JoNova

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


The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


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Australian Environment Conference Oct 20 2012


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GoldNerds

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



What Fiscal Cliff? It’s a fiscal-crack-in-the-pavement.

There is an economic crisis out there, but it isn’t the Fiscal Cliff.

The best summary of the economics I’ve seen comes from Mark Steyn.

The bipartisan Super Committee of Super Friends was supposed to find $1.2 trillion dollars of deficit reduction by last Thanksgiving, or plucky little America would wind up trussed like a turkey and carved up by “automatic sequestration.”

Sequestration sounds like castration, only more so: It would chop off everything in sight. It would be so savage in its dismemberment of poor helpless America that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that over the course of a decade the sequestration cuts would reduce the federal debt by $153 billion. Sorry, I meant to put on my Dr. Evil voice for that: ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THREE BILLION DOLLARS!!! Which is about what the United States government currently borrows every month. No sane person could willingly countenance brutally saving a month’s worth of debt over the course of a decade.

I suppose it’s possible to take this recurring melodrama seriously, but there’s no reason to. The problem facing the United States government is that it spends over a trillion dollars a year that it doesn’t have.

I never [...]

The Age — “Sceptics Weather the Storm”

Cartoonist John Spooner gets away with saying in text what no one else has said before in The Age: that the skeptics are clawing their way ahead, and winning.

The tide has shifted.

Some excerpts:

WELL, so much for the 2012 apocalypse. If the ancient Mayans ever knew anything about the future, they made a serious miscalculation. The same fate has befallen the international climate change emergency brigade. About $1 billion and 18 “Kyoto” meetings later, the world has agreed to do nothing much more than meet again.

How did this frightening climate threat dissolve into scientific uncertainty and political confusion? What of the many billions of dollars of wasted public resources? Some might blame the “sceptics”, the “merchants of doubt” or the “deniers”. Others point to the global financial crisis.

We can say for certain that many hesitant individuals overcame the pressures of group-think, intimidation and tribal disapproval to have a closer look at the relationship between real science, politics and business.

You don’t need a PhD to get the basic elements: [...]

Parncutt Death Threat: Uni of Graz “shocked”, Monckton gets it withdrawn with apology. John Cook says nothing.

Christopher Monckton and many other skeptics have been writing to Prof Richard Parncutt who had posted a dissertation telling us “logically” influential climate skeptics should be executed. (His words recorded at Webcite). Below, Monckton points out it is a hate-crime, and he will begin notifying Austrian prosecutors, Interpol, the International Criminal Court, and possibly Australian authorities too. In response, Parncutt unconditionally apologizes and withdraws the suggestion. [For some reason, lots of people can't see anything at this link, but it works for me. Try cut and pasting < http://www.uni-graz.at/~parncutt/climatechange.html?]

Meanwhile, does John Cook seemingly endorse care enough to post or even tweet or email an objection to the original shocking threat that skeptics should recant or die. So far, no? His ad hominem ambush site (misleadingly called “SkepticalScience“)  was referred to as “evidence” by Parncutt. (See also Debunking un-SkepticalScience). Five posts have gone up since Christmas, WUWT has heard from Dana (of Cook’s site), yet neither Dana nor Cook has not issued a single sentence indicating that he doesn’t think killing skeptics is a good idea.* (Dana apparently says privately, We of course don’t agree with giving denialists the death penalty, which is good to hear, though Dana’s baseless namecalling [...]

Full UnCut video now available – “I Can Change Your Mind” Evans, Nova, Minchin & Rose.

Thanks to Frank Brus, at least one camera is now on YouTube in full, with sound. Many thanks to other skeptics who volunteered with other helpful suggestions and ideas: to J.J., Ruth, Jim, and Raymond. Thanks to Steve for info about bit-torrent (at least we don’t have to go there this time).

An excellent talent pool out there. I didn’t even know some people had access to post Very Long Movies on Youtube (1 hour 56 mins.) Some of my favourite points are at the end. Check out the last 15 minutes.

There were two cameras recording at the same time:

 View 2 (Front more distant camera)

OR (UPDATE)  View 1 (Back camera view) closer.

 Thanks to Barry Corke for driving hundreds of kilometers with his high tech equipment to record this for no fee at all!

 

The original post has all the background and information on this video:  ABC Doco “UnCut”: Evans, Nova, Minchin and Rose — the full unedited video. Look for the moment when Anna is surprised we agree with CO2 being a greenhouse gas: “How can you be skeptical?” Notice when she describes David’s modeling work as “data entry”.

