This year's model

On 5, I thought we were pointing out too far; but as bow there was nothing I could do. And anyway we start at 11, so you want to point out a bit. And then the gun went and we had a clean start through the winds to the lengthen to the rhythm all on autopilot really which is how you want it. After about 20 strokes I glanced down and my heart was at 160 which is good for me so I didn't need to put any more in. Past the outflow and all continued well; by first post we were gently dropping City two which was no great surprise as I'd watched their practice start and it was a little tentative and ragged. Around Grassy we were - and this was a surprise - on station with Nines two ahead, despite their double bucket rig and bucket hats. Everything was smooth, all was well, all the nerves had smoothed out. Half way down the reach Nines bumped Robs with us still nearly on station, which bodes well for tomorrow. The eagerly awaited question of this year was settled there, as Nines one had caught Tabs; and for good measure, Robs one, City one. Tabs three had wound down a bit so we pretended to chase to top finish for the over bump and got to a length, which was fun; but City two and three and possibly Nines three behind got confused and continued past bottom finish, forgetting that they are lower table folk. Trace.

Day 2: we were even more blatantly pointed out today, to the extent that Harry had to back down on 10 to try to correct, and I was so distracted that I only squared up on 5. But despite being able to feel the swerve we still got a good start and gained a little. However, we didn't gain enough, and while it felt fine I think we fell victim to that old bumps trap, the waiting game: grinding them down on the Reach as a plan. As it happens we did end up closing to 3/4 by the bridge, but that's not enough, even though it was more of a serious effort than yesterday's finish: my heart went up to 167 which is very close to my red line. Afterwards, general agreement that tomorrow we should hammer FP, the Gut and Plough reach harder, and some genteel conflict between keeping the rate high off the start - which would be my preference - and needing to settle somewhere. We are, we think, better at rowing than them; they are younger and fitter en masse; to capitalise on our advantage I think we need to push the rating up. Trace.

Day 3: much better pointing, and we tried to execute our "somewhat harder off the start" plan but, well, essentially discovered we were already going as hard as we possibly could. What we also rather ominously got to see was Peterboroug bumping City 2 behind us just after FP, which doesn't bode well. We got a whistle earlier, but still only one. On the finish line, Robs very nearly caught but were just a fraction late, which is sad, as it would have been nice to chase someone slower. Trace. The camera is pointed a little more inboard this time so you get to see my grey beard and astonishing biceps.

Day 4: rain on the way down - rain when I was marshalling W2 earlier - but not raining during the race. After what seems like days of not being pushed from behind, so much have we got used to it, Peterborough have moved up behind us and seem to be catching City boats quite fast. So the thrill is back. We go off the start fast, and keep the rating high down FP, and ever so slightly to our own surprise this works: not only do P stay on station but we get a whistle on Robs before FP. Sadly that doesn't get any closer but then again neither do P. There's a bit of swerving around a bumped-out Robs on Ditton but our cox handles that well; now there's nothing ahead of us but the Reach and... then it's over, with P distant. After that only a night down the Waterman then City and despite my self-promises too much beer. Trace.

Of M2

Paul Holland blogs M2: day1, day2.


The One Viable Solution To Climate Change?

An article so bad it unites mt and WUWT, albeit for slightly differing reasons. The article by Steve Denning (who?), uncritically channelling a Manhattan Institute report, sees solar, wind and nooks as unviable, and concludes, in mt's rather accurate paraphrase, "Let's get the smart people to come up with something nobody's ever thought of that doesn't have drawbacks!" which has echoes of John McCarthy's solutions.

The article starts with
we are near the theoretical limits of what is possible from efficiency improvements in existing hydrocarbon technology or from wind, and solar energy and battery storage... [and] Hydrocarbons collectively supply 84% of the world’s energy. wind, solar, and batteries provide about 2% of the world’s energy and 3% of America’s.
The second part is meant to show you how piffling renewables are; the first presumably is to convince you that renewables can't grow much more.

But these are both non-arguments. They're direct from the MI report, and I suspect our author hasn't managed to think his way around them, so I will do it for you, in the unlikely event that you can't.

Theoretical limits

The argument that we're close to the limits on efficiency, and are therefore stymied, is silly because that's not where the increase in wind or solar will come from: it will come from more deployment. Which people consistently underestimate. I could write more words, but really his error is that simple.

Nooks: public unease

His killer argument against nooks is public unease. There is truth in this, but to quote the quoteable but not entirely accurate EW at WUWT: Has anyone else noticed how weak green excuses for not embracing nuclear power are? I mean, on one hand greens tell us the world will end in 12 years or by 2050 or whatever, yet in the same breath they tell us nuclear power is too dangerous because there might be a few meltdowns. How could the risk of a few meltdowns possibly be worse than the end of the world? And of course in some places - e..g. France - this unease seems to be overcome. I once thought we would be obliged to overcome this, now I'm doubtful: solar will probably take over instead.

