Stan the Statistician <<Last | Current Stan | Archive Stan
Work in the media? Struggle with statistics? Stan's irreverent (and often irrelevant) review of the latest media reports, news and gossip may not help at all... Stan the Statistician

Stan # 106: Climate change - is there intelligent life on Earth? January 2017

< Those crazy people who believe in aliens turn out to be in the majority. Not only in the UK, but in Germany and the USA as well, more than half the population reckons there's intelligent life out there in the universe. So next time you watch E.T. with the kids, remember that not believing in aliens puts you in the minority.

And you know those do-gooder lefties who are all morally righteous about helping the poor and needy? Turns out that's a myth too. In fact, right-leaning people are significantly more likely to believe that they are morally superior than the rest of society.

Finally, how posh is your pint? We've finally settled the battle of the lagers with new analysis from YouGov Profiles. Stella Artois may brand itself as "reassuringly expensive" but actually Peroni and Heineken have the highest percentage of middle-class customers. And if you want to make sure to avoid all that and keep your pint real, head to the bottom of the lager league and order yourself a Carlsberg or a Carling.

Some lesser known facts about Disneyland:

1. Steve Martin worked in Disneyland while he was a teenager.
2. Under the Candy Palace & Candy Kitchen window on Main Street there's a small vent. This vent shoots the fantastic candy smells into the streets.
3. Many backstage buildings around the resort are painted a colour called 'no-see-um-green.
4."When the Jungle Cruise originally opened, live alligators were kept in pens near the queue to entertain guests.
5. Only Coca-Cola soda products are sold within Disneyland. Anyone who has ever been to a Disney park will know there is nothing but Coca-Cola products. There's even a Coca-Cola store at Disneyland!
6. The ground when you first enter the park is red brick. Walt Disney wanted it to feel like you were walking in on a red carpet.
7. Each Disneyland Cast Member name tag features their first name and hometown.
8. The queue of Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters is lined with big 'battery boxes' that make reference to special members of the Disney corporation.
9. The landmarks throughout the parks are called 'weenies' because they draw people toward different areas.
10. When Fantasyland initially opened, the star characters from 'Peter Pan,' 'Snow White,' and 'The Adventure's of Ichabod and Mr. Toad' made no appearance in their respective attractions.
11. The Partners statue has several easily missed references to Walt.
12. From top executives to street sweeper, everyone goes through a training program called 'Traditions' before beginning work.
13. "Nothing is better than the sounds of Main Street, U.S.A. when the parks open" because the horses have special hooves to make the clip-cloping sound louder.
14. Originally, the Tiki Room was designed as a restaurant. Only later was it turned into a show guests could come to watch. There's a restroom inside that lots of visitors don't know about.
15. The land across from the park increased in value from $10,000 to $100,000,000.
Gavin Doyle is the 17-year-old whiz kid behind the website Disney Dose, which he started so he could "educate the Disney enthusiast".

December 2015 was the wettest on record according to the UK's Meteorological Office. But according to the same Met Office's own records, it was actually the 20th wettest. I can think of three explanations. The Met Office needs to support the idea that there are an increasing number of extreme weather events in order to support the notion that this is evidence of climate change. It could also be explained by the Met Office wanting to get some free publicity and, "20th wettest December on record" just isn't going to appeal to editors. It could also be explained by the nerds at the Met Office who think that the world started in 1980 when computers were invented (they were, of course, invented long before then).

The wettest according to the Met Office's records (as opposed to the Met Office) was in 1876. There is no evidence of anyone screaming climate change' in 1876. So, if the record rainfall in 1876 was not due to climate change, then why is the 20th wettest in 2015?

It reminds me of the Met Office's claim of, "the hottest July day ever" in 2015. Further investigation by those shivering souls in July, discovered that it was an extremely short-lived spike probably caused by the heat from an aircraft taking off at Heathrow and affecting the temperature gauge at Heathrow Airport.

Even if temperature gauges around the world were placed in neutral spots, the environment around them could change such as a runway extension, housing estate or aluminium smelting factory. The temperature rises because of other factors and has nothing to do with global warming, sorry, climate change.

We now have the warmest December (2016) on record. Maybe the records they looked at only went back to 2015.

Will the next step be the Met Office issuing staff with blow torches and a supply of gas to give the gauges a little help to produce some nice high figures?

There is no evidence at all that there is a long term trend to more rain. Some months or years will be very wet and others, dry. It wasn't that long ago that we had a Minister for Drought and scientists were telling us that we were over due for another ice age.

The ice around the North Pole would completely disappear by 2013 we were told. In fact, it is the same as a decade ago. Why do those pesky data get in the way of a good theory?

Check in again at my desk soon!

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