Friday, December 26, 2008

The peanut as an analogue of our times


Never before have so many people had so much information at their disposal, and yet so many of us seemingly lack the ability to understand this information and use it in a rational and considered fashion.

Health concerns, and particularly concerns about children's health, is a particular example of this phenomenon.

Lies, half-truths, distortions and misunderstandings are packaged up along with publicity seeking professionals and even scientific journals and leavened with doses of inane and stupid conspiracy theories. The completely unfounded and ridiculous fears about vaccinating children, especially with the MMR vaccine, is a perfect illustration of this toxic cocktail of fear and misinformation.

That a once reputable scientific journal, that is The Lancet, actually helped to spread disinformation about the MMR vaccine by publishing poorly conducted research findings that somehow made their way through peer review, shows that we can no longer just dismiss this kind of thing as the crazy beliefs of a few nutcases on the fringe.

Even scientific journals now feel they have to compete for attention in a crowded market place and the temptation to go for the headline grabbing over the substantial is more and more in evidence.

(The Lancet is of course the journal that published idiotic claims about so-called surplus deaths in Iraq, pulling first a figure of 100,000 out of thin air and then desperately gazumping that with a claim of over 650,000. It is worthwhile remembering two things here. Firstly, the editor of the magazine is noted for his far-Left politics and penchant for activism and actively took part in events organised by the Trotskyist front group - the Stop the War Coalition. Secondly, and most importantly, the figure of 650,000 or more was an extrapolation based upon just 547 actual deaths.)

Despite being proved by one double-blind trial after another to be useless and ineffective, so called "complimentary medicine" is actually being taught in increasing numbers of supposedly top rank universities.

But when a failed American politician can win a Nobel Peace Prize, not for actually stopping a war or bringing peace to anywhere, but for making a pseudo-documentary horror film later found by a court to be so riddled with basic scientific errors as to be only suitable for showing in British schools if there was an appropriate warning attached to it, anything is possible it seems and nothing is too absurd to be taken seriously.

But anyway. Peanuts and children's health and the often irrational fears of parents and the lessons they can teach us about being careful in responding to often exaggerated or just misleading claims about health or diet etc.

Sandy from
Junkfood Science takes the time to examine the actual evidence versus the all too common hyped-up claims that food allergies are increasing amongst children.

As she observes, it is not actual rates of allergies that are increasing, but rather numbers of parents who think their children are suffering from them.


These reports might seem to be saying that more children today have diagnosed food allergies, but that is not what they are actually reporting. The studies behind these claims were surveys, all of which found that the percentage of parents who report they believe their children have food allergies has increased over the past decade.

But these reports have also neglected to reveal that repeated studies have found that 5 times more parents report their children have food allergies than actually do when tested in double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges; and as many as 12 times more report food allergies in their infants and children than actually have food allergies when given skin prick testing. The discrepancy between perceived and actual food allergies is growing.

With that introduction, let’s all take a deep breath and see what the research can tell us.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Some good news as we go into the new year


Okay, it's mixed up with some not so good news, that is, the appointment by Mr Obama of Dr John Holdren as his science advisor.

But this goes to the heart of why the pessimists about the future and the ability of people to think their way through problems, and come up with never before seen solutions to them, have always ended up being wrong and why we should have hope and confidence about the future.

As you'll see The New York Times' science writer observe below, the famous bet between the doom mongering crank Paul Ehrlich (aided by Holdren) and the economist Julian Simon wasn't an obscure disagreement about the future prices of a selected bunch of metals.

The next time you see in the media a story based upon the WWF or some such group claiming that we are using up the world's resources faster than they can be replenished, think about this famous bet and then ignore the story.

Because it is, quite frankly, bullsh*t.

The position of Ehrlich and Holdren was based entirely on such a simplistic assumption.

And of course people such as David Suzuki even today have failed to learn the lesson from this and continue to make the same elementary mistake.

But instead of shortages and hunger, as predicted by Ehrlich (and you can check out below just how dire and gloomy and extreme they were below), the decades since his famous book The Population Bomb was published have seen the cost of resources and food continually fall in real terms. Which is to say that in relative terms they have become not less abundant, but more.

Hunger and poverty have declined steadily around the world.

Things have actually been getting better and better, even as groups such as Greenpeace and Oxfam, seeking to generate income from donations, have tried to tell us otherwise.

Right, now before reproducing the two blogs posts about Dr Holdren and that bet, can I just send a special Christmas message to the attention seeking idiot from the
CSIRO who felt it necessary to issue a warning about how much carbon dioxide your Christmas lights will generate (in reality a tiny, tiny fraction of a percent of the 40 billion tonnes or so produced every year globally), and how they are endangering the planet - F*CK OFF!

December 24, 2008
JOHN TIERNEY:

My post on John P. Holdren’s appointment as presidential science advisor prompted complaints that I was making too much of Dr. Holdren’s loss of a bet to the economist Julian Simon about the price of some metals. But that bet wasn’t just about metals. It was about a fundamental view of how adaptable and innovative humans are, and whether a rich modern society is “sustainable.” Dr. Holdren and his collaborator, Paul Ehrlich, were the pessimists. . . . They declared that “present technology is inadequate to the task of maintaining the world’s burgeoning billions, even under the most optimistic assumptions,” and of shortages of food and water that would have to be overcome in the next two decades for humans to “be to be granted the privilege of confronting such dilemmas as the exhaustion of mineral resources and physical space later.”

But the predicted famines and resource shortages never arrived. Instead, the amount of food consumed per capita around the world increased over the following decades, and the prices of food and natural resources continued their long-term downward trend.


Let’s hope for better performance in the future. Or maybe I’ll write a book about the politicization of science under the Obama Administration!

http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/64285/

Politicizing Science
December 24, 2008

On Saturday, Barack Obama named Harvard professor John Holdren director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Obama said:

Because the truth is that promoting science isn't just about providing resources -- it's about protecting free and open inquiry. It's about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. I could not have a better team to guide me in this work.

The AP seconded Obama's sentiment, editorializing that Obama was "signaling a change from Bush administration policies on global warming that were criticized for putting politics over science." Actually, as I've noted many times, anthropogenic climate change theory, as espoused by Holdren and others, isn't science at all, it's a combination of politics and faith. On empirical grounds, global warming theorists are losing the debate badly to the "skeptics."

What I want to comment on, though, is something else: Holdren's history as a politicizer of science, which is by no means limited to climate change. Holdren has long been a leading advocate of the theory that there are too many people, economic growth is unsustainable and the world is running out of resources. In fact, he collaborated on these theories with Paul Ehrlich, one of the most spectacularly and notoriously wrong-headed scientists since Ptolemy.