Proportion of supply

Their 2% value isn't really an argument, just a note about the present. And a somewhat deceptive one; this says that renewables (mostly hydro) account for more than 20% of global electricity. It does tell you something about the maturity of wind+solar though: if it is currently a small proportion, we're not well used to integrating large proportions of it into supply. Though the UK survived well enough recently.


While I'm here, this report from the IEA says that "modern" bioenergy is bigger than hydropower, which is bigger than wind+solar combined. I find that somewhat surprising.


I haven't bored you with rowing for a bit, and didn't have any other pic to hand. Town bumps is next week, we've been tapering and doing a few short starts; I tried pointing the riggercam onboard as an experiment. Yes, two could sharpen his catches a little.


Can planting trees save our climate? - RealClimate by Stefan


The Jeffrey Epstein Case Is Like Nothing I’ve Seen Before?

Quiet, innit? Don't worry, there have been plenty of fireworks behind the scenes. It turns out that there are places where writing "I like stoats" is a mistake. But moving right along - skipping for now the Graun's Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’, but don't worry, I'll get back to it5 - we come to The Jeffrey Epstein Case Is Like Nothing I’ve Seen Before; Great wealth insulates people from consequences, but not always, absolutely, or forever by Ken White in The Atlantic. This post will be another attempt to discuss some of the ODOV ideas I tried to discuss in Aristotle's politics. Do not fear! I know this discussion is doomed, just like the previous one: I'm really just writing down my thoughts.

Anyway, let's begin by quoting enough of the article to get the substance of the case:
In 2006 and 2007, [billionaire Jeffrey] Epstein—once a reliable companion of the well connected—faced extensive, detailed allegations that he paid multiple minors for sexual contact and for their services in procuring other minors. Most people, hammered with that kind of evidence, would spend the rest of their lives in prison. But Epstein could afford the lavish attention of a defense team staffed by legal luminaries such as Alan Dershowitz and Kenneth Starr. Most of us hope an attorney will defend us competently at trial, but the superrich can afford to go on the offense. Epstein’s lawyers hounded the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, which was considering federal charges... Epstein’s team secured the deal of the millennium... Epstein agreed to plead guilty to state charges, register as a sex offender, and spend 13 months in county jail, during which time he was allowed to spend 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, out of the jail on “work release.” In exchange, the Southern District of Florida abandoned its criminal investigation of Epstein’s conduct, agreed not to prosecute him federally...
Why did the Department of Justice cut such a deal? the article plaintively cries, before answering with the obvious "because he was very rich"1. There is an ideal that justice is the same for all. Indeed, this is one of the bedrocks of the liberal society, and a society that did not strive towards this ideal would be poorer. But we all know that in practice the ideal isn't true. If you're rich, you can afford better lawyers. In some senses, this is a condemnation of our legal system: a good legal system would be far more immune to quality-of-lawyer in cases. But we2 don't have a good legal system: we have a tolerable4 one. This is the point to recall Adam Smith's quote: Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice.... Generally people quote that for the easy taxes bit, and sometimes for the justice part (when contrasting with, say, Russia or Nigeria or Venezuela) but people usually omit the "tolerable" from consideration; or if they include it, they read it as tolerable-or-above. But the thought I wish to think here is that AS meant "at least tolerable, and not too strict". Law is custom, and so an over-strict attempt to adhere rigidly to the written law, if that doesn't fit custom, will not succeed; or will strain society; whichever you prefer3. This is but one particular example; there are many others, which of course escape my mind at present.


Not strictly relevant here - I didn't even mention his name - but via the Economist I see Editor’s note: Alexander Acosta announced his resignation on July 12th 2019. See-also Aunty.


1. As a light side-issue - which is why it's down in the notes - I draw your attention to the article's "The personal attacks on the prosecution likely helped too: Federal prosecutors aren’t used to being on the defensive". I think this is true, but actually just points to a different problem on the other side: rephrased, it could be "FPs are used to being high-n-mighty and having people tremble before them".

2. Countries of the West: the US, the UK, Europe, other happy countries.

3. In a doomed attempt ot prevent people falsely accusing me of suggesting rich malefactors should get off scott-free, I point out that I didn't suggest that, and he didn't.

4. Arguably rather better than tolerable in some ways, in view of the next few sentences, but I couldn't think of a better word.

5. Update: actually, I can't be bothered.


* Ooh! Another good one: Mike Pompeo’s Faith-Based Attempt to Narrowly Redefine Human Rights by Masha Gessen in the New Yorker; or you may prefer his own words rather than MG's interpretation: Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo Remarks to the Press.
Kepler was wot, you don’t say?
An appeals court says Donald Trump may not block critics on Twitter
* The Broader Effects of Trade and Tech by Bryan Caplan
* Was Jeffrey Epstein’s plea deal fishy? - the Economist