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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 productive people and very wealthy tourists seeking the hearts and livers they used to have.

The Australian government has other ideas. Their top priority for Australian scientists, is, wait for it…. to “help Australians live in a changing environment” — something Australians have been doing for nigh on 40,000 years. (And we wonder why school children think science is irrelevant?) The Big Vision here is to try to help people and plants cope with a climate that is already about as good as it gets — a warm patch amongst bone-crunching ice-ages. Right now there are no super volcanoes, the big asteroids have missed, the black plague is not common, and hardly anyone is starving in Australia. It doesn’t get much better than this.

New  Strategic Research Priorities (PDF)

(The new Research Priorities my quick web page copy with the media release)

The environment is number one

The list:

  • Living in a changing environment
  • Promoting population health and wellbeing
  • Managing our food and water assets
  • Securing Australia’s place in a changing world
  • Lifting productivity and economic growth.

Australia is so overrun by the global-warming religion that our number one priority is the environment, and the first goal is ecological sameness: “Research will identify the level of environmental change human and natural systems can tolerate before fundamental ecological processes are irreversibly changed”.

Ominously the word “behaviour” crops up in all three of the top environmental themes. Apparently, one of our most pressing aims is to “Enable societal transformation to enhance sustainability and wellbeing”. So who voted to be transformed? And “Sustainability” has a double meaning. On the one hand, it’s a motherhood statement that hardly anyone disagrees with. I mean really, who would tick the box “I want to ruin the country for the grandkids”? But the dark side of “sustainability” comes with baggage. It’s code for set of political ideas. Who defines what level is sustainable, or what method is the best way to get there? It sounds like a call for the Psychs to apply for grants to help recalcitrant voters see the light. The minister would no doubt deny this, and hide behind the benign motherhood definition. Actual ARC funding begs to differ: on some science topics, if you aren’t a green voter, you are a… denier.

Health research?

There is no big-sky medical advance aim here, no attempt to catch the medical revolution sweeping across the world: the stem cells, the telomeres, the gene therapy. This is small time, tin-tack, sociology medicine. The government’s Big Idea, is to wonder how to make our medical system “sustainable” (that word again). How about we try inventing and discovering medical things here instead of trying to buy them later from the nations who are doing the real research now? The PBS would be affordable, wouldn’t it, if Australians owned the patents?

And I wonder why we are boosting “population” health and not so much, individual health. Resilient communities is all very well, but what about healthy people? It may seem picky, but the Nanny State mindset is trying to treat groups and communities. That’s not the government’s job, it’s the job of the people in those groups and communities.

What happened to “Breakthrough science”?

In the old version there was a category called “breakthrough science” and “frontier technologies” and astronomer, Roberto Soria, laments that there is no room in the new version for most of what Astronomy does:

“…the old item 3.1 (“Breakthrough science”) has now disappeared, and the new topic is much more focused on applied research. Pretty much every astronomy ARC application ticked the old box 3.1 (breakthrough science to understand some fundamental physical processes in nature, etc ) as well as 3.5 (with this project we will attract and train new students in science and maths, and they will then be able to work as engineers for the new economy etc). I know it was a bit of a stretch, but that was all we could do, and review panels understood that. Now even the fig leaf of “breakthrough science” seems to be gone, so I don’t know where quantum physics, astronomy and other pure research proposals are supposed to fit in. It’s clear from the new priorities that in this government’s mind, the role of a good scientist should be to change society’s behaviour (or shall we say, to provide academic justification to those political interests who want to change society’s behaviour), rather than old-fashioned pursuits such as observing and understanding how the forces of nature work.” — Dr Roberto Soria

 

New  Strategic Research Priorities (PDF)  |  Australian Research Priorities (my quick web copy)  | (The former priorities)

Has anyone seen the Coalition science plan?

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

  • #
    Peter Miller

    Just goes to show there is real research and there is ‘climate research’.

    The former does not generate votes, but the latter gets the ecoloon vote.

    Yup, um…………. I guess that’s it, there’s not much else to add on the subject.

    112

  • #
    Glen L

    Really obvious choice for Australia in terms of research. Given Australia’s thorium reserves….Thorium molten salt reactor is the way to go. Plentiful-cheap electricity, desalination to produce fresh water, no CO2(for the ecoloons), little waste to dispose of (compared to standard nuclear fuel cycle) Take yer carbon tax money and do something GOOD with it.

    230

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      You beat me to it Glen.

      Everything I read about TMS looks good, apart from the “reactor” word.

      We need a different word – “source”, perhaps – that doesn’t associate with “nuclear”, in the myopic Green perspective of the world.

      120

      • #
        Greg Cavanagh

        Thorium Perpetual Energy. TPE.
        Thorium Free Energy. TFE.
        Thorium Handout Energy. THE.
        Government Sponsered Thorium Ecconomy. GSTE.
        New Age Thorium Energy. NATE.

        Plenty of New Age books around, perhaps it could nod some heads.

        100

      • #
        Lew Skannen

        Thorium Environmentally Sustainable Diversity Celebration Womb should do the trick.

