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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UPDATED: Good news. Today’s comments issue has been resolved. Apologies for those who tried and couldn’t. Thanks especially to Andrew B for his brilliant IT help!  The site needs more work to be future-proofed so we can avoid these glitches. Any dollar support you can help out with will go toward that.  Thank you to those who have already chipped in today. : -) Much appreciated. — Jo

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There’s an issue with comments this morning. Apologies! Thanks to everyone emailing in to let me know. I’m working on it. I will keep posting and hope to restore new comments as soon as possible.

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A big thank you to all the people who make this site possible.

You can email me at joanne AT joannenova.com.au if you have questions or suggestions.

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Trump tells Universities – No free speech means no federal grants OK?

Trump tells Universities – No free speech means no federal grants OK?

Universities depend on Big Government, so it’s practically a law of physics that they will evolve into Big-Gov promoters unless some force stops them.

What is surprising is that most conservative governments let it happen.

Trump does the obvious but unheard of:

The Hill: Trump says he’ll sign executive order for free speech on college campuses
by Tal Axelrod

“We reject oppressive speech codes, censorship, political correctness and every other attempt by the hard left to stop people from challenging ridiculous and dangerous ideas. These ideas are dangerous,” Trump said. “Instead we believe in free speech, including online and including on campus.”

“Today I’m proud to announce that I will be very soon signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research grants.”

This came to a head because a conservative activist was viciously punched at Berkley. (See the full appalling attack on youtube). “Higher” education has become Hater education.

Keep reading  →

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Huge week in Perth: Plimer, Archibald, Abbott, Nova — Libertyfest is on!

Hope to see as many sharp minds and good souls as possible.

This week in Perth day by day:

Tuesday 5th March, David ArchibaldStop The Climate Stupidity, The Irish Club, 61 Townshend St Subiaco

Brazil’s New foreign minister has said that climate change is a Marxist plot and he is right. Hear the whole story of Global Warming Hysteria including its dark Nazi origins. Australia is destroying itself for no good reason. Increased CO2 is wholly good.

_______________________________

LibertyFest in the West: in Perth for the first time

NWFRIENDSP19 gives readers here 30% off!

Prices start at just $99 (before the discount)

Libertyworks speakers, Perth 2019

 

Weds 6th, March, Ian Plimer, UWA Club
Thurs 7th March, Student Pitchfest Competition, CIS and Mannkal, Natalie Elliot, The Hon Aaron Stonehouse, Tom Switzer, The Vic Hotel, Subiaco.
Friday 8th March, Parliament House Tour, Steve Baxter, Shark Tank Celebrity, 6:30pm Live Q&A with Tony Abbott MP, Nick Cater, Tom Switzer. The Duxton Ballroom.
Sat 9th March, The Big Day — Bettina Arndt, Chris Berg, Jo Nova, MLA’c, MLC’s, and stacks more, see the page.
Millenial Socialists, Wicked Witches, Who Owns Your Body?, Free Market Environmentalism, Drug Law Reform, Toxic Masculinity, Banking Culture, The Great White Protection Racket, Liberalism, and Liberty, Liberty, Liberty.
I’ll be doing the latest Top Ten Ways to Destroy A Perfectly Good Grid!
Find out what it takes to achieve state-wide blackouts, flying squads of diesel generators, and a tripling of wholesale electricity prices in just five years.
________________________

The LibertyWorks registration page: don’t forget the code for the 30% discount — NWFRIENDSP19

Hope to see you there. This is a rare opportunity to meet like minded people, stretch bounds, ask questions, share the gasps and laughs. And it’s a bargain. Don’t miss it!

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Weekend Unthreaded

….

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States with low cost solar and wind paying 1300% more at the moment

Any more free electricity and SA and Victoria will go broke.

In other news a few days ago, the retail price of electricity rose 16% in Victoria and the number of disconnections rose 21%.

