JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


The Skeptics Handbook

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The Skeptics Handbook II

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



John Cook’s consensus data is so good his Uni will sue you if you discuss it

UPDATE: After I wrote this Brandon published the letter in full and raised some provocative questions. (See below)

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What bad news for The University of Queensland. Their entire legal staff were on holiday at the same time and this eminent university was protected only by a Law & Society 101 student who staffed the overnight service of FreeLegalAidOnline. A mockfest is ensuing across the Internet. It is so unfair.

A year ago John Cook published another 97% study (the magic number that all consensuses must find). It was published under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license (see Anthony Watts view). Cook’s work is obviously impeccable (except for the part about 97% being really 0.3%), but evidently it uses a special new kind of “open data”. The exact date and time each anonymized reviewer reviewed a sacred scientific abstract is commercial and must be kept secret. These volunteer reviewers allegedly stand to, er … lose a lot of money if that data is revealed (they won’t be employed again for no money?). Such is the importance of this that the University of Queensland left the data on secret-secret forum protected by no passwords and then put urls to [...]

If only Bill Nye knew what science was, John Oliver could’ve been funny

Bill Nye thinks science is about opinion polls — not about reason and evidence, and John Oliver (who’s he? A British/US comedian) thought they should take that fallacy and run with it.

Oliver couldn’t quite sort out his opinion polls from his facts. He seemed to think that when believers do key-word surveys of abstracts it’s “a fact”, but when 75 million Americans are skeptical of a theory (which only has key-word surveys to back it up) “who gives a s***?”

He goes on to say:  “You don’t need people’s opinions on a fact”. Except the “fact” in question is just some other people’s opinions. Obviously what matters to him is not the number of people who believe something, but whether they are card carrying members of the right club. After all only 62 climate scientists actually reviewed the chapter that mattered in the 2007 IPCC report, but some 31,000 scientists, including 9,000 PhD’s, 49 NASA scientists and 4 Apollo astronauts, and 2 Nobel Physics Prize winners disagree. Other surveys show that skeptics are older, better with numbers and smarter. Two thirds of geoscientists and engineers are skeptics. The obvious conclusion (if you think surveys matter in science, which I [...]

Mapping the Skeptical Blogosphere

 People are writing in about the  Amelia Sharman study called Mapping the climate Skeptic Blogosphere. It came out last year as a Working Paper from The Grantham Institute, and then to show how meaningless peer review is, this fairly pointless, weak, banal production has come out again, almost unchanged as “new” but not original research in the peer review literature. What is the point? But I had a lot of fun with this study last year, so I’m reproducing nearly the whole post. And let me stress, at least Amelia Sharman seems to be very genuine in her inquiries, which is truly rare, and admirable. I just wish the brains trust advising her had a grip on logic and reason (and had less of our tax dollars).

The bottom line is that thousands of dollars were spent on a blogroll study which discovered that skeptics “value scientific inquiry”, and  are “alternative public sites of expertise.”

As well as WattsUp, Climate Audit and JoNova, obviously Bishop Hill, ICECAP, Tom Nelson, No Frakking Consensus, and Climate Etc were also found to be influential and connected. Note Climate Depot was ruled out because it pools stories rather [...]

How to convert me to your new religion of Global Warming in 14 easy steps

A reader here sent me this excellent letter, which definitely deserves to be shared, and widely. Enjoy! – Jo

A Guest Post by the Clipped-Wing Warrior

Hi, there.  I’m a Global Warming sceptic.  By that I mean that I am sceptical of all but the first of the Ten Tenets of the Church of Global Warming, which are;

 The globe warmed over the course of the 20th century.  The globe is warming right now.  The global warming is going to continue in the future.  This warming is unusual, unnatural, and unprecedented.  This warming is an overall bad thing.  This warming is caused mainly by increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere.  Human CO2 emissions are responsible for most of the warming.  Humans are capable of reducing their global CO2 emissions.  A significant amount of warming could be avoided if humans reduced their CO2 emissions.  The amount of CO2 emissions reductions that would be achieved by bringing in a CO2 tax will reduce the amount of global warming by a large enough amount as to be worth the economic pain that would come with the application of a CO2 tax.

