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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ABC fantasies: Climate change has started to influence our language

Could the ABC be more incompetent? Not only do they deny linguistic history, fail to do basic research, have no data, nor cogent argument, they don’t come up with any new words in common use, and they resort to kindergarten name-calling as if it was “scientific”.

Here’s a group of paid propaganda workers who have destroyed basic English — now pretending that the distortion of the language was somehow a natural grassroots progression instead of their own sloppy tool to silence debate.

Climate change has started to influence our language. Here’s how

by someone called “ABC News Breakfast”

Climate change isn’t just affecting our planet, it’s also shifting the language we use, as idioms take on new meaning and words are created to express the unique phenomenon.

Some words have been popularised by musicians and filmmakers, while the rather grandly named Bureau of Linguistic Reality has started crowdsourcing new terms and definitions.

The Guardian media outlet also announced this month it was updating its style guide on climate, suggesting “climate sceptic” be swapped for “climate science denier”, and “global warming” for “global heating”.

Let’s be real, the term “denier” has been [...]

Supernova caused lightning, which caused fires, which (maybe) caused humans to stand upright

Back in the unpoliticized Pliocene it’s possible that cosmic rays bombarded Earth and triggered lightning which started fires all around the Earth. This may (warning: speculation) have pushed human ancestors to stand on two legs. In the politicized Holocene, however cosmic rays are “irrelevant”. Ancient cosmic rays can set the Earth on fire apparently, change dominant species, and leave a charcoal layer around the Earth. But changes in cosmic rays lately can *not* cause any changes in modern lightning and cloud cover.

Color me skeptical that there is a cause and effect link between fires and homo-four-legs becoming homo-two-legs. It’s possible, and interesting, but a little bit “just so”. There are many advantages in standing upright — seeing further, reaching higher, standing in water, and carrying booty or babies. Some dinosaurs also evolved to be bipedal.

The study reminds us that for most of human history Space Weather was important. It’s only modern climate models that decree astronomical-stuff = zero.

Another previous study showed that lightning strikes occur in time with the spinning Sun in 150 year old Japanese farm records.

Did ancient supernovae prompt human ancestors to walk upright?

Supernovae bombarded Earth with cosmic energy [...]

Midweek Unthreaded

Millenials blame climate change for lack of savings – No 401k

Who needs retirement savings if the world’s going to fall apart?

(Those who believe Big Gov are also those who expect to get government help when they need it).

Climate change is the ultimate multipurpose excuse for pretty much anything you want:

Young people blame climate change for their small 401(k) balances

by Kari Paul

Like many people her age, Rodriguez believes climate change will have catastrophic effects on our planet. Some 88% of millennials — a higher percentage than any other age group — accept that climate change is happening, and 69% say it will impact them in their lifetimes. Engulfed in a constant barrage of depressing news stories, many young people are skeptical about saving for an uncertain future.

Rodriguez says. “The weather systems are already off, and I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to be a little apocalyptic.”

Being raised on climate propaganda might not be good for your health:

The number of individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 reporting symptoms of major depression increased 52% from 2005 to 2017, while older adults did not experience any increase in psychological stress at this time,

But it could be another catastrophe that [...]

Climate Comedy: we must die for the climate so we can survive…


Recorded at Comedy Unleashed, the massive Will Franken ‘Climate Change Trans Counselling’ sketch. Inspired by Greta Thunberg and the Climate Crisis Emergency Terror.

He’s got talent!

There’s 23 minutes of his routine (on other topics too) on youtube.

I’m travelling. Nearly back.

h/t GWPF

Weekend Unthreaded


Heads must roll at JCU or academics still have no free speech

After what Peter Ridd went through, and the flagrant waste of one million dollars, someone must be held accountable. Otherwise, no academic would want to risk two years of legal hell for pointing out systematic problems in academia. Who would dare drily write “for your amusement” in an email?

Its good to see other staff are speaking up.  Sandra Harding is vice-chancellor of James Cook University. She could have stopped the witchhunt at any time but pursued it all the way:

Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian

“The bottom line is Sandra Harding should go,” says a former member of the university’s 15-member governing council. “It’s in the interest of everybody that she retires.” Speaking to The Weekend Australian this week, the former council member says if Harding doesn’t retire, she should be sacked.

Still in close contact with JCU staff, including academics, the former council member says staff are upset and “whether or not they agree with Ridd is a separate matter. This court case probably cost the university a million bucks, which is money JCU cannot afford.”

“They know that there will be further redundancies coming.”

Ultimately some staff will lose  jobs [...]

Backflip: Labor may adopt Tony Abbott “Direct Action Plan” but keep 45% brutal target?

A week is a long time in politics. Ideas that were stupid this time last Friday are suddenly mainstream.

Scratching to pick themselves up, the Labor Party may adopt Tony Abbott’s flagship program, but still cling to the idea that we can do a 45% reduction without major sacrifices. The Liberals must be praying the ALP keeps that target. What a gift for the 2022 election.