In a highly critical report to be released on Tuesday, the Essential Services Commission accused energy retailers of running ineffectual hardship programs that saw customers cut off anyway in most cases.  The commission reported power prices leapt 16 per cent last financial year, feeding a 21 per cent jump in the number of disconnections as 60,732 customers had their power cut off. The ESC said the number of disconnections in the last quarter of the financial year was one of the highest on record. – Sydney Morning Herald

Enjoy all the fun of watching our Australian Electricity Market in operation live as tens of millions of dollars get converted into income for AGL, Energy Australia, ENGIE, Origin and Snowy Hydro. No wonder they love renewables.

States with the most cheap wind and solar pay the most for electricity. Graph. AEMO.

States with the most cheap wind and solar pay the most for electricity. Graph. AEMO.

Why do we allow a few companies to own so many different and competing generators across the entire market?

h/t David B

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EU hides their Toaster and Kettle bans so they don’t “galvanize” Brexit

Toaster, photo

The last thing the EU want is for the British to be reminded of the EU’s intrusive, pointless plans to control them from afar:

Dave Keating, Euractiv.com

EU’s ban on inefficient toasters delayed to avoid pro-Brexit press attack

The EU has put plans to regulate inefficient kettles and toasters into cold storage amid fears in Brussels that they could galvanise support for the leave campaign in the UK’s 23 June referendum

 Freudian slip?

Are the laws made for the people, or for the M.P’s?

But in fact, these efficiency improvements have had a complicated relationship with public opinion in the past decade. Public backlash has been one of the biggest impediments to passing these EU laws.

Dang voters are an impediment to bureaucrats.

Efficiency improvements for things like toilets and lightbulbs, passed by the Commission of Jose Manuel Barroso which ended in 2014, prompted negative press, particularly in the United Kingdom.

So the British press has more spine than the French and German propaganda sheets?

Newspapers accused the European Union of meddling in the most minute details of daily life and demanded the freedom for consumers to use too much electricity and too much water if they so choose.

Joy. At least they stopped regulating toilet flushing (only just):

Juncker: This Commission no longer regulates the flushing of toilets

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday (23 February) that he “fought like a lion” against “ill-inspired Commissioners” who thought the EU should regulate the flushing of toilets. He also indicated that he will push for a multi-speed Europe in proposals to be unveiled next month.

Junker the lion. Sure.

The article is about the EU passing efficiency laws that the public are “unconvinced” about. The toaster line is buried. In the opening paragraph, there is a strange admission that the EU has plans to make your whitegoods “independent”:

European legislation has made appliances like washing machines and dishwashers even more water and energy efficient than washing clothes and dishes by hand. The next step is to connect these appliances to the web and allow them to act independently.

Because we all long for our fridges to grow up and tell us what we are permitted to eat, right?

Photo by Stocksnap.

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Midweek Unthreaded

Oops. Forgot yesterday…

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Quick! Tell the PM: Pumped Hydro is not a “generator”. It’s a $2 – $4b energy chewing “renewables” bandaid.

No more excuses for sloppy, inaccurate language. How can you run a country with falsehoods?

Hydropower is a generator. Pumped Hydro is giant appliance that sucks electricity and gives you back some later. In a system with reliable baseload generators it is superfluous, redundant, and entirely unnecessary. It is an expense we don’t have to have, didn’t need, and don’t want to pay for. It can only make things more expensive than the system we used to have. Not only do we have to pay for the giant infrastructure, every day it operates we also throw away 20 – 30% of the electrons (so to speak) that go through it.

Scott Morrison says it’s only $1.4 b from the taxpayer, but the total cost may be $4 billion, and as Judith Sloan says, someone’s got to pay — if not through taxes, it will be added to electricity prices. The Snowy Corp may “self fund” it (a deceptively nice way to put it), but they won’t be donating the money.

And the Snowy Corp couldn’t “self-fund” it from electricity bills if they weren’t already so ridiculously high.  If we had enough coal power to keep electricity as inexpensive as it was a few years ago no one would buy this non-competitive supply.

