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

For everything else…

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Weekend Unthreaded, 8.0 out of 10 based on 21 ratings

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70 comments to Weekend Unthreaded

  • #
    Jon

    Climate science rule of engagement?

    If due to science one is forced on the defensive deny them scientific engagement and instead lure them into a non scientific smear and name calling debate that will make both parties look stupid?

    Deny with every means the valid scientific critique the awareness of the public?

    How to counter their non scientific tactics in climate science?

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    • #
      Jon

      Deny them any non scientific engagement and restate the scientific engagement(critique) and that the opposition is off topic when not scientifically challenging the scientific critique?

      If they persist simply state that it seems that the opposition is out of scientific arguments?

      40

      • #
        Rick Bradford

        I resent the Alarmists having the nerve to claim that they are engaging in a scientific debate at all.

        A scientific debate should be between correct and incorrect; but alarmists don’t think that skeptics are just wrong — they think skeptics are actively evil, as well, people who deserve sanctions such as branding, gassing or judicial execution.

        ‘Evil’ is not a scientific term; it is an ideological term.

        So anyone who tries to demonize skeptics, to medicalize skepticism, or uses deliberately loaded terms such as ‘denier’ has abandoned any pretense to engaging in scientific debate right there and then.

        60

  • #
    scaper...

    Been working on the submission to the Joint Select Committee on Northern Development.

    In this submission I stressed that Australia has one of the highest energy pricing regimes in the world and if the trend is not addressed the whole concept of development, let alone opening up the north is a futile exercise!

    The Great Southern Cross submission is focused on the Barkly Tableland, water transfer to create a central food bowl, railway and the identification of a very large parcel of commonwealth vacant land to develop an inland city.

    90

    • #
      Jon

      Maybee it’s partly done to keep international kapitalism and their immigrants, Asian, out of Australia?

      Isn’t Australia the nearest natural “lebensraum” for booming Asian countries?

      An idea but probably off topic?

      00

      • #

        Did it ever occur to you that a lot of people enjoy high density living?

        I like my open spaces – but it was awfully convenient when I lived in a high rise in central Melbourne, having everything at my doorstep – the best restaurants, lots of shops, all within a short walk.

        Hardly anybody wants to work on the farm anymore – and if you want to see some truly beautiful outdoor spaces, try the Botanic Gardens in Singapore.

        81

        • #

          Broome has all those, including wide open spaces, and never as hot, wet or as cold as Melbourne thank goodness … probably why it costs $250 to $300 to rent a room in a share house though!

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          • #

            Here, lol: ASAP. Can contact me on 0437742666 to arrange a look
            COSY CHALET – 179/122 Port Drive, Broome – $300 per week
            hutchrealestate.com.au
            Furnished studio chalet located in Broome Vacation Village tourist park. Fully airconditioned. Private Courtyard. Full use of park’s communal swimming pool, laundry and bbq facilities. Flexible lease conditions. Call to discuss today!
            · 6 February at 14:15 ·

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    • #

      David Archibald has a lot of info on possible Kimberley sites for dams and possible road developments that that could be fast tracked.

      60

      • #

        Fascinating idea, but I think we’ve missed the boat on this one.

        The Chinese have mastered the art of buying off the warlords, and are bringing stability and prosperity to Africa.

        Vast regions of Africa are naturally highly fertile – it will be difficult for Australia to compete against regions which don’t require extensive terraforming.

        20

  • #
    handjive

    First instance of ball lightning captured on video and spectrographs

    More importantly, the researchers were also recording with spectrographic equipment which allowed them to discern the main elements that made up the ball. They found them to be iron, silicon and calcium, the very same main ingredients in soil.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-01-instance-ball-lightning-captured-video.html#jCp

    10

  • #

    James Hansen, formerly NASA GISS director, Kerry Emanuel, and Tom Wigley recently published an open letter demanding the world embrace nuclear power to save the planet.

    https://plus.google.com/104173268819779064135/posts/Vs6Csiv1xYr

    Yet Australia has no nuclear power stations – zero, zilch, nada.

    Will the nuclear “deniers” in the ALP, or supporters of wind power, care to explain why they disagree with the world’s most prominent climate scientists?

    Would anyone care to explain WTF anyone is still wasting money and time building renewables?

    And please don’t insult my intelligence with blather about the risk of nuclear accidents – if James Hansen is right, and the stability of the planetary climate is imperilled, then the risk of a few nuclear meltdowns is surely an acceptable price for saving the world.

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    • #
      Graeme No.3

      But Eric, if Australia adopted nuclear for all our base load electricity, our CO2 emissions would drop 22%, the World emissions would drop by about 0.3% and the effect on temperature would be zero.

      Why would they want to risk the whole scare by adopting a serious method of reducing emissions?

      70

      • #
        Jon

        I agree it’s not really about CAGW. The scare is just a platform to promote leftist ideology, solutions etc nationally and internationally.
        The aim is to get rid of the free maked, kapitalism and national democracy.

        60

      • #

        I don’t think James Hansen is right about the climate, IMO he is an alarmist lune – but if he was right, nuclear power would be our only hope.