The videos posted [...]

Merry Christmas

Best wishes

Jo

Death threats anyone? Austrian Prof: global warming deniers should be sentenced to death

Richard Parncutt

Richard Parncutt,  Professor of Systematic Musicology, University of Graz, Austria, reckons people like Watts, Tallbloke, Singer, Michaels, Monckton, McIntyre and me (there are too many to list) should be executed. He’s gone full barking mad, and though he says these are his “personal opinions” they are listed on his university web site.

For all the bleating of those who say they’ve had real “death threats“, we get discussions about executing skeptics from Professors, wielding the tyrannical power of the state. Was he paid by the state to write these simplistic, immature, “solutions”? Do taxpayers fund his web expenses? (And what the heck is systematic musicology?)

Prof Richard Parncutt says:

“I have always been opposed to the death penalty in all cases…”

“Even mass murderers [like Breivik] should not be executed, in my opinion.”

“GW deniers fall into a completely different category from Behring Breivik. They are already causing the deaths of hundreds of millions of future people. We could be speaking of billions, but I am making a conservative estimate.”

Consequences

If a jury of suitably qualified scientists estimated that a given GW denier had already, with high probability (say 95%), caused the deaths of over one [...]

ABC Doco “UnCut”: Evans, Nova, Minchin and Rose — the full unedited video

Finally two hours of entertainment unlike any you’ve seen on TV

The Media IS the Problem – Part I

When the Smith and Nasht came to our house (on behalf of the ABC) to take footage for the “I can change your mind” documentary, David and I asked fellow skeptic and camera-man Barry Corke if he could film them filming us, so we have our own copy of what happened. He agreed — it was obvious to all of us that we needed some insurance against biased edits. We all knew that petty chicanery was possible. James Delingpole had recently given the BBC three good hours of his time, only to find they trimmed all of his clever answers down, waited for him to have a hypoglycemic vague moment and then crowed about how the great James Delingpole was, can you believe, tongue tied (the failure!)

In the final version that went to air,  not only did three of the four key sets of evidence that fuel our skepticism vanish, the editors split and diced sentences to make it appear that David said a sentence he never actually said. He doesn’t think the poorly sited thermometers show the “models were [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Do come back and visit, I do have something very interesting to release this weekend. – Jo

It’s a deadly cold Russian winter: minus 50 in Siberia

Photo: Telegraph  REUTERS/Marian Striltsiv

Spare a thought for people in Russia. Its the coldest winter since 1938. Temperatures may hit -25 in Moscow this weekend. They have already hit -50C in Siberia. Twenty-one people froze to death in one day. (See the Telegraph photo gallery)

Down to -50C: Russians freeze to death as strongest-in-decades winter hits

Russian Times

Russia is enduring its harshest winter in over 70 years, with temperatures plunging as low as -50 degrees Celsius. Dozens of people have already died, and almost 150 have been hospitalized.

­The country has not witnessed such a long cold spell since 1938, meteorologists said, with temperatures 10 to 15 degrees lower than the seasonal norm all over Russia.

Across the country, 45 people have died due to the cold, and 266 have been taken to hospitals. In total, 542 people were injured due to the freezing temperatures, RIA Novosti reported.

[...]

Ficklestein strikes again — Here’s a prime example of why regulating free speech is a hypocritical bad joke.

Let me see if I’ve got this straight — the Australian Press Council manages media standards in Australia, but isn’t doing it well enough according to Mr Finklestein (and fellow regulators), who want it overhauled. They want newspapers to be regulated so they can be as trusted as the ABC “is”.*  So Finklestein thinks the ABC complaints process works well, and the APC one is too weak.

This week the ABC announced it was fine to equate skeptics to pedophiles as a researched comment by a host on a “science” show, while at the same time, the APC ruled that it was not fine for a skeptic who used loose satirical colourful language in a newspaper column to repeat a quote from an angry farmer who used the word pedophile to describe wind-farm operators.

 ABC sets lower standards bar Nick Leys From: The Australian

DRAWING comparisons to pedophiles to attack your opponents is acceptable under the ABC complaints process – held up as the ideal model by media inquiry head Ray Finkelstein – but has been ruled out of order by the newspapers’ existing regulatory body.

But two decisions this week reveal the APC is tougher on commentators [...]