This is the kind of stuff
Ehrlich wrote in 1968:

The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate, although many lives could be saved through dramatic programs to 'stretch' the carrying capacity of the earth by increasing food production and providing for more equitable distribution of whatever food is available. But these programs will only provide a stay of execution unless they are accompanied by determined and successful efforts at population control.

In 1974 he predicted:

...[a] nutritional disaster that seems likely to overtake humanity in the 1970s (or, at the latest, the 1980s). Due to a combination of ignorance, greed, and callousness, a situation has been created that could lead to a billion or more people starving to death.... Before 1985 mankind will enter a genuine age of scarcity [in which] the accessible supplies of many key minerals will be nearing depletion.

Ehrlich is best remembered today for the bet that he made with Julian Simon that the prices of certain commodities selected by Ehrlich would rise--a certainty, Ehrlich believed, given his theory of imminent and catastrophic scarcity of raw materials. The prices all fell.

While nowhere near as famous as Ehrlich, Holdren collaborated with him on two books and several articles, and fully shared Ehrlich's pessimistic theories on the future of the human race. In fact, as
John Tierney notes, Ehrlich went to Holdren for advice on which commodities to choose for his losing bet with Simon.

Consistent with these preoccupations, Holdren postures himself today as an expert on "sustainability." In 1995, he co-authored
this article, titled "The Meaning of Sustainability: Biogeophysical Aspects," with Ehrlich. Since Holdren is listed as the principal author, it sheds significant light on his alleged commitment to the "de-politicization of science."

Holdren begins by identifying the "ills that development must address." It's a pretty plain-vanilla list: poverty, war, oppression of human rights. Next, Holdren purports to identify the "driving forces" behind these ills. This is where we start to get political. First on the list is Ehrlich and Holdren's old hobbyhorse, "excessive population growth," which is "a condition now prevailing almost everywhere." Next comes "maldistribution," as "between rich and investment poor" and "between military and civilian forms of consumption and investment." (No one here but us scientists, right?)

This is where Holdren can no longer keep his left-wing politics under wraps. He identifies another "driving force" behind humanity's ills:


Underlying human frailties: Greed, selfishness, intolerance, and shortsightedness. Which collectively have been elevated by conservative political doctrine and practice (above all in the United States in 1980 92) to the status of a credo.

There you have it! This is the man upon whom Barack Obama is counting to "ensur[e] that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology."

It could be a long four years.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2008/12/022385.php

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What TV taught me: Chocolate cake and bariatric surgery

Funny world where you can get better medical advice from an episode of House MD than from much of the mainstream media.

Whereas programs like 60 Minutes in the US and most newspapers run completely uncritical "infomercials" for gastric bypass surgery, inflating its benefits and ignoring the often terrible consequences for people who have had the procedure, it takes a TV drama to actually deal with the more complicated and disturbing truth.

For those of you who might be interested, Junkfood Science has a series of articles on bariatric surgery including The Other Side of the Story Parts I & II (listed on the right hand side of the page, just scroll down) which was written in response to a hopelessly simplistic and positive treatment of it by CBS's 60 minutes, which includes details of a man who had the surgery and who's life was ruined by it. Yes, he'd lost weight, but all his teeth had fallen out, he was down to the last four foods he could eat without vomiting or passing out and had to continually go into hospital to have his electrolytes rebalanced.

He said every day he felt less healthy.

As Sandy from Junkfood Science points out, even the 'father' of bariatric surgery, Dr Edward Mason, has sounded the warning about the use of increasingly invasive procedures and their side effects.

Here's the opening paragraphs of her post:

The writers of House MD on Fox-TV did a public service last night. Unlike most television shows, House continues to punch through popular stereotypes about fat
people and take on obesity sacred cows with that cutting, impudent honesty that only Dr. Gregory House can get away with. Last night’s drama, weaved a difficult story line with subplots of humor and sexual tension and even medical ethics. Simultaneously, it brought an important educational message to bariatric surgery
patients and medical professionals that no other media has dared to touch.

Like all entertaining television, everything on House moves faster than life and teeters at the brink of reality. But while the diagnostic investigations are sensational, the underlying message last night was genuine.


Full post here http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2008/12/chocolate-cake-and-important-message.html

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"A good day for the Marine Corps"

From the Powerline blog:

Michael Ledeen highlights this stirring account of Marines fighting in Afghanistan:

FARAH PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- In the city of Shewan, approximately 250 insurgents ambushed 30 Marines and paid a heavy price for it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

World Health Organisation abandons the "gold standard" of scientific evidence


The march of unreason and superstition continues.

We slide that little bit further toward the abyss.

The deep cultural scepsis and crisis of confidence that has been eating away at the West for much of the last hundred years or so further erodes the foundations of what has been the greatest single human achievement of all time.

A way of approaching the world that has created societies where unparalleled levels of prosperity and health are shared by a greater proportion of "ordinary" people than any before.

And we are in the process of throwing it all away!

It's not just science, but the whole manifestation of what the Enlightenment bequeathed to us.

How did we get to this point?

Central to this I feel is a sense of confidence. Confidence about the future and the ability of people to think their way through challenges and in the end make things better.

Modern "deep-green" environmentalism, one of the bastard children of 19th Century Romanticism, represents one form of the loss of this confidence in people and the future.

The modern world, with its science and machines and change is feared and hated. The real world is no longer a source of wonder and promise, sufficient in and of itself.

Instead increasing numbers of people want to believe in anything but reality.

Whether it's the various types of so-called complimentary medicine such as naturopathy, homeopathy and the other quack remedies that separate the naive and the stupid from their money, or the infantile idealisation of tribal societies over our own.

I never cease to be amazed to read in the newspapers people going on about the wonderful peaceful aboriginal culture that existed here until evil white people arrived.

What? Name a single primitive tribal culture that wasn't a violent patriarchal warrior culture where violence, both within the tribe and between tribes, wasn't the norm?

Oh, that's right. You can't. Because no such thing has ever existed. Leaving aside Patrick Dodson's bizarre fantasising about traditional aboriginal life of a bit of sleeping, a bit of hunting and then a bit of playing with the kids, the facts tell another story.

But then that returns us to the core of the problem. We increasingly don't want facts anymore. All that dreary evidence stuff is just so inconvenient.

We don't care that even the first British settlers in this country were absolutely shocked at the nature of the violence meted out to aboriginal women by their own menfolk. Instead of rationally weighing the evidence of the fact that one of the features of anthropological collections of aboriginal skulls is the disproportionately large number of female skulls that were obviously fractured during life, we substitute mythological mystifications about little aboriginal boys who can stop herds of stampeding cattle simply by raising their hands.

