My Blog

What a Bloody Awful Website!

I am told that all good websites should have a clear idea of their intended purpose and remain tightly focused and true to that purpose. By that definition, dear reader,  you have just landed on a bloody awful website.  Fortunately, I am unlikely to lose sales because this is not a commercial website. This is very much a personal website whose primary purpose is to learn how to build a website.

I long ago learned that the best way to learn anything is to do it and that the best thing a teacher can do is get out of the way and give the student space to learn. All the best teachers give their students permission to make mistakes,  they interfere with reluctance and only when a mistake is judged as too dangerous  or perhaps too expensive to allow it to continue.

On this website, I am both student and teacher and I hereby grant myself permission to screw up as much as is necessary to get the job done. To quote my old woodwork teacher: “The man who never made a mistake never made fuck-all.”

The Blog

This website  contains my own personal blog. I joined Facebook a few years ago and I developed a taste for expressing my opinion from time to time on this or that subject. A few of the less ridiculous of those posts have been extracted and preserved in my blog for a reluctant posterity.

I have found that WordPress, with its excellent blog support provides an excellent means of archiving files of all kinds.

The French Connection

This website concerns itself with the French language, it contains facts about the french language and its often surprisingly close relationship with the English language.

I am not a native French speaker, but my wife is French and I have studied her language for many years.  I do not pretend to be fluent in French and I am certainly no linguist but I have learned a few things here and there and I would like to share some insights that others might find useful. Here is a taste!

I will be adding additional French language stuff from time to time.

The Photos

I just learned how to add photos: to view or download my photos select Photos in the menu bar or just click here.


I live in sunny Australia  these days though I was born under the leaden skies of the North of England.  I really didn’t care that much for the English weather and I never really got used to it. A move south to London improved my social life but the weather was as bad as ever. One year it got really cold, the miners went on strike and all the lights went out. Not for nothing  was it was called the “winter of discontent”. There really didn’t seem much point in staying any longer; what with having lost the empire on top of the weather being so bad, so I moved to Australia and I have been here ever since.

I was once an engineer. I worked for the British Post Office and was fortunate enough to work at their research establishment at Dollis Hill. A fit of madness drove me to get into the  Marine Seismic game. Sanity eventually returned after 20 years or so and I finished up in a 3D modelling and animation business from which I eventually retired.

If you think you know me or you would like to get in touch for some other reason, go to my contact page and drop me a line.  If you are trying to reestablish contact, you should include some item of information that identifies you and is likely to jog my memory of you. No Trolls please.


A cautionary note, I can be opinionated at times, I believe profoundly in my right to free speech and in the right of others to disagree with me. I oppose the idea that anyone has the right not to be offended.

A quote from Richard Dawkins, quoting the editor of Scientific American puts my position succinctly: “Science is interesting and if you don’t agree you can fuck off” 

NOAA Data Falsification?

Did NOAA Falsify Temperature Data ?

The anti-science brigade and their Climate-change denying cohorts are at it again.

Specifically they claim that: “NOAA scientists upwardly adjusted temperature readings taken from the engine intakes of ships to eliminate the “hiatus” in global warming from the temperature record.”

They further claim that “This is a blatant attempt to politicize science by the administration and should be exposed for the dishonest research it is”.

Look at the accompanying graphic.


The top graph (A) shows NOAA global surface temperature changes over the last 130 years. The data are shown with new corrections Vs old corrections and as you can see the differences are tiny.

The lower graph (B) shows the same data with raw (uncorrected) data Vs Corrected data. The temperature data are shifted upwards prior to 1940 but from then on the raw and corrected data are strikingly similar.

According to the raw, unadjusted data, global surface temperatures warmed about 0.9°C from 1880 to 2014. According to the new NOAA analysis, they warmed about 0.8°C during that time. That’s a bit more than in the previous version of NOAA’s data set (0.75°C), but the net effect of these adjustments is to reduce the overall estimated warming as compared to the raw data!

I’ll say that again: the net effect of these adjustments is to REDUCE the overall estimated warming as compared to the raw data!

If you wanted to exaggerate global warming you would simply show the uncorrected data set, because it says that the world has warmed up about 2.071 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. The corrected data set lowers this estimate to about 1.65 degrees Fahrenheit.”

But why adjust/correct the data? Isn’t this just fudging the numbers? Isn’t the pure raw data more accurate?

Contrary to the conspiracy theories, climate scientists process the raw temperature data for an important reason – to remove biases that don’t represent real temperature changes. The big ones in the new NOAA analysis deals with changes in the ways ocean temperatures have been measured. They’ve been measured from water samples in insulated buckets, uninsulated buckets, from valves in ships’ hulls (I happen to be a world authority on valves in ship’s hulls), and from instruments on buoys. As is the case for all measurements, these disparate temperature observations have differing inherent measurement errors and biases.

Adjustment of raw observations is necessary to more closely approach the truth. This is not conspiracy it is Science.

Stranger In a Strange Land

So there I was in the bar of the Steak and Ale just across Central Expressway from the Texas Instruments plant in Richardson (Dallas), Tx circa 1976.

I was with Steve (Evans?), a fellow Englishman, enjoying that delightful institution of happy hour while talking to a a few of the local inhabitants. After we had got past the “y’all aint from around hear” part and expressed our undying gratitude for Uncle Sam rescuing us from those naughty Germans, we were asked what we were doing in Dallas.

This was 1976, the bicentennial of the declaration of independence of these good people from my oppressive English ancestors.

I couldn’t resist it, so I told them that Steve and I were lawyers from England and that we were here to renegotiate the lease.

What Lease? They asked.

The lease that General Washington signed at the end of hostilities, I explained.
They looked at me quizzically.

I explained further that the American lease was for 200 years and that it was about to expire and that Steve and I were there to renegotiate the terms of an extension to the lease or explore the possibility of a buy out.

They seemed slightly relieved when we explained that the lease agreement only covered the original 13 colonies and as such, Texas and all lands west of the Mississippi were not part of the lease agreement.
They only twigged that we were taking the piss after some other UK friends around the table couldn’t keep a straight face.

I had completely forgotten this conversation from forty years ago until I was reminded of it by the attached clip. Apparently history is still a foreign language in Texas.