Bad beekeeping: spring recolte 2022

PXL_20220521_184150443Another post for my record, and perhaps your interest.

Note to self: please make up new frames for the Autumn so I can take out the crystallised ones. At least... five; and better more.

Saturday: to my new apiary aka N+N's garden, to see what state the girls are in. The answer turns out to be:

"East" aka two-super is not in good shape (quite possibly directly related to the aforementioned swarming) with almost no stores, and brood in the top super, and - probably related to that - bees trying to get into the top super from outside. Sigh. 

Well, I tried to shake the bees down into the brood box, and put it back together, and hoped.

"West" aka three-super is much better. All three supers were nearly full, alas of semi-crystallised honey. And that is my fault for doing it this weekend rather than the last; but life has been busy. In my defence the rape is still yellow albeit faded. And so I go through the hive, patiently wiping bees off frames and moving the cleared frames off to a spare super a little way away - see pic. I've never gone for the "clearing" using bee escapes method, since wiping works pretty well. And through all of this the bees were kind and patient. We - Nk helped, the wheelbarrow was full of compost and hence unavailable - humped the frames down to the porch, where the old giant bandsaw provided a helpful table for decapping and spinning.

PXL_20220524_064022465 There things went better than I'd expected: it was not totally crystallised, instead about half or perhaps more span out. That lasted until dusk around 9:30, so more processing was postponed for a day.

Or perhaps two, as it turned out I was busy in London all the next day. Returning on Monday, what had been fairly liquid on Saturday had turned distinctly gloopy, but the worst case - of turning hard inside the spinner, which I've had before - hadn't happened; so I duly drained / forced all the honey out, took it home, warmed it enough to filter, duly filtered it, and now it sits in bowls awaiting jars. And it will probably set again.



Clash of the titans: Mann vs Gates, with a side of Hossenfelder

PXL_20220522_112553822 Mann is sad about Gates' disappointing and somewhat defensive answer to the question I posed to him via the Graun.; Hossenfelder says I'm with @BillGates on this one. Claiming that solving climate change is simple because we have the technology misses the point. This isn't a technological problem. It's a social, political, and economic problem.

Mann's "question" is one of those "it's not really a question it's more of a statement" kind of questions. He begins You’ve said you don’t know the solution for the politics of climate inaction and also that we need a “miracle” to address the climate crisis. But the obstacles aren’t physical or technological at this point (my bold). 

To understand the question you need to know that Mann is referring to Gates in 2016 - which is odd in itself; a lot has happened in six years - and that the word "miracle" doesn't have its conventional meaning of something requiring divine intervention; indeed, it has pretty well the oppostive meaning: of something that is quite likely to happen (another example of a miracle according to Gates is the polio vaccine). Mann continues  "The only real obstacle is having the political will to invest adequately in those technologies and put in place market incentives that accelerate the needed clean energy transition".

Gates's answer It’s weird to have… I mean, how do you think we’re going to make steel? How do you think we’re going to make cement? Most of the emissions are from middle-income countries. And the ability of either asking them to bear the huge premium and cost of clean approaches, or asking rich countries to subsidise that, that collective action problem is not likely to be solved with current green premiums. So it’s almost like he doesn’t acknowledge all the different sources of emissions. That’s weird... I don’t understand why he’s acting like he’s anti-innovation also seems off point to me, although consistent with his previous opinion that we do need FutureTech. I think there are three position: A: we can and will solve GW with TodayTech; B: we could do that but actually we'll use FutureTech at least in part; and C: we need FutureTech. I think B is correct; Mann is too much on A, and Gates on C. And Hossenfelder has misread everyone (Mann isn't saying it is simple-cos-we-have-tech; and Gates isn't saying the problems are primarily political).

Which is uncannily a replay of Half of emissions cuts will come from future tech, says John Kerry. And Mann, there, was again saying "no, we'll use current tech". Mann's point, I think, is "lack of tech is not the problem, and waiting for FutureTech is a bad idea", which is true, but uninteresting at least to me, because everyone agrees... although Gates manages to give the impression that he doesn't: there isn't a huge premium to clean tech; solar is competitive in a great many places. Mann's assertion that the problem isn't "physical" is doubtful; part of the problem is indeed the vast amounts of existing physical infrastructure.

