Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
|That's the question posed by the ABC's Mark Colvin on Twitter in response to this article in The Guardian.|
This was always my misgiving about Wikileaks: in it's scatter-gun approach there would be collateral damage, and the man trying to stand up to Robert Mugabe may be part of this.
Yes, it all seemed such a jolly jape to so many on the Left when they simplistically and foolishly assumed that Wikileaks was just an embarrassment to the United States and, well gee, that must be a good thing right?
Well, do you think? Does anyone honestly think that China is a more desirable hegamon?Or are people as infantiley stupid as Helen Clarke, the former prime minister of New Zealand and the Labour Party there who thought it was a good idea to encourage the lovely and sensitive Chinese in the Pacific as opposed to those horrible and oppressive Americans?
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
|From the Food & Health Skeptic:|
Okay, while this is pretty much the result I'd have expected, (most so-called herbal remedies have either no real effect or only a very small one), and I think accords with some other studies, I do have a few caveats.
It's a small sample of people and, most crucially, it involves self reporting. Always be wary of studies that involve people reporting how they feel, though depends on whether they were given a definite list of symptoms to report on (which seems to be the case), not just the vague "how do you feel?" kind of questions (which tend to be subjective and work in favour of unconventional remedies).
|Taken from Greenie Watch:|
Monday, December 20, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Sadly, as Nova observes, McKnight is emblematic of the overall decline of academic standards and intellectual rigour within Australian universities, especially within faculties and schools devoted to the liberal arts and social studies.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
As Mr. Henderson puts it, the Deutsche Bank report on climate skeptics has been rendered worthless as a guide to the science and for investors. It also betrays a larger issue, which is a corporate role on the part of Deutsche Bank that makes Exxon look like a Boy Scout. –Terence Corcoran, Financial Post, 14 December 2010
It would thus appear that its Climate Change Advisors, who are no more than “the climate-change investment division of Deutsche Asset Management,” took a strong position on behalf of Deutsche Bank on a controversial political matter. If so, it would be interesting to know whether and to what extent this action, which appears as questionable in itself, was authorized and approved at higher levels within the bank. –David Henderson, Financial Post, 14 December 2010
At a certain point it becomes disconcerting that Deutsche Bank, which is among other things one of the few international banks qualified to act as a primary dealer for the New York Federal Reserve, and is thereby subject to particularly stringent requirements about accuracy of commentary it publishes on economic and policy issues, is going to such efforts to excuse publication of misleading information. --Ross McKitrick, Guelph University, November 2010
1) David Henderson: Deutsche Bank's Corporate Irresponsibility - Financial Post, 14 December 2010
2) Terence Corcoran: Deutsche’s Climate - Financial Post, 14 December 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
|This is big, and it is worrying. I "believe" in science or, more to the point, the scientific method.|
Even something like this is probably part of the self-correcting nature of science. It's just that self-correction as we've traditionally understood it doesn't seem to have worked very well.
As the article makes clear, this is not about scientific fraud. It's about the fact that scientists are human beings and are prone like anyone else to see what they want to see.
Dr Ray from Greenie Watch (has links to article etc) comments:
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Somewhat different issue, but I've said this before: the whole problem of the peak oil theorists was that they were making predictions about a resource that we have never really had a good estimate of. I think it is pretty clear that there was always more oil than we thought, possibly much more.
There is an oil field in the United States that should have run dry several times already based on successive estimates of how much was left made since the 19th Century!
It's still producing and showing no signs yet of running out and it's not an isolated case. Fully two thirds of all possible oil-bearing strata have not been surveyed with modern geological methods according to an article in Scientific American published within the last year.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
From Watts Up With That?
From Mr Bolt:
As perfect an example of green economics - where you always get less for more - as you'll find.
Rosie Redfield runs "a microbiology research lab in the Life Sciences Centre at the University of British Columbia."
