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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What the hell was he thinking?

Looking for a great Christmas present idea? I’ve been enjoying the new glorious full-colour book covering the work and “why’s” of a great Australian cartoonist. There is still time to buy it for a friend, or put it on your list. Cartoonists have leeway to say what no one else will, and of cartoonists, there are few like John Spooner.

John Spooner’s Guide to the 21st Century:  What The Hell Was He Thinking

 

  If a scholar in two hundred years time happened to be regarding the intricacies of Australian political life at the turn of the 21st Century, they would find few better guides…. than the cartoons of John Spooner. – Gordon Morrison

John Spooner’s last cartoon, 2016. The Age.

As well as being a collection of his work, a keepsake with over 250 images, Spooner explains what was going on in the editorial zone of one of Australia’s largest newspapers as it evolved over the last 40 years.

Spooner writes about how different things were in The Age in the 1970s. (It used to be a real newspaper once). He describes the gradual closing down of dissent from the party line. He worked [...]

Sherwood’s devout unscientific faith in “climate change” and the hot spot

In The Age this week, Stephen Sherwood explains how misleading skeptics have been for repeating obvious, incontestable results from millions of weather balloons. See, all along, Sherwood knew the weather balloons were wrong, and if only skeptics had his psychic powers, or connection to God, they would have too. Naughty skeptics,eh?

The article in The Age gives away a lot more than either Steven Sherwood (or Peter Hannam, the Fairfax journalist) probably meant to reveal. Sherwood’s still spruiking his latest study, which repeatedly adjusted and blended the weather balloon data and finally “found” the hot spot so effectively it even shows up in years when  it’s not supposed to occur. I’m not talking about his technique, but about his slip of the tongue. Spot the conflicting messages. (As usual, the gullible Peter Hannam let him step right in it, by failing to ask the obvious questions.)

Stephen Sherwood effectively tells four points. Figure out how they can all be true at the same time:

The hot spot is vital to the models, indeed to the current scientific understanding of our climate! This is the first time they have finally resolved the missing hot spot. Sherwood always knew the hot spot [...]

Abbott needs to be more pro-science and cut funding to models that don’t work

Look out, Australia might trim a tiny slice from the Tithe to the Gods of Weather (protest coming)

The Australian budget is in dire straits after the Rudd-Gillard years of promised surpluses but exploding arithmetic. The Commission of Audit is here to test public reaction to all the possible ways of paying off the Labor debt. Somehow, it missed the biggest cherry waiting to be plucked. We could save billions if the the Abbott Government become more rigorously scientific. Abbott should cut funding to any scientists who are using models that don’t work, and only fund ones that do.

“Abbott should cut funding to any scientists who are using models that don’t work, and only fund ones that do.”

I expect the Greens will join me in declaring that if the Abbott government cared about the environment it would immediately launch a royal commission, a real audit, or an independent investigation into the effect of carbon dioxide. Only the best science for the planet, right? All funding to environmental programs dependent on unverified research should be frozen until the audit is finished. Easy eh? Let me be PM for a day. :- )

But apparently the sacred carbon cow must not [...]

The Age columist says democracy, free press not the answer for climate damage

The Age, sometimes the free press is not enough…

Gay Alcorn suggests when voters get it wrong (and you are but a powerless columnist on a major daily paper) the answer is not “explain your case”,  or “publish and study the views of the people who disagree” but be fiercer, get arrested and resort to civil disobedience and blockades. Meanwhile her “respected” CSIRO scientists let her step into an obvious scientific hole, and Naomi Klein spins a fantasy that Alcorn finds appealing.

Ask all the wrong questions

The journalists of The Age have read their own paper for so long, they don’t even know what questions to ask:

The Age: “Applying heat to Canberra’s climate stance”

“There are a few barely questioned principles that most citizens assume in a representative democracy such as ours. One is that, whichever party you voted for, you accept the result of an election and give thanks for a peaceful transfer of political power.

But what if there was an issue where you couldn’t accept the elected government’s position, believing it so wrong, dangerous, and damaging to the country’s economic and social future that to treat it as just part of the [...]

