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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Unthreaded Weekend

Delcons, Defcons, and elections in Australia 2016

With an election likely for July 2nd, the hottest topic in Australian politics right now is how to vote. So put your best case forward here. Hammer this out. Will Turnbull promise anything to win back the Delcons — the angry conservatives? The time to ask is now, and if the Liberal base are not prepared to vote against him, they have nothing to negotiate.

“Better to have a real conservative opposition than a fake conservative government.”

The elephant in 2016 is the ferocious boiling anger among betrayed conservatives and small government libertarians, divided over whether they can bear to vote for Turnbull (a Liberal*) who has been called the best leader the Labor Party never had. Delcons was tossed at the so-called “Delusional” Conservatives. But they took up the badge. Defcons means the Defiant ones.

Right now, and since September, I’m a Delcon, like Tim Blair, Merv Bendle, and James Allan. Convince me otherwise. (We love you Miranda but you are wrong.)

“As long as Turnbull is in charge there will be no real alternative for conservative libertarians.”

The issue: Is it better to vote for the lesser of two evils and hope a Turnbull-led party can be reformed [...]

Environmentalist — becoming a dirty word

Once upon a time, nearly everyone was environmental. After the first glorious Earth Day fully 78% used the term to describe themselves. Incredibly in 1991 just as many Republicans identified as environmentalists as Democrats did.  Now only 42% of all Americans would use the term.

The long term trend appears inescapable. The Republicans are about 20 years ahead.

[...]

Bill Shorten wants a lot of new carbon taxes and to help international bankers

 A gift for Turnbull, who doesn’t deserve it.

Welcome to Election-2016 in Australia.

We’ve done this before: Bill Shorten has promised there will be “no carbon tax under Labor”.  This almost exactly mirrors the promise made by Julia Gillard on her way to the most pathetic parliamentary win ever recorded in Australian history. Gillard’s barely-there-with-the-help-of-two-turncoats-success was based on this infamous deceit, which Mr Bill Shorten approved of and voted in. Channelling Gillard-2010

At least he is kinda upfront about saying there will be no tax apart from a lot of new taxes he calls trading schemes. What kind of trade are you forced by law to make? A tax…

“There will be no carbon tax under Labor, there will be no fixed price under Labor, what we are doing instead is we are working with the market to create an Emissions Trading Scheme,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said.

He is offering a kind of “Cap N Trade”, which is bound to suit all the Aussies who’ve been lining up at protests saying “No Carbon Tax. We want Cap N Trade”. Have you met one ? Me neither.

Let’s not forget the advantages of trading versus taxes: Markets are [...]

18 million square kilometers more greenery due to “carbon pollution” that the Greens hate

What kind of pollution do you want to feed your plants? The carbon kind.

Yet again, a satellite study of leaf area shows that the world is greener than it was in 1982. There are more plants mostly thanks to CO2 aerial fertilization. The biggest benefits from CO2 are in the warm tropics. The extra greenery in colder areas was due to that other disaster called “global warming”. About a tenth of the greening had nothing to do with either carbon pollution or extra warmth and was apparently thanks to nitrogen from man-made fertilizers.

Obviously we need a $10 billion dollar program to stop this immediately.

Click to enlarge.

Humans are Greening planet Earth — ABC

The most comprehensive modelling of remote sensing data so far shows the area on Earth covered by plants in this time has increased by 18 million square kilometres — about 2.5 times the size of the Australian continent — largely due to the fertilising effect of carbon dioxide (CO2).

“[The greening] has the ability to fundamentally change the cycling of water and carbon in the climate system,” said Dr Zaichun Zhu, from Peking University in China and lead author [...]

The Smug do mockery as a substitute for progressive argument

The state of “progressive” national debate has been reduced to backslappin’ self-congratulation about the dumbness of the other side. There is no need to discuss morals or ponder imponderables, it’s enough to crack jokes, point and snigger.

