New BNC podcast series and predict millionth page view

One of the new initiatives I’ll be trying in 2011 is an audio podcast series (I use the term ‘series’ loosely, as there’ll be no fixed schedule). This is now fairly straightforward to do, via my iPhone 4 and the Audioboo app.

This type of media/blogging is quick and flexible to do on the fly. This is a real advantage for me, because I quite often have time to take 5-10 minutes to record something, but often not time to compose a more detailed blog post (once every 3-5 days is about my sanity limit!). So, in this way, I hope to add a lot of detailed content on very specific topics by this method.

All of the podcasts will be short (<5 minutes) and will range from general observations of recent news in climate and energy, to very targeted answers to questions (please feel free to pose those you’d like me to have a go at answering), to short interviews with interesting people.

To access the podcasts, you could: (a) click on the purple Audioboo icon left sidebar of the BNC homepage (this will take you to the BNC Podcast site) or (b) subscribe to BNC’s Boo RSS audio feed or subscribe to the iTunes feed (same link as the RSS but replace “http” with “itpc“) to have it automatically delivered to your iPhone, iPad or iPod. Note that it is also automatically announced on my Twitter feed and Facebook page.

To kick things off, I’ve put up a couple of launch recordings:

Welcome to BraveNewClimate (4:27 min)

Integral Fast Reactor nuclear power – what is it and why should you care? (2:45 min)

Are the climate and energy debates missing the point? (4:56 min)

At least initially, this will be very much an ad hoc affair, but I hope it proves useful and interesting. More formally, I’m hoping to also set up a more professionally hosted podcast series, which will run weekly or fortnightly for 15-30 min — I’ve done some brainstorming about this with some key people, but am yet to finalise any details, so stay tuned.

Talking of public broadcasts, I’ll be doing an extended interview with ABC Counterpoint soon on the Energy paper. I’ll also be doing a session with ABC 891 mornings programme (Matt & Dave) on floods and climate change, which for Adelaide viewers, will be on at about 8:30am (note also that the Bureau of Meteorology has updated their special climate statement on this, to cover the extraordinary January conditions in QLD and Vic).

On 8 March, I’ll be doing a joint presentation with Ben Heard of ‘ThinkClimate Consulting”. It is called: POWERING A CLEANER AUSTRALIA Why nuclear power is the answer to the climate and energy crisis. Details here (where you can sign up to attend).

The talks are as follows:

Nuclear Power – From opponent to proponent

Ben Heard – Director, ThinkClimate Consulting

A deepening understanding of the gravity of the climate crisis has forced many people to rethink the role of nuclear power, and query Australia’s continuing opposition to this power source. This presentation will describe the real-life intellectual journey from a nuclear opponent to a nuclear proponent, outlining the common objections to nuclear power and showing how these were dismantled through a process of critical examination, research and learning. This presentation will challenge the views of some and reinforce the views of others, but all will take away vital new information regarding the challenge of climate change and the possible solutions.

Nuclear power as an inexhaustible and universal future energy source

Professor Barry Brook- University of Adelaide

The interrelated imperatives of climate change, pollution and dwindling supplies means our dependence on fossil fuels will need to be virtually eliminated within the next 50 years. While renewable energy technologies inevitably fall far short of meeting current or growing future demand, nuclear power is capable of providing all the carbon-free energy that mankind requires. Technology based on uranium fast spectrum reactors (or thorium variants), coupled to full fuel recycling, are capable of providing an inexhaustible supply of ‘clean’ energy; this technology is unrivaled in its ability to solve the most difficult energy problems facing humanity in the 21st century. This talk will cover the history and technical basis of “Generation IV” designs, consider current fast reactor developments in China, India, Russia and elsewhere, and map out realistic timetables for large-scale deployment and the critical synergies with current reactor technologies.

Finally, to the BNC website. Work is continuing in the background, and what is especially good news is that I’m going to hire someone to create a customised theme for me on WordPress.com. Why is this good? Well, following on from the suggestions offered here, this upgrade should allow me to restore comment numbering (and maybe add comment preview), add a built-in comment search facility, and do various other things to enhance the general usability and layout of the website… I hope. It’s just a matter now of finding the right person to do this, but my friends have leads!

