A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Trite Science Prize: New science paper tells us air over land “heats more than water”

Is it science or is it a marketing machine?

This press release with psychedelic art tells us land regions will warm by more than the global average, because oceans are slower to heat. No kidding. They use more broken models to breathlessly talk about being locked in to 1.5 °C rise — “more than preindustrial times”. How scared do we need to be about a 1.5C rise — it’s not just locked in, it’s already here.  NASA chief climate scientist Gavin Schmidt says so ” 2016 so far is about 1.5 degrees Celsius ( 2.7 degrees) warmer than pre-industrial times.” Since Gavin is talking “globally” the extra rise over land above and beyond that is not so much programmed in, as pre-baked.

The art might be the most original part of the paper.

Let’s redesign those cities:

The results of the new study have implications for international discussions of what constitutes safe global temperature thresholds, such as 1.5°C or 2°C of warming since pre-industrial times. The expected extra warming over land will influence how we need to design some cities.

Human civilization already lives in towns from -50C to +40C. I reckon we’ll manage a 1.5 degree rise (especially one that’s already happened). Can we cope with -48.5 to +41.5,  The UN wants $89 trillion to do it. So give me $88T. I’ll give you a trillion in change.

How much redesigning will these warmer cities need anyway? A move from Sydney to Brisbane  produces an apocalyptic 4 degrees rise. And we have about a thousand years to accomplish a transformation that big.

The inanities just keep coming. It’s like the peer reviewers have missed the last three decades of the climate debate. Here are the two big news flashes.

1. The climate is out of equilibrium (was it ever “in” equilibrium?)

The research team found two main reasons behind the result.

First, even if it was possible to keep carbon dioxide concentrations fixed at their current 400 parts-per-million concentration levels, then the planet would continue to warm towards new equilibrium higher temperatures. At present, the climate is out of equilibrium, with the oceans drawing down very large amounts of heat from the atmosphere. However this will decline as the planet is bought towards a stable climatic state.

2. Wait for it… Land heats more than ocean.

Second, warming rates over land are far higher than those when averaged globally which include temperatures over the oceans. This is a feature observed in meteorological measurements and reproduced across a large suite of climate models.

Not just observed in climate models and meteorological measurements, but observed on the nightly news too. Even at primary school.

Is this the voice of guilt?

Lead author Dr Chris Huntingford from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology said, “It would certainly be inappropriate to create any additional fear over climate change.

This paper wins the Trite Science Prize for 2016 –

That’s the peer reviewed science paper that tells us what we already know.

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Delcons do matter — defiant non-left voters were “most influential group”

Aiming for the passionless imaginary center doesn’t work

Defcon, Delcon, T-shirtSome big surprises from exit polls from the Australian election day, thanks to the Australian Institute of Progress (AIP). Non-Greens third party voters (code for Delcons – or Defiant conservatives) were more interested in “cultural issues like immigration, Islam, gay marriage, refugees, industry protection and political correctness”. Graham Young, Executive Director of the AIP calls these voters the “most influential in Australia, effectively choosing who will form the government.”

The next election will be won by the party that manages to reap more than its fair share of the non-Greens minor party voters. They are up for grabs for Liberal or Labor.

In the end, around 50% of the Delcons are prepared to put Labor above Liberal in preferences (the nuclear option) –  showing how wrong Mark Textor’s theory is that the Liberal base “doesn’t matter” and the Liberals should aim for the centre and can afford to mistreat their base. Another theme I see is that parties need passion — when it’s missing from the base, it sure isn’t coming from the centre. As I said before Turnbull took over, “the passionate support base for the Liberal party will switch to other conservative or libertarian parties.” It was all so obvious. Turnbull had to personally throw in a million dollars to make up for some of the loss in donations.

One gratifying surprise is that the naked Mediscare campaign may have helped the Liberals and hurt the Labor Party. More people who named it as “important” were likely to be repelled by the scare. The Labor Party overdid it. The people who were fooled by it were already voting Labor, and some of the people who might have voted Labor saw it as heavyhanded propaganda. The Labor party could have won more Delcons if it had been halfway sensible. Instead they retreated left to “the green centre” and so alienated centre voters. Many Delcons had no choice but to go to a third party.

Another surprise — the economy, normally safe ground for the Libs, probably cost them votes. Fully a third of voters still care about the economy above anything else and the Libs hardly won any Labor voters over this time, but lost 3% of the economy-driven-voters who picked them last time (if only they could have run the anti-carbon tax theme eh?).

