Frances, top weatherman

It (it? Philippe Verdier, possibly-ex-weatherman) is all a bit silly, but here's a snapshot from the Torygraph if you like. Its the same old stuff: We are hostage to a planetary scandal over climate change – a war machine whose aim is to keep us in fear... I received a letter telling me not to come. I'm in shock... This is a direct extension of what I say in my book, namely that any contrary views must be eliminated. Apparently the IPCC "blatantly erased" data that was contrary to their conclusions. Yawn. [Update: yup, definitely ex.]

Oh, the picture? That's from The Wildlife Photographer Of The Year 2015 (or direct). As in 2014 the judges clearly picked the wrong best pic.

Far more interesting are rumours of aliens around a distant star but, fun though it is while it lasts, its going to turn out to be mundane. Though it does have echoes of the intro chapters of a couple (couple? Many) sci-fi novels I've read. [See-also: Dynamics of CATS.]

Back to the less interesting, Tamino has another in the Exxon series; this one features Congress critters.

Far more interesting is Timmy (well, and some of BP's words; you can read them direct if you're ideologically opposed to Forbes) on fracking and its impact on the oil industry:

worries over climate change mean that we’re most unlikely, in any reasonable period of time at least, to use all of those reserves and resources that we already know about... oil is not a resource that is going to run out. It does not therefore become ever more expensive off into the future. But it’s fracking that is the real game changer here... The standard economic description of the oil market is one where both demand and supply are inelastic... Inelastic supply meeting inelastic demand means wild price swings. It’s this that fracking changes... it isn’t really a natural resource extraction method... it is a manufacturing process... As you know, the strength of manufacturing productivity has led to a trend decline in the prices of goods relative to services. A fascinating question raised by fracking – and its manufacturing-type characteristics – is whether it will have the same impact on the relative price of oil... The net effect of all of this is that we should expect oil to be much less variable in price in the future. And we should also expect it to be going down in price into the future.

With some interesting caveats re the shale producer's exposure to finance costs, and speculation about the role of current low interest rates. And the interesting observation that It is inconceivable that the reduced dependency of the US on oil imports won’t affect its relationship with some of the key oil producers; and the revere, on China's part?

Refs

* Hersham boys
* Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps, please
* The Lone Ranger - I'd forgotten, as wiki says, some fragments of lyrics were deemed to have "drug" and "homosexual" references - errm, well, its a bit stronger than "deemed".
* December will be magic again with LOL cats.
* The Economic Proof That The FDA's Drug Regulation Makes Us All Poorer - Timmy

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As cheaply recoverable petroluem grows, on global average, higher and higher in molecular weight, necessitating ever more cracking and hydroforming to get it down to the m.w. range wanted to run things, ( octane and all that) the economic attraction of working up from frakked gas to liquids will grow.

The next big thing in Peaks could be a future Pareto optimum
in which the price of gas dictates the limits of petroleum production.

By Russell Seitz (not verified) on 16 Oct 2015 #permalink

Far more interesting are rumours of aliens around a distant star but, fun though it is while it lasts, its going to turn out to be mundane.
Yes, it's probably comets, or something like that, scattered into closer orbits by a stellar companion, or a stellar flyby.

By ...and Then Th… (not verified) on 17 Oct 2015 #permalink

" comets, or something like that, scattered into closer orbits by a stellar companion, or a stellar flyby"
does seem a lot more likely.

We only have one instance of such a large effect so I am not sure mundane is the right description for this. However if everything is relative then relative to aliens I suppose I have to concede it is mundane.

What come before a partial Dyson Sphere? Should we expect a planet to be surrounded with orbiting solar panels/mirrors/whatever and would this cause us to observe low density planets?

Should we pay more attention to planets in habitable zones if they appear to have lower density than we would otherwise expect?

There's only one "Frances" in the AMS Television Seal or Certified Broadcast Meteorologist listings, and she's shown as inactive.

By Raymond Arritt (not verified) on 17 Oct 2015 #permalink

> before a partial Dyson sphere

Solar collectors strung together to make the shadow squares and to power construction for the eventual ringworld.

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 17 Oct 2015 #permalink

Crandles.
Not quite the same thing, but you might find this interesting.

[Fun. What that omits - and what the wiki article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_engine says - is that the thrust from such an engine is tiny. I can't see why anyone would bother build one -W]

By ...and Then Th… (not verified) on 17 Oct 2015 #permalink

> [What that omits – and what the wiki article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_engine says – is that the thrust from such an engine is tiny.]

