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Strangled science: Govt asks dumb questions and scientists lie to get grants

It’s just another way the bureaucracy is throttling science. In grant applications the government asks scientists to tell us what impact the discoveries they haven’t made yet will have on the world. The scientists dutifully make something up, knowing the whole process is unscientific, but what does it matter? A little lie here, a little lie there and pretty soon we’re rewarding corruption.

Does Government-science punish the honest? Everyone behaves as if it does:

Another professor in Australia said: “It’s really virtually impossible to write an (Australian Research Council) ARC grant now without lying.”

Times Higher Education

Academics ‘regularly lie to get research grants’

Scholars in the UK and Australia contemptuous of impact statements and often exaggerate them, study suggests

A new study anonymously interviewed 50 senior academics from two research-intensive universities – one in the UK and one in Australia – who had experience writing “pathways to impact” (PIS) statements, as they are called in the UK, and in some cases had also reviewed such statements.

It was normal to sensationalise and embellish impact claims, the study published in Studies in Higher Education found.

We reward those who exaggerate, then wonder what happened to the straight-talkers.

Respondents said that future projections of impact were “charades” or “made-up stories”. As one UK professor put it: “would I believe it? No, would it help me get the money – yes.”

 The whole idea of predicting the impact of the undiscovered is “unscientific”. One scientist lamented that “authors would require skills of clairvoyance …”

Would it help if that impact statement was printed in the Sydney Morning Herald?

If scientists want this to change they need to protest, not pander. But after decades of the grant game, how many real scientists are left?



UPDATE: See Gee Aye try to defend current scientists and my response #21.

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122 comments to Strangled science: Govt asks dumb questions and scientists lie to get grants

  • #
    Joe Lalonde

    Wow, my topic!

    I have tried for almost a decade to show many bad theories crash with fact based science through NASA and Universities…but you need to have backing by a government approved Institution through government grants.
    Being ignored over all this time of trying only pissed me off to investigate and research much deeper.

    Problem is, you can be too far advanced for the society to understand.
    But, I could just go to a high school math teacher to verify my research which then is not a professor or an approved expert.


  • #
    John Smith

    We live the Age of the Complex …
    Military Industrial Complex
    Medical industrial Complex
    it is born out of the pathological growth of modern governmental structures
    I guess
    breeds this kind of stuff
    I am unable to imagine our path out of the maze


    • #

      I do know with the advent of smart phones ( linux based devices that just happen to make phone calls ) we are now the most tracked and spied upon population this world has ever seen….thats not progress, thats regression – it turns the planet into a wifi-enabled huge open air prison…

      If aliens visited they would consider us terminally stupid.


    • #

      activists took over governments and all political groups since end of ww2

      We have lost

      The welfare state guarantees they cant be voted out.

      Bribe after bribe to create voters they need to keep power.

      wave after wave of immigration to create the voters they need.

      Unfortunately only total economic collapse which progressives will cause will make people think any differently and change things


  • #
    Bengt Abelsson

    Perhaps the answer from Benjamin Franklin could do the trick?

    He was asked by what this newfangled electricity could be used for, and said: Absolutely no idea, but I´m certain you will be able to tax it.

    Probably not true, sadly.


  • #

    My favorite lines on research are from prolific US inventor Thomas Edison

    Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

    “I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come indirectly through accident, except the phonograph. No, when I have, fully decided that a result is worth getting, I go about it, and make trial after trial, until it comes.”

    and that other common one attributed to many

    People say I have been lucky but I found the harder I work, the luckier I get.

    A key problem with inventors is that you are supposed to do it for a living, plucking inspiration from the air, like Newton’s apple on his head. I found that you can drop apples on people’s heads all day and nothing much happens. Certainly not new ideas. A certain dislike for apples perhaps.

    Governments though try to determine if research is actually happening, so they want original ideas, a new theory of General Relativety with every project when in fact invention is a continuous process involving a long slogging project often with little excitement and a lot of problems.

    A typical Government view, whether deciding grants or evaluating R&D in general is that research is only about new ideas when in fact invention is a continuous process of hard slog extending existing technology matched with serendipity which produces results. Good ideas tend to fall out.

    In Australia Universities claim they are simply not good at commercialization, the D part of R&D so they tell governments that never finishing anything is pure research at which they presumably excel. In fact development is the much harder bit where all the many real problems have to be solved. Proof of concept is exciting, but only 1% of R&D as Edison implies.

    Then I have to say in the typical government view, Microsoft should have stopped at MSDOS, mobile phones should have stopped at Nokia and that everything after that is just manufacturing and not research. In fact research never stops. In the modern world, we have become used to the new model being better, smarter, simpler and often cheaper than the last. That is a result of continuous R&D, mainly development, the hard bit. New original ideas are much harder and generally do not happen by sitting under trees.

    If there was a real understanding of R&D governments would be able to handle the grant process more easily.

    My definition of research would be doing new things for which there is no market yet, things which do not produce immediate income but which are aimed at proving an idea and then creating a real commercial product which has a potential new market. Pointlessness is not a definition of pure research. It is in trying to one thing better that other new ideas come.

    That is why in Australia the divorce of universities from the real world dooms research. All the motivations are wrong. They are true ivory towers. In fact War spurred the greatest inventions of the 20th century, then the space race, the electronics entertainment industry and now communications. So many inventions and processes came out of WW2 that the list runs off the page. The Normandy landings alone spurred refrigeration. The fear of mass deaths from infection forced the creation of bulk manufacture for antibiotics using technology and vats from mass beer brewing.

    Of course grants people have to lie. In turn Government people turn a blind eye. Outside medicine however, Australia has a serious disconnect between academic study and the real world.

    Perhaps the most egregious is our National Industrial research scientific organization, the massive CSIRO with its $1Bn budget. In one example only, that 350 full time CSIRO scientists (not BOM) could be working full time on Climate Change and now to providing practical solutions for Climate Change is beyond explanation. How many CSIRO people are working on Ocean Acidification when that is not true or possible in any ocean? Who approves those grants? Or is that a silly question? Imagine what good could be done if they had something real to do?

    Imagine if that $1,000,000,000 on public service research was spent on levering external commercial R&D which had a real outcome for the country? No, the CSIRO did not invent WiFi but they have made a great deal of money from pushing Climate Change without actually doing anything.


  • #

    How to create a Tabloid Hypothesis is now a core science subject? going by some of the bizarre ideas invented via CAGW it would appear so.

    Humour aside, doesn’t the official allowance of slipping standards in any field signify something has gone wrong with the fundamental essence of why that field was recognised as being of relevance in the first place?

    People use the ‘dumbing down of society’ line without seeing what is being dumbed down or why, sometimes dumb is inflicted by clever people being negligently apathetic.


    • #

      Have a look on ABC Facebook and News links. They are headlining this story as “Scientists forced to lie” to get funding. The lack of values is staggering from a supposed public broadcaster.

      I can only imagine how one would fare in the workplace with this attitude.

      Worker – “Im done with that project Boss”
      Boss – “I told you not to work on that”
      Worker – “I had to lie to you in order to finish it”
      Boss – “Have fun in your new workplace”

      We can only assume the minds behind the ABC’s way of approaching this would be ok with a scenario where they asked their child to wash the car for pocket money. Then instead of washing the car the child lied and took the money anyway. That would leave the ABC parent with only themselves to blame for not just giving up the money unconditionally at the first request.

      Simple really isn’t it. When your “saving the planet” whats a few lies?


  • #

    97% Dumb Question: The Missing Heat

    JoNova Exclusive! I have found the ‘missing heat’.

    But, I will need a government grant for further research. Read on …

    Why does CO2 cool the stratosphere & warm the troposphere? Warmists don’t agree on an answer

    “Conventional AGW theory proposes the existence of a mid-troposphere “hot spot” and an overlying cooling of the stratosphere because heat is “trapped” in the “hot spot” and therefore can’t make it to the stratosphere.

    However, despite millions of weather balloon and satellite observations over the past 60 years, the “hot spot” has still not been found and thus questions the fundamental theory of anthropogenic global warming climate change.

    * NOAA Radiosonde Data Shows No Warming For 58 Years
    . . .

    Zombies of the Stratosphere

    Yes! The Martians are ‘stealing’ the heat for their own planet and atmosphere, which is not as good as the Earth.

