Thursday, September 30, 2010

A New Hurricane Record?

Gary Padgett, writing to a tropical storm list-serv I am on, provides an interesting factoid, which I reproduce here with his permission (emphasis added):
We’re now at the first of October, and there’ve been no Category 3 or higher hurricanes (IH) to make landfall in the U. S. so far this season. The chances of a U. S. landfalling IH decrease significantly after 1 October. Over the past half-century, the only IHs to make landfall in the U. S. after 1 October were Hilda (1964), Opal (1995), and Wilma (2005). Hilda and Opal were already named tropical storms on the map as September ended—the only case forming in the month of October was Wilma.

If an IH does not make landfall in the U. S. during the remainder of this season, this will make five consecutive seasons without an IH landfall in the U. S. The last such instance of this (based upon the current HURDAT file) was 1910 – 1914. However, that being said, some caveats are in order.

(1) The current Saffir/Simpson classification of historical U. S. hurricanes was made by Hebert and Taylor in 1975. The parameter used to classify most of these was central pressure (CP), based on the older nominal CP ranges associated with each category. Nowadays, the S/S classification is based strictly upon the MSW at landfall.

(2) There are several cases, especially in the late 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s, for which the assigned S/S category does not match the Best Track winds, so when they are eventually re-analyzed, the landfalling category could be adjusted up or down.

(3) Hurricanes Gustav and Ike of 2008 both made their U. S. landfall with an estimated MSW of 95 kts, and with CPs of 957 and 952 mb, respectively. Had these storms occurred in the early 20th century, they would have been classified as Category 3 hurricanes, and barring any reliable wind measurements (which would have been unlikely) would have probably remained classified as such during the re-analysis. Similarly, though not within the past five years, Hurricanes Floyd and Isabel, which made landfall with an estimated MSW of 90 kts and CP around 956 mb, would have been classified as Category 3 hurricanes based on the CP.
Even with the caveats, the US has had a remarkable streak of luck with respect to hurricanes -- or maybe, it's climate change! ;-)

Energy Access in Nigeria

Today's FT has a special report on Nigeria, and has a very interesting discussion of energy access:

Despite average cash injections of $2bn annually over recent years and large untapped gas reserves, electricity capacity remains at about 40 watts per capita, roughly enough to run one vacuum cleaner for every 25 inhabitants.

China manages 466 watts per person, Germany 1,468. South Africa, the continent’s economic powerhouse, generates 10 times as much electricity as Nigeria for a population one-third the size.

Officials calculate that the potential activity stymied by lack of electricity amounts to $130bn a year.

In the absence of a functioning grid, those who can afford it, spend about $13bn a year running the small generators whose rattle and sputter is the soundtrack of urban life. The poorest 40 per cent have no access to electricity.

Banks estimate that spending on power drives up their costs by 20 per cent, helping push interest rates well beyond what small businesses can afford.

Potential investors are hardly filled with confidence when the lights go out at ministries or – terrifyingly – airports.
The article has two very powerful quotes:
As Babatunde Fashola, Lagos state governor, said of the [Nigerian business conference] audience: “For them, electricity has become as important as oxygen.”
As if the audience needed reminding, the organisers added: “The cost of darkness is infinite.”

Let the Misrepresentation Begin

It was only a matter of time before the blogcritics engaged The Climate Fix, which I welcome.  Unfortunately, they are off to a very bad start.  William Connolley, formerly of Real Climate fame, accuses me of spreading lies:
Well, not quite direct lies, more in the nature of deliberately-misleading by omission.
What is it that Connolley accuses me of omitting?  It is part of a quote from Steven Schneider. Connolley explains, based on his reading of Greenberg's review in Nature:
There is a long-standing tradition of abusing this quote from Schneider: which means that neither RP Jr nor DG can have done it accidentally, which makes the abuse all the more surprising. If you don't know the context, the quote continues:
This 'double ethical bind' we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both
You can find Schneider complaining about being misrepresented in this way by Julian Simon all the way back in 1996 in the APS newsletter.
The problem with Connolley's accusation is that I include the supposedly omitted quote in The Climate Fix and I also cite and quote from the APS Newsletter.  All of this appears on pp. 202-203, and here is that discussion in full, and you can see clearly that Connolley is simply wrong in his accusation.
Demands for certainty, however, don’t just come from politicians. Climate scientists also impose such demands on themselves, in order to make their scariest projections even scarier. This leads to more problems. In one of the more widely quoted comments ever made by a climate scientist, Steve Schneider wrote:
On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but—which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and bein honest. I hope that means being both.19
For his part, Schneider emphasized that this double ethical bind should never be resolved by resorting to mischaracterizing uncertainties. In response to the frequent use of his quote to suggest a green light for alarmism, Schneider wrote, “Not only do I disapprove of the ‘ends justify the means’ philosophy of which I am accused, but, in fact have actively campaigned against it in myriad speeches and writings.”20 Indeed, the vast majority of climate scientists that I have had the pleasure to get to know and work with over the years shares Schneider’s passion for accurately conveying climate science to the public and placing it into its policy context. However, not all of their colleagues share this passion, coloring views of all of the climate-science enterprise.
I welcome engagement and criticisms from the blogosphere, but making things up and failing to do one's homework is pretty uncool.

[UPDATE 10/1: William Connolley has begrudgingly struck through a few words in his post, which I suppose indicates the minimal possible admission on his part that he was wrong.  Even so, syndicated and unchanged versions of his post circulate in the blogosphere.  I suspect that I'll see much more of this type of attack based on public discussions of The Climate Fix.]

No Stickers & a Great Act of Sportsmanship


I had a great conversation with a coach I had not spoken with in months yesterday. He told me about a Running Back - Kick/Punt Returner on his team who is one of the best athletes in the state of KY. The young man's nickname is "Flea" - not too big but hard to see and hard to catch ...

