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

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


Advertising

micropace


GoldNerds

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



Archives

Books

Looks like “Fake English” when a fake word wins “Word of the Year” by Macquarie Dictionary

When a word that isn’t a word wins Word of the Year prize, we know Macquarie has lost it.

Bowing to the God of Political Correctness, Macquarie Dictionary has just named “Fake News” as Word of the Year.

In real English, “Fake news” is two words, otherwise known as a phrase. Separately both words have real and easy-to-understand meanings. Together they have become the the latest meaningless slur as the mainstream media realize they are losing power and influence to the real news on blogs and in the alt-media. The old-media is  trying to stop the bleed by labeling the new media as “fake”. Instead of namecalling, the old-media could win easily if it just reported the real news.

When a word that isn’t a word wins Word of the Year prize, we know Macquarie has lost it. If any Macquarie products are on your back-to-school booklists, buy something else. Who wants to teach our kids fake English?

This is the latest attempt by wordsmiths to destroy the language honest people use. We need accurate words to slice and dice arguments of parasites, freeloaders, and self-serving fools. “News” used to mean the whole story and all the facts that [...]

Antarctic scientists may find climate Holy Grail, ice with magic 7 digit age

ABC news tells us intrepid researchers are in a race for the sacred key. The news is a sexed up advert for climate funding done in the theme of Raiders of the Lost Ice:

“It’s the “holy grail of climate science”, a piece of ice so old that it might be able to reveal the climate of the past and help predict the future of Earth’s atmosphere.

And Australia’s Antarctic scientists are now part of an international race to find the ancient time capsule.

So, what is it?

Somewhere deep below the surface of Antarctica, ice has laid untouched for a million years or more — it’s believed to be the world’s oldest ice“

I don’t know why scientists think the million year mark is so holy, they’ve pretty much ignored the message in the first 800,000 years. They hunted and drilled but the telex from prehistory kept saying temperature controls CO2, not the other way around.

Either CO2 followed the temp, or CO2 stayed high, but temp did its own thing. (See the spot from circa 130,000BC, for about 15,000 years? CO2 was at “record highs” unseen for 120,000 years, but that didn’t stop [...]

Award winning Peter Boyer attacks Myron Ebell — but who has an open mind, and who is in denial?

Peter Boyer seems to think Myron Ebell owes him an apology, but it’s the other way around. And Boyer ought say sorry to his readers.

“Science Communication” is a pretty dismal, immature profession. It’s so bad that an award-winning science communicator can talk about  “blunt denial” even while denying basic tenets of logic and appearing to have done almost no research on the global warming debate. If he was ever taught the basics of reasoning, like “correlation is not causation” or “all models are wrong but some are useful,” he’s long forgotten them. What’s an Order of Australia worth these days? Apparently not much.

If he had the open mind he talks about, he might have bothered to read the skeptical sites before he wrote an article. We’d have provided all the evidence an open mind could need to know that Myron Ebell is right on the money. So here Peter, with all due respect, is the red pill — the stuff the UNSW profs of climate crisis won’t tell you even if you dared to ask them.

Talking Point: Keeping an open mind in climate of blunt denial

Peter Boyer

Asked in 2012 what he [...]

Despite record hottest year even a loaded vague climate survey shows 61% don’t agree with experts

After the hottest ever El Nino year with relentless propaganda on Australian media,  even a loaded survey finds that only 39% of Australians agree that humans are the major drivers of the climate. The survey is being painted as a success by obedient “journalists”. But this is not skyrocketing support, it’s more likely last gasp noise. The results will be down again next year (with the weather).

It is yet another meaningless motherhood survey that avoids asking real questions, offers unbalanced answers, and uses the same ambiguous language as most of these pointless surveys do. Would you like apple-pie?

Who doesn’t want nicer weather — and for free?

The questions climate fans are too scared to ask

Obviously The Climate Institute don’t want real answers, which they must know would be devastating. They won’t ask how much people want to pay out their own pocket to fix the climate. They won’t ask people to rank “climate change” against all the other issues they care about.  They won’t ask people if Climate Change is a scam, a con, or a scheme to make the green industry rich (a year ago a US poll showed 31% were happy to call climate change [...]

Selling the dead-dog brand of “climate change” — it’s so ugly, they need 60,000 artist-marketeers

Oh the woe! It’s another pointless round of climate-communication-angst.

The Conversation: Elizabeth Boulton

It’s time for a new age of Enlightenment: why climate change needs 60,000 artists to tell its story

The root problem, supposedly, is that skepticism is spreading. But the real reason is not the communication, it’s the message itself. It is a dead dog. It’s boring, repetitive, wrong, and the end of the world came and went already. Oh wolfitty-wolf.

