Wednesday, February 28, 2007


At the Oscar ceremonies the other night Melissa Etheridge sang I Need to Wake Up from an Inconvenient Truth, performing in front of a giant screen flashing sacrificial exhortations:
Are you ready to change the way you live?

The climate crisis can be solved.

In fact, you can reduce your carbon emissions to zero.

Change your thermostat (and use clock thermostats) to reduce energy for heating and cooling.

Weatherize your house, increase insulation, get an energy audit.

When you can, walk or ride a bicycle.

Where you can, use light rail + mass transit.

If you are a parent, join with your children to save the world they live in.

Vote for leaders who pledge to solve this crisis.

Write to Congress.

Pray that people will find the strength to change.
The on-screen messages were the highlight of the performance. Etheridge can't sing -- her deep voice and angry delivery makes it sound like she's having regular testosterone injections. And the music was, well, plodding unmelodic drudge. No matter, I Need to Wake Up won the best original song Oscar.

The on-screen messages are more important than the crappy song because they convey Al Gore's "we're all going to have to make sacrifices if the gobal warming problem is going to be solved" message. The thing is, Gore doesn't seem to be following his own environmental health prescriptions. As everyone is probably aware, the Gore's have an extravagantly huge residential energy bill, using over 18,000 kWh of electricity a month on average (plus $1,080 of gas a month). This compares rather unfavourably with my two person household's recent average electricity consumption of just under 704 kWh per month (and I'm all electric).

Anyway, the resulting controversy has set the progressive spin machine in motion, with spokeswoman Kalee Kreider saying Gore's energy consumption must be viewed in context:
Asked to explain how the Gores use the amount of electricity they do, Kreider said they have a large family and often host guests. Both Al and Tipper Gore also have home offices. And she noted that much of Al Gore's time is spent trying to bring about awareness to the problem of global warming, which as a byproduct uses carbon-emitting power.
A large family? There are four Gore kiddies but all are adults, presumably living away from home. The home offices are a good excuse, however: I mean, how could anyone criticize the guy for emitting carbon while fighting the good fight against global warming. And hey, it is a big house; maybe he's constructed an energy gobbling experimental fusion reactor in the basement, hoping to invent an all new and cheap source of power. He did invent the internet, after all.

The impact on the youth of the world of Gore's do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do example setting is something of a worry:
"An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore's movie on global warming, is now the fourth-largest-grossing documentary of all time. But apparently it isn't young adults who are paying the price of the ticket -- or, more important, taking the truth about the environment to heart. In fact, the inconvenient truth today is that youths' willingness to conserve gas, heat and energy has taken a precipitous plunge since the 1980s.

According to data from Monitoring the Future, a federally funded national survey on trends in the attitudes, values and behavior of high school seniors since 1976, there has been a clear decline in conservation behavior among 18-year-olds over the past 27 years -- although we are not yet sure whether these attitudes follow youths into adulthood. This decline, interestingly, is coupled with a rise in materialistic values.
No sensible person is going to buy the "Gore is carbon neutral" nonsense; there's no excuse for using the amount of power used by the Gores. Reducing consumption is the core of Al's message; unfortunately he doesn't follow his own advice.

Time for that energy audit, Al. And why not be transparent and make the results public?

Update: Maybe Gore uses his home office to manage the companies he founded. One of which, Generation Investment Management, specializes in socially and environmentally responsible investments. With a business like this it's no wonder he's become an envirovangelist; the more people he can get to buy his message, the better Generation Investment Management will do. Hey, he has to get the power bill carbon offset money from somewhere.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Alternative energy stocks have performed well of late but Ken Fisher (he oversees a $35 billion investment fund) thinks there could be trouble ahead: he reckons global warming is a "bubble" and "short-term social craze".

It would certainly be interesting to have a look at Gore's investment portfolio. Does he hold investments that have done well due to his preaching?


Professor Simon Adams accounts for disgraced premier Brian Burke's puppet-masterly control of the West Australian Labor Party:
He's a Catholic of course, and there's a sort of, you wouldn't want to exaggerate it, but there is a tribal element to all of that.
Jews, Catholics, what's the difference?

