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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The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


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GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



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Skeptics romp in 6 Bloggies categories — (Lifetime Achievement Award for Jo- thank you!)

The Bloggies awards were so enthused that skeptics dominated the Science and Tech category that they removed the category.  So I suggested skeptical readers pick different categories, and lo and behold today skeptics win in six different areas.

Thousands of readers will not go away.

I’d like to thank especially, the Mainstream Media, without which I would have hardly any traffic. I dedicate this win today to the science journalists in the ABC, BBC, CBC, CBS or CNN, and to Roger Harrabin, Andy Revkin and George Monbiot — all of whom make it so easy for skeptical blogs to flourish. Their promotion of logical fallacies, one-sided reports, and rank name-calling paves the way, en masse for hundreds of thousands of disappointed, thoughtful, inquisitive readers to hunt online for something better.

If science journalists were good scientists or good journalists skeptical blogs would not be one of the largest single categories on the world wide web. (Judging from the other winners, the mainstream media is also lacking in Moms).

Best European Weblog, Winner: Tallbloke’s Talkshop

Best Weblog About Politics, Winner: The Global Warming Policy Foundation

Best Topical Weblog ,Winner: Climate Audit [...]

The Great Unravelling: Even fans of “climate fear” admit skeptics are fashionable

Just another signpost on the road to Sensible-land. Remember how skeptics were the fringe minority, the dying dinosaurs, and there were only a few left on the planet? That was last week. Suddenly, begrudgingly, being a skeptic is fashionable (but still wrong, of course). This is “fashionable” in the sense of popular but meaningless, not storming Gucci-type chic, more like getting a high-def TV built into the fridge door. It’s trendy but essentially useless. (By the way, the cool TV has a remote control, DVD and FM radio so you…  don’t have to get off the kitchen floor. I suppose it’s just a matter of time before the TV in the family-room will get a fridge built in?)

But I digress.

The Telegraph has the headline “Global warming – there’s hope amid the gloom” .

Geoffrey Lean tells us “scepticism has replaced concern about climate change”, and you and I might think, that therefore, global leaders ought to pay attention to their citizens. But Lean says more skepticism means world leaders have to shout at the punters even louder. Never, ever assume the voters are right.

Lean hasn’t read Marcel Crok and Nicholas Lewis’s report about climate sensitivity being lower [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Australian Outback  | Photo by Geoff Sherrington  | (Click to enlarge)

… Photo by Geoff Sherrington

Whales dive to nearly two miles depth, hold breath for two hours

Friday curiosity: Duck-diving Cuvier’s beaked whales can hold their breath for over two hours, and reach a depth of 2 miles (3.2 km) underwater. What’s more, when they come up, they recover in an unbelievable two minutes. (Actually, I really do find this hard to believe. Two minutes? Seriously? )

Cuvier Beaked Whale | Oceanus Magazine Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

These whales can go four times deeper than modern nuclear submarines which are estimated to have a hull crush depth of around 730m. Presumably the Department of Defence will be looking into blubber power or nuclear whales.

But seriously, whales and seals can hold their breath for a ridiculously long time because they pack a lot of oxygen away in their muscles — it’s attached to myoglobin which they have in abundance. Myoglobin‘s quite a lot like the haemoglobin molecule found in blood, it uses iron to bind the oxygen.

For a completely useless culinary tip, whale meat is thus the absolute reddest-of-red-meats and very iron rich –  “perfect” then,  for anemic vegetarians.

Scientists monitored Cuvier’s beaked whales’ record-breaking dives to depths of nearly two miles below the ocean surface and some dives lasted for over [...]

Dennis Jensen MP — Calls for audit on the BOM and CSIRO data

Dennis Jensen, M.P. in the Australian Parliament, made a formal parliamentary request for an audit of the BOM and CSIRO data handling processes.

This is an excellent request, something Australia desperately needs. Good data on the climate.

Given how important our climate is, I’m sure Tim Flannery, The Climate Council, The Australian Conversation Foundation, and The Australian Greens will join us in demanding that the BOM and CSIRO datasets are independently audited. Naturally, all of us would want to ensure our climate data is of the highest quality possible and not subject to any kinds of confirmation bias, or inexplicable adjustments. Right? And maybe its even worse than we thought, so they will want to check, yes?

Let’s leave no stone unturned in making sure we understand the threats to the Australian environment, the impact on our farms and homes, and on our National Balance Sheet! How could any Green disagree?

Dennis Jensen talks about the response he got from the BOM and the questions he did not get answered:

” … the BOM state the temperature trend prior to 1910 is unreliable. But the IPCC use data on Australia going back to 1850. So [...]

