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

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The Skeptics Handbook II

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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 [...]