Let’s be clear about the economics of this project: it rests on very high and variable wholesale electricity prices. Water can be pumped up the hill when prices are low and released when prices are high. That might be a good deal for the corporation, but it’s not a good deal for consumers.    — Judith Sloan

Let’s be absolutely clear, this is entirely a Renewables Expense

The cost of any storage should be henceforth added to the cost of Wind and Solar Power. No one should say Wind power is cheaper than coal — unless they’ve added in the cost to make it reliable (like coal power is) — add on the costs of the batteries, the interconnectors, the pumped hydro.  Let’s compare apples to apples.

Lets remind ourselves why we are spending up to $4,000 million dollars — we’re trying to stop bad weather

This is pure superstition money — we think that buying expensive electricity will stop droughts and floods and if we only pay enough penance to the Climate Gods the weather will get nicer. Follow the money trail, there is a chain of profit-makers living off our pagan fear. If our conservative major party sells out the voters out to the likes of Vestas, GE, Siemens, the EU and the UN and a bunch of B-grade bullies and grant troughing scientists, no wonder their polls are so dismal.

Let a real conservative party take their place or hope the Liberals can be reborn.

h/t Ian

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Europe’s popular right on the rise — replacing fake conservatives — threaten Climate Gravy-train

Europe was always the leader and main driver of the climate-scare-machine.

The salad days are over.

Bloomberg calls non-left parties “populist” which is code for popular-but-we-don’t-like-them (and-nor-should-you).

They say this trend is the rise of “right wing” but as the jellyfish conservatives became the center left, the voters looked for politicians with a spine instead. And the push back against climate change is very much a core target of many of these parties. In the previous term, 86% of the EU parliament voted for climate policies, the next term it was 75%. The term coming it is predicted it will shrink again to 71%.  h/t GWPF

Popular right,"populist", rise of politics, graph.

Almost all these parties think Climate Change is an elitist tax grab (or something like that). Adelphi 2019

As so democracy threatens “the consensus” and the Bloomberg team see no irony…

 Europe’s Populist Right Threatens to Erode Climate Consensus

 William Wilkes, Bloomberg,

 Europe’s consensus in favor of curbing greenhouse gas emissions is weakening due to rising support for right-wing populists, many of whom cast doubt over whether people bear the responsibility for climate change.

When voters elect the wrong people to do what they want and the politicians do it, thats “pandering”:

The researchers wrote that the populist wave poses “the danger that centrist parties will pander to climate-skeptic priorities or nationalist rhetoric, and shift from progressive to reactionary positions.”

There are already signs that the right-wing wave has blunted attempts to introduce environmentally-friendly policies, with Germany’s coal commission delaying the country’s exit from burning the dirtiest fossil fuel. That’s in part due to concerns about job losses in the Lausitz region of Saxony, where the AfD is catching up to more established parties ahead of September elections.

Support for right-wing populists looks set to surge in May’s European elections…

And in Week 15 of the Yellow Vest protest, another 46,600 people took the streets, again.

Tell me again how everyone wants climate action.

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At the turn of last century people didn’t know what a radio was

Predicting 2100?

Doug McKelway  — Fox News

Novelist Michael Crichton, in the Caltech Michelin lecture in 1993, offered what some might see as a calming reassurance about the future of the earths’ climate. He looked back to the turn of the last century when people, “didn’t know what radio was, or an airport, or a movie, or a television, or a computer, or a cell phone, or a jet, an antibiotic, a rocket, a satellite, an MRI, ICU, IUD,  or what IBM was…”

Crichton went on, presenting a long list of the scientific inventions of the 20th century that changed human life for the better. Toward the end of the lecture he asked, “Now, you tell me you can predict the world of 2100?”

Green New Deal rollout rattles both sides of climate change debate

x-35 Jet.

 

In 1993, when Crichton spoke, many thought it was impossible to clone a mammal from an adult cell.

Feb 23 1997: SCIENTIST REPORTS FIRST CLONING EVER OF ADULT MAMMAL

In a feat that may be the one bit of genetic engineering that has been anticipated and dreaded more than any other, researchers in Britain are reporting that they have cloned an adult mammal for the first time.

