JoNova

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


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Weekend Unthreaded

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Weekend Unthreaded, 8.4 out of 10 based on 9 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/h2oubor

73 comments to Weekend Unthreaded

  • #
    RAH

    Soo, Trump talks to the President of Taiwan and the US old media has a conniption fit.

    That same press continually states that the POTUS is the most powerful man in the world but then wets their undies when he talks to Taiwan because they’re afraid he will piss off the PRC?

    With one simple phone call Trump let the PRC and the world know that this will not be business as usual. He put the PRC on notice that he will not be intimidated and that unlike those of the recent past does not believe appeasement=good diplomacy and foreign policy. He also let the press know once again that he couldn’t give a hoot what their opinions are. And he once again demonstrated he is his own man who has his own ideas about how the United States will conduct it’s affairs and those ideas do not align with what other countries and the left in this country have become used to.

    I liked it.

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    • #
      Richard 111

      Umm… Trump did not make that call, the Taiwanese PM phoned him. Cr@p media, cr@p politicians, cr@p world.

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      • #
        Harry Passfield

        Even so, Trump took the call. He could have passed it off to ‘staff’.

        50

      • #
        Leo Morgan

        I must give you a green thumb on your fact-check; you’re absolutely right.
        Still, I’m not sure the same can be said of your opinion about what’s really a pretty terrific world.

        10

      • #
        ianl8888

        In this world of fake news from every direction, we need a source, please.

        Sad that it is so, but the situation will worsen and worsen – there is be no trust anymore.

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      • #
        RAH

        Calls between heads of state or heads of state to be are prearranged at least according to what I’ve read. So She called him but he probably knew it was coming.

        20

      • #
        RAH

        http://flapship.com/2016/12/taiwan-official-call-with-trump-was-prearranged/

        Taiwan official: Call with Trump was prearranged

        04/12/2016
        China is likely to be trying to identify whether this signals any intent on the part of Mr Trump to alter long-standing USA policy towards Taiwan, Ms Glaser said.

        After Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi blamed Taiwanese leaders Saturday for playing a “small trick”, China said it would issue a diplomatic complaint with Washington. “I hope this political foundation won’t be disrupted or damaged”.
        Trump’s transition team said Friday that the President-elect had chatted with Tsai, who passed along her congratulations.
        “During the discussion, they noted the close economic, political, and security ties exists between Taiwan and the United States”.
        China’s Foreign Ministry said it had lodged “stern representations” with what it called the “relevant USA side”, urging the careful handling of the Taiwan issue to avoid any unnecessary disturbances in ties.
        It is perhaps unprecedented for a US president or president-elect to speak directly with a leader of Taiwan, a self-governing island the USA broke diplomatic ties with in 1979.
        During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly accused China of manipulating its currency to harm United States manufacturing and threatened to impose tariffs on some of its exports. ‘Regardless if it was deliberate or accidental, this phone call will fundamentally change China’s perceptions of Trump’s strategic intentions for the negative. “This shows that Beijing will continue to observe and will not jump to any conclusion about Trump’s China policy as yet”, said Prof Shi. He said that China seems to be saying that it understands that Trump’s team “made a mistake and we’re going to let it slide”.
        “Interesting how the USA sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call”, he wrote in another tweet, regarding the media storm resulting from his taking the call.
        Trump’s transition team dismissed claims by Democrats that Trump either did not understand the implications of the Taiwan call – or that he is ignoring the advice of U.S. national security officials. “The two briefly exchanged opinions on the situation in the Asia region”. Trump’s transition team did not make an immediate comment on the conversation, and it was unclear whether Trump brought up Duterte’s tough policy on drug trafficking that has left thousands of people accused of selling and using drugs dead. But the President-elect was fully aware of the call’s implications, Conway suggested.
        But Douglas Paal, a former director of the American Institute in Taiwan, which unofficially represents USA interests in Taipei, said it was too soon to judge whether Mr Trump was going to lead that shift, or if the incident was just a “complicated accident”.
        In November, the mayor of Taoyuan, a municipality that holds Taiwan’s main airport, told Taiwanese media that a representative of the Trump Organization had traveled to the island and expressed interest in building a hotel there.

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      • #
        Mari C

        Most US media stories still hint – some outright state – that Trump called Taiwan. Those that don’t state it outright are saying “the phone call” or “Trump’s call” – a weasel move. Very few have picked up on the fact that Taiwan called him.

