Archive for the ‘science’ Category

Cate Blanchett and the modern day Luddites

January 3, 2015

If the scientists have the future in their bones, then the traditional culture responds by wishing the future did not exist.     CP SNOW

Cate Blanchett made her self satisfied, self promoting oration at the ABC/ALP funeral extravaganza only a few weeks ago, where on the television screen I swear her nose grew a few centimetres, explaining the extraordinary benefits she had gained by all the free university education she had received through the Whitlam Government — aka Australian taxpayer — largesse.

On its heels comes another triumphant self-justificatory explanation of the value of an Arts Degree for our national future, nay, the future of humanity, this time delivered at the North Ryde’s Macquarie University Faculty of Arts.

Tim Blair covers the travesty brilliantly:

Blanchett said: “I’d like to posit today that it is the arts that have always been the driver for innovation and exploration. I chose these words precisely because they are always credited to science.”
Quite right. What do scientists know about exploration? We all remember arts graduate Neil Armstrong’s thrilling dissertation on lunar inequality and post-modernism during his landmark 1969 moon tutorial.

You get the drift. It reminds of my rediscovery only a few years ago of CP Snow’s “The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution” that I had studied along with so many others in the early 60’s at school.

I very quickly realised in this quote that Snow was talking about the self-indugent narcisistic dreamers of the Left, the culture that disregards and distains wealth creation and industry, a culture with a total ignorance of economics and a culture made up of preachy environmentalists that basically have little understanding of science.

Snow understood the difference between the Arts and Science; the moralising and the creating; the seeming and the doing.

“Most of our fellow human beings, for instance, are underfed and die before their time. In the crudest terms, that is the social condition. There is a moral trap which comes through the insight into man’s loneliness: it tempts one to sit back, complacent in one’s unique tragedy, and let the others go without a meal . . . As a group, the scientists fall into that trap less than others. . . . If the scientists have the future in their bones, then the traditional culture responds by wishing the future did not exist. It is the traditional culture, to an extent remarkably little diminished by the emergence of the scientific one, which manages the Western world . . . It can be said simply, and it is this. If we forget the scientific culture, then the rest of Western intellectuals have never tried, wanted, or been able to understand the industrial revolution, much less accept it. Intellectuals, in particular literary intellectuals, are natural Luddites. . . For, of course, one truth is straightforward. Industrialisation is the only hope of the poor.”

Climate science still doing its best

December 30, 2014

How many bad predictions does it take to disbelieve climate scientists? 

In a published letter in Nature Climate Change on 22 December, it was report that global warming is already slowing yield gains at a majority of wheat-growing regions throughout the world. The researchers tested 30 computer models … to establish the most likely scenario.

But in the real world it is reported that:

Global wheat production set new records in 2013 and 2014 …Not only are global wheat yields not declining, they are rising at a spectacular pace. According to objective US Department of Agriculture data, global wheat yields have risen by 33 per cent since 1994.

But the Nature Climate Change report with its 30 computer models assures us:

In recent decades, wheat yields had declined in hotter sites such as in India, Africa, Brazil and Australia …

But in the real Indian world it is reported that:

Indian farmers are poised for a record wheat harvest this year of 96 million tonnes, up some 3.5 million tonnes year on year and beating the previous record of 94.9 million tonnes set in 2012, the US Department of Agriculture’s New Delhi bureau said.

And Brazil?

Harvest of the 2014 wheat crop is almost concluded. Early official estimates point to a bumper crop of almost 7.5 million tonnes, or 30 per cent above last year’s good level and record …

And Africa?

Wheat production in Egypt has quadrupled during the past three decades, with the past 10 years producing the 10 highest wheat crops in Egyptian history … Africa’s second largest wheat producer, Morocco, produced its largest wheat crop in history in 2013 … South Africa also produced record wheat yields in 2014 …

And finally Australia?

This year’s Australian wheat crop … is nearly four times as large as the 1972 wheat crop.