    It makes as much sense as the missing heat hiding in the deep oceans like a Godzilla El Niño, waiting to seek revenge on the inhabitants of Gaia for crimes against the climate.

    Send money now.


  • #

    A little lie here, a little lie there and pretty soon we’re rewarding corruption.

    Unsurprising, in a university system structured to reward by a key performance indicator, ‘performance’ (publication) based research funding (PBRF). The system requires that academics spend very substantial portions of their time writing funding applications for grants, often with dedicated university facilities and resources assisting them. After all, institutional survival and relevance is also at stake.

    Success is found when the academic-institutional collectiv successfully hawk their wares. The punter (in this case the granting body) pay them some or all of what they ask. In truth, this has been the model of commerce since time immemorial. However, it differs crucially in that it comes without caveat emptor and with a third ‘outside’ participant.

    From this third party (the government or similar) the granting body receives funding (and the power to expedite the desired research) while the grantee (who knows this) does the required three-step with the intermediary funding body to receive the largesse. The required three-step amounts to little more than a recitation of formula, of the green credo. Once these assurances are in place, the money is bestowed. ‘Lying’ is indeed the order of ‘the game’, a true case of,

    “You might think that, I couldn’t possibly comment”

    A key problem well identified at this site is that the corrupted funders pervert the usual exchange by dictating the nature and outcomes of research they wish to reward a priori. In a relationship that has a power balance in favour of the funder, it’s a no brainer. The academics, suspend their integrity and do what is required to suck on the fiscal spigot. They are doubly rewarded. They receive the grant and they receive applause from their institution. That, as Jo states, is their corruption.


    • #

      PBRF encourages trivialisation of research, where the researchers try to squeeze as many papers as possible out of any successful grant. Those who manage to publish more are more likely to receive grants. Maximisation of citations is a second target to meet this `Performance’ requirement.

      An academic is now expected to expend 50% of their time on research, 50% of their time supervising post-graduate students (new researchers), 50% of their time teaching, and 50% of their time researching and writing research grant applications.


  • #
    spangled drongo

    “Australian academics say they’ve been forced to stretch the truth to try to secure funding.”

    Early AM trying to smoothe over the bleedin’ obvious.

    But the ABC are working on their alibis already.


  • #

    It’s nice to see that the new sciences, especially the ‘soft’ sciences (aka non-sciences), is that they are busy pseudo-analyzing lying.

    But then again maybe this is all lies… :) :(


  • #
    Another Graeme

    So basically they’re just taking the PIS. (I know, I know, but someone had to say it)


  • #
    Eddy Aruda

    Climate scientists are remarkably similar to homeless people who stand in front of a freeway onramp with a sign that says, “Will work for food!” in that both are begging for money. The difference between them is that with a homeless person there is a remote possibility that I might actually get some work out of them.


  • #

    THe core problem is, as the exaggerations become normalised, they must be ramped up to ‘stand out’.
    So you get this ratchet effect, until it start to become ridiculous.

    I actually think a lot of Trump’s popularity is down to the way he’s ‘Jumped the shark’ with the media.
    That’s not an outrageous statement – THIS is an outrageous statement.


    • #

      The interesting part of Trump is that he says outrageous things without a care about political correctness and you just hope he doesn’t mean them, thought bubbles. With most professional politicians, you know beforehand they do not mean anything they say. It is such a refreshing change from the party politics where factions have to be pleased and the government will be run solely to please such pressure groups, not the electors. It is a corruption of democracy, a sort of byzantine court where the intrigues, paybacks and deals decide the matter, not the needs or wishes of the people.

      In Australia, Labor is beholden to the Unions and the Greens, who decide Labor policy as in the Carbon tax. Green leader Bob Brown made all Julia’s decisions and with only one member in the House of Representatives, stood next to her.

      For the current cowardly Liberals, Malcolm obviously did backroom factional deals to get support and now he is pushing a Green/Gay agenda, something you would understand instantly when the openly gay head of the NSW Liberals is seen hugging both Turnbull and Shorten.

      With Abbott you knew where you stood on Climate Change crap as he said and the death cult which is ISIL and the world is now recognizing that the PM from faraway tiny Australia cut through the European insanity with sense on uncontrolled mass migration. What we have now as PM Turnbull is another Gillard, a hapless toy of the left of politics and factions, indebted to everyone, a man who struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. At least Gillard had the excuse of a minority goverment. What have they done?


    • #

      The likes of Obama and Turnbull can’t achieve anything good, such as fix the financial mess we are all in. Instead of coming up with constructive ideas they continue to come up with destructive ones such as a carbon tax or ETS, and borrow more and more money as if there is no tomorrow; and there won’t be when it all goes into meltdown. Unfortunately we will all suffer along side with them thanks to their utter contempt and ignorance of what they are doing.


  • #

    I’m with that dangerous radical and skeptic, Dwight D Eisenhower:

    “Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

    “In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

    “Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers

    “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

    “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”


    • #

      I have quoted that section of Eisenhower’s “Farewell Address to the Nation” a few times myself.

      And never has it been more applicable than over the last decade and a half where the scientific elite in the form of a pseudo climate science and their supporting national science associations plus the hypocritical anti-human green blob have captured the political process and shaped it to exclusively benefit their own advancement in power and wealth and influence at an increasingly damaging expense for the rest of society.

      Along with the deliberate and outright corruption of business, finance, the political and bureaucratic systems and all those other items of social structure and hard wired infrastructure that are a necessity for a modern industrially based society to operate efficiently.

      We are just starting to see the signs that massive social [ and financial ] debt created by the corrupting influences of the scientific-technological elite in the form of climate science is now about to begin the process of being called in.

      If the German and / or British national power generations systems go down for an extended period in the very near future , an increasingly likely event, then the avalanche of public recriminations will begin and there will be no end to it until the entire scientific – technological- political – green elite who created this slimy mess will be utterly routed and destroyed for at least a generation or more.


  • #

    It has always been thus.

    Ever since the Dawkins review that destroyed universities, research has been geared toward applied research. That is research that can be exploited in some way for profit, Pure research is almost dead.

    When you write a funding application you therefore need to outline the cost/benefit of the research, to do that you need to state the outcome – prior to conducting the research! The result of this game is that academics apply for funding for research they have just done, and use the proceeds to fund the research they want to do next. If you want to do pure research then you need to hide that in an applied research program.

    We screwed up research the moment we insisted that research pay for itself.


    • #

      I would suggest looking at the funding of the amazing large Hadron Collider at CERN. I doubt there is any profit associated with this and the work is incredible. Even the internet came out of nuclear research and the need to pass data and ARPANET. There is plenty of non profit (and therefore pure) research going on world wide and there is some research which only countries or groups of countries can afford. Now you have to add companies like Google and even Elon Musk’s Tesla.

      What is missing from Australia is the potentially profitable stuff. That is left entirely to Venture Capitalists and merchant bankers who are naturally only interested in fast profits and proven inventions and minimal risk, so nothing much happens. What was the last thing of any commercial significance invented in Australia in the hundred years, apart from the patent on noise reduction used in WiFi?

      In some countries, the government actually part contributes to R&D. Here all you see, at best, is a rebate on taxes paid so R&D is not actually government funded. It is a great help though and hard to rort, as you have to risk your own money and pay your taxes before you even have a chance of qualifying to get some back.

      The actual Government grants, such as they are, are more handouts and long gone to people who know the system and often part of the system. So there is very little commercial R&D in this country and an amazing amount of government R&D which never produces results. The CSIRO like the ABC/SBS seems never to have to justify its own existence. It must. Then you do not get fifty years on a cloud seeding program which never worked or fifty years on an automatic sheep shearing machine. Then you have the CRCs and the Climate Change Research Centres. Enough said.


  • #
    Keith L

    Very true. A friend of mine (lefty, greenie. AGW believer) works in Academia (Chemistry) and carelessly mentioned once something which to him sounded quite innocuous but is actually quite damning. He mentioned that when they apply for money for NMR projects they make an effort to tie it to the cause of the month which has been anti-terrorism and bomb detection.
    All very well but it is a step out of science and into politics and should be recognised as such.


