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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Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

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



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Australia “invented airconditioning” but can’t keep them running

James Harrison (click to enlarge)

Peter Hartcher points out that the country that invented refrigeration and thus airconditioning can no longer guarantee to keep them working.

In 1854 [James Harrison of Geelong] invented a commercial ice-making machine. He expanded it into a vapour compression refrigeration system, the basis for modern refrigeration.

“That’s right – an Aussie invented the fridge and it’s first real use was making beer,” remarked the US technology website Gizmodo. “You have to love this country.”

And one more big coal generator shuts down soon in Victoria:

In the next few weeks 4 per cent of Australia’s power supply will vanish when Victoria’s big Hazelwood power station shuts down, clapped out after 50 years of turning coal into electricity. It’ll be the ninth coal-fired power station to close in the past five years. New solar and wind plants are being built, but they are intermittent, and that means they are unreliable.

“Taking out Hazelwood is taking out a big buffer,” says Tony Wood, energy program director at the Grattan Institute policy research centre in Melbourne. And, as we’ve just witnessed, Australia’s power system lacks buffers. “Managing intermittency is [...]

Countdown to Brexit — Britain’s Independence Day?

Best wishes to our UK friends on this important day. UPDATE: Polls shut at 10pm on Thursday UK time (7am Friday AEST). Final Tally: “breakfast time” Friday in the UK ( which is  4- 6pm on the East Coast of Australia).

“… it’s the last chance most of us are ever going to get in our lifetime to vote for an outcome which is genuinely in the interest of us the people – the demos – rather than that of the increasingly powerful, ever-more-deeply-entrenched elite.”

– James Delingpole

The British Isles Invented Freedom

“… the people of what is now called Great Britain created something entirely different from the closed and centralized regimes that have been the norm in most of human history. They produced a society where rulers were subject to the law and the law belonged to the people, where collective will did not trump individual right, and where free citizens were permitted to create and keep their own wealth. These principles have transformed the world: “The miracles of the past three and a half centuries—the unprecedented improvements in democracy, in longevity, in freedom, in literacy, in calorie intake, in infant survival rates, [...]

Rare historic weather observatory faces closure

The Library at Collegio Romano

How valuable is empirical evidence and long term data?

The Collegio Romano is one of the few places in the world with multi-centennial meteorological and climate data series (228 years!). Maurizio emailed me to let me know that it’s in danger of being broken up. He’s translated an Italian Petition on his site. I’ve copied parts of it below.

Not many people in the world appreciate how important and rare those long temperature series and historic collections are. It only takes a moment to sign the petition (see below for English instructions).

From Maurizio:

Help Save Five Hundred Years Of Weather Observations

The historical meteorological observatory of the Collegio Romano, in operation for 228 years, has been told to vacate its premises occupied from 1879. To this moment, nobody knows where it will be moved to, and worse, nobody knows what will be the future location of its Library, immense historical Archives and collection of old instruments, a priceless heritage cared for during more than two centuries by many great people with lots of passion.

[...]