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



Australian Speakers Agency


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

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Israel, Costa Rica, aim to be new quarantine-free travel bubble hubs from Aust-NZ to Europe

Global flight routes are getting remapped as countries close-to-zero start talking about connecting up without that pesky two-week quarantine.

An advantage of doing lockdown properly is getting free of it faster.

European gateway Israel and Costa Rica rush to join plans for Australia-New Zealand tourism bubble

Clare Armstrong, David Aidone, James MacSmith, News Corp Australia Network

Plans have been launched for a quarantine-free gateway to Europe through Israel by December, and a long-haul flight to Costa Rica, as countries that have managed COVID-19 effectively race to join Australia and New Zealand’s tourism bubble proposal.

Israel wants to schedule a permanent flight to its economic hub of Tel Aviv from either Sydney or Melbourne to open itself up as a stepping stone to ‘safe’ European countries including Norway, Denmark, Greece and the Czech Republic.

There are also reports some Pacific Islands, such as Fiji, could be included in a trans-Tasman bubble.

While the timeline includes the Pacific Islands, it has been labelled “aspirational” and the NZ and Australian government will make the final call.

Meanwhile, discounted plane tickets and free accommodation are among perks that will be offered to travellers as [...]

Weekend Unthreaded


Trump is the only president in history who won’t leave the office richer

The seed for every advert for the Donald Trump Campaign is somewhere in there.

Trump is the only president in history who didn’t need to be President to be rich and famous

… so rich he already had his own plane and may have had to settle for a smaller one to take office.

There is something to be said for electing leaders who are so wealthy they are hard to buy off.

Charlie Kirk speaking.

UPDATE: For readers wondering why this is on a science blog, or relevant to Australia…

Establishment science is a Swamp.

Imagine Australia standing up to China in a world where the US is poorer, the Swamp is stronger, and the UN is in charge?

The Lucky Bubble we live in floats in a house The West built.

h/t Stephen Harper

Victorian lockdown worked: it stopped community transmission of Covid

Science before politics

Some are claiming the Victorian lockdown was too late, saying the rate of spread was already suppressed before it started. But that misses the point that slowing flight arrivals was responsible for most of the suppression up to that point, but that wasn’t going to stop the rising cases of community transmission. To judge if lockdown works, we need to look at domestic spread.

The graph that matters are the new daily cases, and even more so, the graph of daily new cases due to of community transmission (below).

Victoria started a major lockdown on March 24th when schools were largely closed (except to essential workers) and only essential services were allowed to run. We see daily new cases peaked 11 3 days later, almost exactly as expected (We expect a 12 day delay as seen in Japan, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Korea and Norway). The 12 day average expected lag comes from a five day average incubation and then a roughly seven day lag for new cases to get into breathing trouble and get tested as such. In Victoria, the case numbers were  dominated by incoming arrivals, so the timing of border closures determined the daily new cases [...]

Great civilizations are built on good fuel (not on hydrogen)

A week ago the Australian Government released their  Technology Investment Roadmap Discussion Paper. Presumably they want a map because they’re lost. They’d like submissions by June 21.

David Archibald lets rip on why hydrogen fuel is not going to save us, but coal, gas, and nukes will. He has wondered for years why Australia is so concerned with talking about a thirty year energy plan when we don’t even have a 90 day supply.

Australia’s Energy Plan

Guest Post by David Archibald

Image: Gus Pasquerella

Global warming is the new state religion and Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist, is its high priest…

The fad of the moment is hydrogen. To recap, when global warming started out the villains among us realised that the easiest way to make money was to turn Australia from being a low-cost power producer to a high cost one and take a slice of the action on the way through. So the likes of AGL and Macquarie Bank concocted solar farm and wind farm schemes and sold them on to people wanting a high, government-enforced rate of return. They then used their own money to generate a yet higher return on equity by taking [...]

Youtube censorship gone wild removing Michael Moore’s documentary

Michael Moore’s Planet of the Humans racked up 8 million views in a month, then when they extended the free views for another month, YouTube finally found a reason to shut it down. Apparently 4 seconds of video isn’t “fair use” in a documentary any more, and thus for copyright reasons, the video got pulled. If Youtube took down every 4 second violation of copyright there’d be no Youtube. Which may be about to happen anyway, when the young hip revolutionary teens realize the conglomate power is heavily censoring their access to “news” in order to fool them into obedience for corporate profit.

It’s so predictable. A month ago, Myron Ebell, CEI, said “Quick. Watch it before it’s banned”.


Everytime Youtube does this it makes it easier for a competitor to take their top spot. Bring it on.

Moore put it on Vimeo, but searching there finds nothing too. Has Vimeo been “got to”?

Doesn’t matter, because Moore’s now moved to Bitchute.

Long live Bitchute.

The documentary was banned by the film distributors right from the start, but when people started tweeting “now that it’s banned, I want to see it” they reversed their decision. But there are [...]

Fire seasons don’t run around the country lighting fires

The advertising wing for Big Government is out claiming that our cars cause extended fire seasons. Since they can’t claim that CO2 causes droughts or controls rainfall, there’s not much else they can claim.

But Fire-seasons don’t create bigger fires. The longest fire season in the world is possibly in Marble Bar but that’s not where the pyroconvective monster firestorms are.

If fuel loads were managed, longer fire seasons might allow for more small fires, but they wouldn’t be big bad ones. Plus, there’s the thing that a high fuel load without lightning or an arsonist, is just a forest.

At one point 42% of fires last summer in NSW were man-made. 9% were “natural.

