Boris Johnson is a tosser

#2 in the Is A Tosser series, begun by Andrew Marr. But Boris is a bigger tosser because – hard to believe I know, but there are really no limits to some people’s credulousness – he takes Piers Corbyn’s predictions of a new ice age seriously.

Upiers-forecast-dec Boris hedges his bets, of course: Is he barmy? he asks (errr, try asking anyone who has attended a scientific meeting at which Piers has turned up to ask a “question” which actually turns into a long exposition of his theory). Then Boris gets hideously snarled up trying to have it both ways Nothing he says, to my mind, disproves the view of the overwhelming majority of scientists, that our species is putting so much extra CO2 into the atmosphere that we must expect global warming is correct, but then comes the std.septic schtick: Is it possible that everything we do is dwarfed by the moods of the star that gives life to the world? The Sun is incomparably vaster and more powerful than any work of man. Idiot (Boris, that is, and whatever fool on the Torygraph that commissioned this trash).

It is all a bit mixed up. Boris is really talking about seasonal prediction rather than the ice age nonsense, and lauds Piers’ forecast, presumably based on not having actually bothered to read it. But if you actually look at the “forecast” (I’ve no idea when it was made) it predicts Floods & Thaw floods. Thunder & rain deluges. Mild Wet & windy. Gales / Sev gales esp North. Which is hopeless, exactly as you’d expect. [Note: when I first wrote that, I mistook the year of Piers’ forecast. That is obviously inaccurate for “now”, but actually that forecast I’m quoting is for 2009-12-19. But its also wrong for then, so all is well. here is a met analysis for the 19th (from http://www.wetterzentrale.de/topkarten/tkfaxbraar.htm). Or you could trust the Mirror: “UK weather chaos: Big freeze causes distruption on roads and rail as 1,500 schools are shut”. Or the Torygraph]

Since I’m here, a nice story:

There is an unsubstantiated story that during his meeting with Hitler, Mannerheim lit a cigar. Mannerheim supposed that Hitler would ask Finland for help against the Soviet Union, which Mannerheim was unwilling to give. When Mannerheim lit up, all in attendance gasped, for Hitler’s aversion to smoking was well known. Yet Hitler continued the conversation calmly, with no comment. In this way, Mannerheim could judge if Hitler was speaking from a position of strength or weakness. He was able to refuse Hitler, knowing that Hitler was in a weak position, and could not dictate to him

From Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim

This is coming from me reading through Enigma-related stuff, since Bletchley Park isn’t far away (and my great-aunt worked in Hut6, which I’ve only recently discovered).

Occasionally, when there was a particularly urgent need to break the German naval code, such as when an Arctic convoy was about to depart, mines would be laid by the RAF in a defined position, whose grid reference in the German naval system did not contain any of the words (such as sechs or sieben) for which abbreviations or alternatives were sometimes used.[121] The warning message about the mines and then the “all clear” message, would be transmitted both using the dockyard cipher and the U-boat Enigma network. This process of planting a crib was called gardening

[[Cryptanalysis of the Enigma]].

Refs

* For Green Boris read Greed Boris
* JEB on Corbyn
* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qi8oZ2vG0c&feature=related – watch Piers in action!
* Looks like the “meto predicts mild winter” thing is a Daily Express fantasy (thanks DM)
* Winter forecast? – no, the UKMO didn’t issue a winter forecast (ht Deltoid)

Comments

  1. #1 Frank O'Dwyer
    2010/12/20

    He also claims the met office predicted a mild winter, whereas they made no prediction

    [I thought they had given up making the predictions public (though I’m pretty sure they still make them) -W]

  2. #2 Paul from VA
    2010/12/20

    There’s lots of interesting unsubstantiated stories about the high ranking Finns in WWII showing severe bad@$$ery. Another one was a story (that appeared in the New York Times no less) about how a high-ranking Finnish official (I believe it was foreign minister Väinö Tanner) was having dinner with a high ranking Russian official (Molotov) on the eve of the Winter War. Molotov bragged about how the Russians had twice as many soldiers as the Finns did and would crush them in short order. Tanner then started writing on a nearby piece of paper. Molotov inquired as to what Tanner was writing. Tanner’s response: “An order giving each of our soldiers two bullets.”

  3. #3 GL
    2010/12/20

    Well, since we’re talking about Finland, WW2 radio intelligence and arctic convoys, but viewed from the other side:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reino_Hallamaa

    Apparently, despite their surprising sophistications during the war, the Soviet encryption wasn’t good.