  • #

    I think people are really missing a much more important part of the problem when it comes to government funded research. People who are drawn to work for the government are generally not risk takers and they tend to follow the crowd (herd mentality). The PIS or pathway to impact statements are nothing more than devices to make it easier for an administrator to sell or justify a project. The risk avoidant herd mentality creates a much bigger problem in that is often results in too much money and effort being put into a hot or trendy field so grant proposals have to be adapted, often clumsily, to show a connection. The risk avoidance also makes it particularly difficult for younger researchers to break into the grant gravy train as the funders would rather spend their money with known entities (i.e. those they funded before). So the most productive and creative years of a young researcher are spent writing grant proposals and rather than doing any research.
    I recall what happened with Jennifer Marohasy and her neural network precipitation forecast models for Queensland. These should be terribly revelant considering the flooding in Brisbane a few years back while the best politically connected weather forecasters were predicting permanent drought for Australia and building desalination plants. I think she and her co-authors did this work on their own with little interest from CSIRO or other funding organizations.


    • #

      Well yes, its often the small startups that are the biggest disrupters to corproate “science”.

      Opinion is split on this, however I watched a hugely expensive series of ads on tv for some cholesterol lowering margarine last bnight. It struck me how powerful and slick the medical-industrial complex is – the “pumping” of doctors, the “research” into cholesterol, the wildly expensive tv ads…and I thought “wow – no wonder they can fabrictae any “crisis” ( e.g. bird flu etc etc ) on demand – this stuff is very very slick…”


    • #

      Sean, the majority of research is not conducted by people employed by the government. Quite the contrary. But … the money funding that research DOES come from the government, and the research funds requests are currently often farmed out to external reviewers for evaluation. Quite often government employed researchers actually advance quite revolutionary views, but during the last half century or so, the results of that work tend to be set aside as irrelevant, incompetent, or overly competitive with research conducted by funds from grant-issuing bodies. My experience with the process is that unless you are willing to make exaggerated, “exciting” assertions, toe politically correct lines, and generally not rock the current theory-du-jour boat, you don’t get funding. So, the lowest friction paths to funding are to do “productive” research that will “benefit society” and will not contradict work already paid for by funding bodies. In the field I work in, I can shoehorn in unconventional ideas through the back door as it were by highlighting data “problems,” that is data that simply does not square with received expectations from the existing body of theory and the current fairy tales that pass for theory. You frame the “research design” according to the current drivel, list relevant “research questions,” and not infrequently get to say, “oh, look! This is quite unexpected based on our research ‘expectations,’” – the drivel passed along to the reviewers who decided who would be funded to do the work. Yeah, you quite often lie about what you think is relevant to get the job, but that does not constrain you to toeing the “expectation” line once you have the contract. That is where your risk avoidance comes in. Many folks are afraid to insist on retaining their intellectual independence in the face of a missing pay check. They say whatever they think the funders want and hope they will be thought of first next time.


  • #

    So in order for science to work properly, it must rely upon things outside of its sphere of knowledge, and one of these things is honesty. Survival of the fittest does not produce honesty; for mere survival, truth and lie have their uses, but science cannot be produced (for long) by people who believe that. What a conundrum!


  • #
    David Maddison


    I recently posted a link to Australia’s ABC Radio National where it was claimed that Feb 2016 was the hottest eeevvvuuuhhh.

    Well, we’re not even at the end of Mar 2016 and it is already being claimed it is heading for the hottest eeevvvuuuhhh….'long,-big-hot‘:-australia-is-experiencing/7238892


  • #

    What is most amusing about this is when the representative from the Australian Research council when confronted with this did not believe that scientists were exaggerating their claims in order to win the grants. It is such a typical Leftist view of the world, never believe empirical or quantitative data if it conflicts with your world view. Astonishing, even though you tell me the facts I refuse to believe them, and this from a person who has responsibility for handing out $700 million/year in funds to assorted rent-seekers and ideologues.


    • #

      It isn’t “leftist;” its ignorant. There are right-wing bodies that fund in precisely the same way. The problem is funding bodies with expectations they want the researcher to reaffirm. It’s not limited to climate either. Read up about Halton Arp, an astronomer who created an important catalog of galaxies with unusual processes occurring (you will often see galaxies listed by Arp number). He disagreed with the standard cant about Hubble and red shift (in fact he knew Hubble and knew that Hubble himself disagreed). He pointed out specific images that contain clear evidence of physical ties (gas lanes) between high redshift and medium or low red shift objects. His questioning of the Standard Cosmological Model got him banned from observation facility time in the US. In fact, no astronomer can overtly request time to investigate alternate theories about causes of the cosmological red shift. Consensus reigns and the consensus holders are not all or even predominantly “leftist.”


  • #
    Peter C

    The new Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, has an article in the Fairfax press today (the Age, SMH); titled “Give us science stories that illuminate, not click-bait”.

    His premise is that science is trivialized in the media (in his view) when good stories need to be told to increase the awareness and public knowledge about science. He takes science journalists to task for failing to think of better analogies to explain “a body of reasoning so complex it passes as a proxy for the Genius test”.

    I think it is a good thing for our Chief scientist to promote science by writing about it in the mainstream media. However he sidesteps the issue of scientists themselves beating up their own stories (click-bait). Then he has a go at the favourite targets (climate change, vaccinations, statins, GM food, mobile phones).

    Finally he comes up “it is essential to maintain the absolute veracity of our responses because, unlike the purveyors of distorted reality, scientists have a reputation to uphold”.

    Well we can all agree with that. But I don’t think he has placed the blame where it fairly belongs. Scientists are trashing their own reputation. Alan Finkel has a duty to do something about that.


  • #

    The whole idea of predicting the impact of the undiscovered is “unscientific”. One scientist lamented that “authors would require skills of clairvoyance …”

    scientists hate it and lobby against it. It has even come up in estimates. It isn’t scientists who mandate this nonsense to be included in grant documentation.


    • #
      el gordo

      Fair enough, but on a matter of principle they could have resigned. Let’s just blame the media and politicians instead.


    • #

      So how many of them write letters to newspapers pointing out that current government policy employs people who are good at exaggerating rather than those who speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

      How many will stick their names to a protest and how many just play the system for fear that if the govt changed it, they would miss out?

      Most scientists complain about it in tea-rooms but do nothing. If the reputation of government science is being trashed, they have only themselves to blame.

      When they start to write letters to expose the worst of the exaggerators, like people who shamelessly plug penguin-panic for headlines and no good scientific reason, then they will be improving the govt science industry. Until then, they are pen-pushing bureaucrats, not scientists. They are part of the problem.


      • #

        Well if you don’t know the answers to those questions how can you claim that they don’t do those things?

        Do you have evidence to back these assertions?

        Most scientists complain about it in tea-rooms but do nothing. If the reputation of government science is being trashed, they have only themselves to blame.

        which is not to say I need an answer to your assertions, but is more to point out the fallacy of asking unanswerable questions.

        Anyway with regards to specific exaggerations on grant applications, a scientist would need to to be privy to the specific applications and to evidence that the specific claims therein were false or exaggerated.

        thanks for drawing attention to your my comment in the headline.


        • #
          Geoffrey Williams

          Gee Aye, I do not see the point of your comments!
          Are you defending a system that is clearly corrupted and too fearfull of loosing it’s cosy privileges of academia?
          To me it seems that Joanne is simlpy pointing out the truth ie that there is a callusion of interests between government beaurocracies and the universties that is not in the public interest. We need honesty and integrity in science – not a charade. Regards Geoff W


      • #

        I suspect the real problem is that few scientists are mentally equipped for research or even interested in research and certainly not for lateral thinking, especially the ones who never leave the university. So they do well at school, very well at university and get tenure. This means they are really good at passing difficult exams and possibly nothing more. Can they even direct their own lives or do they just stay on the treadmill?

        At what point did they ever learn to think for themselves? Worse, they quickly learn the rules and simply how to game the system. That is their survival skill. I notice this mostly in China, where at the very top universities, everyone has worked incredibly hard to pass endless and difficult exams since they were little children. The answers had to be known before the exam. Remember in China if you are a one in a million genius, there are 1300 of you, all trying to get the same job.

        Now you ask them to think for themselves? Most are not good at this and have never been examined for it. Worse, they have been taught not to think for themselves because no one else knows either. Biology prac for me was a case in point. I remember drawing what I saw with an artist’s eye for detail but did not see what I was supposed to see. Others simply copied from the text book and were given perfect marks for seeing what they were supposed to see. How do these people progress to disputing what they are told and what others believe?