        40

    • #
      Coastal Col

      Glen,

      Some additional extra BONUSES I have heard with Thorium;
      We have tons and tons of it, which we current mine and discard as rejects with sand mining
      The Thorium Generator CAN NOT meltdown
      It CAN use and recycle wepons grade Plutonium and Uranium as fuel
      Leaves small amounts of low grade, short life radio actives that can be recycled
      = CHEAP, INDEFINATE, CONSTANT BASE POWER

      90

      • #
        Winston

        Cheap, constant, indefinite baseload power. Well, that’s 3 things against it right there.

        Well, then you can absolutely guarantee that the Ecozealots will oppose it. After all, the environment is the least of their worries. They’ve got an economy to ruin and a global Marxist state to establish, and so many mouths to avoid feeding.

        42

    • #
      Richard the Great

      I would say that the thorium fuel cycle is the way to go long term. Less issues with waste, far less actinides and more abundant fuel -Thorium ~3x more abundant than uranium and can be obtained from monazite a by product from mineral sands. One of the issues is the production of fissile rather than fertile isotopes that can be used in nukes (e.g. 233U). These require a simple chemical seperation rather than isotopic seperation. A reactor that can be switched off and not melt down without ongoing cooling must be the way to go long term. No Chernobyl, Fukushima and Three Mile island.

      I always said that there are two things coming to WA sooner or later. Sunday shopping and nuclear power. I guess it’s decases away, though.

      20

      • #
        Andrew McRae

        Only major problem with MSRs such as LiFTR is that the materials engineering required to build containers that can withstand hot fluoride salts for years on end without rusting through does not exist. At least that’s what I heard from Bruce of Newcastle. (throw a stone in this place and you hit an expert of some sort.)
        Still you never know if you don’t try. Wouldn’t be the first time the impossible has been achieved.

        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

        What? No Sunday trading in W.A.? That State sounds more like my kind of State the more I hear about it.
        I’ve never worked in retail but I feel sorry for the turnwise retailers being consigned to some sort of Morlock underclass who don’t get the same day off as the rest of us.
        On the down side there would be at least one day of the week where us bachelors would have to think ahead more than 24 hours. :-)

        00

        • #
          Rereke Whakaaro

          … containers that can withstand hot fluoride salts for years on end without rusting through does (sic) not exist …

          What is wrong with ceramics?

          10

          • #
            Andrew McRae

            I’ll trade you. :-)
            You tell me what was wrong with…
            for years on end without rusting through does not exist
            …and I’ll tell you what’s wrong with ceramics. :)

            Actually I have no idea what’s wrong with ceramics, since on paper Alumina Porcelain has a high enough operating temperature (1200+ Celsius), a Modulus of Elasticity that can be made as low as stainless steel (26M PSI), and has only half the tensile strength (30kPSI) of stainless steel (72kPSI) which might be enough considering the reactor is at atmospheric pressure.

            If you check “A Technology Roadmap for Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems“, Issued by the U.S. DOE Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee and the Generation IV International Forum, December 2002, you will find..(my bolding)…

            Technology Gaps for the MSR
            The MSR has a number of technical viability issues that need to be resolved. The highest priority issues include molten salt chemistry, solubility of actinides and lanthanides in the fuel, compatibility of irradiated molten salt fuel with structural materials and graphite, and metal clustering in heat exchangers. Specific areas of this viability research phase include:

            • Lifetime behavior of the molten salt fuel chemistry,
            and fuel processing during operation and eventual
            disposal in a final waste form
            Materials compatibility with both fresh and
            irradiated molten salt fuel for higher temperature applications

            • Metal clustering (noble metals plate-out on of the
            heat exchanger primary wall)

            ….
            Additional testing of corrosion effects due to molten salt in a thermal gradient, tellurium embrittlement, and irradiation effects on mechanical properties are all required to have full confidence in the lifetime performance of these alloys.

            It’s strange that 10 years ago they said they had a materials solution for it but it just needed “Additional testing…”. Now where have I heard that line before?? Ah yes, it sounds like bargaining for more development time under the cover of “testing”.

            Now as to why the nuclear engineering experts are persisting with metal alloys and not even trying ceramics, well your guess is as good as mine.

            Maybe it’s because ceramics are too brittle? You don’t want to crack the reactor by dropping a spanner on it. Imagine the paperwork…

            10

            • #
              Coastal Col

              Maybe we can just wait for the Indians or Chinese to solve the problems because they appear to be the only countries putting any meaningful effort into Thorium power technology. US is twiddling their thumbs, Europe are stuck on Uranium reactors and Australia? We should be concentrating on “biogas capture”, I thought that was obvious …… with all the BS floating out of Canberra it is an endless source (and useless for anything else)!!!! :-)

              20

    • #
      Peter Champness

      Does anyone know where Thorium Reactor Research is up to now?

      I have read that the Americans might have taken up their research program again at Lawrence Livermore and the Chinese are doing something. What about Australia?

      00

      • #
        Glen L

        Peter,

        If you wish to know more about thorium and its present state, I would recommend follow Kirk Sorenson and thorium alliance on the internet. Youtube is an excellent source for short video’s that explain things in non-scientific terms.

