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



Fact Checking the ABC — the Big-Myth about the “World’s Scientists”

The ABC bias is now so obvious, everyone with an open mind and an Internet connection knows that the ABC report the parts that suit, and hide the rest. They even edit the words of skeptics to produce sentences that were never actually spoken. But what I saw last night was a flagrantly wrong statement, counter to the truth, reported as if it were so above question it did not even need explanation, qualification or substantiation. It’s time to squeeze the ABC for accuracy.

One of the Big-Myths in this debate is that the opinions of “climate scientists” equals the opinion of “scientists in general”. All over Australia last night hundreds of thousands of Australians heard this statement as narration in the main news bulletin:

“World’s scientists reckon the climates never felt anything like them in close to a million years…”  – 4:40mins ABC News report Nov 3, 2014

Ignoring the point that the sentence is grammatically incoherent, it is misleading and demonstrably false. The “World’s Scientists” don’t reckon anything, they have never been surveyed, have not voted for a spokesperson, and inasmuch as anyone could estimate the “world’s scientists” opinions,  actual surveys show that skeptics would outnumber and outrank [...]

Catalyst – raising public awareness of science, or promoting big-government science instead?

The global warming segment on the ABC last night marks a new direction for the Catalyst ABC Science-unit. In the past, their method of dealing with skeptics was to pretend they didn’t exist (see the transcript of July 2013), but apparently they’ve realized they are losing the war. Is this the first time they’ve acknowledged that there is a skeptical view, and that there are questions to answer? Could be.  Perhaps it does hurt when they are repeatedly caught putting forward a biased one-sided point of view. They even interviewed Garth Paltridge and Judith Curry, with a moment of Christopher Monckton and Maurice Newman, too. But don’t get too excited. While the shift is a slight win for skeptics, there is no sign that Catalyst are any less biased, better informed or more aware of what the scientific method is. It is just a shift in PR tactics.

Anja Taylor still didn’t ask hard questions or do her research properly. Catalyst viewers would be almost as much in the dark as they were before. It is as if the point of the show was training for the ABC faithful to answer the dreaded skeptics.  Because even though skeptics were no [...]

ABC invites BOM and Marohasy to speak — BOM decline, Marohasy accepts, but is cut off?

Bronwen O’Shea, ABC

UPDATED: Correction. The interview was done by a fan of John Cook, not John Cook. Notes in the post and apologies. – Jo

Hm, curious event on the ABC today. Credit to Bronwen O’Shea, host of the ABC morning radio program for the Goulburn Murray, for asking both Jennifer Marohasy and the BOM to discuss the Rutherglen temperature adjustments. Good-o, I say –  public debate and answers! (Note that link is just to their website, I have not found a copy of the interview or transcript).

But everything worked against the ABC. First the BOM chose not to even try to answer. (Hm?)  Then not long after the interview started, the line suddenly went dead and Marohasy was abruptly cut off. She waited for the call back, but it never came. What bad luck eh? Even more unlucky –  when the ABC tried to call her back they got a fan of John Cook on the phone instead*. Then, things got even worse for poor ABC listeners — because the fan of Cook mistakenly thought Rutherglen was different to the surrounding stations, but the BOM raw records say otherwise (see the graph below). UPDATED: Apologies to [...]

ABC bias against coal hurts the poor and the workers: Sell the ABC

A new report shows ABC journalists are fond of renewables and overlook their dismal economic value, while putting out bad news on coal, and ignoring the benefits of vast cheap profitable energy. Who could have seen that coming: a large public funded institution attracts employees who like large public funding?

The IPA arranged for a media analysis firm to compare the ABC reporting on coal and renewables.

ABC gives the green light to renewables, and the red light to Australia’s largest export industry and provider of 75% of our electricity.

ABC accused of bias against coalmining

Andrew Fraser, The Australian

The analysis of 2359 reports broadcast on the ABC over six months before March 15 this year found 15.9 per cent of stories on coalmining and 12.1 per cent of those about coal-seam gas mining were favourable, while 53 per cent of those on renewable energy were favourable.

It also found 31.6 per cent of stories on coal mining and 43.6 per cent of stories on coal-seam gas were unfavourable, while only 10.8 per cent of stories on renewable energy were ­unfavourable.

The ABC has become its own best case for privatizing the ABC. How much could we get? The [...]

97 percent of Australian renewables investment dries up without subsidies (so the ABC gives free adverts to the industry)

We’re told “clean” energy is a viable and cost effective. But cut the government subsidies, and 97 percent of investors vanish (in Australia it’s collapsed from $2.6b annually to $80m). The truth is that renewables are almost totally dependent on taxpayer largess. No wonder they lobby like their life depends on it. It does.

