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 Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Vietnamese Translation

Pat Kelly has produced the fifteenth translation of The Skeptics Handbook — Cẩm Nang Của Người Hoài Nghi. Click on the cover to download a copy. The diacritical feast of glyphs in the file title looks like glorious unix nightmare. (So if the link doesn’t work for you, use the back up file here).

Vietnamese Translation — Cẩm Nang Của Người Hoài Nghi

Pat writes:

Main thanks to my long suffering wife Thi Kelly who has been most painstaking in her efforts.

Also thanks to Cam Ngo MSc MEngSc PhD (UNSW) who reviewed the text and offered helpful suggestions.

7 out of 10 based on 1 rating […]

Hackers throw EU carbon market into intensive care ward. May be shut for weeks.

The EU carbon market is in trouble again. Shucks. Who would have guessed?

Hackers have created so much disarray the EU market has been shut down.

(Reuters) – The European Commission has frozen spot carbon trade in its 72 billion euro ($97.1 billion) emissions trading scheme after carbon permits were allegedly stolen. [Reuters]

A market based on an unmeasurable entity — an atmospheric nullity that-might-have-been-worse — was asking for trouble. It’s not that the market has loopholes, it is a loophole. Offering an infinite array of ways to cheat, guarantees the crooks will come. “Lead us Not into Temptation” ought to start with managing the temptations. Carbon is not a commodity, it’s not a free market, and so sooner or later it will come undone. (That said, dumb ideas have lasted for decades). We might get lucky this time.

As I’ve said before, if the bulk carrier turns up empty, the buyer notices the coal is missing. But if the scammers sell empty carbon credits, who can tell? The two top auditors were suspended, prices have been falling and people leaving for better opportunities, some shifty Hungarians sold credits twice (and were allegedly not the only ones to do […]

Freak January 2011 continues — cyclone coming our way

FINAL UPDATE: The far southwest cyclone is just… drizzle. Best wishes for the Queenslanders who are dealing with the real thing right now.

UPDATE#3: Sunday morning –The Cyclone is now Category 1, and wind speeds only 100km/hr and falling, so the BOM have turned off the CYCLONE Alert, and now call it a “Low”. Their map suggests whatever’s left will have a direct hit on perth, but the infra red image suggests it’s already gone past… and will just clip the lower corner of the state. Looks like it will just be a stormy day.

UPDATE #2: Saturday night —This glorious NASA image shows Bianca a few days ago. Right now the cyclone is losing strength over the cooler water as it heads towards the West Australian Southern coast. Windspeeds have dropped from 185km/hr to 140km/hr. But I thought the intricate detail in this photo was magnificent.

Cyclone Bianca tracks towards SW Western Australia. (Click on the image to go to the BOM page to watch the hourly updates of satelite images.)

Cyclone Bianca off the North West Cape 27 – Jan – 2011 Image: NASA, Modis 1 pixel = 1 km.

With wild blizzards in the Northern […]

Dellers is on fire today

James Delingpole hits the spot. Rarely do you see someone reply to a petty put-down with such equanimity, clarity, and ultimately, a devastating trump.

If Ben Goldacre thinks I’m a ***** what does that make him?

The BBC spent 3 hours trying to catch Delingpole out so they could paint him a fool. Obviously he didn’t give them much to work with, but it was enough to bring out the attack dogs.

Delingpole pointed out the moral and intellectual cowardice of those who throw teenage insults.

5.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings […]

On blogging

With Jeff ID sadly shutting down the Air Vent, it’s worth a comment on comments, on blogging, and on the strange lifestyle that this is. But given that it’s 11:22pm 12:35pm here, and my office is still full of packed boxes (thanks to the marvellous newly laid wooden floor) tonight is not the time to try to eruditely capture the conditio sine qua non of blogging.

Instead I’ll say I completely understand why Jeff wants some time out (indefinitely). There must be a way to maintain a blog without it taking over all the spare moments in a day, and I’m going to find it, though the compass on my desk is just pointing at the magnet in my hard drive, and there is no GPS in the house.

Thanks for the patience of all the regulars out there who are turning up this month to find an erratic rhythm.