The group, led by Dr. Ian Wilmut, a 52-year-old embryologist at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, created a lamb using DNA from an adult sheep. The achievement shocked leading researchers who had said it could not be done. The researchers had assumed that the DNA of adult cells would not act like the DNA formed when a sperm’s genes first mingle with those of an egg.

The paper was published on Feb 27th 1997.

Another consensus, busted.

h/t ClimateDepot

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Millennials haven’t forgotten Mao, Stalin or Lenin. They never knew them.

Millenials are aged 25 – 39. In Australia four out of five are not even “familiar” with Mao. Half have never heard of him, even though he caused the deaths of twice as many people as Adolf Hitler.

Political ideologues control our education system. We teach kids identity politics, and how to control the weather with light globes, but not the most important political lesson of the 20th Century.

We won the cold war, then lost the peace.

Why Millenials are embracing Socialism

Tom Switzer, Sydney Morning Herald

The survey evidence is clear. In a YouGov poll commissioned by the Centre for Independent Studies last year, 58 per cent of Australian millennials have a favourable view of socialism, with only 18 per cent having an unfavourable one. These findings reflect Millennial attitudes in Britain and the US.

What’s going on?

Part of the problem is plain ignorance. Most Millennials were hardly alive when Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire”.

According to the CIS poll, only 26 per cent of Millennials are familiar with Vladimir Lenin and 34 per cent with Joseph Stalin. Only 21 per cent of those questioned said they knew well who Mao was. Never mind that these men were responsible for the deaths of tens of millions and the impoverishment of hundreds of millions.

Whatever excuse explains Millennials’ ignorance of communism, they should at least know about Venezuela where the socialist regime of the past two decades has led to repression, an economy in free fall, widespread disease and starvation and mass emigration.

Tom Switzer is executive director of the Centre for Independent Studies and presenter at the ABC’s Radio National.

Here’s what failure looks like:

Politics, Historical figures, CIS, Graph, education, millenials, familiarity with dictators.

Only one in five people aged 25-39 in Australia are familiar with Mao, Stalin and Lenin.

Time to say “No”.

Here’s a radical idea, no child should get a high school certificate if they can’t answer the question “which political party caused the most deaths in the last 100 years”? The answer starts with C, and if you say Capitalism you have to repeat a year, and so do your teachers.

h/t David B.

Keep reading  →

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Weekend Unthreaded

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Adjusted! Another degree shaved off Darwins history — (it’s cooling so fast, in 50 years Darwin won’t even be tropical)

Graham Lloyd and Jen Marohasy scorch through the BoMs latest revision of Darwin.

On the 1st of January 1910 the maximum temperature recorded at the Darwin post office was 34.2 degrees C, then it became 33.8 C, and now it was, is, 32.8 C. (What’s the past tense of something that is now, but wasn’t then? We don’t even have grammar for this.)

Extrapolate that adjustment trend: One degree of cooling in 6 years (since the last adjustment) becomes 16 degrees cooler in a century. Darwin won’t know what hot days were!

Look what they’ve done to history Mum

The Bureau of Meteorology has no interest in the hot pre-1910 era which just gets chopped.  And even if they did include it, after they’ve adjusted it — it wouldn’t be hot anymore anyway. Remember the Federation Drought? No one else does either.

Temperature is whatever you want to make it.

Darwin, temperatures history, graph, Bureau of Meteorology

Mean maximum annual temperatures as measured at the Darwin Post Office and airport shown with the new remodeled ACORN-SAT Version 2, which is the new official record for Australia.

“What the Bureau has done to the historical temperature record for Darwin is indefensible. ” -- Marohasy

 

As Marohasy explains, the record at Darwin matters because the site had some of the best and earliest data for the vast northern reaches of Australia:

Graham Lloyd, The Weekend Australian --

“Scientist Jennifer Marohasy said Darwin’s temperature record was important because the city was the only location in central northern Australia where temp­era­tures had been measured since 1895 from within an instrument shelter. The Darwin record include­s temperatures taken at Darwin post office from 1882 until 1941 and from Darwin airport from 1942 to the present.”

