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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GoldNerds

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



Climate Grief — Believers mourning — It’s denial and anger (but it sure isn’t science)

Those who believe the Glorious Climate Models (GCMs) are in trouble.  Many of them have spent their entire careers soaking in dire predictions, but things are falling apart — (or rather, not falling apart) — the models don’t work, the public doesn’t care, the media are not that interested, and skeptics keep winning Bloggies awards. Spare a thought for them. It’s tough out there for unskeptical people. Children still know what snow is.

Things are unravelling in believer-land and there is pain. They are witnessing “the wholesale destruction of the planet”, or perhaps the death of a hypothesis, which is nearly as bad.

Truthout, where no conspiracy is too grand, and skeptical scientists are bastards

The headline reads:

“Mourning Our Planet: Climate Scientists Share Their Grieving Process”

The 3,000 word extravaganza of psychological pain is published by an NGO aptly called Truthout (think, “LightsOut”?)

“Climate science researchers, scientists, journalists and activists have all been struggling with grief around what we are witnessing.”

There’s an angry professor calling other scientists who disagree “greedy, lying bastards” and talking of backing “you plutocrats, denialists, fossil-fuel hacks “ against the wall. Another professor blames ACD for the driving cause of her [...]

Climate change will hit “Everywhere” harder than “rest of world”

The Prophets of Doom are still at  The Guardian (and the CSIRO)

Climate change will hit Australia harder than rest of world, study shows

The first paragraph contains the word “could”. It’s all a guess based on models they already know are broken:

Australia could be on track for a temperature rise of more than 5C by the end of the century, outstripping the rate of warming experienced by the rest of the world, unless drastic action is taken to slash greenhouse gas emissions, according to the most comprehensive analysis ever produced of the country’s future climate.

But wait, will Australia — a rich, low population country with a temperate climate and surrounded by ocean — really be hit harder than the polar regions, the poor, those closest to rising seas and those living in cyclone zones?

A new website called ClimateChangePredictions is keeping track of the “hardest hit” predictions and can’t find a consensus on this one:

“Rural Australians will be the hardest hitby climate change according to Professor Steve Vanderheiden from the Charles Sturt University (CSU)”

“Sydney’s urban areas to be hit hardest by global warming” — ARC Centre of Excellence for [...]

Nominate your favourite blogs for the 2015 Bloggies — How many categories can skeptics win?

Click to nominate your favourite blogs

Bloggies nominations are open but only til Sunday this week. There is still no Science and Technology category, after 2013 when 4 out 5 finalists were skeptics. Protest by nominating science blogs for all the other categories that apply. As I’ve asked before:

Do these dumb awards matter?  They bring in new traffic, and help bloggers tick credibility boxes with the media and with donors. So yes. If you bother (I know it’s a chore) it is a way to say thanks and to put your favourite sites further up the rankings lists. Think of it as a way to alert more people to the sites you feel deserve more attention. It’s free advertising for them. You might have a bit more sway if you also tick the box “I’d like to be on the panel of voters who choose the finalists”.

They may have axed the Science and Technology Category because too many skeptics kept winning it, but that only meant skeptical blogs won in other categories.  The blogs you visit every day may not be just science blogs, but politics, education, entertainment, and topical blogs. They may also be [...]

Man-made adjustments transform cooling to warming in Paraguay, South America

It’s not fossil fuels causing global warming, it’s man-made adjustments. Stop the adjustments!

In South America, there are hardly any rural land thermometers. GISS tells us the area is warming (see the map below). Paul Homewood looked at the raw data. There are only three rural stations currently operating in the area, Puerto Casado, Mariscal, and San Juan, and they all show a raw trend that falls. As in so many other situations, after adjustments, all three show a rising trend. The changes are breathtaking. In Mariscal raw temperatures of 25.5C turned out to be “really” 22.5C. (Those 1950 thermometers were hopeless ). In San Juan Bautista, and Puerto Casasdo the  old thermometers get adjusted down by around two degrees. Perhaps there are reasons for the adjustments, but if old thermometers so so bad, and station changes have made such a difference, why does any scientist pretend we can calculate global temperatures accurately?

The GISS map of South America. Left: The warming. Right: The NOAA map showing “grey” areas with no coverage. See Notalotofpeopleknowthat for source links.

Paul Homewood describes what he found when he compared the raw data with the official set: Massive Tampering With Temperatures In South America. [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Limestone beach cave, 3hrs north of Perth, WA | Click to enlarge.

The polarisation of the climate debate has gone too far, says Matt Ridley

Are we all intelligent adults in the room –  can we discuss the weather without calling people names?

The state of the national conversation is pathetic.

