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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Two asteroids in one day but we spend 6000 times as much to change the climate

The two asteroids were going in opposite directions, so were not related.

While everyone was expecting and watching Asteroid 2012DA14, which missed Earth by 26,000 km (17,000 miles), another asteroid blasted through the atmosphere in Russia, injuring more than 1,000 people (mostly by shards of glass caused by the sonic boom). One estimate makes it out to be a 10 tonner (seems a bit small), traveling at 30 kilometers a second. Another astronomer, Margaret Campbell-Brown, claims ultrasound stations show it was 15m wide and around 40 tonnes. Nature quotes the same researcher talking about 15m and 7,000 tonnes. You can see we have a good grip on what happened. [UPDATE: Now it's 10,000 tons and 55 feet wide and stone. The largest object to hit in a century. WUWT. What about the ones that fell over the ocean wonders Jo? How would we know?]

It left a “contrail” and a flash that could be seen for 700km (see these videos –why are people filming while they drive?).  It only “missed” by 30 – 50 kilometers and nobody knew it was coming. How little we know. One part of it broke off and smashed into a frozen lake, leaving a 6m [...]

Lies are OK if you believe says Richardson

Graham Richardson in The Australian

Graham Richardson says that a lie is not a lie if you believe what you say:

After the 2010 election, Julia Gillard had broken her core election promise that “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead”. Her credibility has never recovered from that moment. But I have never regarded this breach as a lie because I have never believed that she didn’t believe every word she solemnly uttered at the time.

So if I promise to split the pizza with you, but later change my mind, because the pineapple was tinned (how could I have foreseen that?) that’s alright then? You get the bill. I get free pizza.

Can I use this excuse for my tax return? Officer,  I really did believe it was true…

Gillard was hit by unforeseen circumstances:

The PM had no doubt never really contemplated the prospect of a hung parliament in which she lacked the numbers to dictate policy.

How could she possibly have known?

Gerard Henderson, Sydney Morning Herald August 17, 2010

“On Sunday, the Gary Morgan poll predicted the election would end in a hung parliament.”

“Sunday, Mark Latham commented [...]

Obama promises to stop storms. Labor is so broke that Combet asks skeptics for money to help.

Thank God for Barack Obama and Greg Combet. For they have The Gift. They can change the weather.

Welcome back to another Golden Era of Climate-Hype.

Obama’s State of the Union speech and all-new legislation in the US is ramping up the debate again. Greg Combet (Australian minister for the weather) is getting so excited at the news, he’s sending out emails to all the skeptics who’ve ever written to him:

“For years climate sceptics have argued the United States is not acting, so nor should Australia. Can you share this video and show them that’s not true?“

Does Combet think that this will change skeptic’s minds? Is he serious? Does he have any idea why we are skeptics? Does he listen? He even asks skeptics to send him $10 to help. The tax you already are forced to pay is not enough. Is Combet an activist or a government minister?

PS. Can you help us defend the carbon price from Tony Abbott by chipping in $10? We can’t afford to fall behind the rest of the world on this issue.

Obama’s spinified climate statements

When shale gas is good we call it “natural gas” (don’t mention the “frack” word):

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The Emerson v Bolt argument on air… does Emerson not know statistics?

Is this “national debate”?

There’s been a big “todo” over a tweet made by  Trade Minister Craig Emerson saying that Andrew Bolt was wrong to claim the world hadn’t warmed for 16 years. (Which means Emerson disagrees with the UK Met boys, the latest IPCC draft report and all the major data.) Werner Brozek at WUWT went through the largest global temperature data sets:

For RSS the warming is not significant for over 23 years. For UAH, the warming is not significant for over 19 years. For Hacrut3, the warming is not significant for over 19 years. For Hacrut4, the warming is not significant for over 18 years. For GISS, the warming is not significant for over 17 years.

So Bolt was correct.

Was Emerson in denial, or is there something else going on?

In Tuesday night’s show on 2GB, Trade Minister Craig Emerson rang in to defend himself and talk with Andrew Bolt, which is admirable, but in a blink it became an exercise in extreme frustration.  It was painful.

The point of the discussion was supposed to be whether or not there was a pause of “16 years” of no significant warming. Emerson’s reply was that [...]

Peer Review failure: Science and Nature journals reject papers because they “have to be wrong”

The peer review system has decayed to the point where the culture of the two “top” science journals virtually  guarantees they will reject the most important research done today. It is the exact opposite of what we need to further human knowledge the fastest. Science and Nature are prestigious journals, yet they are now so conservative about ideas that challenge dominant assumptions, that they reject ground-breaking papers because those papers challenge the dominant meme, not because the evidence or the reasoning is suspect or weak.