Gates, oddly, makes no reply on the "political will" part. Perhaps he just hates politics and doesn't want to talk about it - many tech folk do, for the obvious reasons - and is counting on tech to solve the problem. Which I think it will, if the pols don't fuck things up too badly.

Score: Mann loses points for a badly phrased question; and for failing to analyse Gates' reply, but Gates loses more for getting the wrong answer.

So, in the end, this is all heat-and-noise with no real progress in the discussion.


* Timmy says No: We don’t want, desire or even care about how much any one company invests in itself. We do care that the system as a whole continues to invest. For investment in doin’ stuff is what makes that future richer.
* Quotation of the Day… from Ludwig von Mises’s The Anti-capitalistic Mentality.


Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur

IMG_20220515_162742_752 Misinformation is in the news, with the demise of the regrettable Disinformation Governance Board. Bryan Caplan correctly points out that insufficient attention is given to those doing the believing; and this is something I've been saying for a while and still am. Volockh also like Bryan's post, and quietly like me point to their earlier post on the subject.

My pic: Maggie, winners of Champs Eights head. Vair nice, try to avoid noticing that bowside are fractionally early. More similar.


Deep State Constitutionalism from Volokh: "...taps into a deficiency of the conservative legal movement: namely, its exclusive focus on the law "as it is" at the expense of the underlying abstract normative principles that justify the positive law of our written Constitution".
* The follies of the world: ATTP is still beating back the forces of darkness at World Atmospheric CO2.


A piece of Olde Englande

To Swinbrook, near my mother's house. First a bluebell wood, which is lovely, though there isn't much to say about it. Not strictly speaking public.


There's a line of pollarded willows along a tiny stream, also lovely.


Swinbrook itself is a tiny village mostly hidden behind walls, the marvel is the church, and the Fettiplace memorials. 


A general view. Other pix here.


The older ones are weirder, the postures being so stiff and unnatural; the newer ones are more believable. Yet more proof that our ancestors were weirdos. There's a poem, I think to the one who commissioned the first monument:


See-also the table of benefactions, which shamelessly reveals that they lost Charles Fettiplace's £100 gift of 1713. Outside, some old tombs.


The curious "killer Dougal" effect isn't intentional: the bundle is apparently intended to represent a woolsack, the wealth of the region. And coming somewhat more up to date, the ill-fated Unity Valkyrie.


The nearby Swan Inn is decent, and has tolerable taste in toilet posters.


Recent considerations in Roe vs Wade

ttThe recent events require no introduction. I maintain what I said before, though I think it likely they will uphold the precedent now looks likely to prove unprescient2.

That the dispute is bad-tempered and irreconcilable is itself uncontroversial, but in case you think otherwise, here are some words from the Graun and elsewhere: Samuel Alito has provoked an astonishing outpouring of jarring adjectives this week. “Appalling and heinous” – Vanity Fair; “acidic and extreme” – Slate; “dreadful and repugnant” – the Washington Post; “scathing and dismissive” – Los Angeles Times... will eviscerate federal abortion rights in America... Alito’s attack was so brutal and direct it still left many dumbstruck... Alito will forever be known as the supreme court justice who destroyed a woman’s right to control her own body and who set the US on a regressive course pointing back to the 17th century. I've only provided one side there; but I presume you don't doubt that the other side is just as certain of its fundamental rightness.

Side note: people often say, as the Graun does above, that repealling RvW would destroy "a woman’s right to control her own body". But the RvW judgement explicitly states that "For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health". So RvW does the very thing that people rage about. FWIW, I find this part spurious: it is, or should be, clear that the mother's interest in her own health is higher than that of the state, and therefore the state cannot have any right to legislate, on health grounds, over her interests. But I rather suspect that few would be prepared to accept this obvious point as a general principle. Rather, the only plausible balance to be considered is between rights of the individual and the unborn-right-to-life. No, I am not going to say what I think that balance should be, because why would you care?