So stop being unengaging:

Climate information is still often confusing, unengaging and absent from the wider public discourse.

Engage people: set up a real debate, put some reputations on the line and watch the ratings sour. Let Professors pit their wits against skeptics.  Toss in a live audience of engineers and geologists. (Hehe.)

Linguistic analysis found that the most recent IPCC report was less readable than seminal papers by Einstein.

Get with the game. The unreadableness is deliberate. Einstein wanted people to understand his papers.

The older IPCC publications are easier to read. (Try the FAR report.) Back in the days when scientists weren’t trying to pretend the hot spot was there, wasn’t a fingerprint, and doesn’t matter. They weren’t trying to hide [...]

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 [...]

The outrage! One third of US teachers bring climate denial to the classroom

They warn that the results may floor you. Strap yourself in. The National Centre for Science Education (NCSE) surveyed 1500 teachers across the US, and were shocked that a third bring dangerous climate material in to the class.

“At least one in three teachers bring climate change denial into the classroom, claiming that many scientists believe climate change is not caused by humans” says NCSE programs and policy director Josh Rosenau.

Frankly I am amazed. After twenty years of repeating the consensus message how is it that so many teachers are still unable to recite the permitted phrasing?  (And especially in a survey where everyone knows what the right answer is!).

Put on your helmet. As many as half of US teachers actually allow students to discuss the controversy. Unthinkable!

Worse, half of the surveyed teachers have allowed students to discuss the supposed ‘controversy’ over climate change without guiding students to the scientifically supported conclusion.” Scarier still: three out of five teachers were unaware of, or actively misinformed about, the near total scientific consensus on climate change.

Sorry, did I say controversy? I meant “controversy” (any resemblance this debate may have to a real debate is [...]

The Climate Wars are Damaging Science

Matt Ridley has produced the shortest whole, killer summary of the sordid state of climate science, science journalism, and science associations for Quadrant magazine. This is the ideal single-chapter-length-work to bring in anyone who missed the last twenty years of clima-farce, scandal, hubris and hypocrisy.

Matt is not just summing up the way his career as a science writer has transformed, but also writing the best review of the IPA book “Climate Change: The Facts” that I have yet seen. He talks about the way science writers used to ignore the papers that didn’t impress them, and leave it up to the scientists to take them apart, but now the supposedly most esteemed scientists stay silent while abject failures not only get published in the scientific world, but get absurdly lauded in the media, and tweeted by “the President”. Formerly great scientific institutions have turned themselves inside out:

“The Royal Society once used to promise “never to give their opinion, as a body, upon any subject”. Its very motto is “nullius in verba”: take nobody’s word for it. Now it puts out catechisms of what you must believe in. “

Matt’s career, like mine, started with faith that [...]

Cholesterol — how the web and books are years ahead of “Consensus”

Consensus — slowing real science for decades

There is a surprising amount of interest in the cholesterol story of Matt Ridley’s in The Times and The Australian last week. Surprising to me anyway, because 15 years ago the other benevolent side of cholesterol was pretty clear online.  Fifteen years is not a long time in human civilization, but it’s a long time in a human life. And in the case of the war on cholesterol, it’s been running for 40 years. How many people died sooner than they would have, because they followed expert advice?

Finally the official consensus on cholesterol is admitting defeat:

“Any day now, the US government will officially accept the advice to drop cholesterol from its list of “nutrients of concern” altogether. It wants also to “de-emphasise” saturated fat, given “the lack of evidence connecting it with cardiovascular disease”. “

In the late 1990′s it was widely known online (among health zealots) that our livers are mostly in charge of our cholesterol levels, not what’s on our dinner plates. Something like 80% of the cholesterol in our blood came from our own livers, not the food we eat.  Way back then, it was also known [...]

Yale says “Global Warming” is a better misused-phrase for propaganda — dump “climate change”

What’s the point of language — especially in science? If you are naive, you might think it’s to communicate a fixed concept so everyone understands and can voice an opinion on the same thing. You would be wrong. The real purpose of scientific terms is to motivate the punters to behave differently (especially if that means “give us more money”). That’s why the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication has assigned 5 PhD’s and a guy called Feinberg to spend days, weeks and months analyzing surveys to find out which propaganda term is more “effective”. The simple answer is “global warming” ekes out more fear and pain among democrats than “climate change”; therefore expect to see its use rocket.

The Guardian

The survey sample of 1,657 people, compiled over a two-week period late last year, found a large swathe of Americans turned off by the words “climate change”.

“The use of the term climate change appears to actually reduce issue engagement by Democrats, Independents, liberals, and moderates, as well as a variety of subgroups within American society, including men, women, minorities, different generations, and across political and partisan lines,” the researchers said.

Americans in general were 13% more likely to [...]