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noggin

Do the members think......

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There are a couple of things that I would like to adress on this thread.

Firstly, I believe that everybody, regardless of their AGW beliefs, should be doing the same amount to combat climate change and that such an amount should be all that we can. If, in ten years' time, the world temperature has dropped or levelled off and compelling evidence suggests that AGW was largely a myth, then we can adress the true problem - we will have lost very little in doing so; in fact, our dependency on fossil fuels will have dropped and we will have a cleaner environment for everybody. Waiting until overwhelming evidence arrives and then acting accordingly is ridiculous because if AGW is eventually proven correct (which nobody should rule out if they possess any scientific credibility) then it may well be too late

Secondly, I think that this thread resonates with many of the model discussion threads: think how many people cling to the GFS if it is showing their desired synoptics despite no agreement from other models. It happens every winter and demonstrates a key fact of human nature - we always seem to choose the theory which benefits us most.

If you have a testube with a high CO2 concentration and expose it to thermal radiation, it retains its heat for much longer than a testube with a low CO2 concentration. People have also discovered that the world is warming and that CO2 levels are rising consistently with temperature. It does not take much intellect for somebody to observe that perhaps the Earth reacts in a similar (albeit much more complex) way to the testube.

Literally hundreds of studies have concluded that GHG emissions are warming the planet to some extent. Why is this not enough for some people (and I do not inlcude CB in this) to clean up their act to the best of their ability? There are still people - not necessarily on this forum - who say "The evidence is inconclusive and therefore I am going to do absolutely nothing". Such people then wave a few studies (a vast minority and many of which have been refuted) in front of people's faces and say that they are correct, and that they are reason enough to do nothing. It is the hopecasting of the climate world. I don't mind it if people act as if the AGW theory is entirely true, but if this is not the case then there is only one word to describe it - "selfishness". Yes, they are selfish: such people risk putting my future, and the futures of billions of others, into jeopardy. (I don't think there are any such people on here.)

It makes me so angry (inexplicably enraged) :) to see powerful people like Mitt Romney suggesting that we invest more money in finding oil reserves and, in his manifesto, not a single cent into reducing emissions. His only policy that is remotely "green" is to invest money into making renewable energy economically viable - with no mention of introducing them as the Europeans have managed to do perfectly economically for the past decades. That is his proposition - and millions of Americans have voted for him. It now looks as if he won't stand for the presidency, but if he does, I may just turn insane.

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Ahem! That's "bloomin big drama king", i think you'll find! :)

Once again, though, I am going to step back, give it some time and see where things stand further down the line. There's plenty of people on here making rational arguments, including your good self. I will keep an eye on the threads, as ever, and maybe jump back in if it seems appropriate or if some new way of discussion makes itself plain to me. :)

Thanks for your thoughts, and keep up the great posts - you're a rational thinker if ever I saw one! :)

CB

Hey there Queenie, I do understand your frustration; after more than a year on here I too have encountered the seemingly endless adherence to polarised views. Perhaps you, I and HP find it sooo frustrating because none of us put ourselves in either camp, preferring the no man's land of questioning. Questions are healthy and vital to further our understanding of all this; don't stop asking them eh.

When it comes to the link I posted about the clouds; the point was that this is an empirical study. Empirical evidence always surmounts hypothesis. Comparing empirical observation with hypothetical ideas and computer projections and predictions is essential for furthering the hypothesis into a testable theory. All the models in the world are worthless if the empirical evidence does not support their findings.

This may well be a new study with new evidence, I have no doubt other studies will follow to check for it's validity but as we're dealing with the here and now, then recent studies are all we have to go with. There haven't been thousands of studies to date, which disagree with these findings, there have been thousands of theoretical studies upon climate change as a whole. As the article says, it revealed an unexpected finding. Clouds and their impact and influence upon climate are one of the least studied and least understood parts of this debate, the presumption has been that a warmer world leads to more ocean evaporation and thus more clouds trapping heat, an endless cycle of positive feedback. Empirically, the study finds a negative feedback.