        Material of construction for reactor parts were more or less settled post ORNL experiments. Hastalloy N for the metal parts and graphite for the moderator and the pump parts. This reactor only went up to about 800DegC so going higher would require additional research to validate any material at significantly higher temperatures.

        Chinese have committed a Billion dollars per year and plan to have (or have )1300 PHD’s working on Thorium molten salt technologies. Americans (politically) have one thumb in mouth and the other in the other orifice. Kirk Sorensen and others have a bloody forehead trying to get officials to act, but to no avail.

        In my opinion, Australia (and perhaps Canada, both part of the Anglo-sphere) is in a unique position to take advantage of this natural resource. China will probably not be treated (or trusted) the same on the world stage for a significant time (if ever) even if they accomplish their goals for Thorium. The largest global disruption likely in the near term future is not energy, but financial (1.4 to 1.6 quadrillion dollars leverage exposure by worlds banks). Sooooooo….how about this….a currency backed by U233. To encourage “currency competition” …how about 4 backed currencies….Silver…Gold….Thorium…and U233 so the fiat currencies of the world are kept somewhat honest. Australia could be one of the repositories for and/or “managers” of this type of backed currency as well as a home to the “breeders” that produce U233 from Thorium. Exchange would be solely electronic a la bitcoin so no bills to print or defend from counterfeiters. This type of currency would be perfect for space economy as no country can claim ownership and no one wants to pay for the cost of lifting coins or paper money into space for commerce.

        The real beauty of having U233 as backing for currency is if you want more…..just breed more…as much as you need to manage the currency. This was always one of the complaints with a Gold backed currency.

        Well enough….time to go back to work.

        10

  • #
    Linda

    Never has so much time and money been wasted on such trivial hogwash.
    Sustainability and climate change is programs and policies for those that have achieved financial security , or have vested interests .
    Many farmers worldwide are being taken from their lands so large companies, banks and foundations can use the land for carbon offsets and carbon capture sequensation.
    Local councils are blighting private property , in lieu so rack and stack estates can go up, they need carbon offsets to build homes.
    What a complete waste, when so many jobs, homes and prosperity for our children and grand children could have been achieved.

    142

    • #
      Greg Cavanagh

      The true difference is, that their deffinition of sustainable is different to yours and mine. Ask them to define exactly what they mean, I think you’ll be disapointed.

      I was once asked to go to a lecture on Sustainable Transport for our local Council. I challanged the guy quite a bit, but in the end he was getting paid to tell us his stuff. It’s worse than you think.

      110

  • #
    Manfred

    Viewing a position advertised at a Victoria University (Melbourne) I observed that listed in ‘essential’ selection criteria were a ‘willingness to commit to the institution’s “values” described as: ‘knowledge and skills, and critical and imaginative inquiry for their capacity to transform individuals and the community;
    • equality of opportunity for students and staff;
    • diversity for its contribution to creativity and the enrichment of life;
    • co-operation as the basis of engagement with local and international communities;
    • integrity, respect and transparency in personal and collaborative action;
    • sound environmental stewardship for future generations; and
    • the pursuit of excellence in everything we do.

    Evidently, the ‘essential’ institutional values reside above those merely considered ‘desirable’ namely, obtaining grants for research, a track record of research and publication, teaching (no longer called lecturing) experience and curriculum (not course) development.

    This kind of required signal of institutional conformity extends into society through policy. The management of populations lies at its heart. It is an epidemiologists dream, and it all hinges around the eradication of perceived risk. This thinking is being used to push the climate change mantra. We know it doesn’t require any evidence. It simply requires the identification of ‘risk’.

    Ultimately, as Jo suggests, all this turns society into abject, gray mediocrity and it is paralysing – at least until human nature rebels, which I am confident it will, in a very robust manner eventually.

    BTW, doesn’t this look like UN Agenda 21 in action?

    100

    • #
      Tim

      Note the bit about: “Enable societal transformation to enhance sustainability and wellbeing”

      George H. W. Bush signed the Rio Accords at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, pledging the United States’ support for Agenda 21. A year later, Bill Clinton created the President’s Council for Sustainable Development by Executive Order.

      ‘Sustainability’ cannot be separated from Agenda 21.

      http://www.freedomadvocates.org/images/pdf/SD%20A21%20pamphlet-2010.pdf

      10

  • #
    MadJak

    Why the hell are we continuing to pay taxes for this sort of rubbish?

    There are numerous, much higher priority, proven and provable problem areas science should be focusing our limited resources on.

    70

    • #
      Joe V.

      You pay taxes . Guvmint decides what to spend it on. Hell this Guvmint will spend it long before its ever been collected in taxes.

      120

    • #
      Andrew McRae

      The ABC calls this an interactive Budget chart.
      It’s not quite “interactive” enough for my taste.
      I’d like to click and drag on some of those pie slices and shrink them down with an immediate effect in Canberra. :D

      10

  • #
    Backslider

    reliable, low cost, low emission energy.

    Ok, great! What research is required?….. We all know that this means Hydro.