They hand out award stickers on Mondays from the previous game so the players can put them on their helmets ...

Coach hands Flea 2 more for his performance and he begins to walk away. "Flea, where are you going?" "I'm going to give these to my offensive linemen ... without them I don't get any yards"

Coach later sees the back of Flea's helmet - which should have over 20 stickers on it ... NOT 1. He has given them all away.

Coach then told me, "You see, we talk about humility and charity ... sometimes you don't think they're listening ... well at least we know Flea was listening."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Daniel Greenberg on The Climate Fix in Nature

In the current issue of Nature, science policy polymath and well-known cynic Daniel Greenberg reviews The Climate Fix. Greenberg has some very positive things to say, upbraids me for my political naivete (showing his well earned role as dean of science policy cynics) and gets one big idea in the book very, very wrong.

First, the positive:
Pielke merits admiration for his staunch defence of scientific accuracy and integrity. . . The author is well qualified to contest the established organs for addressing climate change, principally the IPCC and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. . . Pielke is not an apostle of inaction but a pragmatist who repeatedly and deservedly portrays his diagnoses and remedies as common sense.
Second, the upbraiding:
[H]is well-argued book ignores political reality. Neither politicians nor the public respond to nuanced, cautiously worded messages from the arcane world of science. . . He largely fails to recognize, however, that common sense is frequently unwelcome in climate politics.. .
If my book is too be criticized for its nuance and excessive common sense, well, I suppose I can live with that;-) 

Finally, Greenberg introduces a serious misrepresentation of my views when he characterizes them as follows:
Although Pielke accepts that the evidence for human influence on the climate system is robust, he stresses that the goal of cutting global carbon emissions is incompatible with economic growth for the world's poorest 1.5 billion people.
No. Not even close.  In fact, I argue much the opposite -- it is through providing energy access to the world's poorest and sustaining economic growth that lies our best chance for decarbonization.  This is the essence of the "oblique" approach that Chapter 9 focuses on.  I can't imagine how Greenberg got this confused as I state it ad nausem, unless he skipped or skimmed over the last chapter.  In the review he also confuses a carbon tax with a coal tax.  He further mistakenly suggests that I see a focus on carbon dioxide as a tradeoff with adaptation, when again, I say the opposite, specifically that they are not substitutes for each other.  Greenberg's expertise is not climate policy, but science policy, so that certainly explains his emphasis and perhaps his errors.

Ultimately, Greenberg concludes by emphasizing his own cynicism:
The Climate Fix illustrates the dilemma confronting scientists who seek to influence politics. Telling it like it is does not thrive on Capitol Hill. But shaping the message to suit the politics often involves a betrayal of scientific truth and a distortion of public and political understanding.
From where I sit, focusing on presenting politically acceptable policies built on a foundation of common sense is exactly what policy analysts and other experts should strive to do in the political process.  I simply reject his implication that there is a trade-off between honesty and effectiveness, and say so in the book.

I fully accept his criticism that the book introduces nuance and common sense into a debate that welcomes neither. Greenberg's review is appreciated, however it is unfortunate that he badly mischaracterizes some of the major points in the book in as prominent a venue as Nature.

Fog Lights

Have you ever cycled in a dense fog?

For the past couple of days, we have been surrounded by this stunning, surreal landscape. There is no distinction between sky and ocean. The dunes, grasses and rosehip bushes are wrapped in a milky whiteness. There is a tornado warning in effect, but for now everything is eerily calm.

To watch someone approaching through the fog from a distance has always fascinated me.  It looks as if the person is coming from nowhere, or from the sky.

I took the opportunity to see how Graham's lights would perform in these conditions, and they were fairly well visible - even at slow speeds.

The lights on my Rivendell Sam Hillborne are powered by a Shimano Alfine hub.

The headlight is a Busch & Müller Lumotec IQ LED Cyo Senso Plus, and its performance is stunning. The beam is not just powerful, but surprisingly large - so that cycling in the dark feels as if there is always a street light on. There is a standlight feature (the light remains on for a few minutes after the bicycle stops), as well as a "senso" feature, whereby the light turns itself on and off depending on how dark it is.

The tail light is a Busch & Müller 4D-lite Plus, which has classic looks, 4 LEDs, and the same standlight feature as the headlight (though the Co-Habitant thinks the standlight on this one is not sufficiently bright).

An additional feature of this tail light is that it is surrounded by a metal cage, which prevents the light from being damaged when it is bumped. This is very useful when the bicycle is dragged through doors and left at bike racks.

I am confident that others can see me in the fog with the light set-up I have on this bicycle. Seeing the road, however, is another matter. What do randonneurs do in these situations? I cannot imagine that any bicycle light can really be strong enough to act as a true fog light in the daytime.

Why Energy Efficiency Does not Decrease Energy Consumption

[NOTE: This is a guest post by Harry Saunders, cross-posted from The Breakthrough blog.]

Why Energy Efficiency Does not Decrease Energy Consumption

By Harry Saunders

I recently co-authored an article for the Journal of Physics ("Solid-state lighting: an energy-economics perspective" by Jeff Tsao, Harry Saunders, Randy Creighton, Mike Coltrin, Jerry Simmon, August 19, 2010) analyzing the increase in energy consumption that will likely result from new (and more efficient) solid-state lighting (SSL) technologies. The article triggered a round of commentaries and responses that have confused the debate over energy efficiency. What follows is my attempt to clarify the issue, and does not necessarily represent the views of my co-authors.

More Efficient Lighting Will Increase, Not Decrease, Energy Consumption

Our Journal of Physics article drew on 300 years of evidence to shows that, as lighting becomes more energy efficient, and thus cheaper, we use ever-more of it. The result, we note, is that "over the last three centuries, and even now, the world spends about 0.72% of its GDP on light. This was the case in the UK in 1700 (UK 1700), is the case in the undeveloped world not on grid electricity in modern times, and is the case for the developed world in modern times using the most advanced lighting technologies."