Millionth page view competition

On the topic of the website, how about a little competition? As of writing this post, BNC had received 944,220 page views (at least by WordPress’ number crunching, although some say that it tends to under report). The competition, open to anyone offering a comment below, is to guess the date on which the 1,000,000 page view is passed. The winner is the person who gets closest, and if multiple people get the day right, then the winner is whoever gets the time of day correct (so you would guess something like: “I think it will be on 10 Feb 2011 at 9pm ACST” (this is NOT going to be the correct prognostication, I can assure you, it’s just for illustrative purposes).

What fabulous prize will you get? Nothing of monetary value, I’m afraid (this website lightens my pocketbook, it doesn’t earn anything for me!), so how about your choice of: (a) a guest post by you on a climate/energy topic (most any within reason) or (b) an interview with you, by me, on my Podcast show, or (c) something else you can think of that is related to the website content (and is within reason). These are broad terms and conditions, I know, but I’ll try my best to be accommodating.

Guess away!

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48 Comments

  1. Good one Barry. Look forward to catching as much as I can of your “series.” I’m speaking to the Royal Overseas League next Tuesday at their monthly lunch and later on I’ll be giving a pro nuclear,anti renewablesand still developing technologies for “base load” power talk on Robyn Williams’ Ockhams Razor. Will let you know when it’s on. Meanwhile, off to New Zealand for a couple of weeks. I’m going to check out their geothermal stuff and see how much of their glaciers are left.

  2. Dear Barry,

    I am watching, tracking and doing projections so I can win. However, I need some clarifications and have a suggestion about the competition.

    1. What is the closing date for entries?

    2. If there is no closing date, then how can their be a fair competition between those who enter their estimate early and those who enter their estimate when the number of hits is approaching 999,999?

    3. Betting agencies like BetFair allow betters to place bets at any time up to the last minute. And the odds change as the end nears. Another leveling method is the handicap system, like used in the Sydney to Hobart Yaught race. I reckon one of the BNC contributors can come up with some sort of handicap system or statistical method to level the competition so that bets placed at different times are awarded a different value. To be fair, whatever system is adopted shoud ensures that I win.

    4. Barry, you encouraged people to suggest what they want for a prize. This is what I want:

    All BNC contributors will pledge to agree with everything Peter Lang says for one year from the date that 1 million hits was achieved on BNC. The penalty for breach or pledge (or failing to pledge) shall be that the pledge-breaker will conduct a research study assigned by Peter Lang. The report of the study will be posted on BNC

  3. Peter, I said “any reasonable request” :)

    Good point about closing date/threshold for entries. Let’s say when the hit count has passed 970,000. Anyone is welcome to submit updated guesses (if they wish) up to that point. Then it’s all fair and square, gives people time to monitor things for a while and make a more informed prediction, and yet leaves a 30K gap to introduce a reasonable amount of uncertainty. I’ll submit my guess once the 970,000 mark is reached.

  4. In honor of peter Lang’s self deprecating humor, I will guess April 1.

    which normally wouldn’t stand a chance but I know the people associated with Julian Assange and I think I could arrange to have them mysteriously shutdown BNC so I could win.

    g

  5. Barry,

    You can control when it occurs. You can accelerate the rate of comments (and I presume, hits) by posting economically rational articles. They draw lots of comments. Or you can slow the hit rate by posting the other types of articles, they don’t attract as much comment. I notice that Chris Uhlik’s article about costs has attracted 290 comments so far (grin!)

  6. economically rational articles
    I thought this blog was about the correct technologies to get the job done, not just pushing one limited laissez faire perspective. But hey, that was what I was *hoping* this blog would discuss, if it’s going back into political economy discussions I’ll catch you all in a few months because… well… (yawns) I find Peter’s right-wing fixation just too…

    zzzzzzzzzzzt…

  7. On 3 days’ data, XL guesses 13th March, 14:30 GMT on a simple linear least squares (R^2 = 0.998), 1203 views/day. However, there is a slight daily ripple on the data, with fewer hits after midnight BNC timestamp time.

    I expect Peter will be subjecting this to fiendish analysis, but by eye the ripple brings the estimate forward about 30 min, to 14:00 GMT 13/3, or 12:00 midnight BNC time 14/3/11.

    Request on winning – bump the next 2060 scenarios post up the priority list a bit.

