100 every year, we’d be at a 125 (that’s 10*2.5%), instead we’re at 128, again, at this point, no great shakes, so another 10 years.

Simple growth would take us to 150, compound takes us to 1.639, that’s quite a large gap now, going from 3 percentage points to almost 14 percentage points in the second decade, so lets jump another ten Again, Simple Growth would have us on 175, compound takes us to 209.8, and the growth, against the original 100 baseline now is not 2.5% but 4.8%, Ten more years 40 Years Simple 200 Compound 262 growth 6.55% 50 Years Simple 225 Compound 335.3 growth 8.38% 60 Years Simple 250 Compound 429.2 growth 10.73% 70 Years Simple 275 Compound 550.0 Growth 13.7% Hang on — look at the figures the compound growth rate now means that we are ‘GROWING’ at over 13% a year, and the Growth has meant that, being a compound growth we are at DOUBLE where we would be if it was simple growth. Lets do a few more 80 Years Simple 300 Compound 703.4 Growth 17.6% 90 Years Simple 325 Compound 900.4 Growth 22.5% 100 Years Simple 350 Compound 1152.6 Growth 28.8% lets skip a few, lets jump to 160 Years 160 Years Simple 500 Compound 5071 Growth 126.8% So in 160 years we end up with a growth of over 50 times our start and an annual growth Rate of 126% If plotted on a graph, this becomes what is called an exponential graph. you can see that if we take the 300 years plus since the Bank of England was created, we end up with

However, in a closed system, which despite appearances is what we have, constraints can fatally impair a systems ability to cope with changes. A couple of examples may help, both in the area of commodities, the raw materials that make the world a productive place First, the costs involved to extract and transport iron ore from the place it’s mined to the place it’s used. Iron ore is a fairly common mineral, and needs little processing before being loaded onto bulk carriers for transport to the Steelworks of the world where the raw material is turned into usable iron and steel. Until mid 2008 we saw an increase in iron ore costs as demand for the raw ore increased in line with the booming economies of the West and Asia, especially China and India. The costs of transporting that ore, measured on the Baltic Dry Index also increased dramatically, with rates over $100 per tonne at one point.

The costs ACTUALLY involved in transporting the goods hadn’t actually changed, but with the Law of Supply and Demand as the driver, more ore needs shipping than ships that are available, therefore the price goes up. In the longer term, this is counterbalanced by an increase in the amount of available shipping that drives the cost of transport back down. There are however a couple of problems, the first is the time lag between the capacity shortage and the extra capacity coming on line. Any bulk carrier takes up to 3 years from placing the order to being available to work, so we currently have a surge in capacity to match the boom of 2005-6, however, that boom has disappeared, this doesn’t translate into an orderly decline in transport costs, it results in a crash, with the Baltic Dry recently hitting it’s lowest ever level. The shipping owners have gone from Feast to Famine. The problem was that during the feast no one could see famine beyond the horizon, so most carriers have plans in place for future investments that will either have to be drastically curtailed or the business will make little profit, or perhaps large losses from having unused capacity available. That’s just the transportation. The raw material itself, iron ore had also been undergoing a boom with the cost of ore tripling over 8 years. Again, the actual cost of extracting the ore has not tripled, there may be some marginal increases, but most of the extra cost to the buyer comes out as extra profit to the seller. This means that two of the largest companies involved, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton had market valuations that were extremely high, with corresponding profits. When a company seems a profit train that doesn’t look as if it is ending two things happen, firstly the company gets fat, waste creeps into the system headcount increases, wages increase.

Profits?? They still increase, driven by the excess demand driving prices. But then we hit a tipping point, somewhere in the chain a weakness forms. In this current phase, the weakness is the Consumer. Many people had been fooled into thinking that debt was good, Credit cards were maxed out, mortgages were taken out and equity released from houses, enjoy yourself while you can..This works while interest rates are falling, but nothing can fall forever, at some point in every business cycle the cycle turns. In the up phase of a cycle, interest rates have to go up to prevent inflation.

Now, although I don’t like being a harbinger of doom, I currently do not see an easy way out of the situation I am about to describe below.

As I said in the last substantive paragraph, as the cycle turns, interest rates will have to rise, for savers, that will be welcome news, but for borrowers? Think this through, in the last 10 years in the UK, “Tracker Mortgages” have become the norm.  Currently, most people on Trackers are in a position where the repayment interest rate has dropped to between 1.0% and 1.5%, meaning that even if finances are stretched unless both partners lose their jobs then the repayments should be OK.

But, when the cycle turns, the Trackers will do just that, follow the interest rate up, meaning swinging increases in repayments, possibly in a short period.  Unless people are still paying their mortgage at their original rate and driving down the amount of capital owed, rather than reducing the payment to survive, the forthcoming interest rate rises will result in incresaed mortgage payments that that will match the previous decrease.  If people are finding it hard to repay now, how will they cope with the increases?  Any rate rise may not happen for up to three years, but when it does, if you are on a tracker, you are in trouble unless you can extend your mortgage or match the new payments.

Mandelson’s Green Credentials

March 6, 2009 at 2:24 pm | Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

So today Lord Mandelson got a green Custard pie in the face. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. In all fairness, he seems to have taken the the pie in the face with much better grace than I would have expected, As for Prescott coming out and saying the girl who did it should be arrested, I thought most people would be arrested for “Common Assault”, unless you are a politician.

It does however raise a couple of concerns around security, we may soon be in a position where our (un) elected leaders are kept out of our way, so they will not be attacked.
We are currently in a position where we have a Prime Minister who was not leader of the party when the election was held, being advised by a person who’s nickname is “The Prince of Darkness” who was one of a group of (failed) politicians who were shipped out to rule us from Brussels. Obviously Mandy was wasted in Brussels, so now we have a Business Secretary who was not elected and who moves in exaulted circles including Russian Oligarchs and Media Magnates who believe that family businesses are those that he owns only 30% of. Both the Prime Minister and the Business Secretary belong to the group of Socialists that seem to believe that they know best. And don’t even think of asking for an apology if someone is wrong.

George Orwell wrote 1984 about what he thought was the start of an all powerful controlling state, we seem be be heading that way, of course the Government would say it’s all in our best interests…..

A start

March 6, 2009 at 1:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Every journey starts with the first step. Here I’ll try to step forward with my comments, for what they are worth, on any subject I think believes a comment

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