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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JCU staff too scared to use their uni email – this is what “academic freedom” looks like

Academic Freedom in Australia: Academics are free to use hotmail at work

For the first time in months the ABC suddenly finds time to mention Professor Peter Ridd — but not because he got sacked for an email with the illegal line “for your amusement”.  That new development in academic freedom was not newsworthy on the billion dollar ABC site.  Nor did the-blob’s-ABC feel Australians needed to know that the international outcry over his sacking was so strong that Ridd raised $160,000 in donations in a mere couple of days. However now things are apparently “serious”: other academics at JCU have given up using the official email network, hiding their thoughts on hotmail and gmail instead. Finally, 27 days after he was sacked, the ABC have arrived…

Management of JCU insists Ridd’s sacking was not about academic freedom. But everyone at JCU acts otherwise. Staff at JCU now know exactly how free they are — if they say something the management doesn’t like, they too could be victims of a personalized email trawl. Anyone could lose their job at any time for falling foul of a selectively enforced and unknowable “code of conduct”.

James Cook University staff avoid using emails [...]

Don Aitken: Peter Ridd was sacked because he threatened the Money Making Engine at Uni

The university grant engine is just a part of the whole Green Scare Machine. Click to enlarge.

Science Funding is monopsonistic, one-sided and poses a real threat to science. Governments are strangling research. The more money governments throw at politicized science, the tighter the deadly grip.

Read the cutting commentary from Don Aitkin — the former vice-chancellor of the University of Canberra and foundation chairman of the Australian Research Council. There’s a vested interest here, rarely discussed, that has ballooned in the last thirty years to billions of dollars.

In The Australian and on Aitken’s blog

Don’t you Dare Upset The Money Making Machine

The engine works this way. There is strong pressure on all academics to bring in research grant money for the department, the faculty and university. Those who do it well find their careers advancing quickly. To assist them there are media sections in universities whose job it is to frame the research work of academics in a way that will gain the attention of the media. Such media releases will come with as arresting a headline as the media section can devise. Buzzwords like ‘breakthrough’, ‘crucial’, ‘cutting edge’ and ‘revolution’ will [...]

James Cook Uni goes nuclear on free speech: Professor Peter Ridd sacked

UPDATE Watch Peter Ridd on Sky News. I’ll be on the show myself next Sunday. – Jo

Peter Ridd as a first year undergraduate science student at James Cook University back in 1978.

This is so much bigger than just one man and one university. Academic staff everywhere will be watching, most to see if they can say what they really think, but others, conversely to see whether James Cook University can get away with this. Can they squelch opinions they don’t like this easily?

James Cook Uni needs to be punished, mocked and heads should roll. We didn’t ask for this test, but it’s here. JCU don’t deserve a single dollar of taxpayer funds while they maintain this ridiculous anti-intellectual and political pogrom.

Peter Ridd wants his job back and he’s willing to fight to get it. Let’s help him!

Peter Ridd’s new website.                             Donate at his GoFundMe page.

Summary of Allegations with brief explanation

First they tried to punish Peter Ridd for daring to question divine institutions and sacred peer review. These are the words JCU wanted banned: [...]

JCU bans Prof Peter Ridd from criticizing scientific institutions. Defiant, he refuses, fights on!

UPDATE: Funding target reached already. Thank you! I am astonished, very relieved and most importantly incredibly grateful for the support. I would also particularly like to thank Anthony, Jennifer Marohasy, Jo Nova, Willie Soon, Benny Peiser and many others for getting the issue up on blogs and spreading the word. Kind regards, Peter _________________________ JCU is trying (and failing) to gag Peter Ridd from discussing why we can’t trust scientific organisations

Last August Professor Peter Ridd said the unsayable — that we can no longer trust scientific institutions. His employer, James Cook University (JCU) could have explained why they were trustworthy, but instead they fired back with a formal censure and ordered him to be silent, effectively to stop him criticizing the current state of science or scientific institutions. Then knowing exactly how respectable, ethical, and scientific this is, they also ordered him not to mention the censure too. Let’s censor the censure!

If there was a crisis in science, what academic would be allowed to point it out?

It gets dirtier, apparently now they are even trawling through his private emails as well, hunting for more ammunition for their misconduct case. Who’s a bit desperate?

Hypothetically, [...]

Professor Peter Ridd facing misconduct charges for not selling peer review as sacred unquestionable testimony

Professor Peter Ridd has made the mistake of putting scientific standards ahead of collegial comfort. What was he thinking? He seems to feel he should serve the people of the Queensland instead of helping the careers of co-workers and admin staff.

Ridd is being accused of “Not acting in a collegial way” (or something like that, no one is allowed to say for sure) and is now under investigation for serious misconduct.

 Jennifer Marohasy has more details. Apparently, in The Australian, he dared suggest that we need a group of scientists to check other scientists pronouncements on the Great Barrier Reef:

The federal government is set to spend more than $1 billion on the Great Barrier Reef in the next few years to mitigate the effects of climate change, based largely on research that is claimed not to have been subjected to proper scrutiny.

James Cook University physics professor Peter Ridd writes in a new book that the credibility of key research papers driving investments in the reef rest on “a total reliance on the demonstrably inadequate peer-review process’’.

Professor Ridd argues for the establishment of a properly funded group of scientists whose sole job [...]

Prof Peter Ridd: the Great Barrier Reef recovers, our science institutions are failing us, science needs to be checked

Alan Jones, interviews Peter Ridd,  James Cook university professor of physics about the state of the Great Barrier Reef

The coral reef recovers.

Peter Ridd: Coral Reefs recover — “the scientists make hay when it dies in a spectacular way but they are quiet when it recovers.”

On symbionts — “There is a large variety of symbionts and some allow coral to grow faster but are more sensitive to bleaching.”

All the corals on the Great Barrier Reef live and grow much faster in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Thailand where the water is much hotter than it is on the reef and the corals just juggle these symbionts.   4:20

Corals have a little thermometer built in them, when you take a core of them from many years ago we know what the temperature of the water was back when Captain Cook sailed up the coast, it was actually about the same temperature then. It was colder 100 years ago, but it has recovered from that. The temperatures on the reef are not even significantly warmer than average on a hundred year timescale.

Corals that bleach in one year will [...]