We don't want to know about the accounts of escaped convicts who lived amongst aborigines and left us first hand descriptions of not only the viciousness of tribal warfare, (such as finishing off wounded opponents by smashing their heads in with boomerangs), but also engaging in less than environmentally sustainable practices, such as leaving netted fish considered too small to die on a riverbank.

White settlement was the second human disaster to strike this continent.

The various movements of modern human beings into the continent some 60,000 years ago was the first.

The flora and fauna that the first European settlers found just over two hundred years ago was what had survived the decimation wrought by the arrival of aboriginal people here all that time ago.

We simply continued changing the environment and driving plants and animals into extinction where they left off.

The aboriginal practice of burning the country changed the country completely. Those plants that could not cope with the now much more frequent fires disappeared from burnt areas. Many disappeared completely.

And just as it happened in other places, like the Americas, it is interesting is it not that the disappearance of large mammals (mega fauna) just happened to coincide with the arrival of aboriginal people in Australia?

But bugger the facts, we want myths and fantasy.

And we want to wallow in our own feelings of shame and failure for our crimes, real and imagined, against Mother Nature. We want to imagine some fantastical simpler and better time where a simpler and better kind of human being lived in "perfect" harmony with the natural world.

Hmmm, that's kind of sounding familiar isn't it? Sort of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden repackaged.

And thus the true nature of the environmentalism and nativism that now even infects our universities and centres of learning is revealed.

It's religion. Or a religion substitute if you prefer.

And especially it is the religion of choice of the affluent but deracinated white middle classes.

Now the international body tasked with setting international food standards has succumbed.

For many years the WHO has been under pressure from the dietary supplement industry to lower the accepted standards for testing claims made about the supposed benefits of such things.

The reason is simple. When subjected to randomised trials involving control groups not receiving the supplement - vitamins, minerals, herbs or whatever - the supplement was shown to have little or no benefit.

That is, there was little difference in the health outcomes between those taking the supplement or herbal remedy and those taking a placebo (sugar tablet).

Let's just emphasise this point. No so-called complimentary medicine or dietary supplement has ever been shown to be really effective.

St John's Wort is as good as it ever gets with these things - a very weak effect for mild depression, but nothing more.

Most however have no discernible effect and some are positively harmful, as some users of Chinese herbal medicine have found out to their cost.

No wonder the companies making these useless and ineffectual products wanted the standard of evidence reduced!

This would not have happened even 10 years ago.

But the erosion of confidence in the ability of the scientific method and rational thought to be the best tools to test competing claims has now reached such a level that even the WHO has given in.

As Sandy from Junkfood Science says, you will no longer be able to trust claims that the food you eat or the supplements you take are actually safe or efficacious, because it will no longer be necessary to prove claims, just enough for all intents and purposes to assert them.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The history and causes of the financial crisis

UPDATE from this morning's Oz:

Johan Norberg,
on his blog JohanNorberg.net, points out the Democratic intervention that caused
the financial crisis


SOME milestones in the prehistory of the crisis. 1933: As part of the New Deal, investment banks are stopped from also acting as commercial banks (which would have given them bank deposits and more stability). 1938: As part of the New Deal, president (Franklin D.) Roosevelt creates Fannie Mae and in 1970 Congress creates Freddie Mac. With their implicit government guarantees they can offer cheaper loans and expand until they dominate the American mortgage market. 1989: The American government step(s) in and pay(s) for the savings and loan crisis, which sets a precedent. 1995: The Community Reinvestment Act is revised so that banks and thrifts are forced to give home loans to low and moderate-income households as well. In return they are allowed to repackage and sell those sub-prime risks to others, which Bear Stearns pioneers in 1997. 2001-03: Instead of letting the market get rid of bad businesses and loans after the dotcom bubble and 9/11, the (Federal Reserve reduces its rate from 6.5 per cent to 1 per cent (with) a dramatic expansion of the money supply, which creates a real estate bubble.

Mae and Mac ran leverage ratios that exceeded 60 to one (cheered on by the Democrats) to keep giving loans to people who could not really afford it. It only took more traditional interest rates for the bubble to burst. The independent investment
banks that did not have access to bank deposits collapsed and almost brought the whole system down. All those who now think that the solution is to give more powers to politicians, authorities and central banks should look at what they did with the powers they already had.



While the dominant discourse has been about the greed of the banks and so-called "market failure" in relation to the sub-prime loans that seem to be the basis of the current financial crisis, are things that simple?

Greed certainly has been a factor here, but so has been well-intentioned government policy in the US.

I'll guarantee to you that, nine times out of ten, situations of so-called "market failure" are in fact the almost inevitable consequences of governments distorting markets to achieve some social, environmental or other goal which, however laudable in theory, flies in the face of economic reality.

Much of the current crisis was caused by government policy in the US to increase home ownership rates amongst minorities and low-income earners.

As I say, a laudable goal.

The genesis of this goes at least as far back as 1977 and the signing into law by President Jimmie Carter of the Community Reinvestment Act which required banks to lend to "under-served populations," ie those with poor credit ratings, or face penalties.

This was extended by Bill Clinton in 1995 with the government underwriting what would become to be known as sub-prime loans. The Clinton Administration put pressure on the mortgage underwriter Fannie Mae to increase lending to low income earners. (It's only fair though to mention though that Fannie Mae stock holders also wanted to do this to increase the phenomenal profits it was making at the time.)

As this
article notes, "Now we know that Holmes and Wallison had this dead right. As long as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bought subprime paper, lenders continued to profit from them, pushing them to make more and more loans to unqualified borrowers with no risk to themselves. Meanwhile, rather than manage the GSEs with fiscal discipline as first priority, Raines and his executives ran it as a political organization, looking to distort the market for political ends. When critics tried to point this out, Raines’ defenders — mostly Capitol Hill flacks raking in contributions from Fannie/Freddie sources — called critics and regulators bigots."

Indeed, one Barack Obama back in 1994 "sued Citibank on behalf of a client who charged that the bank “systematically denied mortgages to African-American applicants and others from minority neighborhoods.”" (Even though only a first term senator, Mr Obama is the second biggest receiver of funds from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae is the US Senate. He chose a former head of Fannie Mae to help him pick his vice-presidential running mate and a former CEO of Freddie Mac is one of his advisors.)

But the market was already working. While more loans were still being made to white Americans, "in the previous five years, mortgages awards to Hispanics jumped 87%, to African-Americans by 71%, and Asians 46%...which proved that a rising tide [the economic boom of the 1990s] indeed lifted all boats, without government intervention to impose “fairness”."


When you have "a solution in search of a problem," you know something is wrong and is going to end badly.

So it was government intervening in and thus distorting the market, trying to legislate for "fairness," "equity," "social justice" or "social inclusion," that bears substantial responsibility for the mess that the markets are in now.


