I don't have anything particularly sensible to say about the Ukraine for the moment, but I like this cartoon (I had thought I was intending to print my wise words every three weeks or so, but I see my previous posts were months apart and ago. Time flies). The Russian bear under the tablecloth is nice, as is the image of Putin as fundamentally non-serious, which I think he is. He clearly aspires to be some great statesman but has not a clue how to behave other than as a gangster. There's a faintly amusing aspect of all this, in the sanctions regime: its possible to imagine that one thing propping up inflated house prices in England - especially in London, but perhaps in Cambridge - is Russian money seeking a safe haven. Sanctions on Russia, which would cut into many people's lucrative incomes, might depress house prices here. Which would be great. But I'm not counting on it: just as likely the outflow before sanctions bite would push them up.
[Update: you think Russia isn't a dictatorship?]
Brian notes that Stanford University are to divest from coal. That contrasts superficially with my Investors warn of ‘carbon bubble’ as Shell predicts climate regulation will hit profits? But perhaps only superficially: as Brian says "Left unmentioned in the article is the tanking of coal stocks, down 70% over the last few years - why not get out of coal?" Indeed, its not as if Stanford are sacrificing a great investment opportunity. DA wonders about the lack of reaction from the Coal folk. But, what could they say? Silence is best.
And lastly, something about underpants.
Update: Crimean poll results
Hmmm... interesting snippit from the Beeb:
Bill Taylor, a former US ambassador to Ukraine, said results from Sunday's referendum should be treated with caution after what happened in Crimea.
"The first reports were... that 80% turned out and 97% agreed with the yes vote. And then we find out just a couple of days ago from an official Russian government website that the turnout was not 80%, it was only 30% in Crimea, and the yes vote was not 97%, it was only 50%," he told the BBC.
* Exciting times in the Ukraine (2013/12/01)
* Ukraine: Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation (2014/02/22)
*Foundation and Empire (2014/04/04)
There's an historical analogy for Russia and Ukraine in England and Ireland. Both Ukraine and Ireland were part of larger nation states, USSR and GB. During this time lots of Russians moved into one place, and lots of Britishers moved into another. GB ended up with Northern Ireland.
If Putin is a gagster, how are we to describe US congresspersons and the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs (Dept of State) who were present and supporting the fascist putsch in Kiev?
[Gangster, not gagster. He's not-serious as a statesman, but I don't think anyone thinks he is funny.
The revolution - the Maidan stuff - was a popular uprising. The Russians are desperately trying to taint it as you describe, but I don't think that has any more traction than the ridiculous Russian claims that their troops aren't involved in the Crimea -W]
I see you got a mention on PSI William ...
"What have they got to hide? A great deal, as the leaked Climate Research Unit (CRU) emails attest. CRU countered challenges to their views by setting up the PR web site RealClimate and controlling information such as William Connolley’s editing of Wikipedia entries."
How are you getting on with working out the sensitivity to a 1% increase in water vapor - and explaining how that nasty GHG raises the surface temperature, cools the tropopause and makes the lapse rate greater as a result - oops, smaller perhaps.
[That's impressively incoherent; but one expects that level of quality from Tim Ball -W]
With all the complaints about being labelled conspiracy nutters, you'd think they'd be less eager to throw out conspiracies...
Nonetheless, I'm quite curious to know how CRU managed to wield such power as to set up a website (Real Climate) without actually including any scientist from CRU, and get someone from BAS (you, William) so active on Wikipedia.
[It was all so long ago. Almost everyone has forgotten the true sequence of events. None of them have the memory of a goldfish, and they assume everyone else has forgotten too -W]
Since this seems like an open thread:
Conspiracies lare tough to beat, I ahdn't realzied one was started by Arrhenius:
How about, from Thespectator:
'CJ • 9 months ago
When future historians write about the war against Climate Change they will conclude that it has never been anything but a genocidal fraud started by Sven Aarhenius, president of the Swedish Eugenics Society. Doubling CO2 will do nothing to the temperature since the CO2 band already totally absorbs radiation in the 10 micron band. The so-called “climate scientists” are nothing but paid stooges. Anyone still pushing the AGW fraud is little more than a criminal and needs to be brought to justice. That include politicians, yellow journalists and Green activists who still push the B.S. that Obama can control the Climate by "skyrocketing" the price of fuel for the poor. 's, but it did run up some counters for phrases:
'neilcraig • 4 months ago
The alarmist use of the word "denier" is designed to falsely imply a link with Holocaust deniers, ie Nazis. As such, if Godwin is to be introduced the entire alarmist movement lost long before I ever called them wholly corrupt, lying, thieving, murdering eco-Nazi scum with less human decency than rabid dogs", even though I normally avoid all questionable language by saying "wholly corrupt, lying, thieving, murdering ecofascist scum with less human decency than rabid dogs"'.