Apparently, to be a true Warmist you must confirm your belief in [...]

Sun dumps 500 times as many Hiroshima bombs of energy as “climate change”

Announcing the all new Solar-Insolation Hiroshima Bomb App, thanks to Dale Kent.

Since 1998, Global Warming has been occurring at 4 Hiroshima Bombs per second, not that we can measure that rate to a statistically significant value*, or that it means anything at all. Every second the sun pours 2700 Hiroshima bombs of energy on the Earth at the top of the atmosphere. 

As well as missing the big-picture, Cook and Nuccitelli show us they don’t have a good grip on cause and effect. The world may have been warming, but that does not  mean that CO2 caused it. Though they would very much like you to think that.

But if you want to scare people out of their money and impress fools, the Skeptical Science widget is just the thing. As SkS say on their page: “ Put a widget on your blog to let people know that climate change is important to you. ” To which  JoNova adds, “The Sks widget performs a valuable service, advertising the bloggers who don’t understand big numbers or trends, and who struggle with statistical significance. If someone wants to show they think-with-the-herd, and not with their brain, the SkepticalScience widget [...]

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 [...]

Jo Nova in The Australian: Carbon credits market is neither free nor worth anything

Credit to The Australian for printing both points of view. Published as an Op-Ed today.

Carbon credits market is neither free nor worth anything by: Joanne Nova From: The Australian July 31, 2013 12:00AM

THE paradox du jour: people who like free markets don’t want a carbon market, and the people who don’t trust capitalism want emissions trading. So why are socialists fighting for a carbon market? Because this “market” is a bureaucrat’s wet dream.

A free market is the voluntary exchange of goods and services. “Free” means being free to choose to buy or to not buy the product. At the end of a free trade, both parties have something they prefer.

[Those who know what real free markets are know that an emissions trading scheme is not and never can be a free market. The "Carbon-Market" is a market with no commodity, no demand, and no supply. Who needs a "carbon credit"? The government entirely determines both supply and demand.]

A carbon market is a forced market. There is little intrinsic incentive to buy a certificate for a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. It says a lot about the voluntary value of a [...]

The Ben Factor. One man drives a market. The world pretends it is “free”.

How much is that company worth? You can look at its PE, debt, market spread, sovereign risk, and discounted cash flow, but in the end, it’s the Ben Factor (BF) which dominates all companies, metal prices, and sovereign currencies in the West.

The Ben hath spoken, and said that in future, if the economy is looking better, he might slow the printing of $85 billion US dollars a month, some indefinite non-specified day. All that was … obvious. But, world-wide investors and traders hang off the words, trying to second-guess what the BF banality implies. No one will say it, but everyone knows that it the rate of the flow of easy cash so much as slows, all hell will break loose. Balanced on this thin veneer of pretense, stocks, metals and whole national currencies change direction within minutes.

The Ben has spoken.

What hath changed since yesterday? Not much. But global paroxysm ensues.

Bernanke taper talk sends markets into a tailspin

Closing Bell: S&P 500 posts biggest fall since November 2011 on Fed’s stimulus plan

EMERGING MARKETS-Latin American stocks tumble to four-year low

China, Fed frenzy send Aust stocks tumbling [...]

Can the Moon change our climate? Can tides in the atmosphere solve the mystery of ENSO?

Image by Luc Viatour  www.Lucnix.be

The Moon has such a big effect — moving 70% of the matter on the Earth’s surface every day, that it seems like the bleeding obvious to suggest that just maybe, it also affects the air, the wind, and causes atmospheric tides. Yet the climate models assume the effect is zero or close to it.

Indeed, it seems so obvious, it’s a “surely they have studied this before” moment. Though, as you’ll see, the reason lunar effects may have been ignored is not just “lunar-politics” and a lack of funding, but because it’s also seriously complex. Keep your brain engaged…

Ian Wilson and Nikolay Sidorenkov have published a provocative paper, Long-Term Lunar Atmospheric Tides in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s an epic effort of 14,000 words and a gallery of graphs. As these atmospheric tides swirl around the planet they appear to be creating standing waves of abnormal air-pressure that slowly circle the planet, once every 18 years. If this is right, then it could be the key to finally understanding, and one day predicting, the mysterious Pacific ENSO pattern that so affects the global climate. Even at this early stage, brave predictions are on [...]

