Tuesday, August 19, 2008

But wait, there's more....

Monday, August 18, 2008


Sunday, August 17, 2008


The creeks are flowin'

So I went for a wonder and took some pics. As usual, click to enlarge:

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's been a particularly entertaining week....

...with the contortions and inconsistencies of the denialosphere bringing a smile to my little ol' noggin.

But, sadly, my little buddy Toshiba laptop has shat itself. Blue screen of death, just like the Beijing Olympics.

Life won't be the same with some new wizbang supercomputer.

So to bring the mood down to an appropriate level, I've posted what I think is the greatest live performance of all time.

May I present, Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man covering Velvet Underground's "Candy Says"

Turn it up. Enjoy.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Michael Duffy and the $1000 Bet

Our little tale begins with a post by Jennifer Marohasy entitled “Causal Linkage between Carbon Dioxide and Global Warming”:

I've been having some discussions with a colleague who has never thought too hard about anthropogenic global warming.

Anyway, he says there must be some work/some research results that have been published in reputable scientific journals that:

1. examine the causal link between anthropogenic carbon dioxide and warming, and

2. quantify the extent of the warming from anthropogenic carbon dioxide.

What he really want (sp.) is links to research papers or citations to research papers.
Now, it’s up to you, dear reader, to decide for yourself whether this request was made in good faith or not.

It is a little strange that a person who has never thought too hard about AGW would want to overlook text books and the like, and go straight for original papers published in journals. Without the scientific context provided by a broad knowledge of a particular field, such papers are often impenetrable.

Having never dwelled upon the discipline in great length, I personally wouldn’t like to make the call as to whether this paper constitutes an unequivocal case for an unusual manifestation of acquired syphilis, for example. It’s just not where I’d start.

Maybe such reticence is a sign of my overwhelming conservatism. I dunno.

However unlikely the scenario outlined in the post may seem, let us assume it’s an honest request.

Jen decides the best place to put forth such a request, apart from her own blog, is in the comments section of a post on economist John Quiggin’s blog.

Then it gets serious.

Conservative radio host Michael Duffy puts up $1000:

I will pay $1,000.00 to the first person to provide a reference to the sort of paper Jennifer has described.
Commenter Luke immediately replies with:

Can I nominate the charity.
No reply from Duffy.

CoRev ups the ante:

C'mon Luke stop quibbling. There must be a seminal a paper or a set of "peer reviewed" papers that establishes these two core basics of the AGW theory. Otherwise, how did the theory get established?
CoRev, editor
Much commenting ensues on John’s and Jen’s blogs – some posts pointing toward some fascinating pieces of work published in the past, some inane in their content, and some typical denialist fluff.

I put forth the seminal work of Plass:

Plass, G.N. (1956). "Effect of Carbon Dioxide Variations on Climate." American J. Physics 24: 376-87
Though perhaps Revelle and Suess’ 1957 piece is equally deserving:

Revelle, Roger, and Hans E. Suess (1957). "Carbon Dioxide Exchange between Atmosphere and Ocean and the Question of an Increase of Atmospheric CO2 During the Past Decades." Tellus 9: 18-27.
Unfortunately, one thing we can be reasonably sure of is that Michael Duffy will never pay out on that bet.


Because the questions are vague and open ended. What is a ‘causal link’ as defined by Marohasy and Duffy? Are we talking examining or proof?

Duffy is just doing a Kent Hovind.

Many papers examine such a link and many papers quantify the extent of AGW-induced warming.

So my question to reader is: What will be the CAUSE of Duffy to refuse to pay out on his bet**?

Will it be:
B. ‘Cause they’re all based on the outputs of models – and Jennifer Hawkins ain’t exactly MENSA material
C. ‘Cause climate science is based on chemistry, which is based on physics, which is based on mathematics...and there's no cause to believe the addition of a 1 to another 1 brings the total to a 2. None at all.

There’s gotta be plenty more. Bring ‘em forth.

**On the off chance I’m mistaken, and Huffy does pay out, I’ll apologise and donate $50 to the Heart Foundation (which, as a poor young scientist with a mortgage, is a fair bit of of my hard-earned).

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Sunday, August 10, 2008


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A New Hero Is Born

Monday, August 04, 2008

Cartoon of the week.

Arthur Herman reminds me of a Grand Inquisitor crossed with a Nazi racist religious freak…..according to Arthur Herman

Don’t ya just love it when the Nazi card is played? You’re pretty much assured of a rock-solid argument for which this analogy is put forward.