    Let’s get going with it!!!!…. no, wait…. the Greens won’t agree… ok, then let’s all start ripping down all our forests for BIOFUEL!!!!!

    70

  • #

    star comment
    So under this new type of “science” there is plenty of funding for the likes of John Cook and Stephen Lewandowsky, but no place for Barry J Marshall and J Robin Warren. After all, the latter two were a couple of maverick outsiders who defied the established consensus. Barry Marshall was especially crazy. He even infected himself with the helicobator pylori bacteria, put a tube down his throat when he became seriously ill, and then cured himself. The best bit in a 1994 BBC Horizon documentary “Ulcer Wars” shows two British views. At 22.00 it shows a leading gastroenterologist saying to trust the established science. At 24.00 the commentator says of a doctor in Scotland.

    Dr McCall started as an ardent skeptic, and began doing experiments to prove Marshall’s theory was wrong. He ended up discovering how the bacteria cause ulcers.

    110

  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    The real measure of these, “Strategic Research Priorities”, must be considered in comparison with what other countries have produced.

    If all of academia is measuring itself against similar soft targets, then they are all meaningless, and just something to fill the required number of pages in a report that should be reproduced within a standard timeframe – bureaucratic clap-trap, in other words.

    But if the equivalent document from the Chinese Academies of Science is more visionary, then that tells you (and more to the point, big business) where investment will be made.

    A study the history of the French Revolution can be instructive, especially with regard to what happened to the majority of academics and universities during that period.

    Une foule qui ne peut pas se permettre nourriture et abri font des actes désespérés. Roughly translated: “People who cannot afford food and shelter do desperate acts”.

    60

  • #
    Yonniestone

    Jo has highlighted where the real war will be fought as CAGW is just one battle, the junk science of Biodiversity, sustainability etc is a path to which the proponents of would like to control a population size of their choosing.
    The sensible and humane ideas suggested above will and cannot factor in to what can only be a green totalitarian society.

    As we can look back on history and be informed of the horrors of WW2 this will not be the case for a controlled and reduced population, and as to the saying “History is written by the victors” well since this bastardization of science has been etched into the Psyche of so many of the population in so short a time, I dread this new history is not only a possibility but not far away.

    51

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      The real war is against junk science, period.

      The actual enemy is the “science” of epidemiology, of which climate science is but one branch. Epidemiology provides the basis for both the climate models, and for the investigation of whether chocolate causes bunions*.

      * Studies have shown that 92% of bunion sufferers have eaten as little as two grams of chocolate in their lifetime.

      20

  • #

    … to “Enable societal transformation to enhance sustainability and wellbeing”

    Their prime driver is their politics and while the particular political creed they subscribe to varies as much as schisms in any fundamentalist church, it’s essentially the same church and it’s a variation of that tired old Marxist-Leninist idea of reshaping the world by reshaping people.

    http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/know-your-enemy-the-climate-activist/

    Pointman

    150

  • #
    Norman

    It wont matter labour is set for oblivion september with their AGW hurray LOL

    40

  • #
    Manfred

    Australia’s Big Science vision doesn’t include participating in the, let’s face it, very exciting International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) currently under construction in the south of France. Have a look at: Q ≥ 10 http://www.iter.org/factsfigures
    The 13B Euros spend (est. ten year construction cost) represents some heavy lifting commitment and shows what can be achieved with focus, although almost as if with a bizarre and hitherto undescribed personality disorder, politicians continue to literally fritter away multiples of this on impoverishing and unsustainable theo-ecocratic doctrines.

    71

  • #

    “It’s time for real scientists to ditch the current associations, which have forgotten what science is, and start some new ones.”

    *

    Got it in one!

    100

  • #
    handjive

    Question: “What happened to the Breakthrough Science?”

    Man Made Global Warming UN-IPCC Climate Change Junk Science is leading the way in “Breakthrough Science.”

    Quote:
    “The IPCC report that linked extreme weather events to climate change in 2012 was a breakthrough as previously scientists were loathed to link the two.”

    A few years ago, talking about weather and climate change in the same breath was a cardinal sin for scientists.
    Now it has become impossible to have a conversation about the weather without discussing wider climate trends, according to researchers who prepared the Australian Climate Commission’s latest report.
    .
    Someone better inform NASA, Dana Nuccitelli, Leo Hickman & George Monbiot and The National Climate Data Centre.US. for starters about this “Breakthrough in Science.”
    .
    Weather IS NOW science -UPDATE:

    Drought Free New Zealand Ski Season sees huge snowfalls that have led to the best conditions in living memory!

