JoNova

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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Weekend Unthreaded

I’m looking for a facebook expert to advise me too…

Australia’s Angry Hot Summer was hot angry hype– satellites show it was average

Lewis and Karoly 2013:  climate change is “likely” to blame for the hottest angry summer.

Did your air-conditioner make Australia the hottest angry summer ever? Could be. If we apply mystery-black-box-techniques to data from a few sparse thermometers averaged over thousands of square kilometers we can find a “record”. If we compare that “record” to  models that are known to be wrong, voila — then the coal fired power stations heated more than just your home, they heated the whole country.

On the other hand, if we use thousands of measurements from satellites that criss cross the nation day and night covering every corner of the land, we didn’t have a hot angry summer, we had a normal one. The Lewis and Karoly study is moot. If we caused a normal summer, is that so bad?

The not-angry-summer is visible with no statistical analysis.

According to UAH satellite measurements summer in early 2013 was not a record. Not even close.

Satellite records only go back to 1979, but to answer the question “was this the hottest ever summer” we only need records back as far as 2010.

The peer reviewed, comprehensive, Lewis and Karoly paper does not contain the [...]

The old new Rudd: tinkering with useless schemes while ignoring the coal reality

Rudd has a chance to dump a dumb policy, but won’t

Australia’s overpriced, unneccessary carbon tax will become even more overpriced next Monday (from $23 to $24.15 per ton). A spokesman tells The Australian that the all-new Labor cabinet will reconsider it all next week and may bring in the trading scheme sooner rather than later. At the moment the Gillard-fixed-carbon-price will shift to a floating price (lately, a sinking price) in two years time in mid 2015. The current EU price is $6 AUD.

The Australian understands Mr Rudd will look at all aspects of the implementation of the $23 a tonne price on carbon as a priority. The reinstated Prime Minister sought to cement his commitment to tackling climate change, declaring he had “long been committed to a carbon price”.

Rudd mistakes token efforts in China for “action”:

He accused the Coalition of inconsistency on the issue and cited action in China as evidence “carbon pricing is now becoming more and more of a global reality”.

The real global reality and action in China is that it is building more coal powered stations than anywhere, and is one of the largest coal burning nations in the world. China [...]

Flat Earthers believe in climate change

Flat circle, wall of ice around the edge. Hmm

Let it be known, the next time you are called a “Flat Earther” you can point out that the Flat Earth society (or at least their President) is on the same side as Al Gore and James Hansen. It’s a piece of useless trivia that’s good for useless conversations.

I did not believe there was such a group so I scoped out their site expecting it to be a joke. But if it is a satire, it’s a very detailed one, they have maps and t-shirts, and explanations, and so far I haven’t found the joke. Salon.com decided it was real:

Actually, even the Flat Earth Society believes in climate change Yes, such a group exists. It thinks the world is flat — but also getting warmer

In his big speech on climate change today, President Obama mocked Republicans who deny the existence of man-made global warming by derisively referring to them as members of “the Flat Earth Society.”

As it turns out, there is a real Flat Earth Society and its president thinks that anthropogenic climate change is real. In an email to Salon, president Daniel Shenton said that [...]

Watch the spectacle that is Australian Politics: Ballot tonight. Rudd Wins PM

UPDATE: Rudd wins 57:45.

Who will lead the nation? A diabolical choice. Gillard has lost all goodwill and credibility. If she’ll lie once…  there is nothing she can say that will be believed. Polls are at record lows for the Labor Party here, but the dilemma is that the most popular Labor contender (at least in the polls) is also the former PM Kevin Rudd, despised by many in his own party, and whose polls were so low three years ago they turfed him out.  He still carries the baggage of all the worst policy calls — the boats, the “Climate” action, the NBN, the debt. The Unions that control Labor don’t want Rudd, who threatens their power, but are facing a wipe out either way. Will Rudd stand? (UPDATE: Heywood in comments says Rudd has agreed to contend). Will some other candidate pick up this poisoned chalice? Despite all this, the public perversely want Julia to go the election. Payback time?

Voting at 7pm EST tonight. See Bolt. (A bit over an hour to go).

“Gillard calls a leadership ballot for 7pm tonight. Says she will stand. Says no one has told her they will [...]

JCU caves in to badgering and groupthink — blackballs “politically incorrect” Bob Carter

So much for “higher” education. James Cook University (JCU) has blackballed Professor Bob Carter, not because of any flaw in his scientific reasoning, but because he speaks outside the permitted doctrine. His views on climate science do not fit with the dominant meme (or the grant applications). And then there were pesky complaints and emails from disgruntled fans of the prophets-of-doom. (Quite a drain on the office.)