        Sadly the watermelons don’t seem to biting today… ;-)

        60

    • #
      PeterS

      Oh come off it Eric. We don’t need nuclear. We have enough coal and gas to last us at least a century or two. By then we’ll have access to the next generation or two past even fusion power.

      10

  • #
    Peter C

    Yesterday, recently retired Judge David Harper of the Supreme Court of Victoria wrote a piece published in the Age and the SMH and the Brisbane Times titled “Delivering Judgement on the Great Global Warming Debate”.
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/delivering-judgment-on-the-great-global-warming-debate-20140207-32743.html

    I read it, anticipating an objective assessment from the learned judge. I was deeply disappointed.

    Retired Judge Harper fails to make his own assessment of the evidence. The very idea would probably be quite disturbing to him, after years years on the bench observing the adversarial system of law that we use here in Australia. The judge is only required and indeed is obliged to consider only the evidence put before him in the court. If the advocate for one side or the other is poorly prepared, well so much the worse for them and their side of the argument.

    For Harper the matter reduces to the credit of the witnesses. Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuberr is a very credible witness. Indeed Harper says ” the evidence of experts may be very helpful in reaching conclusions about these matters. But some experts are better than others. It is probable that no climate scientist has more impressive credentials than Dr Schnellnhuber.”

    Having accepted the credentials of Dr Schellnhuber, Harper then has no problems accepting that;
    1. The world will warm by 2 or more likely 4 degrees Centigrade
    2. Humans are to blame, and
    3. The consequences will likely be “a disaster of epic proportion”,

    The evidence of Schnellnhuber is made easier to accept because “the weight of scientific opinion ..(agrees with Scnellnhuber), …skeptics are wrong”.

    Up against the impressive Dr Scnellnhuber, Harper puts Maurice Newman. Newman is easliy dismissed because although he is a man of substance, “he is a layman on matters of climate science”.

    Hence assertions by Newman that the IPCC is not a panel of scientists but a panel of governments driven by the UN, that they have billions of dollars at stake, and they will deny all contrary evidence, are easily dismissed. Indeed Harper says” Newman seems to allege that the IPCC is corrupt, and it’s work is of no value”

    To Harper “such a conclusion beggars belief”.

    Having considered the evidence of just two witness, Harper is ready to deliver judgement.

    Case Dismissed!

    Sadly Harper seems not to have examined the assertions that Newman has made. Nor it seems has he sought any evidence from scientific experts who might agree with Newman. Nor did he refer to the work of Donna Laframboise, who has made a detailed study of the methods of the IPCC, and exposed so many inconsitencies between the publicity and the background studies.

    The only avenue of appeal remaining is to the Court of Public Appeal. Thank God we still have that in our democracy.

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    • #
      David

      PC what made you think that just because he was a judge he would necessarily apply logic to an argument to come to a decision?

      Having been involved in the legal process for fifty years I have seen many barristers who could not string two thoughts together and who were elevated to the bench where they continued to be equally incompetent in their analytical processes. Others have been brilliant in their ability to analyse and cut through the crap.

      Anyone for a Judge Mordy of Andrew Bolt’s trial who did not look at the words used but what was unwritten between the lines.

      The world is still deceived with ornament.
      In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
      But, being seasoned with a gracious voice,
      Obscures the show of evil.

      The Merchant of Venice 3.2.80

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      • #

        In ANY bureaucracy, the ascension to seats of power is controlled by the Inverse Peter Principle. Rather than, as it is in most organizations, simply rising to the position which they are incompetent to hold, the more incompetent they are, the higher they rise. The person at the top is competent in absolutely nothing relevant to the position he holds. In the rare instance, shortly after he exhibits the slightest bit of competency, he is almost immediately replaced by someone less competent.

        After all, if someone could actually do something to solve the problems that the bureaucracy was created to solve, the bureaucracy would no longer be necessary. It could then be dissolved and the resources applied to more productive activities. We can’t have that because the real goal of a bureaucracy is to create still more bureaucracy rather than actually to accomplish its original stated purpose. (The First Law of Systems: The purpose of a system is what it does.)

        They who advocate the creation of a bureaucracy either don’t understand how to solve problems or are advocating the creation of an eternal sinecure for themselves (aka they are politicians). The fact is, there has never been a bureaucracy that has ever solved a problem without creating still more problems (self justifying their continued existence). Further, the solution of the problem they solved turned out not to be a solution after all but was made still worse by the actions of the bureaucracy (again self justifying their continued existence). The eternal excuse is: “it didn’t work because we didn’t do enough of [fill in the blank with something already done].”

        Call me cynical if you like but can you point out an instance where the above was not the case?

        I thought not.

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        • #
          Roy Hogue

          Call me cynical if you like but can you point out an instance where the above was not the case?

          I thought not.

          Cynical? Not at all. I’d say you’re a very accurate observer and capable analyst about human affairs. But maybe I’m biased because I reached the same conclusions long ago. In any case, you’re spot on about bureaucracy. It’s dysfunctional by its very nature.

          30

        • #
          Roy Hogue

          In ANY bureaucracy, the ascension to seats of power is controlled by the Inverse Peter Principle. Rather than, as it is in most organizations, simply rising to the position which they are incompetent to hold, the more incompetent they are, the higher they rise. The person at the top is competent in absolutely nothing relevant to the position he holds.