Oh - for the record. The Bush Administration proposed a substantial tightening of the regulations governing the housing finance industry back in 2003, but was opposed and stymied by congressional opposition.

In 2005 John McCain co-sponsored the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act, which amongst other things provided for more oversight of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

But Fannie and Freddie's friends defeated it, and again when it was reintroduced just last year.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I love this song!

The Minotaur by The Drones

Of computer models, the financial crisis and climate change

Excellent letter in this morning's Oz by Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University.


DAVID Murray, a former CEO of the Commonwealth Bank and chairman of the Future Fund, has rumbled ("Aussie banks to ride out storm”, 19/9) that a major cause of the current global financial crisis has been an over-reliance on complex financial computer models. Murray notes that “in the US, some of the brightest people that have come out of the greatest universities have been employed on broken models in investment banking ...”

It is the case, also, that unvalidated computer projections produced by very clever programmers are now about the only argument left to the IPCC that dangerous human-caused global warming is going to occur, leaving aside that the real world has been cooling since 2002. Meanwhile, Ross Garnaut has announced that on October 3 he will outline the shape of a future low-emissions economy for Australia. In support of the findings and recommendations in his Final Report, Garnaut will describe “one of the most ambitious and complex economic modelling projects ever undertaken in Australia”, which he claims “will describe the nature of future structural change across the economy with mitigation policies in place”.

Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he, but who ever is going to believe a word of it?
As this post here at Ambit Gambit observes, the tie up between the current financial melt-down and climate hysteria is the reliance by both on computer models that do not reflect the real world.

Even the IPCC admits this, and yet we are going to engage in the multi-trillion dollar upending of the global economy.

Complete madness.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The phantom epidemic of child diabetes

Very interesting post from Junkfood Science.

The URL is http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2008/09/phantom-epidemic-of-child-diabetes.html

It appears that we have another "informational cascade" occurring in the US, just as we do here.

To remind you, an informational cascade is the ability of false and poorly evidenced information to gain credibility through being repeatedly retold as being true and correct.

It's the medical and scientific version of the urban myth, as discussed recently by the science writer of The New York Times.

So how exactly did it it happen that the false claim that there had been a ten-fold increase in the levels of type 2 diabetes amongst children in the USA gain currency and start to shape health reporting and policy there, when the July issue of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that rates over the last 20 years have remained steady?

And steady at very low rates. No more than a fraction of a percentage point.

As far as I can see, one of the reasons is our old statistical friend, the unrepresentative sample. So results from a study of a group of people who do not mirror the general population are nonetheless used as the base from which to extrapolate findings to the population at large.

Any innumerate idiot should be able to see the problem with this I would have thought.

But we live in an age beset by white middle-class panics, and one of the most shrill and hysterical (other than climate change) is obesity, and especially childhood obesity.

There's another false belief being put about widely at the moment, ie that obesity must be causing the increase in diabetes amongst children and young people.

But does that hard data support this view? Yet again, the answer is no.

Now, middle-class panics inevitably mutate into moral crusades. The trouble with moral crusades is that reason is one of their first casualties as what should be a rational issue decided by evidence is turned into a fight between good and evil.

Obesity is "evil" and must be the cause of all manner of afflictions and to dare say otherwise is not just to be wrong, a difference of opinion, but evil too.

And then there are the "availability entrepreneurs." Those who stand to profit in some way by stoking the fire. Unfortunately there are all too many health bureaucrats and academics who have built high profile and well paid careers from this sort of thing, and who are not going to let an opportunity to jump on the next funding bandwagon pass them by.

And all at a time when the most basic measure of our health continues its upward march.

Our lifespans.

We are living longer than ever before. And not just longer. Healthier too. All the actual data points overwhelmingly to this, and yet we are assailed on a daily basis about how our diets and additives and chemicals and what not are sending us all to an early grave.

It doesn't add up or make sense does it?

Monday, September 1, 2008

When advertising comes back to haunt you...


So Iraq was about US control of the oil, right?

But, but, but ... didn’t the US invade Iraq so it could steal all its oil? Iraq has signed its first major oil deal with a foreign company since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, a spokesman for the Iraqi Oil Ministry said Saturday… The contract with the China National Petroleum Corporation could be worth up to $3 billion.

read more | digg story

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Turkeys voting for Christmas

That's the mad world we're living in.

But before we get to the insane plans to destroy the Australian economy for no good reason, here's the latest psychiatric illness that has been diagnosed (I kid you not):

In the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Joshua Wolf and Robert Salo of Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital write:

We describe a patient with climate change delusion, a previously unreported phenomenon. A 17-year-old man was referred to the inpatient psychiatric unit at Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne with an 8 month history of depressed mood… He also ...had visions of apocalyptic events…

The patient had also developed the belief that, due to climate change, his own water consumption could lead within days to the deaths of ‘millions of people’ through exhaustion of water supplies. He quoted ‘internet research’ to substantiate this. The
patient described that ‘I feel guilty about it’, had attempted to stop drinking… He was unable to acknowledge that the belief was unreasonable when challenged.

Hmm, "unable to acknowledge that the belief was unreasonable when challenged." Sounds like the perfect Greens candidate.

But onwards, things get crazier! Despite there being no global warming for a decade now (sorry folks, but that's what all four global temperature data sets say), and indeed a sharp drop in average global temperature over the past 18 months (don't believe me? That's what all the data sets have recorded), we're setting out on a course to drive up the cost of just about everything and damage our international competitiveness to supposedly "lead" the fight on climate change.

What naive suckers we'd have to be to fall for this nonsense.

Even if you shut down Australia completely tomorrow - got rid of everybody and everything - the total reduction in global anthropogenic greenhouse gasses would be at most only 1.5%.

That's all.

To put this into even sharper perspective, the world's production of such gasses is expected to grow by a whopping 50% by 2030, and China alone in 2050 will be producing as much emissions as the entire world does today.

Then there's India.

There's a whole world of pointless and futile economic pain being planned for us, which of course will hit the most vulnerable hardest. And the penny is starting to drop I think, as Andrew Bolt observes:


I suspect the coal-mining members of the Left-wing CFMEU are finally figuring that the global-warming preachers leading their union are just turkeys voting for Christmas:

There was no division in Gippsland when it came to the electoral booths affected by brown-coal mining - that is the dirtiest coal - because they all voted against Labor, including traditional ALP booths.