        And the big media houses still wonder why the US people don’t trust them. They can’t even get basic facts straight, report them clearly, or even try to find out what really happened.

        00

    • #
  • #
    James Murphy

    I notice there’s been a lot of talk (but no action) about the decline in Australian education standards (according to the latest TIMSS survey).

    I would have thought that anyone having to interview, or work with relatively recent school leavers, and university graduates would have noticed this, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise, although as usual, various education ministers seemed shocked, which is a telling response, in, and of itself.

    Then, sucker for punishment that I am, I started reading a so-called analysis/opinion piece on ‘their’ ABC entitled “three ways to boost science performance in Australian schools’.

    The piece was written by a supposed professor of science education – which made me wonder; has anyone asked this person what he has done to influence science education as it is apparently his area of expertise? Surely a professional should have been advocating for (and possibly achieving ) change before such results, not afterwards? (maybe he has tried, but if so, he’s obviously woefully ineffective.)

    Then, further down, I read the sentence “…Students can explore contemporary scientific research and societal issues through novel means such as drama, or collaborative reasoning and debate about sustainability issues…”

    Really? Really? I did not learn about organic chemistry by writing a play about it. I did not learn Newton’s laws (and formulae) by painting a picture, I did not learn about thermodynamics by singing a song, and I certainly did not learn about geology by discussing how I feel about rocks.

    How can school students be expected to understand contemporary scientific research if they do not understand how humans have arrived at the point where that research can be conducted?

    I am not saying that current methods shouldn’t change, and I freely admit that some of my best remembered teachers were the ones who made me think, and managed to take some of the ‘dry’ theory which is inherent to any level of science education, and make it relevant to what I understood about the world at the time.

    Next time I have to explain the derivation and purpose of a Herschel-Bulkley fluid model, or the theory behind drill-string torque and drag modelling, I will see if I can do it via a series of impressionist paintings. Lets see how long I keep my job, shell we?

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    • #
      ivan

      I first saw something about that in Tallbloke’s blog

      Education has long been taken over by the new world order to produce non thinking slaves. We need to break that connection and drain the swamp that is now what passes for ‘education’ at all levels in western society.

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      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        There is a saying: “Those that can, do, those that can’t, teach.”

        This is somewhat derogatory. But as long as the teacher has some practical experience in the subject, and has the ability to excite and motivate the class, it is not so bad. That certainly worked for me, with science and math.

        Not so much with languages, though. I was taught French by a Punjabi Indian.

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    • #
      ianl8888

      … drill-string torque and drag modelling …

      You environmental vandal, you ! :)

      20

      • #
        James Murphy

        Guilty as charged… a fossil fuel funded career as a geologist and a drilling engineer.

        No doubt I will be one of the first to be put up against the wall and shot when the Greens unleash their lynch mob.

        40

    • #
      bobl

      Fixing education is easy, all that needs to be done is to scrap all the socialist advocacy and social studies cr@pola and start to actually teach science and mathematics, not through interpretive dance, but using numbers and solid examples, let them hold a test tube, let them climb a tree (and fall out) to understand the *impact* of gravity.

      50

    • #
      Annie

      Those who crave a song about thermodynamics might remember the delicious one from Flanders and Swann, about the first and second laws thereof.

      I like the ‘shell’ at the end of your comment!

      00

  • #
    Andrew McRae

    Here is a cold case nearly 30 years old which investigators have just cracked. You be the jury.

    Exhibit A : Canonical diagram of Yoda’s hut.
    http://i.imgur.com/ZQ7eHTc.jpg

    Look carefully, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, at the label on the left which states:
    “Dried dung patties used as fuel in fireplace”.
    This is not fan-art, this a scan from an officially authorised Star Wars book. That is how Yoda lived.

    Yoda is surrounded by trees which could supply firewood, he lives on a planet with torrential rainfall that could be dammed for hydropower, and his home is surrounded by numerous swamps that undoubtedly are ancient enough to be generating natural gas, plus vast forests of immensely tall trees which combined with the swamps must have generated subsurface coal in Dagobah over the aeons by now.
    Against this plethora of concentrated energy resources, why would a Jedi Knight be forced to use dung for their heating and cooking? This perplexing question is at the center of our case today.

    It is well known that the Greens oppose dam construction on the grounds of habitat destruction of swamp bats, which eliminates hydroelectricity as an option for Yoda. It is obviously against Greens policy to cut down trees for any reason, which prevents him from using firewood. As to why he cannot use electricity from combined-cycle gas turbines running on Dagobah’s natural swamp gas or a steam engine running on Dagobah coal, we shall soon discover!