[NC hasn't been around here for a while, happily -W]
Putin is unserious, but I think he thinks his epitaph will read "got Crimea back," and he's probably right about that.
[I don't think so. Putin will go down (sort of like Bush) as someone who blew a maor chance to make the world better. I don't just mean the Crimea; I mean most of his presidency, but certainly the last 5 years. He's made Russia hated and feared again, turned it in on itself. He hasn't done that alone, but he's been a major influence -W]
Even more disconcerting is that it's hard to think of a practical and moral way to reunite Crimea with Russia.
[On the contrary, there was an easy way to do that: just wait. Post-Maidan, Putin could simply have waited for the Ukrainian presidential poll, then got a referendum on Crimean succession 6 months later, which would have voted for Russia, followed by an orderly transition. But of course, he had no interest in that. Also, I think, no patience: another mark of a small person -W]
The rest of eastern Ukraine feels more like the sphere-of-influence meddling he's done elsewhere, although with tragic consequences for many people in those areas.
WMC: yes on NC, but I must admit, CJ's claim that Arrhenius started a genocidal fraud was a new one for me.
[I guess I'm getting jaded; even being accused of genocide doesn't wake me up. Its a problem with going over the top too often -W]
The Australian coal industry via the Minerals Council had a go at responding.
It did all go the way they intended.
Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation....
[Well yes. I'm not convinced the Ukrainian govt currently is. Their military efforts look incompetent; whether they should have done it or not is one question, but they should not have done it badly -W]
Your comments on Putin resonate somewhat with the remarks from Alex Salmond about admiring Putin for "restoring a substantial part of Russian pride"..
[Meh. Its a dumb thing to say -W]
Of course restoring Scottish Pride could be simpler, but I've not noticed their plain loaf in the shops lately, and a web search mainly shows up cheese and a LGBT festival.
However, no need to restore Scottish nostalgia..
Any room for such things in the proposed Better Nation?
WMC: well, you've had longer than most of us to get jaded, but this is like temperature reconstructions:
1) Many conspiracy theories cover most current climate scientists, so that is many people, right now.
2) Then, we have the ones that go back to the forming of the IPCC,so now one has a 25-year-old case.
3) But then, some go back to Keeling, especially fans of Beck.
4) But this is the first I heard of going all the way back to Arrhenius. :-) Who knew.
From the outset, the Ukraine seems to have been polarised between factions, neither of which appears to have been nice or democratic.
In the first flush of revolution hopes came to the fore, with a lot of good press for the faction the West has been backing. Sound familiar? . . Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!
Not unlike the Arab Spring.
[No, not especially familiar. The West wasn't backing any particular faction in the Arab Spring. Nor am I sure that the Maidan folk constitute a faction, in the way that the pro-Russian minority in the East clearly do -W]
Ok, I was broadly including the likes of Libya and Syria in the Arab Spring. As someone much more clued up than me wrote,
"And so the scene is set for an exciting clash. Just like in Syria, just like in Uganda, the interests of the people are different from the interests of the leadership. Hopefully the people will win. Hopefully and likely this won’t turn into a civil war. That would be a bad result. See Hobbes, or Brian on Syria or even me on Syria sort of."
[Oh, but you were asserting Western backing of a faction. You can't use my pathetic feeble support to demonstrate that -W]
A while ago, Dunc provided a link to http://pando.com/2014/02/24/everything-you-know-about-ukraine-is-wrong/ and something of it stuck in my memory, though I've almost certainly got the detail wrong.
Meanwhile, our own proud wee Putin sound-alike has got Cameron to provide the referendum of Eck's dreams, with a loaded Yes/No question and Cameron/Osborne almost daily providing reasons for the undecided to want to get away from them. Hence the prospect of the next general election deciding who is going to negotiate the terms of breaking up the UK.
Will they be as generous to Scotland as the Scottish Government white paper assumes?
Doubtless we'll be able to raise enough apathy to stop things from being as unpleasant as the Ukraine, i hope.