The implications of this research are important for those who care about global warming. In recent years, more efficient light bulbs have been widely viewed as an important step to reducing energy consumption and thus greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Moreover, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have produced analyses that assume energy efficiency technologies will provide a substantial part of the remedy for climate change by reducing global energy consumption approximately 30 percent -- a reduction nearly sufficient to offset projected economic growth-driven energy consumption increases.

Many have come to believe that new, highly-efficient, solid-state lighting -- generally LED technology, like that used on the displays of stereo consoles, microwaves, and digital clocks -- will result in reduced energy consumption. We find the opposite is true, concluding "that there is a massive potential for growth in the consumption of light if new lighting technologies are developed with higher luminous efficacies and lower cost of light."
The good news is that increased light consumption has historically been tied to higher productivity and quality of life. The bad news is that energy efficient lighting should not be relied upon as means of reducing aggregate energy consumption, and therefore emissions. We thus write: "These conclusions suggest a subtle but important shift in how one views the baseline consequence of the increased energy efficiency associated with SSL. The consequence is not a simple 'engineering' decrease in energy consumption with consumption of light fixed, but rather an increase in human productivity and quality of life due to an increase in consumption of light." This phenomenon has come to be known as the energy "rebound" effect.

The Empirical Evidence for Rebound

The findings of our SSL research inspired The Economist magazine to write a commentary about the study that was mostly correct but made a couple of errors, which we responded to in a letter. In our response, we clarified that energy prices would need to increase 12 percent, not three-fold, in order to reduce the consumption of electricity for lighting, which, to its credit, The Economist posted on its web site and published in its letters section.

Evans Mills of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory wrote on the Climate Progress blog that The Economist had "inverted" our findings. However, The Economist did not "invert" our findings, it had simply overstated an implication of them.

Efficiency advocates sometimes dismiss rebound by only looking at "direct" energy consumption -- that is, consumption by households and for private transportation. Examples of rebound in this part of the energy economy would be driving your Prius more because gasoline costs you very little, or turning up the thermostat in your efficient home. But these "direct-use" rebounds are small in comparison to "indirect-use" rebounds in energy consumption. Globally, some two-thirds of all energy is consumed indirectly-- in the energy used to produce goods and services. A residential washing machine may be energy efficient in terms of function, but in terms of production, the metal body alone requires energy to mine, smelt, stamp, coat, assemble and transport it to a dealer showroom and eventually a residential home. The energy embedded in your washing machine, or just about any product or service you consume, is very large. And remember that any money you save on your energy bills through efficient appliances or the like is re-spent on other goods and services, which each take energy to produce, all while more productive use of our money (e.g. in spending, savings and production) spurs a more robust economy, demanding even more energy.

As our recent SSL research suggests, there is strong empirical evidence that even in the "direct" part of the economy, the rebound effect can sometimes be so substantial as to eliminate essentially all energy reduction gains. But in my new research (which relies on a detailed, theoretically rigorous econometric analysis of real data), the rebound effect found in the larger "indirect" part of the economy is even more significant -- and more worrisome.
Varying degrees of rebound occur because the phenomenon works in several ways. Increasingly efficient technologies effectively lower the cost of energy, as well as the products and services in which it is embedded. This results in firms consuming more energy relative to other production inputs and producing more output profitably. Firms and individuals benefit from cheaper and more abundant products and services, causing them to find many more uses for these (and the energy they contain). A more efficient steel plant, for example, produces cheaper steel that, in turn, allows firms and individuals to afford to find more uses for the same material.

While some find the notion that increased energy efficiency increases energy consumption to be counter-intuitive, the economic theory is remarkably commonsensical. Mills claims that the idea that the rebound effect "has been postulated in theory but never shown empirically to be significant" is not the case. After many years, rebound theory has advanced to the point that it is now a reliable foundation for empirical study and the empirical evidence firmly suggests rebound exists. And remember that the "rebound effect" for other factors of production is expected, even welcomed; economists have long expected labor productivity improvements to drive even greater economic activity, for example, thus increasing demand for labor and creating new employment opportunities in the economy as a whole, even as efficient production may eliminate a handful of jobs at one factory.

The Implications of Rebound

There are significant potential implications of high levels of rebound. One is that greater energy efficiency may be a net positive in increasing economic productivity and growth but should not be relied upon as a way to reduce energy consumption and thus greenhouse gas emissions. Particularly in a world where many billions lack sufficient access to modern energy services, efficient technologies such as solid-state lighting may be central to uplifting human dignity and improving quality of life through much of the world. One might even argue that energy efficiency is still important from a climate perspective, because when efficiency leads to greater economic growth, societies will be better able and more willing to invest in more expensive but cleaner energy sources. But in this way energy efficiency is no different from other strategies for increasing economic growth. What should be reconsidered is the assumption that energy efficiency results in a direct, net decrease in aggregate energy consumption when there is a growing body of research suggesting the opposite.

Dr. Harry Saunders has a B.S. in Physics from the University of Alberta, an M.S. in Resources Planning from the University of Calgary, and a Ph.D. in Engineering-Economic Systems from Stanford University. Saunders coined the "Khazzoom-Brookes Postulate" in 1992 to describe macro-economic theories of energy rebound, and has published widely on energy economics, evolutionary biology, and legal theory. He can be reached at:

Empty Debate and Climate Attack Dogs

Earlier this week, Andrew Turnbull, who was Cabinet Secretary under Tony Blair, had an op-ed in the Financial Times stating his views on the need for the climate science community to rebuild trust.  Lord Turnbull's essay, written under his byline as a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, is fair and generally unremarkable.