          You could prove this point with two words — Barack Obama.

          30

  • #
    Andrew McRae

    How `bout that Sochi opening ceremony?
    A slight hiccup with the 5th Olympic ring getting stuck and refusing to open. (Not that Russian TV viewers may have noticed, comrades.) Maybe it froze shut. There could have been a quick phone call from Putin and a couple of 1-way “ski-trips” to the Gulag Archipelago for the spanner monkeys who botched that job, I reckon.
    Anyhow, it’s not a proper OC unless something mechanical gets stuck… shades of Sydney.

    The rest of the performance was pretty darn good. Well of course it would be since they stole the best elements of the last 4 Olympic opening ceremonies. They stole our “flying girl” effect. They nicked the Chinese effect of putting video onto the stadium floor, though they used projectors to cover the whole floor in a far more impressive way than the Beijing LED screen. They also copied the London idea of storing very tall columns underneath the stadium.
    Probably good they didn’t copy the 2004 Athens’ giant pool concept, the temperature in the stadium village being 7°C at the time.

    The floats, including mechanical chickens, were all quite spectacular. Ballet was nice. I’ll admit that while I did stay up to watch it live, I fell asleep at about that point and missed half of the ceremony, no idea where to see the rest of it. Thankfully I woke up about a minute before the flame was to be lit.
    It’s amazing what 50 billion dollars can achieve.

    Yes, the $12B pledge from Russia blew the competition away at host nation selection time, but it soon spiralled into 4 times that budget in actual costs. The 50km road and train track from Sochi to the stadium cost $8 billion, leaving some to wonder if it is paved with caviar. Somehow it all added up to 51 billion dollars spent, despite astonishing cost-cutting moves such as amenities with 2 toilets per stall. Seems all the traditional Russian vodka and pelmeni meat dumplings can mix to form a combination so explosive it has to be supervised the same way as the Russian ICBM fleet; The two-man rule applies!

    On the first day of comp (before the “opening” ceremony) the Aussies were getting thrashed in Slope Style snowboarding, not unexpected given the huge snowbound talent pool the other nations can draw upon. The snowboarding is the best part IMO, but there’s sometimes refreshing viewing to be had in the curling and ice-skating.

    30

  • #

    For a number of years, my Mother, who was a keen star gazer, would remind the five of us, her sons and daughters, that we should keep an eye out for Halleys Comet in 1986, and more’s the pity that it was the biggest flop of all, and probably the vast majority of people have never really seen a comet in all its glory.

    Luckily, I have, and until you’ve seen one, you have no real idea of the absolute wonder.

    I was at RAAF Amberley with 1OCU, one of the 4 Flying Squadrons I was lucky to be at. They operated Canberra bombers and it was a staging unit for 2 Squadron in Vietnam, both to train aircrew and also ground crew. I was there for 10 Months between my Serviceman’s and Fitter’s courses, so as a junior tradesman, there was no chance of my being posted on to Vietnam.

    We were constantly having Exercises at the unit, mainly for pilot training, and one of those was a 3 week exercise with the last 6 days operational for the full 24 hour day, rather than the 18 hours of the first two weeks. Being only a (relatively) small Squadron, we worked 12 hour shifts for those 6 days, and there was a 2 day Adex towards the end when the whole squadron was at work for those full 48 hours, rotating from the flight line back to our Section for a crash as operations dictated.

    This was in March of 1970, at the same time as Comet Bennett was at its closest.

    For most of the men, it was a real experience because none of them knew much about Comets, as you would expect, so to see this thing, stationary in the sky directly above them for virtually the full week was just amazing.

    The night portions of the Adex were carried out in blackout conditions with everything done lit only by torches, so when the Pilot and Navigator turned up for their sortie, they’d sign the acceptances and then exit the flight hut with those two or sometimes three of us who were their flight line crew. The torchlight was a necessity, because we all needed our night vision to be at its peak. It was the oddest thing, because upon leaving the flight hut, all of us would immediately look up to see this Comet, just sitting there and seemingly not moving at all, almost at 90 degrees, straight overhead, with its long tail covering a third to half of the sky. It was almost spooky, just sitting there as it did, because the common thought was that these things moved across the sky, and the only thing close to what they thought would be the short quick flash of a Meteor.

    The advantage here was the absolute blackness of our situation with no lighting whatsoever, and until you’ve seen the literal white blanket of The Milky Way outside of a city situation, you’re missing something, so we all saw Bennett in its full glory.

    Now, the odd thing in all this is that I can’t recall meeting one other person who remembers Comet Bennett, and this was something that was quite literally as hyped as Halleys Comet was, because this was jut so visible.

    I get people saying I make it all up, because they just cannot imagine something like that ….. just sitting there in the sky, for not just a short flashing time, but for virtually a week or so.

    You could only gauge the movement from the start time when you first saw it until the end time, many days later.

    That tail was just amazing to see.

    You’d see guys laying on their backs on the tarmac just outside the flight hut in the safe zone having a smoke (yes, we all smoked in those days) just looking directly up at it in silence.

    It was the oddest thing.