The Bureau of Meteorology have plenty of vague excuses:

“For the case of Darwin, a downward adjustment to older records is applied to account for differences between the older sites and the current site, and differences between older thermometers and the current automated sensor.

“In other words, the adjustments estimate what historical temperatures would look like if they were recorded with today’s equipment at the current site.”

But the World War I site that was hasn’t changed in the last six years. Why were the 2012 corrections in need of re-correcting again? According to Marohasy the Bureau says the site was shaded by trees after 1937 and “other factors” changed too.

No dissent allowed

Jen Marohasy almost got a paper published on Darwin’s adjustments but after being accepted it was pulled at the last minute. Marohasy argues that the cooling wasn’t caused by shading but by a cyclone that wiped out the plants that were stopping the sea breeze getting in to the post office.

Dr Marohasy said many would claim the raw record for Darwin must be wrong because it showed a general trend of cooling to about 1950, and then warming.

As readers here know scientists in 1952 were discussing how Australia had cooled since the turn of the century. It was well known at the time — the cooling stretched all the way from Alice Springs to Narrabi and Hay, across the Eastern States. Marohasy provides a graph comparing Darwin to Richmond:

Darwin, Richmond, historical temperatures, Australia, Graph.

Darwin, Richmond, historical temperatures, Australia, Graph.

I often satirize the changes by mocking how old thermometers were always measuring “too high”. The Bureau protests:

 The bureau said the adjustment of historical temperatures in its ACORN-SAT dataset did not suggest records at any point in time were too high or too low. “Both upwards and downwards adjustments have been made at many ACORN-SAT sites to ensur­e past observations are consistent with modern conditions,” the bureau spokesman said.

Lo and verily, we all know the aim is supposedly to compare the past with today — but all the extra concrete, airports, and air conditioners means thermometers in bare paddocks in the horse and carriage era need to be adjusted up, not down.  And what about the all new one-second-records from electronic equipment? The old glass thermometers couldn’t measure a one second blast of hot air from a 747 that wasn’t there in 1898 either. (Even if it was there, they couldn’t measure it.) The slow acting mercury thermometers need to be adjusted up, not down, to compete with super sensitive electronic gizmos.

We know the Bureau have made adjustments “up and down”, but go on, tell the obvious bleeding truth — historic adjustments go down far more often than they go up and none of it makes sense unless the BoM is under the spell of a religion or is an advertising agency for the Big Gov that funds them.

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Australian virtue signaling peak: We can have a Labor Govt or an extra half trillion dollars

The next Australian election is coming mid year (the pollsters are calling)

The Labor opposition in Australia is doing its best to tempt us with promises they can improve the weather.  They say they’ll make us rich and popular too. But a former big-wig in the Australian bureaucracy thinks the bill for that will leave a third of a million people unemployed, and cost nearly half a trillion dollars.

The Labor opposition in Australia wants to make our hair-shirt 26% target into a bed of nails at 45%.

Carbon cut apocalypse: cost of ALP energy plan

by Simon Bensen, The Australian

Labor’s 45 per cent emissions-­reduction target would push electricity prices 50 per cent higher, cost workers up to $9000 a year in lower wages and wipe $472 billion from the economy over the next decade, according to the first independent modelling of the energy policies of both the government and opposition.

The Liberal (erstwhile conservative party) wants to spend $70bn on weather control.

The Coalition’s commitment to meeting a 26-28 per cent reduc­tion under the Paris Agreement would also come at a cost, with $70bn in cumulative economic losses by 2030 and a 2 per cent hit to real wage growth.

 The Labor plan will cost around 330,000 jobs, the Libs 80,000 jobs. Unless Australians manage to vote for another party entirely, or do an AusExit from our own government, that’s a whole lot of people sitting around watching cat videos.

Brian Fisher used to manage ABARE — The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics. He’s also been an IPCC reviewer. He’s frustrated at our dishonest debate (the one that implies we can do the weather changey plan for free as an add on like a Happy Meal). He estimates our GDP will be $144b smaller each year by 2030.

