Wednesday, March 31, 2010

At a protest in California, complete with funny Jew-noses!

Funny how a few (often false or exaggerated) claims about racist elements at "tea parties" in America instantly become international news, but have a look at what's been seen and heard at Left-wing rallies there for years, complete with outrageous anti-Semitic caricatures!

Still, such crude racial stereotypes are one thing, but follow the link in the story above and it gets worse.

There's a picture of someone holding up a sign saying that the way to stop war is to "spay and neuter all filthy Jews." Charming.

The same fellow had another sign saying that Jews would soon be extinct like the dinosaurs, finishing with "welcome to Jewrassic Park."

(Now, you could argue that these people don't represent to majority of marchers, but they and people like them are a regular feature on the Left-wing protest circuit in the United States and elsewhere, and nobody organising these events or participating in them seems to mind a bit.)

9/11 was either perpetrated by Israel or an inside job, (or both according to some).

And so on and so on. Indeed, every flavour of Lefty nutjobbery known to Man is represented.

But as I say, while the mainstream media wants to make a song and dance about tea parties, the oceans of hate-filled bile expressed at events like this are completely ignored.

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Toronto goes dark, no sorry, stays bright for Earth Hour

I laugh.

Tim Blair:

UPDATE III. A change of view in Toronto:

Hilariously, the decline in support for the no-power-hour seemed to disappoint Earth Hour booster the Toronto Star, which, full of hope and wonder, published the headline “Toronto goes dark for Earth Hour,” only to update the article two hours later with the headline “Toronto stays bright for Earth Hour.”

A possible reason: ignited cats.
Go here to find out about the singed cat/Earth Hour connection.

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I like my men whole and complete, but really...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Does a passion for Nazi memorabilia go with Jew-hating at Human Rights Watch?

Yes, anti-"Zionism" need not be the same as anti-Semitism, but, gee, it does sometimes seem like Jew-hatred is being mainstreamed:
Human Rights Watch is one of two global superpowers among the world’s myriad humanitarian pressure groups… So it was perhaps a little awkward that a key member of staff was found to have such a treasure trove of Nazi regalia.

By day, Marc Garlasco was HRW’s only military expert, the person that its Emergencies Division would send to conflict zones to investigate alleged war crimes. He wrote reports condemning the dropping of cluster bombs in the Russia-Georgia war, the alleged illegal use of white phosphorus by the Israeli army in Gaza and coalition tactics that he said “unnecessarily” put Iraqi or Afghan civilians at risk…

But by night, Garlasco was “Flak88”, an obsessive contributor to internet forums on Third Reich memorabilia and an avid collector of badges and medals emblazoned with swastikas and eagles.

A lavishly illustrated $100 book he compiled and self-published is dedicated to his grandfather, who served in the Luftwaffe. On members-only sites such as he was writing comments like “VERY nice Hitler signature selection”; “That is so cool! The leather SS jacket makes my blood go cold it is so COOL!”

An interest in Nazi memorabilia does not necessarily suggest Nazi sympathies — but it is hardly likely to play well in the salons where Garlasco’s employer might solicit donations…

His dilemma did not last long. In September a blogger noted that Marc Garlasco had long been reviewing books on Third Reich memorabilia on Amazon — and that he was the same Marc Garlasco who had written controversial HRW reports about alleged Israeli violations in Gaza and Lebanon. The blogger did not accuse him of being a Nazi, but wondered if Garlasco’s “obsession with anti-Semitic Nazi genocidal lunatics” was in any way related to his “apologism for anti-Semitic genocidal Hamas lunatics”.
So how did Garlasco not stand out from the crowd at HRW? Well, maybe because his own views about wicked Israel and the rest of the wicked West had found a good home:
Initially HRW offered Garlasco unequivocal support… Its programmes director, Iain Levine, later went so far as to directly accuse the Israeli government of being behind it…

Every year, Human Rights Watch puts out up to 100 glossy reports.. Some conflict zones get much more coverage than others. For instance, HRW has published five heavily publicised reports on Israel and the Palestinian territories since the January 2009 war.

In 20 years they have published only four reports on the conflict in Indian-controlled Kashmir, for example, even though the conflict has taken at least 80,000 lives in these two decades, and torture and extrajudicial murder have taken place on a vast scale. Perhaps even more tellingly, HRW has not published any report on the postelection violence and repression in Iran more than six months after the event…

Since the Garlasco affair blew up, critics of Human Rights Watch have raised questions about other appointments. An Israeli newspaper revealed that Joe Stork, the deputy head of HRW’s Middle East department, was a radical leftist who put out a magazine in the 1970s that praised the murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. In 1976 he attended an anti-Zionist conference in Baghdad hosted by the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein… (W)hen Stork was hired by HRW in 1996 he had never worked for a human-rights group, had never held an academic position, and had a history of anti-Israel activism.

Stork’s boss, Sarah Leah Whitson, and most of his colleagues in the Middle East department of Human Rights Watch, also have activist backgrounds — it was typical that one newly hired researcher came to HRW from the extremist anti-Israel publication Electronic Intifada..

While HRW was dealing with the fallout from the Garlasco affair, it was already on the defensive as a result of criticism of a fundraising effort in Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s worst human-rights violators. This involved two dinners for members of the Saudi elite in Riyadh, at which Sarah Leah Whitson curried favour with her hosts by boasting about HRW’s “battles” with pro-Israel pressure groups, such as NGO Monitor.

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Peter Tatchell: Freedom of speech must be defended - even for homophobes

Well, God bless him. Even when you don't agree with Mr Tatchell, you have to admire him.

This is no fair-weather gay rights activist, monstering little old ladies at a Pauline Hanson rally. He's been beaten up by Robert Mugabe's thugs. And that hasn't been the only time he has literally put his body and his personal safety on the line.

More importantly though, here he is absolutely correct.

What has happened to our previously free and open societies when the simple expression of an opinion has become criminalised?

This is absolutely insane. It's also dangerous for us all. What happens to us when the winds of fad and fashion shift and it is we who hold opinions deemed to be beyond the pale?

It is extremely dangerous when the state effectively tries to determine what is acceptable opinion and what is not.

As Mr Tatchell says, his views on gay people should be challenged. But he should not be made a criminal for simply expressing them.

I also think it is high time for certain poofs to harden the fuck up and remove the chips from their shoulders. "Somebody said something nasty to me, boo hoo." Oh really? So what? Grow up.

Some people don't like poofters, for a variety of reasons. As with the poor, they are likely to be ever with us.