My main concern up to now with this story was that it was yet another example, so increasingly prevalent these days, of researchers and institutions over-hyping their discoveries so as to attract media attention (and no doubt more funding). And of course the blogosphere and twitterverse had been crackling for days with speculation (fed by NASA) about some amazing discovery with exobiological ramifications.
Follow the link for the full post.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
And they wonder why we don't take them seriously anymore.
Friday, December 3, 2010
I suppose it's good that the Fin Review's Laura Tingle doesn't even bother trying to hide her anti-Coalition bias?
THE last time Australia had much of a political debate on labour market participation, the Coalition was in one of its more cheerful phases of beating up on blacks and disabled pensioners. That was back before it discovered the untapped political potential of boatpeople.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
On the upside, hydrates are said to contain more energy than all other fossil fuels combined, and are much cleaner than oil and coal.
Global estimates "range from merely jaw-dropping to the truly staggering," according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Canada is believed to have enough hydrates along its coasts to meet the country's energy needs for a couple of hundred years.
Up until now, peer review has been held up as the gold standard in scientific discourse. Recent developments in the climate science arena, such as Climategate, have led many to conclude that peer review is not all that it is cracked up to be. Having said that, peer review may well be perfectly adequate as a scientific standard when the issues in debate are the mating habits of squirrels. However, if the issue in debate is whether or not trillions of dollars should be spent combating global warming, perhaps a new more rigorous standard should be applied.
I propose that henceforth, five levels of scientific rigour be defined. In brief, they are Level zero which is grey literature from advocacy organisations such as the WWF. Level one, which is the current peer review process. Level two, which I will call replicatable, is the current peer review process but with mandatory archiving of data and software code within six months of publication. Level three, which I will call audited, is where an authoritative body of some sort holds a competition on the internet to “find something wrong” with the calculations in the paper with a prize for any independent researcher who can find incorrect calculations. Level four is what I will call Cross Examined and is where the paper in question is deemed so important that, a full scale “internet trial” is conducted. You can think of it as a Scopes Monkey Trial of the researchers and their paper by competent legal personnel advised by scientists. It would mainly consist of oral testimony but with anyone on the internet free to comment and interject in any forum they wish. Naturally these comments can inform the questions put to the researchers.
On October 22, 2010, David Holland re-iterated his FOI requests 08-23 and 08-31. Once again, the University of East Anglia has refused 08-31, this time using an excuse the obtuseness of which is remarkable even for the University of East Anglia.
08-31 is, of course, the request that prompted Phil Jones to ask Briffa to deny the existence of the Wahl correspondence to UEA administration and then to ask Briffa, Wahl and others to delete the relevant emails – emails that showed what Fred Pearce called a “subversion” of IPCC policies of openness and transparency. 08-31 is, of course, the email that Muir Russell obtusely pretended not to exist – a piece of obtuseness that Fred Pearce hoped was “cockup rather than conspiracy”.
UEA has once again provided tortured refusals to 08-23 and 08031 respectively are in Appendix E and Appendix F to David Holland’s FOI – see here.
I’ll discuss 08-31 today. The original request is online here.
Holland’s request stated (excerpt here):
I have now read Dr Briffa’s letter of 15th May in answer to mine of 31st March for which I have thanked him. As he indicates that he will refer further enquiries to you I must advise you that I do not feel it answers any of my questions satisfactorily apart from the last and continue to seek any and all documents held by CRU relating to Dr Briffa’s participation in the IPCC, 2007 assessment reports.
In addition to the questions I put to Dr Briffa, and without limiting my request for all information relating to the IPCC assessment process not already in the public domain, I will specify further particular areas for which I am seeking information.
1. The IPCC stated1 on July 1, 2006:
Did the IPCC receive any such “suggestions” in a written form other than those reported in the documents for each chapter entitled “IPCC Working Group I Fourth Assessment Report: Expert and Government Review Comments on the Second-Order Draft”2? If so, please provide them.