    Exhibit C1 and C2, the energy taxation advice of the Intergalactic Monetary Fund.
    Exhibit C1 – IMF’s “Getting Energy Prices Right : From Principle to Practice”, 2014, IMF online library.

    implementing efficient energy prices would reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 23 percent and fossil-fuel air pollution deaths by 63 percent, while raising revenues

    The IMF’s energy policy advice optimises for cutting CO2 emissions, not the welfare of the poor.

    Exhibit C2 – The official advice of the Chief of the Commodities Unit in the IMF’s Research Department, December 2015.
    https://blog-imfdirect.imf.org/2015/12/02/the-price-of-oil-and-the-price-of-carbon/

    Policymakers should not allow low energy prices to derail the clean energy transition. Action to restore appropriate price incentives, notably through corrective carbon pricing, is urgently needed to lower the risk of irreversible and potentially devastating effects of climate change.

    Yes the IMF is still reluctant to give loans for energy infrastructure and “capacity building” unless it is used for renewable energy and advises the imposition of carbon pricing which will only inhibit economic development in Dagobah and inhibit the creation of industry large enough to justify always-on power sources.

    As coal and gas are the cheapest forms of power available, any other energy source is more expensive and therefore is less affordable and more inefficient at reducing poverty, leaving the poorest of the world, or Dagobah, to use low quality sustainable energy sources, such as dung patties. But there is another consequence of this policy more relevant to our proceedings here today.

    Exhibit D: Yoda’s death scene in Return of the Jedi.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1-0x9RrT4Y
    Notice the numerous coughs, spluttering, and occasional breathing difficulties that Yoda suffers in the leadup to his death. He is one of the few Jedi to have ever been seen dying from supposedly natural causes instead of battle wounds. His respiratory illness, being in such close proximity in space and time to his use of the dung patty fuel in his stove, leave us in no doubt about the true cause of his death.

    Do I really have to spell it out? Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it is obvious what duty you must carry out today.

    You must find the Greens guilty of the manslaughter of Yoda!

    The prosecution rests.

    140

    • #
      tom0mason

      Another turd on the fire, put.
      #cough#
      Shortly, even though my apparent demise will come,At one with the force, I will be, #uogh# always.
      #cough#
      … Very close, I sense the UN dark side is.
      #cough#

      31

    • #
      Yonniestone

      Yoda was nearly 900 years old when he died…… about the same age as Mickey Rooney.

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      • #
        Totally Irrelevant

        So, Yoda is that rarest of all things? He is a green, male Asari? :)

        (Obscure, I know. The Asari are an all-female species in the Mass Effect game series.)

        00

    • #
      OriginalSteve

      I bet yoda secretly owned a Cat D9 to help ocasionally draining the swamp….

      The greens want it all fairy cakes and tree hugging until one of them gets sick and needs a hospital that runs on reliable electricity….

      The IMF make countries offers they cant refuse.

      Keep things in perspective https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confessions_of_an_Economic_Hit_Man

      10

  • #
    doubtingdave

    ATTENTION JOANNE , its been a while since I hassled you about podcasting , so sorry but i’ll try again , here is Stefan Molyneux muscling in on your action with an interview with William Happer , then Lord Monckton , good interviews that would be even better if you were the interviewer , check out the number of views , its traffic that should be bringing extra fans to your site , so why the reluctance to engage with podcasting on your part Jo ? , again sorry to be a pain on this but I do think your missing out ; https://youtu.be/WCU6bzRypZ4 . ;https://youtu.be/DrWznOFq38s

    11

    • #
      John F. Hultquist

      Dear ‘doubtingdave’,
      My cousin likes to say “Not everyone makes chocolate pie the way we do.”

      20

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      As much as I respect Stefan Molyneux, and what he does, podcasting is essentially a one-way information medium.

      Jo’s site is so popular (I submit), because it gives me the opportunity to respond to you directly. We might even establish a conversation – wow!

      Also, all of Jo’s articles are available, online, and can be searched. That makes it a valuable educational resource for anybody who wants to understand the wider picture.

      And just because somebody else is doing something, doesn’t mean that everybody has to do the same thing. It is such a Millennial concept.

      51

      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        Oh, and for future reference, “your missing out”, should be spelt “you’re missing out”.

