Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Overwhelmed by a Gust from Gaia

ht: smalldeadanimals

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Black-Scholes = Black Hole

My math is far too weak to follow Black-Scholes, but it's been the standard paradigm for pricing of exotic financial instruments for a quarter of a century.

No longer

Ever since I read Nassim Nicholas Taleb's 'Black Swan', and bought/read his 'Fooled by Randomness' I've had this intuition that there was a big soft spot right underneath the main pillar of the financial establishment. The article notes that, in supplying a plausible mechanism for pricing exotica, Black-Scholes also prompted a massive surge in their supply. Now, we know it was all based on a mirage.....

The fool's bandag-ed finger goes wabbling back to the fire.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Pre-emption: that's the ticket!

The always indispensable Spengler has done it again, with a piece about the wisdom of getting in your retaliation early. And of course the appeasement rhetoric of the ArchBish gets yet another hammering.

As Warren Buffet has siad, it's not until the tide goes out that you can tell who's swimming naked. And with a harder, colder, wind blowing through the world, Spengler's piece is a reminder that there are only bad and worse choices in foreign policy: no good ones. Europe and the UK have a very bleak demographic future, as Mark Steyn and others have repeatedly pointed out, and one has to be pessimistic about their ability to rouse the will to pre-empt anything.

Interesting times...see these places while you can.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Solar is subject to Moore's Law

This piece (ht: Instapundit) is a useful reminder that the good ol' entrepreneurial business is the way forward. Earnest Gummint committess won't cut it. Bit like the UN in Darfur - no skin in the game, so no real incentive to step in and help.

Moore's law: explanation here - capability rises/price halves roughly every 18-24 months. Works for me.

The money quote:

"You may not like their politics, or their attitude, or their style. But if we really do have an energy revolution in this country and free ourselves from our addiction to fossil fuels, it will be because of hard-charging, take-no-prisoners entrepreneurs like T.J. Rodgers — not UN committees, environmental groups, or government officials."

I plan to fully solarise my house in 2-5 years time. Like, net grid-producer, not consumer. Bye-bye to power bills, and much more resilience. There is a host of up-and-coming firms making thin-film solar, and the grid-tie plus feed-in-tarriff contractual stuff is starting to get worked on by the more aware power companies.

I thus don't fret too much about the lakes, the need for more power stations burning whatever - plutonium, coal, natural gas - or the State of Fear pronouncements about pylons, wind power or draining Gaia of all her internal heat via geothermal take.

The Sun will do it for me. Oh wait. It seems to be cooling. Toyota!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

If daisies are your favourite flower

The dear sainted Archbishop of Canterbury does seem to have gottem his fluffy self into a spot of bother with his all-too-public musings on sharia law and its applicability to England. Having been to High Wycombe for a radio station client, I had actually rather thought it (sharia) was there in all but name, but no matter.

Anyhoo, this little gem of an extended Burma Shave sign did flash past a couple of days ago. Burma Shave is one of my very fave Tom Waits tracks, a Desert Island Disc, in fact, and the original Burma Shave signs were pure poetry and humour.

It does occur to me that one of BS's original verses can probably be updated for the Bish:

If daisies are
your favourite flower
just keep suggesting
burqa power

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weather cooling?

I follow Anthony Watts, and he's come across this, from the wonderfully named Joe Bastardi. JB sees a re-run of the early-50's pattern of a La Nina which stopped the global warming (which had peaked in the '30's) in its tracks.

Yup, we need to be more worried about cooling than warming. As someone who actually farms for a living notes, one nights cooling can kill your crop. One night's warming never can.

And as NOAA has just noted, this January of 2008 has been 0.35 F cooler than the 20th century average.

Hmm. Add a quiet sun (check the sunspot count and then go figure the Chilling Stars theory) - quiet sun, cool Earth.

Oh, and coolist or warmist, don't forget to Be afraid, be very afraid. After all, a State of Fear is the default setting for the zeitgeist, no?