He writes:
To restore trust, it was essential that the government, parliament, the University of East Anglia and the Royal Society should respond quickly to get to the truth. They set up three inquiries but did those inquiries resolve the issues? A report by Andrew Montford for the Global Warming Policy Foundation shows serious flaws in the inquiries, which it says were marred by the failure to ensure independence in the panel members; by the refusal to take account of critical views; and by the failure to probe some serious allegations.

The result has been that the three investigations have failed to achieve their objective: conclusive restoration of confidence. In The Atlantic, Clive Crook of the Financial Times referred to “an ethos of suffocating group think”. That is exactly what the GWPF report revealed, with the investigators almost as much part of the group as the scientists.

The UK’s new parliamentary committee on science and technology needs to look again at how the inquiries were conducted to see if the exoneration claimed is merited. The government then needs to look at the serious criticisms of the IPCC made in the recent InterAcademy Council Report.
Reasonable people can certainly debate whether or not the various UK inquiries succeeded in restoring confidence or not, and whether or not it would make sense for the new UK government to reopen these issues.  My judgment is that the inquiries did not go very far in restoring trust among many, but at the same time, this situation does not justify a new set of investigations.  At this stage, these are issues for the scientific community to deal with, not governments.  So I disagree with Lord Turnbull's conclusions.

In a letter printed in today's FT, Bob Ward, a public relations specialist at the London School of Economics seeks to counter Lord Turnbull's arguments.  The manner in which he chooses to do so illustrates how it is that debate over climate change has devolved to comical farce.  The entirety of Ward's objections to Turnbull's arguments are that the GWPF has a flawed logo on its website and that Ward is unaware of GWPF funding sources.

I agree that the GWPF logo is flawed and my own policy views run counter to those of the GWPF.  However, my judgments about trust in climate science have nothing to do with the GWPF choice of logos or their funding source.  Even if they had a brilliant logo and money provided by Jeremy Grantham (whose generosity pays Mr. Ward's salary), I'd judge their policy recommendations as being flawed.  Ward insults FT readers by suggesting that they should judge Turnbull's arguments not on their merits but by irrelevant distractions.  Such is the state of climate debate in many quarters these days.

Ward's frequent efforts to reduce debate over climate change to tabloid-style mud wrestling is symptomatic of a debate that has lost touch with what matters.  It is remarkable to me that an institution of higher learning such as LSE would hire a spin doctor to systematically engage in attacking reputations across the blogoosphere and letter pages of newspapers.  Of course, when Bob does rarely engage in a public, scholarly debate, he is cordial and the attacks disappear.  I am unaware of anyone playing an analogous PR "attack dog" role in a US academic context.

You Are Invited to an Invitation-Only Event

On October 11 in Washington, DC I will participate in a conversation with Bryan Walsh, of Time magazine at the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes.  Drinks and snacks will be served.  The event is "invitation only" but the organizers have said that it is OK for me to invite readers of this blog in the DC area to attend.  You need only RSVP to in order to secure a seat.

The event is co-sponsored by the Breakthrough Institute; Third Way; Yale Environment 360; the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University; the Said Business School at the University of Oxford; The Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder; and the School of Communication at American University.

Details follow in the flyer below:

Texting and Virtue

Helping your players stay focused throughout the week can be challenging. One tradition that is working and bringing a lot of results is the idea of texting or emailing quotes to your players that center around the virtue theme of the week.

For example, let's say you are focusing on on being "Self-Less" this week. In the morning you could text the quote and then in the afternoon you could text them the little resolution. This enables you to be in constant contact with them in a "format" that they use all day - their phone. SportsLeader has this all developed for you.

Our kids get a million bad messages a day. How about we give them some good ones?


“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Ask your Mom/Dad about their hobbies as a teen

“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Speak well of a teacher

“The miracle is this – the more we share, the more we have.” – Leonard Nimoy

Visualize a perfect play

“Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves.” – Horace Mann

Catch up day – do one of the resolutions you missed

“There is no happiness in having or getting, but only in giving.” – Henry Drummond

Go to a sibling’s next sporting event

“Man is not on the earth solely for his own happiness. He is there to realize great things for humanity.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Serve your team by doing something to help without being asked

“Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier.” – Mother Teresa

Treat girls/women with respect and kindness 

Facets of the Minimalist Movement

The minimalist movement is a voluntary simplicity response to the recession, and I think it is a relatively positive one. But like with all things, there is the good, and there is the bad. Despite being minimalist, there is a lot of diversity and overlap in this movement, so I toss out this diverse and overlapping taxonomy to describe these folks with some healthy criticism tossed in.


The most basic form of the simplicity movement are folks who tidy up their lives. This is the gateway drug to the minimalist movement and can be seen on display at a website like Unclutterer. The problem with this approach is that it doesn't radically change your lifestyle. It just tidies it up a bit and doesn't eliminate the consumerism and what have you. The goal is not elimination but organizing. I like Leo Babauta's response that "minimalism is the end of organizing." When you get rid of the shit you don't need, there's nothing left to organize.


These folks are neo-hippies who read Thoreau, tend to be Luddites, eat vegetarian and organic foods, shop at thrift stores, grow gardens, and ride bicycles instead of driving cars. These people are more authentic and get a great deal of respect and admiration from me even if I don't buy into all of it.


Minimalist design fetishists are those who masturbate in front of an iMac, and there is no porn on the screen. They are into the minimalist aesthetic and like elegantly designed products and software and houses.

The problem with this approach is that it negates simplicity. That minimalist shit is expensive as hell and is about vanity as much as any other consumerist lifestyle out there. Where others go out and buy a bunch of shit, these people are obsessed with having perfect shit.