Prof Richard Tol wants his name removed from “exaggerated” IPCC report

The IPCC Working Group II report is due out next week. As is the way, the summary is leaked in advance so the media can slaver over the ghastly possibilities, while the irksome details and accountability are held back so they don’t get in the way of the media pump. But alas, like Paul Reiter, and Christopher Landsea, another lead author wants his name removed from the IPCC document.

 UK professor refuses to put his name to ‘apocalyptic’ UN climate change survey that he claims is exaggerating the effects Prof Richard Tol said UN academics were exaggerating climate change Comes as a blow to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Panel to publish its first update in seven years on the impacts of climate change

By Ben Spencer, Daily Mail

Professor Richard Tol, an economist at the University of Sussex, said fellow UN academics were exaggerating climate change and comparing it to the ‘apocalypse’.

Prof Tol, the lead co-ordinating author of the report’s chapter on economics, was involved in drafting the summary for policymakers – the key document that goes to governments and scientists. But he has now asked for his name to be removed from the document. [...]

Canadians dreaming of “plus 1″

RMR (Rick Mercer Report) sends up the long winter.   Love that Canadian sense of humour. : – )

Pace, Paul Howard’s comment on youtube: here’s sending a group hug for our Canadian friends.

h/t Richard

Science buried in bureaucracy and corruption: Office of Research Integrity director quits in disgust

Bureaucrats have not only taken over much of the science world, but even the parts of the bureaucracy designed to hunt out corruption in science are incapacitated with bureaucracy-at-its-worst too. This is second order corruption — even the checks and balances on corruption are corrupted.

As James Delingpole points out: Science is rife with corruption, incompetence, dishonesty and fabrication–and now, thanks to a frank resignation letter by the US’s top scientific misconduct official we have a better idea why.

Government science desperately needs auditing– or the free market solution, competition

One in 50 scientists admitted to have fabricated, falsified or modified data or results at least once. It’s not just about fraud, it’s about bias, and statistical sloppiness. Up to 30% admitted other questionable research practices. When asked about their colleagues,  14% said other scientists falsified results, and 70% used other questionable research practices (Fanelli 2009). In the modern electronic science world, not only are many results not replicated, but the raw data itself is not even available for checking most of the time. Research shows that scientists who withhold data are more likely to have published errors (see below). Half of the papers in high-end journals contained some [...]

Join the “radical” international protest: Work on Wednesday

Remember the decidedly uncivilized protests we had here in Australia last week, called the “March-in-March”?

Tim Blair, of The Daily Telegraph, laments that he made fun of the kind-hearted and caring people who wore shirts suggesting they’d like to have sex with our Prime Minister, or alternately, to kill him. In a brilliant move he suggests the right thing to do is a mass national counter protest called “Work on Wednesday”. I’m in! Will you join me?

Celebrate civilization & democracy, and help the GDP too — Work on Wednesday!

Let’s make it global. This crosses national boundaries and cultures, it’s about democracy. It’s about being civilized. It’s about not using free speech to metaphorically behead, kill, or abort people. It’s about having an argument instead of just an insult.

Let’s show them how a civilized protest is done.

Twitter: @WorkonWednesday. Retweet it to your friends.

Tim Blair explains:

I was also wrong to dismiss the March in March movement as inconsequential. This is because I hadn’t realised the rules had changed, and that last September’s election can now be overruled by some shouty people whose total number amounts to only around one-tenth [...]

Nick Cohen “deniers have won” — gets startlingly close to the truth

What insight. ‘Tis prosaic — Nick Cohen in The Guardian packs more truth — runs tantalizingly close to a major insight, yet skates off, one single word short.

It’s projection on a rampage, and Cohen almost seems to realize it.  Perhaps we can help him?

“The climate change deniers have won”

Where else, but The Guardian?

Yes, Mr Cohen, those whom you deliberately and with malice call “deniers” are winning. Incredibly, even though they have only 0.03% of the funds, none of the machinery or the institutions, the enmity of western governments, existential opposition from the $350 billion renewables industry, no support from the large global carbon trading market, and only scorn and derision from the entire UN, and yet they are winning with nothing but wits and facts.

“Scientists continue to warn us about global warming, but most of us have a vested interest in not wanting to think about it” Exactly!  If you care about the environment you need to think. How serious is the problem of CO2? Here’s a handy list of topics that won’t tell us that answer: Any list of organizations, associations, committees. Any survey of keywords used in publications. Psychoanalysis, pop psychology, anonymous internet [...]