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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Iran coronavirus crisis — the new epicentre of the world? Australia waits to get a case, then blocks flights

Amazing. Sinbad reports on the situation in Iran. He is a commenter here who speaks the language. I can’t confirm this except to say that #Coronavirusupdates Iran looks like everything he is describing. Officially there are only 388 cases and 34 deaths. But on twitter, just like China, censorship and denial and so much more. Mass graves. Corrupt officials. Mass spraying of the streets. But if there is no attempt to stop it spreading (no lockdown like China has done) this will truly run wild. Those poor people. Germany closed flights in January, related to other problems in Iran. In the last week Iraq, Oman, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, UAE, Kuwait all closed borders with Iran. Australia, with lower medical standards imported a case from Iran today instead.  – Jo

UPDATE: Finally, today the Australian government banned arrivals from Iran without a two week holiday stopover somewhere. That’s a lot better but should be mandatory proper quarantine. The government now has the arduous job of tracking the 40 people (or more) she may have infected and the people those victims may have infected (their families). Those 40+ people now have the stressful wait to find out if they got “lucky”. [...]

Coronavirus: Now they get it. WHO says 1% mortality.

Overnight, people woke up to the real threat and markets crashed appropriately. Unless we take massive action immediately, the exponential curve is about to lift off. And if we don’t act now then massive action is coming anyway in a month, along with major disruption, pandemonium, and worse.

There are now 5,300 cases outside China. If it doubles every 5 days (as it just has) then 40 days from now 5 million people will be infected.

What does massive action look like? A bit like this:

Japan closes all its schools til early April 5 million people in Hakkaido in Northern Japan are told to stay home South Korea is preparing to test 200,000 people UK schools and offices are warned they could close for up to two months EasyJet and British Airways canceled many flights to Italy Iran has cancelled Friday Prayers in Tehran Italy has quarantined 11 towns Switzerland cancelled the Geneva Car Show UAE Canceled the rest of their bike race.

In Japan some are in uproar — they’re the ones who don’t understand how 226 infections becomes a national hospital crisis in weeks. Japan (like most nations) is theoretically only 19 [...]

Who rules Britain? Activist Judges. Paris is the excuse to let the deep state run amok. Get out now.

The non-binding unenforceable Paris agreement was always a theatre show on the international stage, where most countries promise to do nothing, and the rest make promises they don’t keep. But it’s an excuse for the domestic Deep State to do whatever they want.

The zero carbon goal by 2050 was also a Grand Theater Promise. But here the two symbolic acts of nothingness met like anti-matter and threaten to blow up an economy.

Climate campaigners win Heathrow expansion case

By Tom Espiner, BBC

Controversial plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport have been thrown into doubt after a court ruling.

The government’s decision to allow the expansion was unlawful because it did not take climate commitments into account, the Court of Appeal said.  Heathrow said it would challenge the decision, but the government said it would not appeal.

The judges said that in future, a third runway could go ahead, as long as it fits with the UK’s climate policy.

Since when were Judges appointed to decide if an elected government stuck to its policies? Isn’t that what the voters are supposed to do?

Fears Heathrow eco-bombshell could pose a threat [...]

Reckless Greed: Our Universities driving coronavirus to Thailand and Australia. Israel has banned flights to Thailand. Are we next?

Trainwreck in process

Watch this interview. Write to your MP. Send letters to the Editor. Stop the flights at least for a few weeks. 

80% of Australians think closing the border was right so why is Scott Morrison undoing that?

Join these dots. Our universities took a huge bet on Chinese students that is falling apart. They’ve creamed the profits, but taken no insurance and stand to lose billions if they can’t get students to Australia — An extraordinary 65,000 of whom got caught in China by the quarantine. In China, travel agents are marketing 14 day holiday stopovers in Thailand to students, who are then flying on to Australia to get around the ban. But this is not quarantine. Thailand is open to China, and considered so risky that Israel has already banned flights from Thailand. What’s next? Australia imports the virus, tens of thousands may die, and all so the ivory tower smug academics can make their profits, while weak politicians sell out the nations citizens — especially the senior, longest serving ones?

How long before Israel bans Australian planes? We could be one the highest value clean nations in the world, waiting out our first winter of [...]

Coronavirus: Australia, the island that could keep the virus out, is slowing the virus by flying it in?