As CA and Climategate readers know, in July 2006, Briffa sent the supposedly confidential IPCC final draft and his proposed replies to Second Draft Review Comments to Eugene Wahl, a protagonist in the Mann controversy. Wahl inserted a change to the IPCC assessment of the Hockey Stick controversy, a change which passed into the Final Draft, without any recorded discussion.
In refusing item (1), the University of East Anglia’s response says that Wahl’s comments to Briffa – comments solicited by Briffa in his capacity as an IPCC author – were not received by IPCC and that the suggestions sent by Wahl to Briffa fall outside the scope of Holland’s question:
In regards question 1, we have no idea of what suggestions the IPCC received and I have verified that if, indeed, they did receive any, they did not pass them on to any staff member within UEA. There is no question that a suggestion was received by Prof. Briffa from Eugene Wahl and this material is publicly available and has been widely commented upon.
This ‘suggestion’ was not provided to the IPCC, only to Prof. Briffa and therefore is outside the remit of question 1.
I wonder what East Anglia think that they are accomplishing by pretending that Briffa did not receive the Wahl comments in his capacity as an IPCC lead author.
In addition, their statement that the Wahl “suggestion” is already “publicly available” is untrue. The Wahl suggestions are contained in attachments to Climategate emails. I sent an FOI to UEA last spring for the attachments and they refused, saying that they didn’t have them. (I guess they’d been deleted.) Despite the fact that they told me that they didn’t have the attachments any more, Acton told the Sci Tech Committee that they had everything, that nothing had been deleted.
This is precisely the sort of intentional obtuseness that brings both the University of East Anglia and climate science into disrepute.
There are many Climategate articles wondering how climate scientists can regain public trust – with the Guardian praising the creation of an attack squad. A better method would be for institutions, including IPCC and CRU, to provide straightforward answers. To stop playing the stupid word tricks that characterize so many climate science “answers”.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
From Science Centric
Friday, November 19, 2010
My own view is that whatever marriage might mean for the happy couple, the reason the rest of us give it society’s imprimatur is that it’s the best way to keep the wandering male at home, to raise socialised children.
Weaken the marriage and you weaken the chances of the next generation being good citizens. All the rest - the love, the happy-ever-afters - is just icing on a sternly healthy cake.
From this central truth comes what should be the conservative case against gay marriage, or, at least, conservative concerns about a redefinition of marriage and the weakening of an already compromised tradition that helps to protect us all.
Therefore gay marriage advocates who claim that the case for gay marriage is opposed only by homophobes, religious bigots and haters are lazy, ignorant, obsessively self-admiring or a combination of the above. Those who say marriage must be redefined to end homophobia are using the wrong tool for the job, and damaging it in doing so.
The rest at Mr Bolt's place.
Left orthodoxy maintains that the story of man's interaction with the ecosphere is a story of habitat degradation leading to species extinction. That's the headline. But by overstating the risks of climate change, and underestimating the capacity of humans and other species to adapt, we risk missing the chance to address real, pressing, soluble environmental problems.Scientists at James Cook University last week announced they have discovered an exquisite new species of pygmy seahorse, 200 kilometres off the coast of Cairns. At less than half a centimetre long, the tiny creature may be the smallest vertebrate.The discovery adds to the work of 2700 scientists from 80 countries who just completed the first Census of Marine Life. The census increased the estimate of known species from 230,000 to 250,000, finding "an unanticipated riot of species, which are the currency of diversity".A startling find is the "rare biosphere" of microbes - species surviving in numbers of less than one in 10,000. These tiny cohorts subsist among masses of a dominant competitor, apparently waiting and hoping that conditions will change to allow their moment on the evolutionary stage. They seem to be a planetary insurance policy so that even if nutrient or temperature conditions change over time, there will still be an abundance of microscopic sea life in the food chain.Outbreaks of the crown of thorns starfish on the Great Barrier Reef have reduced by half over the past decade. Scientists have no way of explaining their pattern of aggression and regression but it is clear that runoff from the farmers of north Queensland is not the main culprit.Our lack of perspective derives in part from shortness of memory.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I know, it's politically incorrect and if I thought about it too much I would appreciate the problems with it (I suppose), but really, I'm just over all this bullshit acknowledging of traditional owners.
