June July 2021


EXPERTS

Experts are people who have studied a particular branch of technology or knowledge and (usually for a fee) will provide an opinion on their area of expertise.  An expert's view can cover the full spectrum.  So if you had an economic interest in a particular outcome, you would seek out the experts who believe the opinions you want to propagate.

As examples:

In the matter of losing weight.

Atkins diet devotees will say ignore calories, just do not eat more than 20 grams of carbohydrates each day.  Calorie counters will say carbohydrates are irrelevant, just eat less than 2,000 calories a day.  So if you own a patent on a particularly tasty carbohydrate that only has a few calories, then you should avoid Atkins specialists when advertising the virtues of your food.

Then there are experts on Covid.

Covid-19 is still a hot topic.  Some "medical experts" are of the opinion that Covid-19 is nothing but a slightly nastier version of the flu, and that the 1% of deaths are mainly of immune compromised older people who were about due to die anyway.  Other medical experts are concerned that Covid-19 seems to be mutating into more virulent forms such as the Delta variation, and that the vaccinations are becoming less effective. 

So we are having violent, disease spreading demonstrations by mostly young, not at much risk people who listened to the experts who do not think Covid-19 is anything to worry about.  Those experts had outrageous publicity (no doubt supported by AstraZeneca's competitors) that "AstraZeneca is killing people under 50" when in fact it was killing about one person in each million.

And the experts on "Climate Change".

Sixty years ago as a Mechanical Engineering student, it occurred to me that we were burning all this coal and oil, and I wondered what was the effect of adding all that carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.  I asked one of my lecturers, and he dismissed my concerns by saying the balance was unchanged.

Fast forward forty years and someone else thinks of the issue. And carbon dioxide (CO2) is described as a "greenhouse gas".  Which means that, like the glass in a glasshouse, it allows light through, but blocks infrared (heat) radiation.


However the temperature rise is not directly proportional to the increase of Carbon Dioxide, but to the log of that increase.  So the increase that produced a 1C rise must be doubled to produce the next 1C rise, and doubled again to produce the next 1C rise. And so on.

Not only that, but photosynthesis becomes more efficient and needs less water as the CO2 concentration rises.  This is called "negative feedback" because the higher CO2 rises, the faster CO2 is removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis.

Of course that extra carbon dioxide will cause warming. But when I looked into global temperature history, I learned that for the last two and a half million years the world has been going into an ice age, which experts have named the "Quaternary ice age".  Every hundred thousand years over the last two and a half million years we have a ten thousand year "window" which the experts call "inter-glacial" periods.  I found this all on Wikipedia, and wrote it up with graphs on the CLIMATE page above. (See top left of this page for a link. Figure 2 is from Wikipedia.).

I also noticed that five million years ago, (more than four million years before Homo Sap appeared) the global temperature was 2C higher than now.  And that 15,000 years ago the average global temperature was about 16C colder than it is now.

So to me, the people who want us to pay for windmills and photocells are paying for one class of experts, and I wonder where their $$$$$ comes from.  The other experts, who know that the Quaternary ice age is about to resume, are branded "deniers".  Colour me a denier.  I am less worried about turning up the aircon than about my great grandchildren having to escape glaciers.