Something does not add up

So the virus is on its way. Even though Australia has no known community transmission we are choosing to slow down the spread by actively importing it even though we are surrounded by a moat, and are pretty much self-sustaining. We have thousands of high risk people and the disease that’s coming is largely unknown — today there are reports a Japanese case of a woman medical experts had thought had recovered who tests positive again. Is this a biphasic disease like anthrax? That’ll be fun.

Winter is twelve weeks away for Australians, and we know the coronavirus potentially threatens to overwhelm our medical systems and could be a GDP-type hit on national economies. It’s highly infectious, and between 5 – 17% of current cases outside China require hospitalization, and probably 1 -3% will need intensive care. Inviting the virus to start spreading now will mean it will peak during winter — the worst possible time in Australia.

Australia is one of the easiest countries to protect from this scourge, yet we are obediently following policies of northern hemisphere nations in a different situation. Hmm?

As I keep saying, it’s easier to import a deadly [...]

Thursday Open Thread

ACORN adjustments robbed Marble Bar of its legendary world record. Death Valley now longest hottest place

UPDATE: The Hon. Craig Kelly MP was so appalled by this story he has taken this to the Australian Parliament already where The Labor Party was so afraid they interrupted his allocated 15 minute speech just to stop him finishing. They even called a formal Division which means the bell is rung and all the missing MPs have to return to the Chamber to vote. See that on Kelly’s Facebook page. Who cares about our climate and who covers up for incompetent bureaucrats?!

For generations it was a Guinness Book of Records type thing. Now it’s gone. In 1924 Marble Bar set a world record of the most consecutive days of 100 °F (37.8 °C) or above, during an incredible period of 160 days starting in 1923. It was legend — but thanks to the genius homogenized adjustments, we now find out all along it was wrong. It’s another ACORN triumph, rewriting history, extinguishing the hot days of days long gone.  The experts at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) have reanalyzed the temperatures from 4000 km away and nine decades in the future and apparently it wasn’t that hot.

Chris Gillham wonders how the bureau figured out the Marble Bar max [...]

Tuesday Open Thread

Iran may have been hiding Coronavirus for weeks. Tajikistan closes borders, but $800 still buys a flight to Melbourne

On twitter, there are a few photos suggesting that in Iran people are collapsing in the streets. The semiofficial news agencies are reporting the death toll in Qom alone is 50, but the official toll stands at 12, out of 61 reported cases. Iranian officials deny that Qom’s death toll is 50, but admitted 900 suspected cases were being tested. Some of the deaths are reported to be doctors and some of the infected are officials suggesting the virus has been spreading for weeks and is underreported. For example: the Chancellor of Qom’s Medical Sciences University, Dr. Mohammad-Reza Ghadir, had tested positive.

If official stats are correct the death rate is 20%. It almost certainly isn’t, but either this virus is deadlier than ever, or Iranian officials are hiding a broader spread. Either way, every nation with high risk people (say, people over 60 years old) might consider suspending the flights til we know more. We would all probably be dealing with what Iran is right now if we had not closed flights to China weeks ago.

The infection from Iran has spread to six countries so far –  Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Canada and Oman. But flights from China [...]

Australia installs more renewables than anywhere else but national emissions stay the same

Australians are installing renewable energy, per capita, faster than any place on Earth, or at least we were until 2020 when the subsidies and schemes ran out.

Per capita, Australia (all shades of red) is installing renewables


The Quarterly update for the Greenhouse Gas inventory is out and we can see just how much difference all those renewables make, which is almost nothing. Emissions have flatlined.

Australians are paying record prices, risking blackouts, buying batteries and synchronous condensors, building new billion dollar interconnectors, losing companies overseas, and suffering voltage spikes. We’re playing chicken with our smelters, and party games with PeakSmart timers and extra domestic circuits so that electricity companies can manage our pool pumps and our air conditioners.

And this is all we get?

Per capita, Australia (all shades of red) is installing renewables

After adding so many wind farms and solar panels the electricity sector decreased emissions by only 1.2% on the year before.

Electricity sector emissions decreased 1.8 per cent in the June quarter of 2019 on a ‘seasonally adjusted and weather normalised’P 8 P basis (Figure 6). This reflected strong increases in hydro and wind generation (42.0 and 14.8 per cent) [...]

Coronavirus — life for some in Italy, Iran, South Korean has suddenly changed

Think this is pandemonium?

