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The Semantics And Communication Of Climate Change


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Posted
  • Location: Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL
  • Location: Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL

Really interesting piece of work. Have a scan and decide which camp you belong in. Perusing it I thought it provided interesting context for much debate that goes on here and elsewhere. Interesting that a professional expert (in communications) should identify many of the dividing lines that some on here sense.

http://www.ippr.org.uk/ecomm/files/warm_words.pdf

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Posted
  • Location: Sunny Southsea
  • Location: Sunny Southsea
Really interesting piece of work. Have a scan and decide which camp you belong in. Perusing it I thought it provided interesting context for much debate that goes on here and elsewhere. Interesting that a professional expert (in communications) should identify many of the dividing lines that some on here sense.

http://www.ippr.org.uk/ecomm/files/warm_words.pdf

This is the report which provoked the recent 'climate porn' nonsense, which was mentioned briefly on a previous forum.

For an interesting analysis of the piece, from the perspective of a climate scientist, back to our old friends;

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archi...ing-repertoire/

If you are interested in a site which challenges GW 'orthodoxy' in a scientific way and is, IMO, as valuable a site as Realclimate (in fact, most articles one one receive a response from the other; they are in constant dialogue), go to Climate Science http://climatesci.atmos.colostate.edu/

:) P

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Posted
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks

If anyone can honestly say they have read all that the 3 above web sites have in them, I will be utterly impressed. The amount of reading is just mind boggling and trying to determine just what is scientific research and conclusions based on science as opposed to scientists caught up in politics is almost impossible.

There is just one main fact which I keep repeating. It is this.

The earth's surface is warming. Quite why and why it appears to be warming at such a rate, is open to argument.

Open to even more argument is what can we, the population of the world, well our governments,do about it? Can we reduce its effects? Do we have to put in place plans to re house many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people for the areas currently predicted to be most at risk before the end of this century?

John

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Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

I'm not entirely about the conclusions, working entirely with the cultural norms- I tend to believe that some challenging of cultural norms is desirable (particularly bigotry, intolerance and closed-mindedness), though as someone who has frequently been ostracised for not conforming to them, I would say that. At the same time, though, it isn't desirable to try to force changes in cultural norms as it will create opposition- "encourage" would probably be more appropriate.

That said, I am in complete agreement with the conclusion that we need action on climate change to be seen as "desirable" rather than doing it out of obedience. Maybe this could be done with regards some of the cultural norms as well. I'm not sure about viewing it entirely in terms of selling climate change action like a product, though the general idea of making it an attractive proposition is certainly positive and to my mind the way forward.

As for which "group" I fall into (I think the groups have been well-researched and well-presented) I think my views have a lot in common with the two technological groups (probably falling somewhere between the two), though I tend to believe that some changes among individuals, businesses and society as a whole will be needed as well as the technological solutions. I certainly wouldn't want to think of myself as an extremist at one end or the other.

All in all, certainly one of the more balanced and thought-provoking articles that I've come across, with a good overview of many of the categories that exist. However, I think I'm in even stronger agreement with the RealClimate site's assessment of it.

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Posted
  • Location: Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL
  • Location: Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL
If anyone can honestly say they have read all that the 3 above web sites have in them, I will be utterly impressed. The amount of reading is just mind boggling and trying to determine just what is scientific research and conclusions based on science as opposed to scientists caught up in politics is almost impossible.

There is just one main fact which I keep repeating. It is this.

The earth's surface is warming. Quite why and why it appears to be warming at such a rate, is open to argument.

Open to even more argument is what can we, the population of the world, well our governments,do about it? Can we reduce its effects? Do we have to put in place plans to re house many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people for the areas currently predicted to be most at risk before the end of this century?

John

To be fair John, P3's real climate site has yet to throw up for me a link which does not go to what appears to be robust primary sources. Fir sure there's thousands of them, but the many issues are neatly arranged and indexed. As a source for more data and argument it's a very good "turntable" - the best I've seen so far (re GW / climate change).

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Posted
  • Location: Sunny Southsea
  • Location: Sunny Southsea
If anyone can honestly say they have read all that the 3 above web sites have in them, I will be utterly impressed. The amount of reading is just mind boggling and trying to determine just what is scientific research and conclusions based on science as opposed to scientists caught up in politics is almost impossible.

There is just one main fact which I keep repeating. It is this.

The earth's surface is warming. Quite why and why it appears to be warming at such a rate, is open to argument.

