JoNova

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


Handbooks


Advertising


Australian Speakers Agency



GoldNerds

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



The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Archives

Books

Scandal: BoM ignores major site changes at iconic, historic, Sydney Observatory. Sloppy or deliberate?

Australia’s oldest and most iconic site has changed dramatically, but major site changes are not even being recorded.

The way the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) treat this site says a lot about the unscientific, shoddy, biased standards it uses at sites everywhere. This was their headquarters. Experts walked past new walls, construction and highways, yet they didn’t record them? Beggars belief.

Just as Peter Ridd warns us that we can’t trust some marine and reef institutes, Bill Johnston is the whistle-blower warning us about the Bureau of Met. There is no law of science that says human institutes are infallible. When they run off the rails, how do we find out? Ridd issued a warning from the inside and ended up in the Federal Court. When people, like Bill write from the outside, the BoM waves the peer-review gatekeeper, and anonymous reviewers can easily shut that gate, and without any penalty.

The louvered thermometer house in front of the Observatory in 1864. (Courtesy of the State Library of NSW.)

Sydney Observatory is one of the longest running stations in the Southern Hemisphere, starting in 1859. It was Australia’s premier meteorology site and in the 1800′s it was known [...]

Sydney “hottest ever” mistake generates fake news

The BOM announced it was the hottest ever day in Sydney today, then realized it had it wrong, but not before headlines spread across the country. For a million dollars a day you’d think the BOM would check their own “high quality” database. A scientific agency would take great care before announcing “historic all time records”for a city of five million people. A shameless PR agency might see that sort of mistake as an advantage.

It’s careless, piled on rank neglect

Even if the day had been “a record”, the temperatures are often artificially inflated due to site changes, thermometer changes, and the one-second-record effect thanks to the introduction of electronic thermometers, all of which are a product of careless BOM management and analysis. And even over and above that, past temperatures have been adjusted or homogenised downwards — often years after they are recorded — and by secret methods that the BOM will not disclose. I’ll have more information soon on changes at Sydney Observatory, that the BOM don’t make any allowance for.

Looks like another one second record?

The BOM announced the record after Penrith hit 47.1 at 1:55pm, the BOM tweet wrongly claimed it had “broken the [...]

The Green Blob expands: BBC wants Australian ratings. Their editor Wendy Frew heats Aust by 90C.

What’s better than Pravda? When Pravda is controlled by big government but masquerades as “commercial” and, even better, when it competes with and sucks money from independent competitors–making it harder for journalists who do ask the government hard questions to be heard at all.

Who needs the ABC? The BBC has arrived to provide the propaganda for free and wants to compete with commercial news outlets. They’ve appointed the most gullible journalists they could find (who’ll believe any official edict). Their new Australian Editor, Wendy Frew, accidentally revealed that while she’s good at rearranging a press release and calling it news, she is not too good with numbers.

In a BBC article yesterday by Wendy Frew titled “Australia has hottest spring on record as temperatures soar” comes the extraordinary news that Australia has warmed by 90C since 1910.

“Australia has been warming up by about 0.9C [a year] since 1910,” Dr Braganza told the BBC.

The online article was fixed this morning (with no mention of the mistake), though copies of the error appear elsewhere. It says something that Frew went out of her way to add “[a year]“ into Braganza’s quote without doing the numbers and [...]

How the media distort the news: Lesson 1 — Lies by omission

The Sydney Morning Herald carefully removed the scientific arguments from an article today. Are they afraid their readers are not smart enough to reach the “right” conclusions if exposed to the wrong information? Hey, but its only national policy and billions of dollars at stake.

Today Maurice Newman warned that we are not prepared for climate change (he’s talking about the cold kind). The Australian published his thoughts citing Archibald, Usoskin, Svensmark, Brekke, Lockwood and Curry. Their readers are apparently clever enough to handle discussions of cosmic rays and large hadron colliders.

In Sydney Morning Herald, Latika Bourke and Lisa Cox write an article about Newman’s views, but carefully omit all of the scientific arguments, as well as the potential problems with one sided science funding and the names and credentials of the scientists he talks about. The pair do, however, find space to repeat the litany of the IPCC’s estimate of 95% “probability” (it’s hard to believe Sydney Morning Herald readers have not heard this before). They don’t mention that the IPCC estimate is a speculative and unscientific number which gets paradoxically higher as the IPCC’s predictions are proven wrong. Nor did they interview Newman and ask him his [...]

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 [...]

Climate Change could make humans extinct says “expert”

Time to panic. Climate Change could make humans extinct, warns the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The Earth is warming so rapidly that unless humans can arrest the trend, we risk becoming ”extinct” as a species, a leading Australian health academic has warned.” The trend, the trend, which trend exactly? The trends have been flat on the surface for 17 years, so if that trend continues, we risk “staying the same”? That’ll be deadly. In 1997 global population was 5.8 billion. Since then, there has been no significant warming in the part of the world that humans live in, and global population plunged to 7.2 billion. Hold off on the End-of-Humanity Party.

Helen Berry, associate dean in the faculty of health at the University of Canberra, said while the Earth has been warmer and colder at different points in the planet’s history, the rate of change has never been as fast as it is today.”

Luckily Helen Berry has seen the Neanderthal global data sets from the paleolithic era which recorded those climate changes. Otherwise how would she know the exact rate of global warming from, say, 11,900 -11,860BC or 42,040 – 42,000BC? The only records I’ve seen (like, the ice [...]