  4. #4 Clamcyp
    2010/12/21

    Hey, guys, please get over to the Daily Telegraph story (2nd ref from top, above). It’s comments have been totally taken over by AGW denialists apart from me and martyj and we’re fighting a losing battle against the cretins.

    [Its the Torygraph. What do you expect? -W]

  5. #5 Lassi Hippeläinen
    2010/12/21

    @3: The Soviets used various Vigenere-style substitution ciphers combined with code books. They were mostly based on pre-Soviet military ciphers that the Finns were already familiar with, because the older officers had served under the Czar (e.g. General Mannerheim).

    But still, the Finnish cryptanalysts were pretty awesome, considering how much they were able to do with so limited resources. Not just breaking ciphers, but also designing their own that the Soviets couldn’t break. Their story is not well known, because the Stella Polaris operation after the WW2 destroyed so much of the evidence. David Kahn’s The Codebreakers completely forgets them.

  6. #6 Frank O'Dwyer
    2010/12/21

    “I thought they had given up making the predictions public (though I’m pretty sure they still make them)”

    Yes no doubt they do but given there still seems to be no real basis for this ‘mild winter prediction’ and the met office denied making any such prediction back in October, it’s a bit much to claim they got it wrong.

    Incidentally that Corbyn link is for 2009? Though as far as I can see, still wrong.

    [Oh b*ll*cks I didn’t notice that. Argh – now I need to go back and check… argh… Now fixed up. Fortunately he is still hopelessly wrong. Indeed, it was rather similar to this last year, but not so cold -W]

  7. #7 Dunc
    2010/12/21

    #2 in the Is A Tosser series, begun by Andrew Marr.

    I predict that this series could run and run… Probably until the heat death of the universe.

    @4: The Torygraph comments threads are a lost cause. You might as well try to bail out the sea with a colander.

    [I did my duty and put in comment #922. But it is all a bit hopeless -W]

  8. #8 Dean Morrison
    2010/12/21

    Here’s Corbyn demonstrating his ‘Climate Model’

    http://badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=19285&start=50#p461573

    [W00t! That is excellent – thank you. It is almost as though Corbyn is trying to take the piss out of himself -W]

  9. #9 P.Berkin
    2010/12/21

    The link is to last year’s forecast. You need to go back and alter the record ;)

    [Fortunately it turns out that last years waether was much like this years :-) -W]

  10. #10 Birger Johansson
    2010/12/21

    When mentioning Finland, the Finns made excellent use of the Brewster Buffalo fighter, an aircraft that all other countries regarded as inferior
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brewster_Buffalo

    The top-scoring Finn aces of WWII made most of their kills with the Buffalo, and the airframe in which Finn pilots made most kills actually shot down 39 airctraft. By comparison, the top-scoring US ace in the Pacific shot down 40 aircraft, and was using the latest US fighter types.
    Ilmari Juutilainen achieved 34 of his 94 confirmed victories while flying the Brewster Buffalo fighter.

    So Buffalo was actually one of the most successful American combat aircraft of all time- a fact few Americans know about!

  11. #11 Dunc
    2010/12/21

    [I did my duty and put in comment #922. But it is all a bit hopeless -W]

    And all you’ve gotten for it is abuse.

    Me, I have a strict rule – I never argue with anyone about either anthropomorphic or anthropocentric global warming.

  12. #12 Jonathan Bagley
    2010/12/21

    Boris might talk nonsense sometimes, but he’s a clever guy and is amusing and likeable; so your side is always going to be at a disadvantage.

    [Err well that rather sums up the problems of politics in one pithy comment :-) -W]

  13. #13 Carl C
    2010/12/21

    the most absurd nonsense I’ve seen from Boris is when he hosted a documentary on Turkey (because he has Turkish ancestry) — and was going on and on about how “moral” Turkey & the Turks was (including interviews with actual Turks pronouncing how moral they are and how decadent & evil the Brits are etc). Of course there was no mention of the Turkish genocide of Armenians, the “moral” Ottoman Empire etc.

  14. #14 Steve Bloom
    2010/12/21

    “It is almost as though Corbyn is trying to take the piss out of himself -W”

    That would explain the recent flooding. Don’t get wet! :)

  15. #15 D-503
    2010/12/22

    “Boris Johnson is a tosser”

    Well that’s an excellent impartial scientific way to win people over, isn’t it?

    People like you are a hindrance to the cause, because to those who don’t have the time or inclination to check out the science, you’ll just come across as an arrogant lefty with ulterior motives.