Cherry-picking sea level rises in Perth (a city which happens to be sinking)

“Gale Force” cherries coming your way…

Two weeks ago, it was all over the news. The ocean near Perth (where I live) was rising at the terrifying rate of 9-10mm per year since 1993, which was, shockingly, “three times the global average”. (Since Perth is flatter than flat, at this rate, in a few years everything bar Kings Park and a few sky-scrapers would be washed away). The myth started because a government department that knows a lot about our roads, trains, and buses wrote a dot point in a Fact Sheet. That was the State of Australian Cities report, and a pollie (Albanese) raved. Then the West Australian newspaper headlined it, and it all got out of hand.

In contrast, Chris Gillham got the raw data (something you’d think The Department of Infrastructure might have thought of), and shows below why its nonsense on stilts.  The rate is not measured from when records began, but from 1993, which (surely it’s just a coincidence) also happens to be the lowest level in local tide gauges since 1941. (See that second last “dip” near the right-end in the graph below?) If they’d started the “rate” from the year 1999, the headlines [...]

Maurice Newman fights back: No slur is too vicious for Robyn Williams and the ABC

When Robyn Williams recently equated skeptics to paedophiles on the ABC “Science” Show the skeptic-most-targeted was Maurice Newman, former chairman of the ABC itself. Newman responds to these deplorable and unscientific insults in today’s Australian and throws down the challenge to the current board.

ABC clique in control of climate by: MAURICE NEWMAN From: The Australian December 18, 2012 12:00AM

On November 24, Robyn Williams intoned to his audience on ABC’s The Science Show, “if I told you that pedophilia is good for children, or asbestos is an excellent inhalant for those with asthma, or, that smoking crack is a normal part and a healthy one of teenage life, you’d rightly find it outrageous. Similar statements are coming out of inexpert mouths again and again, distorting the science”. My article was given as an example of an anti-scientific position.Really? Questioning climate science is like advocating pedophilia, abetting mesothelioma and pushing drugs to teenagers? Well yes, according to the ABC’s science man. Stephan Lewandowsky, a guest on the program, asserted that those with a free market background were, according to his research, more likely to be sceptical of science. As well as climate science, “they are also rejecting the link between [...]

Unleashed: Monckton releases his AR5 reviewer comments

Because the AR5 report is now leaked into the public domain, Christopher Monckton has released his AR5 review comments on the Lord Monckton Foundation site. Notably, Monckton does his absolute best to help the IPCC operate as a useful honest public service. In the most statesman-like manner, Monckton works from the principle that the IPCC’s credibility could theoretically be rescued. (How generous is he?) Monckton also provides a few peer reviewed papers that the team of hundreds of experts has missed — just the odd 450 references or so. As always, meticulously researched, carefully thought out, and with impeccable logic. The IPCC must be paying him well for this rigorous input… oh wait…

In order to produce a respectable useful document the IPCC has to improve:

The IPCC needs to address the failure of their past key predictions. Split up the science from the politics. (Political appointee’s can write their own chapter*, not rewrite the scientists ones). The alterations to the scientists final draft need to be marked as such and sent back to the expert reviewers. All references from gray literature (eg activist press releases) should be removed. To stop the goal posts moving, the IPCC should update projections [...]

Alec Rawls responds to Steven Sherwood: “The professor is inverting the scientific method”

The IPCC are now adding citations of critics (so they can’t be accused of ignoring them completely), but they bury the importance of those studies under glorious graphic art, ponderous bureacrat-speak, and contradictory conclusions.

When skeptics point out that the IPCC admit (in a hidden draft) that the solar magnetic effect could change the climate on Earth, the so-called Professors of Science hit back — but not with evidence from the atmosphere, but with evidence from other paragraphs in a committee report. It’s argument from authority, it’s a logical fallacy that no Professor of Science should ever make. Just because other parts of a biased committee report continue to deny the evidence does not neutralize the real evidence.

Alec Rawls pulls him up. Sherwood calls us deniers, but the IPCC still denies solar-magnetic effects that have been known for 200 years. This anti-science response is no surprise from Sherwood, who once changed the colour of “zero” to red to make it match the color the models were supposed to find. (Since when was red the color of no-warming? Sure you can do it, but it is deceptive.) That effort still remains one of the most egregious peer reviewed distortions of [...]

Unthreaded weekend

Anything but the IPCC right?

Draft IPCC report leaked (the evidence is so overwhelming it has to be kept secret!)