Update: WA Labor does have a few minor problems:
Premier Alan Carpenter has sacked Local Government Minister John Bowler after hearing two days of damaging evidence at a corruption inquiry.

Mr Bowler is the third West Australian cabinet minister to be sacked over his links to powerful lobbyists Brian Burke and Julian Grill.

Earlier today a corruption hearing in Perth heard Mr Bowler leaked a confidential committee report to Mr Grill, then made changes to it based on feedback from Mr Grill's mining company client - Precious Metals Australia (PMA).

The CCC was told the altered report helped PMA win a $20 million lawsuit against Swiss-based company Xstrata.

Outside parliament, Mr Bowler told journalists he would remain in parliament as an independent backbencher and continue to work in the interests of his electorate.

"As a minister every decision I made, I made without personal gain, and in the best interests of the state on every occasion,'' Mr Bowler said.
Well, someone was making some personal gain somewhere.

Editing note: There was a typo in the title as originally posted -- "TRIBAL POLITICS AS USUAL IN WESTERN AUTRALIA". Corrected. Posting when tired is to be avoided.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Europe's environmental concern trendsetters want to copy Australia's ban the bulb plan:
Germany's environment minister Sigmar Gabriel has written to the European Commission proposing that inefficient light bulbs be banned in the EU.

"Europe can no longer afford products that, like conventional light bulbs, are only five percent efficient," Mr Gabriel wrote in the letter, according to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
The European commission has to be one of the least efficient gatherings of humans anywhere on the planet ever. How the hell can they afford that?


Want to live to a ripe old age? Eat a low-fat diet, exercise regularly, have only the occasional cigarette and abstain from sex. Anyway, it'll seem like forever.


WWF-Australia and The Sydney Morning Herald are promoting an Earth-saving Sydney extravaganza, the self-righteously named Earth Hour:
Sydney: turn your lights off for one hour at 7.30pm on 31 March 2007 for Earth Hour and help WWF reduce our greenhouse gas pollution by 5%.
Cool. All Australians should do the right thing and join in. Hell, Green types will probably want to go whole hog and turn their lights off for 24 hours, thus reducing their emissions by 120%.

Activities suggested for amusement during your self-imposed blackout:

• Get the neighbours together for a BBQ or head out to your local park for the hour
• A candle-lit dinner for your friends or family
• Dine in the dark - guess the food you're eating!
• Have a kids "camp-over" - pitch a tent in the yard and tell ghost stories!

Uh, it seems to me two of those activities aren't exactly carbon neutral. The link above also lists organized events -- what, no bonfire?

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Pete Du Pont's recent Wall Street Journal op-ed Plus Ça (Climate) Change was quickly dissected by Australia's own fact-checker, Tim Lambert, who found a number of faults:
And then Du Pont trots out the DDT ban myth:
Sometimes the consequences of bad science can be serious. In a 2000 issue of Nature Medicine magazine, four international scientists observed that "in less than two decades, spraying of houses with DDT reduced Sri Lanka's malaria burden from 2.8 million cases and 7,000 deaths [in 1948] to 17 cases and no deaths" in 1963. Then came Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring," invigorating environmentalism and leading to outright bans of DDT in some countries. When Sri Lanka ended the use of DDT in 1968, instead of 17 malaria cases it had 480,000.
Sri Lanka didn't end the use of DDT in 1968 (to get around Lambert's link bouncing copy and paste - ). They switched from DDT to Malathion in 1975, not because of environmentalism, but because the mosquitoes had developed resistance and DDT was no longer effective.

With his characteristic carelessness, Andrew Bolt swallowed Du Pont's story, but gets taken to pieces by his commenters.
Lambert being a scientist and all it should be safe to take him at face value, right? Wrong. Let's take a look at what he's up to.

Lambert has subtly manipulated the DDT paragraph by isolating it from context. Here's the same paragraph in context:
Sometimes the consequences of bad science can be serious. In a 2000 issue of Nature Medicine magazine, four international scientists observed that "in less than two decades, spraying of houses with DDT reduced Sri Lanka's malaria burden from 2.8 million cases and 7,000 deaths [in 1948] to 17 cases and no deaths" in 1963. Then came Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring," invigorating environmentalism and leading to outright bans of DDT in some countries. When Sri Lanka ended the use of DDT in 1968, instead of 17 malaria cases it had 480,000.