[Update 2024/03: I begin to wonder if this could be framed as a free speech issue?]

Reading Roe v. Wade Is a Bad Decision That Ought to Stand I find "Legal authorities broadly agree on Roe’s constitutional defects... Roe can’t be repaired, much less thrown out, without doing more constitutional harm. For the sake of good governance, the court’s conservatives should rediscover deference to long-established precedent, and leave this rash and wrongly decided law alone". I am sympathetic to this and almost agree, but I also find the argument that it was wrongly decided persuasive. More importantly, I think that it should be decided by politics... perferrably by a generic constitutional item along the lines of "the state shouldn't do things it has no need to do". Again, this unobjectionable point is a principle that few would sign up to when made general.

Alito's leaked draft1 refers to the history of abortion law; and people have disgreed with his interpretation. If you're sufficiently originalist this might matter, but I'm not, so I think I can simply not care about that aspect unduly.

I return to the point of the democratic system: to provide a means for resolving these conflicts, where we've agreed they are irreconcilable. One amelioration, per Sumpers, is people will accept decisions they disagree with as long as they accept the legitimacy of the decision-making process. Which is of course why so much political speech is devoted to making you think the process is unfair. So we learn that leaving these decisions with the Supremes will lead to what we observe: people doing their best to delegitimise the court, which is bad. It would I think be more acceptable if done by state governments: then at least you can say: if you don't like it, vote against it, or move.

Another advantage of deciding at state level is that we have a natural experiment: what happens if <thing X> is banned in some places and permitted in others? We know we are not all-wise; it is good to allow experiment, in moderation.

Another, partisan, advantage, if you're a Dem, is that this would surely lead to more votes for Dems in upcoming elections. That's a fairly important point, and one that in the heat and dust I don't see emphasised as much as it should be.

Finally, I see this - and similar - as symptoms of our water-fatness. We really are so rich, considered as a society as a whole, that we can afford to waste vast quantities of highly paid people's time on this stuff. This makes idiots like Putin think the Cold West is decadent so he can invade Ukraine; but what he missed was the bit about us being so rich.


As so often, a chance by-way provides a far more insightful comment than all the fluff: from Volokh, a review, making the point that there is a deficiency of the conservative legal movement: namely, its exclusive focus on the law "as it is" at the expense of the underlying abstract normative principles that justify the positive law of our written Constitution. This reminds us that even if you "believe" in the constitution, you should not treat it as holy writ, but grounded in "underlying abstract normative principles". But note that doesn't give you leave to simply write what you like into it, or ignore any bits you don't like. Interestingly, the underlying article refs Bostock.


1. 2022/06/24: the final decision is now released. Obama doesn't like it, but underneath the flowery words look for the contradictions. the freedom enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution requires all of us to enjoy a sphere of our lives that isn’t subject to meddling from the state — a sphere that includes personal decisions involving who we sleep with, who we marry, whether or not to use contraception, and whether or not to bear children sounds great, but then our freedoms are not unlimited — society has a compelling interest in other circumstances, for example, in protecting children from abuse or people from self-harm. Asserting that we aren't free to self-harm sounds arbitrary to me; Obama is happy for the state to intervene whenever he wants to, but not when he doesn't. There's no principle; it's just case-by-case whatever he feels like.

2. Abortion got debated in Church and State.


* Via JM on Twatter, a paper The New Abortion Battleground that goes on endlessly about possible legal complications of inter-state juristictional fights. Not very useful, because it comes to no conclusions, other than to show that many things are possible.

Are we living in a land Where sex and horror are the new Gods?


America’s Supreme Court faces a crisis of legitimacy says the Economist, worrying that "Nine berobed judges striking down laws approved by elected politicians poses a “countermajoritarian difficulty”" - ah, so they are in favour of striking down RvW, one assume?