David Evans in the Fairfax press: Climate change science is a load of hot air and warmists are wrong

Today in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, for the first time, David Evans has been published in the Op-Ed section. Something is going on in those newsrooms…? This article, below, simply makes the point that the models amplify the direct effect of CO2 by a factor of three and that is where the most important uncertainties lie. This key factor in the debate — which we cover repeatedly on this blog– has virtually never been made before in these newspapers which are the major dailies for Australia’s two largest cities. Any debate about the effects of CO2 needs to start with the fact that most of the warming in the models comes from amplification of humidity and clouds. If the models were right about water vapor, we would have found that missing hot spot.  –   Jo  PS: The SMH and The AGE have both closed comments already! Have they run out of electrons? Oh my? Or were they afraid the comments looked like a debate?

UPDATE: I’ve just posted that these major dailies have “disappeared” the Muller conversion article too!

—————————————

Dr David M.W. Evans

31 Jul 2012

Climate scientists’ theories, flawed as they are, ignore [...]

Muller-the-pretend-skeptic makes three claims. He’s half right on one.

Almost all the coverage of the Muller and BEST results confounds three different points, is poorly researched and mixes up cause and effect. Richard Muller is shamelessly promoting himself as something he is not, and his conclusions are nonsense on stilts that defy rational explanation.

Everyone knows hot air rises off concrete, yet scores of people get befuddled by statistics. The maths-talk is irrelevant. If your analysis tells you that thermometers next to combustion engines and industrial exhaust vents is recording global warming — your analysis is bunk, and we don’t need a peer reviewed paper to say so.

Muller’s three claims:

He’s a converted skeptic. (Naked, demonstrably wrong, PR.) The world has warmed by 0.3C/decade. (He’s half right — he’s only exaggerating 100%.) That it’s mostly due to man-made emissions. (Baseless speculation.)

As far as public policies go the only point that matters is 3, but most of the conversation is about 1 and 2. Worse, most journalists and many so-called scientists think evidence for warming is the same as evidence that coal fired power stations did it. How unscientific.

We need to deal with each claim separately.

1. He’s a converted skeptic. No he’s a dishonest alarmist. [...]

Bob Carter wins the cartoon war :-) A very sweet win.

Thank you DeSmog! Without FakeGate we would not have had this cartoon. (Readership est 850,000)

Cartoon by John Spooner. The Age.

Source:The Age                 John Spooner: The Age Gallery     Spooner:  Nat.Lbrary collection

Spooner: The National Times Collection

TRANSCRIPT:

Julia Gillard to Tim Flannery (top picture) “Tim, sorry to drag you in like this. I’m not that upset that you were so wrong about water shortages now that we’re drowing in the stuff. And how were you to know that there would be no statistically significant increase in warming for the last 15 years of increasing CO2 emissions.”

Julia Gillard to Tim Flannery: (lower image) “No! I want to know why I pay you 10 times what Bob Carter gets and he still wins the argument!”

 

On Wednesday I mentioned the Carter/Flannery disparity in wages:

And if Bob Carter receives an honorarium type amount of $1500 a month, the pull of those big dollars must be powerfully tempting for people like Tim Flannery who struggle along on about $1200 each day he [...]

ClimateGate II: Handy Guide to spot whitewash journalism – The top 10 excuses for scientists behaving badly

Sorting real journalists from sock puppets is not too tricky: real investigators tell you what the story is about; PR writers tell you what to think.

Do they “discuss” ClimateGate emails … without quoting the emails?

Who digs for details, and who hides the evidence?

The PR writers for Big-Government were quick to come up with excuses for ClimateGate II. Which is all very well, but it’s blindingly obvious where their own personal prejudices lie if they won’t print the emails that they are supposedly discussing. It’s not so much cherry-picking, but cherry-denial. “Don’t mention the radioactive cherries, but lets discuss how cherry farmers have been victimized, talk about the history of cherry tree farming, and hear their excuses and assertions that the cherries are an essential part of our diets. Don’t mention the Geiger counter. OK?”

The top 10 excuses for PR writers  who pose as “journalists” to ignore ClimateGate emails

This is standard issue damage control for ClimateGate — protect the cheats and liars, attack the whistleblower, and  use excuses and padding-fillers to cover a story without actually giving the public any information on the [...]

The Age does award winning PR — oops was that meant to be science?

RE: “Sceptic: one inclined to doubt accepted opinions” by Michael Bachelard, The Sunday Age

———————————– For free, and just because I’m a nice person, I’m going to help Michael Bachelard with his science articles.

He’s a Walkley Award winner writing for the two largest “broadsheet” circulation papers in Australia. He knows indigenous issues, politics and industrial relations, so “climate science” was the … er, obvious next step, right?