Oh dear. What to make of those pesky models and climate science?

Penny Sackett resigns

February 18, 2011

“A breath of fresh”, yes, but “courage” Senator Milne?

Penny Sackett, astronomer and climate change activist — aka Australia’s Chief Scientist — resigned yesterday after only half way through her five-year appointment, citing personal and professional reasons.

As we know, Professor Sackett, was a very outspoken proponent for the need to act on climate change, but like so many in this area, somewhat light on facts. Gilding the lilly, as one does with departures, gloden handshakes and at funerals, Julia Gillard said that she,

has offered objective, clear and constructive advice during her 2 1/2 years at the helm of this important office.

Kim Carr, who apparently doesn’t like her, talked of her “substantial contribution” to scientific debate.

The reward for the most fatuous comment comes from Senator Christine Milne. She applauded Professor Sackett for being a “breath of fresh air” and courageous.

Her courage in responding to and advocating about the climate challenge has been noted and appreciated by many Australians.

In such a prestigious post, with so many billions flowing from governments world wide and so many institutions pushing the climate change agenda, and of course not forgetting the trips overseas and the compliant media circus, it is hard to see where courage comes in.

ABC, please !! It is not unusual weather in Melbourne

February 5, 2011

It is just more of the same … really

Everyone, of course, is talking about this “really strange summer” in Melbourne. Warmists are just busting to believe that something odd is indeed happening, something to do with global warming. After all, how many weeks of holidays down on the coast have been spoiled by rain and exceptionally cold beach weather?

It all reminds me of my grandmother-in-law who announced one Good Friday morning that the gloomy black clouds hovering in the sky was a “sign” from God to remind us of Jesus’ crucifixion. She claimed that it always rained on Good Friday.

One can smile indulgently on an elderly woman’s naïve understanding of meteorology, but it is a lot harder to sympathize with the government’s leading global warming court jester, Ross Garnaut, with his self-satisfied grin, announcing “you ain’t seen nothing yet”.

Andrew Bolt has listed, yet again, a timely reminder, in case leading ABC journalists bleat out the “unusual weather = global warming” alarm. For any other warmists, please stare at the above photo, and ask yourselves, what is this telling me….

Gillard continues to waste our money

January 25, 2011

How to make electricity eight times more expensive

Alan Moran explains how the government is able to convert a $300m sow’s ear that would produce electricity for a cost that is eightfold its value into a silk purse by waving a magic wand four times. By doing this, it is happy to destabilise the commerciality of the electricity supply industry.

He explains that this squandering of taxpayer resources serves to illustrate just how inured we have all become to misused government spending. Looking at the ABC’s reporting of this waste, you would conclude, like most other ABC reports on renewable energy, that it was all good news and positive benefit.


UK Met Office scandal starts?

January 9, 2011

Very expensive dreams taken for reality at our expense

“The trouble is that we simply don’t know how much to trust the Met Office. How often does it get the weather right and wrong. And we don’t know how it compares with other, independent forecasters.”

Roger Harrabin, an environment analyst at the BBC

 

The scandal following the closing of Heathrow Airport and the consistent failure of the British Met Office to get anywhere near predicting the present catastrophically cold winter in the UK is just starting to heat up.

If the politicians think trouble is ahead, they back the winners, not only has the Met Office predictions of mild winter been wrong three winters in the row, they have been SEEN to be wrong, there was plenty of mainstream press coverage before the harsh winters that other forecaster were predicting a severe winter. Following the last years mild winter prediction by the Met Office, there was even BBC coverage debating whether their very expensive super computer had a ‘warm bias’ which was wildly reported in the mainstream media in the UK

Read this searing account, published in Watts Up With That?

It should be a delight to follow the developments.

