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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Gymnastics at 86! Not just aging gracefully, but setting a new benchmark

A feel-good video. She started gymnastics in her 50′s, and look what Johanna Quaas can do.

New research suggests the human body  contains remarkable plasticity.  It is constantly being rebuilt, and even weight training exercises help 90 year olds.

Quaas, below,  is redefining the art of aging gracefully.

… …

Johanna Quaas, an 86-year-old who has just entered the record books as the world’s oldest gymnast.

Displaying astonishing balance, strength and flexibility, she performed routines on the floor and parallel bars that would put someone decades younger to shame.


Moments in Climatism –the quotes you’ve been looking for

(Buy it from his site direct )

Steve Goreham, author of “Climatism” and his latest “The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism” has compiled an handy set of quotes — ordered and sorted, just for that moment when you need something related to, say, ocean acidification, health effects, biofuels, Al Gore, carbon taxes, overpopulation, the UN, the IPCC, and more.

Steve holds an MS in EE and lives in Illinois. I have his first book on my desk:  extremely well researched, well written, well laid out. Polished and professional. He is across so many aspects of both science and politics, like few others. An organized mind. I like it!

Climatism Quotes

Here’s a select few

These people are called “progressives” (See Energy, other)

“If you ask me, it’d be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it.”     —Amory Lovins, environmentalist, Mother Earth News, Nov.-Dec. 1977

“Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”     —Dr. Paul Ehrlich, Anne Ehrlich, and Dr. John Holdren, Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment, 1970, p. 323


Are ARC grants for science or a form of government advertising disguised as research?

ARC Grants have just been announced for 2013

Let’s look at what won a grant in light of the fact that nearly 80% of all the applications for ARC funding fail. (Indeed Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt wonders if our best scientists are hobbled by an arduous waste-of-time process where they spend up to 30% – 50% of their working life applying for grants.)

Looking at the current round of successful grants. How do you beat four out of five candidates for funding? Here’s one successful method:

Step One: Use statistically insignificant results obtained by dubious techniques to generate a paper with conclusions that grab headlines.

Step Two: Make sure these “results” support contentious Labor Party policies, and actively promote the spurious conclusions in the media prior to publication.

Step Three (optional): Possibly go on to publish the paper, then again, maybe not.

Step Four: Apply for more money.

Apparently the ALP need to find budget savings from the science program to deliver their promised “surplus”. They are thinking of a grants freeze — which is a good way to create uncertainty and encourage the best researchers to leave the country. Here’s [...]

It’s back. Voting is over, and the climate zombie awakens

Good news for climate bloggers (why aren’t I “excited”?)

The topic no one was going to mention in the election campaign, just got a mention. And in less than 24 hours, it’s already being revived from oblivion. Banking group HSBC tells us that:

Barack Obama  may consider introducing a tax on carbon emissions to help cut the U.S. budget deficit after winning a second term as president, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.

A tax starting at $20 a metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent and rising at about 6 percent a year could raise $154 billion by 2021, Nick Robins, an analyst at the bank in London, said today in an e-mailed research note, citing Congressional Research Service estimates. “Applied to the Congressional Budget Office’s 2012 baseline, this would halve the fiscal deficit by 2022,” Robins said.

There is no guaranteed path of course, the Republicans control the House. But how telling that the Zombie Ghost of Cap N Trade popped up its head so fast once the votes were in.

Climate Depot responds:

‘Congratulations to President Obama. Now that Obama will never have to face voters again, he may attempt to make global warming a key part [...]

The US Election — spot the numbers mismatch where 50:50 = 2 to 9?

UPDATE: The US Election is being called for Obama on all major outlets. MarketWatch. Telegraph. Real Clear Politics. Mark Steyn’s thoughts: “Life Free… Or Die”.


Voting is now underway in all states of the US including Hawaii and Alaska.

Something very strange is going on with money. Normally bets are a decent indicator, but in the US right now as people roll out to vote, polls are largely at 50:50, but betting odds of 2-9.

The bet-takers own website explains that Obama’s odds of victory fell to a low of 2-9, with 75 percent of the action coming in for the incumbent Obama. CSM explains that given the odds, bettors were only taking in 20 cents for every euro wagered, plus the original stake, meaning Paddy Power wasn’t paying out a longshot. On the flip side, unpaid Romney bets held odds of 7-2.

Follow the odds on Predictwise or Oddschecker.

It’s so strange, one betting site in Ireland (Paddy Power) has already paid out $750,000 to Obama bettors. That was Monday.

Putting a fine point on it: Gallup and Rassmussen are saying Romney 49: Obama 48.  (For more poll results than you could want see the BBC. They can’t [...]

