November 4, 2013

Ryanair is in the news today. They are reporting their financial outlook shows reduced earnings. The stock market is responding and crushing their share price.

While I don’t wish bad tidings on anyone or any company, Ryanair is one company with which I have twice experienced as a customer. The first was opportunistic with the spirit of “it can’t be as bad as I hear”. The second was a “let’s try again” as they flew where we wanted to go.

I have not, and promised myself, I would never ever, try again.


July 26, 2013

at “Niche Modeling” a story titled “How Did Climate Skeptics Know the Scare was not Real?” talks about how the climate scare is collapsing and how many scientists are renouncing their previous certainty.

It is instructive to look into ourselves and ask – how could the skeptics have been right – when the consensus of the learned experts thought differently?

My theory is that due to their scholarship in other fields – such as engineering, the hard sciences, and economics – skeptics are attuned to genuine scientific insight and not deceived by the “uninspired pastiche of catchphrases and clichés” that constitutes the majority of global warming research.

Correct, IMHO.

Adaption to Weather Can be Shown to Work

July 16, 2013

Phys.org has a article today “Long-forgotten seawall protected New Jersey homes from Hurricane Sandy’s powerful storm surges” which discusses how two residential communities on the Jersey shore withstood attack by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“A forgotten, 1,260-meter seawall buried beneath the beach helped Bay Head weather Sandy’s record storm surges and large waves over multiple high tides …”


“Despite the immense magnitude and duration of the storm, a relatively small coastal obstacle reduced potential wave loads by a factor of two and was the difference between widespread destruction and minor structural impacts, the researchers said.”

People are not intended to build and live on the Jersey Shore without risk. They do not have a “right” to build homes there and expect, without reservation, they will withstand the ravages of nature. They do not have the right to build on the Jersey Shore to have their property destroyed and then expect government (other people) to bale them out.

But with investment in storm and flood protection, including not building in areas not sufficiently protected against storms and floods, risk can be reduced. The above demonstrates that.

Nothing is for free.

Update 17 July 2013: Anthony Watts asks:

” … makes you wonder about past storm intensity and the need to protect shorelines from storms coming from the sea. With all the hype surrounding “Superstorm Sandy”, it is interesting to see that 150 years ago, simple engineering made the storm less intense in this one area.”

I wish I had thought of that angle.

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.

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.

Climate Change Explained with 6 Bullet Points

June 3, 2013

See John Christy’s six points at: