They're going to save the planet, apparently

BBC: Wind farms affect local weather
Wind farms can affect weather in their immediate locality, raising night-time temperatures on the ground, researchers working in Texas have shown.

They used satellite data to show that land around newly constructed wind farms warmed more than next-door areas.

The result - published in the journal Nature Climate Change - confirms an earlier, smaller study from 2010.

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. The obvious solution is for Owl to erect a wind turbine in his garden.

    I don't especially object to the look of wind turbines - they much less ugly than pylons, for example, and there are enough of those around. The problem is that they are just not good enough. To make a useful contribution you would need way too many.

    This would be my plan: Replace pylons with small wind turbines (maybe vertical axis ones, which admittedly are not v. efficient).
    It would use existing sites, the view would be, if anything, improved and they are already on the grid allowing the power to be fed into the system at minimal additional cost. If you made them in huge number to a standard pattern (like pylons) then the unit cost would be more reasonable so it might be economically viable too.

  2. Turbines are a bigger eyesore than pylons on two counts: they draw attention to themselves by moving (when the wind is blowing), and they tend to be located on hilltops, where there is the most wind. Putting to one side their general uselessness, the big problem with wind powerstations is that, unlike nuclear powerstations, you need an awful lot of them. And an awful lot of these will require new pylons to be put up to join them to the National Grid.

  3. Bring it on, but paint it green.
    There is an estate near here where pylons run through people's gardens.
    Funnily enough, the number of cases of childhood leukaemia on this estate is the highest in the county. Still, compared to Chernobyl, that's just a drop in the ocean. So far I haven't seen any figures relating to wind turbine related deaths (except for bats).

  4. By 'funnily enough', I assume you mean 'coincidentally'. There are no established links between power-lines and cancer, though not for lack of scientific study... By a similar argument, 100% of alcoholics in this country drank milk as children, therefore we should ban milk.

  5. Not sure of your logic there (too much warm real ale?)
    Fish live in water, so does that mean that everything that lives in water is a fish?

  6. My milk/alcoholism example was to demonstrate the danger of assuming that a correlation demonstrates a causation (just like saying that the presence of pylons in areas of high rates of childhood leukaemia shows that the pylons are the cause of the cancer). Your fish/water example demonstrates unsound syllogismic reasoning: a different logical fallacy entirely.

    Incidentally, people did used to believe that any vertebrate which lives in water was, by definition, a fish. In fact, you can argue, from a cladistic viewpoint, that all vertebrates, including whales, dolphins, birds, and us, are fish, because our most recent common ancestor was a fish. For more on this fascinating (to a Darwin groupie, at least) subject, see the post by my online Aussie mate, the only Australian philosopher whose name in not Bruce, John S Wilkins, entitled Are humans, apes, monkeys, primates, or hominoids?. See also Neil Shubin's excellent book Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5 Billion-Year History of the Human Body.

    Yes, I know: I really should get out more.

  7. The closest common ancestor between humans and dolphins is a fish? Doesn't that imply independent evolution of warm blood, milk production etc? Sounds fishy to me.

  8. I'm worried about the fact that evolution still hasn't eliminated the egregious comma - as in the title of your online Aussie mate's post.

    I really should get out more too although for different reasons, obviously.

  9. No, the most recent common ancestor of all living vertebrates was a fish; the most recent common ancestor of humans and dolphins was much more recent - although the cladists could still argue that this common ancestor (which was undoubtedly a mammal) was also a fish!

    I have to say, I agree about the commas.

  10. Isn't that standard in "American" English? (not that Australia is America of course)

    It only evolves out if he has fewer offspring as a result. Richard may be able to pick up girls by mathematics but to do so with correct punctuation requires a rare talent.

  11. Americans do weird things with commas - especially in news headlines. Personally, I'm a late convert to the so-called Oxford Comma, but Americans sometimes take it to extreme, replacing the word and with a comma.

    I don't know about Australians. It still amazes me that they can write at all.

    I offered to show a girl my colon once. It didn't get me anywhere.

  12. I'm pleased that we can all agree that butterflies are not fish. I shall remember that mammals can be considered fish for the next time I meet a fish-eating "vegetarian".

    Returning to the subject of pylons, a friend of mine lived under a pylon for a while and at one stage grew tomato plants (which are also not fish, I believe) against a fence in his garden. Amusingly, he found that they would die if trained against horizontal wires (parallel to the overhead wires) but thrive if trained against vertical wires. I always wondered whether one could steal any useful amount of power that way.

  13. A pylon is a snake - and, therefore, a fish.

    It sounds to me as if your friend's tomatoes have re-discovered the principle of electrical inductance, and the ones on the horizontal wires were electrocuted.

    Interestingly, if you have two parallel wires conducting electricity in opposite directions (which is known to physicists as a couple), and you place them within a magnetic field, they experience a twisting effect (or moment). This explains the old mnemonic: every couple has its moment in a field.

    Those physicists, eh? What wags!

  14. We also concluded that the horizontal wires were seeing an induced current. Hence my thought that perhaps you could take a useful amount of power that way - it would amuse me to be able to charge my phone by induction from a nearby pylon. Sadly (but happily for his tomatoes) he doesn't live there any more.

  15. Which brings us neatly back to the theory raised by professors at the university of Wollamalloo that dolphins, by drinking milk, could develop alcohol problems in adulthood. This could go some way to explaining their somewhat bizarre behaviour consisting of trying to leap over high voltage cables in order to receive tomatoes from a bucket.

  16. The herring is a lucky fish
    From all disease inured.
    Should he be ill when caught at sea;
    Immediately - he's cured

    Spike Milligan

  17. The bottle-nosed dolphin, like the sperm whale, is an insect that lives on bananas

    Are you sure? The bottle-nosed dolphin flies like a banana... doesn't work 😐

  18. No, bottle-nosed dolphins fly like an arrow; but, by the look of him, John S Wilkins likes a banana:

    Ergo, using noctural striginesque unsound syllogismic reasoning, John S Wilkins is an insect—as well as a fish.


  19. The poison-arrow is actually a frog, rather than a dolphin, and being a relative a of the marbled milk frog must surely be an alcoholic and therefore a fish.

  20. Can't type properly for laughing too much - I think you've all had too much milk!

  21. Time flies like an arrow
    Fruit flies like a banana

    Groucho Marx

  22. I had to share this with you....
    Beware predictive texting

    I was sending my daughter a text to ask if she wanted me to get candles & serviettes for my granddaughter's birthday party tomorrow.
    Luckily I read it before I sent it.
    It read....Do you want me to get candles & perverted for the party?

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