Who’s a conspiracy theorist then Paul Syvret?

Paul Syvret  seems to be hoping no one will notice that he doesn’t even try to respond to arguments about wind turbines. His technique to avoid debate is to decree that some other people were wrong once on a different topic. They used a rapid fire technique called a Gish Gallop, so therefore, thusly and henceforth anyone with a rapid fire technique can be dismissed with a handy wave of The Gish. It’s just another label in Syvret’s all-purpose excuse-list for not having a grown up conversation.

Those who have no evidence just make things up and toss insults. Syvret of The Courier Mail defends the wind industry from its critics — not with data about windfarms, but with allegations of imaginary astroturfing and denialism. He uses all his biggest scientific words: it’s “a barrage of BS”, “pseudo-science”, and a crusade run by a rat-bag in an incestuous network. He wants to make sure his readers know the critics are shills and conspiracy nutters because, well…  he says so.

The Australian Environment Foundation is his main target today. What’s it guilty of? Well, it links to unpaid bloggers that Syvret doesn’t like: those ” sites promoting climate-change denial (such as [...]

The Marcott Hockey-stick: smoothing the past and getting a spike from almost no data?

The message to the world is unequivocal:

“We are heading for somewhere that is far off from anything we have seen in the past 10,000 years – it’s through the roof. In my mind, we are heading for a different planet to the one that we have been used to,” said Jeremy Shakun of Harvard University, a co-author of the study.

Source: The-world-is-hottest-it-has-been-since-the-end-of-the-ice-age–and-the-temperatures-still-rising.

There are two factors in the new Marcott paper that are major red flags. For one, there is hardly any data in the modern end of the graph. Ponder how researchers can find 5,000 year old Foraminifera deposits, but not ones from 1940? Two: they’ve smoothed the heck out of longer periods. Marcott et al clearly say there is “…essentially no variability preserved at periods shorter than 300 years…” So if there were, say, occurrences of a warming rise exactly like the last century, this graph won’t show them.

Some of the data has a resolution as poor as “500 years” and the median is 120 years. If current temperatures were averaged over 120 years (that would be 1890 to now), the last alarming spike would blend right in with the other data. Where would the average [...]

Pachauri quietly blows goalposts away, pretends to like skeptics. It’s all PR to keep the gravy train running.

There’s a PR war going on

Pachauri is chief PR officer for the Global-not-so-Warming-Gravy-Train. His job is to say things with a straight face that are the complete opposite of what he’s said before, and to pretend he has never said anything differently.

The IPCC are a government committee who’ve stamped the brand name “science” to their policy wish list. They got away with it by using ancient tribal rhetorical techniques. Call your opponent names, spit on their reputation, spread nasty rumors, and tell the useful idiots who follow you that they are smart, caring, and superior — even as you teach them to chant “denier” in response to the dog-whistle. The good thing about having Idiot followers is that can believe at the same time that “denier” is a scientific term and that they have a high IQ.

It is also handy if you give out plum government jobs and consultancies, to keep your supporters ardent. The power of patronage, what ho!

But the game is changing, skeptics have scored too many points.

Thus and verily skeptics have been hitting home runs by shining a light on the religious attitude of the IPCC which keeps declaring unscientifically [...]

John Cook of (un) SkepticalScience, admits “climate change denier” is inaccurate. Will he stop name-calling?

I don’t think John Cook realizes how his latest article affects virtually everything else he’s written.

(Repeated on the SMH too.)

How accurate is a book when even the title describes a group of people who don’t exist? Will Cook stop abusing English?

So he finally admits the banal, that there is no rational explanation for calling skeptical scientists “climate deniers” or “climate change deniers”. Bravo. (No one denies that climate changes, or thinks the Earth has no climate.). But this is terminology he uses everywhere, and it describes a group of people that don’t exist. Has he only just noticed?

We think through our language, and when we use sloppy, inaccurate words, we get sloppy inaccurate results. Abusing our language is what people do when they don’t have a rational argument.

