Posted by TonyN on 21/01/2014 at 10:39 am Admin No Responses »
Jan 212014

  Current work should address the longstanding problem of this site loading slowly The WordPress blogging platform is forever evolving and the time has come to check things over and make a few changes and updates too. For a day or two there may be times when things look a bit odd and some features don’t work as expected, but all posts should be accessible. Commenting should also be OK too. Apologies for any inconvenience caused, but when the work is done Harmless Sky should be a faster and more user-friendlier site.

Blog Software Upgrade

Posted by TonyN on 09/05/2011 at 1:45 pm Admin 10 Responses »
May 092011

During the next day or two I’ll be upgrading Harmless Sky’s software and design, so things may look a bit weird at times. For instance it will take time to get all the plugins like recent comments and comment preview up and running again under the new configuration, and these things seldom go without a hitch or two.

This is a very necessary task that I’ve been putting off for ages, and the end result should be a fresher, more stable, and more up-to-date site. There will also be with more bells and whistles that a younger generation of surfers expect, which will increase it’s outreach, plus more efficient behind-the-scenes operation and maintenance.

Update: Thursday 12th May 2006

The software upgrade is posing a few more problems than expected, which is entirely my own fault for leavidg it so long before moving to a newer version. It will probably be tomorrow before things get back to normal.

With the redoubtable John A of Climate Audit  fame very kindly looking over my shoulder, I should get there in the end.

This is a continuation of a remarkable thread that has now received 10,000 comments running to well over a million words. Unfortunately its size has become a problem and this is the reason for the move.

The history of the New Statesman thread goes back to December 2007 when Dr David Whitehouse wrote a very influential article for that publication posing the question Has Global Warming Stopped? Later, Mark Lynas, the magazine’s environment correspondent, wrote a furious reply, Has Global Warming Really Stopped?

By the time the New Statesman closed the blogs associated with these articles they had received just over 3000 comments, many from people who had become regular contributors to a wide-ranging discussion of the evidence for anthropogenic climate change, its implications for public policy and the economy. At that stage I provided a new home for the discussion at Harmless Sky.

Comments are now closed on the old thread. If you want to refer to comments there then it is easy to do so by left-clicking on the comment number, selecting ‘Copy Link Location’ and then setting up a link in the normal way.

Here’s to the next 10,000 comments.

Useful links:

Dr David Whitehouse’s article can be found here with 1289 comments.

Mark Lynas’ attempted refutation can be found here with 1715 comments.

The original Continuation of the New Statesman Whitehouse/Lynas blogs thread is here with 10,000 comments.

Dec 152009

Visitors to  Harmless Sky may like to consider signing this petition at 10 DOwning Stree:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to suspend the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia from preparation of any Government Climate Statistics until the various allegations have been fully investigated by an independent body. More details

To sign go to :

This has already attracted over 2500 signatures and will be open until the end of February. If you do decide to sign and there is no security risk in doing so please spread the word  and the URL wherever you comment on the net.

It would seem likely that the final total will be a large one and there is an additional benefit. When the petition closes, the government will publish a statement giving reasons for either complying with the petitioners’ requests or for not doing so. That could be interesting.

There can be some delay in names appearing in the  list on the petition website.

Goodbye to 2008

Posted by TonyN on 31/12/2008 at 9:32 pm New Statesman, The Climate 68 Responses »
Dec 312008

As the final freezing hours of 2008 fade into history, this would seem to be a good time to look back at the year and also at the short history of Harmless Sky, which is now just over a year old.The first rather tentative pages went live on 17th December 2007.It would be tedious to rehearse all that has happened, so I am going to focus on just one topic which encapsulates much of what this blog is about and highlights issues that are now at the heart of the climate debate.At the beginning of the year I came across two articles published by the New Statesman, which had generated a huge number of comments on their website. The first was by Dr David Whitehouse, an astrophysicist who was the BBC’s Science Correspondent from 1988-98 and then science editor of BBC News Online from 1998-2006. During this period he must have been ideally placed to see how concern about global warming grew from being the preoccupation of a few scientists and environmental activists into a new scientific and moral orthodoxy. His article was provocatively entitled, ‘Has Global Warming Stopped?’

After describing the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis, Dr Whitehouse pointed out that although CO2 levels have continued to rise during this century, temperatures have failed to do so. He then explored a weakness in the hypothesis, demonstrating that, although it can explain the warming of the last decades of the twentieth century very well, it cannot explain why temperatures have levelled off, and then fallen, without a commensurate decline in CO2 levels. Dr Whitehouse did not in any way suggest that the hypothesis was bad science, but merely probed the way in which it relates to recent temperature trends that are quite unexpected. He also suggested that this flaw in the hypothesis might indicate that there are natural influences on global temperature of which we are still unaware, and questions whether our understanding of the climate is adequate to draw firm conclusions about what is happening.

So we are led to the conclusion that either the hypothesis of carbon dioxide induced global warming holds but its effects are being modified in what seems to be an improbable though not impossible way, or, and this really is heresy according to some, the working hypothesis does not stand the test of data.

It is the use of the term heresy that puts this thoughtful, cautious and scrupulously argued article in context. The Environment Columnist of the New Statesman is Mark Lynas, one of the high priests of global warming alarmism, and that venerable publication’s editorial policy on climate change is set accordingly.