These are folks who tell you to go simple in order to quit your job and be a full time bum. What do you do for money? You blog about being a bum and get people to buy your shit on the internet. Everett Bogue at Far Beyond the Stars is the primary guru on this shit. He is like Tim Ferriss for the minimalist crowd. These folks minimize for the sake of travel and enjoying life. It is essentially the surf bum lifestyle supported by the internet.


These are people who opt to live in 100 square foot or less. This is the opposite extreme of the McMansion set.

Most of these tiny houses end up on wheels to allow people to get around burdensome zoning regulations. I will just tell you like it is. These people are trailer park people with less space. They should just buy an Airstream camper and put it on a lot. I like their inventiveness and do-it-yourself spirit, but the reality is that they can afford to live in a bigger home even if it was one they built themselves.


Any minimalist will tell you that this way of life comes in different flavors. I agree. They must also agree that some of it is just plain dumb. Here is the way I think it should be done:

-Get rid of shit

This is the one point that all lifestyle minimalists can agree on. You want to eliminate the stuff you don't need from your life and stop living to acquire more shit. If you have to rent a unit from one of those storage places, you have too much shit. If it takes you an entire day to clean your house because you have to move all the shit around, you have too much shit. If you can't park your car in your garage because of all the clutter you have in there, you have too much shit. If you are making payments on anything but your home, you are an idiot, and you have too much shit. Get rid of as much as you can.

-Keep it simple

Whenever you design something, write something, or whatnot, keep it simple. Simple is not the same as perfect. All it means is eliminating the extraneous elements. Don't think Mies van der Rohe. Think Henry David Thoreau.

A simple life should be an authentic life not a sanitized life like in a museum of modern art. This is why I prefer the term "simplicity" to "minimalism." Simplicity retains the soul while minimalism in aesthetics cuts the soul out of it. It also allows me to buy used furniture and clothes from the thrift store.


When I think of simplicity, I think of the Amish or the Puritans and their work ethic. It seems so many minimalists want to be bums and equate working a job with some sort of dread and misery. They are only half right. Many people don't have real jobs but bullshit office jobs. No one wears a hard hat in Dilbert. This is because the misery is not on the shop floor but behind the desk. Guys like Tim Ferriss can extol working four hours per week because that is the sum total of the productive effort most of these people put out. Idleness is not the antidote. Idleness is the problem. If you can convince your boss to let you work four hours a week, he will be so impressed at the feat that he will eliminate you and give your four hours of work to someone else since what you did on a daily basis amounted to a bunch of nothing.

Simplicity isn't about being a slacker. It is about doing authentic work for a change.

-Live in a real house or apartment.

Big houses are dumb. Whether it is a mansion or a McMansion, you are just wasting resources on a status object. Conversely, you shouldn't trade the castle for a dollhouse. To me, the ultimate home is a simple cabin back in the woods sparsely furnished.

-Eschew big cars.

A big vehicle makes sense for some people. If you are a farmer, I understand the need for the big F-150. I will never understand the Cadillac Escalade. Outside of some agricultural or industrial necessity, there is no need to drive a gas guzzler. SUVs are just moronic. The Hummer? What the fuck is up with that?!

-Buy quality.

When it comes to products and clothing, I think durability and function should be the main considerations. I don't focus much on aesthetics. This is why I like Carhartt over The North Face. Stuff that lasts a long time and not dictated by fashion is cheaper because you can go a decade without replacing it. I still wear the T-shirts and work pants I first started with when my old man put my ass to work as a kid. Authenticity never goes out of style.

-Keep your hobbies and leisure in check.

I am all for having fun, but I don't think it should cost an arm and a leg in terms of money and time. Your leisure should improve you in some way. This means taking up running or learning a new skill or reading science and history. Leisure shouldn't be about expensive toys or spending weekends watching football games. The problem is that people engage in leisure activities that cost them more than enrich them. It's more about stuff than experiences or living vicariously through others while surfing the couch.


I don't know if I can consider myself a minimalist. That is a loaded term. What I can say is that I believe in simplicity and authenticity. This has been a change for me over the last couple of years. It represents a reevaluation of what constitutes the good life. I can have more stuff in my life, but I don't see where it makes my life any better. I see people living in McMansions, driving big cars, and making payments on toys they don't have time to play with, and I don't see the point. I just see people trying desperately to convince themselves that they are living the good life. But the good life is not making money but earning money doing real work. The good life is not struggling to make payments on a big house but being secure in a smaller home. The good life is not owning a $3000 mountain bike you never ride but going for a daily run in $80 shoes. The good life is not a ball game on a giant flat screen but a good book and time to read it. We already have rich and abundant lives. It is people who are trying to sell us something that have convinced us that something is missing.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lätt träning och 32or från Tyskland

Lccj 2x20kg: 5
Lccj 2x24kg: 5
Lccj 2x28kg: 5
Lccj 2x24kg: 10 (10rpm)

Ett lätt kort pass bara för att hålla formen uppe inför Kuusamo.

32or från Tyskland

Äntligen kom mina 32or. Det tog i och för sig bara en vecka, "äntligen" refererar mer till att det tagit så lång tid för mig att bestämma mig.

Jag köpte dom från Frakten låg på 70 euro för 64kg.


tar 50 euro för 2x32kg till Sverige. Fast jag köpte från i alla fall. Man får meila till dom, web-butiken funkar inte då sidan ska räkna ut trp-kostnad.

Själva kloten ser väldigt fina ut. Jag lyfte samma märke ( tidigare i Hamburg och gillade dom. Handtaget är 33mm diameter (WKC-standard) vilket man bör tänka på då vissa kettlebell-organisationer - bla den ryska - menar att handtaget måste vara exakt 35mm. Andra menar att 35mm är ett maxmått och att 32/33mm vanligare i praktiken (WKC och Federenko).