Yet the Sierra Club in 1971 demanded "a ban, not just a curb," on the use of DDT "even in the tropical countries where DDT has kept malaria under control." International environmental controls were more important than the lives of human beings. For more than three decades this view prevailed, until the restrictions were finally lifted last September.
Du Pont was perhaps a bit too clever in leading readers to believe "Silent Spring" is connected to Sri Lanka's move away from DDT for malaria control. The way I read it, DDT use was discontinued in 1964 (or thereabouts) when new malaria cases had dropped to near zero -- the situation was thought to be well under control. DDT was reintroduced some years later in an effort to combat an upsurge in malaria. Unfortunately, DDT was no longer effective against mosquitoes which had developed resistance as a result of agricultural use of DDT. DDT use was then discontinued because it was no longer effective with malathion becoming the anti-malaria insecticide of choice. "Silent Spring" had nothing to do with it.

Contrary to Lambert's claim, Du Pont does not say DDT was banned. He simply says the Sierra Club demanded a ban. (DDT was, in fact, subject to a de facto ban but that's another story).

Now Andrew Bolt obviously isn't fully up-to-speed on the history of DDT in Sri Lanka and made a mistake in linking to Du Pont's op-ed: if he fully understood the situation he would have realized Du Pont was being far too tricky. But, everyone makes mistakes, even Lambert.

In taking Du Pont to task Lambert says Sri Lanka started using malathion in 1975. In earlier posts he says malathion spraying began in 1973 ( and in 1977 ( He posts so much manipulated garbage, he's gotten himself confused.

He also has a problem working out if malathion is still useful in Sri Lanka. In January 2005 he ridiculed favourite target Michael Fumento for suggesting DDT be used in Sri Lanka after the Boxing Day tsunami ( According to Lambert the World Health Organization knew what to do:
They are sending malathion, which will actually be able to kill the mosquitoes there.
This is, of course, incorrect: the targeted Sri Lankan mosquitoes are known to be malathion resistant. Lambert became aware of the resistance problem soon after, noting it in his next DDT post two weeks later (

In this second post -- an attack on Roger Bate, for suggesting DDT spraying in Sri Lanka -- Lambert even manages to contradict himself:
Endemic sporadic malaria close to the affected areas transmitted by An.culicifacies, which has been considered DDT-resistant for many years, but is still sensitive to organophosphates, such as malathion, and pyrethroids.
Followed by:
DDT and Malathion are no longer recommended since An. culicifacies and An. subpictus has been found resistant.
Now you'd reckon a fact-checking specialist like Lambert would notice that the two posts contradict each other; apparently not: it took over a year and considerable pressure to get him to correct the January post. The internally inconsistent second post remains as written.

Nothing Tim Lambert writes should be accepted as correct.

Clarification: DDT was indeed banned by a number of countries but its use was not universally prohibited. China and India continued to manufacture DDT. Sri Lanka did not ban DDT. Political pressure from environmental groups did succeed in producing a de facto ban, however. This ban is only now being removed.


Another marvelous scientific achievement for Iran:
Iran says it has it successfully launched its first rocket into space carrying cargo intended for research, at a time of mounting tension with the West over its nuclear program.

"The first space rocket has been successfully launched into space," a state television anchor announced, without disclosing the rocket's range.
No confirmation yet to rumours the cutting-edge Islamic-science space rocket was steam powered (or possibly imported).

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Up to now every link I've made to Larvatus Prodeo has been to a post deserving ridicule. Today it's different, I'm linking to an LP post that is actually worth reading -- you are correct in assuming the linked post was not written by Mark Bahnisch.

Here's Robert Corr on the Aboriginal art of the Burrup peninsula. My respect for the young Mr Corr is renewed.

Friday, February 23, 2007


Now here's some unusual reporting:
The giant squid is the stuff of maritime legend but it's got nothing on an extraordinary 450kg creature that's been hauled from Antarctica's icy waters.

