JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


Advertising

micropace


GoldNerds

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



Archives

Books

Weekend Unthreaded

Trite Science Prize: New science paper tells us air over land “heats more than water”

Is it science or is it a marketing machine?

This press release with psychedelic art tells us land regions will warm by more than the global average, because oceans are slower to heat. No kidding. They use more broken models to breathlessly talk about being locked in to 1.5 °C rise — “more than preindustrial times”. How scared do we need to be about a 1.5C rise — it’s not just locked in, it’s already here.  NASA chief climate scientist Gavin Schmidt says so – ” 2016 so far is about 1.5 degrees Celsius ( 2.7 degrees) warmer than pre-industrial times.” Since Gavin is talking “globally” the extra rise over land above and beyond that is not so much programmed in, as pre-baked.

The art might be the most original part of the paper.

Let’s redesign those cities:

The results of the new study have implications for international discussions of what constitutes safe global temperature thresholds, such as 1.5°C or 2°C of warming since pre-industrial times. The expected extra warming over land will influence how we need to design some cities.

Human civilization already lives in towns from -50C to +40C. I reckon we’ll manage a 1.5 degree [...]

Delcons do matter — defiant non-left voters were “most influential group”

Aiming for the passionless imaginary center doesn’t work

Some big surprises from exit polls from the Australian election day, thanks to the Australian Institute of Progress (AIP). Non-Greens third party voters (code for Delcons – or Defiant conservatives) were more interested in “cultural issues like immigration, Islam, gay marriage, refugees, industry protection and political correctness”. Graham Young, Executive Director of the AIP calls these voters the “most influential in Australia, effectively choosing who will form the government.”

The next election will be won by the party that manages to reap more than its fair share of the non-Greens minor party voters. They are up for grabs for Liberal or Labor.

In the end, around 50% of the Delcons are prepared to put Labor above Liberal in preferences (the nuclear option) –  showing how wrong Mark Textor’s theory is that the Liberal base “doesn’t matter” and the Liberals should aim for the centre and can afford to mistreat their base. Another theme I see is that parties need passion — when it’s missing from the base, it sure isn’t coming from the centre. As I said before Turnbull took over, “the passionate support base for the Liberal party will [...]

Globally 91% of wars have nothing to do with climate change

Climate change causes war (maybe) and meaningless statistics (definitely)

One day when you grow up, children, you too can be a research scientist who writes papers that tells the world something banally obvious — like, say, that natural disasters make conflict more likely.

Who, exactly, thought natural disasters brought peace?

I don’t think the journalist who wrote this next paragraph asked himself what it means (if anything):

Globally, there was a nine per cent coincidence rate between the outbreak of armed conflicts and natural disasters like droughts and heatwaves. But, in countries that were deeply divided along ethnic lines, this rose to about 23 per cent.

I suspect it means not much (define “coincident”), but if it did, it implies that globally, 91% of wars don’t coincide with natural disasters.

If there is a real message here, it appears to be that ethnic divisions cause wars:

Dr Jonathan Donges, who co-wrote the paper about the study, said: “We’ve been surprised by the extent that results for ethnic fractionalised countries stick out, compared to other country features such as conflict history, poverty, or inequality.

[...]

Petition to remove air conditioning from all US State Property

You know it makes sense — air conditioners are as dangerous as suicide bombers. They must be stopped. Next up, refrigerators…

Here’s a petition you can support:  Do it for the children, for the future.

Remove air conditioning from all US State Department property.

WHEREAS, Secretary of State John F. Kerry has suggested that air conditioners are as big a threat as ISIS, and

WHEREAS, it is the duty of our elected and appointed government officials to lead by example,

Only 20% of US people think the media even try to be unbiased on politics

The good news is that a majority of people are aware of media bias, and are skeptical of what the media tells them. The bad news is that this is just another marker showing the average Western citizen is losing faith in the integrity of so many key institutions.

The activist journo’s have overplayed their hand. They are not even trying…

 “Voters Expect Reporters To Help Clinton Over Trump”

[July 21st, 2016] A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that only 20% of Likely U.S. Voters think that when covering a political campaign, most reporters try to offer unbiased coverage. Most (69%) say reporters try to help the candidate they want to win. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The media have lost so much influence. They described Brexiteers as loony, selfish and xenophobic, but more than half the country ignored them and voted for Brexit. Similarly, the US media mocked and denigrated Trump supporters, and continually predicted he wouldn’t stay in the race, and wouldn’t make it through the primaries, and  yet he did. Poor pundits keep being surprised by the people.