A month later, a furious and somewhat hysterical response from Mark Lynas appeared. It started like this: Continue reading »


At 10am this morning, the New Statesman finally closed the Mark Lynas thread on their website after 1715 comments had been added over a period of five months. I don’t know whether this constitutes any kind of a record, but gratitude is certainly due to the editor of of the New Statesman for hosting the discussion so patiently and also for publishing articles from Dr David Whitehouse and Mark Lynas that have created so much interest.

This page is now live, and anyone who would like to continue the discussion here is welcome to do so. I have copied the most recent contributions at the New Statesman as the first comment for the sake of convenience. If you want to refer back to either of the original threads, then you can find them here:

Dr David Whitehouse’s article can be found here with all 1289 comments.

Mark Lynas’ attempted refutation can be found here with 1715 comments.

Welcome to Harmless Sky, and happy blogging.

(Click the ‘comments’ link below if the input box does not appear)



Posted by TonyN on 16/03/2008 at 7:12 pm Admin 80 Responses »
Mar 162008

Continuation of the New Statesman blog

Size matters

The most pressing problem at the moment is the success of this thread. With 650+ comments and 100,000 words it is becoming noticeably slow to load. Also the very much-improved preview plug-in that I installed at the weekend can’t cope resulting in infuriating delays when typing comments.

This thread cannot be allowed to grow indefinitely; WordPress simply is not designed for such vast amounts of verbiage. Here are some ideas about this:

1) A contributor has suggested that when there is an overload like this, a new page should be started, which seems very sensible. In this case I would move the most recent 30-50 comments to the new page. Somewhere around 400-500 comments would seem to be the limit if WordPress is to function efficiently This is NOT a plea to write fewer or shorter comments.

2) The total number of comments since the NS published Paul Whitehouse’s article on global cooling in December is heading for the 4000 mark. Although the group is now a far smaller one than it was at the NS (more about this below), it is generating comments at a similar pace and these cover a very wide range of topics. However the totally unstructured nature of the thread means that it is very difficult to find interesting and useful information that was submitted even a few weeks ago. One solution would be to open new threads (within the New Statesman Category see right hand sidebar on this page) for particular topics. I’m thinking particularly of JZ and Max’s very interesting statistics on per capital CO2 emissions, but there are many others, such as Arctic Sea Ice, the ‘iniquities’ of the IPCC AR4 SPM etc. This would spread the load of comments among a number of threads while retaining the hurly-burly spontaneity of the main unthreaded pages as that exists at present. It would also mean that there are obvious places to post on particular topics and that these can be revisited as new development occur.

3) In response to a request from JZ I have uploaded a searchable archive file with all the pre-Harmless Sky comments here:

Please will someone try downloading this so that I know that it is accessible to all, but beware, the file size is over 3.6 Mb.

4) Any other suggestions will be welcome.

New blood

As I said above, the group is quite a small one and it would seem sensible to think that we encourage new participants. The simplest way of doing this is always to leave a link back to the NS thread when commenting on other blogs. Example:

You might copy this URL to a Notepad or other text file on your desktop and then it will always be handy for a quick copy and paste. If the site you are on has a button for making a hyperlink live, then remember to use this.

Before long I intend to change my domain hosting arrangements and when that happens URLs should become a bit more user friendly.

My webstats – the information that I get about visitors to the blog – suggest that there are a lot of people reading the blog, but not contributing. This seems to be common to most blogs.

The dreaded blog rules

I have said just about all I want to on the subject in this comment on the NS thread:

If you look at the top of this page you will see the title of this blog, and a strap-line that defines the subject matter that it was set up to deal with. My blogname also appears.

I do not want either world politics or comparative religions discussed here, except in the very narrow context where these topics have a direct bearing on climate, the countryside and landscapes. There are plenty of other forums that deal with such things. What happened yesterday was nobody’s fault. A stray remark got blown up into a major issue. It is in the nature of an electronic forum that this should happen; one of the unique advantages of blogging is that ideas are developed by the participation of a group of – more or less – like-minded people.

The blog rules were drafted in a considerable hurry at a time when I had no experience of running a blog and little expectation that anyone would read them. It may be time to have another look at these. But I must make it clear that, although I am very happy to discuss them (and genuinely grateful for spelling corrections), what is said on this thread has an impact on Harmless Sky as a whole, and that is obviously a matter that concerns me. At present we are averaging over 1000 hits a week and the trend is strongly upwards.

I am delighted that the NS threads have successfully transferred to Harmless Sky and astonished to see that, in the four months since this happened, over 650 comments have been submitted, amounting to over 100,000 words; the length of a 250 page paperback.

At this point I think that we need to consider a few administrative matters. Later today I will post a special page with some suggestions and a request for feedback. Please do not respond to what I have said in this comment here, but do so on the special page when it appears.

Perhaps I should add that I am very conscious of the fact that I am the host of the NS thread and not its proprietor.

I do not believe that rules should be automatically and rigidly enforced, but there do have to be one or two lines drawn in the sand if we are to escape the flaming, rancour and mindless abuse that afflicts some other sites that deal with controversial subjects. So far we have been free of it and I want things to stay that way as Harmless Sky continues to grow.

I look forward to hearing what people think about all these things. There probably will not be solutions that will suit everyone, but with luck a consensus (Oh! how can I use that term?) can be found.

The problem with comment overload on the present thread is pretty urgent.

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