June 23, 2013

Latimer Alder at Bishop Hill comments:

97% of catholic priests believe in transubstantiation
97% of homeopaths believe in homeopathy
97% of drunk drivers believe that they are fit to drive
97% of all suicide jihadists believe in 72 virgins awaiting them in paradise

Lovely insight.

Just How Unusual is UK Weather?

June 19, 2013

The press, television news, and even some people in UK are all aflutter about the “unusual” weather in UK.

My take is that it has been cool but dry, based on my attempts to use my global HQ office in the back garden and the state of our lawn (many brown patches of thirsty grass).

The problem is so big that the UK Met Office convened a conference to discuss why this “unusual” weather is happening. This meeting also received a lot of attention from the press and television news.

Neil Catto has written a guest essay on Watts Up with That about the “unusual” weather at a “southern UK location”. Well worth a read. Sort of what I notice without doing the number crunching.

“… 14.5 years of perfectly normal very stable weather.”

Update: Bishop Hill and “Commentors” comment here.

Ford to Change the Interface

June 17, 2013

This reported on The Wall Street Journal.

“Ford to Add Back Dashboard Buttons After Complaints”

One of the things that bothered customers was the inability to quickly change the channel or volume on the radio through familiar knobs, he said. As Ford redesigns its vehicles, the flat control panels with add more buttons and knobs and the main screen will become simpler.

I sympathise. And support the change back to physical knobs.

True cost of Britain’s wind farm industry revealed

June 16, 2013

Interesting and valuable article in Telegraph today on the true cost of wind energy. Not really news to some, but news to many, probably.

A new analysis of government and industry figures shows that wind turbine owners received £1.2billion in the form of a consumer subsidy, paid by a supplement on electricity bills last year. They employed 12,000 people, to produce an effective £100,000 subsidy on each job.


An Energy Bill, currently before Parliament, is the subject of wrangling over prices for renewable energy for the next 20 years. The wind industry says that without price and subsidy guarantees, a “green collar” jobs boom will not materialise.

Google Reader is Dead. Long Live Google Reader

June 16, 2013

I was horrified to a few months ago that Google Reader was to be killed by Google on 1 July. Horrified. Google Reader was in the centre of my reading world, for many years.

After some looking around I found Feedly (www.feedly.com) and I’ve never looked back. It’s terrific. Today they told me via a message that all my feeds from Google are now in Feedly and I’m no longer dependant on Google Reader.

I like Feedly better than Google Reader. Good move.

Growth allowed in NYC flood plains?

June 13, 2013

Mayor Bloomberg of New York plans a massive investment in flood protection. It is perhaps not unlike the concept of the Thames Barrier in London. Today the New York Times editorial supports the plan and says:

About 400,000 New Yorkers live in flood-prone areas. City analysts estimate that, by the 2050s, 800,000 people will live within those areas. As Mr. Bloomberg said of the need to start working immediately: “Whether you believe climate change is real or not is beside the point; the bottom line is we can’t run the risk.”

How is it possible that they would allow a doubling of population into flood prone areas? Why not stop growth in areas prone to flooding and move those already there?

Quantitative Risk Assessment

June 13, 2013

Yesterday I attended the Palisade Software Risk Conference in London. While one or two of the presentations were a miss, there were some terrific presentations and conversations with other attendees which were enlightening and inspiring. It had been a while since I used @Risk software in earnest so I thought it was about time to kick the tires again.

I’m organising a golf outing for later this summer. We are certain of the costs (unit and overheads), but are uncertain about how many people will attend. I am assuming 21, but it could be as much as 28 (unlikely) or something less than 21. I’ve assumed here 12 as the minimum.

I know how much the golf rounds cost, how much food costs, the budget for the prizes, etc.

We plan to charge £100, which is £15 more than we normally charge. More than that is considered beyond the market.

How does this look if we model it in @Risk? See the following summary of the computation of surplus income:

The spreadsheet:


The Output (surplus) shown as a probability distribution:


Nice. It tells me we should consider charging more for the event as the current projections show we are unlikely to cover our costs.

Test of Byword

June 5, 2013

Upgraded to Byword 2.0 and this is the first that publishing to WordPress.


June 3, 2013

I am a bit spare at the moment. I am brimming with ideas for the next few projects. One idea which surely has nor assured commercial value to future clients is me learning how to use “R”, a statistical programming language. I suppose the itch it scratches is my zeal to revisit what I learned in grad school many years ago, but now so approachable due to great advances in tools and products. Comments?

Climate Change Explained with 6 Bullet Points

June 3, 2013

See John Christy’s six points at: