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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David Archibald: Australia Defence Policy (plus Perth speech Weds 7pm)

Perth readers: Free Public Lecture Australia’s Defence By David Archibald, 7:00pm at the Irish Club, Perth, WA.  Wednesday 25th May 2016

[Hear the 2GB interview with David last October]

__________________________________

David asked to crowdsource policies for the upcoming election, so China, Subs, RAAF, F-35s and more below…

Defence Policy

by David Archibald

The world is becoming more dangerous as US predominance recedes. A revanchist Russia is not expected to trouble Australia. The biggest near term threat is Chinese aggression in East Asia. Chinese attempts to expand its territory are quite likely to lead to war with a number of southeast Asian states, Japan and the United States. Australia will become involved because of our treaties with Japan and the United States. The worst outcome is that China wins a conflict in East Asia and dictates terms to Australia and other countries. A war in East Asia, whatever the outcome, is likely to result in countries acquiring nuclear weapons to counter aggressive hegemons like China.

[...]

Children win Climate Change legal case: lose future economy

Children Win Another Climate Change Legal Case In Mass Supreme Court

[Forbes] This case is one of several similar cases in federal district courts in Oregon and Washington, and in the state courts of North Carolina, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Colorado. All of these legal cases are supported by Our Children’s Trust, that seeks the legal right of our youth to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate in the future.

How about the legal right of our youth to live in a sustainable civilization? What if a stable climate costs more than a stable economy can afford?

Other parents might hope their children have the right to inherit a stable currency, and a government without trillions in debt.

Championed by Professor Mary Christina Wood in the Law School at the University of Oregon under the idea of Atmospheric Trust Litigation, these lawsuits claim that a government elected by the people and for the people has a duty to protect the natural systems required for the people’s survival.

So if the government is elected by the people to make these kinds of decisions, why is a court deciding public policy? The children of Massachusetts are free to [...]

Brilliant BREXIT speech by Daniel Hannan. UPDATE See the Movie.

If there is anyone out there who hasn’t seen the M.P. Daniel Hannan speech on BREXIT  two weeks ago, it’s worth your 6 minutes. It’s articulate. Compelling. Why would any great nation vote to give up their right to set their own laws and negotiate their own deals?

The EU is it’s own best example of big-government grown too big. As Hannan says, the “Every continent on this planet has grown over the past decade except Antartica and the European Union.” And it is so much more than just economics, but economics is the main reason given to stay.

“It’s not just the financial price of EU membership – it’s the democratic price.

We fought a civil war in this country to establish the principle that laws should not be passed nor taxes raised except by our own elected representatives. And now supreme power is held by people who tend to owe their positions to having just lost elections: Peter Mandelson, Neil Kinnock and what have you.

 

No one is talking about drawbridges or isolation. Nowhere else in the world do countries apologise for wanting to live under their own laws. [...]

BBC finds wind farms have no effect on climate

For a moment I thought the BBC was tackling a very important question:

Wind farms’ climate impact recorded for first time

Most taxpayers want to know whether wind farms have an impact on our global climate. But the BBC are looking at whether wind farms cause warming on the square kilometer below them. A question hot on the lips of almost no people.

In the first study of its kind, scientists have been able to measure the climatic effect of a wind farm on the local environment.

The team said its experiment showed that there was a very slight warming at ground level and that it was localised to within a wind farm’s perimeter.

Data suggested the operation of onshore wind farms did not have an adverse ecological effect, the group added.

That will presumably reassure all three residents living under wind-farms who were worried about their house overheating, or the clothes not drying on the line.

It may not reassure the 99.9% of the UK people who pay for the BBC and hope to see it report something useful. Voters might have preferred to see a cost benefit analysis on the billion-dollar industry: [...]

Cut carbon emissions by 50%? — Greens nightmare — Coal gasification may be the answer

A new MIT report suggests a better way to use coal in power-stations and potentially cut CO2 emissions by 50%. The process involves gasifying coal and producing electricity in one process at the same site. The coal only has to be heated once,  and the electricity comes from a fuel cell, not a fire — it’s a chemical reaction across a membrane.  The output is potentially much more efficient, and makes no ash. The researchers argue we could get twice as much electricity for each ton of coal burned. Currently coal fired power pulls out 30% of the chemical energy in coal, but coupling these two processes might increase it to 55-60%.

This report is based on simulations, but the separate processes are already well developed and running. The next step would be a fully functioning pilot plant to put the two together and test the idea. If there was the political will it could be done in a few years. There probably won’t be.

The Greens of course will hate the idea because the Evil-Factor of coal is near 100%.

In the eco-collectivist-world, cutting “carbon” is important, but apparently not as important as propping up a dependent lobby group [...]

Kill the Deniers — a government-funded fantasy play where “guns” solve climate issues

This is your brain on government funding (pace Mark Steyn). The government of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) gave $18k to a theatre group to put on a play called “Kill the Deniers”. Now, lucky us, we can read the e-book. Because the climate debate really needs more guns, hostages, brute force, and threats right?