Peter Hannam of the SMH:

“Australia’s investment in renewable energy all but dried up in the first half of 2014 amid uncertainty fuelled by the government’s latest review of the mandatory target, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

In the six months to June, just $40 million was invested in large-scale renewable energy, such as wind farms, the lowest level since the first half of 2001, according to Kobad Bhavnagri, head of BNEF’s Australian unit.

The investment tally compared with $2.691 billion in 2013, the second largest annual inflow of funds to the clean energy sector behind the peak year of 2010.”

Elsewhere investment in renewables has slowed from its peak in 2011 but still running at $64b a quarter, or nearly $700 million every day. Spot that vested interest! From The Australian:

“Global clean energy investment surged to $US63.6bn in the second quarter of [...]

If you ask questions about our theory you are a horrible person

In response to Australia removing the Carbon Tax the ABC News report broadcast the best arguments of believers in man-made global warming . They tell us we should spend billions to manage a ubiquitous natural molecule with a fake market, in the hope we’ll get nicer weather. If you question that you are a bad, bad person. You are the kind of vile, stupid and selfish person, a troll, who doesn’t mind killing people with asbestos or tobacco, you are an international pariah, a shock-jock and an irrational, unthinking denier.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is our national debate, by our leading “thinkers”, broadcast on our national public news service:

ABC News 17-7-2014

ADAM BANDT, DEPUTY GREENS LEADER: This is the Australian Parliament’s asbestos moment, our tobacco moment, when we knew what we were doing was harmful but went ahead and did it anyway.

RICHARD DENNISS, AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE: … We’re outing ourselves as a pariah. We’re outing ourselves as a country that’s not committed to tackling climate change.

BILL SHORTEN: Direct Action is a Clayton’s climate policy, designed for the audience of internet trolls and shock-jock radio announcers and climate sceptics.

It is [...]

Sabra Lane, ABC 7:30 Report, was that an interview or an advert?

Sabra Lane interviews Bernie Fraser, Chairman of the Climate Change Authority on the ABC 7:30 report. She only had time for a few questions. Shame then, to only ask one’s everyone knows the answer to.

Instead of asking Fraser how many dollars each Australian will have to spend to lower global temperatures by one degree Celsius, Sabra Lane asks him about global psychology instead: “On the Renewable Energy Target, there’s a lot of talk about the Government watering it down or getting rid of it. What impact is that having on Australia’s reputation?

What does she think the head of any “authority” dependent on the fear of a carbon-crisis for its existence was going to say? Not much — Sabra, no one overseas cares a lot about what we do?

[...]

Scream for the climate! Schlock & Haw Haw & the ABC

Global panic — strictly for your weekend entertainment. Enjoy!

The funny side of screaming for the climate.

 

h/t Geoff S : – )

None of these people could *possibly* have a reason to like Big-Government

It goes without saying that all of these folk could just as easily prefer a sensible, small spending government that was frugal with taxpayer funds. Right?

The Australian finally gets the information on the ABC salaries: “ABC spares no expense”

 

Mark Scott | $678,940 Tony Jones | $355,789 Juanita Phillips | $316,454 Quentin Dempster | $291,505 Richard Glover | $290,000 Jon Faine | $285,249 Leigh Sales | $280,400 Barrie Cassidy | $243,478 “The ABC received $1.03 billion of taxpayer funds last financial year, of which $465 million was spent on wages, superannuation and other entitlements.”

The culture is obvious. The ABC show their respect for the taxpayer… by fighting doggedly for years in court to hide the details of their taxpayer funded salaries from legitimate FOI’s. Now that they’ve been leaked, Mark Scott has apologized to the public his staff and promises an investigation into how it happened. (Imagine taxpayers finding out how their money was spent!)

Remember Richard Glover? He gets paid $290,000 for insight like this:

“Surely it’s time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies”. – June 6, 2011

It’s not like you can pick up that kind of ill-informed [...]

Catalyst says consensus wrong on cholesterol – but unquestionable on climate

On the ABC program Catalyst this week, Dr Maryanne Demasi slayed a few dietary myths–like, cholesterol and saturated fat cause heart disease.

She described how medical science was distorted for decades by the influence of money, and how one key researcher networked his way to the top of an influential association, casting ad hom insults at his competitor, ridiculing him, and calling his rival theory about sugar “quackery”. The personal attacks and name-calling worked, and for fifty years people have been paranoid of cholesterol, and scoffing corn syup instead, while study after study showed that that approach was not working.

Everything said about the processes in this tale could be equally well said about climate science: Correlation is not causation.  Weak, flawed studies can be cherry picked while good studies are ignored.  Associations can be taken over by one activist. Large financial interests distort science.

So the consensus was wrong about cholesterol, but is untouchable on climate? (See Witchcraft on Catalyst — Scary weather is coming, it’s all our fault, be afraid!)

Will it take 50 years for Catalyst to stop repeating the verdict of associations, and start investigating the evidence? The big lesson of the Enlightenment is that [...]