Misleading language is de rigueur for Cook. Even the name of his “SkepticalScience” website is the anti-thesis of accurate English. He’s not skeptical of “official science” in the slightest, and with a gaping hole in his logic (see below), not too scientific either.

Look out for the “fake” tag, too. Since when did a representative of a university call another university academic a fake? Since Cook did. He [...]

Lewandowsky’s “research team”. Who is Mike Hubble-Marriott?

The fourth name on the new Lewandowsky paper is Mike Hubble-Marriott, from “Climate Realities Research, Melbourne”. What isn’t listed on the paper, is that Mike’s “climate research” is published under the anonymous moniker of Mike, on a site called WatchingTheDeniers A site incidentally, which is linked in the paper. Perhaps they ought to have disclosed that?

Climate Realities Research has no website, it doesn’t appear to be a registered business, and Googling doesn’t shed any light on it. Just how serious is his research?

“Mike” gave it away on The Conversation blog a long time ago, sort of, saying “my real name which is Michael Marriott – thus, any charges of anonymity can be dealt with.” Hubble-Marriott, or Marriott, what’s the difference? Hmm. (See Watching the Deniers) In his other life, he worked for a law firm as an information services manager. Perhaps he still does? But now apparently he’s a climate researcher. OK.

I’m not fussy about qualifications, there are plenty of Profs who can’t think. But Lewandowsky and Hubble-Marriott think qualifications are all that matter. Hypocrisy anyone?

Mike commented on this blog in March 2010 as “Mike” on this thread, but in the end failed the logic and [...]

Eight reasons the Australian heatwave is not “climate change”

Eight  reasons why this current heatwave is a boring, overhyped example of weather being used for political purposes.

1. It’s the long term trends that matter — not a few weeks of hot weather

As climate scientists keep telling us (except when they have a heatwave to milk), ”weather is not climate”. It’s the long term trends that matter. One short four week period is not a long term climate trend, but it is an excellent opportunity to create hype and scaremongering in the newspapers. Scientists with little scruple and low standards are making the most of this.

2. The “records” we are breaking are pitifully short

Even if this is the hottest heatwave “ever recorded”, it doesn’t mean much in the long term scheme of things. Natural climate cycles work on scales of 11 years, 60 years, 200 years, 1500 years, and 100,000 years. We have decent temperature records for many locations for only 50 years. We have a scratchy patchy thermometer record for 150 years. Any scientist raving about breaking a 50 year record as if it means something is … embarrassing. There is too much noise in this system and too little data.

3. If a few weeks [...]

Death threats anyone? Austrian Prof: global warming deniers should be sentenced to death

Richard Parncutt

Richard Parncutt,  Professor of Systematic Musicology, University of Graz, Austria, reckons people like Watts, Tallbloke, Singer, Michaels, Monckton, McIntyre and me (there are too many to list) should be executed. He’s gone full barking mad, and though he says these are his “personal opinions” they are listed on his university web site.

For all the bleating of those who say they’ve had real “death threats“, we get discussions about executing skeptics from Professors, wielding the tyrannical power of the state. Was he paid by the state to write these simplistic, immature, “solutions”? Do taxpayers fund his web expenses? (And what the heck is systematic musicology?)

Prof Richard Parncutt says:

“I have always been opposed to the death penalty in all cases…”

“Even mass murderers [like Breivik] should not be executed, in my opinion.”

“GW deniers fall into a completely different category from Behring Breivik. They are already causing the deaths of hundreds of millions of future people. We could be speaking of billions, but I am making a conservative estimate.”

Consequences

If a jury of suitably qualified scientists estimated that a given GW denier had already, with high probability (say 95%), caused the deaths of over one [...]

Lewandowsky – Shows “skeptics” are nutters by asking alarmists to fill out survey

I‘m putting on a conservative, understated hat. This could be the worst paper  I have seen — an ad hom argument taken to its absurd extreme, rebadged as “science”.