There already exists the criminal law to deal with situations where this opinion produces illegal acts.

But if Mr Hole wants to publicly say he doesn't like us by reason of his religious beliefs, then fine. He's welcome to his opinion, just as I'm free to express mine that he's a nutter.

Why can't we just leave it at that? It's not that the police these days are short of real crimes and real criminals to worry about.

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Euro Trashed

The Greek crisis is only the first of what could be several tremors resulting from the euro’s original sin. While few are willing to say it yet, the solution is clear: the only way to avoid further harm to the global economy is for Germany to lead its fellow stable states out of the euro and into a new and stronger currency bloc.

The notion of a single euro zone economy is false. Unlike their northern neighbors, the countries in the zone’s southern half have difficulty placing bonds — issued to finance their national deficits — with international capital investors. Nor are these countries competitive in the global economy, as shown by their high trade deficits.

These problems are only worsened by euro membership. If Greece were outside the euro zone, for example, it could devalue its currency to make it more competitive, and its foreign debts could be renegotiated in an international conference.

Instead, the fiscal strictures of the euro zone are forcing the country to curtail public expenditures, raise taxes and cut government employees’ salaries, actions that may push Greece into a deep depression and further undermine its already weak international credit standing. The alternative to this collapse, having other members of the euro zone assume its debt payments, is no better. Doing so would be a signal to other debtor countries that they could abandon their own remedial efforts and instead count on foreign assistance. The creditor countries would be brought to their knees.

In short, the euro is headed toward collapse.

Full article here

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Gaia's James Lovelock on modern science and climate change

Interesting stuff indeed.

He seems to have backed away completely from his apocalyptic pronouncements of just a few years ago, such as Antarctica being the only inhabitable place left by the end of this century.

I've only scanned the article, but the interviewer seems to have chosen to ignore this. Admittedly they were a total embarrassment. I know if I had said anything as foolish, I wouldn't want to be reminded of it.

From the Guardian here

On the "Climategate" email scandal:

I was utterly disgusted. My second thought was that it was inevitable. It was bound to happen. Science, not so very long ago, pre-1960s, was largely vocational. Back when I was young, I didn't want to do anything else other than be a scientist. They're not like that nowadays. They don't give a damn. They go to these massive, mass-produced universities and churn them out. They say: "Science is a good career. You can get a job for life doing government work." That's no way to do science.

I have seen this happen before, of course. We should have been warned by the CFC/ozone affair because the corruption of science in that was so bad that something like 80% of the measurements being made during that time were either faked, or incompetently done.


I would only have been too pleased if someone had asked me for my data. If you really believed in your data, you wouldn't mind someone looking at it. You should be able to respond that if you don't believe me go out and do the measurements yourself.

On the over-reliance on computer modelling [in climate science]:

We tend to now get carried away by our giant computer models. But they're not complete models. They're based more or less entirely on geophysics. They don't take into account the climate of the oceans to any great extent, or the responses of the living stuff on the planet. So I don't see how they can accurately predict the climate. It's not the computational power that we lack today, but the ability to take what we know and convert it into a form the computers will understand. I think we've got too high an opinion of ourselves. We're not that bright an animal. We stumble along very nicely and it's amazing what we do do sometimes, but we tend to be too hubristic to notice the limitations. If you make a model, after a while you get suckered into it. You begin to forget that it's a model and think of it as the real world. You really start to believe it.

On some climate sceptics:

I think the sceptics have done us a good service because they've made us look at all this a lot more closely and hopefully the science will improve as a result.


There is one sceptic that everyone should read and that is Garth Paltridge. He's written a book called the Climate Caper. It is a devastating, critical book. It is so good. This impresses me a lot. Like me, he's convinced that if you put a trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which we will have done in 20 years' time, it's going to have some nasty effects, but what we don't know if how nasty and when. 

On the current state of climate science:

The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they're scared stiff of the fact that they don't really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing. They could be absolutely running the show. We haven't got the physics worked out yet. One of the chiefs once said to me that he agreed that they should include the biology in their models, but he said they hadn't got the physics right yet and it would be five years before they do. So why on earth are the politicians spending a fortune of our money when we can least afford it on doing things to prevent events 50 years from now? They've employed scientists to tell them what they want to hear. The Germans and the Danes are making a fortune out of renewable energy.

On the surveys showing that public trust with climate science is eroding:

I think the public are right. That's why I'm soft on the sceptics. Science has got overblown. From the moment Harold Wilson brought in that stuff about the "white heat of technology", science, in Britain at least, has gone down the drain. Science was always elitist and has to be elitist. The very idea of diluting it down [to be more egalitarian] is crazy. We're paying the price for it now.

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Standing Stones: Art by Kevin McCabe

Standing Stones by Kevin McCabe

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Are all members of the Scottish parliament clinically insane?

Then I learned something I had not appreciated. I have previously written on how the government's decision to reduce CO2 by 42% by 2020, means a reduction in electricity production & thus national wealth of 50%. One of her slides showed that Holyrood has also decided that we must get rid of 100% of CO2 production in making electricity by 2030. That would leave us with about 10% from existing hydro & probably about another 5% from windmills etc. The former requires a 7% annual recession for 10 year - the latter 9% annual decline for 20 years. Perhaps I underestimated when I said the former decision, made unanimously by all parties & MSPs meant they are all clinically insane.

Having slid by that bombshell she assured us that doing all this will only cost us 1% of GNP, because Stern said so, compared to paying 8% of GNP to bail out the banks. Apart from anything else that piece of sleight of hand omits that 1% a year is not the same as 1% in total.

She finished by saying how she had visited the carbon storage project & how "my jaw dropped in amazement" at the technology. The gentleman next to me quietly said "this is Scotland's chief science advisor!"

More here

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Have I fallen in love with my first rapper? Jay-Z

Wow. He's good.

Very good.

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Gay daleks

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Labor Party in SA: wins vote only once out of six elections, but wins government four times!

Reader John Comnenus says Labor keeps winning elections in South Australia against the will of most voters:
In 1989 the ALP won 48.1% of the 2PP vote and formed government,
In 1993 the ALP won 39% of the 2PP vote and lost government,
In 1997 the ALP won 48.5% of the vote and remained out of Government,
In 2002 the ALP won 49.1% of the vote and formed government,
In 2006 the ALP won 56.8% of the vote and formed government,
In 2010 the ALP won probably around 49% of the vote and easily form government.