Watts Up drew my attention to an extraordinary paper showing that billions of dollars of medical research may have been wasted because researchers assumed mice were the same as men. Dr Ronald W. Davis from Stanford comments: ““They are so ingrained in trying to cure mice that they forget we are trying to cure humans.” He found that 150 drugs were tested that in hindsight, were guaranteed to fail in humans. People didn’t understand that mice have a very different response to sepsis (which is any overwhelming blood-borne bacterial infection). Sepsis kills around 200,000 people in the US each year and costs an estimated $17 billion a year. Mice are already resistant to huge numbers [...]

WA State Labor leader has it both ways: Carbon Tax bad but trading good. No. No. No.

Mark McGowan , the West Australian Labor leader hoping to win the election in March and become Premier of WA, announced that he doesn’t like the Carbon Tax. But apparently he does like emissions trading, showing that he’s as keen as anyone to help large financial institutions reap nice profits for little risk, and no benefit.

It’s an industry which deals in paper sales of an atmospheric nullity and thus, by design, prone to fraud. (See the $7b VAT tax fraud where 90% of trades in some markets were criminal). The EU emissions price is collapsing, and the scheme has made no difference to emissions in the EU. The US reduced CO2 more than the EU without a tax or a national trading scheme. In the unlikely event the scheme overcame the fraud and inefficiencies and actually reduced carbon dioxide, stopping the entire output of Australian industry and commerce would make 0.0154 degrees to global temperatures, at best, and that’s assuming the IPCC assumptions turned out to be correct despite all the evidence suggesting they are wrong.

“It’s no coincidence that the only people who argue for a free market solution are those who profit from it, or [...]

Most Geoscientists and Engineers are Global Warming skeptics

When researchers Lianne M. Lefsrud and Renate E. Meyer asked geoscientists and engineers their opinion about global warming, they discovered that two thirds of them think that the current warming is mostly due to nature.

They also found out that skeptics are scientifically informed and in positions of power and influence. What they didn’t figure out is why this is bleedingly obvious once you start with correct assumptions. Even though the skepticism of well respected scientists matches the skepticism of meteorologists (think about that) the researchers assume the skeptics are “deniers”.

Of course, polls of scientists are not evidence about our climate. But it is evidence that one of the main forms of argument “97% of climate scientists say man-made warming is real” is not just meaningless, but misleading. It’s PR, not science. The endorsement of “science associations” is one of the main points of “evidence” offered by pro-carbon-market activists. But few of those associations ever asked their members, their endorsement is usually just a committee pronouncement from six networking types on the “climate policy” committee. And few researchers even ask “most scientists” what they think. The one large survey was done by volunteers (and done twice) and they found [...]

The WA Labor Opposition Leader just announced he doesn’t like the Carbon Tax

I saw on the ABC news tonight that Mark McGowan announced that he doesn’t like the Carbon Tax. He’s the West Australian state opposition leader and there are just four weeks left before the State election. Strangely I can find no story, no news headline to confirm this.

What does it matter you say…  it’s a federal issue, not a state one. But it says everything you need to know about how unpopular both Gillard and the Carbon tax are. McGowan has dodged the question repeatedly for months, but trailing in the polls, he finally chose to dump the policy, despite it making his name Mud with the Federal Government and his fellow Labor compatriots. Peter van Onselen suggested it would pick him up some votes only a few days ago.

He would be the first Labor State Leader to do so.

In May the former Labor premier Kristina Keneally says Julia Gillard should revoke or wind back the carbon tax in order to claw back public popularity.  But she’s was safely out of the action by then. On August 9th 2012, the NSW Labor leader — John Robertson told his caucus they’d never hear him support the carbon tax, [...]

EU promises 20% of its whole budget to stop storms, rain, etc.

So what does this mean? Billions more dollars poured into the uber carbon gravy train? Twenty whole percent?

Current climate spending is estimated at  5-7%. So this might be a big increase. Has the EU gone over the waterfall, or is it more a PR exercise where money that would have been spent on other things is rebadged as a “climate” expenditure.*

The power of a single department may get diffused and spread among lots of departments. WWF are not happy and nor is the European Environmental Bureau. It can’t be all bad. ( )

 Environment News Service

BRUSSELS, Belgium, February 8, 2013 (ENS) – European heads of state and government have agreed to commit at least 20 percent of the entire European Union budget over the next seven years to climate-related spending.

All-night negotiations in Brussels produced agreement among EU leaders on budget proposals for the rest of the decade, from 2014-2020.

“Climate action objectives will represent at least 20% of EU spending in the period 2014-2020 and therefore be reflected in the appropriate instruments to ensure that they contribute to strengthen energy security, building a low-carbon, resource efficient and climate resilient economy that will enhance Europe’s competitiveness and [...]

Fun on Friday. Smile :-)

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 This is funny. .. Michael Davis Ford’s Theater part 2

Yes that is Ronald and Nancy Reagan in the front row.

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