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



Australian Speakers Agency


The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Tyranny Australis

It’s either a seismic shift in power here, or a farce of Grand Proportions. Either way, if you haven’t heard about the Australian Super-Tax, it’s one of those full-moon-moments in Western Democracy when “one plus one equals minus thirteen”, and the guy earnestly telling you this is also running the country. The sheer Spectacle of Stupid is something to behold.

Guess what the rules will be next year?

For the first time, our government has announced a war against a whole Australian industry: mining (the same sector that rescued us from the global financial crisis and produced  37% of our total exports in 2009).

Australian Prime Minister Rudd desperately needs a big win to go to the next election with, and desperate men are dangerous. He was taken in hook, line and stinker by the Big Carbon Scare –  bet his reputation on the big bluff, and crashed and burned. He doesn’t want to look like a complete loser (and who does) so he grabbed the easy wedge; attack the rich foreigners, grab the fast cash, pretend to be Robin Hood. Et Voila! The Resource Super Profits Tax*.

This is not so much about climate (sorry) but it is [...]

Lao Translation

I wish I could add an insightful quip here. But alas, it’s yet another book I’ve written that I can’t read.

The first Skeptics Handbook is now available in 14 languages and the second handbook in 3. Thanks to volunteer efforts there soon won’t be a corner of the world which doesn’t know just how misleading the UN and western media can be.

Thanks to Maniphone Xayavong and some of her colleagues for the pro bono dedication in translating the Lao version.

Click on the image to download the 1.9Mb PDF.

Steve Hyland helped to connect all the right people and suggests these sites in Laos are useful for people who want to know more.

Volunteers have translated the first Skeptics Handbook into German, French, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish, Turkish, Portuguese, Danish, Japanese, Balkan, Spanish, Thai, Czech and Lao. The second Skeptics Handbook is available in French and Turkish. See all posts tagged Translations.


Throwing the Hate Crime Grenade

Hate Crime legislation is the last resort of those with no real case. It’s the last resort in the “shut-up” campaign that Team-Carbonari have been running against the free world for two decades. The unverifiable, unknowable crime of intent. (Anyone have one of those Handy-Hate-Meters that reliably measures the dreaded Evil-Score to two decimal places? No? It’s a matter of time…)

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post called Evidence What Evidence? where I dismantled the words of a famous Australian science journalist for parroting bureaucrats and not investigating the evidence. What I wrote is not a recipe for building a better bomb with your Mazda, but Ben E took issue with my pointed discussion in the comments:

“Sad, but scarcely surprising. Sites like this one will eventually be shut down in future updates to hate crime legislation, as they are well on the way to inciting violence and hatred towards scientists and science communicators.”

Willis Eschenbach popped in with a devastating reply that deserved to be repeated.

“Well, let’s review the bidding regarding “violence and hatred” …


New Scientist: The Age of Name-Calling

New Scientist plumbs new lows. The magazine has become its own self-parody. Do they see the irony of inviting a PR expert to accuse groups of committing the crime of, wait for it, … using a PR expert?

…he’s the advertiser being offered free editorial space within the one-sided propaganda that masquerades as journalism

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hold any elitist ideas that only people with science degrees can write for New Scientist (the magazine and its staff have pretty much proven how useless a science degree can be). My issue with them is that Richard Littlemore (a PR expert) has essentially written a smear-by-association piece, which should have no place in a real scientific magazine. It’s not like Littlemore is just an unhealthy part of a big healthy debate — instead he’s the advertiser being offered free editorial space within the one-sided propaganda that masquerades as journalism.

New Scientist may think climate science is a moral imperative, but they don’t have room for the climate scientists who have published peer reviewed criticisms of their favorite theory. Nor do they have space to tell the extraordinary story of the grassroots independent retiree scientists who’ve busted [...]

Debate part 5: The planetary atmosphere and climate change

Round 5 of my debate with Andrew Glikson Dr Andrew Glikson and I have been debating the evidence first through Quadrant, and then here. Kudos to him for following this up in a polite, diligent manner. This kind of open debate is extremely rare, and I am happy to encourage it. I will post a reply in a few days. For the moment I think the many able commenters here can discuss its merits. The only thing I’ll say now is that in each of my four previous replies I ask for evidence that the models are right on the magnitude of the feedbacks. Is it half a degree or 3.5oC? Part I: AG / JN; Part II: [...]