So since 1989 there have been six elections. The ALP has only won a majority of the vote once but has formed government on four occasions. The Liberals have won a majority of the vote on five out of six occasions but only formed government twice…

In Joh Bjelke Petersen’s day this was called a Gerrymander. In Mike Rann’s day it’s called a superior marginal seats campaign. Either way it seems that the State Electoral Commissioner in SA consistently puts up electoral boundaries that allow the Government to be formed by the ALP against the clearly stated will of the people.

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Watts Up With That? blog reaches 40 million hits. Most visited climate science blog in the world.

Overnight, another milestone occurred. As of 6:20 AM PST, the WUWT hit counter shows:

Thank you readers, thank you moderators, thank you guest contributors.

Traffic has slowed from about half of what it was during the heady days of Climategate and Copenhagen in December, but I note that this is not unique to WUWT, as other climate blogs have also experienced similar drops since then. However I’m pleased to say that WUWT has kept many new readers since then.

Here’s an Alexa comparison of WUWT and four other commonly visited climate websites:

For my part, I’ve gone through a period of exhaustion and illness due to keeping up the pace a couple of weeks back, and for awhile, resorted to posting  a lot of press releases rather than analysis and commentary.

This is why I value the work of our volunteer moderation team and our guest contributors so much. You have my heartfelt thanks for your continued efforts.

At the moment, I’m facing survival issues with my own business due to the downturn the economy has suffered, and I’ll be unable to put as much time into WUWT as I have in the past. Even the Google Ad words hits have dropped off as the economy cools. The economy has finally caught up to my little niche.

Given the situation, I hope readers will forgive me if I showcase a weather station product or two in the future as a way to gain revenue. WUWT gets more hits than my business does, so I’d be a fool not to take advantage of this traffic. I figure many WUWT readers might be interested in some of the weather products I’ve invented and offer. Most recently I’ve been working on a personal weather radar channel, a small box that you can add to the back of any flat screen LCD TV/monitor, that gives you 24/7 automated radar display for your location, and without any data fees. Look for that in a week or two.

Again, thank you all for making WUWT the most visited climate science blog in the world. – Anthony

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Australian university embraces neopaganism

Very sad. Universities are supposed to be about reason and rationality, not new-age religion.


The Australian National University, supposedly a secular institution, uses public money to stage an open air Mass for its new faith.

And Vice Chancellor Ian Chubb seems too blinded by his green religion to notice that one element of his neo-pagan ritual - unmistakeably a celebration of the primitive - contributes to what he’s convinced is our damnation. From his email to staff and students:
This Saturday evening, the 27th of March from 8:30 to 9:30pm, the world will be switching off its lights in recognition of Earth Hour.... ANU staff, students and guests are invited to mark the occasion by enjoying a free BBQ, music, dancing, drumming performances and a fire show on Fellows Oval from 6pm.  Bring family, friends and a picnic blanket for a relaxed evening festival.
Utterly farcical. If they truly believed in their cause, they’d never have held the game at night to start with:
At 8.30pm the Sydney Swans will be preparing to start the third quarter of their match against St Kilda at ANZ Stadium. Turning out the lights for Earth Hour, then, becomes a little problematic.

Instead of playing football in the dark, the club is urging its supporters to switch off their lights at home before they come to the game or, if they are at home, to watch the match in the dark or by candlelight.

ANZ Stadium will do its bit, switching off the two 35-metre-long external signs for the hour and playing an Earth Hour message on the big screen.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

"I am sick of being told that I am disadvantaged because I am female"

And good for you sister!

Female firies from Victoria's Metropolitan Fire Brigade are in open revolt about the latest bit of idiotic political correctness to raise its head there.

THE Metropolitan Fire Brigade has set fire to its own trousers by telling its ladies they’re oppressed.
Worse, it told the poor dears that what they really needed to make it as firefighters was a “gender inclusion action plan”.

Ouch! The only person in the MFB now feeling oppressed is its “diversity development officer”, who’s been monstered by the female firefighters she tried to turn into victims.

Take this scathing email sent last week by an enraged leading firefighter: “I joined the fire brigade to be a firefighter, that’s it, now let me be one ... and a professional one at that, irrelevant of gender, race and cultural background.”

Need an example of how anti-discrimination laws actually create more division than they end? How they institutionalise the very sexism and racism they’re supposed to remove?

Then read the furious exchange of letters below, between the MFB’s top brass and the female firies who are refusing to be treated differently from their male colleagues.

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First comes the warmening . and then comes the bloodening

Tim Blair:

If global warming is a scientific fact, then you better be prepared for the earth to become a more violent place. That’s because new Iowa State University research shows that as the earth’s average temperature rises, so too does human “heat” in the form of violent tendencies …

Using U.S. government data on average yearly temperatures and the number of violent crimes between 1950 and 2008, the researchers estimate that if the annual average temperature in the U.S. increases by 8°F (4.4°C), the yearly murder and assault rate will increase by 34 per 100,000 people – or 100,000 more per year in a population of 305 million.

This is why elderly Americans retire to sunny Florida, by the way. They enjoy the street brawls. Still, warmies are always telling us to take every precaution we can, so it must make sense to avoid electing politicians from warm or subtropical areas. These people could at any time lash out viciously due to childhood heat trauma. Best to play it safe and elect candidates from cooler, more peaceful regions, like … I don’t know … Alaska.

UPDATE. Cowgate.

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We paid $900,000 for this?

An absolute scandal:

More Ruddy waste - scandalous in scope:

When the community at the Nashdale Public School, near Orange, 250km west of Sydney, learned that it had qualified for the federal stimulus funding in March last year, a steering committee was set up and a local builder charged with providing costings and concept drawings to overhaul the school’s ageing facilities.

That builder, Bruce Hackett, estimated it would cost $740,000 to substantially replace the existing school with two large brick buildings - one a 25m x 12m block consisting of three classrooms and a library; the other a 15m x 12m administration centre including a staff room, principal’s office, sick bay, interview room and toilets. Mr Hackett’s written quote, obtained by The Australian, includes disabled facilities and ramps, verandas, reverse-cycle airconditioning and floor coverings, but not furniture. The school planned to retain a demountable classroom and the old library building, erected in 1888.

However, Nashdale’s P&C president June Coleman [pictured above with the demountable] said the school was told by officials from the NSW Department of Education and Training that it could not “self-manage” the project and proceed with Mr Hackett’s quote as it did not have 10 per cent of the allocated budget of $900,000 already set aside in a trust account.

As a result, the school was forced to proceed with the managing contractor, Laing O’Rourke, and a cookie cutter building design. Under those new plans the school could afford only one modular double classroom, costed at $907,000.