ABC Ockham’s Razor propaganda

January 8, 2011

A confusion about science and democracy, again

The ABC Science Department is continuing in its role as the propaganda arm for climate change orthodoxy. In a transparently self-serving  Ockham’s Razor this morning,  Julian Cribb is pleading for more communication from scientists to the general public, to better convince them of the soundness of catastrophic global warming science.

Cribb seems to utterly confuse the role of democracy and the role of science. Like many environmentalists and warminists, he has an alarmingly totalitarian view of the role of science in our society.

As the debate around climate change is now demonstrating, we cannot rely upon democratically elected governments to take the right decisions, from a scientific point of view.

While a substantial part, or even a very vocal part of society doubts, denies or rejects the scientific consensus, politicians will usually seek political safety in inaction.

Unfortunately for science, politics is governed by the rules of political logic, not those of scientific logic.

And the rules of political logic are that if you want to change the mind of a politician, then you must first change the minds of their voters.

This clearly is the sort of approach that fits well with the ABC and Ockham’s Razor presenter Robyn Williams, who commissions and introduces this sort of authoritarian thinking. Williams himself has been responsible for broadcasting ill-judged and misinformed interpretations of climate science by, for instance, absurdly claiming that sea levels could rise by 100 metres this century.

But the biggest irony in Cribb’s presentation, is that he perceives a failure of communication by scientists as a cause of the failure of the public to be convinced on global warming. He claims at the outset:

The need for open science has never been more pressing.

This simply defies common sense. At no time in recent memory has the orthodox view on climate science been more open. Indeed, it is daily heavily promoted, propagandized and disseminated in films, documentaries, electronic and print media, in the very selection of items for news services, through schools, by government scientists and political parties.

However, against this overwhelming evidence, Cribb  manages to select just one scientist — one that has been discredited for some of the most exaggerated claims in the climate science firmament — as an example of how climate scientists are being gagged.

In western society it is not unusual for scientists to be actually gagged – as in the appalling suppression of climate science under the US Bush Administration in the case of NASA’s Dr Jim Hansen…

Cribb also ignores the role of Climategate in discrediting the East Anglia Climate Research Unit, the IPCC and others. Shouldn’t he also factor in the catastrophic failure of the British Met Office  — currently fighting a scandal concerning its total incompetence in predicting the current cold winter in Europe — our own CSIRO, or the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for failing to provide forecasts — before it became obvious — of our damaging floods, or to manage to get even simple seasonal weather forecasts remotely accurate. He believes our scientists [presumably the warminists],

employed on the public payroll [are] being ordered to keep their mouths shut about some important discovery, insight or expert opinion …

I wonder if he has bothered to read The Climate Caper by Garth Paltridge, a retired Australian atmospheric physicist, where he sets out just which mouths are being ordered shut.

Julian Cribb urges,

… that science become more open and more democratic in its approach.

Science, and more especially climate science, has nothing to do with democracy. This notion, with its implication for scientific activism, has been the ruin of climate science over the last two decades and shows that Julian Cribb and the ABC Science Department understand little about the meaning of ‘disinterested’ science.

Faine and economic ignorance of the Left

December 9, 2010

Water tanks would cost nearly 200 times more…

Jon Faine, spruiking Green policies on the ABC yet again this week, promotes the mandating of rain tanks for Melburnians. This desire of his underlines the economic and mathematical illiteracy of the Left. They can’t do sums, and have no idea of real costs to real people, most of whom can simply not afford the luxuries they indulge in themselves.

From my reckoning [figures from official government websites]:

The average total cost of a 5,000 litre tank is around $3,137.

For a Melbourne population of 4,644,950, there are 1,667,687 households. Therefore, the total price for mandating rain tanks would be approximately $5 billion and they would store a potential 8,330 ML of water.

The dam that Labor has refused to build, the Mitchell Dam, would have had a capacity of 500,000 ML. That is, one dam, costing around $1.5 billion — that is a third of the cost of rain tanks and equivalent to just three years of operation of the $5 billion desal plant — would have stored 62 times more water. This is, dollar for dollar, nearly 200 times more water for the money spent. Or to put it another way, Faine’s planned mandated water tanks, if they were to do what this one dam could do for $1.5 billion, would cost individuals the equivalent of $180 billion.