        Physics and chemistry prac were similar, repeating known experiments with known results, confirmation bias examined for conformity but nothing learned with rote conclusions. Novel explanations were not acceptable. This is back to Newton’s apple, dropping it on someone’s head and expecting them to say F=Gm1m2/R^2.

        So we move to Government funded research in Government funded universities examined and controlled by government bureaucrats who do not understand what they are reading. How does anyone expect that to work? Who is going to speak up and put their whole career in jeopardy? Who is going to admit they do not know what to do next when they have a professorship? Who of the 350 scientists in the CSIRO went public with the complete waste of their professional lives trying to please some politicians view on Climate Change? No one. They had the weekends.


        • #

          Plus a very generous 14% supannuation scheme and early retirement at 55 and the ability to come back as consultants. Who needs to rock the boat?


        • #

          If I had to draw an analogy, a master pianist is not necessarily good at writing music. Paul McCartney could not read music. A person who studies literature is not always good at writing and I would guess art critics often could not draw, paint or sculpt. Theatre critics cannot always act or perform. Consider then that people who can pass exams competitively are often not good at inventing things, the core of research, lateral thinking. They have simply never been examined for that skill. Then you would have to ask about motivation. Why invent things? Are Mensa club members rich? Why not just publish opinions on Climate Change dressed up with a lot of computer modelling and statistics. Now that’s a job. Great superannuation too.


        • #

          Our education system is about memory, not thought.
          If you can remember what was in the text book, or the lecture, you pass the exam, and move up.
          No one cares what you think (or even if you can think)


          • #

            A good point and very appropriate for some memory subjects like Botany or Zoology but not for mathematics at any level above addition and mathematics is the basis of all rational science, the hard sciences which deal with absolutes. Chemistry has few rules but to perform the computations, you have to have a profound understanding of what it all means.


            • #

              The ubiquitous use of computers has enabled further blurring the distinction between the truly competent (who always question) and the mimics (who never question – unless it’s to question the competents’ character, credentials, morals, ethics, tribal affiliations, etc.).


        • #

          My other experience is that high performing students often do not make good teachers either. So you end up with a group at the university who cannot research and are just no good at teaching. There is nothing in the system which leads to these jobs which tests you greatly for either of the two roles, the university equivalent of the Peter principle.


          • #

            high performing students often do not make good teachers either. So you end up with a group at the university who cannot research and are just no good at teaching

            A builder friend of mine said the same about the tradies at Bunnings

            A major part of the problem with scientists not speaking up is the career penalties that the left thinking administrators will issue to those who don’t toe the line. This form of affirmative action means that only those who are near the end of their careers will state openly what they really think of fabricated research results and headline grabbing announcements, since their livelihood is not threatened. Bullying works when it is sponsored by the authorities.

            Bob Carter’s treatment by James Cook Uni and Murray Salby’s sacking and abandonment from Macquarie University are a testament to this.


      • #
        Sceptical Sam

        Sounds like another job for the Commonwealth Auditor-General.

        Does somebody in that organisation read this?

        An efficiency and effectiveness audit is long overdue it would seem.


    • #

      Predicting the undiscovered is silly. In real research you start with a specific objective and a plan, usually something which you expect to work but simply hasn’t been done. Along the way, you sometimes bump into things which were unexpected, nothing more. The discovery of stainless steel and Penicillin spring to mind as pure serendipity but the researchers were seriously looking for something and found something else. In fact calculus was an accidental discovery too, the connection Newton made between getting a slope and getting an area, each the reverse of the other. He had a purpose in one and noticed the other. That is research but if you do not look for something, you find nothing.

      Climate research is quite startlingly different. You start with the premise that CO2 is heating the planet and get hundreds of people and infinite time and funding to try to prove it is true. That is nonsense, generally government funded by politicians who need the CSIRO to back their taxation plans. The good news is that if the CSIRO or IPCC had actually found CO2 generated Global Warming or Climate Change, we would have heard all about it. So they didn’t.


    • #
      Peter C

      The whole idea of predicting the impact of the undiscovered is “unscientific”. One scientist lamented that “authors would require skills of clairvoyance …”

      scientists hate it and lobby against it.

      Well, yes it is unscientific. But do scientists lobby against it?

      Try telling that to:
      David Karoly,
      Tim Flannery,
      Matthew England,
      Michael Mann,
      Miles Allan,
      Julia Slingo,
      Peter Gliek,
      Katherine Haehoe,
      Ove Hoegh-Guldberg,
      Mike Hume,
      Marcia McNutt,
      Andy Pitman,
      Ben Snater,
      Gavin Schmidt,
      Jagdish Shukla,
      Kevin trenberth,
      Peter Wadhams,
      And a host of other non climate scientists who have stood up and declared their faith in the Climate Science!


  • #
    David Maddison


    Very sad. America’s largest coal producer may go bankrupt due to the lie of CAGW and Obama who vowed to destroy the coal industry.'s-biggest-coal-miner-could-go-bust/7227946


    • #
      Another Ian

      Another bargain for Soros?


      • #

        I expect China will get it, one way or another. That was the objective all along, to take the US’s huge coal reserve and put it in foreign hands.


        • #

          Quite so – China talks CAGW but undertakes to increase CO2s by 150% and have minimal wind power themselves as they pile into emitting industries. For people who talk a better game than the Greens, they sure seem excited about buying coal projects.


  • #

    No this story cant be right. Naomi Oreskes said quite clearly that it is skeptics who are motivated by personal gain or avoidance of change and she is always right.

    (Im Razorbackoz in the comments, gave up trying to make a simple point…. as you do)


  • #

    10 Mar: ClimateChangeNews: Alex Pashley: CO2 levels make largest annual leap in 56 years – NOAA
    The last time the Earth saw such a sustained increase was over 11 millennia ago, says US agency
    Fossil fuel burning and a strong El Nino weather pattern pushed CO2 levels 3.05 parts per million on a year earlier to 402.6 ppm, as measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, NOAA said on Wednesday.
    “Carbon dioxide levels are increasing faster than they have in hundreds of thousands of years,” said Pieter Tans, lead scientist at NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. “It’s explosive compared to natural processes.”…

    read all:

    10 Mar: ClimateChangeNews: Ed King: Deep decarbonisation: Obama’s greatest climate legacy?
    US president will leave his successor with a low-carb present: A roadmap to slash US emissions 80% on 1990 levels by 2050
    US Deep Decarbonization Policy Report…
    The US commitment to Mission Innovation (LINK) – a 2015 pledge to double green research and development is one example of the policies needed to unleash a wave of green energy…
    Politically, the US-Canada alliance looks astute. Should a Republican win the White House, they will have to think carefully about Ottawa relations before dumping climate policy for 4 years.
    “If a new US president went rogue on the issue, it would have implications for relationships with key partners around the world, including Canada,” said (veteran US climate policy analyst Alden Meyer).
    And it’s unlikely to be Obama’s last play as he prepares to leave office…
    According to Schmidt, there’s also talk of a trilateral climate deal between the US, Canada and Mexico – perhaps focused on integrating clean energy markets.
    He expects Obama to push climate hard on his final “victory lap” of engagements before he has to relinquish Air Force One.


    • #
      Dean Bruckner

      I love Canadians and Canada, but if they shackle themselves to the detritus of the demonic, deadly and duplicitous Obama administration, they will be departing directly to Davy Jones without delay, so to speak.