“It beggars belief,” Mrs Coleman said. “We’re a small school, just 60-odd children, as if we have $90,000 sitting idle in a bank account. And now, look at what we’re getting.

“There is so much more that could have been done for this money to benefit our kids. It’s scandalous.”
This is just one example among scores. (UPDATE: Here’s just a few others.) Now here’s Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s spin:
JULIA Gillard says she is open to tightening the guidelines of her $16 billion schools building program but has passionately defended its role in sparing Australia from a devastating recession

“It was right economically. It was right for the education revolution and for the future for Australian kids we’re trying to create.”
That big-charging builder favored by the Government, Laing O’Rourke, has interesting connections to NSW Labor:
Josh Murray worked [as chief of staff] for Mr Iemma as premier and was chief of staff to John Watkins as transport minister. It is understood he met the former head of the Sydney Metro Authority, Les Wielinga, several times to discuss a bid by his employer, the construction company Laing O’Rourke.
(Thanks to reader Mark.)

That’s better - but does this school actually need four new classrooms, and, if so, why wasn’t that offered first?

NSW Education Minister Verity Firth this morning told Ray Hadley’s 2GB the Hastings Public School at Port Macquarie would instead have four classrooms built.

The school shot to prominence after it was revealed last week that a similar structure had been built for $78,000 in 2003.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Summing up the health care dilemma in a few words

It took an elderly caller to 2GB's Jason Morrison this week to bring commonsense into the health debate. Jack, a retired surgeon, cited an adage about socialised medicine. "There are three things you want in a medical system: cost control; universal access; and provision of a full range of medical services."

But only two of these things can be achieved simultaneously. Currently, we have the first two.

The essential problem with giving away something so valuable as healthcare for nothing is it creates infinite demand which is impossible to satisfy.

This is something the worm doesn't want to hear but which responsible political leaders need to say.


People keep carrying on as if waiting lists and so on are a "mistake" of our health system; an indication that it isn't working properly, when the exact opposite is the truth.

Government health care is designed to be rationed. There is after all only so much money to go round and always more demand than this money could ever satisfy.

So services have to be rationed, and hence you wait.

That's how it is designed to work and it wouldn't work otherwise, unless of course you wanted to be like France where even a former health minister admitted that the system was effectively insolvent and only kept afloat by the government pouring vast amounts of additional money into it.

Fine you say, that's just what we want. Except that every additional euro or dollar spent there of necessity means one less spent elsewhere.

So either way, choices have to be made. You can never get away from the central conundrum of economics - unlimited wants versus scarce means.

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The UK suffering a severe wind shortage!

UPDATE. In other energy developments, the UK is suffering a wind shortage:

The first detailed study of onshore wind farms has found that 20 of the sites produce less than 20 per cent of their maximum output with some producing less than 10 per cent.

Blyth Harbour in Northumberland is thought to be the least efficient wind farm producing just 7.9 per cent of its maximum capacity while Chelker reservoir in North Yorkshire operates at 8.7 per cent of its capacity.

On the plus side, however, they do mulch birds.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Videos of the flooding of the Education, Fine Arts and Architecture Library at UWA during the Perthpocalypse

A colleague writes:

I was a student at UWA. As this url (with video) shows, the Arts
Library area was turned into a torrent [on Monday during the storm that
hit Perth].

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Channel 9's idea of an "uncommitted" voter?

Andrew Bolt:

I thought Kevin Rudd won yesterday’s debate. Reader John finds many of the polls say I’m wrong:

Sky News - Abbott 68% Rudd 32%
Australian – Abbott 52% Rudd 41% Draw 7%
The Age – Abbott 36% Rudd 64%
Daily Telegraph – Abbott 57% Rudd 38% Draw 5%
Courier Mail – Abbott 61% Rudd 34% Draw 5%
ABC - Abbott – 26% Rudd 63% Unimpressed 11%
Seems like Abbott might do OK when he actually has a policy to compare against Rudd’s. And some people on the ABC Drum still say that the ABC and their followers are right biased!

What those polls actually suggest is that the debate tended to confirm the biases of each audience.
Reader John reports on one of the “uncommitted” voters who drove Channel 9’s worm:

A few minutes ago (8.55am) on 3AW radio in Melbourne a man rang up on the Mictchell claiming he was a ‘worm button presser’ for ch9.

The guy seemed like an older chap with a slight Maltese accent. He said he was chosen at random and asked his political leanings before goin on. When asked about Rudd, he said ...."oh he came across as a man I can look up to and respect, someone to run the country!” (repeated this 2-3 times).

Neil Mitchell asked him about Abbott.."that guy’s an idiot, there is no way I would look up to him, ah..ugh” (repeated this 2-3 times)

Mitchell then asked “so I take it you were a Rudd supporter?”
“Oh no, I was uncommitted!”

A friend writes:

I was at Channel 9 yesterday, sitting next to Tracey Grimshaw with son XXX. I can tell you this:
9’s surveying company was desperate for volunteers and was scraping them together, worried that they’d fall short of the 100 needed. Consequently, they quickly cobbled them together from nearby university campuses, obvious hotbeds of Labor support and an easy source of people who can turn up in the middle of the day at 11am when everyone else is working.

The audience was clearly far from a balanced sample, with the vast majority dressed in old threadbare bluejeans and ragged T shirts (two terminal symptoms of Laborites), and rapt to get their $50 payment. For the first few minutes, I could see the worm on a studio monitor, and the worm jumped to the top even BEFORE Rudd began speaking! So
much for “fair and balanced”. Virtually every time Abbott started speaking, there would be groans and snickers.

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Join our vast Light-Wing Conspiracy - the Hour of Power 2010!

From Tim Blair:

James Delingpole joins the Illuminati:

I need YOUR pledge NOW for the most important campaign in the history of the planet!
I refer, of course to LIGHTS ON – the vital protest being co-ordinated by my colleague Damian Thompson in response to the hideous annual exercise of eco-fascist triumphalism sometimes known as Earth Hour.

All Damian is asking us to do is that we screw up our courage, bump up our electricity bills and make damn sure we keep every single one of the lights in our home blazing between 8.30 and 9.30pm on Saturday March 27.

In fact, Thompson is aiming for a power burst beyond mere lights:

Just nipping out to the shops to stock up on lightbulbs (the old-fashioned variety, natch) just in case my electricity blows a fuse between 8.30 and 9.30pm on Saturday March 27.