    Now, I know that some of you here were around in 1970, so can anybody else remember this?

    I feel like Robinson Crusoe whenever I mention it.

    Tony.

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    • #
      Andrew McRae

      > “its long tail covering a third to half of the sky.”

      It probably looms larger in your memory than it did to your eyes at the time.
      Wide shot seen over a city for scale: http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/98067/enlarge
      March 1970, house shows scale: http://www.pbase.com/jshuder/image/111288999
      April 1970, tree shows scale: http://www.flickr.com/photos/auraluu/8611400844/in/photostream/

      Looks quite a bit less than 60 degrees of the sky. Thanks to the helpful Flickr comment I was able to locate that 3rd photo view in Google Sky and measure the extent of the tail visible in the photo and it is less than 10 degrees, being generous. Here is the view position snapshot and measurement exported as KML, so you can save it and import as a “Place” into Google Earth and see what I mean.

      This image shows the tail the best: http://www.flickr.com/photos/57442878@N08/5411031739/
      I couldn’t match that photo to Google Sky, so I erased the comet, boosted the contrast, and uploaded it to Astrometria.net where their automated star identification algorithm has figured out where in the sky that photo is located. Turns out the comet has moved towards the top left relative to the previous photo. It figured that photo is only 12.5 x 8.32 degrees of the sky, quite a lot less than 60 degrees, and the tail doesn’t fill the frame vertically.

      Possibly the photos may not have captured the full extent of the tail. Who’s to say where the tail ends anyhow, since it all just spreads out thinner and thinner indefinitely.

      I have only a very vague recollection of being shown Halley’s comet. It must have been slightly cloudy or something as I recall it being faint and murky, or maybe it was a dud for most people just as you say. I’ll have to live to be 85 to see it again, but I don’t think I can afford to live that long. The problem with all this hygiene, medical technology, and plentiful food is that my finances will run out before my body does. (First World problems, as they say.)

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      • #

        Andrew, I would tend to agree with you on this. However, we were seeing it in what can only be termed absolute dark, with no diffused light from the surroundings, something most noticed when you just look up at The Milky Way.

        Go outside an look up where you are now, and you see very little at all. However, go somewhere where there is no light from towns etc at all, accustom to the dark, and then look up. The sky is virtually white and The Milky Way is virtually a thick white and very broad ribbon of white across the whole sky.

        Such was the case here with this Comet.

        Contrasting that, Halleys was virtually nothing, and the best I saw it was through binoculars, even in a dark place.

        I’m reminded of a wonderful short story by Isaac Asimov, Nightfall.

        Tony.

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        • #
          Andrew McRae

          Fair point. Even Ipswich would have a lot more lights in it today than it did in 1970. I’d have to venture further than your old stomping ground to get dark sky. Perhaps south between Jimboomba and Beaudesert would be best, or out at Toowoomba up on the range.

          10

          • #
            janama

            I had my milky way experience camping in a valley below Siding Springs Observatory in the Warrumbungles near Coonabarabran. At 1 am I made a cup of coffee entirely by star light. It was also the night of the dark moon.
            Amazing experience which I’ve never bettered even though I’ve spent nights camping out all over the country including the Kimberly. The whole sky was like the milky way on a good night and the milky way was just that, milk.

            00

        • #

          Another huge comet that covered a third of the sky was Hyakutake in the ’90s, was one of two seen at the same time from memory … It was to the North in tropical locations, so Southerners may not have seen much.

          10

    • #
      70s Playboy

      Hi Tony, thanks for this observation. I too have felt that I may have been dreaming about what I saw.

      In March 1970 I would have just been turning 12. I was fascinated with astronomy and of course excited about seeing my first comet. I remember “camping out” on a friend’s balcony. I also remember sleeping through the alarm (aaah the pure sleep of innocence) but waking up when sun was just rising. There was the comet and tail spread across the sky for about 10 minutes before the sunlight became too bright.

      We were in Sydney and looking towards the South East or South, and of course now after all the years wonder if it was a dream. I’m thinking now it wasn’t but still can’t believe that it is forgotten when such a fuss was made of Halley’s.

      00

  • #
    Keith L

    Actually Halleys Comet in 1986 was not a total flop. In Hobart the local TV interviewed some old geezer who had, apparently, witnessed the previous appearance as a child. He got all excited and started explaining how all the trees were shaking as the comet hurtled overhead with a terrible thunderous roar…
    The interviewer just had to smile politely and quickly cut back to the studio. Funniest thing I had seen for a long time.

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    • #
      Greebo

      Perhaps it was a De hally-vand comet…

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    • #
      Peter C

      I missed comet Bennett. Halley’s Comet 1986 was the first comet I saw. It was quite a good visual spectacle in the early mornings (in Dec 1985, if I recall the dates correctly). Later as an evening comet is was not as bright and needed some experience to identify.

      10

  • #
    Leigh E

    About the CSIRO’s 4th annual survey of australian attitudes to climate change, available here.

    I got to the pie chart on page 3 (page 11 of the pdf document) and seriously raised an eyebrow. It shows the following four categories:
    a) I don’t think climate change is happening
    b) I have no idea whether climate change is happening or not
    c) I think that climate change is happening, but it’s just a natural fluctuation in Earth’s temperatures
    d) I think that climate change is happening, and I think that humans are largely causing it

    2 points:

    If you think climate inherently changes, (c) is meaningless. It means you think climate “change” is not happening, and is the same category as (a).