    20

  • #
    Coastal Col

    Jo,

    I like Robert G. Brown (rgbatduke) final statement @ http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2013/6/21/brown-out.html

    “I will conclude with my last standard “challenge” for the warmists, those who continue to firmly believe in an oncoming disaster in spite of no particular discernible warming (at anything like a “catastrophic” rate” for somewhere between 13 and 17 years), in spite of an utterly insignificant rate of SLR, in spite of the growing divergence between the models and reality. If you truly wish to save civilization, and truly believe that carbon burning might bring it down, then campaign for nuclear power instead of solar or wind power. Nuclear power would replace carbon burning now, and do so in such a way that the all-important electrical supply is secure and reliable. Campaign for research at levels not seen since the development of the nuclear bomb into thorium burning fission plants, as the US has a thorium supply in North Carolina alone that would supply its total energy needs for a period longer than the Holocene, and so does India and China — collectively a huge chunk of the world’s population right there (and thorium is minded with rare earth metals needed in batteries, high efficiency electrical motors, and more, reducing prices of all of these key metals in the world marketplace). Stop advocating the subsidy of alternative energy sources where those sources cannot pay for themselves. Stop opposing the burning of carbon for fuel while it is needed to sustain civilization, and recognize that if the world economy crashes, if civilization falls, it will be a disaster that easily rivals the worst of your fears from a warmer climate.”

    150

    • #
      Ace

      Just a thought though…people talk about “civilisation’…as though theres only ever been one. There have been many already that have come and gone. Ours will too. Thats in the nature of things. Even then, this isnt a civilisation but several, arguably. China has acase for saying they are a completely seperate civilisation from everybody else. Most who talk of civilisation assume by that the Judaeo-Christian post Hellene version we live in. As a Christian Ive no problem saying that THAT civilisation is very definitely on its last legs. God is bigger than any civilisation or the very notion of civilisation itself. The only thing that is enduring and really Human is our genes.

      Remember not to use too much bleach when you wash them.

      20

  • #
    Ace

    Quality not longevity. Fixing disabilities. Curing tinnitus, blindness, speech impairment. iIdont buy the Big Cures, cancer, heart disease etc. Whats the point, we all die. Just would be nice if we all of us lived before we died.

    60

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      “You don’t really live, until you have failed to die”.

      Is a motto used by people who have recovered from “terminal’ illness, or serious physical injury.

      It was first coined (I think) by a skydiver who’s parachute failed to open correctly, but survived when he finally fell through some dense trees, that broke his fall.

      10

      • #
        Ace

        Sounds to me like it was concocted by attempted suicides.

        Anyone else using it would sound insufferably smug.

        They should stop and wonder why there are so many attempted suicides before being so full of themselves about othe rpeople saving them from their usually self-induced illnesses (heart disease, cancer, etc).

        00

  • #
    jim

    It’s been very easy to be a green hippie in Australia up until now, the fossil fuel boom driven economy has made sure the dim envirofreaks get their weekly dole money. That may be about to change, even Australian hippies won’t like the notion of living in poverty.

    40

  • #
  • #

    For those wondering how much impact these directives have, from the FAQ:

    How will the SRPs impact on research in universities?

    The SRPs provide a framework for the Australian Government, through its departments and agencies, to coordinate research investment and encourage a critical mass to develop and be supported in areas of competitive advantage and national importance.
    While universities will not be expected to align their research profiles with the SRPs, they do provide a clear statement of the goals for research outcomes in Australia.

    Will all Australian Government research funding be tied to the SRPs?

    No. The Australian Government will continue to provide support for research through a variety of targeted and untargeted funding mechanisms, including base research funding to universities, competitive research grants and support for the distinctive mission and core activities of publicly funded research agencies.

    What proportion of funding will be allocated to the SRPs?

    It is important that the scale of investment be sufficient to ensure that Australia has the capacity and capability to deliver research in priority areas. At this early stage, the Australian Government has not mandated that a specific proportion of government funding be directed to the priority areas.

    How will the SRPs be implemented?

    The Chair of the Australian Research Committee (ARCom) will write to all departments and agencies engaged in the funding of research outlining the implementation process…
    Departments and agencies will be asked to develop a plan for implementing the priorities…
    —–
    The bottom line
    Scientists writing grant applications will build their plans around these points.
    Other projects will get some funding depending on the mood of the university. But all “agencies and departments” which means the CSIRO etc and all the linkage grants (which are funded by “linked” grants from the ARC and often other govt departments) will also fall into line.

    90

    • #
      Robbo_Perth

      Darwinian selection at work, due to the external (political) environment. Grant success in academia = reproductive success in biology. Getting an ARC grant guarantees that you survive longer and that your genes are passed on to the next generation of PhD students and postdocs. Grant applications that contain the mutant genes of eco-sustainability, climate change and society transformations (according to what progressive minds think we should live) have a reproductive advantage and in a few funding cycles tend to replace research lines without those genes. This is already at an advanced stage in many universities. Maybe I should write an ARC grant application next year, to model this evolutionary process quantitatively using biological population models.

      50

      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        Well we will need to isolate the relevant gene-pairs as a starter.

        Of course, that will require a Super Computer, and a fully trained staff of modelers, plus attendance at five or six conferences a year …

        10

  • #
    ianl8888

    For a truly disgustingly dishonest example of Govt-funded “climate science” see:

    http://climateaudit.org/2013/06/23/an-rc-question-about-briffa-et-al-2013/

    CRU have deliberately ignored (not even referenced) an extensive, detailed, rigorous fieldwork report from a highly respected Russian group on Arctic-line tree ring data because the data did not fit the required conclusions

    Ignore/discard the data, keep the hypothesis … why would one expect anything other ?