    Stick to the [redacted – W] science [redacted – W]

    [I’ll provide impartial scientific criticism of things that are actually worthy of scientific discussion. Boris’s errors are so gross that they don’t deserve that level of respect. Further, Boris is a politician and cannot object to a little rough-and-tumble. If you want to use a naughty word as your excuse to ignore the science, that is your loss -W]

  16. Shorter D-503: I am a concern troll.

  17. #17 PeteB
    2010/12/23

    tangentially related – Mike Lockwood has been saying some interesting things (probably completely mangled by the press)

    (I left out the stuff I think is rubbish and stuck to what Mike Lockwood said)

    http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1403388_is_this_the_dawn_of_a_new_ice_age

    “I am of the view that this cold snap, and cold winters, are more likely when solar activity is low, though we don’t know the exact fit,” says Professor Mike Lockwood, a solar physicist from the University of Reading. Prof Lockwood’s theory depends on the level of ultraviolent light coming from the sun. When it is high, it is absorbed by the stratosphere, which warms up, generating more high-altitude winds and leading to a stronger jet stream. The reverse is true when radiation levels are low.

    Prof Lockwood says this could have big knock-on effects. “For the last 20 or 30 years, the sun has been unusually active, and we have got used to that. This has has serious implications for how we organise our society. We have got used to ‘just in time’ retailing, for example, but as the current cold snap shows, snow and ice seriously hamper how quickly things can be transported.”

    None of this means that man-made global warming is not happening, Prof Lockwood stresses. “Overall the world is still heating up. Local variations are more likely when global warming is happening,” he says.

    This from the Express (Sorry reduced to quoting from the express)

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/218537/Dawn-of-a-new-ice-age

    And 2010 is apparently just the beginning. According to Mike Lockwood, professor of space environment physics at the University of Reading, we can expect the cold weather to peak between 2025 to 2040. The problem for us is the impact that low solar activity has on the jet stream, the current of air that blasts across the Atlantic carrying all our warm weather with it.

    “Britain lies just outside the Arctic Circle and on the same latitude as Labrador. If it wasn’t for the jet stream and to a lesser extent the gulf stream – the warming of ocean water – our winter weather would be similar to that the Eskimos experience every year,” says Cooke.

    In simple terms sunspot activity keeps the jet stream going. Take them away and the warm air won’t reach us during the winter months. Instead freezing air from Siberia in the North rushes in to fill the vacuum.

  18. #18 Eli Rabett
    2010/12/24

    Boris is an archtype, the clown who people elect after the serious but rather less fun types get the house in order. They (think George Bush) then screw everything up, leaving a mess which their successors are blamed for.

    Since the press love the booze the clowns pour, we weill never be rid of them.

  19. #19 Russell Seitz
    2010/12/26

    London’s gain is The Spectator’s loss.

    Poor old Addison & Steele must be writhing in their graves at the insults to good sense wrought by Delingpole’s claque of quacks

  20. #20 Marion Delgado
    2010/12/28

    When i think of Eli’s archetype I think of another Boris – Yeltsin. It fits very well.

  21. #21 Dean Morrison
    2011/01/02

    Corbyn was also a bit out with his Christmas forecast for Queensland which was ‘dry and warm’ with a heatwave in the south.

    Piers excuses himself in the usual amusing fashion (comment 28 December):

    http://www.weatheraction.com/displayarticle.asp?a=288&c=5

    … For SE Queensland where we had just one statement although it was dry and warm while there was a massive TC/rain storm in N Queensland the SE did not turn into a heatwave. It appears that the storm was not ‘in the right place’ re another prediction for subscribers where the South Indian Ocean was where we expected a Tropical Cyclone to form 25/26th. This will be discussed further in January. We have a lot more to do about Australia which is all ‘trial’ stage. Piers

    The Storm that was ‘not in the right place’ was in fact supposed to happen at least 3-4000 miles away, which is a bit like getting England mixed up with Florida or Mongolia.

    – We’re trying to track any forecasts he makes on the ‘bad Science’ site:

    http://badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=19285#p480485

    – he’s currently claiming ‘Victory’ for his White Christmas forecasts – although he was only right in one of the three places he announced bets beforehand. It seems he placed small unannounced bets all over the place, and is crowing about the various places in Scotland where his bets paid off, whilst quietly ignoring the others.

    [Ha ha, the “indian phonebooth trick” as someone once called it to me -W]

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