This is SO not over

The Australian Department of Climate Change

People have asked me if the Rudd Government’s postponement of the ETS means we’ve won, as in game over, time for that beach holiday in Broome? But the end of the game is nowhere in sight while our government still has a Department of Climate Change stacked with high paid executives that soak up $90 million a year. The gullible guys who leapt in with both feet are still top-dogs. The end is not even close while two of our largest daily papers don’t realize they are the real Deniers they disparage, or when the second in charge of our opposition still thinks we need to trade carbon. Joe Hockey (our shadow treasurer) said this week that “a carbon price is inevitable”. He used the same old line: “scientists say blah”, as if a consensus of “scientists” is either (a) faultless and incorruptible, or (b) in control of the weather.

Carbon trading, “inevitable“? How about “inane”? Even better: perilous, fraud-prone, and serpentine. It boils down to forced markets trading fake goods that nobody would willingly buy. It’s not a “carbon” market, it’s a Permit Market. And a permit (especially to something unmeasurable) is [...]

The Great Dying of Thermometers

It’s like watching the lights go out over the West. Sinan Unur has mapped the surface stations into a beautiful animation. His is 4 minutes long and spans from 1701-2010. I’ve taken some of his snapshots and strung them into a 10 second animation.

You can see as development spreads across the world that more and more places are reporting temperatures. It’s obvious how well documented temperatures were (once) in the US. The decay of the system in the last 20 years is stark.

For details on just how sinister the vanishing of data records is, see my previous post on Anthony Watts and Joe D’Aleo’s extraordinary summary of Policy Driven Deception.

The Great Dying of Thermometers


Sinan points out that people might not realize that many thermometers haven’t actually disappeared — they are often still collecting data — it’s just that their records are not being included in the “global” compilations. Though, as Watts and D’Aleo point out, sometimes these forgotten thermometers are still used to calculate the baseline averages.

I’m sure one day the chronological spread (and decay) of thermometers will be a useful marker for some socio/economic/historic marker (though it’s [...]

Anthony Watts Tour of Australia

“Watts up with the climate”

Click to download the latest details June 13th – July 1st, 2010

In years to come history books will be written about the grassroots scientists with next to no resources except their wits, who blew the whistle on the biggest scientific scandal of the century and changed the course of billions of dollars, and thousands of careers. Anthony Watts is one of those key men. We’ve hit the jackpot here in Australia: we’ve got a chance to hear him speak. His site Watts Up With That gets a whopping 3 million hits a month.

Anthony Watts is a TV weatherman and meteorologist. He started a volunteer movement with over 650 people who’ve inspected and reported on over 1000 of the surface stations in the US Historical climate network (USHCN). This is a network managed by NOAA with a four billion dollar annual budget. The volunteers achieved what big bureaucracy couldn’t or wouldn’t do.

The grave state of the USHCN was exposed with photograph after photograph. The network has impeccable standards on paper, but only manages to meet them 11% of the time.


Roman Warming (was it global?)

Gullible Rudd steps right in it

Rudd let slip a line in his frustration this week that reveals how little he knows about the topic he holds so dear. He has so completely swallowed the PR on climate science, that when poked, he reflexively fires back exaggerated scientific claims that would make even the IPCC blush. In 2007 the IPCC and Gore et al offered Rudd the perfect Election-Wedge-on-a-Platter. They’d primed the audience with propaganda; trained the crowd to recite: Carbon is pollution. It looked like a no-brainer. Yet having based his leadership and campaign on it, it’s obvious he had not done even the most basic of checks (and still apparently hasn’t).

It’s an abject lesson in the importance of doing some homework before rewriting a nation’s economy.

Toga's don't keep you warm

Last week Tony Abbott (the Australian opposition leader) told school children that it was warmer ”at the time of Julius Caesar and Jesus of Nazareth”. This banal line set off a flurry of denial and bluster.

Rudd was incredulous in the Parliamentary Hansard record to the opposition members last week:

…how is it that, in the 21st century, you could support this Leader of the [...]

Czech — The land of skeptics has its own translation of the Handbook

Czech Cover: Click to download the PDF (680K)

The grassroots organized effort of people motivated to volunteer to work against the big-money interests, the disinformation, and the fog of half-truths continues to grow.

Thanks to Mirek Pavlicek for his dedication and skill in translating the first Skeptics Handbook into Czech. According to the great Lubos Motl, he’s done an excellent job (which is an achievement given the irreverent colloquial nature of the booklet). Thanks again to Ralph at Kane TV for his masterful efficient turnaround of the images.

I was honored that Lubos offered to read over the translation to check it. If I’m hunting for a fast condensation of something at the leading (most confusing) edge of the science, his site has at times been the place with the insight–the savvy summary. He is one of a kind. The Reference Frame.

Mir writes that “skepticism is growing to be very cool in the Czech Republic now in spite of the fact that most people cannot cope with long and profound English texts and the Czech literature on the topic is very limited. Your publication addresses a certain gap”.

He added that the Australian debate (Glikson verses yours truly) [...]