    Marketing spin trumps reality. Everyone knows that. Windmills work for base load, don’t you know ?

    30

    • #
      Andrew McRae

      Wow, how many declines are these people hiding?!
      turns out when they manufacture hockey sticks they don’t even bother using new wood, any old rotten pulp is fine.

      The McInt says…

      CRU dendros prefer to stay in East Anglia.

      ROFL! Yes, and surrounded by body guards too, I bet.
      I can imagine the science faculties of the world becoming like skyscrapers in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. CRU dendros must stay in their ivory tower protected from the vengeful mob. They must climb a rope ladder from the office to the roof where a waiting helicopter will whisk them directly to the roof of another university, avoiding the traffic, taunts, and 1000 yard stares of the taxpayers.
      It’s all fun and games until one day the helicopter doesn’t appear and click, click, click, the faculty front doors swing open in the breeze.

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    pat

    climate science or insurance salesmen?

    24 June: Noosa News: Jorge Branco: Council planning ahead for increased climate change risks
    He (Will Steffen) said one of the most contentious issues surrounded zoning and planning, because of the balancing act councils had to perform between letting developers take advantage of valuable properties and protecting themselves from liability.
    The Scoping Climate Change Risk report compiled on behalf of Moreton Bay Regional Council identifies parts of low-lying coastal areas near Redcliffe, Beachmere and Bribie Island as potentially affected by rising sea levels.
    A council spokesman said it had already launched new regional mapping for river, creek, overland flow and storm tide flooding, which included climate change and sea-level-rise scenarios.
    “Predicted change in sea levels is also being examined as part of the preparation of the Moreton Bay Region planning scheme,” he said.
    “The new region-wide planning scheme is expected to be ready for community feedback in early 2014.” …
    http://www.noosanews.com.au/news/council-on-top-of-tidal-threats/1918936/

    24 June: West Australian: AFP: Climate change altering insurers’ risk assessment
    GENEVA (AFP) – Climate change is creating more frequent and more unpredictable extreme weather events, forcing insurers to change how they assess the risk of natural disasters hitting a specific area, the Geneva Association think tank said Monday.
    “Traditional approaches, which are solely based on analysing historical data, increasingly fail to estimate today’s hazard probabilities,” the think tank for strategically important insurance and risk management issues, warned in a report.
    “A paradigm shift from historic to predictive risk assessment methods is necessary,” it stressed, adding that the insurance industry needed to support scientific research to gain a better understanding of when and where weather-related disasters will hit…
    In the 38-page report, titled “Warming of the Oceans and implications for the (re)insurance industry,” the Geneva Association stresses the need for insurers to not only look at historical data but to also understand “changes of ocean dynamics and the complex interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere.”…
    The study, headed by Falk Niehorster of the Risk Prediction Initiative of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science, acknowledged that the main driver of rising insurance costs was linked to socio-economic factors, like a growing number homes for the wealthy built in coastal areas and flood plains.
    However, it said, the lack of historical data to predict future catastrophes, as well as competing theories among scientists on when and where they will strike was also making it difficult for insurers to accurately price the risks.
    The best way to ensure that “ambiguous risks” remain insurable, the study said, was for the insurance industry to help promote risk mitigation today.
    It should also “play an active role in raising awareness of risk and climate change through risk education and disseminating high-quality risk information,” the study concluded.
    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/business/a/-/world/17730651/climate-change-altering-insurers-risk-assessment/

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    Michael

    The Academies of Science were never about Science- just a club so that scientist could gather resources so they could conduct experiments.

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    cohenite

    “Sustainability” is a completely value laden term.

    It is a value judgement because given the potential of technology to expand human capacity to sustain different levels of social standards of living a value judgment has to be made as to what standard is desired and what level of technology is to be utilised.

    “Sustainability” is a deliberately inchoate term used to resist anything which the ideological position of the user of the term objects too.

    For this reason it is undefinable except in terms of ideology.

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      Rereke Whakaaro

      When somebody uses the word, “sustainability” to me, I repeat the word as if I had never heard it before, and then ask, “Is that like the concept of perpetual motion, as applied in the natural sciences?”

      I have yet to receive an answer, other than an open mouth and wide-eyed stare.

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    Bulldust

    ***Newsflash***

    Greens in NSW want all the fossil fuel generators cloased down by 2031:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/greens-want-to-shut-all-nsw-power-plants/story-fn3dxiwe-1226669291268

    I want the Greens to push this kind of claptrap through to the election. It will help to shunt anyone with half a brain* away from voting for them.

    * Yeah, I know … too much faith in the Aussie electorate…

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      What a joke.

      Why is that these holier than thou Greens idiots take us for fools with everything they say.

      Notice they have been pretty specific here where they say 2031.

      That’s most probably when the last contract to supply expires.

      On top of that, have they realised how ridiculous their close be 2031 edict really is.

      Virtually every large scale coal fired plant in operation will be between 50 and 60 years old by then.

      The best they can even dream of for any wind plant is 25 years and anything beyond 15 years at current operational capability is a (real) stretch.

      Tony.

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      Nearly missed this.