  • #

    linked to this from homepage, where they conveniently didn’t show the “IN 6 YEARS” qualification in the headline. what a bunch of propagandists:

    10 Mar: ClimateChangeNews: Kieran Cooke: Electric cars ‘cheaper’ than petrol, diesel rivals in 6 years
    (This article was produced by the Climate News Network where his bio states: Kieran Cooke is a former foreign correspondent for both the BBC and the Financial Times, and continues to contribute to the BBC and a wide range of international newspapers and radio networks…He trains and mentors journalists around the world, under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme and other organisations, including an extensive journalists’ training programme in the Himalayan region.)
    That’s the conclusion of a report on the fast-expanding electric car market by Bloomberg New Energy Finance…
    Bloomberg says electric vehicle (EV) sales worldwide reached just under half a million in 2015 – a 60% rise on the previous year.
    Although electric-powered cars make up only one per cent of the global vehicle total at present, it is predicted that worldwide EV sales will be more than 40 million by 2040, making up approximately 35% of all light duty vehicle sales.
    The report’s authors say developments in battery technology are one of the key factors driving the downward trend in prices in the electric car market…


  • #

    ***70% haircut for some?

    10 Mar: Financial Times: Spain’s Abengoa reaches agreement with creditors
    The troubled Spanish renewable energy group Abengoa may have figured out its survival plan…
    Under the agreement, Abengoa would receive between €1.5b and €1.8b in new money for a maximum term of five years, writes Ian Mount.
    In exchange, the Abengoa’s bondholders and bank creditors who provide the money — a group of banks, known as the G-7, which includes Banco Santander, Caixabank, Sabadell, Bankia, Banco Popular, Crédit Agricole, and HSBC — would own 55 per cent of the “New Abengoa.”
    Another 35 per cent of the new company would go to current Abengoa creditors, ***who would take a 70 percent haircut on the debt they now hold. Those creditors who provide €800m in loan guarantees the company is requesting would receive an addition 5 per cent…
    For the agreement to go into effect, it much be approved by holders of 75 per cent of the company’s debt, as well as by the Abengoa board of directors, and then accepted by a judge. The deadline for court approval is March 28…
    Abengoa’s share price fell 12.7 per cent in Madrid Wednesday, but that was after the stock price had doubled between the end of trading Friday and the market close on Tuesday as rumors of the deal spread.


  • #

    10 Mar: Bloomberg: Abengoa Signs Debt Deal to Avoid Spain’s Largest Insolvency
    by Macarena Munoz Montijano, Luca Casiraghi & Katie Linsell
    The loans will be secured against assets including shares in affiliate Abengoa Yield Plc, which owns and operates power plants.
    Bonds issued by Seville, Spain-based Abengoa rose after the accord, which may give management time for corporate overhaul that entails paring global operations, shedding assets and refocusing on engineering and construction…

    10 Mar: ExpaicaSpain: AFP: Spain’s Abengoa reaches preliminary deal with creditors to avoid bankruptcy
    Deemed a Spanish industrial jewel, US President Barack Obama picked it in 2010 to build one of the biggest solar plants in the world in Arizona…
    In a bid to stave off bankruptcy, the board approved a recovery plan in January that entails the sale of assets in the biofuels sector and focuses on its engineering and construction activities…
    Under the plan, Abengoa is speeding up the sale of non-strategic assets.
    It has sold the shares of a 100 megawatt thermal-solar power plant in the United Arab Emirates and has reached an agreement to sell its former headquarters in Madrid, it said.


  • #

    If what this article is saying is true ?
    Then the climate science grants being awarded are being obtained under false pretences.
    Considering the number of research papers being written to do with “climate” this is an appaling waste of money.
    It is obscene that Governments force the highly educated to prostrate themselves in this manner , but Scientists are also responsible for their ethical behavior.

    This is obviously unfair in many respects, but it is also just plain wrong :(


    • #

      Jo’s comments on the government funding agencies demanding to know both the outcomes and the impact of research they are only giving consideration to funding are quite true.

      Its been like that for at least a decade and a half and possibly a lot longer that I’m aware of through my science contacts in Agricultural research while I was a member of the 5 person trustee foundation for our local Ag research institute for some 28 years.

      Trying to predict the results of genuine research endeavours in any field is near impossible but sometimes, rarely it has been done.

      Predicting the outcomes of research in Agriculture when you toss in Nature’s utterly unpredictable contribution to any Ag research and you have close to Buckley’s chance of predicting the accurate outcomes of that research.
      Yet Ag scientists repeatedly told me that the government funding agencies demanded to know the outcomes of that Ag research BEFORE they supplied the funding for that research.
      But it is not only the Government funders who are acting plain damn ignorant, dumb and stupid here.

      Australia’s main funder of Crop orientated Ag research, The Grains Research and Development Corporation [ GRDC ] under pressure from the government funders who supply half the matching funding, matching the annual proceeds of the mandatory levy of 1% or more, depending on the crop type, of the farmer’s gross proceeds from his crop that he has to contribute as research funding, also demand to know the outcomes and impact of any research they fund before they will fund that research.

      At least with the GRDC there are a number of state and locally based assessment Panels across Australia’s grain belt.
      They are a formalised and integral part of the GRDC’s functioning group of panels, consisting of forward thinking farmers, agronomists, a few scientists and etc to run their eyeballs across the large range of submissions received each year for funding for long term Ag research and new Ag research projects.
      A similar system exists for most other Ag products such as livestock, pastures and etc.

      But there is still that demand that the outcomes of the funded research projects be fairly well defined before they receive funding.

      Of such is the bureaucratic and political mindset that no Minister or his lackeys in the bureacracy ever want to be caught in a situation by the bigoted sensation chasing, irresponsible and basically pig ignorant scientifically speaking media where the pollies and the bureacrats are accused of having just splashed out the tax payers cash willy, nilly to fund some pie in the sky research.

      Of course if a few billions of the tax payers hard earned subsidy to some utterly useless and ultimately completely aborted, after the cash has disappeared, renewable energy project such a wave generators, hot rocks, tidal energy and the worst of the lot, the near useless and rural health destroying wind turbine industry, well thats quite OK as they were trying to “Save the Planet” weren’t they?
      [ / sarc! ]


  • #
  • #

    Activists, having failed everywhere else seek help from the judiciary. But their own behaviour in milking the system for all that it’s got, sometimes beyond the bounds of what is allowed, may not support their cause.

    James Delingpole has an article on Breitbart US Attorney General: We’ve ‘Discussed’ Prosecuting Climate Change De…s

    Whitehouse said:

    “The similarities between the mischief of the tobacco industry pretending that the science of tobacco’s dangers was unsettled and the fossil fuel industry pretending that the science of carbon emissions’ dangers is unsettled has been remarked on widely, particularly by those who study the climate denial apparatus that the fossil fuel industry has erected.”

    “Under President Clinton, the Department of Justice brought and won a civil RICO action against the tobacco industry for its fraud. Under President Obama, the Department of Justice has done nothing so far about the climate de… scheme,”

    However this campaign appears to have gone mysteriously quiet of late.

    Could it perhaps be that having become embroiled in “the largest science scandal in US history” and now being under investigation for “double-dipping” and the potential misuse of $63 million worth of taxpayer funded grants, Shukla feels somewhat less confident of holding the moral high ground?

    CEI on the same subject: AG Lynch Discussed DOJ Action Against Climate De…s

    Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who was labeled a “climate criminal” at the Paris climate meeting a few months ago (see photo below) offered this response: “If there’s a legitimate legal claim here, it is far more likely to be against climate promoters for hyping climate risk to the public detriment, and often for private gain, which is a suit that attorneys general in states harmed by this campaign ought to consider.”

    “The global warming industry, with its fetish for threats, intimidation and tantrums for silencing and even jailing its political opponents, is now calling on a politicized arm of the government​ as its muscle. This tells us that, even with all of their money, they are unable to persuade private sector attorneys to take their frivolous civil RICO demands seriously enough to take the case in the face of potential sanctions for doing so.

    [This got caught in moderation for several things. But I'm approving it as is because of the importance of being aware of and discussing this issue.] AZ


    • #
      Rod Stuart

      However this campaign appears to have gone mysteriously quiet of late.

      It might pay to watch over your shoulder when you deal with the Clintons. There might be reason for the silence.


      Just a quick refresher course lest we forget what has happened to many “friends” of the Clintons.

      1- James McDougal – Clintons convicted Whitewater partner died of an apparent heart attack, while in solitary confinement. He was a key witness in Ken Starr’s investigation.

      2 – Mary Mahoney – A former White House intern was murdered July 1997 at a Starbucks Coffee Shop in Georgetown. The murder happened just after she was to go public with her story of sexual harassment in the White House.

      3 – Vince Foster – Former White House councilor, and colleague of Hillary Clinton at Little Rock’s Rose Law firm. Died of a gunshot wound to the head, ruled a suicide.

      4 – Ron Brown – Secretary of Commerce and former DNC Chairman. Reported to have died by impact in a plane crash. A pathologist close to the investigation reported that there was a hole in the top of Brown’s skull resembling a gunshot wound. At the time of his death Brown was being investigated, and spoke publicly of his willingness to cut a deal with prosecutors. The rest of the people on the plane also died. A few days later the air Traffic controller committed suicide.

