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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Victoria: it’s democracy and medical science, and getting better fast

The good news: Lockdowns will end sooner than expected. Not soon enough for some desperate businesses, but sooner than Dan Andrew’s modelers thought.

As I predicted, Victoria is doing better than the models estimated. Many people focus on the “daily new cases” but the “unknown source cases” is a better, more forward looking tool.

In Newspoll today we find — also as I predicted from the outset of the pandemic — that health is priority one for most voters. It’s an awkward fact of democracy. As drastic as the restrictions are in Victoria, more than half the voters are happy to give up some freedom temporarily in order to save lives, hardship and unknown health effects, and the burden on healthworkers.

Right-leaning small business owners and entrepreneurs are often not at all happy about giving up freedom. They’re much more comfortable taking risks, but most of the population are not. It’s a personality type thing. It’s not going to change. (What’s obscene though, is that those comfortable taking risks are bearing more of the costs while public servants like Dan Andrews are getting fat pay rises. )

Despite the strict restrictions, fully 71% of Victorians view the restrictions as “about [...]

The incredible arrogance of Andrews in The State of Incompetance

What does an apology even mean?

While the New Zealand Public service took a pay cut of 20%, in Victoria, MPs and Public servants got a pay rise of 2%. Dan Andrews will take home an extra $46,000 per annum despite presiding over the most costly public policy failure in Australian history. The private sector pays for the mistakes, while the public sector earns even more.

Dan Andrews asks so much, but gives so little. And it is a scandal that so many cheap, well known treatments and preventions are not being tested in large trials — Vitamin D, HCQ, Ivermectin, and all the other potential anti-virals like Interferon, Bromhexine, Melatonin, steroids, asthma drugs etc etc.

Voters slam ‘unfair’ public sector pay rise

Adam Creighton, The Australian

Private sector wages in Victoria dropped by $1.9bn in the June quarter, while wages in the public sector increased by $88m, according to the IPA’s analysis…

The poll, of just over 1000 Victorians, found only 7 per cent supported the 2 per cent pay rise that MPs and public servants received in July…

In the last five years, the Victorian population grew 12% but the bill for [...]

Inferno on Black Friday 1939: 71 deaths, 3,700 buildings, too much fuel and “lit by the hand of man”

Omeo . Image courtesy of Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Victoria. More photos

Those who don’t know history…

On Black Friday 1939, on a day of high wind and savage 45 degree heat (110 Fahrenheit) many separate fires joined forces in Victoria to make mass conflagrations, one of which burned most of the western flanks of the Snowy Mountains all the way to New South Wales. In the end the conflagration burned through two million hectares, 3,700 buildings, 69 mills and killed 71 people. Five towns were completely destroyed – never to be rebuilt. At the time, the atmospheric content of carbon dioxide was 310ppm and 90% of all human emissions were yet to be made. Climate Change has nothing to do with it.

In the end, they were horribly unprepared, the forests were horribly overgrown and the weather was horribly extreme.

Men who had lived their lives in the bush went their ways in the shadow of dread expectancy. But though they felt the imminence of danger they could not tell that it was to be far greater than they could imagine. They had not lived long enough.

The Stretton Royal Commission into the Black Friday fires [...]

Manufacturers getting ready to get out of Victoria this summer if power fails

It’s a nervous wait til summer. The Australian grid appears to be in slightly better shape than a couple of months ago, but it’s still so shaky manufacturers admit they are developing contingency plans to move operations interstate if a blackout hits, or they get attacked by a bout of high prices:

Something that doesn’t happen in competent countries with reliable electricity:

Victorian manufacturers prepare for power crunch

Angela McDonald-Smith and Mark Ludlow, AFR

Manufacturers are drawing up contingency plans to shift operations out of Victoria this summer as fears of blackouts and sky-high electricity prices for the March quarter keep nerves on edge.

While worries about blackouts in Victoria have eased in the past three months, Coca-Cola chief executive Alison Watkins said on Friday the company was prepared to beef up manufacturing in other states should the worst-case scenario eventuate in Victoria and generation fall short of demand.

Just another burden and inefficiency on business.

As power gets more expensive and unreliable the Victorian government is blaming coal:

Victoria’s Energy Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, reiterated her concern that the increasing failure of ageing privately owned coal power generators was [...]

Basslink cable out again, costing Victorians more as prices rise

The Basslink cable has gone down again, and is expected to be out of action til mid-October. Luckily for Tasmania, the dams are at 45% full. However in Victoria, which sits on one of the largest brown coal reserves in the world, currently prices are hitting $300/MWh every morning and every evening at peak time. This graph below shows 5 minute prices for the last two days in Victoria. Every dollar Victoria saves at lunchtime from solar generation is lost a few hours later, and then some. Though it’s wrong to use the word “saves” at any time of day. The wholesale price of brown coal power for years was $30/MWh, and this below is a wholesale price graph. Even the lunchtime “low prices” are twice as expensive as brown coal which can supply all day, every day and for hundreds of years to come and doesn’t cause voltage surges, frequency instability, or house fires, and doesn’t need backup batteries, demand management schemes, free movie tickets, or dark hospitals.

The AEMO must be counting their lucky stars that this happened at probably the “best” time of year when demand is lower.

….

 

The effect of the Basslink outage [...]

Blockbuster: 178 years of Australian rain has nothing to do with CO2, worst extremes 1849, 1925, 1950

Remarkable! A new study by Ashcroft, Karoly and Dowdy pieces together an extraordinary 178 years of rainfall data from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. This is a rare study that brings in much older data, looking at trends and extremes. This is pretty much the ultimate long term rainfall paper for South East Australia. Henceforth, there shalt be no more headlines about “unprecedented” rainfall or area’s drying out “due to climate change” unless an event rates against this data…

Australia – a land of floods and droughts: Rainfall goes up and down in long ongoing cycles or change, but no obvious trend that matches the sharp rise of CO2 in the last 30 years. It’s almost like CO2 has no detectable effect… The worst extremes were for the most part — long ago — particularly in the 1840s (assuming those records are reliable). Almost nothing in the last 30 years is unusual or unprecedented despite humans putting out 50% of all our CO2 since 1989. These charts show how misleading it is to use graphs that start in 1970 (or even in 1910) and declare that the recent changes are meaningful, or caused by CO2.

The researchers also use newspaper archives [...]