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 nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Global warming means a global fall in wildfires

Strangely, despite NASA Giss “discovering” that the world has heated a lot since 1998, fires have declined.

Apparently increasing our CO2 emissions means less fires. Tell the world.

Figure 2. Wildfire occurrence (a) and corresponding area burnt (b) in the European Mediterranean region for the period 1980 – 2010. Source: San-Miguel-Ayanz et al. [37].

This new paper points out that the perception is that fires are worse than they have ever been, but that this is simply not true, not in the last thirty years, and not in the last few hundred either. It also documents how much money and effort we put into suppressing almost all fires and that this is in contrast to tens of thousands of years where humans used fire as a tool. Suppressing fires is getting increasingly expensive and sometimes costs lives as well.

Putting things in perspective. We spend a lot of money to avoid death and damage by fire, yet earthquakes kill 700 times as many people and floods kill 1,800 times as many people. There is something primal about fire that we feel driven to stop.

Table 1. Global comparison of human and economic losses derived from wildfire, earthquakes and flood [...]

Supermoon today — Moon at closest point for 70 years. [News: 7.9 Quake hits New Zealand]

BREAKING: Massive magnitude 7.9 earthquake hits New Zealand tonight at midnight local time. 90km North of Christchurch. Thankfully, so far there are no reports of injuries or deaths. UPDATE: One Two deaths now reported. The quake was rated 7.4 initially but upgraded to 7.9 by Geoscience Australia. The small tsunami is expected to reach Australia around now (3 – 4am AEST).  Many New Zealanders were evacuated and moved to higher ground for fear of the tsunami estimated at 2.5 – 5m.  For more see NZ TV News and Twitter: #Earthquake. Maybe it’s connected to the full moon, maybe it isn’t. Best wishes to all our New Zealand readers.

UPDATE: Another strong 6.4 Earthquake has hit NZ, and a lot of small ones.

UPDATE: Clarence River got blocked, a lake formed, and has breached due to the quake. There were possibly two simultaneous quakes at midnight last night. In 2010 the fault rupture was about 30km long. This time it was about four times as long (about 3:30ish on the video). There have been over 400 aftershocks small earthquakes. h/t Tom.

UPDATE: NZ Geo’s say the big quake was 7.5.  They are clocking up the aftershocks by the minute here! [...]