Extreme heat in 1896: Panic stricken people fled the outback on special trains as hundreds die.

Photo: Jo Nova

Post by: Lance Pidgeon with assistance from Chris Gillham and others.

It is as if history is being erased. For all that we hear about recent record-breaking climate extremes, records that are equally extreme, and sometimes even more so, are ignored.

In January 1896 a savage blast “like a furnace” stretched across Australia from east to west and lasted for weeks. The death toll reached 437 people in the eastern states. Newspaper reports showed that in Bourke the heat approached 120°F (48.9°C) on three days (1)(2)(3). The maximumun at or above 102 degrees F (38.9°C) for 24 days straight.

By Tuesday Jan 14, people were reported falling dead in the streets. Unable to sleep, people in Brewarrina walked the streets at night for hours, the thermometer recording 109F at midnight. Overnight, the temperature did not fall below 103°F. On Jan 18 in Wilcannia, five deaths were recorded in one day, the hospitals were overcrowded and reports said that “more deaths are hourly expected”. By January 24, in Bourke, many businesses had shut down (almost everything bar the hotels). Panic stricken Australians were fleeing to the hills in climate refugee trains.  As reported at the time, the government felt [...]

Weekend Unthreaded…

Want to discuss elections that are coming?

Oops Climate Commission graph: Queensland warmed nearly 3 degrees in 50 years?

If Alan Jones needs to get “educated” because he got the level of CO2 wrong once, the Climate Commission surely needs to go back to do high school maths, because anyone who has done junior high can see that the running average in the graph below is an impossibility. The latest Climate Commission report: “The Critical Decade: Queensland climate impact and opportunities” starts with blatantly incorrect figure. Since when do “averages” run outside the extreme highs and lows? Thanks to reader Ian E.

Eyeballing this graph suggests Queensland’s average temperature has risen by 2.7 C since the 1950′s.

The text on the same page says: “The average temperature for Queensland has risen by about 1°C since early last century”. So at least the writing matches the official (if exaggerated) records.

Who proof-read this document?

Three professors (Will Steffen, Lesley Hughes, Veena Sahajwalla) and Mr Gerry Hueston, all Climate Commissioners, signed off on it.

The correct graph should look more like this.

 (Graphed by Ian E)

Even the 1 degree trend in this graph above is likely to be exaggerated [...]

Stephan is back: climate, cancer, what’s the difference?

Stephan Lewandowsky is back, reminding us why argument-by-distant-unrelated-topic is a quick way to get confused.

Should we spend money trying to change the weather? Spin the wheel: Did smoking cause cancer? “Yes!” Was that money well spent? “Yes!” Is climate sensitivity 3.3C! “Yes” . The heck, it must be, because some different scientists were right about a different topic, in a different subject, in a another era. Look at how similar the problems are?  No one was sure if any particular lung cancer was due to smoking, just “like” no one will ever know if Sandy was caused by your SUV. Climate starts with “C” and so does Cancer. Spooky eh?

The answer to planetary dynamics comes from tactical analysis of PR strategies by people who oppose The Consensus. Why do we even bother with satellite measurements, cloud microphysics or ARGO buoys?

No atmospheric evidence will convince Lewandowsky, he’s  looking for code words in the commentariat.

The tobacco industry claims that smoking does not cause cancer, preferring instead to think of medical science as an “oligopolistic cartel” that “manufactures alleged evidence” linking smoking to cancer.

Climate deniers likewise accuse climate science of being “riddled with corruption” and of manipulating or [...]

Thousands of hundred-dollar*-rubber-ducks to wash up on English shores

UPDATE: This Friday Funny-type-curiosity turns out to be a 2007 story a reader emailed, and neither he nor I realized the story itself had been “bobbing around the internet”  for the last five years. I wonder how many ducks are still out there?  Thanks to MikeUK for pointing that out. – Jo


Thousands of rubber ducks have been touring the worlds oceans for 15 20 years, and they are about to bob (probably already bobbed) up in England. They fell off a boat in the Pacific Ocean in January 1992, and while most washed up in the South Pacific, some lucky ducks got in the Subpolar Gyre (near Alaska) then frozen in Arctic ice. The pack-ice ducks moved at a mile a day and found their own North West Passage across to the Atlantic.  By 2001 were doing tours over the Titanic, washing up between Maine and Massachusetts. Now their chief fan, Curtis Ebbesmeyer predicts they’ll head for the UK.

Mr Ebbesmeyer saw immediately how valuable the little toys would be to scientific research of the great ocean currents, the engine of the planet’s entire climate.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) worked out that the ducks travel [...]