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It makes me so angry (inexplicably enraged) :) to see powerful people like Mitt Romney suggesting that we invest more money in finding oil reserves and, in his manifesto, not a single cent into reducing emissions. His only policy that is remotely "green" is to invest money into making renewable energy economically viable - with no mention of introducing them as the Europeans have managed to do perfectly economically for the past decades. That is his proposition - and millions of Americans have voted for him. It now looks as if he won't stand for the presidency, but if he does, I may just turn insane.

LOL - it's not that you actually become insane, it's just that as you get older and you see more and more inexplicable behaviour from so called responsible adults you start to take a different view of things so that everyone else thinks you have gone insane :)

Queenie - LMAO - I will never live that one down. I did know you were a bloke CB - it's just that Drama Queen sounds sooo much better imo. honest guv :)

@Jethro - so true that you state how hard it is to sit in the no-mans' land of scepticism. I work in science based R&D and it's my job to be sceptical about everything we do so I'm used to it. But it still is hard work when your collegues dismiss ideas or criticism, but I have found that there is no harm in standing your ground as the worst that happens is that you are wrong and you reach a far better and robust solution than if you just accept the majority of the science regardless of its credentials.

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I'm not sure there is a debate, I think the science is pretty clear, and has been for a long time. It is being tested all the time, look how people are reacting to some short term cooling due to La Nina, but, I think the next decade will see more warming. If it does, some will still argue it's not happening but the case for further delay will be even less easy to make, if it doesn't would measures to curb CO2 have been bad for us? I think not.

Hi Dev: I think you are right as far as debate is concerned regarding CO2 as a GHG, it is a gas that enhances warming of the atmosphere and continuing to add to this is only going to increase the problem. There appears to be almost unanimous support from all quarters and sides of the argument that we need to reduce both our dependency on fossil fuels and their emissions.

For me the debate is still very much alive on just how much warming human emissions are responsible for? Whether CO2 can actually be stated the initial cause of AGW or if its merely an addition to an underlying problem? Why these are important is that we have to know what impact future CO2 emissions will have on global temps and unless we can define mans addition correctly then projections as produced by the IPCC are not worth the paper they are written on. Be they better or worse, already its sea ice loss predictions lay in complete tatters, no yeah but no buts! here it shows that the IPCC can't predict a single year ahead. Another reason is that merely proving CO2 causes or enhances warming does not necessarily mean that removing it will actually fix the problem especially if a chain reaction has already been triggered or the underlying cause is something else. If our ocean sinks continue to show their recent decline then not even the most vigorous cuts will have any meaningful effect on Global temps this century or even the next.

This brings me to claims being made by our politicians and groups such as the IPCC, UN etc which continually tell us that by making emissions cuts we can reverse the effects of AGW. We don't even know where the climate should be and there is more evidence backing continued warmth even in the face of quite substantial cuts then there is cooling or even stabilising. Why are these bodies making what appears to be false claims of a remedy which they know may not exist? Coupled with this are a whole host of governmental policies which are at odds with the concept of reducing emissions which will lead many people to question their sincerity. As a Prime Minister you cannot say you are committed to CO2 cuts in the morning then tell business that you fully support the need to triple the size of our airports in the afternoon.

There is plenty of room for debate and scepticism within this whole subject and simple saying CO2 is a GHG does not even scrape the surface of the issue or problem.

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I accept all of your points HP - they are entirely valid.

I think we need to look at the situation as practically as possible. I might be repeating myself, but if we act now to the best of our ability (and help3rd world countries to develop in the process) then it could cost us a substantial amount of money - but money that we do not particularly need. It might save us from a climate catastrophe. It might be too late already to do so, if we are indeed past the "tipping point". However, we could say to posterity "at least we tried our best". Imagine if we didn't act much at all and faced a global economic meltdown (pardon the pun). We wouldn't know if acting differently would have made any difference. We would always be thinking, "what if...?" I don't think future generations would be thankful.