In left-leaning media-land, it’s one long empty selfie. For a change, left-leaning Vox has published a serious article that hits one  mark exactly — even if the writer is unaware how his arguments apply to climate change and other areas. There is admirable self-awareness on the glorified issue of gay rights versus the undeserving interests of the poor.

Emmett Rensin is persuading his fellows to be more respectful of the rubes they disdain, apparently in the fear that Trump is reaching those same rubes and may win come November. He foresees his colleagues saying “What the fuck happened?“. But there is insight as he disassembles the vacuity of at least some channels of political correctness. It’s worth reading, because Rensin is trying to solve a problem conservatives face — how to overcome the empty mockery and get the mockers to engage in honest discussion. Its not enough to have the right arguments if there is no debate.

Rensin hints briefly that “there is [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Polish wind power suddenly not so popular

Another snippet for the next time a climate saviour tells you the “whole world” is moving to clean energy.

Last year Poland  installed almost as many new wind turbines as Germany (the Kingland-of-Wind-towers). Wind make about 13% of Poland’s electricity. This year,  according to the wind industry,  the  new conservative Polish government wants to regulate them out of existence.

Bill threatens Polish wind power, warns industry -

Poland’s thriving wind energy industry has warned that it faces bankruptcies, rapid divestment and an end to growth under a bill that threatens executives with prison.

“For some projects, it will be terminal . . . it will kill them,” said Wojciech Cetnarski, president of the Polish Wind Energy Association, an industry lobby group. “This will result in bankruptcies. That is for sure.

“No one will invest any more in this country’s wind energy industry if this law is passed.” The bill will make it illegal to build turbines within 2km of other buildings or forests — a measure campaigners said would rule out 99 per cent of land — and quadruple the rate of tax payable on existing turbines — making most unprofitable.

This [...]

The Flaw of Averages

Lockheed EF-80 (P-80) prone pilot test aircraft

An interesting link from commenter Pauly about the danger of thinking in averages.

In the late 1940s planes in the United States airforce were mysteriously falling out of the sky. No mechanical faults could be found. A young researcher named Gilbert Daniels collected data on thousands of pilots body measurements to update the old 1928 averages and discovered there was no such thing as an average pilot. The cockpits were designed to fit a man that did not exist. Human variability is such that once three different factors were taken into account, even allowing the cutoff for “average” to include 30% of the population in each factor, a mere 3.5% of the population would match the average for all three.

Once more variables were considered, the bell curve got rapidly thinner:

The Flaw of Averages

Using the size data he had gathered from 4,063 pilots, Daniels calculated the average of the 10 physical dimensions believed to be most relevant for design, including height, chest circumference and sleeve length. These formed the dimensions of the “average pilot,” which Daniels generously defined as someone whose measurements were within the middle [...]

“The Illusion Of Debate”: A History of the Climate Issue—Part 1

History buff: Cook, who believes in learning from the great men of the past, dresses up as a beloved figure from the golden age of Consensus Science.

This timeline, like the climate debate, is best taken with whiskey. Strictly for climate-tragics, it’s layered deep, well aged, and may not make any sense at all. It’s art. It’s been a looong time coming (the second longest draft post ever under development on this blog).  Thanks to Brad Keyes. Smile :- ). — Jo

Introduction by J. Cook

The great Hoofnagle Brothers define climate Menshevism as a trick to ‘create the illusion of debate.’

Opponents of the climate don’t even need to win the debate—though they usually do—they just need the audience to think we’re debating. (Which is why we must never, ever do so.)

Please enjoy as Brad Keyes, my boss at Climate Nuremberg, looks back on some of the most colorful, least edifying moments in a decades-long debate that never happened.

— J. Cook Twisted Tree Heartrot Hill 2016

_________________ c. 1850 AD Fossil fuel revolution begins Environmentalists hail the switch to alternative energies—coal, natural gas [...]