It’s a case of positive feedback

Due to the immediate feedback nature of comments and emails, once a post goes up, it’s easy to… keep posting, in the sense that ideas flow, questions that desperately need answering turn up, things that need debunking arise, and people send in good ideas […]

The BBC left leaning bias — it’s in their DNA

This is a a BBC insider abandoning ship. It’s a spectacular case study in why big government can bollocks up any noble proposition, or honest profession. It’s how leadership dissolves into uninspired management as people spend other people’s money. How teams of people who no longer believe, all go through the motions. There’s no competition for the best scoop, for mass ratings, for ideas that push the bounds. The bounds are fixed. Sissons speaks his mind without holding back. — JN

Left-wing bias? It’s written through the BBC’s very DNA, says Peter Sissons Edited snippets of the Daily Mail’s extract of Peter Sissons new book .

For 20 years I was a front man at the BBC, anchoring news and current ­affairs programmes, so I reckon nobody is better placed than me to ­answer the question that nags at many of its viewers — is the BBC biased?

In my view, ‘bias’ is too blunt a word to describe the subtleties of the ­pervading culture. The better word is a ‘mindset’. At the core of the BBC, in its very DNA, is a way of thinking that is firmly of the Left.

I lost count of the number of times […]

Chomsky’s prize hyperbole: GOP win could kill us all

It’s another sign of the ongoing implosion among the carbonistas: the nutter comments come out as reality hits their big dream.

Noam Chomsky — linguistics professor, proves that a professorship doesn’t stop you saying silly things, and manages to spin a “vote for the conservatives” as a ticket to destroy the human race. I mean, how do you raise the stakes (of the spin) from here? What tops that? Perhaps by 2012 we will hear how those wrong votes could be taking out not just homo sapiens and polar bears, but all life on Earth?

As election campaign slogans go I don’t think it will catch on: “Vote for us or everyone dies”…

The dumb-punter-voters are too stupid to make good decisions. Democracy has failed. “Chomsky” ought to choose our leaders. Of course.

Thus the Anointed speaks.

— JN

From Climate Depot and Marc Morano

Noam Chomsky: GOP election amounts to ‘death knell for the human species’

5.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings […]

Science is played by politicians

Brisbane floods, 1893. Young boys take the opportunity to play in the floodwaters in the business heart of Brisbane. Other people use rowboats- the only sure mode of transport during the floods. Poul C. Poulsen.

When an expert on small mammals announces that sea levels will rise by 100m, that’s national news. When an expert on hydrology announces that thousands of homes will be flooded sooner or later in a major capital city, it’s buried, and stays buried for four years, and even after it’s leaked, it still isn’t front page news until after the flood.

The photo above reminds us that the hydrology experts were not predicting anything unprecedented.

As usual, pronouncements from science are just the hammer used (or locked away) by those in power for their own purposes. A convenient tool. From Hedley Thomas at The Australian

The levels of inundation experienced throughout Brisbane as a result of this month’s flood show that the June 1999 Brisbane River Flood Study, which caused a political crisis for Mr Quinn when it was leaked and published in June 2003, correctly warned that the development control lines, set in 1984, were incorrect.

The June 1999 Brisbane River Flood Study […]

The Vision of The Annointed

Thomas Sowell wrote Vision of the Anointed in 1995, and didn’t mention climate change. Yet such is the insight of the man that what he wrote was prescient, pertinent and 100% applicable 15 years later. Our battle today follows a similar pattern to battles over many other social policies. Sowell discusses The War on Poverty, sex education, affirmative action, discrimination, crime, infant mortality. They’re unrelated to climate science, yet the tactics repeat ad nauseum.

We fight to test policies with empirical evidence through polite discourse, while those who want influence and money have an arsenal of tools at their disposal to muddy the search for truth. The anointed substitute baseless declarations, flawed assumptions, and irrelevant motivations for real arguments.

How many areas of public policy have a genuine, no name-calling, clean cut debate about what works and what doesn’t?

Just like Earth’s atmosphere, it’s the feedbacks that matter.

Self Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy

Dangers to society may be mortal without being immediate. Once such danger is the prevailing social vision of our time–and the dogmatism with which the ideas assumptions, and attitudes behind that vision are held.

It’s not that these views are especially evil or […]

While the Cat is away-Version 2


CAT (away) + Mice = PLAY

Jo is away from the computer for some fun and relaxation with her family.

Jo being “off-line” leaves the controls of this blog in the hands of volunteer moderators. 🙂

This time while the Cat is away:

Many regular posters here use web links to make their point(s). If those links could be found easily, others could use them both here at JoNova and also if we blog elsewhere.

7.8 out of 10 based on 4 ratings […]