UPDATE: IPCC officially confirms that when it says “transparent” it means “secret”.

UPDATE2: Donna La Frambois points out Working Group III documents are still secret. “This is What Transparency Looks Like”

What was the point of keeping the IPCC draft secret? The point is so the IPCC can control both the content and the PR. The IPCC wants a free kick, and they get one if the world doesn’t see how they arrive at the conclusion, and if critics can’t specifically point to errors or flaws until weeks after the giant press circus has done its megaphone production.

It’s how the media game works. First they release the “up and coming” scary headline. (Already done for AR5.) Critics can’t criticize what they can’t see.

Then they release the Summary with a three ring display of terrifying headlines. The black box that justifies it is shown off in all its mysterious glory: 4,000 experts labored for 5 years, produced 2,000 papers, 2 million emails, and rigorously, savagely dissected the science to give you this ominous, frightening message. Pay us your tithe! We will stop the Storms! The inner workings of the black box are held in the Sacred Vault. Those who question [...]

The IPCC was not right. Frame & Stone ignore main IPCC predictions

Professor David Frame and Dr Daithi Stone have produced a paper claiming the IPCC predictions in 1990 were successful and seem accurate.

Those who read the actual FAR report and check the predictions against the data know that this is not so.

They ignore the main IPCC predictions (the prominent ones, with graphs, in the Summary for Policymakers) They don’t measure the IPCC success against an IPCC graph or within IPCC defined “uncertainties”. They measure success against  a “zero trend” — something they defined as any rise at all beyond what they say are the limits of natural variability (which they got from the very models that aren’t working too well). Circular reasoning anyone? Frame and Stone themselves say the IPCC models didn’t include important forcings, and may have been “right” by accident.

Why did Nature publish this strawman letter? It’s an award-winning effort in selective focus, logical fallacies, and circular reasoning to be sure, but does it advance our understanding of the natural world? Not so.

Frame and Stone have produced a Letter to Nature saying that 3 is a lot like 6 (they are both larger than zero). If you ignore the Summary for Policymakers, pick a line [...]

The IPCC was wrong. (Matthew England and the ABC mislead Australians)

This is a rare unequivocal case of overreach.

Prof Matthew England proves he is either willing to stretch things beyond reason “for the cause”, or he doesn’t know what he is talking about, or both. Sarah Clark at the ABC didn’t do five minutes research on the story to check the facts or ask informed questions. This is not science, and it isn’t journalism either.

The Facts: The IPCC used the word “prediction” in 1990 and predicted a best estimate of 0.3°C with a  range of 0.2°C – 0.5°C per decade Even with the most generous overestimate of current trends, the temperature trend has fallen below their lowest estimate, while CO2 emissions were higher than expected. The 1990 predictions can not be called “true”, “consistent” or to have “occurred” by any definition in any English dictionary. The IPCC Prediction was Wrong

The quote from the first page of the Executive Summary of the Summary for Policy Makers, FAR 1990:1

“Based on current model results, we predict:

Under the IPCC Business-as-Usual (Scenario A) emissions of greenhouse gases, a rate of increase of global mean temperature during the next century of about 0.3C per decade (with an uncertainty range of 0.2°C – [...]

Are sea-levels rising? Nils-Axel Mörner documents a decided lack of rising seas

We’ve all heard the dire prophesies: Rising seas will reshape the world’s coastlines, a one meter rise will inundate 7000 sq mi of dry land, and cost over $100 billion in the United States alone. Worse, we thought things were bad before, but now it’s even rising faster than we predicted. (“We” being the unvalidated computer simulations, and “rising”, as it turns out, being one interpretation of some highly adjusted, carefully selected data, all possibly “corrected” by one outlying tide gauge in Hong Kong).

Nils-Axel Mörner is here to point out that the raw satellite data shows barely any rise, and furthermore, the observations from places all over, like the Maldives, Suriname, Tuvalu, India, Bangladesh, Venice, and Germany show not much either. It’s close enough to zero to call it “nothing”. Oh.

But that’s only spots from The Atlantic, The Pacific and The Indian… there are other oceans.

As we graphed before with Frank Lansner, most of the current “rise” is due to man-made adjustments, not man-made emissions. According to Mörner, it’s not that the sea levels are rising less than expected, it’s more like they aren’t rising much at all, and haven’t been for years . — Jo

[...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Let ‘er rip (this time with comments turned on).

Jo