Professorial fellow Stephan Lewandowsky thinks that skeptics who are “greatly involved” in the climate debate believe any kind of conspiracy theory, including that the moon landings never happened, that AIDS is not due to HIV, and that smoking doesn’t cause cancer. But he didn’t find this out by asking skeptics who are “greatly involved” in the climate debate or by reading their popular sites.  He “discovered” this by asking 1,000 visitors to climate blogs. Which blogs? He expertly hunted down skeptics, wait for it…  here:

Deltoid, Tamino Scot Mandia, Bickmore, A Few Things Ill Considered, Hot-Topic (NZ) Trunity (unconfirmed?) John Cook (through twitter, h/t Barry Woods at Climate Audit)

This is the point where the question has to be asked: Did Lewandowsky, Oberauer,  and  Gignac really think they would get away with it? Did none of the reviewers at “Psychological Science“ think to ask if the “sampling” of alarmist blogs would affect the results?

The paper is titled:

“NASA faked the moon landing  — Therefore (Climate) Science is a [...]

Are they serious? Shade Cloth over the Great Barrier Reef to save it from climate change?

These people are not good with numbers.

In a paper published in Nature Climate Change today, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, together with Greg Rau of the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California, and Elizabeth McLeod of The Nature Conservancy, say new tactics are needed to save oceans from CO2 emissions.

“It’s unwise to assume we will be able to stabilise atmospheric CO2 at levels necessary to prevent ongoing damage to marine ecosystems,” Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said.

“In lieu of dealing with the core problem – increasing emissions of greenhouse gases – these techniques and approaches could ultimately represent the last resort.”

In addition to using shade cloth over coral reefs, the paper suggests novel marine conservation options, including applying low-voltage electrical current to stimulate coral growth and mitigate mass bleaching; adding base minerals such as carbonates and silicates to the ocean to neutralize acidity; and converting CO2 from land-based waste into dissolved bicarbonates that could be added to the ocean to provide carbon sequestration.

Alistair Hobday Research Scientist – Marine and Atmospheric Research at CSIRO said novel solutions are required. “We need to be mature enough to listen to [...]

Oreskes, the Queen of Climate Smear, ignores the big money, has no evidence, throws names

You’d expect a professor to have done the basic research.

Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes is famous (of sorts) for the book: Merchants of Doubt — it seeds doubts about skeptics by saying that skeptic’s “seed doubts” about climate change.

The skeptics seed doubts by questioning the evidence and pointing to contrary results (isn’t this known as “discussion”?). Oreskes seeds doubts by digging through biographies, analyzing indirect payments of minor amounts, hunting through unrelated topics and tenuous associations from 20 year old contracts.

The hypocrisy of saying that skeptics attack the messenger is lost on Oreskes who specializes in …  attacking the messengers.

Oreskes’ work is based on a logical fallacy, inept research, and incompetent reasoning.

What is remarkable is that so many “intellectuals” or journalists can’t or won’t see through her thin rhetoric.

Oreskes can name virtually no significant funding for skeptics. Skeptics are almost all unpaid volunteers, working out of professional and patriotic duty, appalled by the illogical, anti-science sentiments of people like Oreskes. The enormous “vested interests” are well over a thousand to one in favor of alarmism as measured by funding, yet Oreskes has not even considered them. The largest proactive skeptical organization (Heartland) has [...]

Victory of the Denialists! says Robert Manne in The Monthly as his Gods of Science fail

Firstly — No one wins anything while the people who slag off at scientists get their denigrating name-calling on the front cover of magazines. That said, I’m smiling. Beaming. The man who doesn’t know what science is, admits his team is failing. That has to be good. Real scientists everywhere, smile!

Manne’s argument appears to rest entirely on his mistaken belief that “science” is What The Gods Declare it To Be. For Manne, the Gods are “official climate scientists”. Apparently, only those who are anointed by Government funding have access to The Truth — and their declarations must be obeyed. Manne is so completely under their spell,  he is incapable of figuring out how anyone could think anything else.

“For reasonable citizens there ought to be no question easier to answer than whether or not human-caused global warming is real and is threatening the future of the Earth.”

For Manne, planetary atmospheric dynamics are so blindingly clear that only unreasonable citizens could question it. And if there is “no easier question”, then it follows that those who get this question wrong are not just unreasonable but quite possibly, brain dead. Manne’s writing is thick with insults, but [...]