      5 – C. Victor Raiser, II – Raiser, a major player in the Clinton fund raising organization died in a private plane crash in July 1992.

      6 – Paul Tulley – Democratic National Committee Political Director found dead in a hotel room in Little Rock, September 1992. Described by Clinton as a “dear friend and trusted advisor”.

      7 – Ed Willey – Clinton fundraiser, found dead November 1993 deep in the woods in VA of a gunshot wound to the head. Ruled a suicide. Ed Willey died on the same day his wife Kathleen Willey claimed Bill Clinton groped her in the oval office in the White House. Ed Willey was involved in several Clinton fund raising events.

      8 – Jerry Parks – Head of Clinton’s gubernatorial security team in Little Rock. Gunned down in his car at a deserted intersection outside Little Rock Park’s son said his father was building a dossier on Clinton He allegedly threatened to reveal this information. After he died the files were mysteriously removed from his house.

      9 – James Bunch – Died from a gunshot suicide. It was reported that he had a “Black Book” of people which contained names of influential people who visited prostitutes in Texas and Arkansas.

      10 – James Wilson – Was found dead in May 1993 from an apparent hanging suicide. He was reported to have ties to Whitewater.

      11 – Kathy Ferguson – Ex-wife of Arkansas Trooper Danny Ferguson, was found dead in May 1994, in her living room with a gunshot to her head. It was ruled a suicide even though there were several packed suitcases, as if she were going somewhere. Danny Ferguson was a co-defendant along with Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones lawsuit Kathy Ferguson was a possible corroborating witness for Paula Jones.

      12 – Bill Shelton – Arkansas State Trooper and fiancee of Kathy Ferguson. Critical of the suicide ruling of his fiancee, he was found dead in June, 1994 of a gunshot wound also ruled a suicide at the grave site of his fiancee.

      13 – Gandy Baugh – Attorney for Clinton’s friend Dan Lassater, died by jumping out a window of a tall building January, 1994. His client was a convicted drug distributor.

      14 – Florence Martin – Accountant & sub-contractor for the CIA, was related to the Barry Seal, Mena, Arkansas, airport drug smuggling case. He died of three gunshot wounds.

      15 – Suzanne Coleman – Reportedly had an affair with Clinton when he was Arkansas Attorney General. Died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, ruled a suicide. Was pregnant at the time of her death.

      16 – Paula Grober – Clinton’s speech interpreter for the deaf from 1978 until her death December 9, 1992. She died in a one car accident.

      17 – Danny Casolaro – Investigative reporter. Investigating Mena Airport and Arkansas Development Finance Authority. He slit his wrists, apparently, in the middle of his investigation.

      18 – Paul Wilcher – Attorney investigating corruption at Mena Airport with Casolaro and the 1980 “October Surprise” was found dead on a toilet June 22, 1993, in his Washington DC apartment. Had delivered a report to Janet Reno 3 weeks before his death.

      19 – Jon Parnell Walker – Whitewater investigator for Resolution Trust Corp. Jumped to his death from his Arlington, Virginia apartment balcony August 15, 1993. He was investigating the Morgan Guaranty scandal.

      20 – Barbara Wise – Commerce Department staffer. Worked closely with Ron Brown and John Huang. Cause of death unknown. Died November 29, 1996. Her bruised, nude body was found locked in her office at the Department of Commerce.

      21 – Charles Meissner – Assistant Secretary of Commerce who gave John Huang special security clearance, died shortly thereafter in a small plane crash.

      22 – Dr. Stanley Heard – Chairman of the National Chiropractic Health Care Advisory Committee died with his attorney Steve Dickson in a small plane crash. Dr. Heard, in addition to serving on Clinton ‘s advisory council personally treated Clinton’s mother, stepfather and brother.

      23 – Barry Seal – Drug running TWA pilot out of Mena Arkansas, death was no accident.

      24 – Johnny Lawhorn, Jr. – Mechanic, found a check made out to Bill Clinton in the trunk of a car left at his repair shop. He was found dead after his car had hit a utility pole.

      25 – Stanley Huggins – Investigated Madison Guaranty. His death was a purported suicide and his report was never released.

      26 – Hershell Friday – Attorney and Clinton fundraiser died March 1, 1994, when his plane exploded.

      27 – Kevin Ives & Don Henry – Known as “The boys on the track” case. Reports say the boys may have stumbled upon the Mena Arkansas airport drug operation. A controversial case, the initial report of death said, due to falling asleep on railroad tracks. Later reports claim the 2 boys had been slain before being placed on the tracks. Many linked to the case died before their testimony could come before a Grand Jury.


      28 – Keith Coney – Died when his motorcycle slammed into the back of a truck, 7/88.

      29 – Keith McMaskle – Died, stabbed 113 times, Nov. 1988

      30 – Gregory Collins – Died from a gunshot wound January 1989.

      31 – Jeff Rhodes – He was shot, mutilated and found burned in a trash dump in April 1989.

      3 2 – James Milan – Found decapitated. However, the Coroner ruled his death was due to natural causes”.

      33 – Jordan Kettleson – Was found shot to death in the front seat of his pickup truck in June 1990.

      34 – Richard Winters – A suspect in the Ives/Henry deaths. He was killed in a set-up robbery July 1989.


      36 – Major William S. Barkley, Jr.

      37 – Captain Scott J . Reynolds

      38 – Sgt. Brian Hanley

      39 – Sgt. Tim Sabel

      40 – Major General William Robertson

      41 – Col. William Densberger

      42 – Col. Robert Kelly

      43 – Spec. Gary Rhodes

      44 – Steve Willis

      45 – Robert Williams

      46 – Conway LeBleu

      47 – Todd McKeehan

      Quite an impressive list! Pass this on. Let the public become aware of what happens to friends of the Clintons!



  • #

    ***woner why Gardiner didn’t identify the “concerned climate researcher” who created the petition? it’s BOB WARD:

    9 Mar: Barry Gardiner: Why is the government trying to ban experts from advising it?
    (Barry Gardiner MP is UK Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, and a past chair of the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment GLOBE.)
    Why would anyone pay for research on the express condition that they were never to be advised of the results? If that sounds more Alice in Wonderland than UK government policy then welcome to the rabbit hole!
    The UK government stands accused of ‘muzzling’ scientists as new rules around public grant funding expressly prohibit them being used to influence “legislative or regulatory action” This could lock vital research like climate science out of policy making altogether…
    One scientist who raised the issue in the journal Nature pointed out that the new rules are so unspecific that they could prevent the UK’s world-leading climate scientists from contributing to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Summary for Policymakers…
    ***(A concerned climate researcher has launched a petition (LINK) calling the rules bad for the public and interest and democracy, which has gained over 4000 signatures.)


  • #

    NO TALK:

    10 Mar: Euractiv: James Crisp: Climate change off the table at next week’s summit
    European Union leaders are unlikely to discuss how the bloc will build on the Paris agreement to cap global warming at their summit next week, it has emerged.
    Environment ministers on Friday (4 March) criticised the European Commission’s response to the pact, which advised against increasing the EU’s 2030 climate targets…
    That debate was widely expected to be a precursor to a discussion at leader level at the European Council. understands that the Commission’s climate team was preparing for the 17 March summit, right up until early this week.
    But, as yet, the topic is not on the agenda of the summit, which will be dominated by the migration crisis and a mooted deal between the EU and Turkey to stem the flow of refugees into the EU…
    “Many leaders are quick to say climate change is our greatest threat, but actions speak louder than words,” said Brook Riley, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe…


    9 Mar: ClimateChangeNews: Megan Darby: Is Brussels killing the Paris climate dream?
    COMMENT: EU plans lock in weak ambition to 2030, undermining the review mechanism it fought for in December’s UN agreement…
    India’s environment minister Prakash Javadekar is fond of saying that rich countries need to “vacate carbon space” for the developing world. Why should Delhi bring more to the table in 2020 if the EU is protecting business as usual?
    As one of Canete’s vaunted allies, Philippines minister Emmanuel de Guzman, remarked drily: “It’s time we see the EU leadership we so often hear about.”