    If you’re mainstream skeptic, who sees mankind’s contribution as minor in the observed climate variation referred to as climate change, you’re simply ignored in this chart.

    I was wondering if Jo was planning to critique this survey in a post sometime.

    ———–
    I am. Any minute… – Jo

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  • #
    MadJak

    So here are some stats,

    Kiwis Contirbute ~$5,000,000,000 per year in taxes to the Australian Government

    Kiwis arriving after Feb 2001
    1) Have a harder road to citizenship than any other migrant community because they are permanently on temporary Visas.
    2) Are excluded from having access to any social support benefits with the exception of a one off payment if they become unemployed after working for 10 years. This means ~15% of the taxes paid by Kiwis goes to a safety net that simply isn’t there for them. This situation has been in place for more than two decades.
    3) Are excluded from ever being able to claim on DisabilityCare/NDIS – despite having to pay into the insurance scheme.
    4) Children Born in Australia by Kiwi parents are only awarded Permanent residency after 10 years. If they become disabled before that time, then there is very little support for the family involved.
    5) If Kiwis become disabled they are expected, by the australian government to bugger orf back to NZ and for the NZ taxpayer to pick up the tab – even if they have never contributed to NZs tax.

    In 2012, there were ~550,000 Australian Permanent residents on the NewStart Allowance (read, the Dole). None of them would have been Kiwis who arrived post Feb 2001.

    So really, with Newstart being ~250 per week, every tenth year, the total cost of the australians on the Dole is paid for by Kiwis Taxes in it’s entirety – despite Kiwis not having access to the safety net themselves.

    So who is bludging now?

    So with 15% of the Tax take goign to the safety net kiwis don’t get access to

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    • #
      MadJak

      Some more stats:

      ~3% of New Zealands Population are Australians
      ~4% of Australias’ population are Kiwis

      The Labour force participation rate of Kiwis in Australia is more than 10 percentage points above that of australians.

      There has actually been a radical drop in the amount of Kiwis skipping the ditch over recent months. This is partly due to the fact that the Australian Department of Immigration Finally got around to providing a clear explanation of New Zealanders rights in Australia. This information was never forthcoming and was often contradictory – so we had no way of knowing what we were or were not eligible for before coming to Australia.

      No one wants unfettered access to benefits when kiwis skip the ditch (many like myself wanted to get away from the people who believe the world owes them a living). The issue is about the path to citizenship. Currently there are over 200,000 kiwis who are permanently Temporary residents.

      Why is this a problem? Well, there are some Kiwis who have been here since 2001 with NZ born children (and obviously working the whole time because otherwise they would probably starve). Their children have no path to Permanent residency as they will not have sufficient points. Up until next year, they were effectively blocked from tertiary education in Both Australia and New Zealand because they’re permanently temporary residents.

      So why isn’t the NZ government doing something about it? The answer is simple. It suits them as it acts as a disincentive for the cream of New Zealands’ populace from skipping the ditch. In fact, the polish President has done more to represent it’s citizens in the UK than the New Zealand government has done on this issue.

      So why isn’t the australian government doing something about it? Well for one, due to the last lot in power, there is a serious financial hole to dig out of, but even of more significance, it suits australia down to the ground – provided all you aussies are comfortable with kiwis being you Guest workers for the foreseable future.

      Just my rant for the month. I have seen the effect this has had on families – particularly when a child becomes terminally ill. The toll on the family is hard enough, without having no safety net to help out the working family in their hour of need. The Centrelink contact in this case burst into tears when she had to explain that the family could get no financial assistance.

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  • #
    Manfred

    Any idea how many Australians are flightless?

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    • #
      MadJak

      Manfred,

      Many many less kiwis because Australian citizens after 2001 because of the changes. In fact More kiwis came over, but less were able to become citizens – mainly due to the costs associated with applying for full permanent residency.

      You see, for other migrants, if they come here to work, it is often their employer who sponsors their application. For Kiwis, there is no reason for an employer to sponsor a Kiwi because they can already work here legally.

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    • #
      Peter C

      ? meaning

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    Vic G Gallus

    Anyone want an example of bias in the media?

    Here is a search of articles for ‘record minimum’ in the Murray Pioneer.
    It is the local paper for Renmark which had broken its record lowest temperature for October twice in one week. The frost at that time of year did considerable damage to crops. Notice the article about a coldest night for 25 years in May.

    20

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    Peter Q

    Just heard an item on ABC news, mentioned something about the first time in 13 years that Tokyo has seen snow in the streets. So what was that cold, white, wet stuff that I had to wade through on my way to work in Shinjuku in 2006 and 2007? The stuff that hung around for a couple of weeks? Slippery too, as I recall.

    20

  • #
    john

    Residents in Maine’s unorganized territories deserve basic right to have say on wind projects

    http://bangordailynews.com/2014/02/07/opinion/residents-in-maines-unorganized-territories-deserve-basic-right-to-have-say-on-wind-projects/

    Some years ago, my wife brought home a bumper sticker that read, “No, you can’t have my rights. I’m still using them.” We never did put it on our car. Maybe we should have.

