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 Atlantic — “the finance industry has effectively captured our government”

A former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, wrote in May 2009 about how depressingly similar the US problems are to emerging economies he has worked with. It’s a provocative article: The Quiet Coup (a few excerpts posted here).

“Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.”

The Quiet Coup

The problem is oligarchs who overborrow, become too powerful, and gain too much influence:

Click the chart above for a larger view

“Wall Street ran with these opportunities [lightweight regulation, cheap money, securitization, interest rate swaps, and I would add, high frequency trading]. From 1973 to 1985, the financial sector never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits. In 1986, that figure reached 19 percent. In the 1990s, it oscillated between 21 percent and 30 percent, higher than it had ever been in the postwar period. This decade, it reached 41 percent. Pay rose just as dramatically. From 1948 to 1982, average compensation in the financial sector ranged between 99 percent and 108 percent of the average for all domestic private industries. From 1983, it shot upward, reaching 181 percent in 2007.

“The great […]

Thank God! BEST project rescues us from thousands of lying global thermometers

Lucky the BEST* project is here to save us from the lying thermometers of the past. Apparently people in the 1960’s and 1970’s were clever enough to get man on the moon, but too stupid to measure the temperature. Millions of people were fooled into thinking the world was cooling for three decades by erroneous thermometer readings. Who would have guessed?

Back then, everyone was sure that the 1970’s was a lot colder than the 1940’s, as Steven Goddard reminds us:

Newsweek April 1975

See the original Newsweek report at Denis Dutton‘s site.

The Global Bermuda-Triangle Effect: Thermometer Weirding

The performance of global thermometers is baffling. The technology is nearly 300 years old. The first thermometers were produced in 1724 by Daniel Fahrenheit, and by 1742 Anders Celsius had invented its main competitor. This simple, reliable instrument spread throughout the world and worked well. So far so good. But from 1920 we see the first signs of worldwide systematic errors (first too high, and then too low?!).

The strange “Wierding” effect struck both mercury and alcohol thermometers and was most savage between 1945 and 1975. Frank Lansner compared the BEST projects result with his Rural Unadjusted Temperature […]

British energy landscape shifted a month ago, old media waking up now…

In the UK, gargantuan (as in wow!#$) amounts of cheap energy were discovered a month ago, yet it seemingly hasn’t changed the political landscape. (Or, then again, maybe it did? I gather no one in the UK government seems to be admitting it, but from afar, it looks like a lot of clunker UK policies have not-coincidentally got the boot in the last month.) Overtly, it’s been the gift no one wanted to open… but possibly a few in power are well aware of what’s under wraps and it is influencing policies?

Back in August 2011, the experts at the The British Geological Survey team thought the country only had 150bn cubic meters of shale gas. Then on Sept 22 a group called Cuadrilla announced that they’d found the odd 5,660 bn cubic metres under Lancashire.

Right about then, a sea-change ought to have come over ministers and corporate leaders in the UK. Here was a get out of jail free card, with lots of cash-cow potential, not to mention 50+ years of gas for the whole nation. It ought to have been time for large parties, champers, and the dumping of the competing energy sources. Instead a month later, […]

Unthreaded Oct 22, 2011


I need to do some testing, so odd things may come or go… but hopefully it will all be working properly soon. 🙂

Thanks for your patience, but do keep commenting!



PS: New star ratings added for blog articles. Thanks for your enthusiastic clicking, but seriously, surely I need to do more than write two lines to earn eight stars!

8.8 out of 10 based on 28 ratings

There is no saving the ABC — We want 60% of our billion back

We want evidence, reason, and well informed opinions from all sides on important topics. Instead we’re coerced into paying for propaganda, character assassination, and the personal views of journalists.

The ABC has been outdoing itself lately. It doesn’t just ignore skeptics, it’s been actively working to denigrate them. No ad hom is too low, no fabrication too far fetched. Could it be complete fiction? Why not? Could it be the most expensive high profile ABC programs, costing tax-payers hundreds of thousands an episode? Yes sir.

It’s not a conspiracy, it’s a culture. When comedians and scriptwriters live off a diet of dogma at the ABC (it starts with the science unit), why would we be surprised that they’d churn out the same half-truths, deceit, and sloppy reasoning in their fictional work?

The ABC Chairman — Maurice Newman — recently worried about the poor intellectual quality of ABC “investigations” in The Australian, “Ad hominem attacks substitute for logical and evidence-based discourse that would otherwise allow viewers and listeners the opportunity to decide for themselves where they stand on the issues.”