Open to even more argument is what can we, the population of the world, well our governments,do about it? Can we reduce its effects? Do we have to put in place plans to re house many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people for the areas currently predicted to be most at risk before the end of this century?

John

John, I think you will enjoy Carl Wunsch's essay to the Royal Society on the subject. No apologies for duplicating the link.

http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?id=4688&tip=1

:unsure: P

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Posted
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks

yes I read his lecture/essay, very interesting. I also 'skim' read the others in that batch. I stand in the same position as I have for the past 20 years.

The earth is warming, mankind must be having some effect. How much I am not sure. What can be done? I am not sure.

I do know that there is a growing body of scientific opinion that supports, shall we say the earth is getting warmer, rather than saying GW. It is still possible to listen/read experts in a similar field suggest the major belief is not really true.

As some have said, by the time we really know, (long after I'm not around), it may be too late. By too late I don't mean to do a 'Canute' and stop the earth warming, that is probably not possible however extreme world wide action was. And that in any case is highly unlikely. What I meant by too late was coming up with a coherent plan, agreed by all nations, on what to do with people living in those areas which are almost certain to go under water. Maybe when it starts to happen on a frequent scale(Katrina type flooding) in the USA and western Europe action may start albeit too late.

Its not often its a plus to be over 60 but I think this is one!

John

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Posted
  • Location: Sunny Southsea
  • Location: Sunny Southsea
yes I read his lecture/essay, very interesting. I also 'skim' read the others in that batch. I stand in the same position as I have for the past 20 years.

The earth is warming, mankind must be having some effect. How much I am not sure. What can be done? I am not sure.

I do know that there is a growing body of scientific opinion that supports, shall we say the earth is getting warmer, rather than saying GW. It is still possible to listen/read experts in a similar field suggest the major belief is not really true.

As some have said, by the time we really know, (long after I'm not around), it may be too late. By too late I don't mean to do a 'Canute' and stop the earth warming, that is probably not possible however extreme world wide action was. And that in any case is highly unlikely. What I meant by too late was coming up with a coherent plan, agreed by all nations, on what to do with people living in those areas which are almost certain to go under water. Maybe when it starts to happen on a frequent scale(Katrina type flooding) in the USA and western Europe action may start albeit too late.

Its not often its a plus to be over 60 but I think this is one!

John

Just as I would have expected; a succinct, pertinent and interesting response; thank you. My suspicion, like yours, is that not enough will be done until a cost-benefit analysis shows that inaction is more expensive than action, in the short term. This is one of the prices we pay for being ruled by economists and lawyers. It may be contentious to say so, but I also suspect that, in spite of making suitable 'noises', a large proportion of the population in the less-threatened, wealthier, more developed countries would not, in the face of a threat to millions of people in far-distant, poorer, undeveloped countries, care enough to do anything about it, especially if it implied changing the way we live, or who might come to seek a safer home in our countries.

There, i've done it again; now I need to be cheered up again.

Seperate point; are you interested in Boundary Layer Modelling? If so, there's a nice paper on it on the Climate science link.

:unsure: P

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Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Just as I would have expected; a succinct, pertinent and interesting response; thank you. My suspicion, like yours, is that not enough will be done until a cost-benefit analysis shows that inaction is more expensive than action, in the short term. This is one of the prices we pay for being ruled by economists and lawyers. It may be contentious to say so, but I also suspect that, in spite of making suitable 'noises', a large proportion of the population in the less-threatened, wealthier, more developed countries would not, in the face of a threat to millions of people in far-distant, poorer, undeveloped countries, care enough to do anything about it, especially if it implied changing the way we live, or who might come to seek a safer home in our countries.

There, i've done it again; now I need to be cheered up again.

Seperate point; are you interested in Boundary Layer Modelling? If so, there's a nice paper on it on the Climate science link.

:) P

I have much respect for analysis like John and Parmenides3 are expressing here- often, you don't need to have a massive knowledge of science, politics and/or economics to understand, upon level-headed and open-minded analysis, what the key "root" issues are.

I'm not sure if the reality is really that pessimistic, but it isn't looking good. The free markets may be encouraged, through economic competition, to use more and more efficient technology, which should slowly drive pollution levels down, but when it comes to making the significant pollution cuts that are needed, short-term economic cost-benefit is likely to provide a lot of inertia. We've even got issues similar to John's points about flood mitigation cropping up now- it's "economically optimal" to build on flood plains in the South East, but that's a fat lot of good when Autumn 2000 type deluges crop up. Kyoto and the like may help, but only if we can somehow persuade the likes of the USA to join up.