      This stupid Green moron proposing this absurdity says that changes ensuing from their proposed legislation would cost only $8.2 Billion.

      So let’s see then.

      $8.2 Billion would get them 4 X King Island equivalent Wind Plants of 500MW each, so a Nameplate Capacity of 2000MW, still 640MW short of the ONE Bayswater plant’s Nameplate Capacity, and those 4 wind plants would provide as much power to NSW grids as what Bayswater already supplies every 82 days with all 4 units running.

      Greens MP JOhn Kaye – Open mouth, change feet.

      Tony.

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        Bulldust

        But Tony … they have a paid-for report that proves renewables are great:

        http://www.smh.com.au/business/carbon-economy/green-energy-helps-reduce-power-bills-study-finds-20130625-2ou3e.html

        Apparently the RET saves households money!

        Sorry about ruining your day Tony … fighting the insanity is a thankless task :)

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          Graeme No.3

          Bulldust:
          QUOTE The Energy Supply Association of Australia, which represents major fossil fuel-based generators 

‘‘The Renewable Energy Target exists to force renewable generation into the grid because it is currently more expensive than conventional generation, The cost of building extra renewable generation will be in the order of $25 billion over the next decade,’’ Mr Warren said. ‘‘It is absurd to claim that none of this cost will be borne by energy consumers through higher prices.’’

          Of course it will, just as the cost of solar is being dumped onto those members of the public who don’t have it. Then the claim that people in SA will save $12 a year thanks to wind power. Yeah, right…have you looked at the cost of electricity in SA (“the State with the highest percentage of wind power”)? The average Crow Eater is getting slugged about $600 extra a year thanks to wind turbines.
          The renewable energy people have been reduced to the sort of economics described by Patrick Cook as “relying on the fairies to leave big bags of money at the bottom of the garden”. I think he meant the greenies, but what’s the difference?

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          janama

          They also don’t tell you that not all of UNSW agrees.

          http://socialsciences.arts.unsw.edu.au/tsw/CANW.htm

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            janama

            Might I add – Tony, you and Jo should get together and expose this shit for what it is. There are thousands of people out there who actually believe we can close our coal power down and run on renewables, as the article says, they believe it’s only being stopped by big oil and coal and by politicians. This is just another version of that disgraceful paper Zero Emissions by 2020.

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              They only have to look at South Australia to see how Renewables supplying 24/7/365 power failed so miserably.

              Northern Power Station, coal fired was turned off at the end of Summer.

              After May, and with power costs averaging $120/MWH for the Month, (when other State averages were around $50) and desperation as to where grid controllers could look for their next watt of power on quite a few days, one unit at that coal fired plant is now back up and running and dumping around 250MW of 24/7/365 power into South Australian grids.

              The very second that they can run a 640MW generator, or one of those Chinese 1000MW Generators for 24/7/365 from Concentrating Solar means, then, that’s the day, I’ll stop doing what I’m doing now, so, I’ll be doing this for a long time yet, because the best they can manage is 17MW, and the year round average is barely 15 hours for that.

              17MW. So let’s see now, that’s only 155 of them to replace Bayswater alone, and at $800 Million each, there’s umm, $124 Billion, and you still only get power for 15 hours.

              These people are talking (literally) pie in the sky.

              They have no idea whatsoever.

              Eastern Australia requires (and requires absolutely) a minimum 18,000MW for 24 hours of EVERY day.

              I don’t know why I even bother.

              Just wait till the first of the Big Ones closes down, and watch the scurrying for the cover of excuses then by these people.

              Then, a simple ‘told you so’ will be as useless as (add your own ending here). It’ll be too damned late.

              Tony.

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                Coastal Col

                They only have to look at what happened in Germany when they tried similar = total WAFTAM!
                and they are now planning new clean coal fired power stations!! Well blow me down !!

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              Dave

              And when they shut down NSW,

              These idiots can start on the world.

              When they can replace Coal, Oil, Gas and Nuclear (not in the Green Brain) and these bloody windmills and Solar thermal plants can produce 15,000 TWh/year then we’re saved.

              World electricity generation by power source for 1971–2009 (data from ref 14). In the past decade (2000–2009), nuclear power provided an average 15% of world generation; coal, gas, and oil provided 40%, 20%, and 6%, respectively; and renewables provided 16% (hydropower) and 2% (nonhydro).

              So as they won’t build any more dams, they only have to supply 82% of the world’s power from windmills and solar. It’s sad these Green Vandals think they can even attempt this. There won’t be enough rare earth minerals to build them all, never mind room on the planet to actually live.

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          Backslider

          independentaustralia.net …. don’t bother posting there, its heavily censored (with all the bad language there as a pretense that it is not).

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        Andrew McRae

        Yeah, I know … too much faith in the Aussie electorate…

        Don’t worry, BS, we’ll be promised another EDUCATION REVOLUTION before then! :o

        Oh My Sagan this can’t be happening to us.

        Surely this load of Green diarrhea will be flushed down the political sewer before it infects any more Members. They can’t get traction on material as slippery as this!

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    handjive

    Question? “So who voted to be transformed?”