The key word in this [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

“Clinton Cash” movie available

Readers may find this documentary interesting. I doubt the ABC will be running it. This US election matters to so many people around the world. The outcome makes a big difference to climate skeptics. And it’s about so much more than that. How do we beat corruption?

 Breitbart is hosting the free showing (only for a few hours) for the documentary based on a senior editors book: Clinton Cash

UPDATE: Australia is in this too. Both Gillard and Bishop have contributed $500m Australian taxpayer dollars to Clinton charities [and other Democrat power brokers*].Tony Thomas has those details. “Julia Gillard lavished an unprecedented $292 million in taxpayer dollars on the Clinton-dominated Global Partnership for Education, where she was later appointed chair. Imagine the howls if Tony Abbott had underwritten…” See also “The Clintons and Their Corruptocrats” for even more…

From Breitbart:

The film, based on the New York Times bestselling investigative book Clinton Cash by Breitbart Senior Editor-at-Large Peter Schweizer, has sent shockwaves through media. The New York Times, Washington Post, ABC News, and other Establishment Media have verified and confirmed the book’s explosive revelations about how Hillary Clinton auctioned State Department policies to foreign Clinton Foundation [...]

John Kerry: Air conditioner, fridge gas, as big a threat as ISIS

Let’s get those priorities right:

Secretary of State John Kerry said in Vienna on Friday that air conditioners and refrigerators are as big of a threat to life as the threat of terrorism posed by groups like the Islamic State.

Depends what you mean by “life” I guess. Some like the world 2 degrees cooler, and some prefer to keep their heads.

“As we were working together on the challenge of [ISIS] and terrorism,” Kerry said. “It’s hard for some people to grasp it, but what we–you–are doing here right now is of equal importance because it has the ability to literally save life on the planet itself.”

It’s good to know the US will be well defended against an invasion of badly gassed fridges.

Since warming is mostly beneficial this threat is at the Defcon-Toothfairy level. And probably not that high. The extra energy trapped by HFC refrigerant gasses most likely just reroutes and escapes to space through water vapor emissions.

[...]

Central banks drive booms and busts, and force everyone to be a high risk speculator

It doesn’t have to be this way. The most important price in our economy is set by a bunch of bureaucrats. They are unelected and unaccountable. But your day to day life is affected by their decisions, as well as your ability to buy a house or for your retirement savings to maintain their value. Some people are wiped out by a mere phrase in a memo. There is a deep Soviet style management program at the centre of all Western economies. It’s time we talked about that ogre.

Maurice Newman, former chair of the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), writes in The Australian about the defining invisible issue which is rarely discussed — our currencies, our central banks:

Vladimir Lenin advocated: “The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency.” True or not, we seem hellbent on finding out.

Dark times are coming:

The BIS has rung the alarms. We are warned that the world’s most reckless monetary experiment, which has taken interest rates to the lowest in recorded history, is failing. Central bankers remain silent, not knowing how or when to end what they began, while the political class simply looks [...]

Backflip: Antarctic peninsula, posterchild of Polar disaster, has been cooling not warming

The “fastest warming place” on Planet Earth wasn’t warming.

A new Antarctic study wipes out 20 years of panic about the West Antarctic Peninsula. All these years while people were crying about penguins, it turns out that the place was cooling rather than warming. Mankind has emitting a third of all its “CO2-pollution” ever from 1998, and there was “no discernible” effect on Antarctica. Indeed,  the study quietly finds that even the bigger longer warming that has happened in the last century was not “unprecedented” in the last 2000 years.

In the last decade as this cooling trend was happening in the real world –  in the media, the same spot was being described as “one of the fastest warming places on Earth”:

 The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest-warming places on Earth, NBC, 2013

West Antarctic Ice Sheet warming twice earlier estimate, BBC, 2012

And this sort of news has been going on for years. This was “big deal” once-in-2000 year type stuff:

UK scientists say parts of Antarctica have recently been warming much faster than most of the rest of the Earth. They believe the warming is probably without parallel for nearly two thousand [...]