According to denialist twit historian and author Arthur Herman in today’s Australian (our only national newspaper):
The knaves today, of course, are the would-be high priests of the global warming orthodoxy, with former US vice-president Gore as their supreme pontiff.
All Hail, Big Al!!!

As Hume points out, the stronger mixture there is of superstition, with its ambience of ignorance and fear, the higher is the authority of the priesthood.

As with the Church in the Dark Ages or the Inquisition during the Reformation, they denounce all doubters, such as Evans or Britain's Gilbert Monckton as dangerous heretics, outliers in Gore's phrase: or as willing tools of the evil enemy of a healthy planet, Big Oil.

Gilbert Monckton. The 2nd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley who, according to wikipedia, was interested in archaeology, and pursued an active interest in heraldry, being President of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies for 35 years, from 1965 to 2000.

If there’s anything more evil than genealogy, I’d like to know what it is. That dark art might even allow an exceptionally knowledgeable historian to ascertain the difference between a father and a son.
This is not the first time, of course, that superstition has paraded itself as science, or created a priesthood masquerading as the exponents of reason. At the beginning of the previous century we had the fascination with eugenics, when the Gores of the age such as E.A. Ross and Ernst Haeckel warned that modern industrial society was headed for race suicide.
Yes, E.A. Ross, a communist racist, and Ernst Haeckel, another racist who believed racial characteristics were acquired through interactions with the environment.

Just like Gore.

And then as now, proponents of eugenics turned to the all-powerful state to avert catastrophe. A credulous and submissive public allowed politicians to pass laws permitting forced sterilisation of the feeble-minded, racial screening for immigration quotas, minimum wage laws (which Sidney and Beatrice Webb saw as a way to force the mentally unfit out of the labor market) and other legislation which, in retrospect, set the stage for the humanitarian catastrophe to come. In fact, when the Nazis took power in 1933, they found that the Weimar Republic had passed all the euthanasia legislation they needed to eliminate Germany's useless mouths.

The next target on their racial hygiene list would be the Jews.

So what’s got Arthur Herman all excited?

Opines Arty:

….believers in man-made global warming demand more and more money to combat climate change and still more drastic changes in our economic output and lifestyle.

The reason is that precisely that they are believers, not scientists. No amount of empirical evidence will overturn what has become not a scientific theory but a form of religion.

But what kind of religion? More than 200 years ago, Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume put his finger on the process. His essay, Of Superstition and Enthusiasm, describes how even in civilised societies the mind of man is subject to certain unaccountable terrors and apprehensions when real worries are missing.

As these enemies are entirely invisible and unknown, like today's greenhouse gases, people try to propitiate them by ceremonies, observations, mortifications,sacrifices such as Earth Day and banning plastic bags and petrol-driven lawnmowers.

Fear and ignorance, Hume concludes, are the true source of superstition. They lead a blind and terrified public to embrace any practice, however absurd or frivolous, which either folly or knavery recommends.
So if one ignores the facts and instead believes in something else in the face of empirical evidence, who should they be compared to? If one is afraid and ignorant, who are they no better than?

Why, Nazi inquisitor religious racists, of course.

Let’s look at Arty’s score:
First, NASA had to correct its earlier claim that the hottest year on record in the contiguous US had been 1998, which seemed to prove that global warming was on the march. It was actually 1934.
Wrong, NASA never claimed 1934 what the hottest year in the contiguous USA. 1934’s temperature was never statistically significantly different from 1998, before or after a minor correction last year.
Meanwhile, the winter of 2007 was the coldest in the US in decades, after Al Gore warned us that we were about to see the end of winter as we know it.
Cherry pick. Short term events do not negate or confirm global warming. Globally, it was cooler in the winter of 1999 and 2000 (somewhat less than a decade ago). Al Gore did not warn that the 2007 US winter would not exist as we know it.
In a May issue of Nature, evidence about falling global temperatures forced German climatologists to conclude that the transformation of our planet into a permanent sauna is taking a decade-long hiatus, at least.
Wrong. They predicted that there will be no warming until 2015 (less than a decade again) and that it will rapidly pick up after that. Their predictions weren’t forced. Their modelling is not widely accepted.
Then this month came former greenhouse gas alarmist David Evans's article in The Australian, stating that since 1999 evidence has been accumulating that man-made carbon emissions can't be the cause of global warming. By now that evidence, Evans said, has become pretty conclusive.
Wrong. Tim Lambert exposes Evans’ fluff.

Back in the day both Vlad the Impaler and Genghis Khan displayed similar characteristics, let me tell you.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

The Inaugural Archibal'd awar'd