  8. Luke_UK,

    Yes, you are correct. I’ve been plotting the hits on BNC since 20 January. I am getting a much more sophisticated view of what is going on. And I am sensing a conspiracy (grin!).

    The hit rate was higher from Jan 20 to 29, then slowed to Feb 1 and then has picked up again but is not as fast as it was from Jan 20 to 29. The slowing of the hit rate means that my projected date for the 100 million hits has been slipping by about a day each day. My current projection is 6 March.

    The hit rate depends on the type of lead articles posted. The hit rate was faster when Chris Uhil’s post The cost of ending global warming – a calculation was under active discussion. Soft, Lefty posts get less hits because most BNCers accept them. Posts that involve discusion of ecomomically rational polices attract a higher hit rate because there is more argument and many explanatory comments are needed.

  9. Can someone explain how to find Barry’s podcast on iTunes?
    Searches for “Brave New Climate,” “Barry Brook,” and a carefull hunt through everything listed under “Audio boo” all fail to reveal it.

  10. @Chuck P
    They don’t show up on the iTunes site – Audioboos help page outlines the extra steps Barry would have to take to get Apple to list them. The ‘subscribe via iTunes’ link Barry included in his post is broken, at least for me. it is given as an http link, but should be itpc

    itpc://audioboo.fm/users/80287/boos.atom

    works for me, but I’m using Safari on a fairly antiquated Mac, so YMMV.

  11. Luke_UK is quite right, I’d put the wrong link in the top post (I’ve now fixed this). You subscribe by clicking here:
    itpc://audioboo.fm/users/80287/boos.atom

    I’ve confirmed it works, as I’m getting delivery of the content in my iTunes.

    The other way to do it is to go to the BNC Audioboo page (http://audioboo.fm/BraveNewClimate) and click on the iTunes button to the right of the ribbon that says ‘BraveNewClimate’s Boos’

    Sorry again about the confusion I caused.

  12. @Barry
    Wordpress bug? The link says itpc… but is served as http, even though you just fixed it.
    Please delete this post if the problem is not confirmed, I don’t want to add to the confusion.

  13. Peter Lang I project, 1 million hits will occur at 12:00 on 14 March 2011.

    And I would have agreed with you, give or take a few hours, prior to the last couple of days’ data. However, there has been a marked increase in hit rate, from ~1150/day to ~1650/day. The most likely cause is Barry’s radio & TV appearances, though the post rate has also gone up a bit. If this is a blip, the estimate moves forward a day or so, if it is sustained, more like early on 7th March, BNC time. Either way, the fact that such a change can happen at all makes my previous error bars look far too small. We’ll be lucky to pick the right week.

    Barry, any more TV spots on the way? My plot is starting to look like one of those things people use to hit a puck around a patch of ice with. And congratulations on getting to a wider audience.

  14. Considering the average post count, tomorrow at about this time is the deadline for submitting your final guess.

    There is a fair amount of stochasticity in the daily hit count, so I wouldn’t read too much into the recent trends Luke. Remember that old rule of statistics — regression to the mean! I’ll submit my educated guess tomorrow evening, close to the deadline. Then the waiting game begins…

  15. Luke_UK,

    I agree. I noticed it too. I suspect the rate is driven by the types of posts, and of course Barry’s media a tweets. The highest hit rate by rfar was from 20 January to end of January when there was active discussion on Chris Uhlik”s post.

  16. Okay, given that the 970,000 hit deadline will come up late today, I’ll throw down my forecast now:

    9:30 pm (Adelaide time) on Sunday 13th March 2011

    I know this is quite close to Peter’s guess (and Luke_UK’s initial stab), but it was derived using my own tracking calculations (so I guess we must be using the same data and pretty much the same assumptions :P). So far, only unclepete is out of the running… (too optimistic!)

  17. Looks like the deadline will pass during the night for me, so final guess must go in now. XL says 17:30 GMT on Mon 14th March 2011, = 03:30 BNC time Tue 15th. However, there have been two upward spikes in the data (late Jan and the last few days), and no dips. I’m guessing there will be another couple of spikes over the next month, bringing the millionth hit up a bit earlier. My guess is therefore 10:00 am BNC time Sun 13th March.

  18. Pingback: BNC million hits approaches « BraveNewClimate

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