Changing by the hour:

Israel stopped allowing Koreans and Japanese visitors to enter while planes were in the air. Turkey and Pakistan closed borders with Iran. (Some Iraq did yesterday). Afghanistan followed. Italy now has 134 cases. Two days ago it thought it had only 3.  26 people have been hospitalized. Iran has 43 official cases — up from 3 on Saturday. South Korea has 602 cases, including 6 deaths. Up from 31 cases on Feb 18th. Nine Korean nationals who visited Israel tested postive so now 200 people are in quarantine in Israel. Jordan has barred entry to the country to any citizens of China, Iran, and South Korea

This is the danger of too many open borders and not enough testing. If things are this far advanced in Italy and Iran and South Korea what’s happening under the veil in Africa and Indonesia, and so many other places?

Choices for the West include closing risky borders now, or later perhaps closing schools, events, football matches, movies, parties, and maybe elective surgery.

Italy –a lesson in how fast things move

Current tally: 2 dead, 134 infections and 26 are severe (that’s 19%, and who knows [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Coronavirus: And so it spreads, lock downs in Italy, South Korea, riot in Ukraine

Coronavirus, Covid-19, cases outside China.   Source JoDiGraphics

The short not-good news: It’s looking like early exponential growth outside China

The cases outside China have reached 1,500. South Korean cases leap to 156, 204, 340, mostly centred on one church and one hospital.  In China, prisoners were discovered to be infected and a 29 year old doctor has died. The first death in Italy is confirmed, cases jump from 4 to 17, and the health minister there has cancelled or closed schools, events and shops in ten towns. The Iranian death toll has risen to 4, and Iraq has closed flights to Iran. Improbably Canada’s ninth case turns out to be a woman who flew from Iran, raising the worrying possibility that the virus is spreading undetected. Lastly, panic is spreading too. There were attacks in Ukraine to stop a bus of evacuees from China for their 14 day quarantine. It was triggered supposed by an email hoax.

Wise people might like to stock up the pantry just in case. As the people in some Italian towns just found out, there may not be a lot of warning.

The extraordinary rise in South Korea:

Four days ago South Korea had [...]

Royal Commission on Fires based on Myth of Hotter-Drier Summer

More lies by omission from the Bureau of Misinformation

When a PM gets it totally wrong, where is the BOM…

“What this royal commission is looking at are the practical things that must be done to keep Australians safer and safe in longer, hotter, drier summers.” — Scott Morrison. – ABC

The BoM, like Prof Andy Pitman of UNSW, and all other climate scientists know that “climate change” will make the world a hotter wetter place. Who are the evaporation deniers among us? Yet, apart from one momentary candid admission from Professor Andy Pitman, which of our paid public servants will correct the PM when he says things that are flagrantly, 100% wrong? Will a Royal Commission really be forced to accept a complete myth?

Looks like extra CO2 “causes” Summer rainfall in Australia to increase

Apparently, we should burn fossil fuels to stop fires. You know it makes sense…

Australian rainfall trends, Bureau of Meteorology,

But wait,  what about Southern Australia?

To cover every last caveat, it’s possible that “climate change” could change where rain falls, or when rain falls — so lets look at the BoM’s own rainfall records.

CO2 apparently makes summers wetter across [...]

Global confusion: Turns out global warming doesn’t cause wandering Jet Stream “extreme weather”

It’s a flip on a flop. After all the media headlines, a new paper suggests that some climate scientists are not just wrong, they got cause and effect mixed up, and that the wandering “blocking” jet streams are not caused by warmer arctic, but may be causing the temperature changes instead.

“”The well-publicised idea that Arctic warming is leading to a wavier jet stream just does not hold up to scrutiny,” says Screen.

“With the benefit of ten more years of data and model experiments, we find no evidence of long-term changes in waviness despite on-going Arctic warming.””

The truth is that most big models loosely predicted that global warming would make the jet streams less wiggly, but from the mid 1980s the jet-stream-trend was the other way. As the Arctic warmed the “waviness of jet streams increased”. So in 2012 a few modelers came up with a post hoc rationalization of why, really, truly, actually a warmer Arctic meant that the jets streams would wander more. The media enthusiastically repeated it, though it was contentious and disagreed with most models. But oh dear, by golly, by 2015 the trend started to reverse again. Now in [...]