Global warming discovery marked – 75 years later

Seventy-five years ago an amateur scientist made a breakthrough discovery in the field of climate change. Guy Stewart Callendar linked global warming to CO2 emissions but his work went largely unnoticed at the time.

Now the anniversary of his discovery has been commemorated by two leading climate scientists.

Prof Phil Jones, from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, and Dr Ed Hawkins, from the University of Reading, have published a paper looking at Callendar’s legacy.

Prof Jones said the steam engineer’s work was “groundbreaking”.

Callendar, born in Montreal, Canada in 1898, made all his calculations by hand in his spare time, decades before the effects of global warming became widely debated.

The son of English physicist Hugh Longbourne Callendar, who studied thermodynamics, Callendar worked from his home in West Sussex.

A steam engineer by profession, his research first appeared in the quarterly journal of the Royal Meteorological Society in April 1938.

Prof Jones, of the UEA’s Climatic Research Unit, and Dr Hawkins, from Reading’s National Centre for Atmospheric Science, have had their commemorative research paper on Callendar published in the same journal this month.

“Callendar was the first to discover that the planet had warmed,” said Prof Jones. “He collected world temperature measurements and suggested that this warming was related to carbon dioxide emissions.”

This became known for a time as the “Callendar Effect“.

“He is still relatively unknown as a scientist but his contribution was fundamental to climate science today,” said Prof Jones.

He deserves credit for his groundbreaking work. The kind of research still unread by most of the no-nothing skeptics who remain unperturbed by essential peer-reviewed science. It is a delight to learn of seminal work being republished.

Shot with stun gun by coppers – man turns into human fireball

Andrew Pimlott

A man has died after being shot with a police Taser while dowsed in flammable liquid…Andrew Pimlott, 32, turned into a human fireball after he was zapped by officers called to his home to investigate a domestic incident.

They found Andrew in the back garden covered in liquid and holding a can of fluid…An officer deployed the Taser and Andrew immediately burst into flames…

Andrew suffered serious burns and was rushed to hospital after the incident in Honicknowle, Plymouth, last Thursday.

Police initially said his injuries were not life-threatening…But the Independent Police Complaints Commission revealed today that Andrew died from his injuries in Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, on Tuesday…

IPCC Commissioner Sarah Green said…“Our investigation will be looking at what information was known to the officers attending the scene, the officer’s rationale for discharging a Taser on a person known to be dowsed in flammable liquid, whether the discharge of the Taser caused the fuel to ignite, and we will look at training and policies.”

How do you get to be ignorant of the explosion or fire danger coincident to firing a Taser at a flammable liquid?

Umbrella facade for redesigned Shanghai commercial building

Architecture studio 3Gatti has taken inspiration from colorful parasols carried during Shanghai’s hot summer months to design a new facade for the 2010 Shanghai Expo’s Madrid Pavilion. The new screen for the re-purposed office and retail block will feature steel umbrellas that can be individually opened and closed and used to manage interior light levels.

The new umbrella facade will replace the bamboo louvers on folding steel frames that currently surround the building’s glazed walls and 1.5-meter wide terrace. Unfortunately the bamboo and frames have degraded since the pavilion was converted to a retail and office complex following the 2010 Expo, during which it hosted a low-cost housing exhibition.

The design from the 3Gatti design team maintains the public interaction of the original facade, and allows people to adjust shades to provide the desired light levels. Each umbrella is controlled by a pulley system that operates a central spring loaded joint mechanism identical to a standard umbrella, though slightly too heavy to slip into your handbag, being made from steel.

When all umbrellas are open the facade becomes a flat surface protecting the interior from strong winds and blocking excess solar gain. The design details from 3Gatti also confirm that the star shaped sticks of the closed umbrellas are aerodynamic, deflecting wind in case of typhoons.

What a delightful addition to the repurposed building. My only suggestion would be addition/experimentation with color – uniform or polychrome.

The 1-percent’s solution

Economic debates rarely end with a T.K.O. But the great policy debate of recent years between Keynesians, who advocate sustaining and, indeed, increasing government spending in a depression, and austerians, who demand immediate spending cuts, comes close — at least in the world of ideas. At this point, the austerian position has imploded; not only have its predictions about the real world failed completely, but the academic research invoked to support that position has turned out to be riddled with errors, omissions and dubious statistics.

Yet two big questions remain. First, how did austerity doctrine become so influential in the first place? Second, will policy change at all now that crucial austerian claims have become fodder for late-night comics?

On the first question: the dominance of austerians in influential circles should disturb anyone who likes to believe that policy is based on, or even strongly influenced by, actual evidence. After all, the two main studies providing the alleged intellectual justification for austerity — Alberto Alesina and Silvia Ardagna on “expansionary austerity” and Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff on the dangerous debt “threshold” at 90 percent of G.D.P. — faced withering criticism almost as soon as they came out.

And the studies did not hold up under scrutiny…Yet austerity maintained and even strengthened its grip on elite opinion. Why?

Part of the answer surely lies in the widespread desire to see economics as a morality play, to make it a tale of excess and its consequences. We lived beyond our means, the story goes, and now we’re paying the inevitable price. Economists can explain ad nauseam that this is wrong…No matter; many people have a visceral sense that we sinned and must seek redemption through suffering — and neither economic argument nor the observation that the people now suffering aren’t at all the same people who sinned during the bubble years makes much of a dent.

But it’s not just a matter of emotion versus logic. You can’t understand the influence of austerity doctrine without talking about class and inequality…

Class denied by that useless standard of America’s historic horseshit. The so-called Protestant ethic.

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