Clexit-coming? President of Philippines says Paris climate deal is stupid nonsense. Wants to kick someone.

Let’s not mince words. The new President of the Philippines, Jose Duterte, says he won’t sign or honor the “stupid” Paris deal and he wanted to kick the ambassador who asked.

Here’s a memorable moment in international diplomacy:

“You are trying to stifle us,” Duterte said on Monday in widely reported comments. “That’s stupid, I will not honour that. You signed … That was not my signature.”

Duterte said: “I’m mad at this ambassador. I want to kick him,” adding that limits on carbon emissions for the Philippines were “nonsense”.

“You who have reached your peak and along with it spewed a lot of contaminants, emissions … Good for you. We are here, we have not reached the age of industrialisation. We are on our way to it.”

This is a bit of a bummer for the big-government collective. The Philippines has 100 million people and is the 12th biggest country on Earth population-wise.

Brexit, India and the Philippines smell like “Clexit”

The Trump factor looms too. Sensing a tidal wave, the UN promptly issued a call for everyone to hurry up.

The United Nations has issued a plea for nations to fast-track ratification of [...]

Cure cancer with weaponized bacteria that do mass “suicide bombing” at the right site?

Bacteria multiply

In the West we could try to cure cancer faster with research like this, or we could pour billions into making expensive electricity to try to cool the world by 0.01°C for our grandchildren.  Hmm. What to do? Which activity is more likely to make citizens richer, happier and more productive?

In this approach (below) bacteria are engineered to find cancer cells, make lots of baby bacteria until they reach a large enough colony size then do a mass self-destructo at the cancer site — releasing a tumor killing drug. A few bacteria survive the micro-apocalypse and they start another round. So far, the researchers haven’t cured any cancers, but they can shrink cancers in mice and extend mousy lives by 50%. One day this might mean cancers can be “lived with”, if not actually destroyed completely.

A critical mass is reached and the colony “bombs”.

So the bacteria can be engineered into neat little machines to manage cancer. But they are still living creatures, so are messy machines. One problem is that evolution tends to make all living machines chuck out bits of DNA that don’t improve survival, so the “survivors” will gradually take over, [...]

Wind power sucks money and electricity in South Australia

On a good day South Australia has more than 40% renewable energy. On a bad day, it’s -2 or something. Wind towers suck in so many ways.  They can even draw more power out than they bring in and best of all — their peak electron sucking power comes just when the state needs electricity the most.

Business blows up as turbines suck more power than they generate

The sapping of power by the turbines during calm weather on July 7 at the height of the ­crisis, which has caused a price surge, shows just how unreliable and ­intermittent wind power is for a state with a renewable ­energy mix of more than 40 per cent.

South Australia has more “renewable” wind power than anywhere else in Australia. They also have the highest electricity bills, the highest unemployment, the largest number of “failures to pay” and disconnections. Coincidence?

The emergency measures are needed to ease punishing costs for South Australian industry as National Electricity Market (NEM) prices in the state have frequently surged above $1000 a megawatt hour this month and at one point on Tuesday hit the $14,000MWh maximum price.

Complaints from business about the extreme prices – in normal times they are [...]

Bloomberg tells business leaders to say climate change is real or risk “survival”

The 6th richest guy in the US and the head of a major media corporation made it clear last December:

“No CEO could survive if they tried to say climate change isn’t real,” Bloomberg said, offering a suggestion for why Fox News rarely features business leaders to tout climate sceptic positions.                |      BusinessGreen Dec 4th 2015

What about business leaders who just have a few doubts? He’s got that covered too:

“You don’t sit there and say ‘I’m not sure it’s a real risk’. “ Bloomberg said.

Apparently the Big Fear of  Michael Bloomberg and Mark Carney (head of the Bank of England) is that a few business leaders will start asking questions or speaking their minds, and we can’t have that.

Successful entrepreneurs could be quite a scary force if many of them started speaking out. They have clout. They are not the gullible types and if they paid attention to this debate or even asked good questions, the whole House of Carbon would come undone so easily. That’s why it’s a big No No  for leaders to ask questions, the believers know they don’t have the answers.

These kinds of warnings need to [...]