Mina huvudvikter är 24or; jag kommer bara att tävla med 24or. Där känner jag att jag bör ha ett par med 35mm handtag att öva med för att vara på "säkra sidan". Men 32or kommer jag aldrig att tävla med så där känns det inte så viktigt med ett par mm till eller från i handtagsdiameter. Jag märker för övrigt inte så stor skillnad då jag fångar vikten i fingrarna.

Annars ett järnklot... inga besvärande gjutfogar under handtaget. Ingen plastic padding på handtaget. Ser snygga ut men kommer snart bli lite slitna. Testade ett par cleanar och där kändes de bra.

Vad ska jag göra med dom då? Lite cleans och farm-walks den närmsta månaden. Inga dubbla jerks i sikte på ett tag. Men kanske går det med nån' gång :-).

The Radio Cardiff Sports Show - September 28th 2010

The Ryder Cup begins at Celtic Manor in Newport this Friday and the eyes of the golfing world will be fixed on Wales this weekend. Can Colin Montgomerie’s team regain the trophy for Europe after defeat in the US 2 years ago? Crucial for the American’s will be the form of world number one Tiger Woods who is overdue a return to form.

Also coming up, we’ll have boxing news with our expert Matthew Eves and a UFC update from Yousef Haider.

Cardiff City maintained their second spot in the Championship last Saturday with a 2-1 victory over Millwall. Tonight they take on Crystal Palace and our man Simon Williams is there to bring us all the team news just before kick off at 7:45.

And as if all that wasn‘t enough we also have our new top ten Fantasy Premier League scores.

Lovely Dress Guards Give-Away

To brighten up your Fall, I am giving away these fantastic, colourful Dutch dress guards, which I reviewed here earlier.

To receive the dress guards, please ask your bicycle - yes, your bicycle - to post a comment here explaining why he or she would like them. A link to pictures of the bicycle is a plus (but please no nudity). My Dutch bike, Linda, will then decide which she likes best and will announce the recipient on Friday.

Comments by humans will be disregarded; bicycles only please. Multiple bicycles belonging to the same owner are eligible. Have fun, and thank you for reading Lovely Bicycle!

This Just In -- Upcoming Debate with Benny Peiser

This just in -- I will be debating Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London on November 16th.  The event will start at 5:30PM, so mark your calendars.  I'll ask if it can be streamed or otherwise made available.  I'll share further details as they are firmed up.

Exchange Between and IEA

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Early this month I mentioned a report by the group on apparent discrepancies in emissions reporting across different national and international agencies. argued that "the empirical discrepancies in the current annual CO2 emissions estimates far exceed the annual reduction targets generally proposed by policy instruments like the cap‐and‐trade program or national commitments."  That blog posting was followed by a behind-the-scenes discussion on CO2 data reporting between and the IEA. With the permission of IEA, Shakeb Afsah of has asked if I'd post their exchange as a guest post.  I am happy to facilitate an open exchange on this subject.  The guest post follows.  -RP]

Guest Post from

First, I want to thank Roger and his blog visitors for their comments on our research note that discusses the issue of discrepancies in CO2 emissions numbers reported by various organizations worldwide. Our main goal was to highlight that differences in measurements and methodologies behind various CO2 numbers make it difficult to verify how well countries meet their annual reduction commitments (which are typically between 1-1.5% on an average annual basis). Various comments and ideas on this blog suggest a preference for using a policy indicator like the share of energy from carbon free sources that have fewer data quality concerns as opposed to estimating annual CO2 emissions. In our future research notes we plan to delve into such metrics in more detail.

We also want to share our email exchange with Ms. Karen Treanton of the International Energy Agency (IEA) because some of the concerns raised by the IEA gets to the heart of the methodological and data issues that we sought to amplify in our note. We would like to thank Roger for providing us this forum , and we look forward to your comments and hope that IEA would also participate if readers have questions.

Email from IEA:
Dear Mr. Afsah,

In principle I am not against your using our estimates of CO2 emissions from fuel combustion, but you really should use them correctly.  The conclusions you draw on your website are misleading to say the least.  We are completely transparent as to what we are including and how it is estimated.  For example, we do not include fugitive CO2 emissions (IPCC source category 1B).  Category 1B is included in the PBL and UNFCCC numbers – I do not know whether it is in the BP numbers. However, that would in part explain the lower numbers for the IEA.  By ignoring the methodological differences you are creating confusion and throwing doubt on numbers that are actually more robust than you make them sound by saying:

Experts assert, rightly, that perfectly consistent estimates of CO2 emissions are unattainable, but the current system is too flawed to be credible. Not only does it enable countries to fudge their actual emissions reductions, it has already resulted in some nasty political disputes. China recently challenged the energy use estimates of the IEA, calling it “not very credible.” If energy use data are challenged, it automatically raises concerns about national CO2 estimates.

You refer to the problems that the Chinese had with IEA numbers.  In fact, the IEA stands by its numbers.  The Chinese were comparing energy balances for the US calculated by the Energy Information Adminstration in the US DOE (on a GCV basis) with the energy balances for China calculated by the Chinese government (on a NCV basis).  That alone will make a large difference in the numbers but does not in any way cast doubt on the robustness of the numbers.  In addition, the 2 balances were calculated using different assumptions for the primary energy equivalent for energy that is not combusted (i.e. hydro, solar, etc.) and China was not including non-commercial biomass.  Having said that, none of these 3 differences would make a difference to the CO2 numbers that result from them if they are estimated correctly.

Instead of helping the cause for reducing CO2 emissions, lack of transparency and proper notes might lead to the reverse effect, creating more trouble and giving more arguments to people who criticise the validity of facts and figures. This is why we would appreciate some revisions to your website.

Before making a decision on providing you with additional information, I await your comments to my email.


