Filed Under: Can’t Kick The Can Much Further


(Headline) California is a greater risk than Greece, warns JP Morgan chief

(Subhead) Jamie Dimon, chairman of JP Morgan Chase, has warned American investors should be more worried about the risk of default of the state of California than of Greece’s current debt woes.

By James Quinn, US Business Editor in New York
Published: 8:20PM GMT 26 Feb 2010

“Mr Dimon told investors at the Wall Street bank’s annual meeting that “there could be contagion” if a state the size of California, the biggest of the United States, had problems making debt repayments. “Greece itself would not be an issue for this company, nor would any other country,” said Mr Dimon. “We don’t really foresee the European Union coming apart.” The senior banker said that JP Morgan Chase and other US rivals are largely immune from the European debt crisis, as the risks have largely been hedged.

California however poses more of a risk, given the state’s $20bn (£13.1bn) budget deficit, which Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is desperately trying to reduce.”

HAL is not in charge, here!

I am no authority on tsunamis, but I have read several books, written several published columns, collected first-hand reports of the 1957 tsunami at Kalihiwai, Kauai from survivors and own a Hawaiian PBS video documentary of that event. That is at least as much as anyone on this blog can claim. Lets just say I have an abiding interest because Kauai is my second home and I will be there again in mere weeks. A MAJOR tsunami on Hawaii is long overdue…not that they can be predicted but there is an interesting pattern against which it can be said Hawaii is overdue, and that is remarked upon yearly by every Hawaiian TV station.

My point, however was none of that. My posts during the day will display that I accepted the predictions — right up until the measurements proved that the predictions were wrong.


They were, of course, computer-generated predictions. The one claim to fame that computers have is not that they predict accurately, but that they compute quickly — the accuracy is dependent upon the programmers software assumptions.

NOAA presumes to be able to predict the time and the power of tsunamis — of course after the causal event and through embedded ocean buoys and floor pressure monitors. (To be fair, there are more of those to the north of Hawaii than there are to the south, so I would expect their accuracy to be better to the north.)

But, their predictions were wrong. They predicted that the first wave would reach the Big Island at 1:06 pm our time…and CNN had cameras stationed to record the event. When nothing visible happened they cut away to Chile about 20 minutes after the predicted event, and returned later with a voice only announcement that the event had taken place but was so small as to defy visuals of it.

There will be a hot wash-up.

Followed by analysis.

But as the event indicates, and as the IPCC kerfuffle also tracks, in every case there is a prediction greater than the event. There is a warm bias in the IPCC software. There is a early bias in the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center software. There is a amplitude bias in the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center software.

Some day, long after we are all gone, the software will be perfected. That day is not today. It is too early to worship the computer.

HAL is not in charge, here.

The Tsunami Warning Reviewed

I am sure – the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center computer prediction program just is not yet good at predictions.

Not that they shouldn’t try — they should. Anything is better than nothing. AS I recall one of the largest tsunami was in Portugal — Lisbon, 1755. We are a long way from predicting events — what we have to try to do is predict outcomes after events.

There are many “doomsday” tsunami predictions– one of which is the collapse of a west-facing island in the Atlantic that has the capacity to wash over the East Coast because you can go many miles in the Atlantic and still have shallow water. It gives a tsunami many miles to slowly gather its strength.

Hawaii, indeed San Diego has a different floor plan. Once you pass buoy 1 SD you are in deep water. Our coast, and much of Hawaii rises sharply — but not in Hilo where the problem was predicted today to be the worst in this, and most tsunamis.

I know on Kauai that everything on the floor is pretty sharp drop-off, (take a look at photos of the Na Pali Coast, and 90% of the Kauai people live within a mile of the ocean. (It is the oldest island.)

Hilo has a gradual sloping ocean floor — and worse it has a long and flat town (Hilo) facing that floor. It is prime for a tsunami (That is why they moved the school well inland after the 1960 tsunami and made that area into a ball field! Been there, seen it!)

But the ocean floor is well surveyed. Our older submarines used the ocean floor for navigation in many instances – before GPS. (It was hard to take a star sight at 100 feet!)

The computer program knows that also. The ocean floor is not classified information.

Filed Under: And Here I Thought the IPCC WAS An Independent Group!

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) — An independent board of scientists will be appointed to review the workings of the world’s top climate science panel, which has faced recriminations over inaccuracies in a 2007 report, a United Nations environmental spokesman said Friday.