    We’re among a small number of rural Mainers who lost a right to have a voice in our communities’ futures. We live in a part of Maine’s Unorganized Territory that overlaps the state’s vast expedited permitting area, the place where large wind projects are fast-tracked under a law created in 2008.

    Last month, we were back in Augusta with our neighbors and other Unorganized Territory residents for the second year in a row. We’re working to regain access to a process that was taken from us, perhaps unwittingly, by the Maine Legislature.

    When the Legislature rewrote the rules for siting large wind projects, it treated some Unorganized Territory residents differently than all other Mainers. Exclusively for wind developments, it cut the sole connection we had to the body that serves as our planning and zoning authority, the Land Use Planning Commission.

    By eliminating our means to participate in how our communities proceed with this type of development, the Legislature made us second-class citizens. We’re the only people in the state — less than 1 percent of Mainers — who’ve been statutorily denied this basic right to process.

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  • #
    john

    Going back to my comment about Barclays…

    Barclays bank scandal stirs up Colby College
    https://bangordailynews.com/2012/11/14/news/mid-maine/bank-scandal-stirs

    WATERVILLE, Maine — Robert Diamond, the former Barclays chief, gave $6 million to finance a Colby College building that has become a focal point for student dissent over his role at the 199-year-old school.

    Diamond, class of ’73, was forced out at Barclays after the London-based bank admitted to manipulating a key lending rate affecting $300 trillion in finance products worldwide. Since Colby trustees backed him as chairman in August, a group of students and local activists has rallied outside the Diamond Building to call for his removal.

    “It’s not just what Bob Diamond stands for,” said Gordon Fischer, a Colby senior from Camden, who has helped set up protests, including one that attracted more than 30 people on Nov. 11. “It’s how the decision was made by the board to strongly affirm their support for him.”

    The market crisis that led to the longest recession since World War II highlighted a cozy relationship between academia and Wall Street. College presidents such as Brown University’s Ruth Simmons served as paid bank directors while academics failed to reveal industry support for research backing deregulation. As campus protests focused on financiers, leaders including Harvard President Drew Faust urged graduates to resist the lure of banking and investment jobs.

    Yet executives who’ve been tarnished by scandal are rarely forced to cut ties with schools and nonprofit organizations they’ve supported, said Stanley Katz, a professor of public and international affairs at Princeton University. Usually a trustee caught up in such situations simply isn’t re-elected, Katz said.

    “There’s a big gap between that and forcing a person off the board,” Katz said. “What you’re relying on is the common sense of the guy to throw himself overboard in the best interest of the organization. At some point you’re doing more harm than good.”

    Richard Fuld, the former head of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in New York, is an example. He quit as a trustee of Vermont’s Middlebury College after Lehman went bankrupt in September 2008, upending credit markets worldwide.

    ———–

    Note the last sentence:

    “Richard Fuld, the former head of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in New York, is an example. He quit as a trustee of Vermont’s Middlebury College after Lehman went bankrupt in September 2008, upending credit markets worldwide.”

    ———
    Some background:

    http://dailybail.com/home/lies-more-lies-richard-fuld-lehmans-fraudulent-dick.html

    —————-

    Speaking of Middlebury College, ever hear of Bill McKibben (350 dot org)?

    http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/es/faculty/node/39051

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      john

      Speaking of where in the world is Dick Fuld…

      http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-09-12/where-is-dick-fuld-now-f

      Aug. 29, 2013: Dick Fuld in exile

      “Hi, I’m Dick Fuld, the most hated man in America.” It was just after the crisis, and Fuld was making a rare social appearance at a party in the Sun Valley, Idaho, mansion of Jim Johnson, the former head of Fannie Mae. The self-mocking introduction, described by a guest, was Fuld’s armor—his way of broaching, and deflecting, the first thought that leaps to mind whenever someone hears his name: Dick Fuld was the chief executive officer who, on Sept. 15, 2008, led Lehman Brothers into the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, setting a torch to the global financial system.

      The party was a reminder of Fuld’s old life, packed with familiar faces from the highest levels of business and government, including former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo. Fuld owns a $19 million compound in Sun Valley, but he couldn’t escape his new status as a pariah. One guest at the party recalls President Obama’s then-national security adviser, Tom Donilon, who owns a home nearby, showing up, spotting Fuld and Mozilo, turning white as a sheet, and slipping back out the door. (Johnson, Donilon, and Mozilo all declined to comment. Through a friend, Fuld said he wasn’t able to talk to reporters.)

      Five years after the fall, Lehman Brothers no longer evokes the intense public anger it did in the weeks after the crash, when Fuld was hauled before Congress and made to answer for the firm’s demise. “If you haven’t discovered your role,” Republican Representative John Mica of Florida told him, “you’re the villain.” Most of the company’s top executives found lucrative jobs elsewhere on Wall Street. Many went to work for Barclays (BCS), which bought much of Lehman’s U.S. banking business out of bankruptcy. Lehman’s president, Bart McDade, and a top trader, Alex Kirk, founded investment firm River Birch Capital. George Walker, who ran Neuberger Berman, Lehman’s wealth management division, has continued to do so, thriving since the firm became independent. “I certainly don’t think there’s any Lehman hangover on the individuals themselves,” says Robert Wolf, the former chairman and CEO of UBS Americas (UBS).