        “Good morning, sir. I will be your duty Spelling Pedant for today.” ;-)

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    • #

      doubtingdave,

      Note that Stefan’s background is thespian and he’s been “video-blogging” and pod-casting for many years so is comfortable with the presentation and the formulation.

      Producing a video is a lot of work if it’s going to look quasi-professional and be watchable by a wide range of viewers. The rule-of-thumb for editing/production time for a worthwhile presentation is 1 hour per minute of “air time”. i.e. it’s a working week per 40 minutes. That’s OK if that’s all you do; and indeed, if you stick to a fixed format as does Stefan, then you can probably cut the production time down to something like 10 minutes per minute of airtime.

      The question must be asked: How much are you willing to pay for such a presentation?

      My view is that Joanne’s time is better invested in doing what she’s doing; which already includes radio/video interviews as significant opportunities arise.

      10

  • #
    john

    First offshore wind plant in US has failure weeks after starting.

    http://www.windaction.org/posts/46007-haliade-turbine-down-for-repairs-at-block-island#.WEQ8oaOZPSw

    Note: I find the drill bit excuse to be a bit far fetched and would be inclined to believe it is something else….

    10

    • #
      David-of-Cooyal-in-Oz

      Obviously can,t be true John. I didn’t read about it in the SMH.

      Cheers,
      Dave B
      PS I considered leaving ot off, but …/sarc, just in case

      10

  • #
    Jim Poulos

    Just who is Stefan Rahmstorf? Apparently I’ve just called him out on a local forum of vocal climate bedwetters who share his posts – the last of which used Hotwhopper as a link to evidence that the latest UAH upward trend is caused by climate change.

    32

  • #

    Last week I looked at a couple of climate alarmist reactions to Donald Trump’s victory.
    Jo Romm reckons that
    ….. the damage and delay that even a one-term President Trump could do will make the already difficult task of keeping total warming well below 2°C essentially impossible.
    Despite saying that the difference a Trump Presidency would make would be less than 3.4 GtCO2e over eight years, out of global emissions of over 400 GtCO2e in than period.
    RealClimate (run by Gavin Schmidt for many years) is more extreme in the figures. In just 4 years they reckon there will 4-6 gigatons of Trump CO2. The figure is arrived at by taking a forecast from 2008 of increasing emissions as a baseline. The fact that emissions have been falling since 2008 (due to (1) recession (2) energy efficiency from high energy prices (3) shale gas revolution) is overlooked, along with the facts that it is now 2016 and CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas. It is further confirmation that climate alarmists are not dealing with the real world, but a construct of their own imagining.

    30

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      We live in a world of instantly available information which contains little truth, does not reflect reality, and consists of nothing but opinion and perception.

      If you cannot trust the information you have, then you know nothing about anything.

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      • #

        Rereke
        You are quite right. However, in academia – particularly the empirically-based subjects on the fringes of science like climatology – to be credible you need to back up any conjectures, hypotheses, assertions or opinions with references to the real world. Where other opinions are possible – which is possible – you need to recognize other opinions and say why your opinion is better, or at least makes a contribution. This used to be the case in economics, and still is in the non-science subjects of English Literature, History and Theology.
        Climate alarmism has taken the opposite approach. Rather than substantiate their opinions against the real world, or compare them against different opinions, all what the alarmists is echo their own opinions. When they look at other ideas, rather encourage you to read them for yourself to evaluate (and compare with the real world) to see the inferiority or errors, they misdirect you to opinions that they agree with, or to a different issue entirely. I looked at one of the masters of these propaganda methods last year, but you can see similar techniques practices by Bob Ward, Dana Nuccitelli or your average Guardian columnist.
        https://manicbeancounter.com/2015/02/08/the-propaganda-methods-of-and-then-theres-physics-on-temperature-homogenisation/

        00

      • #
        Lionell Griffith

        You don’t even know that much.

        00

  • #
    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      Oh dear. They have said that the artic ice will be melting – again.

      The last time they said that (and the time before) several ships – including oil tankers – got locked in the ice, with much hand-wringing about the poor polar bears, being stranded on the one and only surviving piece of ice.

      [Sniff] can somebody pass me an ecological tissue, please.

      50

      • #
        OriginalSteve

        And rescuing the CAGW academics who got stuck in the ice…..needed a serious russian vessel made of iron-y to rescue him….

        30

  • #
    David Maddison

    Climate Change in 12 minutes – the Skeptics Case.