Meet colossus squid. Ten metres long. Two massive eyes, each half a metre in diameter. And a penis longer than all but the tallest of men.
But are they any good at basketball?

Update: The story above appears to underestimate the size of giant squid penises:
The male's sexual organ is actually a bit like a high-pressure fire hose and is normally nearly as long as his body - excluding legs and head.
Imagine trying to tuck that Johnson into your pants.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


With the help of some insightful lefty thinking I've got the whole global warming caper sussed and hereby propose a solution deserving of Richard Branson's $25 million prize. The solution couldn't be more simple (and healthful, too): ban caffeine.

Before jumping to the conclusion that I'm obviously nuts, please allow me to explain. The "wake-promoting therapeutic" effect of caffeine (in tea and coffee) made possible both the industrial revolution and the modern world that followed:
It's hardly a coincidence that coffee and tea caught on in Europe just as the first factories were ushering in the industrial revolution. The widespread use of caffeinated drinks—replacing the ubiquitous beer—facilitated the great transformation of human economic endeavor from the farm to the factory. Boiling water to make coffee or tea helped decrease the incidence of disease among workers in crowded cities. And the caffeine in their systems kept them from falling asleep over the machinery. In a sense, caffeine is the drug that made the modern world possible. And the more modern our world gets, the more we seem to need it. Without that useful jolt of coffee—or Diet Coke or Red Bull—to get us out of bed and back to work, the 24-hour society of the developed world couldn't exist.

"For most of human existence, your pattern of sleeping and wakefulness was basically a matter of the sun and the season," explains Charles Czeisler, a neuroscientist and sleep expert at Harvard Medical School. "When the nature of work changed from a schedule built around the sun to an indoor job timed by a clock, humans had to adapt. The widespread use of caffeinated food and drink—in combination with the invention of electric light—allowed people to cope with a work schedule set by the clock, not by daylight or the natural sleep cycle."
Water that comes from a tap is mostly safe to drink so there's no health benefit to be had from boiling. Just think of the energy wasted in boiling water used for tea and coffee that's consumed for their caffeine "jolt". Ban them, I say.

Caffeine should also be banned from soft drinks, the consumption of which will decrease once the "jolt" is removed. This will improve the dental and general health of the soft drink consuming segment of the population. Decreased consumption of soft drinks will produce huge energy savings. (Studies will need to be conducted to see if the lack of "jolt" results in weight gain through reduced physical activity. The reduced calorie intake should balance the reduced activity so this shouldn't be a problem.)

Once caffeine is banned the world will quickly return to the more gentle rhythms that prevailed prior to the industrial revolution. Unjolted, people will go to bed much earlier -- think of the energy saved on lights, TVs and computers not switched on. Restaurants, theaters, pubs and other night time venues will all be closing earlier. Sleepy young males will no longer be out wasting fuel cruising for chicks. Factories will find night shifts harder to staff. Hell, the siesta might even make a comeback. The energy savings will be astronomical.

Now I'm not so naive as to think that a caffeine ban is a total global warming solution. The resultant mega-billions of tons of reduced carbon dioxide emissions should buy us at least a couple of hundred years of breathing room, however. I'll assume the cheque's in the mail.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


There are disadvantages to being a poor lover:
A 40 year old man from Luleå received life-threatening injuries after being stabbed in the lung by his 28 year old Russian girlfriend.

The 40 year old says that his girlfriend was disappointed with the quality of their sex that evening.

The woman claims that she grabbed the first item that came to hand, only realising later that it was not a pen or a fork as she had initially thought.
What the hell did she plan to do with a pen or a fork?


Europeans have moved beyond consensus, regarding anthropogenic global warming as established fact:
When EU environment ministers met in Brussels on Tuesday (20 February), the fight was over how tough future CO2 cuts should be. No one publicly doubted if CO2 causes global warming - at European government level, the debate has moved on.
There is a problem, however: unscrupulous corporations (in many cases U.S.-based multinationals) are funding a rearguard action:
In a February paper circulated by the Lithuanian Free Market Institute, economist Zilvinas Silenas attacks the IPCC report on the grounds that it uses language such as "likely" or "more likely than not" in presenting its conclusions.

The Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) says it is an "independent" think-tank. But a quick glance at its major donors shows that firms such as Mazeikiu Nafta - one of eastern Europe's biggest petrol companies - and cigarette maker Philip Morris stand behind the institute.
A quick glance at the donor list also reveals a wide range of non-energy, non-tobacco corporate members: Microsoft, ABB, Siemens and AstraZeneca, as examples. The recent nefarious activities of Exxon Mobil don't escape mention (via George Monbiot), even though its not an LFMI member:
In January, the US-based Union of Concerned Scientists published a study saying Exxon Mobil has channelled $16 million to 43 advocacy organisations between 1998 and 2005 in order to "manufacture uncertainty about the human causes of global warming."
The way I figure it, during that period Exxon made profits well in excess of $100 billion. An expenditure of $16 million dollars on advocacy amounts to less than .016% of profits. To further put this in perspective, Exxon Mobil's FY2005 sales were $370,680 million.

Looked at another way, over eight years Exxon Mobile spent an average of $46, 511.63 per advocacy group per year. That sort of money diluted over than many advocacy groups isn't going to buy much in the way of effective action.

Europeans are worried nonetheless:
"I think the science world has done its very best to document global warming and communicate the issue, but we are up against financially far more powerful interest groups using professional PR tactics," Stefan Rahmstorf, ocean physicist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told EUobserver.
Say what? Governments are spending billions of dollars a year on climate change research with pretty much the whole of Europe, academia, the left and MSM firmly on the bandwagon and the worry is that corporate-funded special interest groups are somehow going to derail the global warming juggernaut. Right.
Update: Scientific boat-rockers are much more of a threat to climate change "fact" than are all of the special interests combined:
Scientists believe dust from Australia's drought stricken regions may help to slow climate change.

They have been taking samples from the Southern Ocean which suggest iron-rich sediment is carried down by the East Australian current.

They say iron is a vital nutrient which helps microscopic marine plants grow and, in turn, absorb greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Dr Andrew Bowie from the Antarctic Climate Cooperative Research Centre says if there was more iron in the ocean it could carry more carbon.
Quick, update and recalibrate the models.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


The Living Room Candidate, Presidential Campaign Commercials, 1952-2004


There's no point in having Australian forces involved in messy and dangerous military operations in Iraq; not when Australian companies can quietly poison Iraqis from a distance. Jeez, Aussies are more cunning than I ever imagined.

Update: As it turns out, it only tastes like poison.


Queensland Premier Peter Beattie has a (probably once in a lifetime) epiphany:
"What I do know is that climate change has changed our climate."
Now if only we could get climate change to stop doing that.


The National Portrait Gallery has replaced this photo of Germaine Greer with this photo of Steve Irwin. Greer isn't miffed, not even a little:
It is of course disgraceful that it has taken the Australian national portrait gallery six months to get round to exhibiting any portrait of Steve Irwin. Indeed, if the photographer Robin Sellick had not given them one free of charge in December, there would still be no likeness of this most famous Australian at the gallery. Sellick's picture was taken at Australia Zoo with a female elephant called Siam; with his right hand Irwin is doing something invisible to the captive animal, who, according to the gallery's statement, was waiting to make her daily appearance before the crowds as part of the entertainment at Australia Zoo. With a bare 15 minutes for the shoot, Sellick, who usually takes a whole day, could only keep snapping, hoping to get the kind of perversely suggestive image for which he is famous. As Siam became more restless, Sellick besought Irwin to show his vulnerable, caring side, which Irwin did by tilting his head and simpering. His left thumb is hooked rather coyly in a pocket; his lime-green shirt is undone to the fourth button, and pulled open to display his bosom in a manner not altogether manly.
Yep, Irwin's furry chest holds no allure for Greer, who finds the hairless unmuscled chests and lipsticked-lips of young boys infinitely more sexy. Regardless, it was very nice of photographer Sellick to honour Irwin by donating the photo to the National Portrait Gallery -- more of Sellick's "perversely suggestive images" are here.