Fire season extends by almost four months in parts of Australia

The fire season in parts of eastern Australia has lengthened by almost four months since the 1950s, with climate change a prominent driver in the trend, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

Karl Braganza, head of the bureau’s climate monitoring, told the first day of public hearings for the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements on Monday that the South Coast of NSW and eastern [...]

Antibody test shows 5% of Spaniards or 2.3 million have contracted the coronavirus

This is not the road to herd immunity

In Spain, after a long battle, a quarter of a million people have tested positive to coronavirus and 27,000 have died.

But Spanish authorities have now done the largest antibody test I am aware of, and it was at least somewhat randomized.  As many as 70,000 people have been blood tested and it was discovered that 5% had antibodies to Coronavirus. That would mean there were about 2.3 million cases of Covid-WuFlu across all of Spain, which is ten times as many cases as officially counted. But it also means 95% of Spaniards are at risk of catching it, and without a lockdown the virus would still spread very quickly. The death rate works out to be about 1.1% of total infections. But there were excess deaths in Spain — above and beyond the normal, and above the known Covid Cases — so that suggests the real death rate is more like 1.3%. Not fun.

That’s possibly why Spain is heading towards zero cases. The combination of infectiousness and the fairly significant death rate means Coronavirus is a hard virus to live with. Even a low level of running virus could fire [...]

Tuesday Open Thread

Peter Ridd case: JCU appeals for their right to threaten and scare staff and ignore potential fraud

Today and tomorrow are the Appeal Days for James Cook University. They sacked Professor Peter Ridd for daring to say that some of our reef expert institutions “could not be trusted” then wasted $600,000 in court defending their work only to lose on every single count. James Cook Uni was ordered to pay $1.2m to Peter Ridd. Judge Vasta was scathing. Yet JCU barrelled on to waste more taxpayer money on an appeal.

Think about how pointless this JCU appeal is — even if they were to win the legal war, they lose the scientific, academic and educational one — they prove that they are not the kind of institute taxpayers should be funding.

Peter Ridd was JCU’s best asset until they sacked him. He helped expose manipulated photos of reef fish by a JCU researcher, Oona Lönnstedt, who had already been caught fabricating data in Sweden, and yet JCU “investigated” and sacked Ridd faster than it investigated her suspicious lionfish shots. Other  JCU researchers claimed that “acidification” would make reef fish act strangely. But, Peter Ridd warned a lot of research could not be replicated, and so it was with the odd fish. In January a new paper tried to repeat [...]

Victoria blows up cheapest electricity generator in the state

In 2017 in its last month of operation, the 53 year old Hazelwood coal plant was still operating reliably 24 hours a day at around $30/MWhr and producing 1360MW of electricity. Despite its age, it could peak at 86% of its original rated output.

After Hazelwood closed, wholesale prices jumped 85% in Victoria. And the annual average spot wholesale price in Victoria in the last year was $100/MWH.

So naturally Victoria wants to build more wind power, and blow up old reliable coal. Every single week in January, when electricity demand peaks in Australia, there were days when one old coal plant could have provided more electricity than all 57 new wind farms on the National Electricity Market could.

How much did it cost to build 57 not-there-when-you-need-it wind farms?


The output of all the wind farms in Australia still isn’t enough to reliably produce more than one 50 year old coal plant.


In its lifetime Hazelwood made $15 billion dollars worth of electricity (or 520TWH). It paid for itself many times over.


h/t David B, Serp




Weekend Unthreaded

Hydroxychloroquine Lancet study of 96,000 Covid patients ignores Zinc, wasn’t randomized, has 12% death rate

A new study came out last night in the Lancet which is being used to call for the end of doctors using Choloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid patients without them being enrolled in a clinical trial. Some of the claims about “no chance of any benefit” seem a bit premature given the limits of this kind of study:

Superficially, it looks large and comprehensive but there are three obvious problems with it –

1. It ignores zinc entirely. There is not even a mention of the essential mineral, despite Chloroquine being a well known zinc ionophone (something that pumps a mineral across a cell membrane) and intracellular zinc being identified as a useful anti-viral.

2. It’s not randomized. If doctors are prescribing these drugs to sicker patients or patients with a certain (unknown) genetic risk factor that selection bias (there we go again) could neutralize the entire result. We just don’t know.

3. These were sick people. The total mortality in this whole group was almost 12%. This trial tells us nothing about using these drugs as preventative measures in mild or moderate cases. It doesn’t tell us whether people had symptoms for [...]

Remy discovers the hysterical, shrieking crowds are here for the entitlements.

Some great talent in time for the weekend.

Remy does The Beatles.

The money tap was already running before the visit from a virus. Someone’s going to have to break the bad news…



Written and Performed by Remy |  Produced and Edited by Austin Bragg Music tracks and mastering by Ben Karlstrom

h/t Alexandra

Solar Owners worried Big Brother AEMO wants to turn off their panels at noon in emergencies

Last November at lunchtime 64% of the entire generation of South Australia was coming from across thousands of small generators that the Grid Managers had no control of, and that clouds could wipe out. This is the junk conglomerate infrastructure that billions of dollars in forced subsidies have created.

The AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) has no control over the vagaries of two-thirds of the electricity generation. Audrey Zibelmen has described it as “”It’s almost like driving without your headlights.” She wants new panels to get “smart inverters” which means they can be dumb servants — controlled by the AEMO, just in case there is an emergency — lest the state suffer another System Black. They also want old panels to get the new style inverters when the next replacement is due.

Who could have seen that coming (only anyone with an engineering degree).

Poor solar home owners are feeling pretty miffed. They didn’t realize their panels were never economic, a burden on the grid, and they’ve been riding on the backs of fellow Australians for years. And after reading this ABC story (below), they still won’t know. So it’s a complete surprise to them that the green electrons they [...]