It's a completely meaningless term and is actually contradictory. Either you are the traditional owner of land or you are not. Other than for unimproved Crown land, aboriginal people are not the owners of land and there is nothing to be gained by this well-intentioned sop that effectively seeks to delegitimise our presence in this country.
Now, you may pine for a time before British Australia and wish that the British had never come here and established the modern nation state called Australia.
But we aren't going away. Non-aboriginal Australians aren't going to pack up and move back to where ever they or their families came from.
And yet we tolerate this idea that implicitly says that our presence here is illegitimate, that there are people with a claim to this country that is real, whereas ours is not.
We put up with that ersatz "traditional" welcome to country ceremony that didn't exist until 40 years ago when Ernie Dingo and another fellow made it up.
Do we Australians really need to be welcomed to what is our own country?
Our sensibilities should be troubled by the dispossession of the aboriginal people and the disastrous effects it had on them, but it happened. It can't be undone and it wont be undone.
So we are all here together and surely the last thing people rotting in the remote communities, or the deracinated urban aborigine passing generational failure and disadvantage to yet another generation, is to be encouraged to nurse grievances about the wrongs of the past and wallow in an impotent victimhood?
Because, gee, hasn't that been working a treat for the last thirty or forty years?
The greatest tragedy of the 2007 federal election was the fact that at just the moment we had a government that had found the courage to 'name' the failed policies of the past for what they were, and to declare that we had to do things differently, we changed the government and we have gradually seen since the old alliance of the white urban Left and those aborigines who profited from the disadvantage of the rest of their people reassert the disastrous policies of the rights agenda, separatism and victimhood.
I'm sick of symbolic gestures that are more about white people feeling good about themselves, (and superior to the less 'enlightened'), than about making sure this current generation of aboriginal kids isn't destroyed like the ones before it.
And let's be honest about this shall we? Even here in Perth's suburbs I can see exactly that happening. Kids tagging along with their parents (who have never worked a day in their lives) as they wait before half past eight in the morning with social security money for the bottle shop to open, and a day's drinking to begin.
Kids whose formative years is a never ending succession of violence, foul language and the most appalling anti-social behavior. Kids who are doomed to fail at school before they even get there.
But what makes our inner-city hipsters angry? Apologies and preambles to the friggen constitution.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I can’t do this anymore, this climate change hysteria. And I consider myself both progressive and a liberal too, so hear me out. I found out what “they” all agree on, they agree that the effects of CO2 are predicted to be anywhere from unstoppable warming, to no noticeable effects at all. No wonder they all agreed. And it’s been 24 years. We look like we WANT this climate hell to happen. We have been had folks. This is OUR Iraq War of lies and fear. I’m both embarrassed and ashamed for endorsing this CO2 mistake through two and a half decades of dire warnings of doom and Armageddon.. But I was too much of a climate coward to actually say out loud: THE END IS NEAR. Because it’s exactly the same thing! I actually gave my kids CO2 death threats. Why? Why did I do this for so long? Let history know that this responsible environmentalist is now a Green Climate Change Denier.
From Real Science
Wel, I'm actually going to point to something from the Fairfax media for a change!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Amnesty International tries to explain to me why it’s helped a convicted terrorism supporter to profit from his crime by helping to flog his white-washing book for Christmas. The answer in part is apparently that most of its members wouldn’t mind:
I suspect Amnesty International is now an institution focused more on it's own survival and which has possibly outlived its usefulness.
Another scientific consensus bites the dust?