But hey, it’s only money.

And in fairness, the Labor policy will “only” cost $400 billion more than the Liberal Policy.

h/t Pat

 

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The Anthropocene: all that CO2 and the only mammal extinction is a brown rat on a desert island

Where’s the apocalypse: With all the forecasts of doom, is this it?

Global Lament is rising for the small brown rat (Melomys rubicola) lost off a desert island no one heard of til morning tea today. This is a rat that was only recognised as a distinct species in 1995, though even then, it was debated, and the rat’s existence was hanging by a thread. The island is a 5 hectare sand spit with a bit of low scrub and an old rusty scaffold once called a lighthouse. So it’s all of 0.05 square kilometers: it is so small there is no fresh water on the island, just the odd puddle after it rains. It’s all so ephemeral that over a decade or so the island shrank 40% and the vegetation was wiped out by 97% (details below). Life on shifting sands in the Torres Strait is all pathetically desperate. It’s 200km off Queensland but only 50km from Papua New Guinea and the highest point (if you could call it that) is 3m about the high tide mark. In other words, any decent wave could have washed the last one off. It’s sad, but it’s not “climate change”.

Latch Report, Recovery Plan for the Bramble Cay 2008

Latch Report, Recovery Plan for the Bramble Cay 2008 EPA, Government of Queensland.

No one is quite sure how the brown rats got there, some researchers ambitiously speculate that they might be a relic of the old Australian-PNG land bridge. That would mean they miraculously survived there for 9,000 years through super cyclones, tsunamis and surges. On the other hand, the same researchers suggest they might have drifted on a log from Fly River in PNG, or just hopped off a fishing boat that anchors nearby. No one really knows. Perhaps a cat hopped off a fishing boat too?

What’s the chance that sandspit may have been wiped out and rebuilt many times and then repopulated — apparently even whole palm trees are washed up from Papua New Guinea.

As Peter Latch said in 2008 — Cays come and go:

These cays are geologically temporary features of considerable instability, which may respond dramatically to fluctuations in their environment (Gourlay 1983). This inherent instability is well documented elsewhere, for example Green Island near Cairns has a long history of shoreline construction and erosion (Baxter 1990).

The rat’s demise was known in 2016, but it’s re-demise is hitting the news again. It’s a zombie extinction on the second run because an Australian Minister mentioned in one line of a press release that it was now formally and officially “Extinct”. Seven other mammallian critters were apparently rescued from death row in the same press release. No one cared. The Tammar Wallaby was listed as Extinct, but now is now listed as “Not listed” which sounds sinister, except it’s fine –it’s not even categorized as “Vulnerable”. We thought it was dead, but there were some in New Zealand (taken there by an Australian Governor).

The ABC headline of doom:

An Australian rodent has become the first climate change mammal extinction

Absolutely positively no hype here:

[ABC]  For thousands of years, generations of Melomys rubicola lived and bred on a sandy bank in the Torres Strait known as Bramble Cay. Some time between 2009 and 2014 the last of this species died; probably drowned in a storm surge.

The BBC is a bit more circumspect, at least admitting that that it might still be alive in the jungles of PNG:

Scientists say there is a chance that an identical or similar species could yet be discovered in PNG. But they’re uncertain because PNG’s nearby Key River region has been little documented by research.

Australia has one of the world’s highest rates of animal extinction, says the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The ABC rolls out the predictable “not cute enough to save” excuse to explain our careless failure as a nation. It’s as if Australians have all the maturity of the average three year old and only rescue stuffed toys.

Unlike koalas or whales, the small rodent was never cute enough to rate much of a conservation effort. It’s only with its extinction – noted for the first time by the Federal Government, in a press release from Environment Minister Melissa Price – that it’s attracted interest from beyond the circle of biologists and conservationists that warned of its demise.

Sure, rats are not cute and rescuable like Great White Sharks and Saltwater Crocs are. Will the national self flagellation never end? Australians will give our firstborns to a tiger shark rather than kill it for fish and chips but that doesn’t stop the ABC from implying we are all selfish and immature. Lordy, we didn’t spend millions to save it, nor did we rush up to the distant cay and adopt these rats as pets. Though if we had done that and actually saved one, we’d have been breaking the law.