Because EVERY SINGLE APPLIANCE in my flat will be on during the WWF’s “Earth Hour” switch-off, currently being plugged by a menagerie of celebrity bores including Chris Martin of Coldplay, Spartist actress Miranda Richardson (who’ll be in America, she tells us – how are you getting there, love?) and Don Foster MP of the Liberal Democrats. Yup, they’ve persuaded Don to sign up at last. Talk about a coup!

Britain’s LIGHTS ON campaign will shine in solidarity with America’s Human Achievement Hour and, of course, Australia’s mighty Hour of Power – which last year generated this beautiful comment from the mother of an Hour of Power toddler lieutenant:

Just preparing for earth hour. Max is loving running through the house turning all our switches on. We think he’s really learning something important!

That’s the Hour of Power spirit, Max! Besides educating our young and building an Anglospheric coalition of electrical unity, this year’s Earth Hour festivities will also feature visual contributions from those whose roofs glow ominously due to ill-placed insulation.

It’s going to be the brightest night of the year. Planning is essential. Please make certain that all your globes are operational. As for me … I’ve something special planned.

UPDATE. Bigmac emails:

I noticed on the Earth Hour site there is a game to find out how many planets are required to support your lifestyle. I wonder if anyone can get better than the 13.2 planets I got when I tried it.

There is another challenge to be made: Is it possible to get the usage down to less than one planet? Or is the game made so that no matter what, you feel guilty about your actions?

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Mass immigration 'kills Aussie culture' leading demographer warns (cue kneejerk cries of racism here)

TRADITIONS based on heritage, sporting culture and common language are threatened by mass migration, a leading demographer has warned.

Monash University population expert Dr Bob Birrell said the huge influx of people with few or no English skills had created social problems in suburbs such as Dandenong, Sunshine and Broadmeadows.

"This is not a pretty picture," he said.
"Social divisions are becoming more obvious and geographically concentrated (and certain areas) are being overlain by an ethnic identification."

Dr Birrell made the explosive comments in an article for the Centre of Independent Studies magazine Policy.

I'm quite happy living in an area that does have quite high numbers of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East and I think they are going to make fine citizens by and large (certainly a lot better than some of the 'dinki di' Aussies that I wish weren't living near me).

But that isn't the point. Human beings have brains that I suspect are hard-wired to be communal and tribal. Too much change too soon can be destabilising and lead to the breakdown of the glue that binds communities together, and no end of Harmony Days or whatever will affect this.

So there can be a valid argument to not stop immigration, (and certainly not stop taking refugees from terrible situations in places like Africa), but rather to modulate the intake.

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Pesky Arctic ice won't melt

The US National Snow and Ice Data Center in 2007 warns the Arctic ice could vanish: "The issue is that, for the first time that I am aware of, the North Pole is covered with extensive first-year ice—ice that formed last autumn and winter. I’d say it’s even-odds whether the North Pole melts out [this year]."

The US National Snow and Ice Data Center in 2010 concedes the Arctic ice has grown: "A report from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado finds that Arctic summer sea ice has increased by 409,000 square miles, or 26 per cent, since 2007."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Seriously, what is going wrong with our society?


How many more signs of a seriously troubled culture do you need?
His girlfriend of less than two months, Skye Webbe, 18, ... was pulled from the wreckage and was yesterday in an induced coma in Canberra Hospital.

“I’m devastated. I want the police to pay for what has happened,” Debbie, 44, said… “It’s terrible. People have really got to get the message out there that police have got to stop this....”

She blamed “young coppers” for pursuing the car, and said they were “totally” at fault, although she acknowledged “Justin may have a little bit to do with it”.

While Justin had “done wrong” by stealing a car, it was a ”petty little crime”… ”Justin’s not a bad kid. He’s just got a bit mixed up in the criminal world."…

And she said the police should be charged.
Much more, including background on the criminal who was driving the car at the time, here.

I realise most people wouldn't share this deeply foolish woman's views but, though maybe it's just me, doesn't she seem to be representative of a growing number of dysfunctional people in our society who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions and who always find somebody else to blame when things go wrong?

They seem to be the same people who do things like this:

Police prosecutor Kieren Self said Constable Chris Shanco drew his firearm while his colleague Constable Karl Ah Shay was being bashed at Innisfail on Saturday, only to be goaded by one of the attackers who asked him “Are you going to shoot us?”....

He said the two attackers “thought it was funny’’ and only ran from the scene when witnesses intervened. The court heard Constable Ah Shay is in Cairns Base Hospital with “numerous fractures to the jaw, a fracture to the cheekbone and head’’.
No doubt the first magistrates who began dismissing charges against people for telling a copper to "get fucked" or to "fuck off" thought they were being all very progressive and up-to-date.

But really, do any of us feel safer now that people like this no longer respect (or at least fear) the police?

The Cultural Left made it its mission from the 1960s to smash the existing power structures to bound Western societies together, such as respect for the law and tradition, as well as the received standards of civility and social interaction, and I'd suggest we are seeing the results of this decades long program in a society where increasingly we are afraid to walk the streets at night and where the default response to even minor traffic altercations isn't a raised eyebrow but increasingly vicious acts of violence.

Now I'm sure this isn't what the earnest young social revolutionaries back then had in mind.

I'm sure they imagined a society where we'd all be free to do our own thing and live in harmony with each other, but without the seeming dead weight of tradition and restrictions on personal behaviour.

I'm also sure that they had a point. Something had to change in relation to the treatment of women and of racial and sexual minorities (amongst other things). Nobody wants to just go back to the 1950s.

But human beings are animals like any other and we have certain innate characteristics and inbuilt behaviours. People today are no different to people living centuries ago. So the means that we use to culturally mediate the darker parts of our individual and collective selfs, and thus make living together possible, are probably not going to change in basic thrust or detail.

Hence the warning that conservatives have always made to those who imagine that they have been blessed with some vision to transform human society into something new and different - be very careful about presuming to fix what may not in fact be broken.

At it's worst you get The Terror or The Great Terror, that is, revolutionary France and Russia.

We sometimes forget that the rivers of blood and misery beyond words or fathoming that flowed from these events began as inspirational grand schemes to build not only better societies, but perfect societies.

But the "crooked timber" of humanity isn't made for perfection. We are contingent beings shaped and fashioned by the particular circumstances of our evolution on the African savanna.

I love the way the Buddhists refer to the recalcitrant and difficult parts of our personalities as our "monkey brain."

Much closer to the truth than they imagined.

However, I fear that primal ape that lies not far from the surface in all of us is being allowed to express itself more and more, and the cultural restraints have been progressively lifted from it.

