JoNova

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


Handbooks


Advertising


Australian Speakers Agency



GoldNerds

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



Archives

Books

JCU appeals Ridd decision: James Cook Uni vows to waste more funds in quest to stamp out opinions

JCU protects reputations not the reef

….

Despite losing on all 17 points in a case that should never have gone to trial –

Sarah Elks, The Australian:

James Cook University is appealing a decision …  Federal Court documents reveal JCU has briefed one of Australia’s top barristers, Bret Walker SC, to argue it was legal for the north Queensland university to sack Dr Ridd last year after he publicly criticised its climate change science.

Physics professor Dr Ridd will on Monday launch an online bid for crowd-funding to help pay his legal costs, asking for an extra $1.5m, after supporters already tipped in $260,000 to help fund his unfair dismissal claim. Dr Ridd has spent $200,000 of his own money.

“It’s diabolically expensive because we expect it to go all the way to the High Court,” he said. “In the end, this is a battle for academic freedom. It’s about not allowing universities to stifle free speech.

James Cook Uni will dig deeper into taxpayer funds instead of doing research, in order to protect the reputation of overpaid bureaucrats:

Liberal senator James Paterson tells Alan Jones: “It looks like, so [...]

Under seige: The Conversation pulls the weak “trust your doctor or Climate God” excuse

Today, for your amusement, Misha Ketchell, ex-ABC journalist, editor and ED of The Conversation scrambles to justify why banning half the population from speaking is not censorship. It’s almost a form of satire, but it’s not that clever.

He pulls out the old Argument from Authority and Ad Hom fallacies, known since Aristotle. He’s only 2,300 years behind the leading edge of rhetoric. Worse, the journalist doesn’t even understand the basics of journalism — as in, to research, present the best of both sides, and let the readers decide. Instead Ketchell, whose top scientific qualification is watching the ABC for twenty years, has decided that climate sensitivity of CO2 on planet Earth is 3.3C give or take nothing.

The biggest scandal of university research and science is there waiting to be told, but Ketchell-the-journo is 100% obedient to a collection of unaccountable foreign committee members who do unaudited work with unvalidated models.

Here come the excuses:

There’s a good reason we’re moderating climate change deniers: uninformed comments undermine expertise’

Real experts just answer the questions, they aren’t scared of the uninformed. Why is it only climate science where we need to protect the public from know-nothing comments? Either the punters [...]

“The Conversation” gives up conversing, admits defeat on climate, bans all skeptical scientists from commenting!

What kind of conversation only has one side? Paid propaganda.

The Conversation is a site established** by your taxpayer dollars, in countries where 50 – 60% of the entire population don’t agree with the IPCC’s dominant mantra. Yet no matter how qualified you are, no matter how good your argument, your evidence and your data, you, we, half the population, is now banned. The editor Misha Ketchell has officially  blocked unbelievers, and thus effectively admitted that they can’t reply to skeptics, and that skeptics are posing too many questions they can’t answer. They’ve been deleting skeptical comments for years, so it’s good that they finally have the honesty to admit it.

The irony of a site called “The Conversation” which won’t allow a conversation is perfect Owellian Newspeak. Let’s just call it The Conversion from now on (thanks Travis) — the mission is to help converts keep the faith. Yesterday they published hatemail from Tim Flannery calling scientists who disagreed, deniers who are “predatory threats” to his own children. Today they’re banning half the population.

If only they had evidence they wouldn’t need to ban people:

….

The poor snowflake believers of the Windmills-change-the-weather religion can’t cope with hearing [...]

Peter Ridd: The Great Barrier Reef has about the same amount of coral as in 1985

The IPA team interview Peter Ridd. He explains that what’s happening on the Great Barrier Reef with coral bleaching is a normal cycle. He tells his story of being censured at James Cook university, but admits the state of free speech at universities in Australia is non-existent — even after his win. They discuss how we might reform science with audits (universities are almost a lost cause). We’ll probably never know how many scientists think similar thoughts to Peter Ridd. We know that they’ll need a $250,000 legal fund if they say so.