Superannuation, predictably, was a vote repeller away from the Liberals, though was an issue that only mattered for 3.6% of the population. (Presumably most people don’t have enough Super to care — that’s the 401k for US readers, Pension Provision for the UK.) I’d bet the larger cost of the Super Bomb was that those with more Super who were Liberal supporters stopped donating and volunteering to help. Graham Young doesn’t mention that effect, but even if the direct loss of votes was small, the passion causes an indirect loss that is larger.

The full analysis of of federal election exit polling by Australian Institute of Progress (AIP)  is available at these links:

If you are not already a member of Australian Institute for Progress you can join by clicking here.

The Mediscare hype probably worked against the Labor Party

This is comforting. It was a naked, dishonest effort which involved a lot of people on the street repeating the same false accusation, handing out gimmicky cards, effectively trying to “create” an issue where there was none. In the end it probably swung more people, especially the Delcons, to the Liberals. The Labor Party could have captured more Delcons if it had been just not so damn grubby:

Keep reading  →

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Globally 91% of wars have nothing to do with climate change

Ruins of Qunaitra, War, Syria, conflict, climate change.Climate change causes war (maybe) and meaningless statistics (definitely)

One day when you grow up, children, you too can be a research scientist who writes papers that tells the world something banally obvious — like, say, that natural disasters make conflict more likely.

Who, exactly, thought natural disasters brought peace?

I don’t think the journalist who wrote this next paragraph asked himself what it means (if anything):

Globally, there was a nine per cent coincidence rate between the outbreak of armed conflicts and natural disasters like droughts and heatwaves. But, in countries that were deeply divided along ethnic lines, this rose to about 23 per cent.

I suspect it means not much (define “coincident”), but if it did, it implies that globally, 91% of wars don’t coincide with natural disasters.

If there is a real message here, it appears to be that ethnic divisions cause wars:

Dr Jonathan Donges, who co-wrote the paper about the study, said: “We’ve been surprised by the extent that results for ethnic fractionalised countries stick out, compared to other country features such as conflict history, poverty, or inequality.

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Petition to remove air conditioning from all US State Property

You know it makes sense — air conditioners are as dangerous as suicide bombers. They must be stopped. Next up, refrigerators…

Here’s a petition you can support:  Do it for the children, for the future.

Remove air conditioning from all US State Department property.

John Kerry, Airconditioners, ISIS

WHEREAS, Secretary of State John F. Kerry has suggested that air conditioners are as big a threat as ISIS, and

WHEREAS, it is the duty of our elected and appointed government officials to lead by example,

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Only 20% of US people think the media even try to be unbiased on politics

Media spotlightThe good news is that a majority of people are aware of media bias, and are skeptical of what the media tells them. The bad news is that this is just another marker showing the average Western citizen is losing faith in the integrity of so many key institutions.

The activist journo’s have overplayed their hand. They are not even trying…

 “Voters Expect Reporters To Help Clinton Over Trump”

[July 21st, 2016] A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that only 20% of Likely U.S. Voters think that when covering a political campaign, most reporters try to offer unbiased coverage. Most (69%) say reporters try to help the candidate they want to win. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The media have lost so much influence. They described Brexiteers as loony, selfish and xenophobic, but more than half the country ignored them and voted for Brexit. Similarly, the US media mocked and denigrated Trump supporters, and continually predicted he wouldn’t stay in the race, and wouldn’t make it through the primaries, and  yet he did. Poor pundits keep being surprised by the people.

The key word in this survey is “try” — everyone knows humans have some kind of bias, but the survey asked “do most reporters try to offer unbiased coverage or do they try to help the candidate they want to win?”

Mainstream news has become an advertising forum for big government, but the dumb voters can see through it.

Nearly 50% of US voters think the media is biased against Trump. Nearly 20% say it’s against Hillary.

Keep reading  →

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“Clinton Cash” movie available

Readers may find this documentary interesting. I doubt the ABC will be running it. This US election matters to so many people around the world. The outcome makes a big difference to climate skeptics. And it’s about so much more than that. How do we beat corruption?

 Breitbart is hosting the free showing (only for a few hours) for the documentary based on a senior editors book: Clinton Cash

UPDATE: Australia is in this too. Both Gillard and Bishop have contributed $500m Australian taxpayer dollars to Clinton charities [and other Democrat power brokers*].Tony Thomas has those details. “Julia Gillard lavished an unprecedented $292 million in taxpayer dollars on the Clinton-dominated Global Partnership for Education, where she was later appointed chair. Imagine the howls if Tony Abbott had underwritten…” See also “The Clintons and Their Corruptocrats” for even more…

From Breitbart:

The film, based on the New York Times bestselling investigative book Clinton Cash by Breitbart Senior Editor-at-Large Peter Schweizer, has sent shockwaves through media. The New York Times, Washington Post, ABC News, and other Establishment Media have verified and confirmed the book’s explosive revelations about how Hillary Clinton auctioned State Department policies to foreign Clinton Foundation donors and benefactors who then paid Bill Clinton tens of millions of dollars in speaking fees.