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Don't buy hype on plastic baby bottles

Imagine your infant tossing a glass baby bottle. It shatters and you try to clean it up before your child crawls across the floor. Now imagine a plastic bottle falling — no worry. That is why babies have been tossing break-proof plastic bottles for decades — we value safety. Yet now, environmental activists are urging us to go back to glass, and they have convinced some lawmakers to consider banning the plastic.

Greens say a chemical — bisphenol A, or BPA — used to make plastic baby bottles and many other products is dangerous to humans because high doses are dangerous to rats. Yet humans metabolize and pass BPA quickly before it can have any health impact. Rodents do not. This is true for many substances, such as chocolate and peanuts, which are toxic to rodents but safe for humans.

Moreover, the best available science reveals that consumer exposure to BPA is most likely 100 to 1,000 times lower than EPA's estimated safe exposure levels, for both infants and adults. In fact, there isn't any research showing adverse effects on consumers after 60 years of BPA use. Not surprisingly, panels around the world — in Japan, the EU, Canada, Norway, France and more — have not been able to link BPA to any public health ills and have ruled that BPA is safe at current exposure levels.

Still, greens claim BPA is dangerous because it may be weakly "estrogenic," which they suggest impacts human development. Yet the simple fact that a substance might have weak estrogenic qualities is not cause for alarm or bans. If it were, we would need to ban soy, peas, beans and a host of healthy foods. These foods contain so-called "endocrine mimicking" substances similar to BPA but at much higher levels. According to data from the National Academy of Sciences, exposure to natural "endocrine mimicking" chemicals is 100,000 to 1 million times higher than exposure to similar substances found in BPA. It appears that BPA is less dangerous than a few tablespoons of soy milk. And that's pretty darn safe, even for a baby.

No one can blame parents for becoming alarmed about plastics, since all we hear is misinformation and hype. But we can blame our politicians when they fall for hype, fail to do any homework, and force the rest of us to use less safe or inferior products.


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Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Observer's Rachel Cooke re Generation Jihad: "I think we have a problem on our hands"

Yes Rachel, I think you might be right.

From Tim Blair:

A couple of things about the BBC’s excellent Generation Jihad investigation: one, baby jihadis born and raised in the West are driven entirely by ideology (says one British extremist, previously jailed for terrorism offences: “I’ve never been a victim of poverty or any kind of family break-up or anything like that").

And two, these jihadis are a serious menace, despite – paradoxically – being complete losers.

UPDATE. The program – broadcast locally on SBS – reviewed by The Observer‘s Rachel Cooke:
I found the motivation of these men impossible to understand. They were middle-class; they had loving parents; they had money and mobile phones …
I thought back to the first part of the series, to the two cocky young men in their nylon tracksuits and flashy trainers, newly released from prison. [BBC journalist Peter] Taylor asked them how their communities had welcomed them back. Cue wide smiles all round. The food, the presents! The money, the visitors! No one thought that they were terrorists, or anything like terrorists. It was more a case of: “Hail the conquering heroes!” I think we have a problem on our hands.

Yes, we do. The second episode begins here.

UPDATE II. An example, via Mark Steyn, of the type of society favoured by these junior jihadists.

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My hometown of Cunderdin becomes famous for all the wrong reasons

Given the huge volume of traffic that the blog Watts Up With That? now attracts these days, hundreds of thousands of people around the world are now being informed that my hometown of Cunderdin exists, as you can see below.

Though it might be a slightly Oscar Wilde kind of thing, with the only alternative being for people not to have heard of it!

But have a look at the state of the weather station at the post office there, which is part of the official Bureau of Meteorology network. It is one of a number in Australia found to be sited contrary to all rules regarding the proper measurement of the temperature. The survey of Australian sites has only just begun, but already quite a few have been found situated in paved areas and close to buildings (all of which soak up heat during the day).

So again the question is, just how trustworthy is the surface temperature record?

Find the weather station in this photo

21 03 2010
Above: The Cunderdin Australian Climate Reference Network station, a BoM official photo. Source:

There’s an effort to the project underway in Australia to have a look at the quality of siting of stations, see here.

They write:
We have now looked at 18 separate stations (out of a total of 103), in three separate categories. So far, not one of these stations meets the criteria of being “away from large urban centres” and the CRN quality standards of NOAA/NCDC in terms of siting.

Unless there is a dramatic improvement in the remaining 85 stations, we would be well justified in asking the questions: “Just how reliable is the RCS network data and how valid are any conclusions that are drawn from them”?

[But follow that link just above and check out the Wyalong post office, also apart of the BoM's official network, if you want to see a really badly sited weather station!

Or go here for these pictures from Laverton in Victoria that show how stations get overtaken by urban growth.]

Reader Alan RM Jones is puzzled. Here’s Laverton in 1946, around the start of the period covered by the butterfly survey:



Spot any changes that might conceivably be a local source of heating?

Reader Nick of Western Port says the urbanisation is worse than the photo above shows:
See that area of fields around williams landing… ? It now looks like Laverton as well, surounded by bitumen,, bricks, roof tiles and concrete.  That photo is way out of date, by about 3-4 years.

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Oh my God! El Candado Pedro Ximenez sherry

Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God, this is wonderful. Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear.

This wine is sweet, rich and intense. The smell is overwhelming and the flavour just keeps going on and on.

Why drink tawny port when you can drink this?

With winter on the way here in Australia, this is what you should be stocking up on, or the amazing Australian fortified wines. The liqueur muscats, tokays, verdelhos etc are wines of immense power and flavour.

Why on Earth we don't drink more of them is just beyond me.

But this Spanish stuff is special. Just so you know, Ximenez is pronounced 'himeneth.' And yes, the bottle has a padlock on it.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Our foreign aid helps the starving activists of Australia

You thought our aid budget was spent helping poor people overseas?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Under new rules announced in 2009, Ausaid can now fund education and awareness campaigns in Australia.

Labor-friendly organisations are big winners from the $1.3 million handed out so far.

The ACTU has collected $147,000 for a campaign to educate workers on the Rudd Government’s international development aid program.

Another $150,000 has gone to the Oaktree Foundation, founded by former young Australian of the Year Hugh Evans, for 1000 young people to travel the country educating the public about poverty alleviation and the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

The foundation was part of the 2007 Make Poverty History campaign and during that year’s election Mr Evans said it was planning a “full-scale” campaign urging people to support Labor’s position on foreign aid.

Other winners include a program to bring Australian and Afghani youth together via the internet for an arts project showing they understand poverty and a rickshaw ride for 400 from Queensland to Tasmania.