Karen Treanton
Head of Energy Balances, Prices and Emissions Section
Energy Statistics Division
International Energy Agency’s Response:

Dear Ms. Treanton,

Thank you for your email and for sharing your concerns about the CO2 numbers we presented in our data discrepancies research note. We value feedback and constructive criticisms from experts like you, and accordingly we have taken a look at the adjustments to UNFCC’s CO2 numbers for IPCC Categories IB1 and IB2 for fugitive emissions. Our analysis shows that even after adjusting for fugitive emissions, which is around 0.4% for the US (EDGAR 4.1/2005 estimate), there is a difference of more than 100 million tons between IEA and UNFCCC numbers for the year 2006. Therefore our central conclusion about CO2 discrepancies remains unchanged. If we price CO2 at around $10 per ton, this discrepancy would be worth more than a $ 1 billion. In our view it is a sizeable amount that deserves some policy attention.

Regarding your comment about our reference to the reaction from China about the IEA energy use estimates, our main goal is to simply highlight that the differences in the CO2 and energy use numbers from data reporters are a potential source of dispute. We are simply citing what was reported in the Financial Times.

Further, we respectfully disagree with your statement that we are not helping the cause of CO2 emissions reduction. On the contrary, a healthy debate on data quality issues for CO2 numbers is precisely what is needed to ensure that as we move forward with various policy options, we also build a good capacity to monitor and verify CO2 reductions. We believe that there is a genuine issue of discrepancies and inconsistencies across CO2 and energy use data reporters—each organization may be right in the choice of their methodologies but there is a need for further harmonization and increased transparency. We would also urge IEA to release its estimates of CO2 emissions for the years 2008 and 2009 which are currently available only on a commercial basis.

Despite our differences of opinion on this issue, we look forward to continuing a dialogue with you and your colleagues at the IEA regarding current methodologies for measurement of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions around the world. We also hope to engage other leading reporting authorities in a similar dialogue. We would also strongly encourage a common conversation among reporting authorities for national-level energy and emissions data regarding potential avenues for harmonization of standards to aid in the comparability of estimates from different data reporting sources.

Thank you very much and please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding this response.


Shakeb Afsah and Michael Aller
The CO2 Scorecard Group
Bethesda, MD

Follow Up: Extension of Spanish Coal Subsidies to be Approved by EU

Last week I commented on a pending EU decision on Spain's desire to increase subsidies for domestic coal production.  According to news reports, the EU is going to rule in favor of coal:
Spain will win EU approval this week to double aid to its coal industry until the end of 2014, despite criticism from environmentalists and the Spanish watchdog, three people with direct knowledge of the case said on Monday.

Spain will also have slightly more time to phase out aid than other EU countries, which have until October 15, 2014.

The decision by the European Commission (EC), the EU competition watchdog, comes amid strikes by Spanish coal miners demanding unpaid wages and EU approval of the plan to let Spain favor domestic coal over imports.

"The Commission will say that subsidies should not go beyond December 31, 2014," one of the people said.

Opponents within the EC are seeking to close any loopholes that could allow Spain to extend this aid beyond 2014.

"Some commissioners are seeking to ensure a political assurance from Spain that this will not be extended beyond 2014," said a second person.

The European Union executive will announce its decision on Wednesday, when Spanish miners hold their second 48-hour strike, which also coincides with a nationwide general strike, part of a wave of unrest to hit Europe this autumn.

Spain's competition regulator has criticized the aid, saying it would distort the power market. The scheme forces power plants to burn more expensive domestic coal, which utilities say will increase prices.
 The implications for EU carbon policies are clear -- grant us decarbonization, just not yet.

2 Great Experiences

What a 18 hour span!  We left for East Lansing at 1:00 PM on Saturday afternoon from Cincinnati.  Myself, Bob Crable and two great guys from Winton Woods H.S., Donnie Gillespie and Adam Gergen (both BB coaches).  The Spartans were playing Notre Dame at 8:00PM and we had to move to get to East Lansing.  Bob Crable and I had coached Greg Jones at Moeller but he had never seen him play, collegiately live in person.  Watching a Spartan victory, and Greg Jones play well especially vs. ND...... would be priceless.

Well, we made it (despite that terrible U of M traffic outside of Ann Arbor, something Crable and I could agree on!).  What a great game!  As most of you know, the Spartans pulled it out in overtime with a fake field goal.  I celebrated the whole way home.  We waited for Greg after the game.  Crable and I were able to congratulate him, and his parents.  Greg was spent, but the look on his face seeing us was worth the trip.  We drove that night back to Cincy, from 1:30Am until we pulled in at 7:00AM.

All of us realized the significance of our trek up North.  All of us were able to see an incredible game in person.  We all worked together on the trip up and back, celebrating football, coaching, playing and friendship.  To see Greg Jones and so many other young men playing and knowing you had a part in their success was such a joy.  It gave us all new energy to coach our current Greg Jones's, knowing that the impact we have on their lives is immeasurable.

Go Spartans!!
Coach Willertz
Winton Woods Wrestling
MSU Alumni 1985-1990


I had the opportunity to see Ohio State play Eastern Michigan this past Saturday with 4 friends who run a Conquest boys club with me. It was the first time all 5 of us could do something fun together. The day was amazing but to top it off we got to meet Archie Griffin - the only 2 time Heisman Trophy winner. His humility and virtue was inspiring.

Do something fun with your friends. It refreshes the soul.

Monday, September 27, 2010

At last some Spring weather!!!

I was beginning to think that the sun was never ever going to come back but the last couple of days have been lovely and I have begun to feel like we might actually be coming out the other side of what must be, the most disgusting winter ever!

Brennan has not had a lot of work or attention with the weather being so tempestuous but yesterday I brought him in and saddled him up and had a wee ride in one of the paddocks. He's so good, bless him, and very patient with me as I try hard very hard not to unbalance him.