Our billion-dollar ABC is supposed to represent the diverse views of the country:

The ABC editorial policy tells us the ABC […]

Green Agenda unravelling around the world

Good news: signs are coming in from all over the non-Australian-and-New-Zealand world. Hints of sanity are spreading. Everywhere Green schemes are being slashed, junked and rethought.

I’m heartened. There are reasons to be optimistic, (even if, in the end, the good news was not because politicians got rational, but because the money ran out).

For those that missed it, Delingpole reported the beginning of the October good-news shift with ‘Let’s commit suicide more slowly,’ suggests Osborne.

George Osborne has vowed that the UK will not lead the rest of Europe in its efforts to cut carbon emissions, raising the prospect that the country’s carbon targets could be watered down if the EU does not agree to more ambitious emission reduction goals.

EU referendum reports on the collapse of the UK’s largest Carbon Capture Scheme and what it means for the Green Agenda

It has come to pass that Longannet, the flagship scheme for carbon capture in the UK, has been junked, despite the availability of £1 billion funding from this moronic administration. And since it is the only remaining project in the running for CCS funding, that makes it about thirty months from inception […]

Canada – $6b to cut global temps by 0.0007°C. Just $84Trillion per degree!

I thought the Canadians had gotten over this type of insanity. Environment Canada apparently wants to cut the coal industry in half. (At least that’s as much as they’ll admit too. Presumably they’d feel like they’d completed their life’s work if they could only wipe it out completely.)

Christopher Monckton has analyzed the Canadian regulatory action on “Coal Emissions” and finds that, as usual, legislators are choosing the most expensive option possible with other people’s money. Environment Canada wants to spend $6 billion to reduce the atmospheric concentration of a trace molecule by 0.01 ppmv, and assuming there is any advantage in doing so, it would still cost one-eighteenth as much to just do nothing, suck it and see, and pay for all the theoretical damage that could ensue.

Like so many other Western Nations, there is not even the pretense that the legislation makes sense judged by any numerical outcome, yet Canadian citizens may have to pay thousands in tithe to witchdoctors and carpetbaggers in a futile attempt to change the weather. It’s as if the highest echelons of Western leadership are stone-age innumerate.

As per usual with these type of posts, I expect no real challenge to Monckton’s […]

David Archibald in Sydney Tues OCT 18th

If you are in Sydney, I recommend dropping in to meet David Archibald and hear him speak!

6.30pm, Club Five Dock, 66 Great North Road, Five Dock

Details below… Jim Simpson runs a model group of skeptics 🙂

9.1 out of 10 based on 10 ratings […]

A Monster La Nina in the making?

La Nina is here. But how big will it get?

The NCEP NOAA forecasts suggest it might be so big, it’s historic — stronger and colder than anything since possibly 1917. (Then again, the Australian BOM are saying it’ll be a bit weaker than the last one.) But as Frank Lansner points out, the NCEP model got it right last year when many others were not even close.

Lansner has spotted the uber cold forecasts of NCEP. By March next year their models are telling them the Pacific Ocean (section Nino 3.4) will be 2.5 degrees below average. The forecasts are so unusually cold, some of the model runs don’t even fit on the graph. (Warmistas must be quaking at the thought of a blockbuster cold northern winter. Bring out your “warming causes cooling” memos.)


If conditions do reach 2.6 degrees below average, that would make the ocean surface temperatures in that zone, colder than anytime in the last 60 years. It would be the La Nina to almost match the strength of the 1998 El Nino anomaly (2.8K) that set records all over the world.

7.8 out of 10 based on 17 ratings […]

The Climate Scare (and our Govt) is so ripe for mocking, a cartooning giant comes out of retirement

Pickering has it in a picture 🙂

Let’s applaud the brilliant Larry Pickering.

It says a lot about the state of our nation, that after retiring 30 years ago, the esteemed cartoonist felt the inescapable urge to come back now.

The Australian government and the Big Climate Scare are both achieving once-in-a-generation status. They are both ideas so preposterously absurd, they are Fertilizer for Funnies.

When a government is so bad, that it brings long retired cartoonists out of retirement, you know this era is the end-game stage of a historic low.

Cartoons like this are exactly why the Big Scare Campaign is scared to death of free speech.

Pickering uses comedic exaggeration to the full, but people don’t need to take this literally. It cuts through. This captures a dangerous idea. What if the government was milking the scientific system? Imagine if they treated some scientists different (what, you mean like calling them names?).

Gillard may control the Army but we skeptics have the best cartoonists. It’s no match. The Tax is temporary.

9.3 out of 10 based on 35 ratings […]