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

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GoldNerds

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



Blockbuster: Earths Energy Balance measured – models are wrong

For all the data we can scrape out of rocks, shells and cylinders of ice, what we really need to know, in detail on a planetary scale, is how much energy comes in and how much goes out. That can only be measured (even roughly) with satellites.

This paper rattles the whole table of key numbers, with empirical results. It puts core numbers into a new perspective, numbers like the 3.7Watts per square meter that a doubling of CO2 is supposed to add to the surface budget.

The models are hunting for imbalances and build-ups in planetary energy. But according to the observations, the longwave (infra-red) energy coming onto the earth’s surface, the infamous back radiation, is 10 – 17 W/m2 higher than in the famous Trenberth diagram from 1997. So the models are trying to explain tiny residual imbalances, but the uncertainties and unknowns are larger than the target. The argument that “only the forcing from CO2 can fill the gap in the models” is not just argument from ignorance rhetorically, but factually too.

Another major implications is that water is churning up and falling out of the sky faster than the experts thought. The Earth’s evaporative cooler is [...]

Government funds anti-science name-calling crowd: “deniers”, skeptics are old “will be gone soon”

There’s a mindset, a world view here that’s profoundly unreal, anti-science, and of course, fully funded by the Taxpayer from start to end (how could it be any other way?).

From the researcher who holds childish assumptions and misunderstands his own results, to the site that posts it all as if it were “higher thought”, to the trained communicator of science who then parrots the mistakes and insults half the population at the same time. Cheers! Private money couldn’t fund a satire like “The Conversation”. (Well, it could if it were funny.)

The Conversation recall was funded with $6 million.

Stephan continues his war on science

Lewandowsky’s bread and butter stuff is breaking the central tenet of science — namely, that evidence is more important than opinions. His mission (though I don’t think he’s aware of it) appears to be to return us to pre-Enlightenment days when Bishops controlled the public conversation. In this post-post-modern era, some things are so post they’re posterior – some parts of science are returning to unscience.  This “science” is not about your data or reasoning, and not about your results — it’s about your ability to get a grant, a title, a university badge. [...]

RET “success” means $18 billion dollars wasted

The Clean Energy Council is an industry group promoting renewables. Not surprisingly it defines “success” as being the amount of money it has diverted from other causes into the coffers of its members. Good for them. They are free to lobby. But the RET or “renewable energy target” was set up by the government. They dictated rules to generate a false market in a product that few sane investors would invest in (remember how the same government keeps talking about how we need a “free market”?).

You and I might define success in terms of more peaceful, healthier and longer lives. Or lives where we get to spend more time with our kids and less time in a rat race. Ultimately, this is $18 billion in investments that could have been used to build houses, hospitals, medical research centres and schools. A visionary government could have made it easier for markets in Australia to develop safer, more effective vaccines, or better and earlier cancer detection, or crops with better yields, and higher essential vitamins and minerals. Total NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Funding in Australia) is in the order of $800 million per year. $18 billion could have doubled [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Because there is always something else that needs saying….

Gillard knew the Australian public didn’t want an ETS or a Tax

Gillard knew eight months before the last election that the public did not want an emissions trading scheme (ETS):

(Former Labor MP and ABC presenter) Maxine McKew writes that Ms Gillard met Mr Rudd at Kirribilli House in early January 2010.

“Gillard had a blunt message for her Prime Minister,” she writes. “She told Rudd that under no circumstances would she support the case for an election based on the need for action on climate change.

She didn’t want to offer an ETS, and later declared in the campaign “there will be no Carbon Tax”, but after the election she gave us both. Her poor  supporters have been left to weasel and whine post hoc that the public voted for carbon action in 2007. Apologists dissembled on whether the carbon tax is a “tax” or a “fixed priced scheme for an  ETS” pretending that a lie was not a lie, that Gillard was doing what the people wanted and not breaking her word. It all comes to nothing.

Gillard cares for working families by giving them what they asked not to get and deceiving them about what a vote for Gillard means. This is “moving forward” right? Forward to where [...]

Where did that El Nino go? Wiped out by unprecedented cool shift?

The Australian weather bureau has never seen anything quite like it. The El Nino that was predicted for this summer down-under seems to be gone suddenly.

“Forecasters surprised by El Nino turnaround” [ABC]

The chief climate forecaster says it is the biggest turnaround in weather patterns since records began.

For climate forecasters, this summer was shaping up as deja vu, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting another El Nino – until Wednesday, that is.

The bureau’s manager of climate prediction services, Dr Andrew Watkins, has changed the forecast.

“Come September, all of a sudden, the temperature started to cool down, the trade winds started to become a little bit enhanced, and the cloud patterns and other indicators like that headed away from El Nino,” he said.

Dr Watkins says they are not sure why there has been a cooling down. “It actually is quite a unique situation if we end up not going into an El Nino event,” he said. “It’ll sort of be the biggest turnaround that we’ve actually seen in our records going back to about 1950, so quite unprecedented.”  [full story ABC]

Good news (possibly) [...]

Heatwave kills thousands of birds — this was climate change in 1932

Trawling through our National Archives, Lance Pidgeon has found stories of how a heatwave in 1932 was so extreme that it caused mass bird deaths across outback Australia. The PDF is posted on Warwick Hughes blog. As Lance says, imagine the headlines if that had happened 80 years later.  Presumably some would blame coal, airconditioners, and SUV’s for “killing billions of birds”. These old newspaper records also raise questions about our national temperature databases. Things appeared to be hotter then, than history now records them? I’ve only had time for a quick look and a cut and paste.

Great numbers were killed alone by the fortnightly train to Alice Springs. These fell exhausted on the railway line. A large number flew into the fans in the carriages and perished. Thousands fell exhausted in water pools and were drowned. A letter from Minnie Downs told of the death of thousands of birds on one day. The temperature that day was 125 degrees in the shade— and there was no shade. One woman at Tarcoola filled a 40-gallon drum, with shell parrots in one afternoon. Trees actually snapped under the strain of flight after flight of birds which swarmed exhausted on them. More than [...]

Overflow – Slaying the Sky Dragon discussion

A discussion of the Slaying the Sky Dragon science: Is the Greenhouse Effect a Sky Dragon Myth?

 ”Skeptics” are described as if they are one small block of  fringe extremists, but not only is half the population skeptical in some sense, in this debate I am not on either extreme, but a centrist, smack in the middle. On the one hand, alarmists are convinced the climate is headed for a catastrophe, and on the other some people are convinced there is no greenhouse effect at all. Wes Allen, sits in the middle with me, and he’s been engaged in an intense debate with people on both ends of the spectrum. After a scorching critique of Tim Flannery’s work, he has swung his attention the other way. Here is his synopsis of the Slayers book, for discussion, and I’m sure it will generate a long passionate defence and debate, just as previous posts on this topic have. (eg: Why greenhouse gas warming doesn’t break the second law of thermodynamics and So what is the Second Darn Law?). I know the Slayers are keen to discuss their ideas. I’m hopeful people can remain polite, as that’s where progress may be made… many thanks to Wes here who has done a diligent write up, and has gone to great [...]

Unthreaded Weekend

For all those thoughts that don’t belong…