It doesn't really omit the thrust, given that that is in Equation (1). It does emit what sort of speed this would produce. As I understand it, the idea is that this could move the whole system, if there was some reason to do so. I guess the bigger question is whether or not there could be a civilisation that would have sufficient knowledge to realise that they should, very slowly, move their entire stellar system away from whatever situation they predicted that they should be avoiding in millions of years time. I should probably acknowledge that the author was my PhD student and spent 4 years working for me as a postdoc :-)

[:-). OK, it doesn't omit the thrust, but by now giving an example I think its exaggerating the probability of anyone bothering to construct such a thing. According to wiki - doubtless you could verify the calcs better than me - "After a period of one million years this would yield an imparted speed of 20 m/s, with a displacement from the original position of 0.03 light-years. After one billion years, the speed would be 20 km/s and the displacement 34,000 light-years." That's so tiny it hardly seems worth the bother. And wiki doesn't point out that after a billion years, whatever you were aiming at wouldn't be there any more.

Did you ever read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfbane_(novel) ? -W]

By ...and Then Th… (not verified) on 17 Oct 2015 #permalink

I'm not sure how one can exggerate the probability of anyone building one, given that we don't even know the probability of the existence of a civilisation that could even do so :-)

[Fair comment; what I really meant was that the speeds produced were so trivial that it was hard to think of a good reason for building one; almost any other method of travel seems superior -W]

I haven't read Wolfbane. Is it worth reading?

[Yes, I think so. I've read it at least twice, though not recently. And its vaguely related -W]

By ...and Then Th… (not verified) on 17 Oct 2015 #permalink

[almost any other method of travel seems superior -W]

Sure, if you were trying to go from one star system to another, then that would make sense. In this case, however, the idea is that you're moving everything, including the star. I'm, of course, not arguing that this somehow makes it likely, though :-)

I'll maybe give Wolfbane it a read. Looking for something to read.

By ...and Then Th… (not verified) on 17 Oct 2015 #permalink

Timmy isn't interesting. There are two ways I can think of that the current exponential growth in extraction of oil can end:

1) We keep pulling oil out of the ground until even with advanced technology the cost rises until we can't afford it.

2) A side effect of burning oil, such as the increasing levels of CO2, cause oil to be banned or taxed out of large scale usage, and some other energy source takes it's place.

In the first case, oil price will follow a bathtub shape, falling while technology improves faster than oil is extracted, and rising as extractable oil with any technology is depleted.

In the second case, oil will become worthless on the legal market. Pretax, in the case of a high enough carbon tax, and in any form, if banned by law.

Am I missing a case?

Things that can't go on forever never do, but the way they end can and often is surprising. Even to the experts, and I, Timmy and Dr Connolley are all not experts in this field.

By Phil Hays (not verified) on 19 Oct 2015 #permalink

Timmy seems convinced fracking is like manufacturing and improvements to its efficiency will dominate and it will also allow supply to vary more rapidly.

Fracking is still in its in infancy. We don't yet know whether earthquakes and groundwater contamination will lead to ever increasing regulation and / or licence refusals that will more than offset efficiency gains. Maybe these are just anti-oil green scare stories?

A missing case of an even more bumpy ride rather than smooth curves towards priced out of usage?

[Timmy is suggesting it as an intriguing possibility; and its not his, its BP's. Fracking is indeed still in its infancy; excessive regulation can be used to kill anything, if there's a constituency for it; just look at the rent-seeking cabbies vs Uber -W]

About Verdier:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/15/philippe-verdier-french-we…

"France Télévisions said its rules “prevent anyone using their professional status … to push forward their personal opinions”.

Does anybody know anyhting more about what Verdier wrote in his book, and how it relates to taking him off the air?

I mean, we will probably hear more about this from the usual places, and without accurate information the field is open for myth makers.

[Verdier is certainly using his credentials to promote his crappy book:

(from http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x384bxg_teaser-officiel-climat-investi…). So if anyone wants an excuse for sacking him, they've got one -W]

By Lars Karlsson (not verified) on 21 Oct 2015 #permalink

And here from the French Amazon page for the book:

"Biographie de l'auteur
Philippe VERDIER est journaliste-présentateur à France 2, ex-BFMTV et chef du service météo de France Télévisions. Diplômé d'un master en Développement Durable à l'Université de Paris Dauphine, il a couvert trois conférences sur le climat, dont celle de Copenhague."

By Lars Karlsson (not verified) on 21 Oct 2015 #permalink