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        john

        Ex-Barclays Carbon Chief Trades From Home as Prices Surge

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-06/ex-barclays-carbon-chief-redsha

        Louis Redshaw, the former head of carbon trading at Barclays Plc (BARC), returned to the market amid a jump in permit prices since he left the bank in April.

        Redshaw, 41, who resigned from Barclays in London after more than eight years at the company, is buying and selling European Union permits for his own account from his home in the southeast of the capital, he said by phone, declining to provide further details. Allowances climbed 33 percent this year, the best performance of 80 commodities tracked by Bloomberg. They rose to their highest level in more than a year today, trading at 6.74 euros ($9.17) a metric ton on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

        EU lawmakers are completing details of a plan to curb an unprecedented oversupply and boost prices, which fell to a record in April. Allowances may rise to as high as 15 euros by 2015, according to Patrick Hummel, an analyst at UBS AG.

        “There’s no reason why the market shouldn’t double within the next 18 months,” said Redshaw, who also worked as a trader at Enron Corp. and Electricite de France SA. (EDF) “At 6 euros, it’s still cheap.”

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    john

    Even more on Barclays:

    Barclays Fined Record Amount For Channelling Enron, Manipulating California’s Electricity Market
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-11-01/barclays-fined-record-amount-ch

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    Heywood

    Guess who?

    See if you can guess who I am talking about. The regulars should have no problem.

    This person likes to hang out in week old threads, avoiding the recent ones.

    They have an impressive collection of pre-prepared quotes with links.

    They post the following link ad nauseum
    http://climate.nasa.gov/key_indicators
    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT

    Refers to everyone as ‘you guys’.

    Some choice quotes from this mystery poster.
    “Letting the climate get increasingly bad translates to more human tragedy and pain.”
    “Please provide actual data and observational proof for your assertions.“
    “Actual science and data show that you are still making stuff up.”
    “Over the last 60 years, the ENSO cycle has been basically flat overall”
    “models designed to project future events under certain scenarios”
    “Basically you have just made it up”
    “the old conspiracy theories”
    “Statistics out of context and on a cherry picked period is not science”
    “The longer we delay action the worse the problem will become.”

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    john

    Toyota to stop making cars in Australia from 2017

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/10/us-toyota-australia-idUSBREA1906720140210

    (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said on Monday it would stop making cars and engines in Australia by the end of 2017, marking the end of an era for a once-vibrant auto production base and the loss of thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

    Toyota’s decision follows the planned exits of General Motors (GM.N) and Ford Motor (F.N) announced last year and would leave no global automaker remaining in Australia as high costs and a strong currency make it an unattractive production base.

    “We did everything that we could to transform our business, but the reality is that there are too many factors beyond our control that make it unviable to build cars in Australia,” Toyota Australia President Max Yasuda said in a statement.

    ———

    Does anyone here at JN know how much the carbon tax may have played into this?

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    john

    TIMELINE-Drexel to Enron, MG to RBS: A genealogy of JPMorgan’s commodity arm
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/05/jpmorgan-commodities-mercuria-idUSL2N0KW1W720140205

    Feb 5 (Reuters) – The physical commodity trading business thatJPMorgan Chase & Co is in exclusive talks to sell to Swiss-based trader Mercuria is a vast global enterprise, parts of which have been bought and sold many times over several decades.

    While parts of the business have passed through the hands of some of the most famous and infamous names in the raw materials markets, its core is comprised of two enterprises considered among the most successful of their time: Sempra Commodities and Bear Stearns’ power and gas desk.

    But major parts of the JPMorgan business were extracted from the ashes of failure, including a base metals operation that endured through the near-collapse of Metallgesellschaft and the Enron meltdown, and a trading platform that dates back to the days of failed investment bank Drexel Burnham.

    More recently, much of the business had already been bought and sold twice in the past five years, once when Royal Bank of Scotland bought a 51 percent stake in Sempra Commoditiesand then again when RBS was forced to sell it to JPMorgan.

    A partial history of the business is below:

    THE EARLY YEARS

    1980s – Drexel Burnham Lambert expands into physical energy trading, hiring a team that includes future Sempra chiefs David Messer and Frank Gallipoli.

    1986 – UK-based warehousing group Henry Bath & Sons is taken over by Metallgesellschaft (MG), a huge German conglomerate and one of the world’s largest physical and futuresmetal traders, according to a history on its website.

    Early 1990 – AIG acquires the commodity trading business of Drexel Burnham, which had filed for bankruptcy.

    1997 – Pacific Enterprises and Enova Corp acquire the energy unit of AIG Trading for $225 million. (The utilities merge one year later to form Sempra Energy )

    2000 – Enron buys UK-listed MG Plc, including Henry Bath warehouses, for $448 million.

    ENRON OUT, OTHERS JUMP IN

    2002 – Sempra Energy Trading buys Enron Metals Ltd, the former-MG metals division of the failed U.S. Enron for $145 mln.