For me, I couldn't care less how much people speculate so long as we act as if we are heading for the worst case scenario. I see it as a practical problem, not a conceptual or theoretical problem. We are simply not doing enough as things currently stand. Waiting for more evidence is unnecessary - by all means investigate it as we cut our footprint, but I think AGW should be guilty until proven innocent: instead of waiting for science to prove that we can or cannot affect GW through emissions until we act, we need to act until science can prove that we have or can have little impact on our climate.

As long as we obey the latter principle I could not care less what people speculate.

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Hi Dev: I think you are right as far as debate is concerned regarding CO2 as a GHG, it is a gas that enhances warming of the atmosphere and continuing to add to this is only going to increase the problem. There appears to be almost unanimous support from all quarters and sides of the argument that we need to reduce both our dependency on fossil fuels and their emissions.

For me the debate is still very much alive on just how much warming human emissions are responsible for? Whether CO2 can actually be stated the initial cause of AGW or if its merely an addition to an underlying problem? Why these are important is that we have to know what impact future CO2 emissions will have on global temps and unless we can define mans addition correctly then projections as produced by the IPCC are not worth the paper they are written on. Be they better or worse, already its sea ice loss predictions lay in complete tatters, no yeah but no buts! here it shows that the IPCC can't predict a single year ahead. Another reason is that merely proving CO2 causes or enhances warming does not necessarily mean that removing it will actually fix the problem especially if a chain reaction has already been triggered or the underlying cause is something else. If our ocean sinks continue to show their recent decline then not even the most vigorous cuts will have any meaningful effect on Global temps this century or even the next.

This brings me to claims being made by our politicians and groups such as the IPCC, UN etc which continually tell us that by making emissions cuts we can reverse the effects of AGW. We don't even know where the climate should be and there is more evidence backing continued warmth even in the face of quite substantial cuts then there is cooling or even stabilising. Why are these bodies making what appears to be false claims of a remedy which they know may not exist? Coupled with this are a whole host of governmental policies which are at odds with the concept of reducing emissions which will lead many people to question their sincerity. As a Prime Minister you cannot say you are committed to CO2 cuts in the morning then tell business that you fully support the need to triple the size of our airports in the afternoon.

There is plenty of room for debate and scepticism within this whole subject and simple saying CO2 is a GHG does not even scrape the surface of the issue or problem.

I've never understood how predictions that underestimate warming effect (the sea ice changes) can be seen as anything but showing the problems are happening quicker than we think, not that because the prediction isn't spot on therefore the predictions are risible.

For me the climate should be what it was before we started messing with it. Not in a puritanical way, but in what I see as a sensible way. So, ~280ppm CO2, more forest, less desertification - that kind of thing. Now, I don't for a second think that's achievable, but it's what I think the climate on Earth 'should' be.

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For me the climate should be what it was before we started messing with it. Not in a puritanical way, but in what I see as a sensible way. So, ~280ppm CO2, more forest, less desertification - that kind of thing. Now, I don't for a second think that's achievable, but it's what I think the climate on Earth 'should' be.

So do I. I only wish that humans were something more than just animals as, while it is theoretically achievable, the great boundary preventing it is our own nature.

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I've never understood how predictions that underestimate warming effect (the sea ice changes) can be seen as anything but showing the problems are happening quicker than we think, not that because the prediction isn't spot on therefore the predictions are risible.

It is important to me and surely most people who are really interested in this subject to gain an accurate understanding of what is happening. I don't fly the flag for anti or pro and am quite happy walking backwards and forwards across no mans land, if the IPCC under or overestimate predictions its because they don't have a full understanding on what is going on. I see no reason why some of the anti camp views can not also be included as valid arguments along with AGW theories, it seems logical to me that the IPCC underestimating predictions may well be because there are also significant natural effects taking place as well. I really feel with have 2 camps determined to prove they are right and are so entrenched that they will not even look at the othersides points.

For me the climate should be what it was before we started messing with it. Not in a puritanical way, but in what I see as a sensible way. So, ~280ppm CO2, more forest, less desertification - that kind of thing. Now, I don't for a second think that's achievable, but it's what I think the climate on Earth 'should' be.

