Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Fat Jet for today.

Coutesy of Alex.


(More) Musings on Global warming

Today is the last day of summer, and the statistics already say it's been the wettest summer for 6 years. (For Sydney). And for a climate that in summer can give you temperatures exceeding 40C something else of interest;
"...Remarkably, not one day this summer pushed past 31 degrees.
"That's only happened three times in the past (in 149 years of the bureau's weather records), with the last being 1956 - it's quite significant,"...".
Australia's weather patterns are not just a yearly cycle. Since settlement a much longer cycle of wet years/drought years has been noted - usually attributed to the El Nino/La Nina effect. (We appear to have just entered a La Nina period).

It wasn't so long ago that Climate Change Activist Dr Tim Flannery (who is a paleontologist, not a climatologist - Stern and Garnaut likewise are economists, not climatologists), predicted;
"...that Australia is now entering long-term climate change, which could cause longer and more frequent droughts.
He also predicts that the ongoing drought could leave Sydney's dams dry in just two years...".
Perhaps not surprisingly, we hear less from Tim in the media these days than we used to.

I still approach the topic of Global warming (these days called Climate Change instead) with an open mind. Perhaps it's my Engineering background, but I look for objective evidence and try to find out for myself. What I am sure of is that the science isn't settled. And I get very cynical when the Climate Change Activists' response to scepticism is to try and muzzle, if not completely veto, debate. Truth will withstand scrutiny, will be supported rather than weakened by debate - if it is in fact truth. Falsehood founders in the light of scrutiny and questions.

So I look for information. I found this. Seems 2007 wasn't warmer than preceeding years, it was cooler - substantially cooler - by each of the 4 main measures of Earth's temperature. Now one year's measurements can be a statistically insignificant glitch. It is the trend that matters, and other things need to be looked at too.

There are also other cycles to look at. To start, ice core measurements can be used to plot temperature, CO2, and particulate levels going back 450,000 years. That data shows recurring warming and cool cycles. Then there are plots for the Ice Ages. These cover a very long period of alternate cold and warm cycles. Then there is the Medieval Warm Period, and the Little Ice Age, which if nothing else demonstrate that things haven't been static even in the last few hundred years on the climate front.

Then there is the Sun's Cycles to take note of.

As I said, I try to keep an open mind, collect objective data. What I believe is an extremely bad idea is to let 'Activists' alone steer debate, and have them solely provide data. Because, sadly, on this issue and many others, they then only provide a subset of data that leads you to the conclusions they wish you to make.
No thanks. I'd like all the data in the public domain please, and informed debate from those Scientists who disagree as well as those who 'tow the party line', to be added in to the discourse on this important issue.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A weeks worth of food....

This was sent to me as an e-mail, which I then did some searching on. It's hard to find the original, but it is definitely worth sharing. Very thought-provoking.

It seems to have originated at Amber's - so that is where I'll credit and link to.

The food bill for the families ranges from USD$500 down to USD$1.23.

The photos and the project come from here.

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Il-76s in Oz.

Found a link to this youtube piece on an Il-76 taking off from Canberra. It takes the WHOLE runway to barely get off the ground, where most aircraft take 2/3 of the runway to get airborne.

Filmed by (it seems) by one of the ATCs.

The commentary is priceless. Very Aussie-laconic, and a bit dark.

Arguably NOT the first Il-76 'lazy takeoff' (for want of a better term) either.

[Original - from 'Jazza'. Thanks Jarrad].


Monday, February 18, 2008

A Human being should be able to...

"A human being should be able to change a diaper,
plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship,
design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts,
build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying,
take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone,
solve equations, analyze a new problem,
pitch manure, program a computer,
cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
Specialization is for insects."
[Robert Heinlein via his character Lazarus long in 'Time Enough for Love'].

More Heinlein quotes here.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

India's TATA launches $2500 car.

India's TATA car-maker has unveiled a new car for the Indian motorist. Aimed at the expanding Indian middle class. (India has a billion people).

The Tata Nano. Rear engine, 623cc, 4.5l/100km, and under USD$2500 (Euro1700, AUD2800).

The Chinese also are getting mobile, with cars like the Chery and Geely.

Many in the first world are already tut-tutting about the way this will speed up scarce oil usage and climate change. But really - that is elitism and hypocrisy. Why do westerners have some sort of right to big passenger cars and 4WDs, yet the same drivers of these cars frown at the developing world getting even basic personal transport.

Doesn't matter what those people think, it's happening anyway.

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Movies we've seen - 'Jumper'.

I'm something of a movie buff. A movie just is a better viewing experience than a DVD on your TV - even a big screen TV.

Went and saw 'Jumper' last night. (Trailer and background here).

It is a film (based on the scifi book) about people who can teleport themselves anywhere.

It was OK. What I liked was that (like 'The Matrix') it is based on a very original 'out-of-left-field' idea. Sadly, it failed to fully capitalise on that fresh originality. The acting for the leads was competent, but not outstanding (Jamie Bell is however a good supporting actor in the role of Griffin). I think Hayden Christensen is over-rated.

Go and see it if you are at a loose end. 3.5 out of 5

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Friday, February 15, 2008

This Friday's Fat Jet

Courtesy Alex.

By the end of next month (March 08) we will have all our C-17s. A mere 2 years after ordering them. (Canada, the UK, and others also have some).

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Airlift. Not just a military tool.

Airlift aircraft often have a humanitarian use. The Asian Tsunami is one example. In 1974/75 after Cyclone Tracy destroyed Darwin, a large part of the population of that city was airlifted out to stay elsewhere in Australia while their homes were rebuilt - courtesy of every Australian airliner that could be found, the RAAF, and not least, the USAF. More here.

In this post, Peter (Worldman) commented;
" these "beasts". When I came to Sudan there were quiet a lot of AN124 around here. And today there is a still a big number of IL76's...".
I'm surprised the AN12 doesn't also figure more in the international aid equation. They and their Russian (and Ukrainian, et al) crews figure hugely in the world airlift equation these days. (Good article on a flight taken on one of them here, with good pictures).

In the west, the Herc (C130 Hercules) is the most common airlifter, but there are many others. Caribou (picture above, courtesy Alex), C-17, (in the US, the C5 for example, there was the venerable C141).

And more to come certainly. I watch with interest the progress of the Airbus A400 (Australia didn't wait, which is why we have C-17s) and a replacement is needed for our 40+ year old Caribous (the C27J is oft mentioned - but the reason the 'Bou is still around is there is NO 1 for 1 replacemnt of this very useful and capable aircraft - for aid and support in PNG very notably).

Update 4Feb08: Peter left a comment which said;
"Worldman said...Well, we have also AN12 around here. And then another very important "machine" to travel around in the bush: The absolutely fantastic MI8. I have spent hours in them, having made dozens of trips.".
So here is some more information on a very interesting and widely used helicopter.

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Fridays's Frolicking Fat Jet

Today's Friday Fat Jet, courtesy of Alex.

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