I am entering him in some in-hand classes at the Carterton Spring Carnival which should be an interesting first outing for him - it looks like we will be competing against miniatures too, what a hoot!! I managed to score an amazing bargain through Tackshop in the form of an in-hand bridle set so I eagerly await its arrival to see if it will fit. Apparently it is just the right colour for Mountain and Moorland classes so it seems I did well. Now I just need to find a brass stallion bit.

Snorkel is growing well. She has her mother's sensitive nature but when I bring them in every morning for a feed I tie Libby up and I work with Snorks. She's very smart and lets me put her halter on and pick up all of her feet and rub her all over. She's not overly fond of being fussed over but stands well for me whilst I do everything. I am thrilled with her really. Such a pretty little filly with lovely ground covering paces like her parents. I can't wait to see what she will grow into. Perhaps if Amy does end up being a rider, she will make a nice large pony for her in time.

Riding Brennan:


I don't know where to begin with this one. I'm trying to get back to consistent blogging by having regularly recurring features. I have a blogging schedule, and Monday is my SOC day. I've learned from the example of Ian Fleming and other writers to be workmanlike. You have to treat writing like a job or else you won't get any writing done. Waiting for inspiration is dumb because you will find it is more fun to read other writers than to do your own writing.

One of the things that has been on my mind recently has been the salutary effect of apathy. Many who know me will have heard my canned lecture on the Greeks and happiness. I don't think all of the schools had it completely right or wrong but had some small piece of the larger puzzle. In the case of apathy, this would be the realm of the Stoics and the Skeptics. Philosophers dedicated to precision will take issue with me at this point and split some hairs, so I will simply make a general point about apathy and how it helps sometimes.

There is a great deal in life we don't control and can't control. What makes it worse is that we often know what is going to happen, and there's nothing we can do to change the outcome. As a friend once told me, wisdom is the truest form of pain. How can you remain in the backseat and watch the idiots at the wheel?

The biggest example I can give is the looming Tea Party Betrayal. I don't believe for a minute that the GOP takeover in Congress will amount to anything except to hamstring Obama for the next two years. Tea Partiers are just rubes who will get suckered again like they did with the Contract with America back in the 90's.

You have to stop caring. This doesn't mean that you stop working. I am always amazed at the patience of Ron Paul. He has been at this for close to 40 years now. You learn patience over a time period like that. It isn't the patience that comes from believing in some sort of inevitable victory. The fact is that there is no guarantee of that whatsoever. It is simply the patience of knowing you are right and will always be right.

Imagine being in attendance at a meeting of the Flat Earth Society. You can spend time trying to change these people. Or you can become stupid like them. Or you can do the only sensible thing which is to not give a shit.

Apathy is an escape. You have to reserve the right to not give a shit. It is disappointing to watch things unfold in the way you predict, but there is an upside to it all. You will have the opportunity to gloat. There is a perverse pleasure in that. You will get to laugh at idiots. Right now, I have spent the last two years laughing at the leftards for their support of Obama. I will get to spend the next two years mocking John Boehner. This GOP revolution will be no different than the last one.

I think change happens, but it happens in spite of what happens at the ballot box and not because of it. Clever idiots believe they wield some sort of power over things, but they don't. This is what makes them idiots. The thing to do is speak the truth and let the reality echo what you said.

I am routinely lumped in with crackpots and bullshitters because of my unconventional viewpoints. But I usually end up with the last laugh as my viewpoints are vindicated. And that's the whole point. Apathy allows you to laugh.

Apathy also allows you to be at peace, and that is the ultimate benefit. I used to stress over a lot of shit, but I have learned to not care. I have a friend of mine who is supremely laid back, and I suspect that this is his secret. He just doesn't think it is worth the toll to get worked up over shit.

Achieving this mindset is a matter of Eastern style meditation. I think of Zen masters and all that shit. When I am at work, I have found that the best stress reliever isn't to fret and worry but to work really hard. I don't do this so much because it results in getting a bunch of shit done. It results in the immediate sensation of flow and the endorphin rush that comes from exertion. I lose myself in doing. This is the supreme way to go. We associate apathy with passivity and inactivity, but it is better to think of it as indifference. It's like the athlete who is so zoned in that he loses track of the score and doesn't realize that he is winning the game.

The bottom line is that you simply have to do the right things. Whether you succeed or not doesn't matter. It doesn't change what you are supposed to do. It's like when I was in college, and I changed my focus from graduating to learning. The result was that I graduated and was surprised at how fast those four years went. It is a strange and wonderful feeling.

The 4th Annual Tulane Law School National Baseball Arbitration Competition

I am pleased to announce that the 4th Annual Tulane Law School National Baseball Arbitration Competition will take place in New Orleans on February 10-11, 2011. The event is a great opportunity for students interested in sports law to compete in a simulated salary arbitration competition modeled closely on the salary arbitration procedures used by Major League Baseball.

In addition to the arbitration competition, this year’s event will feature a mini-symposium where a number of our “celebrity” guest arbitrators will discuss issues impacting Major League Baseball and the sports industry. The lineup of panelists/arbitrators includes (with more to come):
  • Josh Byrnes, Former General Manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • Carter DeLorme, Partner at Jones Day in Washington D.C., performs salary arbitration work for the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers.
  • Jon Fetterolf, Partner at Williams & Connolly in Washington D.C. and baseball agent.
  • Clark Griffith, Attorney and AAA Arbitrator, Former Owner and Executive Vice President of the Minnesota Twins and former Chairman of Major League Baseball Properties

  • Michael Weiner, Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association.

The competition will be capped at 24 teams, so students interested in competing should submit their registration form and entry fee as soon as possible.For more information, official rules, and registration materials, please visit the competition’s website.

See you in New Orleans!