I entirely agree with you on this, but it should not be promised as the fix it may not be and our governments and organisations should be honest about this.

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I've never understood how predictions that underestimate warming effect (the sea ice changes) can be seen as anything but showing the problems are happening quicker than we think, not that because the prediction isn't spot on therefore the predictions are risible.

For me the climate should be what it was before we started messing with it. Not in a puritanical way, but in what I see as a sensible way. So, ~280ppm CO2, more forest, less desertification - that kind of thing. Now, I don't for a second think that's achievable, but it's what I think the climate on Earth 'should' be.

Sensible points both.

...As a Prime Minister you cannot say you are committed to CO2 cuts in the morning then tell business that you fully support the need to triple the size of our airports in the afternoon.

...

You can: all it points to is what my profession refers to as "unjoinedup thinking". Government at all levels is full of myriad examples: I work with Councils and Councillors who at one moment agree budget cuts and at the next refuse to cut spending. I work with Government Departments whose policies often conflict and contradict.

In any case, just as GW does not necessarily mean all places warm equally - or even at all, so a reduction in GHG emissions need not mean that every source is reduced. Aviation accounts for far less in the way of emissions than does household consumption. I'm not sure the PM has mentioned tripling airports' capacity, but even if he did this would make but a small dent in our national GHG production from other sources.

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As a Prime Minister you cannot say you are committed to CO2 cuts in the morning then tell business that you fully support the need to triple the size of our airports in the afternoon.

That's simple - in the morning he was lying, and in the afternoon he was, as normal, playing lapdog to the people he really fears...................

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In any case, just as GW does not necessarily mean all places warm equally - or even at all, so a reduction in GHG emissions need not mean that every source is reduced. Aviation accounts for far less in the way of emissions than does household consumption. I'm not sure the PM has mentioned tripling airports' capacity, but even if he did this would make but a small dent in our national GHG production from other sources.

The tripling of Air traffic or more correctly passengers comes from the expected increase in passengers over the next 30 or so years, not sure if its a government or CAA report but its easy enough to find. Sometimes little things do really mean a lot, if the Government said no to airport expansion on environmental grounds it would send a very big signal to the public that it was really serious on the issue.

Its also far easier to target individuals then big business, because its they who turn the wheels of power and fund the very polictical system that some expect or hope to deliver us from climate change???

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Guest diessoli
Be they better or worse, already its sea ice loss predictions lay in complete tatters, no yeah but no buts! here it shows that the IPCC can't predict a single year ahead. Another reason is that merely proving CO2 causes or enhances warming does not necessarily mean that removing it will actually fix the problem especially if a chain reaction has already been triggered or the underlying cause is something else. If our ocean sinks continue to show their recent decline then not even the most vigorous cuts will have any meaningful effect on Global temps this century or even the next.

The IPCC does not make any predictions, it reviews other people's predictions. Would you mind linking to the prediction you refer to and the observations that show that those where wrong?

This is what the latest IPCC report has to say about climate models ability to model sea ice (see chapter 8 "Climate models and their evaluation"):

"Although sea ice treatment in AOGCMs has become more sophisticated, including better representation of both

the dynamics and thermodynamics (see Section 8.2.4), improvement in simulating sea ice in these models, as a group, is not obvious (compare Figure 8.10 with TAR Figure 8.10; or Kattsov and Källén, 2005, Figure 4.11). In some models, however, the geographic distribution and seasonality of sea ice is now better reproduced."

They are very well aware of the limitations of the models and I doubt that they would make a prediction for a single year - which by the way is pointless anyway, since the timescale is too short.

This brings me to claims being made by our politicians and groups such as the IPCC, UN etc which continually tell us that by making emissions cuts we can reverse the effects of AGW. We don't even know where the climate should be and there is more evidence backing continued warmth even in the face of quite substantial cuts then there is cooling or even stabilising. Why are these bodies making what appears to be false claims of a remedy which they know may not exist?