They took his office a while back, then they took the title. Carter was still supervising a student, and another professor hired him for an hour a week with his own budget. It meant Carter could continue supervising and keep his library access. But that wouldn’t do. Professor Jeffrey Loughran blocked that as well. The library pass and the email was shut off on June 21. It takes an active kind of malice to be this petty.

Bob Carter

In years to come when everyone admits that the Great Global Warming Scare was hyped, JCU could have been seen as one of the rare beacons of academic honour and principle. Instead, apparently, it’s as spineless as any other bureucratic collective. The irony for JCU, is that Bob Carter has been working [...]

Australia’s Big Science Vision – an eco-green form of sustainable mediocrity.

Where is the vision?

The Australian Government have reissued their research priorities for science. Sadly it’s infected with the eco-virus. There are seven “sustainables”,  and ten aspects of “change”. When it comes to maximizing our competitive advantage, the first point is the development of “reliable, low cost, low emission energy.” Say no more. After applying a wheel-clamp to the economy, we’re paying scientists to figure out how to drive cars with wheel-clamps on.

The Australian Academy of Science “welcomes the release” which tell us exactly how useful they are. They think this is a “long-term, strategic vision for Australia”. I think this is an eco-pop wish-list of bland mediocrity on a dead-end road. It’s time for real scientists to ditch the current associations, which have forgotten what science is, and start some new ones.

What should Australian public funded scientists be discovering?

I envisage priority number one as stopping the ravages of disease and misfortune, conquering cancer, and the common cold, or at the very least, reducing asthma and diabetes. As a bonus we’d sell the products for trillions to a clamouring world, to make us rich beyond our wildest dreams, the envy of the world, and a top destination for [...]

Climate scientists move to atom-bomb number system, give up on exponentials

POSTED in the Satirical Tomes:

News that could have been, but wasn’t.

Climate modelers announced today that in future they would report everything in Hiroshima-atom-bomb-equivalents, or Habe. The President of Climate-Scientists-Anonymous said the old system of joules was boring, and no one understood what ten-to-the-twenty-two meant anyhow. “We leave that stuff to the computers” he said.

“The planet has been building up temperatures at the rate of four Hiroshima bombs of heat every second, and it’s all our fault, say climate scientists.”

— Neda Vanovac, Climate change like atom bomb (interviewing John Cook )

Skeptics said they preferred exponentials, but could debunk alarmists with any units. Science Blogger Jo Nova said if Neda Vanovac had called “I would have told her that while John Cook’s figure sounded like a marvelous marketing gimmick, scientifically it was meaningless. For starters, the Sun blasts 1,950 Hiroshima’s worth of energy over the Earth every second (h.t to Wellerstein). So we got four more? Did Cook forget to mention that, or was he just trying to scare people?”

Jo explains that Cook’s units are a parody of science: “The atomic-bomb delivered all the energy in one [...]

The Ben Factor. One man drives a market. The world pretends it is “free”.

How much is that company worth? You can look at its PE, debt, market spread, sovereign risk, and discounted cash flow, but in the end, it’s the Ben Factor (BF) which dominates all companies, metal prices, and sovereign currencies in the West.

The Ben hath spoken, and said that in future, if the economy is looking better, he might slow the printing of $85 billion US dollars a month, some indefinite non-specified day. All that was … obvious. But, world-wide investors and traders hang off the words, trying to second-guess what the BF banality implies. No one will say it, but everyone knows that it the rate of the flow of easy cash so much as slows, all hell will break loose. Balanced on this thin veneer of pretense, stocks, metals and whole national currencies change direction within minutes.

The Ben has spoken.

What hath changed since yesterday? Not much. But global paroxysm ensues.

Bernanke taper talk sends markets into a tailspin

Closing Bell: S&P 500 posts biggest fall since November 2011 on Fed’s stimulus plan

EMERGING MARKETS-Latin American stocks tumble to four-year low

China, Fed frenzy send Aust stocks tumbling [...]

More signposts on the road to the post-Climate-scare world

Not so long back, Deutsche Bank were writing 50 page reports on the science of climate change. They paid for giant 70 foot high towers of doom counting carbon emissions near Madison Square Gardens. They were so concerned about the planet they had a division called Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors (DBCCA). They weren’t driven by money, of course, only by the science.

“…we at Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors (DBCCA) have always said that the science is one essential foundation of the whole climate change investment thesis.”

But the science must have changed for DB because now they don’t even turn up:

Banks, investors desert key carbon market event

BARCELONA, June 1  – Governments and voluntary offset sellers took centre stage at a major carbon market conference in Barcelona this week after banks and investors – previously amongst the biggest exhibitors at the annual event – skipped it, in part due to rock-bottom CO2 prices.

The annual Carbon Expo trade fair is seen by many as a barometer for investment and general sentiment in the global carbon markets, many of which are plagued with regulatory uncertainty and withering demand.

