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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Victoria: it’s democracy and medical science, and getting better fast

The good news: Lockdowns will end sooner than expected. Not soon enough for some desperate businesses, but sooner than Dan Andrew’s modelers thought.

As I predicted, Victoria is doing better than the models estimated. Many people focus on the “daily new cases” but the “unknown source cases” is a better, more forward looking tool. And the success there in Victoria (finally) augurs well.

In Newspoll today we find — also as I predicted from the outset of the pandemic  — that health is priority one for most voters, and that, as drastic as the restrictions are in Victoria, most voters are happy to give up some freedom temporarily in order to save, not just lives, but the hardship and unknown health effects, and the burden on healthworkers.

Right-leaning small business owners and entrepreneurs are much more comfortable taking risks, but most of the population are not. It’s a personality type thing. It’s not going to change. What’s not fair though, is that those happy to take risks are bearing more of the costs while public servants like Dan Andrews are getting pay rises. It’s obscene.

The blunt numbers: Despite the strict restrictions, fully 71% of Victorians view the restrictions as [...]

Get ready for Climate Hustle 2: Coming Thursday 8pm!

Just in time for the US election. Climate Hustle 2 is almost a Who’s Who of the climate skeptic world. It’s a documentary of the power games, dirty tricks and brazen hypocrisy behind the push for a global governance through the excuse of carbon dioxide. It’s about the way children are used as pawns, trained in schools to “become a whole generation of obedient voters”. It’s Eisenhower’s warning, and Nineteen Eighty Four. It’s the Rise of the Climate Monarchy.

Marc Morano and CFACT have circled the world, interviewing everyone from Richard Lindzen, to the late great Bob Carter, to Vauclav Klaus and Patrick Moore, the man Greenpeace erased. There’s Christopher Monckton, Will Happer, Roger Pielke, Tim Ball, Don Easterbrook, Senator Malcolm Roberts, Anthony Watts… too many to name, even briefly, Jo Nova. This is aimed at a wider audience than the skeptics who will be familiar with the battles of the last ten years. But even for the die-hards, there’s something good about putting faces to so many names.

Worldwide, the online premiere is set to take place on September 24th at 8 p.m. (in every time zone around the world … including yours in Australia!). For those [...]

Thanks to wind and solar power, Australians have to drive to work to save the planet

Australians used to have an electricity grid that gave them the freedom to work from home

For years they told us to work at home to help the environment.  But thanks to a decentralized unreliable grid, Australians are now being warned that it will be a “disaster” for the grid if they stay home and work with their air conditioner on in summer.

Now we better drive to work so the solar-windy-grid doesn’t fall over:

Why working from home could be a disaster for Australia’s electricity grid this summer

Emma Elsworthy, ABC

Air conditioners could send Australia’s power grid into meltdown this summer, as roughly one third of the workforce do their jobs from home, experts have warned.

According to research company Roy Morgan, more than 4.3 million Australians are working from home…

But warmer weather has come with a warning that increased use of air-conditioning in homes could lead to more blackouts and higher electricity bills.

“Air-conditioning is what drives our maximum demand in Australia,” said Peter Dobney, the former founding chairman of the Energy Users Association of Australia.

“We can expect higher prices, in fact, I [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Snowy 2.0, twice the cost, half the value, wastes a quarter of the energy, and wrecks the environment

The Snowy 2.0 Scheme is a $10 billion bandaid to make up for Wind and Solar’s unreliability. Hydro storage is an anti-generator that destroys 20-30% of the electricity fed into it. It turns out it also destroys three quarters of the money fed into it, and some of the environment as well. What’s not to like?

by Steve Hunter. h/t StopTheseThings

Today a Who’s Who of Australian engineering are scathing about Snowy 2.0 in The Australian

The mammoth pumped Hydro scheme is a $10 billion dollar disaster that will never pay for itself, is already being superceded by battery technology, and will scar the land, infect pristine alpine lakes, risk critically endangered species, damage fishing grounds, and breach the Biosecurity Act in a National park. (Where are the environmentalists, Tim Flannery? Does anyone care?)

Pumped Hydro doesn’t even work on a small scale. Projects like it are being junked around the country before they get built and there has been only one other pumped hydro project “committed” in the last 20 years.

On the revenue side, the output of Snowy 2.0 from 2025 to 2042 is now forecast to be less than half the business case estimate, [...]

The UK’s “End of Coal” lasted a whole week

What happens when the Glorious Coal Free Future meets summer:

How a ‘coal-free’ UK has returned to coal

Terry McCrann, The Herald Sun

Back in June, they separately sprung tweet-style to deliriously hail the ‘end of coal’ in the UK.

[Former PM, Kevin] Rudd tweeted: “For anyone who thinks it cannot be done: the UK has not produced any electricity from coal for the last two months — the longest period since the Industrial Revolution. Let that sink in,” he concluded with all the deadening portentousness he could muster.

But then it got warm, calm, and everyone wanted to use the air con:

..not only did the Brits go back to coal to keep the lights on – and, as they baked in a mid-20s ‘heatwave’, the aircons as well – they really shovelled some coal.

At its peak this week, the UK was getting nearly 3000MW from coal, well more than three times the 800MW or so coming from all the wind turbines, both those that despoil the British landscape and those parked equally hideously offshore.

Where are the headlines: Victorious coal saves the day?