    By Dr David Evans, spoken by Stefan Molyneux.

    https://youtu.be/0gDErDwXqhc

    00

    • #
      bobl

      There are two errors in this video. 1. Venus does not have runnaway global warming, it has an atmosphere of 100 times earth normal air pressure at the surface and insolation twice earth normal. 2. The grphs of outgoing radiation increase do not show there is no feedback, they show that the feedback is NEGATIVE and that the warming will be LESS than the direct effect of warming, Most of any extra heat goes straight out the atmospberic window like the other kilowatt or so. The idea that the earth can dissipate 1KW of direct heating but can’t somehoe find a way to dissipate the bulk of an extra 3WATTS is just fanciful.

      20

  • #
    ianl8888

    https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2016/12/demonic-coconuts-enchanted-chickens/

    Rising sea levels, as yet so miniscule as to defy accurate measurement, obviously cause mass madness.

    It couldn’t possibly be caused by a desperate struggle for political day-to-day survival resulting from an economy so dependent on outsider dollars (tourism, greeniness) that self-inscribing coconuts are arrested for the publicity, could it ?

    00

  • #
    • #
      James Murphy

      They really did run out of other peoples money!!

      30

      • #
        James

        In the fine print of the gofundme for the Stein recount, it states that any left over money will be kept by them. The amount that she ‘needs’ has now gone up to 9.5 million dollars. She has a lot of campaign debts to pay. I am sure that is where the money will go.

        If you look over at breitbart they have an interview with her. I have not watched it yet, but it might be a good example of a ‘Trumper Tantrum.’ A “Trumper Tantrum,’ is what those persons who cannot come to terms with Trump as president do.

        10

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      The reluctance of the Democrats to file for a recount on the grounds of possible voting irregularities is the dog that didn’t bark in the night. Perhaps for once they looked ahead and realised that a recount/investigation in some States that they won might be embarrassing.

      10

  • #
    James Murphy

    Is it just me who was disgusted and appalled by the way protestors disrupted the Australian parliament this week? (aided and abetted by the Greens, if not financially (giving them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps foolishly), then at least in spirit).

    I know this is not the place for discussing the specific topics which had these people breaking out the superglue, and vandalising public property, but the concept of taking their protest into the chambers of parliament house seems stupid, counterproductive, and immature, to say the least.

    I have little respect for many politicians, but I do respect the system we have in place. I also think protests can be an effective means of communicating dissatisfaction, and I am not one to stop protests because I disagree with whatever topic is of concern, but there are many ways in which it can be done without doing what was done this week… aren’t there?

    40

  • #
    Peter C

    I think they should have left them stuck to the wall!
    It might seem a bit medieval in this day and age but after a few days it would certainly get the message across.

    30

    • #
      David Maddison

      How was the superglue released? Were they just ripped off the wall or was acetone used to dissolve the adhesive?

      00

      • #
        Graeme No.3

        From our NO INVESTIGATIONS PLEASE MSM? There was a comment about hand cleaner which I cannot see working at all. Perhaps in Green palance acetone was renamed as a cleaner therefore good – much as burning wood and releasing more CO2 is better than using coal.

        20

        • #
          Annie

          We’ve discovered that handgel removes paint from one’s hands. Well, it removed what we were using; Dulux Total Prep and a water-based gloss type. Other types not tested.

          00

    • #
      OriginalSteve

      I think leaving them there might have got the message across….

      That said, the “controlled demonstration” zones they have do make a mockery of democracy, so a bit of in ya face is occasionally good to remind people we have rights…

      10

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  • #
    el gordo

    Well done everyone.

    ‘If Australia continues to emit carbon pollution at the average rate of the past year, it will spend its entire carbon budget by 2031.’

    Guardian

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  • #
    el gordo

    Jamie Jessop on the Rose and Delingpole encounter with the greenblob.

    https://cliscep.com/2016/12/03/vilifying-rose-a-tale-of-two-standards/

    01

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  • #

    “Global warming is scary and abstract. No wonder we struggle to face up to it – and let politicians and industry off the hook.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/06/trump-world-climate-change-denial

    00

    • #

      The article is worth reading. Typical of climate alarmism, it only finds fault with the skeptics. Whilst more courteous than many others, Alice Bell only finds examples as to why people so not believe and are not concerned. There are no issues with the so-called science, nor with the way the believers evaluate the world around them.

      00