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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The Skeptics Handbook II

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Climate change is coming for your kids — Who knew children are more likely to die in floods, droughts, heatwaves?

Hear Ye!

To all the world’s recalcitrant, absent, and neglectful parents, paediatricians have arrived to tell you to give your kids a drink during a heatwave, pack food to last through droughts, and that you really need global unaccountable committees to look after your kids. Presumably their junkets meetings will be paid for by you.

Kids are “underprioritized”? (So what do they think 2 billion parents are doing?) Children are highly vulnerable to health risks of a changing climate

“…researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Irving Medical Center set out some specific challenges associated with the impacts of climate change on the world’s 2.3 billion children and suggest ways to address their under-prioritized needs.“

Researchers discovered children have “anatomic, cognitive, immunologic, and psychologic differences” which put them at more risk than adults. OK. They’ve noticed kids are small and inexperienced. Ambitiously, they apply this to 2.3 billion children, pretty much all of them here on Earth. That’s your kids, mine, “under prioritized”. Hmm.

The finding that children are vulnerable will shock all the parents who assumed their kids would survive the next flood, malaria, and dengue outbreak without any help. What will [...]

Climate Lobbying is a 2 billion dollar industry — Money talks, but this report has no idea what it is saying

In one of the more pointless and inane “scientific” publications of the year, Brulle et al has added up climate lobbying dollars across the years and sectors, but missed the two largest sectors and blended friend and foe unto homogenised pap. Even Brulle admits that gas companies lobby for climate legislation, while coal companies lobby against it, yet Brulle still lumps them all into the archetypal ogre called “Fossil Fuels”. Let’s perpetuate a mindless stereotype, eh?

Was that an accident or an aim?

Thus and verily do “fossil fuels” predictably outspend environmental organisations:

“Unsurprisingly, sectors that could be negatively affected by bills limiting carbon emissions, such as the electrical utilities sector, fossil fuel companies and transportation corporations had the deepest pockets. Their lobbying efforts dwarfed those of environmental organizations, the renewable energy industry and volunteer groups.”

Fossil fuels didn’t just outspend enviromentalists, they might as well have been them. Shell leaned on World Bank to nobble the competition. It begged for Big-Green subsidies to sequester carbon and lobbied for carbon trading. BP committed to a low carbon world, and went so far as to join Greenpeace and lobby the BBC itself.

Gas companies benefit from climate change [...]

This isn’t Soft Brexit; it is Remain by another name

“Truly heading for the status of colony”

Britain is suddenly very interesting (for the eight hundredth time in the History of Western Civilization). It’s a defining moment. Fans of the establishment didn’t want Brexit,  so they tried a scare campaign, which failed. They tried on a second vote and legal means, and namecalling “xenophobic isolationist” — all the usual. Anything but a polite list of good reasons to stay in (something to counter the brilliant Daniel Hannan’s points, not to mention the happy existence of Switzerland and Norway). Now they wear the cloak and try the Remain By Stealth option (like our Carbon Tax by Stealth). Call it Brexit but make the reality the same. It is an absolute scandal for the working class and poor in the UK. Hence the string of resignations…

The peasants don’t want people in Brussels deciding what kind of hair dryer and vacuum cleaner they may buy.

James Delingpole is in fine form as a spokesperson for the downtrodden:

Brexit, it is now becoming clear, was our Peasants’ Revolt in more ways than one.

It was our Peasants’ Revolt in the sense that it was an uprising [...]

JCU staff too scared to use their uni email – this is what “academic freedom” looks like

Academic Freedom in Australia: Academics are free to use hotmail at work

For the first time in months the ABC suddenly finds time to mention Professor Peter Ridd — but not because he got sacked for an email with the illegal line “for your amusement”.  That new development in academic freedom was not newsworthy on the billion dollar ABC site.  Nor did the-blob’s-ABC feel Australians needed to know that the international outcry over his sacking was so strong that Ridd raised $160,000 in donations in a mere couple of days. However now things are apparently “serious”: other academics at JCU have given up using the official email network, hiding their thoughts on hotmail and gmail instead. Finally, 27 days after he was sacked, the ABC have arrived…

Management of JCU insists Ridd’s sacking was not about academic freedom. But everyone at JCU acts otherwise. Staff at JCU now know exactly how free they are — if they say something the management doesn’t like, they too could be victims of a personalized email trawl. Anyone could lose their job at any time for falling foul of a selectively enforced and unknowable “code of conduct”.

James Cook University staff avoid using emails [...]

Don Aitken: Peter Ridd was sacked because he threatened the Money Making Engine at Uni

The university grant engine is just a part of the whole Green Scare Machine. Click to enlarge.

Science Funding is monopsonistic, one-sided and poses a real threat to science. Governments are strangling research. The more money governments throw at politicized science, the tighter the deadly grip.

Read the cutting commentary from Don Aitkin — the former vice-chancellor of the University of Canberra and foundation chairman of the Australian Research Council. There’s a vested interest here, rarely discussed, that has ballooned in the last thirty years to billions of dollars.

In The Australian and on Aitken’s blog

Don’t you Dare Upset The Money Making Machine

The engine works this way. There is strong pressure on all academics to bring in research grant money for the department, the faculty and university. Those who do it well find their careers advancing quickly. To assist them there are media sections in universities whose job it is to frame the research work of academics in a way that will gain the attention of the media. Such media releases will come with as arresting a headline as the media section can devise. Buzzwords like ‘breakthrough’, ‘crucial’, ‘cutting edge’ and ‘revolution’ will [...]