    2002 – UBS buys Enron’s energy trading business in exchange for royalties to Enron creditors. The deal includes leases to several million barrels of oil storage in Canada.

    2004 – Sempra Energy Trading is renamed Sempra Commodities. By 2005, the unit contributes more than half of parent company Sempra’s net income; makes over half a billion dollars in 2007.

    Sept. 2005 – Bear Stearns moves into energy trading through joint-venture with Calpine. Deal ends six months later, but Bear Stearns continues to expand in the power and gas markets.

    Nov. 2006 – Bear Stearns buys Delta Power Co., a private power-plant developer with 1,380 megawatts of capacity.

    May 2007 – Bear Stearns’ commodity arm buys the electricity trading book and gas and power contracts of Williams Cos for $512 million, giving it about 7,700 MW of gas-fired tolling capacity and 1,800 MW of full-requirements power supply.

    JPMORGAN’S ACQUISITION SPREE

    March 2008 – JPMorgan buys Bear Stearns, including its now-large energy trading business…

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    john

    Enron Romm

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/19/enron-romm/

    Most WUWT readers know Joltin Joe Romm by his trademark over the top rhetoric and his outright hatred of skeptics on parade every day at his Center for American Progress blog. Most of us have learned to ignore it, because he’s simply pushing a company brand.

    Enron logo, designed by Paul Rand
    Image via Wikipedia

    That said, Master Resource has this interesting story today; it seems Joe was endorsing the nastiest energy company in history, as told by someone who was an employee, Robert Bradley Jr..

    From Master Resource:

    It is a common refrain in headlines at Joe Romm’s Climate Progress:

    “Koch-Fueled Americans for Prosperity Takes Credit for Bullying GOP Lawmakers Into Climate Denial” (Emilee Piece: December 8, 2011);
    “Koch-Fueled Denial Backfires: Independents, Other Republicans Split With Tea-Party Extremists on Global Warming” (Romm: December 2, 2012); and
    “Koch-Fueled Americans for Prosperity Spends $2.4 Million on Solyndra Attack Ad (VIDEO)” (Stephen Lacey: November 28, 2011).
    Smearing and innuendo is hardly fair play. But in this case, Joe Romm has something embarrassing to hide. Just as Koch Industries might be his least favorite company, Enron was his darling company.

    Specifically, Romm was not only a cheerleader of Enron (Enron is “a company I greatly respect,” Romm would say). He was also an unpaid consultant and collaborator with the infamously fraudulent division, Enron Energy Services (EES), purveyor of energy efficiency service in (gamed) long-term contracts…

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    Visiting Physicist

    Many (including the Slayers) still live with the paradigm that radiative forcing Is the cause of planetary temperatures being what they are. Such a paradigm is incorrect It very clearly does not explain why the Venus surface temperature rises by 5 degrees during its 4-month daytime, or why the base of the troposphere of Uranus is hotter than Earth’s surface. If you cannot explain the process which brings about observed temperatures on other planets, then you cannot explain Earth’s temperatures. Why, for example, does surface cooling slow down so much in the early pre-dawn hours, at least in calm conditions? Why are more moist areas able to be shown to be cooler?

    I have explained in this comment (and in more detail in my book) why thermodynamic equilibrium in a gravitational field is not an isothermal state. If it were then the whole of the Uranus atmosphere would be isothermal at a temperature below 60K because no solar radiation reaches much beyond the methane layer near its TOA.

    I have not seen (from anyone else in the world) a valid explanation of the Uranus and Venus temperatures, especially the rising temperature on Venus (obviously due to the Sun but not due to its direct radiation reaching the surface) and the near -g/Cp temperature gradient throughout the Uranus troposphere and probably thousands of Km below, which is not due to any lapsing process. Nor has anyone explained the hot core of our Moon and, although you may think someone has explained the temperatures beneath Earth’s surface, they haven’t.

    My hypothesis of “heat creep” explains all these and, in fact, all known temperature data in the Solar System. Wait for my book “Why it’s not carbon dioxide after all” available sometime in March.

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    AndyG55

    [Moved this comment and next five from here to this thread. Sorry so these five are now orphaned, unnested, at the end of this thread. - Jo]

    Thank you, kind sir (tips to you with glass of Cab-Sav) :-)

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    crakar24

    at this hour?

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    AndyG55

    It a new one, “The Laira” from the Coonawarra. (a McWilliams wine)

    Half price so I thought I’d try it.

    Needs a bit more age imo, but quite palatable.

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    The Griss

    Jo, here we were just showing a little bit of mutual admiration and sharing warm fuzzies..

    And we get chopped off at the knees :-(

    That’s life, I guess. :-)

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    AndyG55

    A small glass before I go and sort out the meat for a bbq.

    Its after 5pm here.. gotta prepare properly, check the wine is drinkable etc !

    Which it is :-)

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    crakar24

    After 5, well why didnt you just say so, which winery is the cab sav from? They make a good one down narracorte way

    Cheers

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    crakar24

    Yeah Coonawarra cabsav is quite good i live in the barossa so shiraz is the wine they push most. I have never heard of the Laira will keep an eye out for it in future.

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