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



Australian floods show how cutting electricity use doesn’t reduce CO2

Coal power provides most of our electricity and despite widespread floods these plants have to keep working day in and day out to provide our baseload power.  | This one above is the old decommissioned “New Farm” Coal Power Station (1942)  |  Queensland State Library

Anton Lang cuts the numbers, and finds that while the Australian floods cut power consumption by 9% on the Eastern seaboard they only reduced CO2 emissions by 0.9%.

Even if cutting CO2 emissions was useful, it’s much much harder than most people realize. Electricity use is so pervasive that even though whole towns were off-the-grid due to floods, and real consumption fell, it didn’t make any difference to emissions. That’s because the baseload consumption is still so high, and is mostly still a coal powered load. Reducing the peak use of electricity by a whopping 9% hardly makes any difference to the total daily curve of electricity demand. The electricity for the peak load comes from natural gas, a bit from hydro, and some from intermittent unpredictable renewables. Coal can’t be switched up and down quickly, and it isn’t efficient to do so, even if it were possible to ramp up or change the [...]

Monckton accuses Tony Press (Uni Tasmania) of fraud and deception

UPDATE: University VC Rathjen reponds. Press will be investigated.

University Climate Researcher to be investigated for unprofessional conduct.

Professor Peter Rathjen, Vice Chancellor of the University of Tasmania (UTAS) has ordered an investigation into professional and academic misconduct by Dr Tony Press, the CEO of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre based at the University of Tasmania.

Lord Monckton, who spoke to 150 scientists and members of the public at the UTAS last week, has complained, in an interview with the Sunday Tasmanian last week, Press had misrepresented both Climate Science and what Lord Monckton said in his talk.

The investigation comes under the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

Professor Rathjen’s letter to Lord Monckton says, “…the processes will be followed rigorously!”

The Vice Chancellor added that the University strongly supported a culture of courteous, critical dialog on all matters of academic and public interest.

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Christopher Monckton has written to Professor Peter Rathjen, Vice-Chancellor, University of Tasmania to point out that one Tony Press has committed “serious professional and academic misconduct and scientific fraud, contrary to Australian Standard AS 8001 [...]

Three times as many Australians think the ABC has a pro-Labor bias

The ABC will declare that “most Australians don’t think the ABC is biased” but while half the nation thinks it’s balanced, 30% don’t know, and of the 20% who are sure there is bias, there are three times as many who think it’s pro-Labor as those who think it’s pro-Coalition. Bear in mind ABC1 only has about 10% of the Australian audience, so 90% of the nation prefers to watch something else. Did the survey ask respondents if they watch the ABC? We might find that of the 20% of the population who are familiar with ABC coverage, most think it’s biased to the left.  With some probing questions, we might also find that people of different political persuasions define bias very differently. Could it be that those more likely to vote for the Coalition tend to value free speech even if they don’t agree with the views?

On the other hand those more likely to vote Labor or Green seem to think balance means skeptics shouldn’t speak at all. Is their idea of bias just “if the ABC allows skeptics to comment”. The Centre for Independent Journalism had a whole forum devoted to asking whether “balance” meant they still [...]

ABC, Dr Helen Caldicott sinks to mocking the unwell, Monckton calls for her to be deregistered

Helen Caldicott and the ABC have excelled themselves in the Art of Ad Hominem. So much so, that Christopher Monckton is not only writing to the ABC, but also to medical registration boards as well, calling for Caldicotts’s de-registration.

On ABC Radio National (about 25% into the program). Reader Steve, writes that “Helen Caldicott declares that climate change sceptic Christopher Monckton has “got thyrotoxicosis and bilateral exophthalmos”. She gives the impression that such conditions should prevent Monckton from engaging in the public debate. Waleed Aly said nothing to stop Dr Caldicott’s ad hominem attack on Monckton’s alleged medical condition.”

Is she not aware Monckton had Graves?

Caldicott is a doctor and also the co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, “an organization of 23,000 doctors”. [See her Bio]. Perhaps she thinks it would be “socially responsible” to start a show where panels of doctors speculated on the medical conditions of celebrities they had never met? They could make fun of fat politicians and disabled sports stars? What fun. How about the laughs of picking on Stephen Hawking?