The hypocrisy of the annointed

This is too rich. Baa Humbug has found scientific peer reviewed research that skeptics are more attuned to reality and better able to discount misinformation (!) but, oh the irony, which researcher makes this claim? The man with the fairy dust logic, Stephan Lewandowsky. It’s just a shame he wouldn’t know a skeptic if one sat on him.

He presented his research conclusions in Nov 2007 in Online Opinion and The Canberra Times as A Sceptics Guide to Politics. One week later with a completely straight face, he implored everyone to act to save the climate, because it was obvious. Of course.

In his world, if you question officialdom and you’re “right”, you’re a skeptic, but if you question officials and you’re “wrong”, then you’re a denier. Got it? It all makes sense, but only if Lewandowsky is God. Somehow He knows when to trust the news-media and politicians: John Howard and George Bush couldn’t be trusted over Iraq, but obviously Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong are entirely correct on Climate Change. (After all, most of the world’s bankers agree with them.)

I recently conducted research with colleagues abroad in which we investigated how people processed information about Iraq. We [...]

Great Debate Part III & IV – Glikson accidentally vindicates the skeptics!

UPDATED Part IV: Andrew Glikson replies below.

I am impressed that Glikson replied politely, rose above any ad hominem or authority based arguments, and focused on the science and the evidence. This kind of exchange is exceedingly rare, and it made it well worth continuing. Links to Part I and II are at the end. Round 4 was copied from comments up to the post.

Depending on flawed models

by Joanne Nova

May 11, 2010

For a sentence, I almost think Dr Glikson gets it. Yes, it’s a quantitative question: Will we warm by half a measly degree or 3.5 degrees? It’s not about the direct CO2 effect (all of one paltry degree by itself), it’s the feedbacks—the humidity, clouds, lapse rates and other factors that amplify (or not) the initial minor effect of carbon.

Decades ago, the catastrophe-crowd made guesses about the feedbacks—but they were wrong. Instead of amplifying carbon’s effect two-fold (or more!) the feedbacks dampen it.

Dr Glikson has no reply. He makes no comment at all about Lindzen [1], Spencer[2] or Douglass[3] and their three peer reviewed, independent, empirical papers showing that the climate models are exaggerating the warming by [...]

Be afraid — melting sea ice causes infinitesimal sea level rise!

Thanks to the NSF for the image of sea ice in the Bering Sea

New Scientist doesn’t have enough column space to tell you that Briffa’s Yamal tree ring series depends heavily on just one freak 8-standard deviation tree in Northern Russia, and that multiple temperature reconstructions use that highly dubious series, but they do have time to warn the world about the effect of melting sea-ice on global sea levels.

If you want to see the Climate Debate discussed from both sides, see a real debate, and contrast it to the irrelevant minutiae of propaganda pushed by magazines like New Scientist.

Melting icebergs boost sea-level rise

Because sea ice is fresh water, it has a lower density than salty ocean water, so even though floating ice won’t raise water levels by melting, the fresh water in the ice blocks can apparently make a small difference. “Small” being the word.

“…they estimate that about 746 cubic kilometres of ice are melting each year, overall. The ice melting is diluting the oceans, decreasing its density and raising sea levels as a consequence,” says Shepherd.

Watch out for that extra twentieth of a millimetre. Literally 0.049 mm per year.

Imagine, [...]

The urbanising effect even in wildest Africa

Image thanks to Navy’s Solant Amity I Cruise 1960

All that wilderness, and where did they put the temperature sensors? Near a concrete slab. These guys aren’t even trying to be serious.

Talk about a gorgeous view. This jaw-dropping wilderness is also the site of one of the 20 GAWS (Global Atmosphere Watch Station, for the WMO) which tracks stuff like CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. There’s a temperature station there too, and Tim Wood helpfully sent me up-to-date pictures.

You might wonder, at such an important site and among the wilderness, how could anyone find a place to put a temperature sensor that wasn’t a Class I, top notch siting? It was all too easy. By the looks of this photo (below), it might just qualify as a Class 4, since there a large brick or concrete and metal structure… less than 10 meters away. (For info on classifications: Surface Stations Project*, NOAA Site information here.)

Tim W writes:

“As you can see from the pictures, if this is what passes for a world class station then….

Note the gazillion undeveloped hectares in the background that would be more suitable. But that [...]

Shattered Warmers Become Global Mourners

It’s unsubtle, twice as long as it needs to be, it’s unashamedly smug,  and worth watching.

Be patient with the start. (Click on the pic to go to PJTV)

Betrayed By Climategate, …


“It was supposed to be hot dammit!”

“I just had faith that everything wouldn’t work out…”

“This is how I knew was better than other people”

This is gratuitous “rubbing-it-in”.