But what about all those lovely "green" jobs we've been promised? Don't hold your breath. Have a look at what's happening in the UK and be very sceptical the next time some snake-oil merchant says "renewable energy" to you:


Wind power would be too unreliable to meet Britain’s electricity needs, according to a new report… It comes after the Government last week unveiled a £100 million plan to build at least 4,000 wind turbines, with a further 3,000 offshore. The programme is expected to drive household bills up by £260 a year…

Using wind data from the Met Office, researchers found that in January, when energy demand is highest, wind farms often fail to produce enough electricity, dropping on occasion to 4 per cent of their maximum output. Backup fossil fuel plants would need to be switched on and off to make up the shortfall in supplies - a highly inefficient process that would reduce any carbon savings from wind farms....

In January 2005, ... a 1,000MW fossil fuel plant would have had to come on and offline a total of 23 times to make up the shortfall. At 6pm on February 2 2006 - the point of peak electricity demand for the whole year - wind farms would have been unable to provide any power at all, researchers found.

I'll let Andrew have the last word: The lunatics are in charge.

Hansen’s prediction: a cool 20 years later

Andrew Bolt fact checks a climate alarmist 20 years on.

read more | digg story

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Critical alert for all women: Statins during pregnancy

Someone must have sent out a press release, because there was no new study... or any study at all to support the sudden appearance of this public health message... yet, news outlets across the UK and around the world all reported this story, all on the same day.

read more digg story

Also, have a read of what Sandy has to say about the recent "Sumo" baby scare.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What Not To Crochet
















As a small hint…
When your Dacshund is ashamed to be seen with you,
you may have overdone it.


This blog is brilliant! Every page contains something that is just jaw-droppingly terrible.

Want to look like a doily? Of course you do! So why not also get the Musical Birdhouse & Flower Doily? No reason not to.

Crocheted Y-fronts or G-strings? Tampon cozies? A wall of crocheted penises? (Though apparently that one was "art".)

And there's fashion a plenty for the young or the young at heart!




How about a squid to wear around your neck?


























You may as well check out Extreme Craft while you are at it. See "Death and Taxidermy."

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Welcome to the petrol prices warmenists demanded

Andrew Bolt - The global-warming-preaching Sunday Age now deplores the high petrol prices it’s always wanted: MOTORISTS face petrol prices of up to $1.70 a litre within days and could be paying more than $1.80 a litre by next month...

read more | digg story

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Halp us we R stuck hear on ise



















I've pinched this picture from the wonderfully funny Knowledge is Power , but I pointed them to the article, so I hope that makes it okay.

I am on the bridge of the massive Russian icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov, and the tension is palpable. We have hit ice - thick ice. We are travelling from the northeastern corner of Russia, across the Bering Sea and the top of Canada to Resolute Bay in Nunavut. At least that’s the plan. We haven’t even reached Canadian waters and we are already in trouble.

The ice master studies the mountains of white packed around the ship while the 24,000-horsepower diesel engines work at full throttle to open a path. The ship rises slowly onto the barrier of ice, crushes it and tosses aside blocks the size of small cars as if they were ice cubes in a glass. It creeps ahead a few metres, then comes to a halt, its bow firmly wedged in the ice. After doing this for two days, the ship can go no farther.............



Originally sourced from Greenie Watch.

Corrections made to Tim Lambert

(From Andrew Bolt) JF Beck does something very embarrassing to global warming alarmist Tim Lambert. Presuming, of course, that Lambert is embarrassable. John Quiggin is collateral damage. Tim Blair has a fine forehand, too.

read more | digg story

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Great Barrier Reef and the prophets of doom

Even the more extreme model projections only depict tropical oceanic warming still well within the limits that thriving reefs tolerate.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

NBC News confuses the Antarctic with the Arctic

Penguins don't live in the Arctic.

read more digg story

But this does just about sum up the standard quality of science and environmental reporting these days.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Will vitamins cure you or kill you?

Another must read report from Sandy of the Junkfood Science blog.

Interesting that the "bad" information about vitamins cuts both ways and this says a lot about how the media always has a tendency to hype and distort issues.

I was almost going to write "complex issues", but in this case there isn't much complexity.

For healthy people with reasonable diets there is absolutely no evidence at all that vitamin supplaments have any health benefit. Zero. None. Yader.

And a well conducted meta-analysis of a large number of studies conclusively shows this.

But unfortunately this got picked up in the media, (admittedly with some help from the authors of the study), and transmuted into “Vitamins may shorten your life!”

As Sandy shows, the study's data in no way supports such a conclusion. Other than for Vitamin A, people's self-dosing with vitamins may be a pointless waste of money, but it is not doing them any harm.

The Top 25 Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians

#25. Chuck Klosterman













He Is:
A Pop-culture obsessed and farm-raised hipster who writes for GQ and ESPN.

Looks Like:
Someone who has penned 14 books on the spiritual nature of the vulva.


#17.
Masi Oka













He is:
Actor. Time Magazine whiz kid. Reported I.Q. of 180 (same as cast of Carpoolers).

Looks Like:
An author of a paper stating sex with a man is, by definition, a hate crime.


#11.
Richard Butler



He Is:
The Molly-Ringwald-serenading lead singer of the Psychedelic Furs.

Looks Like:
The co-founder of online erotic products store exclusively for lesbians, "Toys for Twats."

You get the idea. Full list here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Academic cool on warming | The Australian

RESPECTED academic Don Aitkin has seen the ugly side of the climate change debate after being warned he faced demonisation if he challenged the accepted wisdom that global warming poses a danger to humanity.Professor Aitkin told The Australian yesterday he had been told he was "out of his mind" by some in the media...

read more | digg story

Friday, March 28, 2008

Why nature shouldn't be worshipped.

Don't get me wrong, the natural world is an amazing place. Full of, as Darwin so eloquently said, "...endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful..."

But it is not a place for the squeamish. There is nothing sentimental about nature, as I observed from the front of my house just yesterday evening.

A small hawk was flying purposefully towards the house from the park across the road, and on a downward trajectory. You could see that it meant business and I was sure it had a target. And indeed, a few minutes later it flew back over the house and close by me with a dove hanging from its talons and into a nearby tree, where it proceeded to pluck its victim. Well, until the magpies started to harry it and I think it eventually dropped the dead or dying dove onto the ground and couldn't recover it.

Such is nature. Tenneson I think overstated his case in describing it as "red in tooth and claw." It's much more complicated than that. I still remember the amazing footage some years ago of a small antelope that had been grabbed by a crocodile at a water hole in Africa.

A hippo charged out and drove the crocodile away.

Now, no real surprises there. Hippos don't like crocs. So the plight of the antelope maybe had nothing to do with driving the croc away. But what happened next jaw-droppingly amazing and very moving.

The hippo gently took the antelope into its gaping jaws and was clearly trying to help it and get it back up on its feet. There was no other possible way of viewing its actions.

So there's kindness and altruism as well as terrible killing. It's hard watching killer whales play with their seal pup victims.

But anyway, here's a very funny little video that reminds us of the "absurdity of the nature worship in today's world."