    “It is an accident of history that that notion of global warming caused people like me to enquire as to what actually is going on with our climate.”*
    .
    I did. I was “duped.” And, I suspect many others here did as well:

    *“It is now universally accepted that the carbon tax is a very bad thing promoted by evil people.

    The evil goes back a bit further than Julia Gillard’s broken promise and Kevin Rudd’s inane pronouncements.
    This tax has been a long time coming, and has mixed paternity.

    The last dark deed of the Howard Government was the passage of the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act in October 2007.
    That act is the auditing basis of the carbon tax.

    Mr Howard’s plan was to get the auditing system bedded down, then start taxing.
    Labor’s carbon tax would be a couple of years behind schedule if Mr Howard had not laid the bureaucratic foundations for it.

    The evil that men do lives after them, and in Mr Howard’s case that is a possible future in which Australia does not have a cement industry, a steel industry, oil refining, a multitude of other industries and, most importantly, a synthetic liquid fuels industry.

    That is the part of the Howard legacy that many of us have toiled mightily to avoid.”
    ( *Quote: David Archibald, from a speech he delivered at an anti-carbon tax rally in Sydney on July 1, 2012. )
    .
    And so, in 2013 a vote for either greenLaboUr or greenLNP is a vote for MORE TRANSFORMATION as dictated by the unelected despots of the United Nations.

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    pattoh

    It is a sad state of affairs when scientific enquiry & endeavour sinks to the level of paid infotainment spruiking justification for government whims.

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    michael hammer

    It has been my experience that societal problems are not solved by regression to an earlier lower technology era, they are solved by moving onwards to new levels of technology.

    It is also my experience that significant, dare I say radical, new technology is almost always opposed and ridiculed along with the proponents before it is eventually accepted.

    With regard to “reliable, low cost, low emission energy” could I ask readers of this blog to look at the website http://www.lenrproof.com and then ask yourselves 3 questions. Firstly, how many replications from different and reputable sources does it take before the weight of evidence is simply too large to be a scam or a mistake? Secondly IF this technology is correct what will the implications be for the world? Thirdly, do you think this is a field that merits some critical evaluation and exploration.

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      Joe Lalonde

      Michael,

      New technology will not be the answer until the push for preservation of old and bad technology is seen for what it is. Costly and inefficient.
      KISS(Keep It Simple Stupid) was not employed. The more parts, the more chances of breakdowns or unseen problems that usually pop-up.

      Scientists failed to understand basic mechanics and rely on engineers and mechanics to put it together but usually have no basic clue how it actually works.
      Build it, test it and record it is what has been used and not looking to understand the mechanical mechanisms behind it.

      An inverted turbine has never been created or used which splits energy into individual flows and harnesses the energy in tandem to work together. This requires only a fraction of wind or water than the current technology.

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    michael hammer

    With reference to my earlier post (#27), here are some claims that I have read

    1 An Italian by the name of Andrea Rossi claims to have delivered a 1 megawatt system to the US military (producing only low grade heat around 100C) which has mow operated for over 8000 hours at a greater than 90% up time

    2 The same person is now claiming he has achieved temperatures high enough for electricity generation again at the 1 megawatt level

    3 A recent independent 3rd party test of his technology claims that excess heat was produced at a level which even at the most conservative estimate is more than 10 times what can be explained by any chemical process

    4 Several other companies (Defkalion, Brillouin, nichenergy and others)claim they have commercial products in development (not research).

    5 Supposedly there are no hazardous waste products and supplying all mankinds energy needs by this technology would consume 1% of current world wide annual nickel production.

    I do not know if this technology is real or not but I have been following it for some time now and what I see is a continuously increasing list of reputable organisations which claim successful replication. These include NASA, MIT, SRI, US naval research labs China Lake, Toyota, Mitsubishi. The website mentioned earlier lists many many more.

    I would like to make a prediction, the hypothesis of CAGW will never be disproven and its proponents will never admit they were wrong, it will simply become irrelevant and will quietly fade away.

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      Scott

      They will then say their models have been updated and actually its Nickel that cause CAGW.

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      Joe Lalonde

      Michael,

      They can’t afford to be wrong even if they are. As they put all their eggs into one basket with the help and support of governments grants and propaganda. Including the US President.
      They put a vast amount of hope into the future but make it impossible for an individual to be included as this wall of corruption just might spring a leak and be found to have make MANY, MANY, mistakes.
      The current box of science ignores rather than encourage new ideas and new directions or focus.

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    It's Remarkable

    Hi All,

    Thought you might like to know: Apparently Bob Carter has been ‘let go’ by JCU. Seems he was a little too controversial and bringing critics making troublesome enquiries about the place, causing the Uni to have to defend him. And only provided service to this institution for 25 or so years….. Once I thought Universities were about learning, freedom of thought, and gentle, respectful debate. More fool me! Cheers,

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    janama

    Bob Carter has lost his appointment at James Cook Uni!

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    It's Remarkable

    And I heard a few comments by Prof. Ben Franks, suggesting it is true, and that various people are not terribly happy nor impressed.

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    It's Remarkable

    Sorry, I think that should have been Stewart Franks.. (darn!)

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