Matt Ridley, best selling science writer, PhD, elected to the UK Parliament did the unthinkable and switched to become skeptical of carbon crisis a few years ago. This week he wrote about that transformation and the different behaviour of skeptics and those who disagree with them…

UPDATE: Attacking the man takes on an especially blunt meaning today. Bishop Hill reports that in comments Gary Evans, a Guardian author (aka Bluecloud) laid out his best scientific argument. Should that not be [Matt] Ridley’s severed head in the photo? Where else but that paragon of progressive ethics: The Guardian? Such is the intellectual parry of gullible believers: We would actually solve a great deal of the world’s problems by chopping off everyone’s heads. Why are you deniers so touchy? see More Greenpeace Death Threats?  Nice of him to prove Ridley’s point.

From My Life As a LukeWarmer: Matt Ridley

In the climate debate, paying obeisance to climate scaremongering is about as mandatory for a public appointment, or public funding, as being a [...]

Marble Bar’s hottest day? Today might reach 49.1C again like it did 110 years ago

Will it be a hottest record at one of the hottest towns in the world today? The forecast for Marble Bar, Western Australia, is 49C. The record for Marble Bar stands at 49.2C or 120.5F recorded in 1905 and 1922. I guess if we give up our cars and airconditioners the temperatures in Marble Bar will go back to these ideal conditions?

Thermometer-spotting: the temperature has varied up and down.| The BOM page for Marble Bar: 48.3C at 2.54pm but the highest was 48.9C at 2:46 (8 minutes earlier?). | At 3:30pm the current temp is 48.4C but the highest as listed as 49C at 3:12pm. |  Now at 3:50pm the temperature has fallen to 47.9C and it looks like the peak was reached just short of the old record.

Overexcited journalists get 50C into headlines already

Sat Jan 14, 1905

At least one journalist is so excited he predicted it’s “highly likely” one of the towns in the area will hit the magic 49.5C which can be rounded up to 50C! (Seriously, Anthony Sharwood says that. Marvel at the power of odd versus even numbers and rounding conventions. It is not as though our modern media can [...]

A rare sighting of endangered scientific graph in newsprint

We skeptics get excited about unusual things. The Australian published Michael Asten today in the Op-Ed pages, and took the extremely rare step of publishing a scientific graph (!) with a few error bars and everything. Newspapers publish economic graphs all the time, so it’s nice to see the scientific debate getting a bit more sophisticated than just the usual “deniers are evil, government climate scientists speak the word of God” type of stuff. (In the Enlightenment, data was a greater source of authority than any human; how we pine for those days.) The only thing the story should have added was a note that reminds us that the not only was the “hottest” record not beyond the error bars but that it did not occur in satellite measurements. I’m sure a lot of people mistakenly think that NASA might use satellites, but they prefer highly adjusted ground thermometers next to airport tarmac instead.

The headline on that graph could have been “Climate scientists don’t know what caused most of the big moves on this graph”. Some mystery effect caused the warming from 1910-1940. In ClimateScienceTM it is OK to call that “natural variability” and pretend to be 95% sure [...]

BOM admits they got it wrong on “worst Queensland drought”

How much does the BOM care about misleading Australians? Not much apparently, unless they are caught doing it. Everyone makes mistakes, but what matters is what they do to correct it.

The BOM claimed (and the ABC broadcast) that this Queensland drought is the worst in 80 years, but Ken Stewart showed with their own graphs that it was only the worst for 9 years.  Stewart politely informed both groups  two weeks ago. The ABC excused themselves immediately because they always believe the BOM no matter what it says and never ask any hard questions (it’s not like they are paid to make sure Australians get the right information is it? what do you expect for $1bn?). The BOM took five days to fob the error off even though the “mistake” was obvious against the BOM’s own graphs.

But yesterday Maurice Newman mentioned the mythical 80 year drought in The Australian, lo, suddenly the BOM feel the urge to send another email to Ken and the ABC.

Dear Ken, Further to our correspondence we can confirm that media statements made to the ABC by a Bureau employee on 6 January 2014 did not accurately reflect the relative severity [...]

New small study: Wind farms show health effects – why wasn’t this done before?

This is the tiniest of most preliminary studies on the health effects of wind turbines, but it made it to the front page of a major newspaper.  It is really just laying the groundwork for setting up a proper study.  But at the end of 2012, according to the Global Wind Energy Council, there were 225,000 wind turbines operating around the world. So the real question is why has it taken so long to do an eight week study on six people in three houses looking at the effects of very low frequency ultrasound?

The Greens and Labor Party are supposed to be concerned about the effect of industry on people and cuddly animals, so where was their angst? If wind turbines ran on uranium, or the turbines were erected in inner-city areas, would the Greens have been so quiet?

Pacific Hydro deserves credit for funding and cooperating with the study which took place at Cape Bridgewater in Victoria.

Turbines may well blow ill wind

Graham Lloyd, The Australian

PEOPLE living near wind farms face a greater risk of suffering health complaints caused by the low-frequency noise generated by turbines, a groundbreaking study has found.