Note though, because of all the effing in it, it isn't work safe. Thanks to
Climate Resistance for the hat tip to this video, which marked its 100th post:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Getting ready for the Hour of Power

UPDATE: I've had a small win with the Sunday Times. I doubt they are going to publish my letter pointing out Towie's mistake, but they did remove reference to 25 million tonnes of CO2 from the online version of the article today.

Two things today. Firstly, and somewhat surprisingly, a sceptical treatment of Earth Hour from the lefty Crikey.com. Proving that the old Left tradition of appealing to reason and letting evidence, not emotion, lead isn't completely dead and that they haven't all become naive tree-hugging idiots.

And then a special feature on plans for the big hour. Personally, I plan to catapult flaming dolphins into the next suburb. It's only Balga, so who cares? If a big enough fire results I can reach my goal of getting enough carbon credits to achieve the footprint of a small third world country. You can but dream.

Actually, I'll also be reading next weekend's Sunday Times to see if they'll correct Narelle Towie's hilarious howler in her soft regurgitation of WWF promotional material masquerading as a newspaper article from last weekend.

Certainly she didn't bother it by any research. Though even her mistake wasn't exactly original, other than in its scale.

The Sydney Morning Herald in its report on Earth Hour last year took the WWF's claimed saving in CO2, the stupendous figure of 25 tonnes and got it wrong by only a factor of 1,000, ie making it 25,000 tonnes.

But Narelle, unimpressed even by that exaggeration multiplied the Herald's figure by another 1,000 and said that 25,000,000 tonnes of CO2 had been saved
http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,21598,23318227-5016596,00.html .

But this kind of credulous naivety is all too typical of the "quality" of scientific reporting in the mainstream media, especially about the environment and climate change.

6 . Earth Hour just another innocent fad
Michael Pascoe writes:

Hula hoops, yo-yos, wide lapels on polyester body shirts – fads and fashions inevitably go global for a while. And so it is with Earth Hour, the fantastically successful promotion for the World Wide Fund for Nature, right down to the $29.95
WWF t-shirt (“What better way to cool the earth than to wear a really cool Earth Hour t-shirt?”).

From its dubious launch in Sydney last year, WWF is taking the stunt to the world this Saturday night, getting the organisation’s name up in anti-lights, perhaps making some individuals feel good about being part of a group bigger than their MySpace friends list, and providing a marvellous opportunity for massive corporate hypocrisy.

What better symbol for Earth Hour than its AGL-sponsored WWF-logoed
hot air balloon furiously burning gas over state capitals. That’s AGL the energy company – the one incinerating countless tonnes of gas and coal and, presumably, part of the electricity lobby pushing the federal government for discounts on the eventual carbon credits.

The conclusion to the Crikey junior science class’s first term assignment reads: An average one hour balloon flight over Melbourne uses approximately 180-200 litres of propane, which burns to form water and carbon dioxide; in addition to the fuel used by the balloon's ground retrieval crew. We have estimated that the activity to launch and retrieve one hot air balloon uses the equivalent of 378.1 kilograms of greenhouse gas (or 7,562 black balloons). (with apologies to
Sustainability Victoria)

Multiply that by the number of sorties the AGL-WWF giant light bulb is making over four state capitals and you get a lot of black balloons – and if you don’t know what a black balloon is, you haven’t seen how Steve Bracks
spends his taxpayers’ money on whitegoods greenhouse awareness.

But it’s all good fun as long as it makes people feel good, people like Richard Branson who’s jumped on the bandwagon with all the force of Virgin Atlantic’s 38-strong fleet of jumbo jets. Think about that for a moment. 'Nuff said.

WWF is using the opportunity to seek
donations and lean on corporations to join the circus: “In support of Earth Hour, more than 3,500 businesses across Australia and internationally have so far signed up and will be doing their part and turning off their lights. McDonald's Australia has committed to turning off its Golden Arches nationally. David Jones will turn off the lights in its 36 department stores.”

In the process, WWF and its fellow travellers continue to push their misleading claims of recording a drop in electricity production during the Sydney event last year – the electricity generators recorded a statistically negligible 1.7% variation for NSW and there’s no accounting for extra greenhouse gas production before and by the event.

The strain for WWF will be if the novelty has already worn off in Sydney just as it exports the fad to the world; we do have a rather short attention span in Sin City.

Like the hula hoop, Earth Hour doesn’t do much harm, just a little deception here, a touch of hypocrisy there, a general warm feeling for tokenism overall, while allegedly delivering “a powerful message about the need for action on global warming”. And if it’s good enough for Charles Windsor to reportedly dim the lights in Highgrove House, well, um, I don’t know really.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008
HOUR OF POWER


“We have to start somewhere,” writes illumination activist Jay Currie. “I am starting with keeping my lights on at 8PM March 29. All of them.”

Yes! Also celebrating Saturday night’s Hour of Power are Jason Soon and Tim Bennett, who emails:


In honour of Earth Hour, my friends and I will be hosting the first annual Carbon Party. To mark this solemn occasion, we will be running the space heaters and air conditioning simultaneously, while putting loads of clothing through the dryer and turning all the incandescent lights on. Dinner will be grain-fed beef cooked over a wood fire (none of that clean LPG barbecue gas), served with imported vegetables shipped in from overseas (whether or not they can be found at the local farmers’ market). Bog rolls for the evening will be of softest five-ply tissue paper.

That’s the spirit! Evil Pundit suggests an investment in 5000 watts of earth-destroying lighthouse bulb, but you can easily join in the fun using common household appliances, as Samantha Burns - “Earth Hour stupidity, and all it represents, must end” - explains:

Possible items you may want to switch ON:

-all household lights
-air conditioner
-heater
-automobiles (your ride)
-automobile headlights
-washer
-dryer
-dishwasher
-stove/oven
-put on oven’s self
-cleaning cycle
-microwave
-any/all kitchen appliances
-television -dvd player
-game system
-stereo

And don’t forget computers, which you may use to track the SMH’s hilarious Earth Hour trickery. Compared to the Hour of Power, that other hour is an absolute crock of dark:


Instead of cooking a soufflé, choke down a couple of raw beaten egg
whites.

Instead of taking a hot shower, try dying.


No, no, no! There’ll be no encouragement of death during the Hour of Power, an officially life-affirming event. And, unlike certain other hours, there is no hint of sparky coercion:


Since Malaysians aren’t gonna voluntarily switch off their lights, how about if they’re forced to go without electricity just for that one hour between 2000 and 2100?