Under the new rules, 10 per cent of Ausaid’s Australian NGO Co-operation Program’s budget can be spent in Australia on awareness campaigns.
“Awareness campaigns” is what they call this propaganda and sponsor-my-fun now.

Contemptible. Utterly contemptible.

Reader Boy on a Bike says your aid dollars are indeed lifting some people out of poverty:
AusAID - have a look at their annual report, in particular TABLE 10: AUSAID SES EMPLOYEE SALARY RANGE, 30 JUNE 2009.
$205 000-$219 999 - one employee
$175 000-$189 999 - two staff
$160 000-$174 999 - four staff
$175 000-$189 999 - one person
$160 000-$174 999 - one person
$145 000-$159 999 - three staff
$130 000-$144 999 - 22 staff
Average Australian income - around $50,000.

Yes, lots of AusAID staff have certainly been lifted out of poverty.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

This child is obese?

I think the essential message here is to be extremely sceptical of busy-bodies using words like 'epidemic' or 'crisis' to try and badger people into modifying their behaviour in ways they approve of.

Really, is there anything in today's world that isn't being sold as an epidemic of this or that when it comes to our health?

But yet again this week there was one of those reports that just simply cuts through so much of this nonsense, when attention was again drawn to the fact that Australians are one of the healthiest people in the world and only the Japanese live longer than we do.

Yup, that's right, we live longer and healthier lives than all those Frenchies and Greeks with their bloody olive oil and friggen tomatoes. (Not that I have anything against either. Or indeed the French or the Greeks for that matter. Well, maybe the French.)

And this is a perfect example of what happens when "moral" puritans intent on forcing people to be virtuous, whether they want to or not, get involved and are in positions to throw their weight around.

The problem being of course that very often they know less than they imagine and are often pushing ideas about health and diet that actually are poorly supported by the available evidence, but which have become nonetheless fashionable fads.

I'm sure this little boy is "clinically" obese. That's the trouble. Clinically obese will be whatever those who want to promote the notion of an obesity "epidemic" want it to be.

A bit like what happened in America a few years ago when a line on a graph was arbitrarily moved to the left and, at a stroke, millions of Americans became "over-weight" overnight, and without a single extra kilo being gained by any of them.

Mother's outrage as healthy five-year-old son weighing 58lb is branded obese by British health Fascists

With an active lifestyle and diet rich in fruit and vegetables, five-year-old Cian Attwood would appear to be the picture of health. So his parents were astounded to receive a letter from the NHS saying he is 'clinically obese'. It warned that he is in the fattest one per cent of his age group and risks heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Cian is 4st 2lb when the recommended weight for his age is between 2st 13lb and 3st 11lb. But he is 3ft 10in, taller than average for a five-year-old, and is clearly not fat.

Full article here

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Thou shalt not enjoy thyself

The miserable food nazis are at it again. As I've said before, is it any wonder that increasing numbers of children are presenting with eating disorders?

These people are obviously not going to be satisfied until the very last drop of fun has been squeezed out of childhood.

British local council bans ice cream vans from trading outside schools because they 'encourage unhealthy eating'

There's absolutely no proof that ice-cream does any harm, of course. Leftists are uninterested in evidence. They just KNOW.

The jingle of the ice cream van tells schoolchildren summer is on the way. But the traditional treat has been banned by one council, which claims they encourage unhealthy eating. Bureaucrats at Hillingdon council have declared that vans which park outside schools will be impounded under new rules. They claim they were forced to act because there is 'a need to encourage healthier eating habits in children'.

Full article here

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Even the dog is cooler than we will ever be

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Henry Pollack's book A World Without Ice reviewed in the journal Nature

Not everyone writing for Nature is a warming alarmist. Take Johannes Oerlemans, professor of meteorology at Utrecht University’s Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, who takes a stick to Henry Pollack, author of the latest scare-book:

A World Without Ice opens with a strong foreword from Al Gore: the science has been done — now we must act. .... Pollack’s patchwork assessment of the science of ice and climate ... gets off to a bad start by adding drama. Writing in his preface that “Throughout most of Earth’s history, ice has been an indomitable force of nature”, Pollack sidesteps the consensus view that for the majority of Earth’s past there was little or no ice…

Similarly, he cites mountain glaciers as the direct source of water for almost a quarter of the world’s population, when in reality the bulk comes from rain and seasonal snow…

In his investigation of the regional effects of global warming on ice, snow and permafrost, Pollack adopts a fearful tone, suggesting that any change in the environment should be interpreted as a local disaster. He lists the many locations where glaciers are retreating, sea-ice coverage is shrinking, permafrost thawing and ski areas declining. And he cautions
that “in only a few decades the Arctic Ocean may be ice-free in the summer, for the first time in 55 million years”.

Yet he forgets that, during the Holocene climatic optimum about 9,000 to 6,000 years ago when summer temperatures in the subarctic regions were 2–5 °C higher than today, the Arctic Ocean in summer was probably ice-free on a regular basis…

Again, his discussion of the ice sheets and sea-level rise is too dramatic: for example, it has not been established that the Greenland ice sheet will melt away in a few centuries once we pass the ‘tipping point’....

For example, it is clear that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is currently losing mass, but there is abundant evidence that the shrinkage has been happening for the past 15,000 years, mainly in response to rising sea levels initiated by deglaciation in the Northern Hemisphere.

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If only we'd listened to Al Gore, this tragedy may have been averted

Behold the awesome destructive power of global warming:

Researchers have found that because of a rise in temperature, caused by an increase in greenhouse gas emissions by humans, the common brown butterfly now emerges from its cocoon 10 days earlier than it did 65 years ago.

If only we’d listened to Al Gore, this tragedy may have been averted.

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40,000 women to be trafficked to the World Cup to sexually service supporters? Bullshit.

Yet now, four years later and on the other side of the world, we have the exact same headline-grabbing figure being spouted in relation to South Africa. During the 2006 World Cup, the figure of 40,000 seems to have orginiated with the American feminist group, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), though it’s unclear how they arrived at their – let’s be generous here – ‘estimation’. The figure of 40,000 trafficked women for this year’s World Cup seems to have originated, bizarrely, with South Africa’s Central Drug Authority (CDA), though again it’s unclear how they arrived at this super-neat, familiar number. Maybe they were browsing old editions of European newspapers from 2006, including Britain’s Independent and Guardian, and thought: ‘40,000 enslaved whores? If it can happen in Europe, it could definitely happen in Africa.’