The board’s work will be part of a broader review of the body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said Nick Nuttall, a spokesman for the United Nations Environment Program, who spoke on the sidelines of an international meeting of environment ministers here.

Filed Under: “Drip, Drip, Drip…”

SETH BORENSTEIN (AP) – 3 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The Nobel Prize-winning international scientific panel studying global warming is seeking independent outside review for how it makes major reports.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says it’s seeking some kind of independent review because of recent criticism about its four 2007 reports.

…. But researchers acknowledge that they have been too slow to respond to a drip-drip-drip of criticisms in the past three months. And those criticisms seem to have resonated in poll results and media coverage that has put climate scientists on the defensive 

“The IPCC clearly has suffered a loss in public confidence,” Stanford University climate scientist Chris Field, a chairman of one of the IPCC’s four main research groups told The Associated Press on Saturday….

Filed Under: “Hey, We’re Government! Close enough!”


“Officials said the opposite occurred after the Chile quake: They overstated their predictions for the size of the waves and the threat.”

“We expected the waves to be bigger in Hawaii, maybe about 50 percent bigger than they actually were,” Fryer said. “We’ll be looking at that.”

Ouija Boards

Hmmm…a scientifically tracked and computer predicted event that turns out not to happen at the appointed time, and certainly not to the predicted degree.

Much huffing, puffing, trauma, wall-t-wall TV coverage and then…


Or, at least nothing much.

Where have I heard this before?

And we are thinking, thinking….

The Hawaii Inundation Warning and tsunami alerts have been canceled.

Hilo, which was scientifically predicted to be as much as seven feet was considerably less than that “computer predicted’ number. We will await the actual MEASUREMENT.

I have previously stated that MEASURMENTS are science – computer predictions are Ouija Boards.

Case closed.

(My friends are aware of my background as a machine language programmer, head of R&D in computers at the Naval Electronics Center, Core Adjunct Prof. of Computer Science — 14 years, etc)

My First Law of Management

A letter to the editor this morning elicited a comment that public transit works.

 “Works,” regarding the Coaster depends upon definition.

The Coaster runs at a horrible deficit, as does all “public transportation.”

Hence, my First Law of Management: Anyone can manage anything with an unlimited budget.

And, its Corollary: For something to run at a deficit, something else must run at a profit to support the deficit.

(In this case, taxpayers must make money to pay the taxes to support the government — ALL of government. Since only 4% of the income taxes are paid by the lower half of the taxpayers, obviously it is the upper half who subsidize the Coaster. And everything else. In the modern lexicon, this is called “fairness.”)

A Jaundiced Eye

Aside from each side claiming “victory” for the healthcare kerfuffle yesterday – if you want a relatively even-handed analysis in the “Truth Squad” methodology, you might want to view:

The Great Debate

I have watched the HealthCare debate and this is what I have gleaned:

Both political parties agree that medical costs are high, and going higher. I contend that much of it is in new technology, new drugs – and everyone wants the latest and greatest, whether they can pay for it or not. (In fact, PARTICULARLY if they can’t afford to pay for it and someone else will.)

The Democrats have a visceral desire to cover everyone with the highest possible healthcare, and if means can be found to save a few dollars, so much the better.

The Republicans want to streamline the system, and if money can be found to cover more people so much the better.

On CNN, Ben Stein put the situation crassly when he said (paraphrased) that Republicans don’t want more costs because, in general, Republicans pay more taxes and the Democrats want more covered because, in general, Democrats are the takers in the tax system and they will get something they don’t have to pay for.

Donna Brazil heatedly objected to this analysis, but the last time I heard – the bottom 50% pay something like 4% of the income tax. While there are exception to the contrary to beat the band, Stein is philosophically correct.

I have a proposal: Rather than making the bottom 50% spend more in taxes, could we just get them to take less?

In specific, the “Earned Income Tax Credit” which is like the Holy Roman Empire in that it is not “earned” at all – except by remaining alive.

I have a family member who for several decades got $2,500 “back” from the IRS – when she had paid not one cent in taxes! (She will make $100,000 this year…and rails against taxes. Where you stand depends on where you sit.)

The one thing I remember from the TV exchange is McCain asking if we can at least get away from “special deals” and he mentioned 800,000 seniors in Florida who will still be immune from increased taxes – and the President said “You make a good point.”

Yes, he did.

Now what can be done about it?