* Pew: A majority of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, but many are open to restrictions; many opponents of legal abortion say it should be legal in some circumstances.

* The Case for Ending the Supreme Court as We Know It by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor in the New Yorker. A long whinge, I include it for the brevity and fatuousness of it's attempts to think of what else you might do.

* Someone else (Paul Kahn as it happens) tries to discuss whether the constitution or reading thereof should get priority over precedent. But the discussion is unilluminating, since it has clearly been written to support the predetermined answer. Precedent can be overruled, it decides (anyone who dislikes Dredd Scott has no alternative answer) but the reasoning doesn't really help: The case law is working out the meaning of the principles by which we live. As those principles develop, some past decisions will look like missteps. But it does at least note the conflict between common law and constitution.

More on the Dangers of Price Controls - CH.

* Bryan Caplan: The Putin and the Pea.

* More of me on RvW and RBG: http://wmconnolley.blogspot.com/2020/09/ruth-bader-ginsburg-died-on-september.html

Misinformation About Misinformation - Bryan Caplan. Makes some of the same points I have. "Blaming listeners for their epistemic vices sounds bad. It makes the accuser sound elitist, if not arrogant. Blaming a few high-status liars for the world’s problems is a lot more compatible with Social Desirability Bias than blaming billions of low-status fools who fail to choose to exercise their common sense". Volokh comments and points to demand-side problems.

Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion overruling Roe v Wade insists that it endangers no rights other than abortion, but this disclaimer follows pages of reasoning that suggest the opposite - the Economist.

There Is a Reason Why Roe v. Wade's Defenders Focus on Its Results Rather Than Its Logic

Bad beekeeping chez M+S

PXL_20220505_081519319 Another day, another swarm o' bees. Although perhaps I should not be too casual: they are welcome, and my last was in 2020 (the 2021 one got away, if I recall correctly; ah yes, see pix: they evaporated).

Whose bees these are I don't know; they were found by a friend just outside her garden about a kilometer from my apiary which, according to the apiary keeper, had been showing signs of "activity" a few days earlier. So they could be mine.

That's the close up view (zoom in! You can see detail!); a more distant view is here, showing my trail of destruction into the hedge, the stepladder, and the bees about 9 feet off the ground, though it doesn't show the ditch. The next step is to dump them into a box (forgive the lack of pix of that stage, as holding a box with one hand whilst shaking a branch covered in bees with the other already uses all my hands), shown here. And then they can be driven back to the apiary - still with my veil on - and dumped into a spare hive.

Which hive is N's. The moss is only superficial. It is a polystyrene hive: they are said to have many advantages: they don't warp or rot, and the bees don't stick them together. The sheet was for wrapping up the box-o-bees while in transit.


This is the post-dumped-in phase, in which they are slowly crawling into the hive, following their queen. So it has all worked out well. Pic with more context here.

Vidz of some of this are at Youtube.


Why does the Evil Empire want to be paid in roubles?

PXL_20220502_134900872 Time for another post, before people start worrying about my health. If you want to read something very stupid indeed, you can read Why is Vladimir Putin demanding Russian gas is paid for in roubles? in, you guessed it, the Graun. Timmy says the obvious. My only answer is that you have to pay in roubles, but at a stupid made-up exchange rate. Tenuously related, my Gas excitement from 2006.

Other than that, my best hope from The Evil Empire strikes seem to be realised. And as a bonus, that thing that almost never happens, is happening: the evil doing badly in just retribution for their evil. A hopeful omen.

My picture is The Road to Calvary (full pic), which has no relevance other than me seeing it at the Fitzwilliam. Although in some ways striking it is a clear rip-off of Bosch, and the painters have somehow lost inspiration for variety in the faces.

Speaking of my health, it looks like 7:35.3 is my 2k for the season, though I may hope to improve it later.
In other local news, the Museum of Technology was running its engines this bank holiday weekend. This pic shows the chimney (right, by the river, with smoke blowing right); in the middle the old gasometers, now long gone; our new house is in the empty patch of land on the right by the river bank as it runs downstream out of the picture.