I'm not against the idea of competing markets- they can certainly contribute to economic growth- but you can have too much of a good thing. When you look at the main political parties most of them are moving towards the right (both economically and in terms of personal liberty), which suggests that, if anything, the extent to which everything is run by economists and lawyers may well increase in the near future.

Depressing, but on the evidence of the sites and articles above, at least there is some relatively unbiased and unpoliticised debate coming out now.

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Posted
  • Location: Sunny Southsea
  • Location: Sunny Southsea

Some good news, then. Don't ask why or how, but I found myself on an actuaries' website yesterday, which was discussing a couple of interesting developments with regard to insurance. The first was that an increasing number of planning regulators are now insisting on insurance to cover extreme climate damage as a consequence of GW, and the second was that the current premium for this kind of insurance, currently 3%, should be increased to 12%, to cover the likely cost of claims.

What this tells me is that the 'sideways' implications of climate change are kicking in fairly seriously in business already, which in turn suggests that the days when large development can ignore the issues are numbered. If a developer has to lose a chunk of profit as a consequence of building on marginal land, it is more likely that he will choose not to.

Also interesting to note that this particular industry, insurance, is no longer concerned with the likelihood of climate change, but instead with the likely consequences of anticipated change. Hope springs eternal.

:) P

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Posted
  • Location: South of Glasgow 55.778, -4.086, 86m
  • Location: South of Glasgow 55.778, -4.086, 86m
What this tells me is that the 'sideways' implications of climate change are kicking in fairly seriously in business already, which in turn suggests that the days when large development can ignore the issues are numbered. If a developer has to lose a chunk of profit as a consequence of building on marginal land, it is more likely that he will choose not to.

of anticipated change. Hope springs eternal.

:) P

That’s not how it works though. The developer never concedes profit, he simply passes on costs to the end user.

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After looking at the initial file I find my opinions tending to agree to quite a few camps, while disagreeing with others.

My basic opinion on man made global warming is that I have always been quite a sceptic, evidence certainly supports that temperatures are rising, but the extent to which this is man made is debatable. The truth is probably in between the extremes ( as always) and that man made influences are influencing climate change but that a natural cycle is also partly responsible, to that extent I find myself in the expert denial category.

The truth on global warming will undoubtably come out in time, but the alarmists would say we haven't got that much time, I must say I find the doomsayers irritating, they say every single extreme weather event is now caused by global warming and the extreme projections, this simplistic approach has all the dangers of crying wolf, in all likelihood, the extreme projections are at best overstated and could end up being counter productive, with the real dangers of GW then being ignored.

I also much more minded to support the techno-optimism and small actions viewpoints, whether or not and to what extent GW is real, any improvement and reductions to the emissions we make to our environment can only be beneficial, even more recycling can make a difference.

It is also a change to see an article which is relatively unbiaised to the issues of GW and this is a refreshing change, making a facetious point perhaps GW is entirely caused by all the hot air surrounding the subject.

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Posted
  • Location: Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL
  • Location: Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL
That’s not how it works though. The developer never concedes profit, he simply passes on costs to the end user.

Yes, but the end user would look at a house carrying a whooping risk margin as a poor investment so, unless the market was so tight that those were the only properties available they simply wouldn't purchase them. I suspect that we may not be a long way away from starting to thik about the equivalent of "red lining" used in French mountain resorts to indicate avalnche risks zones within which building cannot take place (save for a backhander).

As others above have suggested, there are glimmers starting to emerge.

TWS - the problem with markets is that they tend to look for short term returns where proactive action on a global scale requires long term investment to mitigate future cost a long way down the line. In short, it's not a vote winner. As the article originally cited observes, until people start to see positive action as the right thing to do, rather than the costly thing to support, not much will change. I tend to the view put forward by JH, that it will take a number of catastrophic events to hit the developed world hard before the drum call to action will beat loud and clear in the developed economies. The one thing that might bring the US to economic sense would be if they saw GW driven reductions in fossil fuel use as a strategy for slowing the growth of China and India; whether these latter would wish to play ball is another matter entirely.

The one thing that perhaps does exercise most Governments is the sea-level issue. Whilst scientists cannot agree on the likely magnitude of any sea-level rise, even if they can agree on a rate of warming against which to perform analysis, the fact that many major cities are very close to low lying tidal margins is focussing attention. LA was going to get deluged sooner or later anyway, but Katrina served as a useful prod towards worst case scenario considerations.