Thursday Open Thread

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Dr. Li-Meng Yan claims The virus is man-made and spread to make damage

Dr Li-Meng Yan worked in the WHO Coronavirus Reference Lab in Hong Kong. She has just published a detailed paper claiming that the SARS-2 coronavirus was artificially made in a laboratory and appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show today.  She also claims it was deliberately spread (though this was slightly ambiguous– listen closely).

We already had enough evidence to know that SARS-Cov2 is a likely bioweapon. (The virus it supposedly evolved from appears to be fake.) This is largely what her paper covers.

 Chinese defector virologist Dr Li-Meng Yan publishes report claiming COVID-19 was made in a lab

Phoebe Looms, News.com

Dr Yan had been working at Hong Kong University’s public health laboratory sciences division, a World Health Organisation infectious diseases research centre, when her boss was asked to investigate the outbreak in Wuhan.

Dr Yan claimed her and her team’s scientific findings were suppressed, and they were told only to report cases linked to the Huanan seafood market. After becoming fearful of her safety, she fled China on a flight bound for Los Angeles in late April.

 Others in her lab said: “ Dr. Yan’s statement does not accord with the key facts as we [...]

Winning: Labor party drops 2030 renewable target, Libs build gas plant, (still scared of climate bullies)

Losing unloseable climate change elections has some effect:

In the 2019 election the Labor emissions ­reduction target was a 45 per cent cut from 2005 levels by 2030:

New Labor manifesto drops emissions targets for 2030

Greg Brown, The Australian

Anthony Albanese has been given the green light to go to the next election without specific climate change targets for 2030, under an ALP draft policy platform that outlines plans to turn Australia into a “renewable energy superpower”.

The party’s preliminary draft platform — obtained by The Australian — was backed by shadow cabinet this month. The document, a third of the size of the 2018 national platform, makes no mention of a 2030 or 2035 emissions reduction or renewable energy targets. The Labor leader is facing an internal push to drop medium-term targets and focus on a policy of net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Labor will ensure that Australia becomes a renewable energy superpower, harnessing our natural advantages in clean energy to become energy independent from the world, while lowering power prices, reaching zero net emissions by 2050,” the document says.

Labor’s overall direction hasn’t changed, they are still captive to the [...]

Tuesday Open Thread

Signs of life on Venus?

All around the world are dawning headlines wondering if we have founds signs of life on Venus.

Despite the hunt for life on star systems that are lightyears from Earth, it turns out there may be something on the Planet-next-door. “May” being the operative word. A team found phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus and can’t think of any other way it could have got there. Phosphine is considered to be a biomarker. And microbes on Earth would have no trouble making it, though none of them could easily survive on Venus where the atmosphere clouds and rain are nearly pure hot sulphuric acid.*

Scientists find gas linked to life in atmosphere of Venus

Ian Sample, The Guardian

Sara Seager, a planetary scientist on the study at MIT in the US, called the finding “mind-boggling”. She hypothesises a lifecycle for Venusian microbes that rain down, dry out and are swept back up to more temperate altitudes by currents in the atmosphere.

For 2bn years, Venus was temperate and harboured an ocean. But today, a dense carbon dioxide atmosphere blankets a near-waterless surface where temperatures top 450C. The clouds in the sky are hardly inviting, containing droplets [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Vitamin D reduced the rate of ICU admission from 50% to 2%. Do black lives matter?

Given that people with dark skin are more likely to be deficient in Vitamin D, wouldn’t studies like these be the best way to show that black lives actually matter? Would you like training in cultural sensitivity or to avoid the intensive care unit?

A free antiviral shining down on you?

In the Castillo study in Spain, 76 patients were randomly assorted into Calciferol treatment ( 0.532 mg Vitamin D ). Of the 26 who didn’t get it, 13 were admitted to the ICU. Of the 50 who got Vitamin D doses on days 1, 3, and 7 — only one ended up in the ICU. It’s worth noting that all patients got HCQ as well, and azithromycin too.

A second study tested 500 people to find out if they were deficient and followed them to see if they caught Covid.

Why has it taken 6 months of pandemic to do these small studies?

Before the pandemic came there was already ample evidence suggesting that it mattered.  Vitamin D influences over 200 genes. Its levels also correlate with lower rates of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease, dental caries, preeclampsia, autoimmune disease, depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. One recent long German study showed half [...]

Thursday Open Thread

They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen?

The sitation in California is just like the one in Australia

Tim Ingalsbee has been fighting fires or trying to prevent them since 1980. He founded Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology.

They know how to prevent megafires

Elizabeth Weil, ProRepublica

So what’s it like? “It’s just … well … it’s horrible. Horrible to see this happening when the science is so clear and has been clear for years. I suffer from Cassandra syndrome,” Ingalsbee said. “Every year I warn people: Disaster’s coming. We got to change. And no one listens. And then it happens.”

The pattern is a form of insanity: We keep doing overzealous fire suppression across California landscapes where the fire poses little risk to people and structures. As a result, wildland fuels keep building up.

This week we’ve seen both the second- and third-largest fires in California history. “The fire community, the progressives, are almost in a state of panic,” Ingalsbee said. There’s only one solution, the one we know yet still avoid. “We need to get good fire on the ground and whittle down some of that fuel load.”

Modern Californians are burning 0.1% of what [...]