Maybe because the claims do not appear to be false to them?

Cheers

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Guest diessoli

Hi CB,

Thanks for following this up.

Hi diessoli,

Yes, you have understood my point correctly, but we disagree on my point's validity. A prediction that can be arrived at by a variety of means doesn't help with scientific verification. Whilst it is true that any Tom, Dick or Harry could plot a trend line and extend it into the future by means of extrapolation, the application of trends can be done scientifically by taking data and applying algorithms to them. The fact that trend analysis can be performed scientifically (and such analysis back in 1988 would likely have predicted increasing temperatures into the future) means that Hansen's results are not the only scientifically legitimate way of arriving at the same (or a similar) conclusion.

If AGW is real then surely there must be something that can be predicted to happen that could only happen because of man's influence? But then, as others have pointed out recently, our predictions of warming effects on cloud formation were wrong, our predictions of polar ice coverage were wrong and our predictions of other "freak" weather phenomena were wrong (or at least have not, as yet, been proved to be right). Since we get so many things wrong, from where does the confidence come to assert that we are responsible?

:lol:

CB

IMHO extrapolation is not a "scientifically legitimate way" to make predictions for anything else than very short timescales or for cases where you know the underlying processes so well that you can make assumptions about how to extrapolate - or both.

But anyway you've sort of avoided my main argument. Extrapolation may have given you a similar prediction but it would not have predicted some of the details that models do predict.

As for getting "so many" things wrong: you list three points that are also debatable. What about the things we get right?

Cheers

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Some bedtime reading that I thought bore a lot of relevance to this continuing debate of 'action now' vs 'need more evidence/proof'. Sometimes interesting I think to look at the politics as well as the last few posts have done. Good stuff - keep it coming.

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/pu...576-2007.29.pdf

I found it a bit tedious as a geeky scientist who just wants to launch space rockets and find black holes but it paints a picture that imo was remarkably similar to the political lethargy that ensued even when it was proven to a high degree of likelihood that CFCs and ozone depletion were linked. In other words even without scientific uncertainty it still took a long time to develop meaningful policy even though the consequences of no action were all too obvious in the short term. And the poor stratospheric ozone layer will take a lot longer to recover.

Actually I just realised that we have drifted way off topic - but I don't care. :lol: 10 pages in 6 days proves that the debate re GW is still alive and well.

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Ladies and, ahem, gentlemen. Despite our "little" disagreements in the enviro threads, it seems to me that we do all have one thing in common and that is the knowledge that we really do need to clean up our act. I can't remember who said it (sorry), but someone did say that mankind has to move forwards and not backwards. The matter of air travel has been mentioned here, so I'll use that. Personally I don't fly (due to an abject terror of falling out of the sky!) but an awful lot of people do. Indeed people are flying more and more often and have become accustomed to it. Once you have been accustomed to flying off for your nice holidays, then to be stopped from doing it or having restrictions placed upon it will not go down well. The same can be said for many aspects of modern life, eg cut down on car use (I only do a few 1000 per year, personally), hang your washing on the line instead of using a tumble drier (I do, I haven't even got a tumble drier, nor a dishwasher). There are so many labour saving things around which are not strictly speaking, necessary. Personally, I don't think tumble driers or dishwashers or high pressure patio cleaners or garden sprinklers are necessary, just as a few examples around the home. However, a lot of people have them (it matters not that I don't approve of such energy-wasting items).Of course, I am just talking about in the home here.....there are also the matters of transport and manufacturing, to name just two.

Given that people will not want to give up the things that they have got used to, it is imperative to find clean sources/methods of power.

Off to cloud cuckoo land now. If only the people and governments of the world would work together to provide a better world for us all to live in, instead of fighting and warring all the time.

Sorry about the moaning.

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...

I found it a bit tedious as a geeky scientist who just wants to launch space rockets and find black holes but it paints a picture that imo was remarkably similar to the political lethargy that ensued even when it was proven to a high degree of likelihood that CFCs and ozone depletion were linked. ...