Almost the whole island is protected by the Native Title Act. A lot of good it did the dead rats.

 So what about the odds that your car exhaust killed the last rat?

Euan Mearns savaged this last time around when it first became extinct in 2016. Firstly, we’re not even 100% certain it’s extinct. Secondly, there is no evidence linking it’s demise to man made CO2. Thirdly, it’s in a major cyclone zone where storm surges have happened many times and lately cyclone trends are declining in Australia. Fourthly, the small temperature increase is nothing, seriously, are we kidding?

Euan Mearns found a UQ report showing that fully half the islands meagre vegetation was stripped by storm surges from 2004 to 2011.

Worse, they way I read it, by 2014 the Cay itself had shrunk to 2.5 ha from 4 ha. The vegetation had suffered a catastrophic 97% loss.

Nevertheless, a worrying finding from the March 2014 assessment was that due to erosion by wind, waves and tides impacting on the island (refer to Limpus et al. 1983, Dennis & Storch 1998) the cay’s area above high tide had decreased from the approximately 4 ha reported in 1998 to only 2.5 ha, apparently the smallest size documented for the island to date (Dennis & Storch 1998, Ellison 1998, Latch 2008). Furthermore, the herbaceous vegetation on Bramble Cay, which provides both food and shelter for the Bramble Cay melomys (Dennis & Storch 1998), declined dramatically from approximately 2.2 ha in 2004 to only 0.065 ha, equivalent to a 97% loss over a decade (Gynther et al. 2014a). Birds roosting amongst this vegetation in March 2014 further reduced habitat availability for the Bramble Cay melomys because the species is known to avoid areas in which numerous seabirds roost at night (Dennis & Storch 1998, Gynther et al. 2014a)

As Commenter Roger Andrews says there sometimes whole palms trees wash up on Bramble Cay.

There has been speculation that the species may also occur on other islands in the Torres Strait or in Papua New Guinea (PNG), given the close proximity of the cay to the mouth of the Fly River, which regularly deposits large amounts of debris (e.g., logs and assorted driftwood, whole palm trees and other vegetation) on Bramble Cay. Further survey work on these islands and PNG, along with clarification of the taxonomic status of the Bramble Cay melomys in relation to PNG species, is required (Latch 2008).

Whole palm trees. Hmmm.

For those of you wondering if it is indeed a different species, Peter Latch said something like Yes, probably, maybe:

Bramble Cay melomys is recognised as a distinct species (Strahan 1995) despite some uncertainty about the designation of species within the Melomys genus (Flannery 1995, Dickman et al. 2000). Menzies (1996) in his systematic revision of the Melomys in PNG did not assess Melomys rubicola despite its close proximity to PNG. Dennis and Storch (1998) reassessed its taxonomic status on both morphological and genetic grounds and found that M. rubicola is the most morphologically distinct melomys in Australia based on discriminate analysis of a number of features. They also found that M. rubicola has a distinct mtDNA gene sequence when compared to other Australian melomys. While the genetic differences between mtDNA sequences cannot prescribe specific status unequivically, it was concluded that if they do indicate that M. cervinipes, M. capensis and M. burtoni are distinct species, then M. rubicola should also be recognised as a distinct species.

What’s the difference between weather and climate? If the world stops warming for 15 or 20 years that’s “not” climate change, but if a weekend storm surge wipes out a rat, living precariously on a sand bar it’s The First Mammal Extinction caused by your car. Give us your money.

REFERENCES

Latch, P. 2008. Recovery Plan for the Bramble Cay Melomys Melomys rubicola. Report to Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra. Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane.

Gynther, I., Waller, N. & Leung, L.K.-P. (2016) Confirmation of the extinction of the Bramble Cay melomys Melomys rubicola on Bramble Cay, Torres Strait: results and conclusions from a comprehensive survey in August–September 2014. Unpublished report to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland Government, Brisbane.

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