Even Big-Oil is begging for Big-Green subsidies

Royal Dutch Shell is concerned we won’t sequester away enough of that pollutant, carbon dioxide.

Carbon capture and storage [CCS], a way of cutting emissions from industry by burying them underground, needs more state support for the European Union to meet clean-energy goals, a Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) adviser said.

“We’ve got to be clear that the EU’s climate goals in the long run cannot be met without clear policy intervention and that CCS is vital for the delivery of that,” Graeme Sweeney, who advises Shell on carbon-dioxide strategy, said by telephone. — Bloomberg

If Royal Dutch Shell had so much as suggested that the warming threat might be exaggerated, a team of activists from Greenpeace, WWF and the IPCC would issue press releases overnight declaring “Vested Interests Promote Doubt and Denial”. Other lobbyists like, say, The Royal Society, would write a letter to Shell blasting it for “disinformation“.

But when Shell asks for more government handouts to fund its ventures in Carbon Capture and Storage, the vested interest is obvious, but the apoplexy and conspiracist accusations are nowhere to be seen. Shell, of course, sells oil, but it also sells CCS. And things haven’t been going well for Shell’s [...]

The data is in: more Green jobs means less real ones

It’s not rocket science. If energy costs more, that means we have to make do with less of it, or make do with less of something else. Thus if the government forces everyone to pay more for electricity, companies have less spare cash to employ people. Their margins are tighter, they can’t make and sell as many products. So when we are told the clean energy revolution is creating jobs, is it virtually self-evident that’s a mythical fairy claim.

I say “virtually”, because it is theoretical possible it could work, but only if this green power provided some productivity or efficiency gain — that is, if it helped us build more widgets, bake more cakes or warm more toes. In the case of windturbines, the big hope is that they reduce emissions, lower CO2 globally, and in turn stop storms, tornados, floods and what-not and gave us perfect weather again (like the kind we never had).

Might as well bury bottles of money I say. More jobs. Less cost. No infrasound, and no dead bats.

Each green job in Britain costs £100,000 (and 3.7 other jobs):

The Telegraph points out how expensive it is to support a wind-industry job. My plan [...]

Key players, Gore, are giving up: they can’t control the climate

In history studies of the Great Global Warming Scare, people will ask, is this the bargaining stage or the start of acceptance?

Adapting to _ not just fighting _ climate change is taking the heat out of global warming talk

Seth Borenstein for The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Efforts to curb global warming have quietly shifted as greenhouse gases inexorably rise.

The conversation is no longer solely about how to save the planet by cutting carbon emissions. It’s becoming more about how to save ourselves from the warming planet’s wild weather. — Newsdaily

On the five stages of  grief, this is partly acceptance, but mostly it’s bargaining. Fans of Man-Made Global Warming are realizing they can’t have Deity Status — where they manage global financial markets and play God with the weather. Instead they hope they can still play hero, and direct less financially lucrative projects. They just want to hold back the tides, that sort of stuff.

It was Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s announcement last week of an ambitious plan to stave off New York City’s rising seas with flood gates, levees and more that brought this transition into full focus.

After years of losing the fight against rising [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

I think it’s my Chinese Year of the Gremlin. Yesterday some node belonging to our giant service provider broke near us. We have had no net access for two days. My new big beautiful monster sits mute. After another hour on the help line, they said the phrase no one in the modern era likes to hear (especially on a Friday): that’s ”four working days”. But with some creativity and determination I now have that tiny mouseless lap-top working in an odd corner with a wireless-thingy-modem balanced on a tissue box on a windowsill. Still, it’s better than the dumbphone.

Hope your techno stars are lining up and the electrons are behaving in your house.

An Abbott fan offends with a bad joke. Gillard lies, cheats, and burns your life savings. One of these things matters.

Pre-draft Update: I wrote all this before the latest twist came. For foreign readers: gawk, supposedly in March at an Opposition fundraiser, a menu listed an insulting Julia Gillard Kentuky Fried Quail (and worse). It turns out the menu was not even used, it was an inhouse mockup. No one at the Liberal fundraiser saw it, let alone approved it. The reason I wrote at all about it was that it should never have wasted so much airtime. Like Parliament, like blogs. It is almost as if trolls are running our national debate. UPDATE #2: Worse. The resturanteur who wrote the insult turns out to be a Labor man.

How easily people are diverted.

The parody of our “national” conversation is literally reduced to a bad joke. The desperate Julia Gillard is milking a spot of tasteless humor made by a Liberal supporter, wringing all the political mileage she can get out of it. It is everywhere in the news today. A waste of bandwidth. She says a comment that Tony Abbott didn’t make, and doesn’t approve of, tell us something about the culture of the conservatives. “Join the dots” she snidely implies.

Yes, I say, [...]