How about if you’re forced to shut the hell up? Already indicating support for the Hour of Power are Habib, bovious, DrewB, Huck Foley, Dave S., John Enright, eeniemeenie, Irobot, Mike Laz, Hong Kong, Pogria, SwinishCapitalist, wronwright, MarkL, Jeff S., The Leadster, Tungsten Monk, rinardman, satisfiedmind16 and ProWomanProLife. They’ll join billions of others worldwide whose lights will be on at 8pm on the 29th (all lit houses are considered to be Hour of Power participants). By contrast, Earth Hour is practically friendless:

"As of 1pm 26.03.08 only 2 people from Apollo Bay have signed up to Earth Hour."

Hour of Power updates to follow. Commence photographic preparations - Saturday night will be an all-in festival of light.

UPDATE. The Age’s Catherine Deveny seems almost on the verge of joining our sacred hour:


Is it just me or does anyone else wonder why they’re busting their balls to make a piss-weak contribution to saving the environment ... ?

Don’t worry, I’m going to keep doing it, and so should you, but it does
shit me at times because it seems so futile.
She’s sure giving that mirror of hers a workout lately. Sensitive Andrew must be aghast.

UPDATE II. Some Byron Bay residents have no choice but to observe Earth Hour:


“We will be turning off the lights in the 35 units which we manage at Byron Central Apartments for the hour. We will be advising our holiday makers that this will be happening.”

Nice of them.

http://timblair.net/ee/index.php/weblog/hour_of_power1/


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The IPCC On The Run At Last

UN climate body in panic mode as satellite temperatures and ocean sensors turn down and a hard winter lashes both hemispheres.

read more | digg story

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Scientific tattoos


"Underneath their sober lab coats and flannel shirts, scientists hide images of their scientific passions. Here they are revealed to all."

Via the Dinosaur Mailing List I came across this great blog of scientific tattoos -
Carl Zimmer's Science Tattoo Emporium

Here's a selection of those that caught my eye.




Claire d'Alberto of the University of Melbourne writes, "I would like to share what my friends call my 'science nerd' tattoo with you! I am currently doing my PhD in Zoology and have been fascinated by the biological world for as long I can remember, so when I decided to get a tattoo it seemed logical that I look within my field for inspiration....It took 4.5 hours, and certainly didn't tickle, but I love that I have such a beautiful representation of evolution and the natural world with me all the time."

The pictures around the tree represent the five kingdoms--Monera (bacteria), Protista (amoebae and other single-celled organisms), Plantae (plants), Fungi (illustrated here by yeast and the penicillin mold), and animals (a comb jelly, a mollusc, a starfish, and a seadragon fish).

Here is a picture of my serotonin tattoo. I don't know that it needs much more explanation than it's my favorite neurotransmitter.--Hayley


"It is an approximation of the locus of connectedness for the Julia sets of the family of functions f(z) = z^2 + lambda/(z^2) (rotated by pi/2). This is analogous to the standard Mandelbrot set (which applies to the family f(z) = z^2 + c), but holds additional fascination because for lambda values which are in the interior of one of the subdomains of the connectedness locus, the Julia set is a Universal Curve. To me this represents the structure unifying chaos (since Julia sets are chaotic) and order (since Universal Curves act as a sort of catalog of all planar curves)." --Aaron



Amanda, a biologist, writes, "Here's my science tattoo. It's inspired from the REM song Man on the Moon and by trip to the Galapagos a few years ago."

And as Darwin is a personal hero of mine, here's another:


"Attached is a photo of a tattoo I got immediately after turning in the final paperwork a little over two weeks ago for the completion of my Ph.D. in biological anthropology. It's the first evolutionary tree that Darwin sketched in his 1837 Notebook B on the transmutation of species." --Julienne

And finally, a tat by somebody who, unlike Jacques Lacan, knows what a Mobius Strip actually is:


" I am a Rocket Scientist (Friends Named me that, more like
Mechanical Engineer) and an Amatuer Astronomer. Got this tattoo on my inner right arm, since the Science inside of me is screaming to come out. Going to get another related Tattoo on my left inner arm next year. Not really going much further than that (as far as I know). " --Spacemanbobby

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Today's music

My favouritest bestest bands of all time. For the moment.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Satan Said Dance



Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth




Cold War Kids

Hang Me Up To Dry



hospital Beds



We Used to Vacation


Saturday, February 16, 2008

For your vampire needs


Chanced across these videos from one of my favourite films, Nosferatu: The Vampyre (the 1979 Werner Herzog remake), last night. A mix of beautiful (if at times unsettling) images and great music.

The overture from Wagner's Das Rheingold (as explained by the poster of the video - "The Carpathian Mountains set against the E-flat major triadic-drone of the Rheingold Prelude (beginning 2:22 minutes into the video). One of the great moments in film.")


The US trailer


And finally, the wonderfully creepy (and somewhat unsettling) opening of the film, with the camera panning over the dried husks of his victims

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tonight children will be subjected to unspeakable acts


Well, it's all over and with the country still soggy with white middle class sanctimony and delusion, the voice of reason and hard reality is as unwelcome as ever.

And yes I am pretty angry about it all and I suppose that shows. But I don't suffer fools gladly, and it is all the worse for this week's display of collective madness and studied refusal to face the facts about aboriginal degradation and disadvantage in this country.

I have a terrible premonition that the events of this week may actually make things worse for aboriginal people, and especially aboriginal kids. It appears that all those responsible for the 40 or more years of bad policy that has been the true wrecker of so many lives are now back in the driver's seat thanks to the Rudd government.

Just as we were starting to confront the reality that the greatest threat to aboriginal children are their own families - broken and dysfunctional people in totally debased, hopeless and dysfunctional "communities" who can't or wont look after their children - we are back to the fiction that kids were only ever taken for the wrong reasons and the inaction of white social workers and child care workers, on the basis that they 'don't want another stolen generation', dooming yet more young children to nightmare existences of neglect and abuse and horrible deaths in squalor and filth.

That's the core of my unease here - the events of this week have powerfully reinforced this inertia where people look on as kids literally are neglected and abused to death, (think of that little baby girl who died amidst just the squalor and filth I mentioned in the north of WA, with parents too stupified by drink to care for her), and do nothing. It's bad enough that the stolen generations is a myth, it is so much worse that the myth is killing aboriginal children today.

If it was happening to white kids, there would be an uproar and demands to know why the government and its agencies tasked with the care of children sat back and did nothing.

But apparently the myth is more important than these wretched children and the wretched and miserable lives they must suffer.

So what are the calls now, even as we know that a humanitarian disaster has been happening, and continues to happen, before our very eyes and children only months old are raped so savagely that they require surgery to try and repair the damage to their genitals; malnourished six year olds, unwashed and wearing dirty clothes, who already have a range of sexually transmitted diseases; and as young boys are taken out into the desert by tribal elders to be anally fucked as their "initiation" into the nightmare world of the remote "communities"?