I have a new theory about how these mad, bad and hysterical scare-numbers are arrived at. In recent years, every time there has been a major international sporting event, a motley crew of government officials, campaigning feminists, pliant journalists and NGOs have claimed that the movement of thousands of men to strange foreign countries where there will be lots of alcohol and horniness will result in the enslavement of women for the purposes of sexual pleasure. Obviously. And every time they have simply doubled the made-up scare figures from the last international sporting event, to make it look like this problem of sport/sex/slavery gets worse year on year.

Full article at Spiked Online

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Too much sex? No such thing - why sex addiction is total BS

From the Food & Health Skeptic:

The very idea of sexual pleasure as a harmful addiction plays precisely into the hands of one of the most perverse aspects of Western religious history, namely the teaching that sex is a work of the devil redeemed only by the act of procreation itself. Reliance on the notion of sex addiction in counseling and psychiatric treatment is ominous.

Full post here

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Hitler played cricket but was stumped

Hitler, it seems clear, was simply unable to comprehend a game as subtle and nuanced as cricket. He wanted speed and violence. Not for him the gentle thwack of leather on willow, but rather the crunch of a harder, larger ball against unprotected shins. His rewritten rules for the game attempt to blend cricket and blitzkrieg: blitzkricket.

If cricket has a motto, it is probably "Play up! Play up! And play the game", from Henry Newbolt's poem Vitai Lampada, which also extols cricketing manliness, but of a very different sort to that lauded by Hitler: "And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat, Or the selfish hope of a season's fame..."

Cricket, of course, is the ultimate sporting fusion of mind and body: an intricate set of rules and tactics, involving minute gradations of physics, climate and psychology, requiring the broadest range of athletic ability and good manners. In its classic form, it takes five days, with set intervals for tea, and often produces no result. Try to imagine Hitler enjoying a truly thrilling draw, a totalitarian wrestling with the subtle uncertainties of the lbw law. The word "googly" has no translation.

Full article here

One can only imagine what he would have made of the doosra!

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Why are greenies so often so nasty, deceitful and abusive?

Andrew Bolt:
Iain Hollingshead explains why greens tend to be so much nastier, deceitful and abusive:

Every now and again there comes along a scientific study that proves beyond reasonable doubt what you instinctively know to be true: wine is good for you, exercise is dangerous, and self-righteous environmentalists are lying, cheating, thieving degenerates.

I’m exaggerating only a little. Do Green Products Make Us Better People?, a paper in the latest edition of the journal Psychological Science, argues that those who wear what the authors call the “halo of green consumerism” are less likely to be kind to others, and more likely to cheat and steal. Faced with various moral choices – whether to stick to the rules in games, for example, or to pay themselves an appropriate wage – the green participants behaved much worse in the experiments than their conventional counterparts. The short answer to the paper’s question, then, is: No. Greens are mean.

The authors, two Canadian psychologists, came up with an intriguing explanation for this. “Virtuous acts,” they write, “can license subsequent asocial and unethical behaviour.” It’s the yin-yang theory of psychology, or “compensatory ethics”, to give it its proper name. Buy an organic potato, then go home and beat your wife with The Guardian.

Tim Blair has an example:

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Atheists' convention almost enough to make me a believer again

I agree totally with Andrew Bolt here.

THE Global Atheists Convention in Melbourne last weekend worked a miracle on me.
I’ve never felt more like believing in God. Especially the Christian one.
My near conversion occurred because the convention’s speakers managed to confirm my worst fear.
No, it’s not that God may actually exist, and be cross that I doubted. It’s that if the Christian God really is dead, then there’s not much to stop people here from being barbarians.

He's not a Christian (or any other kind of religious believer); I used to be.

I know that people like Richard Dawkins are objectively correct. And yet, just like Mr Bolt, something about these people worries and disturbs me.

There's not only an almost evangelical zealotry about some of them, there's also the sheer nastiness and lack of civility so many of them display.

I may not agree with the current bishop of Rome on very much, but that doesn't stop me from seeing him as the basically kindly old man that he so obviously is.

Why did Richard Dawkins have to lower himself with such petty and infantile jibes as referring to Pope Nazi? Senator Stephen Fielding may not be the smartest member of the federal parliament, (and I've certainly been very critical of him on a number of issues), but was it really necessary to say he was dumber than an earthworm because of his religious beliefs?

What do you say about the attendees who apparently thought it was both incredibly funny and clever?

Or where, upon getting a positive reply to the question of whether any believers were in attendance, the Rationalist Society president Ian Robinson said “OK, I’ll speak really slowly.”

Wow. What a wit.

And so the nasty and petty condescension went on. These people are certainly utterly convinced of their own cleverness. And by and large they are indeed very, very clever. But boy, would you want your life being run by any of them?

Richard and the rest of you, can you give the arrogant disdain for ordinary people a rest? Irrational and superstitious beliefs are like the cane toad here in Australia: not going away any time soon and we may as well get used to this.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Astonishing 3-D color computer simulation of low-level flight over the surface of Mars

It will be a very long time before we can afford to send humans to Mars, given the estimated cost of roughly $1 trillion for round trip fare.

But until then we can sit back and be armchair "virtual astronauts" thanks to our robotic emissaries that photomap the Red Planet. Combine those snapshots with powerful computer image processing -- and you're all but physically there!

Rest of the article here

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New fossil amphibian provides earliest widespread evidence of terrestrial vertebrates

(I've corrected the rather obvious mistake in the Science Centric heading above.)

Gradually, however, as an increasing amount of the planet's water became locked up in polar ice, the sea level dropped and more land was exposed. Vast regions of the earth became drier and warmer, including the region that would become western Pennsylvania. The coal swamps and lakes dried up, and many of the coal-forming plants became extinct. It was at this time that amphibian populations in what would become the Pittsburgh region shifted from mainly aquatic to mainly terrestrial, paralleling the change in climate from tropical to semi-arid. Vertebrates that had already begun adapting to terrestrial life - including amphibians closely related to Fedexia striegeli - became far more abundant, widespread, and diverse than their relatives who were still dependent upon cooler, moist environments.

Full article here

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You write the cheques, we'll drown the puppies

The UK advertising industry has bravely decided it can continue to accept millions of pounds from the state to create alarming climate advertisements, despite inaccuracies and a storm of complaints from parents. The principled decision, from the admen's self-regulatory body the ASA, follows 939 complaints about the UK energy ministry DECC's "Drowning Dog" prime time TV and cinema ad (aka "Bedtime Story") , which cost £6m, and four related posters.

Critics aren't happy, and point out that the chair of the ASA, Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury, also chairs the Environment Agency, and is currently working closely with DECC.

Full article here

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