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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Scripps blockbuster: Ocean acidification happens all the time — naturally

There goes another scare campaign.

Until recently we had very little data about real time changes in ocean pH around the world. Finally autonomous sensors placed in a variety of ecosystems “from tropical to polar, open-ocean to coastal, kelp forest to coral reef” give us the information we needed.

It turns out that far from being a stable pH, spots all over the world are constantly changing. One spot in the ocean varied by an astonishing 1.4 pH units regularly. All our human emissions are projected by models to change the world’s oceans by about 0.3 pH units over the next 90 years, and that’s referred to as “catastrophic”, yet we now know that fish and some calcifying critters adapt naturally to changes far larger than that every year, sometimes in just a month, and in extreme cases, in just a day.

Data was collected by 15 individual SeaFET sensors in seven types of marine habitats.  Four sites were fairly stable (1, which includes the open ocean, and also sites 2,3,4) but most of the rest were highly variable (esp site 15 near Italy and 14 near Mexico) . On a monthly scale the pH varies by 0.024 to 1.430 [...]


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Ian Hill: There have only been 78 other heatwaves like that in Adelaide… and 51 were hotter

It’s another mindless record used to remind the public to “keep the faith” and recite the litany: “Adelaide had it’s hottest start to the year since 1900″ Sky news Picking three particular days  outof 365 and comparing them over a century is about as cherry-pickingly meaningless as it gets. But Ian Hill went back through the records to find that not only have there been 79 heatwaves in Adelaide since 1887, but there have been 51 heat-waves that were hotter since 1887.

Ian Hill crunched the numbers and wrote:

Using the definition of a heatwave being “three or more consecutive days at or above 38C”, for no other reason than the fact that this fits in nicely with Adelaide’s recent maxima of 38.0, 41.6 and 40.6 on Dec 31, Jan 1 and Jan 2 respectively, I found that there have been 79 such heatwaves recorded in Adelaide since Jan 21, 1887, the date of the first such information available from the BOM. The recent heatwave is ranked 52nd, where the average maximum of days involved is used to rank heatwaves of the same duration.

If the file is sorted in chronological order a familiar trend emerges where there [...]

John O’Sullivan puts his house on the line — more than any skeptic ought to be asked to do

UPDATE 2014: Claims made that “Michael Mann Faces Bankruptcy as his Courtroom Climate Capers Collapse” on Feb 22, are incorrect. See here for more information.  This post below is two years old, and many things have changed. — Jo

It’s slipped past most skeptics with all the action lately, but John O’Sullivan is putting in above and beyond what any single skeptical soul ought to.

He’s already been a key figure helping Tim Ball in the legal fight with the UVA establishment, which has spent over a million dollars helping Michael Mann to hide emails. The case was launched by Michael Mann, but could turn out to do a huge favor to skeptics — the discovery process is a powerful tool, and we all know who has been hiding their methods, their data, and their work-related correspondence.

Tim Ball and John O’Sullivan are helping all the free citizens of the West. The burden should not be theirs alone. There are many claims for help at the moment, but that is a sign that the grand scam is coming to a head.

– Jo ———————————————————————————— Official: I Just Bet My House on the Outcome of Science Trial of the [...]

Ron Paul – the man the media fear the most

I met two Australian libertarians a few weeks ago who didn’t know who Ron Paul was, but then, why would they? The media sure doesn’t want anyone to talk about Paul.

In the Iowa Polls Romney is the “front-runner”, the “man-to-beat”, and leads at (wow) 24%,  while Paul is completely out of contention, hardly worth a mention, at… ah… 22%.  If Romney wins, it will set him up for the run at the White house, if Ron Paul wins, it “it may jeopardize the future importance of Iowa in the presidential election cycle“. Follow the logic: if Paul is elected in Iowa, then “Paul is just unelectable.” They actually say that. (Some polls put the two men level.)

If there was a serious frontrunner in the US republican race who was smart, decent, a doctor with no scandals, a long record of keeping promises in congress, a magnetic ability to raise money, massive grassroots fan base, and excellent polling, well of course the media will ignore him. Censorship by omission is weapon number one (and we know all about that as climate skeptics). If they have to mention him (and it’s coming to that), look for the opinion that writes [...]

Rewriting the dawn of civilization

If National Geographic had more stories like this one, I’d be inclined to subscribe. This is fascinating stuff.

Seven thousand years before Stonehenge was Göbekli Tepe in southern Turkey, where you’ll find ring upon ring of T-shaped stone towers arranged  in a circle. Around 11,600 B.C. hundreds of people gathered on this mound, year after year, possibly for centuries.

There are plenty of mysteries on this hill.  Some of the rocks weigh 16 tons, but archaeologists can find no homes, no hearths, no water source, and no sign of a town or village to support the hundreds of workers who built the rings of towers. The people apparently, unthinkably really, were nomadic, as far as we know, they had no wheels, and no beasts of burden. True hunter gatherers, whose first heavy building project was not a home to fend off the elements, but a religious sacred site.

Perhaps we should not be so surprised, after all, we know the pyramids, the largest and oldest surviving buildings didn’t house people or grain either –  the only humans they keep warm were dead ones. In a sense, the theme repeats. It takes extraordinary expertise and effort to move tons of rock, especially [...]