The first two minutes tell the Clinton’s narrative. Then the documentary compares the message to the actions.

From the book:

In 2000, Bill and Hillary Clinton owed millions of dollars in legal debt. Since then, they’ve earned over $130 million. Where did the money come from? Most people assume that the Clintons amassed their wealth through lucrative book deals and high-six figure fees for speaking gigs. Now, Peter Schweizer shows who is really behind those enormous payments.

Trumps independent wealth becomes an asset:

Tim Kaine [Clintons running mate] Reinforces ‘Crooked’ Hillary’s Weaknesses on Cronyism, Corruption

[Breitbart] Trump won the GOP primary by self-funding his campaign and convincing voters that the lobbyists and other big-money donors would never control him like a puppet.

And Clinton’s selection of Kaine will allow Trump to run on the same themes in the general election by painting Clinton and Kaine as career politicians who have needed—and used—government their for personal gain.

At the GOP convention, Eric Trump, Trump’s son, urged voters to “vote for the one candidate that does not need this job.”

 UPDATE: The link still works for me, but may not for others. See comments #8 and #9 below. VinceOz and Evo of Gong.

h/t Pat.

*Correction, thanks to Bob D. The half billion was not just to the Clinton Foundation but to Democrat powerbrokers etc as well.

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John Kerry: Air conditioner, fridge gas, as big a threat as ISIS

Let’s get those priorities right:

Secretary of State John Kerry said in Vienna on Friday that air conditioners and refrigerators are as big of a threat to life as the threat of terrorism posed by groups like the Islamic State.

Depends what you mean by “life” I guess. Some like the world 2 degrees cooler, and some prefer to keep their heads.

“As we were working together on the challenge of [ISIS] and terrorism,” Kerry said. “It’s hard for some people to grasp it, but what we–you–are doing here right now is of equal importance because it has the ability to literally save life on the planet itself.”

It’s good to know the US will be well defended against an invasion of badly gassed fridges.

Since warming is mostly beneficial this threat is at the Defcon-Toothfairy level. And probably not that high. The extra energy trapped by HFC refrigerant gasses most likely just reroutes and escapes to space through water vapor emissions.

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Central banks drive booms and busts, and force everyone to be a high risk speculator

It doesn’t have to be this way. The most important price in our economy is set by a bunch of bureaucrats. They are unelected and unaccountable. But your day to day life is affected by their decisions, as well as your ability to buy a house or for your retirement savings to maintain their value. Some people are wiped out by a mere phrase in a memo. There is a deep Soviet style management program at the centre of all Western economies. It’s time we talked about that ogre.

Maurice Newman, former chair of the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), writes in The Australian about the defining invisible issue which is rarely discussed — our currencies, our central banks:

Vladimir Lenin advocated: “The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency.” True or not, we seem hellbent on finding out.

Dark times are coming:

The BIS has rung the alarms. We are warned that the world’s most reckless monetary experiment, which has taken interest rates to the lowest in recorded history, is failing. Central bankers remain silent, not knowing how or when to end what they began, while the political class simply looks on, impotent and mired in its own economic mistakes.

This leaves only the market’s invisible and heavy hand to make the required adjustments. What follows will be indiscriminate, unpredictable, socially far-reaching and, politically ugly.

Central banks drive the economy at breakneck speed

Central banks keep interest rates artificially low. This pumps up a sick economy, by effectively “printing” money. (Technically, it makes money cheap to borrow into existence creating bank “credit”). This is a gold plated Christmas present for high risk speculators, but it’s taken from people who work for their money.  It’s like toxoplasmosis for savers — their savings are silently eaten away by inflation as borrowers outspend them with money they did not earn. Savers have to adopt high risk behaviours to stay afloat and keep their purchasing power from sinking in a river of money.

Easy money generates cycles of boom and bust that wipe out life savings. No one can do hourly work for 40 years, then live off the pitiful interest paid on the money saved. Instead everyone has to “invest” and speculate whether they like it or not. And thus do local councilors get eaten by Goldman Sachs traders for breakfast. What kind of culture do we want? Easy credit favours aggressive takeovers, and hostile, predatory market behaviour. Central banks control so many aspects of our lifestyle, yet we can’t vote them out.

More bad debt can’t fix a problem created with bad debt

We’re up to the third round of bubbles. The addiction to easy credit has reached the end stage when each injection is almost impotent. Printing money doesn’t create euphoria, or even growth, it just puts off judgement day.

Keep reading  →

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