Stephan Lewandowsky could be a regular guest, pronouncing that non-Labor-Green fans were paranoid conspiracy [...]

Monckton Tour Dates updated – Wagga Wagga, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle

NSW Saturday 23rd February: (7:00 pm) Presentation Wagga Wagga Commercial Club, Nathan Room Saturday, 23rd February (12:00 noon) George and Paul interview, 954 2UE Monday, 25th February:  (7:10am) Alan Jones interview, 873 2GB … Click more for booking details of the other dates this week in  Sydney & Newcastle, next week in Perth, and the week after that in Brisbane and the Gold Coast. [...]

Pachauri quietly blows goalposts away, pretends to like skeptics. It’s all PR to keep the gravy train running.

There’s a PR war going on

Pachauri is chief PR officer for the Global-not-so-Warming-Gravy-Train. His job is to say things with a straight face that are the complete opposite of what he’s said before, and to pretend he has never said anything differently.

The IPCC are a government committee who’ve stamped the brand name “science” to their policy wish list. They got away with it by using ancient tribal rhetorical techniques. Call your opponent names, spit on their reputation, spread nasty rumors, and tell the useful idiots who follow you that they are smart, caring, and superior — even as you teach them to chant “denier” in response to the dog-whistle. The good thing about having Idiot followers is that can believe at the same time that “denier” is a scientific term and that they have a high IQ.

It is also handy if you give out plum government jobs and consultancies, to keep your supporters ardent. The power of patronage, what ho!

But the game is changing, skeptics have scored too many points.

Thus and verily skeptics have been hitting home runs by shining a light on the religious attitude of the IPCC which keeps declaring unscientifically [...]

Topher’s new video: The Forbidden History of Terrible Taxes

A video that ought to be shown to all students in every school. A concept that I don’t remember being mentioned during my education.

I like his clean uncluttered style, the snappy irreverent wit. …

Thanks Topher, and thanks to all the people who supported him to make this possible (like The Australian Taxpayers Alliance).

Note the first ever First Australian Libertarian Conference will be held in Sydney on April 6 and 7. Now that would be fun.

Send this video around

Worlds Greatest Treasurer and Gillard, achieves ruin, debt, during boom economy!

With Wayne Swan, Treasurer of Australia, being man of the moment this week, it’s the perfect time to revisit a comment left by Jaymez where he compares the nation to a household and adds up just how fast the House of Australia went broke. — Jo

Lesson One: Sending the House of Australia Broke (Quick Method).

A comment by  Jaymez December 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Imagine this. In the 2006/7 financial year you were on a salary of $118,500 pa. Your total living expenses, all payments and taxes, and even allowing for some retirement savings was $109,500, so you had a decent buffer. You also owned every asset you had with no debts and in fact you had cash in the bank of about $15,000.

Now imagine that since then, you had pay increases up to the end of last financial year (30 June 2011) totalling 39.2% so that your current income is a very healthy $165,000 pa.

Can you imagine that you would allow your expenses to creep up to $185,500 pa, that¡¯s 69.4% more than your 2006/7 expenditure? Can you imagine that this higher level of expenditure doesn¡¯t even include putting any money away for your retirement [...]

John Cook of (un) SkepticalScience, admits “climate change denier” is inaccurate. Will he stop name-calling?

I don’t think John Cook realizes how his latest article affects virtually everything else he’s written.

(Repeated on the SMH too.)

How accurate is a book when even the title describes a group of people who don’t exist? Will Cook stop abusing English?

So he finally admits the banal, that there is no rational explanation for calling skeptical scientists “climate deniers” or “climate change deniers”. Bravo. (No one denies that climate changes, or thinks the Earth has no climate.). But this is terminology he uses everywhere, and it describes a group of people that don’t exist. Has he only just noticed?

We think through our language, and when we use sloppy, inaccurate words, we get sloppy inaccurate results. Abusing our language is what people do when they don’t have a rational argument.

Misleading language is de rigueur for Cook. Even the name of his “SkepticalScience” website is the anti-thesis of accurate English. He’s not skeptical of “official science” in the slightest, and with a gaping hole in his logic (see below), not too scientific either.

Look out for the “fake” tag, too. Since when did a representative of a university call another university academic a fake? Since Cook did. He [...]

Unthreaded

 

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