One third of Australia wants public ABC spending cut. That’s 14 cents a day but Not Worth It

New essential poll today shows 35% of respondents support cutting spending on the ABC.

The ABC once had a hallowed status, but those days are over. One in three Australians are not enthused with non-stop naked Green-Labor advertising combined with derision and scorn for the deplorable half of the population.

We pay 14 cents a day for the ABC and it’s not worth it.

ABC ratings  plummet 13% in the last year

Showing that this survey is not an abberation, the whole nation is voting with the remote control:

Last week ABC News attracted about 660,000 viewers in the mainland capital cities. This compares with about 760,000 viewers a year ago.

That’s a trend line headed for zero by 2025.

Most Australians don’t watch the prime time 7pm news service they are forced to pay for. Apparently the ABC is a subsidy package for poor inner city elites who can afford to live in Darlinghurst but not to pay for their own news service.

The ABC rescue plan is a workshop on telling stories

The ABC solution yesterday is to get better at “storytelling”. It does not include employing a second conservative or libertarian commentator (one, Amanda Vanstone, [...]

James Cook Uni goes nuclear on free speech: Professor Peter Ridd sacked

UPDATE Watch Peter Ridd on Sky News. I’ll be on the show myself next Sunday. – Jo

Peter Ridd as a first year undergraduate science student at James Cook University back in 1978.

This is so much bigger than just one man and one university. Academic staff everywhere will be watching, most to see if they can say what they really think, but others, conversely to see whether James Cook University can get away with this. Can they squelch opinions they don’t like this easily?

James Cook Uni needs to be punished, mocked and heads should roll. We didn’t ask for this test, but it’s here. JCU don’t deserve a single dollar of taxpayer funds while they maintain this ridiculous anti-intellectual and political pogrom.

Peter Ridd wants his job back and he’s willing to fight to get it. Let’s help him!

Peter Ridd’s new website.                             Donate at his GoFundMe page.

Summary of Allegations with brief explanation

First they tried to punish Peter Ridd for daring to question divine institutions and sacred peer review. These are the words JCU wanted banned: [...]

Our Socialist Electricity Grid works perfectly for everyone except consumers

What destroys a grid faster than than a socialist electricity system? A semi-socialist system that pretends to be a free market.

This hybrid monster combines the worst of both socialism and capitalism at the same time. Socialists get the power to destroy, then capitalists can use self serving interest to make it happen faster.

The socialist managers can pick loser options (wind and solar), rig the market, and also conveniently blame the market when things go wrong. In a pure socialist system, at least the public know who created the mess.

What socialism created — socialism can partly solve

In a free market Liddell’s cheap coal power would not be closing in 2022.  Since we have no free market, and can’t suddenly create one, the only band-aid option is to buy the damn asset back:

Ron Boswell gets it:

If someone suggested that $3 billion in consumer-funded subsidies be paid to one energy source every year for the next 12 years, and if that one energy source was guaranteed significant market share for every one of those years, and if there were hundreds of millions of dollars available in grants and concessional loans to projects limited to that [...]

Electricity prices fell for forty years in Australia, then renewables came…

Electricity prices declined for forty years. Obviously that had to stop.

Here’s is the last 65 years of Australian electricity prices — indexed and adjusted for inflation. During the coal boom, Australian electricity prices declined decade after decade.  As renewables and national energy bureaucracies grew, so did the price of electricity. Must be a coincidence…

Today all the hard-won masterful efficiency gains of the fifties, sixties and seventies have effectively been reversed in full.

Indexed Real Consumer Electricity Prices, Australia, 1955-2017.

For most of the 20th Century the Australian grid was hotch potch of separate state grids and mini grids. (South Australia was only connected in 1990). In 1998 the NEM (National Energy Market) began, a feat that finally made bad management possible on a large scale. Though after decades of efficiency gains, Australians would have to wait years to see new higher “world leading” prices. For the first years of the NEM prices stayed around $30/MWh.

But sooner or later  a national system is a sitting duck for one small mind to come along and truly muck things up.

Please spread this graph far and wide.

Thanks to a Dr Michael Crawford who did the original, [...]

Seven reasons why BHP — a giant coal miner — wants to stop lobbying FOR coal

BHP is throwing its weight around to stop the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) saying what most miners want on climate change.

What coal company wants lobbyists not to lobby for coal?

The gauntlet is down — Which heavyweight will blink first?

In one corner — The MCA — the main lobby group for miners. It’s very effective, and wants to dump the renewables target (“yay” say most miners!). In the other corner — BHP –which has just threatened to quit unless the MCA stops being skeptical of climate change.

Thing is, BHP is the largest member of the MCA, providing 17% of the funding. The colossal miner is so big, it can do its own deals. Essentially, the Minerals Council needs BHP more than BHP needs the Minerals Council. BHP is testing it’s power.

A tough test for the MCA

In Australia, the MCA is influential enough that their fierce anti-mining tax campaign helped to bring down a Prime Minister and when industries want to threaten governments they talk of running a campaign “like it”.

If they fold and serve their largest client, effectively burning off almost all their smaller clients, then the smaller clients should quit and [...]