It's actually a rather good parallel. What made it worse was that most of the impact was felt over unpopulated areas. Short-termism allows a too narrow focus on immediate spatial impact to outweigh broader, and more sensible, implications. It is far easier, and in the public eye (which tends to be poorly informed and parochial) more defensible, to make short term decisions based on what is rather than longer term decisions based on what might be, and very often in life that is a reasonable approach to managing risk. Note well, however, that that is not always the case.

...

Sorry about the moaning.

I wouldn't read that as a moan Noggin, it's all quite sensible stuff. Like you I can't understand the occasional observations made about the fact that I don't own a dishwasher, and I use a tumble drier only very occasionally.

I suspect that resolving the use of energy will require a combination of measures. These will include: much better design of goods; taxation on use; smarter tariffs for energy consumption; different sources of sustainable energy; changes in personal behaviour.

The tripling of Air traffic or more correctly passengers comes from the expected increase in passengers over the next 30 or so years, not sure if its a government or CAA report but its easy enough to find. Sometimes little things do really mean a lot, if the Government said no to airport expansion on environmental grounds it would send a very big signal to the public that it was really serious on the issue.

Its also far easier to target individuals then big business, because its they who turn the wheels of power and fund the very polictical system that some expect or hope to deliver us from climate change???

Tripling airports is not the same as tripling traffic, nor does tripling bums on seats mean 3 times as many 'planes. However, your right to an extent about targettting big business. On the other hand the Government (via the Exchequer) relies a lot on corporate revenue - for the same sort of reason outcry in the press regarding commercial misdemeanour tends to be very limited (or, restricted to particular sectors for which 10 minutes casual pondering will reveal a pattern) - and whilst being a big target, industry and commerce have big leverage as well. I suspect the biggest change in take in recent years has been the airport tax (yet another labour stealth tax) - easy to legitimise on a variety of counts, and hard for joe public to resist. At the end of the day the man on the street will always take the biggest collective hit.

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You can crack on all you like about there being no Global Warming . all I can say is that in my opinion people who come out with that and all the scientistic stats that vary back and forth and bla bla bla are blind to the fact that we are hotting up and what we are using and pumping into the atmosphere is having an effect .. it could go either way .. ice age or just hot up .. who knows, we don't .. the main scientists don't or aren't in agreement. We shall just have to wait and see

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Hi CB,

Thanks for following this up.

IMHO extrapolation is not a "scientifically legitimate way" to make predictions for anything else than very short timescales or for cases where you know the underlying processes so well that you can make assumptions about how to extrapolate - or both.

But anyway you've sort of avoided my main argument. Extrapolation may have given you a similar prediction but it would not have predicted some of the details that models do predict.

As for getting "so many" things wrong: you list three points that are also debatable. What about the things we get right?

Cheers

Hi diessoli,

I suppose it depends upon what you call "very short timescales". Extrapolation is scientifically legitimate (especially if you can call Statistics a Science!). Hansen made his prediction in 1988 I think (or thereabouts), which is 20 years ago. Climatologically speaking I think that 20 years is a very short timescale, and therefore a prediction based on simple extrapolation would have been scientifically legitimate. As I said earlier, I am not necessarily suggesting that Hansen's predicition is worthless, I am saying that the prediction is not conclusive (and one of the reasons it is not conclusive is because it is not the only scientifically legitimate way of having made that predicition).

What details that the models do predict are you referring to? The models predicted many things, some of which occurred and some of which didn't. I think it is wrong to take the things that were predicted correctly and hold them up as validation of the models whilst ignoring the things the were predicted incorrectly. Similarly, the things that were predicted incorrectly cannot be used, in and of themselves, to invalidate the models (at least not entirely), but they do cast doubt of the accuracy of the models.

I could list more things that were wrongly predicted, such as sea level rise (which, as I understand it, is continuing at the same rate it always has, despite increasing temperatures), the Sahara expanding (in fact it is shrinking) and so on, but I think I've made my point in the previous paragraph. Yes, they got some things right, but they got some things wrong as well.

:lol:

CB

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