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
The Federal Government is promoting the massive humanities grant, which will focus on historical events such as the Black Death, as a solution to the nation's dire mental health problems.
But Australian of the Year Patrick McGorry has criticised the lack of direct funding for mental health research.
Oh, dear God, apparently it isn't!
Federal Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Minister Senator Kim Carr linked the project to statistics showing almost half of Australians aged 16 to 85 years had suffered a mental disorder.
"That is why it is critical that we fund research into the way we deal with everyday problems," Senator Carr said in a press release last month.
Riiiight. So, the Black Death was an "everyday" kind of problem. But it gets worse people. Part of this "research" will involve the performance of an opera!
A related Shakespearean drama production, a Baroque opera and an art exhibition will be produced as part of the research grant.
I'm sorry, but if the government and the universities have money to waste on projects that are so clearly useless and pointless, then it is also just as clear that our universities are not under funded. Quite the opposite by the looks of it. But the fact that it's Senator Kim Carr who has put his name to yet another outrageous wasting of taxpayers' money should come as no surprise to anybody.
Also, time to abolish the Australian Research Council by the looks of it.
Friday, November 5, 2010
A cutural and political disaster in the making - two-thirds born here, but only a third call themselves Australian
Really, no surprises here in my opinion.
Via the Food & Health Skeptic:
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I don't believe it. The media around the world have yet again been played for suckers by an attention seeking activist "researcher."
And, completely predictably, this highly dubious and simplistic claim has been simply regurgitated without question or a moment's thought by the press and the television stations.
Alright, no surprise here really, but one does wish that just for once these people would actually do their jobs properly.
Thankfully, we have "new media" outfits like Spiked Online who aren't prepared to take any press release they receive on face value and aren't afraid to ask some inconvenient questions.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
I think yet another journalist has had the scales fall off his eyes about the disturbing nature of the extreme wing of activist climate scientists.
Just remember, we aren't dealing with a climate "denier" here. Greenberg is no climate sceptic.
And yet he has felt the full force of the academic alarmists in all its viciousness and nastiness, including the usual false claims that he is the paid tool of dark right-wing sectional interests. But that's a pretty common green tactic these days.
As Roger Pielke Jr comments at the end of his post (reproduced below), people like Michael Mann and Paul Ehrlich would make anybody suspicious of Motherhood and apple pie.
Friday, October 29, 2010
...except, as it turns out, HE NEVER DID!
I am absolutely gobsmacked about this.
How many years now has this been an uncontested part of Australia's political landscape and memory?
How many times, especially in out "world class" media, has it been repeated as fact?
And yet, buried away in The Australian's Cut & Paste section today is the truth.
It started as a comment by Peter Costello that got twisted and then put into the mouth of John Howard by a Labour senator.
Indeed, what part did our "world class" media play is propagating and spreading the meme?
Follow the link, there's more.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Because right now I have to say, sorry Holly, but you’re full of crap. First of all, every cigarette is bad for you. That’s why the economic costs of tobacco are massive. But junk food? If you were hungry, why couldn’t you eat a hamburger? After all, isn’t it just bread, meat, lettuce, tomato and sauce? Which one of those perfectly normal everyday food items is “junk”? Could it be that every expert that looks down their nose at a Big Mac would regard having a focaccia (containing basically the same ingredients) at a hip café as a cultural experience.
Which brings me back to Junior Masterchef. Of course I’m kidding, it shouldn’t be banned. My point is just that the way we look at food has a strong class-based bias to it. In a nutshell it goes like this – Ronald McDonald, evil; Alain Ducasse, genius.
And finally, once and for all, there is no such thing as “junk food”. There are, however, junk diets. Sure there are some people who don’t have the education and life skills to know the difference between a junk diet and a good diet. So here’s a thought – instead of taxing “junk food” (and remember there’s no way to define what that means) why don’t we work with those people in raising their social capital?
Or is that too much like hard work?
Full article here.