  • #

    10 Mar: Euractiv: Czech farmers take the slow lane to renewable energies
    Turning to biogas and other eco-friendly farming practices under the EU’s new Rural Development Programme may be challenging for the Czech Republic, where renewable energies have a bad reputation, reports…
    The bad image of renewables was mainly caused by the over-generous support schemes that benefited large photovoltaic farms at the end of the last decade.
    Although the support was drastically cut in 2011 and further limited in the following years ― too drastically for many investors in the photovoltaic business ― renewable energies were blamed for high electricity prices which, in turn, made their overenthusiastic support toxic for many politicians…

    10 Mar: USA Today: Ted Nordhaus: Don’t let the planet Bern: Column
    Sanders isn’t true friend to environment. His plan would undermine Obama emissions progress.
    An anti-establishment candidate for his party’s presidential nomination proposes to scrap the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, phase out the nation’s largest source of zero-carbon power, and implement policies that will offer the nation’s dying coal industry a second life. Donald Trump, you say? Ted Cruz? Hardly. The candidate in question is Bernie Sanders, and he promises to do so with the support of some of the most prominent environmentalists in the country.
    Sanders has fashioned himself a climate crusader. He has been officially endorsed by Friends of the Earth Action and is supported by founder Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein and Mark Ruffalo. Sanders talks tough on the environment, promising to investigate ExxonMobil for its crimes against the climate, keep fossil fuels in the ground, reduce America’s carbon emissions 80% by 2050 and transition the country rapidly to an electricity grid powered by wind, solar and geothermal energy.
    But a careful look at Sanders’ actual proposals tells a different story…READ ON


  • #


    During the mid to late nineties I was consulting for $350/hour to various members of the Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) program. I was also collecting data on the CRC program on 1788 individual CRC research projects towards my doctoral dissertation (not submitted). A forty year old PhD student rolling in cash.

    The CRC program was ‘designed’ to facilitate the commercialisation of government funded R & D.

    Market research; innovation; engineering the product; technology transfer; applied research; commercialisation of research; converting bench top research into usable products and services; were just some of the buzz words used.

    I collected interesting data over five years on ~$6 billion of CRC research cash and ‘in-kind’ expenditure during that period – sourced from commercial partners, research partners and Federal and State Departments of Innovation and Other Buzz Words.

    To cut a long story short, I discovered through both my consulting role, where I helped them write their applications, and as a PhD student, that the researchers had churned through their mountains of cash and produced hundreds of cardboard boxes of research reports and published papers but little in the way of actual prototypes or commercial output (~$12 million). So, for a program supposedly designed specifically to carve a path through the jungle from research bench to the market as an innovation pipeline, a $12 million return highlighted a number of things to me and gave me some considerable insight into the benefits of tick the boxes cooperation agreements between Big Science, Big Government and Big Business with whom I continued consulting in other guises.

    My dissertation had a working title of the key success factors in commercialising government funded R&D, and seemed to became a problem with the bureaucrat designers and program functionaries and the academic and research teams in receipt of these funds. Not only did they not understand the concept of market drivers, they did not care. All they saw was a giant new money tree ripe for the plucking, and so (beyond the period covered by my research data) I had been paid as a consultant to tell them that their deep felt desire to study the mating habits of the Great White Rat for example, would get them no funds under this program unless they quantified a market need with a positive commercial outcome. Therefore the second application would say, the impact of the mating habits of the GWR on crop yields in the tablelands.

    Today, of course, a young scientist burning with a passion for understanding the GWR, would, say instead, The impact of climate change on the mating habits of the GWR.

    What staggered me at the time was the arbitrary nature of a scientist and her science. Forced to beg for funds and to apply via tick the box/respond to nonsense statements forms in order to pluck a suitable money tree, all simply to study their passion.

    Of course my efforts to make my findings public saw me lose my cushy flow of consulting jobs with the CRC program but saw me acquire the best of the 1788 technologies sitting in cardboard boxes and going on to work with BHP and others.

    Anyway, I understand how the individual junior scientists are compelled to jump through certain fashionable hoops like trained seals. What I still don’t understand fully yet is how this false market for research dollars has survived and grown and now distorted in one way or another, a whole generation of young researchers and totally compromised their senior science research managers.

    Empire builders, white elephants and pyramids come to mind.


    • #


      You wrote:

      What I still don’t understand fully yet is how this false market for research dollars has survived and grown and now distorted in one way or another, a whole generation of young researchers and totally compromised their senior science research managers.

      Try this on for size: Neoliberalism, Higher Education, and the Rise of Contingent Faculty Labor. There’s plenty there to get a head start into comprehending what’s going on with the quality of research in the higher education system.



    • #

      I’m not surprised by this. I’ve sat through meetings with the CSIRO who approached the company I work for with a new business venture. Bear in mind that I work for one of two successful startup companies ever to come out of that organisation. We are a small chemical company, so that narrows it down quite a bit.

      So they present this new found wonder and want you to manufacture and market under license. Any business is interested in new propositions like this. So you then ask, what’s it made from? Whats the manufacturing process and what equipment do you need to make it?

      The answer was “we can’t tell you, even if you sign a confidentiality agreement!”

      Ok, so how much does it cost to make? How much will it sell for and what’s the size of the market?

      The answer is, “Oh we don’t know, that’s what you have to figure out.”

      And It gets better. If you now approach the CSIRO to seek assistance in one of your product development projects, where you have alredy completed significant R&D, to conduct some fee for service lab work, forget it. They want to partner up for 10% royalties just for use of equipment that you don’t have for your IP. Oh, they still charge you for labor and materials just like a fee for service arrangement.

      So either way the CSIRO assumes a position of zero commercial risk should the product fail in the marketplace. It’s amazing in its agile inovative ability to do nothing for your money and hard work.


  • #
    Al in Cranbrook, Canada

    From tonight’s Republican debate…

    Marco Rubio on climate change, quite likely the most common sense anyone has ever heard from a politician on the subject.

    That he stated it so forthrightly, candidly and with conviction, frankly, was almost shocking! Made my day!



  • #


    10 Mar: The Rebel: Tom Harris: What’s the REAL story behind the CBC’s changing coverage of that climate change poll?
    (Tom Harris is Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition)
    According to Esther Enkin, the current Ombudsman of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), she “has a mandate to determine whether information content the CBC has produced fully respects CBC’s journalism policy.”
    With that thought in mind, let’s consider whether Enkin did her job concerning a complaint I lodged on February 27 about the way in which CBC radio covered a recent public opinion poll about climate change. Here is the background…
    However, Australian science presenter Jo Nova pointed out that apparently the CBC later edited both the headline and the story to make it more politically correct (see the CBC’s explanation for those changes here).
    As Nova points out, at first the CBC headline read, “Climate change: Majority of Canadians don’t believe it’s caused by humans,” with appropriate text to support this conclusion…
    What was different this time, however, was that, about mid-day on February 22, Adam Stroud, Associate Producer of Toronto-based CBC Syndicated Audio, reached out to me — someone who vehemently opposes the CBC’s belief that the science of climate change is “settled” in favour of alarmism — to comment on the meaning of the poll…
    I accepted Stroud’s request, only to have him drop me later when one of the researchers of the original poll became available for the interview. (Or was is because he discovered my position on the issue?)..READ ALL


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    Thank you Jo, for proving to my subconscious that it was not becoming chronically conspiratorial.


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      el gordo

      Often I’ve read a paper and thought this is terrific stuff, until the conclusion where the authors concede most of this means little if the planet keeps warming.

      The Klimatariat’s fingerprints are all over it.

      Its a conspiracy based on enlightened self interest and climate science is corrupt to the core. They should all be sacked and rehired depending on their previous history of ‘beat ups’ for the sake of a grant.


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      Along those lines, it’s been said that, ‘It’s healthy to be paranoid if there’s really someone after you.’



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    Anders Valland

    We have the same system in Norway. Grant applications nowadays is a 10 or 20 page job, depending on the size of the project you are applying for. Most of the 10 or 20 pages is for formalities, the idea itself must be presented on 2-4 pages. You also need to state what would be the impact of your research, given that you actually accomplish what you are aiming for. I believe this is good, because you should be honest about this. Richard Feynman mentions in one of his essays (I don’t remember which) that he once discussed this with a friend in astronomy, because his friend was struggling to say exactly what the benefit for society was from his research. Feynman noted that the correct and honest answer was “nothing”, but that his friend was very uncomfortable with this. That the benefit is for astronomy itself is ok, but that is also it.
    Now, before you go on about all the benefits of astronomy – please don’t. The point is that where this all goes awry is when the application is evaluated and this point is given weight. In Norway, what is considered is how this will benefit industry, how it will benefit society and implicitly how much money is in the expected result. There are no points for increasing the body of knowledge (e.g. the astronomy example), no points for testing “known truths”, no points for replicating findings, no points for…you get the picture.