After looking at the initial file I find my opinions tending to agree to quite a few camps, while disagreeing with others.

...

The truth on global warming will undoubtably come out in time, but the alarmists would say we haven't got that much time, I must say I find the doomsayers irritating, they say every single extreme weather event is now caused by global warming and the extreme projections, this simplistic approach has all the dangers of crying wolf, in all likelihood, the extreme projections are at best overstated and could end up being counter productive, with the real dangers of GW then being ignored.

I also much more minded to support the techno-optimism and small actions viewpoints, whether or not and to what extent GW is real, any improvement and reductions to the emissions we make to our environment can only be beneficial, even more recycling can make a difference.

It is also a change to see an article which is relatively unbiaised to the issues of GW and this is a refreshing change, making a facetious point perhaps GW is entirely caused by all the hot air surrounding the subject.

Agree with all of that. It doesn't matter where in the argument people are, presenting facts that are either massaged, exaggerated, or wrapped in hyperbole (see ITV last night) really doesn't help the debate one iota.

Technical evolution would probably cope with most change in most scenarios, but this favours the developed parts of the world that are already temperate. What should concern us all would be a shift in climate around the grain belts.

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Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

I find myself in full agreement with the above two posts- a lot of well said points.

I tend towards the techno-optimism and small actions myself because personally, I don't see much point in resigning ourselves to a "fate" where we feel we can't do anything about it. If we do nothing, and humans are significantly contributing to climate change, then we're doomed to some nasty future events. If we try something proactive like in the small actions and techno-optimism movements, at least we're trying and might reduce the extent of the problems that crop up further down the line.

I completely agree with the above assessment re. markets. It's an interesting point re. the USA- I certainly hope something comes about, even if it's an economic consideration like that, just something to get them to co-operate with the rest of the globe in dealing with a significant issue.

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Posted
  • Location: South of Glasgow 55.778, -4.086, 86m
  • Location: South of Glasgow 55.778, -4.086, 86m
Yes, but the end user would look at a house carrying a whooping risk margin as a poor investment so, unless the market was so tight that those were the only properties available they simply wouldn't purchase them. I suspect that we may not be a long way away from starting to thik about the equivalent of "red lining" used in French mountain resorts to indicate avalnche risks zones within which building cannot take place (save for a backhander).

That’s a slightly different point from the one P3 made, although the answer isn’t all that different.

A developer works out his financial appraisals on a calculation called residual value. Any development has a potential total income, a guess of sales value if you like, tested against experience and current trends. From that he takes off a profit margin, a percentage usually, and an amount which is absolutely fixed. From what’s left he takes off all his development costs like construction, overheads, finance etc. The amount left is the residual land value, the money he can offer for the land on which the development is built (both physically and financially).

So in the case where the income value is depressed by market resistance, (and I personally would never invest in property on a flood plain – the clue is in the name – but an amazing number of people don’t seem to register the risk,) all that happens is income, and therefore profit, are slightly reduced, costs stay largely the same, so the land value goes down. But remember when judged against agricultural land values, development land values are stratospheric, so quite a degree of market depression can take place before the farmer won’t sell and a project becomes unviable.

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Posted
  • Location: Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL
  • Location: Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL
That’s a slightly different point from the one P3 made, although the answer isn’t all that different.

A developer works out his financial appraisals on a calculation called residual value. Any development has a potential total income, a guess of sales value if you like, tested against experience and current trends. From that he takes off a profit margin, a percentage usually, and an amount which is absolutely fixed. From what’s left he takes off all his development costs like construction, overheads, finance etc. The amount left is the residual land value, the money he can offer for the land on which the development is built (both physically and financially).

So in the case where the income value is depressed by market resistance, (and I personally would never invest in property on a flood plain – the clue is in the name – but an amazing number of people don’t seem to register the risk,) all that happens is income, and therefore profit, are slightly reduced, costs stay largely the same, so the land value goes down. But remember when judged against agricultural land values, development land values are stratospheric, so quite a degree of market depression can take place before the farmer won’t sell and a project becomes unviable.

That's all okay so long as insurers are willing to continue to insure the risk. We may well effectively have "red lining" - if not by statute, then by actuarial consideration, before long.

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Posted
  • Location: Thame, Oxfordshire
  • Location: Thame, Oxfordshire
Really interesting piece of work. Have a scan and decide which camp you belong in. Perusing it I thought it provided interesting context for much debate that goes on here and elsewhere. Interesting that a professional expert (in communications) should identify many of the dividing lines that some on here sense.

http://www.ippr.org.uk/ecomm/files/warm_words.pdf

I feel obliged to point out to readers that according to the much vaunted " Real Climate" website this group is a left leaning think tank-in other words hand wringing lobbying environmentalists and probably biased.Should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

In the same way that I think some on here have dismissed sceptical groups as " right wing conservative groups" being on side with the oil companies.