Well, it does if you don’t have any evidence.

“Kill the Deniers” — All the wit and wisdom of government funded “arts”. Can’t persuade the voters? Shoot their representatives.

The Kill the Deniers e-book is coming:

…writer and theatre-maker whose work sits at the intersection of art and science, [David] Finnigan said Kill Climate Deniers grew out of discussions with Aspen Island Theatre Company’s Julian Hobba.

‘We got really interested in talking about the climate debate, and we were wondering why it was that in Australia the debate had stalled so badly; what is it about this country? And then we moved on to asking what would it take to shift the debate forward again – what would it actually take to generate real political change?’ said Finnigan.

Why did the debate stall? They could have done some research and [...]

Strangled science: Govt asks dumb questions and scientists lie to get grants

It’s just another way the bureaucracy is throttling science. In grant applications the government asks scientists to tell us what impact the discoveries they haven’t made yet will have on the world. The scientists dutifully make something up, knowing the whole process is unscientific, but what does it matter? A little lie here, a little lie there and pretty soon we’re rewarding corruption.

Does Government-science punish the honest? Everyone behaves as if it does:

Another professor in Australia said: “It’s really virtually impossible to write an (Australian Research Council) ARC grant now without lying.”

Times Higher Education

Academics ‘regularly lie to get research grants’

Scholars in the UK and Australia contemptuous of impact statements and often exaggerate them, study suggests

A new study anonymously interviewed 50 senior academics from two research-intensive universities – one in the UK and one in Australia – who had experience writing “pathways to impact” (PIS) statements, as they are called in the UK, and in some cases had also reviewed such statements.

It was normal to sensationalise and embellish impact claims, the study published in Studies in Higher Education found.

We reward those who exaggerate, then wonder [...]

ABC news is bread and circuses agitprop, nothing to see on matters of national importance

UPDATE: For those who can’t see the ABC footage we have a copy at dropbox, thanks to Panda.

UPDATE #2: This episode has now been pulled from the ABC website 13 days early. The ABC, with its billion dollar budget, has a website to show all its programs for 14 days after they run. But for no stated reason this one has been deleted after just one day. Did the ABC not like us discussing it? (H/t to Panda). Thank goodness we have a copy. [Screencap of current ABC page here.]

h/t to Peter Q. Thanks to Andrew M as well.

Dennis Jensen has  a lot to say on matters of national importance, but the ABC doesn’t ask him very often about those.

Tonight Dr Dennis Jensen was just the “Climate denier” target who had stepped over the line on another topic — breaking a sacred taboo. He might lose pre-selection. He might be out of a job. The ABC seem to think we care about the party political machinations more than the suffering of Australian citizens, which Jensen had been trying to get us to discuss. Instead the ABC went into great details of [...]

Paris was an enviro-fail, but a PR success, and political win — it’s a non-binding, non-treaty, but real commitment.

Watch the pea. What does it mean to have a non-binding non-treaty, at the same time as a real “commitment”? It’s all semantics, and, as usual, word games are the weapons of big-bureaucrats. Don’t be fooled into thinking Paris was no threat to the free West.

As I keep saying, the climate conference in Paris was not trying to reduce CO2 or change the climate. The real aim is an endless free lunch for freeloaders. The Politicites didn’t get the legally binding agreement they dream of, but what they got may turn out to be almost as good.  Marlo Lewis explains it may yet be politically binding on the target rich Western nations, which is all that really matters.  It’s the  best strategic review I’ve seen of what happened in Paris.

It was no accident that it was “non-binding”. That was part of the plan.

They were never going to get a legal treaty through the US Congress, so the aim became a deal that was “non-binding” and not a “treaty” because things that are overtly legal have to go through Congress. Instead, the bureaucrat class want to go around the voters. By simply declaring that Obama’s promises mean [...]

Lo! Shark god protects us from storms, floods, heatwaves (sayth Nature & ABC)

Big news: A new endogenous forcing found for climate change — sharks. For millions of years you thought predator-prey relationships were just about big fish having dinner, but not so, they are climate forcings. Sharks cool the planet, and stop storms, floods, droughts and malaria. Crabs, on the other hand, pollute like a coal company. It’s a miracle that the planet made it through the last billion years without the EPA managing the  shark-crab numbers thing. This ABC interview inspired me to channel the spirit of neolithic science.

The dusken-shark doth smite the naughty fishies and give us nice weather

New research has found that sharks play an important role in preventing climate change, warning that overfishing and culling sharks is resulting in more carbon being released from the seafloor.

“Sharks, believe it or not, are helping to prevent climate change,” said Dr Peter Macreadie, an Australian Research Council Fellow from Deakin University and one of the paper’s authors.

Sharks: Good.  Crabs and Turtles: Bad.  Kill those turtles!

“Turtles, crabs, certain types of worms, stingrays — these animals that are overabundant to do with loss of predators used to keep their numbers in check,” [...]