UPDATE: Importantly — Ridd says that the admin are still utterly convinced they are right. They have no remorse, no recognition of why they were wrong. Does this mean admin staff now decide what science is, not Profs? Apparently so. They hold the purse strings, not the Profs. Power follows the money. Indeed, JCU has no commitment to free speech; they’ve now removed the clause that ensured Ridd won. In their minds, their mistake was not in being draconian, but being careless with legal clauses. The Deep State tightens its stranglehold on science.

Peter Ridd: Of all the ecosystems in the world, the reef is one that’s [...]

Peter Ridd versus James Cook Uni — Free Speech on trial in two weeks

Peter Ridd in Brisbane getting ready for the trial.

Peter Ridd’s court case is set for 26 to 28th March in Brisbane. He invites  you to watch the proceedings (Jennifer Marohasy says she’ll be there, all three days!). Go on…

If James Cook Uni (JCU) wins, they lose. Whatever happens, the taxpayer lost a long time ago.

On a philosophical note, in my opinion JCU will lose the ethical argument even if they manage to win on some narrow legal definition. If they win, it will mean that a judge has decided that a university has set up legally binding contracts that give them the power to effectively take away the right to intellectual freedom of an academic and silence him/her. That would be something of a pyrrhic victory. The university hierarchy may feel vindicated but the general public, especially those in North Queensland who are most affected by the questionable Great Barrier Reef science, will take a different view. But without getting over-confident, I reckon the chances of us winning are considerably above average, so we will see. — Peter Ridd, March 2019

Ridd’s employment contract says he has the right to speak freely, [...]

Australians: destroying their grid faster than any country on Earth

Australians are the Renewable crash Test Dummies

As I said for free and two months before the ANU,  with a 50% annual growth in renewables, Australia is ramping up unreliable power faster than anywhere.

Now comes a paper: Australia: the renewable energy superstar showing that, per capita, Australia is installing unreliable generators in a blitzkrieg pace, more than twice as fast as Germany is, and 4-5 times faster per capita than the EU, USA, Japan and China. No other dummies are even in the race. The largest coal exporter in the world is working harder than anyone to destroy its largest export earner — which would be noble if only there was more to it than being a magical spell to ward off storms.

This is a legendary paper and very helpful. Save the link, copy the reference, send it to your MP, your friends, your newspaper! Why not head to the launch at ANU at 5:30pm, 14th Feb?

Never again can anyone get away with national flagellation for “not doing enough”. Henceforth Green and Labor M.P.’s will stop calling us a national joke, a pariah, and a disgrace. (Though, actually, all those things are true, for the opposite [...]

Eco-psychology: NEW Free helpline, handbook, for climate change mental illness

After thirty years of Green-Blob disaster porn, there are casualties.

Climate change [propaganda] takes a toll on our minds

Psychologist Susie Burke tells the story of a woman who came to her for counselling after having her first child. Not because she was suffering from post-natal depression, but because she was “struggling with the enormity of what she had done.” She felt she had brought her child into a “world she knew was going to be a lot harsher and a lot less safe,” Burke told DW.

“She came to me when she was overwhelmed by this distress; questioning whether she had done the right thing. The fear she had for his future was really huge.”

 Look out for the new hotline (Can someone find this number?)

Burke is an Australian psychologist and academic who specializes in eco-psychology. She treats people suffering mental illness as a result of climate change, and also recently set up a free hotline called the “Climate Change Psychological Support Network,” where Australians can call a qualified psychologist to talk through their feelings about environmental change.

Look out for the handbook:

‘The Climate Change Empowerment Handbook’ is a handy guide [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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: [...]