The Age (and by default, it’s sister The Sydney Morning Herald) decided to pretend to investigate the most burning climate questions the public could offer. But their investigations apparently amounted to phoning up government agents and fans of the policy, and asking them what to write.

 

It’s titled: Sceptic: one inclined to doubt accepted opinions, but it could have been titled Journalist: one inclined to parrot groupthink

Poor Bachelard is out of his depth in the science trying to answer Stephen Harper and Harry Hostan’s questions. For an investigative journalist he had odd ideas about how to get answers, almost never contacting the people or groups he wrote about directly. Who knows, maybe the servers at Fairfax don’t allow emails out to non-lefties at the moment, because he doesn’t seem to [...]

Gillards non-plan for the Climate

UPDATE: The more I think about this, the more sinister it seems. Gillard won’t put the policy on the table for all of us to debate, but she’ll get a quasi-mandate for an ETS by proxy. She’s playing both sides of the field. The Greens will assume the “citizens committee” will be convinced, they’ll be angry at the delay, but vote for the ALP anyway, the mainstream voter thinks they can  relax and worry about it later. The skeptics know that any committee can be whitewashed or biased, and Gillard has pretty much said an ETS is inevitable. Michael Cejnar in #7 is exactly right (read his comment).

What’s a politician to do to convince the masses? They’ve tried the panel of 2,500 so-called experts at the UN who spend five years writing 3,000 page reports. They’ve tried spending millions on advertising campaigns, prize winning documentaries, coloring in competitions in schools, and they’ve tried bullying, name-calling and endless rounds of repetition.

Now instead of convincing the masses, they’ll just “convince” 0.01%. Democracy be done with it.

By “moving forward”  to the Rudd summit of 2008 (or as Bolt points out, the Republican deliberative-poll farce of [...]

Infantile professor pronounces debate “infantile”

The Age — formerly a decent newspaper — never fails to take an opportunity to parrot PR for Team AGW.

Last week they gave a free shot to Will Steffen, Executive Director, ANU Climate Change Institute.

Climate debate ‘almost infantile’

(The Age, ADAM MORTON,  May 25, 2010)

A SCIENCE adviser to the federal government has described the debate in the media over the basics of climate change science as ”almost infantile”, equating it to an argument about the existence of gravity.

It takes a tax-payer funded Pro-fessor to equate AGW to gravity. It must have taken years of education to be able to issue pronouncements like this eh? If Australian taxpayers were hoping to get a bit more than just bluster and name-calling from certain public servants, they’re bound to be asking for their money back soon.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the existence of gravity is proven each day you don’t get flung off the planet when you get out of bed. We can measure gravity to twelve significant digits*, but our value for climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide varies from 0 to 10. Pick a number. We can’t even get one [...]

How not to do journalism

Watch the whitewash– so white it’s Green. The Peter Spencer story has finally broken into the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Two “journalists” paired up to put together almost identical stories as a joint effort, and do their best to add doubt and smear to every part of the Spencer story. It’s a text book case in PR. These two journalists might make passable press secretaries for a Labor government. (Which is a well worn career path).

The big-picture situation, where farmers are asking for $10 billion in compensation for land that was stolen from them, was turned into a story about how the Coalition might be split by a guy on a hunger-strike over land-clearing laws. In reality Peter Spencer could drive one heck of a wedge into the Labor Party, who paint themselves as “helping the little guy” and simultaneously claim they are good economic managers. The Labor government can’t find $10 billion easily anymore, but less than a year ago they gave out $42 billion fairly randomly as a supposedly “clever” economic policy and another $43 billion to get into the broadband business.

Here’s how these major dailies “carried” the story: The Age’s version

[...]

Confused? You might BE a psychologist

Some scientists just keep looking in the wrong places for answers. Here’s Stephan Lewandowsky, professorial fellow of psychology, in The Age trying to answer the most important question in modern science and economics. He refers to ClimateGate and asks if the stunning accusations of serious misconduct are true? Watch the flat out assertion backed by a non-sequiteur:

They are not. Even if we presume that the stolen material is authentic, the notion that climate data is being nefariously withheld is fantastical.

This does not even make sense within the confines of it’s punctuation. Is there a new Natural Law of Thermodynamics that says it’s impossible to withhold data? The data is gone, even Phil Jones, head of the East Anglia Climate Research Unit admits he has withheld it and won’t ever provide it:

“The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.”

We know the emails are real. Phil Jones has said as much. He admits he has withheld data for years, and that he’ll delete it as well [...]