In addition, the proposed mandated rain water tanks would, in a drought, last an average household — at 155 litres per person — only two or three weeks.   The one extra dam would supply water to Melbourne, at the same rate — for around two years.

Maybe households in Fitzroy can afford this nonsense but it would either hurt the poor, or if subsidized, overwhelm the taxpayer. Either way, it is crazy economics and utterly stupid as a way of waterproofing a city like Melbourne. But do the fanatical greens care at all ?

I Love A Sunburnt Country

December 2, 2010

A gentle reminder from Dorothea Mackellar

A big thanks to Dorothea Mackellar for this rigorous historical documentation of climate change, written before any real increases in industrial atmospheric carbon di-oxide, and before our modern, scientific understanding of the Indian Ocean Dipole or the El Nino Southern Oscillation.

It is time that our Prime Minister, the Chief Scientist, ABC presenters — including Tony Jones, Robyn “100 metres” Williams and Jon Faine — and all those other soppy green environmentalists with weak or wishful memories, reread this wonderful poem. I should remind them that the poem was written in 1906, just in case they think it was written about our recent, inexplicable ‘extreme’ weather events caused, according to these fools, by global warming.

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded Lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens,
Is running in your veins;
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies –
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains,
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me.

The tragic ring-barked forests
Stark white beneath the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
An orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the crimson soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart around us
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold;
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown Country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Chief Scientist Sackett obfuscates

December 1, 2010

A true bureaucratic

It is difficult to imagine how Penny Sackett earned her title as Chief Scientist for Australia. Last night she was interviewed on Lateline where Tony Jones predictably failed to get any interesting information out of her. Jones gave a half hearted attempt to question what I call the “Dorethea Mackellar” factor, whether or not the drought and now the flooding rains is not a natural cycle rather than a consequence of global warming.

TONY JONES: Do you believe then there is a connection between the extremes or the extreme events in the Southern Oscillation Index and overarching global warming, is there any proof of that?

PENNY SACKETT: The – what we do know is that we can expect an increase in the severity and the frequency of extreme events. What we cannot say is that any particular single event is related to global warming. It’s rather statistically the number and the severity of them.

Jones tried again:

TONY JONES: But do you have a report or scientific advice for those farmers in the Murray-Darling who are essentially being told they may have to pack up their farms and stop being farmers because of climate change and restrictions to water in the future, even though they’re looking at large volumes of water now?

PENNY SACKETT: I think that holistically Australia will have to ask questions about what sort of food it can grow, where it can grow and how it can increase productivity.

He asked and repeated the question in various forms at least five times.

On nuclear energy, Ms Sackett was just as unforthcoming. This was the fourth question Jones asked her on that topic. Her fourth answer of course was basically the same as the previous three.

TONY JONES: But if the Government asked for your advice as a chief scientist on whether nuclear power’s a viable option for Australia and whether it would be beneficial, what would you say?

PENNY SACKETT: I’d say that we would need to study it. We would need to get a series of experts in who would not only look at nuclear energy, but a whole suite of energy options and provide a report back. But I certainly wouldn’t be answering the question without looking carefully at the evidence.

On emission reductions, Ms Sackett was decisive.

TONY JONES: The Australian Government is currently promising a five per cent emissions reduction target. Do you regard that as a serious target that will achieve anything?

PENNY SACKETT: I regard any action that begins to reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as serious – any reduction.

And so the dreary interview finally came to its end. This woman presumably gets paid a lot of money. Tax payers may ask what for?

And what about Tony Jones? With his token “hard” questions, he displayed absolutely no impatience, or insistence, that Sackett answer his questions. He, after all, is also on the global warming gravy trail.


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