What is the call of the smug and comfortable white middle classes whose own children, as Noel Pearson so devastatingly observes, "sleep safe at night"?

Never, never again! That no aboriginal child ever be removed from his or her parents again.

What, no matter what? No matter how neglected or abused some poor kid may be, no matter that he or she may be in danger of their life, they think this is better?

Are these people mad? Though of course much of the pressure for an apology for the "stolen generations" has really had more to do with the insufferable moral vanity of the white middle classes and their desperate need to feel good about themselves.

So some more dead aboriginal children are reckoned to be an acceptable sacrifice on the altar of their need to feel morally superior and virtuous. Collateral damage if you will.

Such is the danger of myths founded on falsehoods, especially when social policy starts to be based upon them.

And no, it isn't enough that it is well meaning and well intentioned. You can't solve a problem until you've actually understood just what it is. That's why aboriginal Australia is in such a mess today. We allowed ourselves to be sidetracked by the naive nativists who sought to reestablish the "wonderful" hunter-gatherer lifestyle, "uncontaminated" by the modern world and capitalism.

(Not that they'd imagine a similar life for their own children, sent off to the best private schools money could buy and then onto the best universities and well paid careers in the law or medicine.)

But the hunter gatherer lifestyle was never the noble savage fantasy they dreamed of and projected onto their poor unwitting victims.

Never mind too that this lifestyle was already effectively doomed and never to come back.

A policy course was set that dumped small groups of aboriginal people into the middle of nowhere, with no obvious means to make a living, and then just left them to rot.

And rot they did. And the poisoned fruit of this experiment continues to sicken and kill, as one generation of people, reduced to madness by boredom, lack of self-esteem and endless torrents of grog and other drugs, destroy their own children.

And the the best idea we can come up with is to do nothing, other than stand back and watch helplessly (but caringly of course) as children are raped, beaten and starved. To allow one doomed generation to destroy another.

Lara Wieland, who spent eight years working as a doctor in Aboriginal communities in Cape York (thanks to Andrew Bolt for pointing to this article in a post appropriately titled Sorry to these children we will “never, never” save), comments:

IN the eight short years since I started living and working in Cape York communities, I have witnessed a rapid and tragic decline in the environment that
children live in.

The older generation, the last few threads holding the social fabric together, is disappearing. The few who survive have become powerless, bewildered and despairing, living at the mercy of their dysfunctional families who harass them for money and steal their food.

Members of a generation who were raised by people under the control of substance abuse and welfare dependence are now becoming parents themselves. Many of these young parents have known nothing other than violence, mostly towards women, neglect of children, and an almost complete lack of understanding of the wider world.

The older generation with the strong morals, parenting skills and courage remember Christmas as a time when functional, self-sufficient families gathered after church to share good food, laughter and traditional dances. All today's kids can remember from last Christmas is fighting and drunkenness and the interviews they had to give police when their little friends were raped.

Worst of all, we are increasingly being left with a population that does not even understand the gravity of its situation. As Noel Pearson says, the dysfunction has become "normalised".

Or:

Boys raping younger boys becomes just boys “playing gay” - to be “told off”. Yes, young boys do often engage in explorative sexual play but that is completely different to non-consensual acts where pre-pubescent boys sodomise little kids with objects while they scream out “no”, or where older teenagers or adults watch as they make younger teenagers rape little kids, who then have nightmares....

I think one of the great tragedies of the last election was that Mal Brough is no longer the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, and we now have a naive and foolish leftist who will blunder along and turn back what little progress has been made over the last year or so.

It's from him that I've drawn the title of this post and anyone truly interested in the welfare of aboriginal children needs to read what he has to say.

Tonight there will be children who will be subjected to unspeakable acts; who will see their parents or relatives with whatever form of substance abuse; who will actually live in the most deprived and depraved circumstances; who will put their heads down on concrete floors not having bathed for days, if not weeks; with lice and scabies; who will get rat bites tonight. All in Australia, all at a time when we are celebrating in our nation's capital a new beginning.
And:
I can take you tonight to houses I can guarantee you that you would not allow a pet to live in because the RSPCA would go in and charge the owners and the owners would be on A Current Affair tomorrow night.
But our best idea is to leave these children where they are and to their inevitable tragic and pathetic fate.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Party Boy Corey Interviewed on Insiders

Very cleverly done - even people outside of Australia may have heard of Corey Delaney - a 16 year old "legend" who threw a particularly wild party while his parents were away and made the news internationally.

Apparently he is now the new leader of the opposition. Thanks to Andrew Bolt.



Plus the Naughty Corey Song - Music Video!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Reasons not to panic

The phrase "catastrophic climate change" is bandied about quite freely these days and some are even losing sleep about it, including children.

But what is the evidentiary foundation of these claims?

How do we know that any temperature rise caused by a doubling of preindustrial levels of CO2 will be "catastrophic"?

Or put another way, what is the "climate sensitivity" to said doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere?

Nobody doubts that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and has a warming effect on the Earth, so additional CO2 must mean some extra warming.

But by how much, (that is, what is its climate sensitivity), is an unresolved question.

Not that the basic physics is difficult or not understood. If the Earth's atmosphere was as simple as a vial of gases in a laboratory the answer is around 1 degree C. That is to say, a doubling of the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere should, all other things being equal, increase the global average temperature by about 1 degree C.

That's all.

So where do we get all these dire predictions of impending doom, citing temperature increases of 4 or 5 degrees or more, or even of "runaway warming" frying the planet, from?

Where do they get much higher numbers for the climate sensitivity of CO2?

In a word, feedback.

What this means is that the Earth isn't a simple glass vial in a lab, but rather an enormously complex and chaotic system that is in a constant state of flux and that changes to one element of the mix affect others and that these effects can either work against another change or make it stronger.

So if any warming effect of CO2 is made stronger by one or more of these other components of the system, this is known as positive feedback.

If they work against the warming effect (in a manner of speaking - push back against it), this is know as negative feedback.

Thus the warnings of catastrophic climate change are based on the assumption (and it is only an assumption, because we only partly understand what the feedbacks are and how they work) that the climate feedbacks are positive and that this multiplies the base sensitivity of CO2 several times.

But as the short video below explains, it is very unusual for stable systems to be built on positive feedback regimes.

But the IPCC and other alarmists have assumed positive feedback in their calculations of likely future temperatures.

So what do real world observations have to say about the projections of the IPCC based upon their assumptions of substantial positive feedbacks and figures for climate sensitivity of anywhere up to 6 degrees C or more?

Well, watch the video and find out. But I can say that they haven't been doing very well and they've had to try and find something else to explain why the planet isn't warming as fast or as much as they think it should be.



Video from Climate Skeptic blog