Even the Labor Party recognises that the anti-Abbott vote in Warringah doesn’t represent broader Australia:

Climate changes: Labor push to lighten green policies

 Ben Packham, The Australian

Labor is considering rejecting Scott Morrison’s mandate to ­deliver his full $158 billion in personal income tax cuts while flagging a dramatic shift on climate change policy and adopting a Tony Abbott-style “direct action” plan to cut carbon emissions.

Dear Labor Party — it’s not just the “market based mechanism” that stinks:

The warning came as Labor ­environment spokesman Tony Burke suggested the party needed to rethink its support for market-based mechanisms to cut carbon emissions, after its plan to use of international carbon credits to cut emissions was rejected by voters amid a row over the cost of the ­policy.


Petition for Zali Steggall to build those wind farms for Warringah

I just signed the petition “Zali Steggall: Wind farms for Warringah” and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

Our goal is to reach 15,000 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:

h/t Steve, Owain

Rank denial: Australia spends $5b but has “no climate plan”

When is five billion dollars equal to zero? When the climate cult is doing maths.

Australia spends at least five billion dollars a year trying to reduce emissions, yet it’s as if it doesn’t exist.

The angst continues, along with the denial that Australia has “a climate plan” :

“The fight is not over,” said  Greenpeace Australia.

Calling the results “horrifying,” NYU professor Kate Crawford said on Twitter: “We’re on the brink of climate catastrophe. Australia is one of the top carbon emitters per capita in the world. The new leader has no climate change policy, and walked into parliament waving a chunk of coal. Not even kidding.”

Australia has the most aggressive climate action plan per capita on Earth. Just ask the ANU. Blakers et al wrote the report called: Australia: the renewable energy superstar. It showed that, per capita, Australia is installing unreliable generators in a blitzkrieg pace, more than twice as fast as Germany is, and 4-5 times faster per capita than the EU, USA, Japan and China.

Despair out of all proportion:

“A coalition of a small number of bad actors now threaten the survivability of our species,” Michael Mann, atmospheric science [...]

Midweek Unthreaded

Blockbuster: 178 years of Australian rain has nothing to do with CO2, worst extremes 1849, 1925, 1950

Remarkable! A new study by Ashcroft, Karoly and Dowdy pieces together an extraordinary 178 years of rainfall data from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. This is a rare study that brings in much older data, looking at trends and extremes. This is pretty much the ultimate long term rainfall paper for South East Australia. Henceforth, there shalt be no more headlines about “unprecedented” rainfall or area’s drying out “due to climate change” unless an event rates against this data…

Australia – a land of floods and droughts: Rainfall goes up and down in long ongoing cycles or change, but no obvious trend that matches the sharp rise of CO2 in the last 30 years. It’s almost like CO2 has no detectable effect… The worst extremes were for the most part — long ago — particularly in the 1840s (assuming those records are reliable). Almost nothing in the last 30 years is unusual or unprecedented despite humans putting out 50% of all our CO2 since 1989. These charts show how misleading it is to use graphs that start in 1970 (or even in 1910) and declare that the recent changes are meaningful, or caused by CO2.

The researchers also use newspaper archives [...]

Octopuses will go blind thanks to climate change

Octopuses survived the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs, but look set to go blind thanks to coal fired power and your car.

Octopuses may go blind from climate change, study warns

Plastic pollution and climate change may be significantly altering the level of oxygen on our planet. Now, a new study dives into the impact it could have on marine life, including squids, crabs and octopuses – blindness.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, highlights how important oxygen is to sight and retinal activity for certain marine larvae. Tiny declines in oxygen levels result in significant vision impairment, including almost total blindness in certain species.

“Using in vivo electroretinogram recordings, we show that there is a decrease in retinal sensitivity to light in marine invertebrates when exposed to reduced oxygen availability,” the study’s abstract reads. “We found a 60-100 [percent] reduction in retinal responses in the larvae of cephalopods and crustaceans…

Or more specifically: Octopuses will go blind if they are suddenly dumped in tanks with reduced oxygen…

To test the theory, the animals were put in reduced oxygen environments for approximately 30 minutes.

Time to legislate against free range low-oxygen tanks.


How to lose the unloseable election: be anti-coal. The climate vote evaporated.

Scott Morrison in Parliament. Photo, ABC: Nick Haggarty

The Coalition can now form a majority government with no need to do deals with a GetUp candidate. They may win 78 seats. While this is being hailed as a “great” win it’s nothing like Tony Abbott’s 90 seat landslide in 2013. Of the last three elections, the most skeptical PM won hugely, and the biggest believer, Turnbull, almost lost. Morrison-in-the middle, couldn’t fight hard on climate change because his party supports major and expensive action, but at least he didn’t burn off the base like Turnbull did. Luckily for him, the Labor Party had wild ambition and was doomed by overconfidence. (Thank the ABC).

Every time Labor and GetUp reminded Australia that Morrison brought a lump of coal to Parliament, they were helping Morrison.

This was a “climate change” election and Australians voted No

Even ABC commentators admit the central role of climate change and are baffled. (If only they had shown some, any, interest in the opinions of 50% of Australia?). Watch the struggle:

Election 2019: What happened to the climate change vote we heard about?

Matt MacDonald, ABC

It was supposed to be the [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

OK, so some other things might have happened around the world this weekend.