Have a nice weekend.

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The only thing that I have found on their that to me seems biased is their section on the 'hockey stick' and that their praise of it. Apart from that it seems fairly neutral.

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Posted
  • Location: Sunny Southsea
  • Location: Sunny Southsea
The only thing that I have found on their that to me seems biased is their section on the 'hockey stick' and that their praise of it. Apart from that it seems fairly neutral.

I think Mr S was referring to the IPPR, rather than Realclimate, which is avowedly apolitical. In general, I avoid politically oriented sites, because the science tends to take second place to the intended 'message'.

They defend/justify the 'hockey stick' because Mann, the author, is a co-founder of the site.

Does this make Realclimate 'biased'? Yes. But, unlike other sites, they do not try to hide their opinions.

Does this make the site unreliable? Like any website which contains editorial about science, they are interpretive and seek to justify their own viewpoint, so, as with any other site, we, the readers, must decide when they are being fair, and when unfair. Because their editorial policy includes publishing responses to their pieces, the overall effect is a mixture between scientific discussion and 'firefighting' common misunderstandings. My impression is that they strive to be balanced about their presentation, but in the context of the science they have done. In this, they are similar to Climate Science, which has a different set of opinions, but is equally, trying to find a 'balance'.

I have recommended the site, along with others, because it deals with many of the issues and misunderstandings that we have on NW, but with relevant scientific supporting material. On the site, I have found material which supports the consensus view of GW, but also material which challenges this view; after all, one of the reasons the site exists is to answer scientific or public criticism.

As far as the 'hockey stick' debate, which you implicitly find fault with, there are very few actual climate scientists, palaeographers or statisticians who do not accept that it is perfectly legitimate. The few remaning critics are of the 'hard right' anti group, and most of these are not active scientists or experts. The hypothesis and the modelling which arrived at the graph has been tested and re-tested more than any other modern scientific idea, and has been found to be well-founded and rigorous. The group who produced it are so confident of this that they have made their original codes publically available, so that anyone can test the experiment and look for flaws.

Finally, you should note that the link posted leads to a qualitative analysis of Linguistic and Semiotic codes in the global warming debate; it is not about GW at all, but about how we use language to discuss it. If you think this analysis is faulty or biased, it is a reflection on the communications specialists, not on the IPPR, or the GW debate itself.

Frequently, people on NW post that they don't know what to think or believe, because there are so many different opinions out there. Recommending a website is intended to let these people read some of the more scientific material and improve their own understanding. I have not yet found any better sites about GW and climate science than the three or four I frequently refer to; this is because I have more trust in their content than of the hundreds of other sites I have visited, not because I want anybody to agree with me. If everyone agreed with me, it would be very dull indeed, apart from the fact that I frequently change my mind/revise my opinions about certain issues, and make no claim - in spite of what some people insist - to either perfect knowledge or understanding. We are all after similar answers; hopefully, what we have on NW is an opportunity to learn from each other, whatever side of whatever fence each of us is sitting on.

:( P

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Posted
  • Location: Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL
  • Location: Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL
I feel obliged to point out to readers that according to the much vaunted " Real Climate" website this group is a left leaning think tank-in other words hand wringing lobbying environmentalists and probably biased.Should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

In the same way that I think some on here have dismissed sceptical groups as " right wing conservative groups" being on side with the oil companies.

Have a nice weekend.

Mr S,

IPPR are openly left-wing, but the point of this thread was intended to be to discuss the categories of people around the GW debate - categores which, yes, have come about from work funded by this left wing body, and carried out by a COMMUNICATIONS expert - and the points made in the paper about communicating GW, irrespective of whether GW is seen as a real threat. I'm assuming you haven't read the paper, because had you done so you would realise that those categories cover the full breadth of people around the debate without making judgements as to the validity of their position. Furthermore the general discussion in the debate is surprisingly neutral. In discussing how GW might better be communicated my recall is that the paper acknowledges that over-egging of facts and arguments has occurred, and is counter-productive.

If you could be bothered to occasionally read some of the links, and to read more carefully posts as written (a point which a fair few on here would do well to bear in mind), then you might avoid making observations downstream that are wither irrelevant or factually incorrect.

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