    The problem is of course that it is a valid question to ask if this research has a potential benefit for society, for industry and for our economic future. The problem is to evaluate this in light of other benefits, and the constant need to expand knowledge itself. Nobody knows what might come from a seemingly trivial or academic or uninteresting fact, given time and the ability to connect this fact with other facts – the process also known as innovation.

    The interesting question is: what is the alternative?


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    the Daily Hannam:

    11 Mar: SMH: Peter Hannam: Grim prospects: the shake-up of Australia’s climate science
    The fate of the ‘sentinel of the southern hemisphere’ is a pointer to how Australia’s climate research will fare in a funding world that has lately turned more hostile.
    Sources tell Fairfax Media the two agencies are now discussing the transfer of key CSIRO modelling staff and some of the Cape Grim-related roles to the bureau (BoM). Questions remain over whether funding will accompany the scientists – and how many will be retained.
    Alarmed by the potential disintegration of Australia’s climate research talent, leading scientists have been brainstorming more radical alternatives. One is the creation of a new standalone national research institute to provide long-term funding for climate prediction.
    CSIRO, itself, doesn’t rule out supporting such a centre, which might take the form of the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre…
    One senior bureau scientist, though, is wary about his agency becoming the main home for climate research. “If it lives in BoM, the knives will come out again for the bureau,” the scientist says, referring to attacks during the Abbott government…READ ON


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    [...] – JO NOVA ON CHEATING IN RESEARCH GRANT APPLICATIONS A new study anonymously interviewed 50 senior academics from two research-intensive universities [...]


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    John Brookes

    Clearly what we need are more blog scientists. They work without grants, and follow their own hunches. True, they never produce anything of value, and rarely understand even the basics of the field they are “contributing” to, but surely that is a minor quibble.

    In seriousness though, no scientist knows what use their research will be. The bloke at CSIRO who invented wifi, how pretentious would he have looked if he’d said, “One day virtually every home in the western world will use this technology”? If you are busy trying to find gravity waves, you have no idea what technologies you’ll come up with along the way, but if you want to get a grant, you’d better pretend that you know.

    And of course scientists rail against the grant system. David Blair from UWA did indeed write an article complaining about it.

    Anyway, why this discussion? I would have thought the hottest recorded winter in the lower 48 states of the US would be getting an airing here?


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      Vlad the Impaler

      “… the hottest recorded winter in the lower 48 states … ”

      Weather is not climate.


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      Roy Hogue

      Welcome back, John.

      FYI: WiFi is just an extension of the idea conceived and invented by the University of Hawaii that went operational in 1971, called ALOHAnet, to network their campuses located on islands separated by hundreds om miles of Pacific Ocean by radio. Here’s the description of it on Wiki. It was quite an acomplish ment in its day, so much so that computer science students are still taught about it today in some places.

      Vic Hayes is credited with the initial development of the 802.11 IEEE standard on which all WiFi is based. The idea was not new when work was started and there was great commercial incentive to be able to network computers and other devices by radio. The great proliferation of WiFi since its introduction attests to that commercial incentive. So it was not some personal idea for research that might or might not pay off in the future.

      ALOHAnet had already found solutions to some of the problems of radio networking.

      I do not know who you are referring to at CSIRO. Perhaps you can elaborate for us?


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      Here is what the REAL surface data and the satellite say about US temperatures.

      Absolutely NOTHING unusual happening


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      I would have thought that the El Nino forced slightly warmer winter would be accepted gratefully by all and sundry.

      The big peak in northern Russia must have felt like an absolute Godsend for the people, so used to freezing their butts off all winter. !

      Its not going to be at all pleasant for anyone once the following La Nina starts to bite.
      (forecast by some real scientists say its going to be “extreme”)


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        Vlad the Impaler

        Quite right, A/G55; my family and I are enjoying substantially smaller winter heating bills, thanks to ‘warmer’ (not “hotter”) winter weather, and lower prices for methane.

        Snow pack is down, but in an El Nino spring, we typically get 150% – 200% of normal rainfall for April-May-June (often followed by precip which is 25% – 50% of normal during the summer months [N. Hemisphere]). Should a La Nina kick in at the beginning of our Summer, we might even see a cooler-than-normal Summer, all of which, of course, has been predicted by all those infallible models the IPCC bandies about whenever and wherever they can.


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      The bloke at CSIRO who invented wifi,”…… was NOT in the climate division.

      CSIRO climate division have not invented anything…

      ….except unverified climate models and new ways to manipulate climate data.


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    During the 1960/70′s I was involved in putting a number of research grant applications together for CRA (the forerunner to RTZ).
    We were meticulous in ensuring that the aims, nor the plans were not embellished.
    Most of these grants were for joint projects involving CRA group companies, CSIRO and universities.
    We also kept accurate records of expenditure and progress.
    CRA was squeaky clean.
    I don’t know if the same general standards now apply, but I strongly doubt it.


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    Joe Lalonde


    Could I lie for a tenured position at a University?
    Could I follow the sheep of teaching kids bad ideologies that will be their future?
    Would not the bull crap of insider info on what will be taught to suppress the minds of kids not bug me?
    Ordering brilliant minds that come by to follow the system and crush their future dreams?

    Makes me thankful that I do have free will and am not bound what our governments want.


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    Not sure if anyone else has seen this – official “burning at the stake” of climate deniers by US DOJ :

    A couple of issues with this :

    - in terms of freedom of religion, as the powers that be have adopted climate change as a lunatic cult belief, persecuting people for a different belief is akin to religious persecution ( turning their own nonsense against them ) and could open the flood gates to massive class action against the DOJ

    - Forcing climate change on people is akin to impose a State religion, whereas this would violate the US Constitutions protection of Freedom of Religion.

    - It will only harden the resolve of common-sense driven sceptics to expose The Big Lie even more.

    - Linking tobacco and climate denial is extremely flimsy – tobacco can be proven to be dangerous, where as CO2 is a trace gas essential for life. The two ends of the spectrum could not be more stark.

    - It would irrepairably damage the US DOJ credibility by pursuing this – it would signal the end of common sense in all matters DOJ and mark the DOJ as a bunch of cult “enforcers” akin to the kings of the day who did the actual dirty work in the Vatican-run Inquisitions in Europe in the Dark Ages.

    Let them go ahead – I think it would be politically a very courageous decision ( in real-world imitates art nod to the Hon Jim Hacker MP ) to pursue the matter.


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    Joseph P. Martino

    May I recommend my 1992 book SCIENCE FUNDING: POLITICS AND PORKBARREL? My thesis was that Federal funding of science was corrupting the American scientific establishment. I’ve seen nothing since to cause me to change my mind. Available from Amazon.


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    Retired Now

    As a scientist who ended up a research professor at what has been considered a good university I feel very torn by what has happened to science as a discipline. In principle I want my grand children to get a tertiary degree and become scientists. And I am a great believer, still, in getting a good education. However I have to question the whole process of education, credentialling and work opportunities for young people today. I left two years after becoming totally discouraged with the profession and the education system with the consequences of post modern relativistic and bureaucratic drivers.

    Back when I was growing up and visiting my Dad in his research lab I was imbued with the desire to find out new things as a researcher. I still have that. But the systems in place mean it isn’t possible. As a researcher you need to belong to a reputable research institution and to do that you have to bring your own funding (mostly). To bring in funding you have to play the funding game as you state above.

    Now I would recommend my grandchildren not to go to university, but to get a trade as trying to “fit” into the system comes with too high a cost from an ethical perspective. Becoming credentialled comes with too high a monetary cost and with so many people buying their credentials with much lower standards it is really scary – there are so many credentialled people chasing too little funding and the chances of years without employment after getting one’s degree is very high, especially for those who are not born bureaucrats.

    Now I would suggest they go get an education to get a job where they actually produce something and learn to be adults in the real world first. The oldest is headed down this track now.


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