Mysterious thing called Populism affecting wildlife

If only there was no populism:

ScienceDaily.   Researchers at Colorado State University and The Ohio State University have found that a cultural backlash stemming from the rise of populism may limit opportunities for state fish and wildlife agencies to adapt to changing social values in the United States. The team reached this conclusion by analyzing more than 12,000 surveys from 19 states and studying ballot initiatives related to hunting.

Unwind your way through that maze. Academics have spent thousands of dollars to discover that some people have different values to academics. Some people who don’t like new laws are protesting, and that may stop “unlimited” changes. Isn’t that democracy?

In the case of human-wildlife conflict, traditionalists would be more likely to support lethal wildlife control methods while mutualists would be more supportive of restrictions on humans.

After two million years of meat-eating, I’d say homo traditionalist had already been “affecting the wildlife”. Even before the rise of populismisticness.

But if populism is pop-u-lar, what kind of “changing social values” do fish and wildlife agencies really need to adapt to anyway? If the changes are less popular, who says we need to change?

The problem is “Trust [...]

Germans get paid to use junk electricity: Wind power generates when people DONT want it

Welcome to the world of baby-economics where people think a “negative” price is a sign of success. In Simpletown people are cheering. But in the real world a price signal that’s negative tells us that someone is selling something so awful they have to pay someone to take it away. It’s a burden that must be got rid of, like trash.

Germany set to pay customers for electricity usage as renewable energy generation creates huge power surplus – The Independent

Electrons cannot be created nor destroyed. If you make them, you have to deal with them. Negative pricing is a bad thing, a sign of “junk electricity” — a burden. It’s utter nonsense in a free market.

From the outset, I’m skeptical that anyone is actually paying someone to take electricity.  If wind farms were coughing up dollars (euro) to “customers” surely they would just disconnect their spinning thingo from the grid? Who wants to be a shareholder in a company that forgets to lock the turbine, or press the “off” switch, and has to pay customers to take its electronic trash? The truth (whatever it is) will turn out to be some variation of an unfree market. Probably [...]

Uni NSW Journalism lecturer gives advice on how to cleanse your news sources

Christopher Kremmer, Senior Lecturer in Literary & Narrative Journalism, School of the Arts & Media, UNSW, wants to help you shield yourself from worldviews that you don’t like, so he provides a detailed “how to” list of ways to make sure you filter out, specifically, news.com.

This man lectures in journalism. Instead of teaching journalism students on how to logically outplay and counter arguments and spot the flaws, he’s teaching them to cleanse their feeds lest they be exposed to inconvenient worldviews.

The team that has no evidence and no answers has to find a way to compensate for their intellectual vacuum.

Taking control of who gets to send us news

… before I had even typed in my search terms, it was apparent that my options had been narrowed. The news list that the aggregator threw up was dominated by websites whose idea of what constitutes news is very different to my own.

It takes a lot of effort to build an information silo:

One by one, I began blocking offending mastheads, then refreshing the browser to check the progress of my censorship. It takes a while because news websites use multiple addresses to maximise reader access. [...]

Ivy league profs warns of the vice of conformism: “Think for yourself”

This is a good sign.  Fifteen Ivy league professors have offered advice and a warning to students everywhere –to recapture the spirit of truthseeking and free debate. The message might just catch on, because although the young strive to conform to fashionable norms, approximately none of them want to be seen doing so. Who wants to be a the weak minded conformist?

The real bigots are those who fear open-minded enquiry…

It’s sad that it needs to be said, but we don’t train children to question fashionable truths and always look at both sides.

Our advice can be distilled to three words:

Think for yourself.

Now, that might sound easy. But you will find—as you may have discovered already in high school—that thinking for yourself can be a challenge. It always demands self-discipline and these days can require courage.

In today’s climate, it’s all-too-easy to allow your views and outlook to be shaped by dominant opinion on your campus or in the broader academic culture. The danger any student—or faculty member—faces today is falling into the vice of conformism, yielding to groupthink.

It is great to see them stepping into [...]