Greer concludes her latest attention seeking rant -- what better way to draw attention than by having another go at an Australian icon who can't fight back? -- by reaffirming her earlier hatchet job on Irwin (who had yet to be buried):
What I said has now also been said by naturalists and conservationists writing in the dedicated press but still I'm the one who gets the death threats. As Australia gradually morphs into California, it is losing its respect for honesty and directness. Ballyhoo rules, and it's not OK.
Funny, I don't recall any naturalists or conservationists claiming Irwin's death was the fitting revenge of the animal world or making fun of him for being invited by the Prime Minister to a barbecue for President Bush. Greer's an embarrassment to Australia.

I only wish Irwin was still around; it would be great to see him wrestle reptile Greer to the ground, duct tape her jaws, hogtie her, shove her into a wooden crate and haul her away for release in a shit-swamp populated by similarly venomous creatures -- I'm thinking Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Queensland's Land and Resources Tribunal has rejected the Queensland Conservation Council's greenhouse gas-based objections to Xstrata Coal Queensland Pty Ltd's proposed extension of the Newlands Coal Mine at Suttor Creek. (The QCC wanted the mine extension disapproved based on the environmental impact of total emissions from the coal, 98.3% of which will occur at end use, mostly overseas).

Bad science! screams Tim Lambert:
Unfortunately, the Tribunal got the science badly wrong, understating the emissions by a factor of 15, making inappropriate comparisons for the emissions, and dismissing the scientific consensus on global warming based on their own erroneous understanding of the science.
Whatever. The Tribunal's president didn't buy the imperfect climate science and wasn't prepared to establish Australia as a greenhouse gas martyr:
Consequently, it would not be appropriate in my view to impose on the grant of this mining lease additional surface area application or environmental authority application, conditions as to the avoiding, reduction or offsetting of GHGs. Apart from having no demonstrated impact on global warming or climate change, any such condition would have (as Dr Stanford said) the real potential to drive wealth and jobs overseas and to cause serious adverse economic and social impacts upon the State of Queensland. Absent universally applied policies for GHG reduction, requiring this mine (and no others) to limit or reduce its GHG emissions would be arbitrary and unfair. That cannot be what our law requires.
Putting the kibosh on an Australian mine isn't going to stop the Japanese buying and using coal but will force them to seek alternate suppliers. This would, of course, hurt Australia. This is, of course, of no consequence to academic Tim Lambert.
Update: Even Lambert's commenters aren't buying his nonsense:
Tim Lambert's points are well taken, both Lowe and Koppenol made errors, but with respect Tim appears not to have noticed Hugh Saddler's crucial distinction between Scope One "direct greenhouse emissions from mining operations" and Scope Three, those from transport of coal to end users here or abroad and their burning of it. According to all protocols on this subject including Kyoto the mine is responsible only for the first Scope, amounting to only 1.37 mt of CO2-e over mine life. The total c82.5 mt of emissions from USE of the coal is the responsibility of the users.
And again:
The current export price of a tonne of coal is around $9.

The current market price for an offset credit for one tonne of CO2-e is around US$4 to US$10 (the lower end is price on the Chicago Climate Market, the upper is the price the World Bank paid recently.)

It's unreasonable to expect the Australian producer to internalise that cost while competing against Brazilian and other developing country exporters.

Update II: Academic John Quiggin reckons the Tribunal's president's past employment as a Queensland counsel renders him suspect:
An interesting aside is that Greg Koppenol’s bio reports that he “appeared as counsel in a large number of cases including some of the most important in Australia’s history – Mabo (No. 2) and Wik.” I was of course interested to find out what role he played in those cases, and unsurprised to find that he appeared for the state of Queensland against both Eddie Mabo and the Wik people.

The legal tactics employed by the state government throughout the Mabo case were deplorable, including personal attacks on Mabo that were irrelevant to the main legal points at issue, but relied on fomenting division among potential claimants. As we have seen in numerous recent cases, the Queensland legal establishment protects its own, and it’s not surprising to see that Koppenol’s career hasn’t suffered in the slightest from this episode.
So here we have Quiggin deploying the same smear tactics against Koppenol as those he deplores Koppenol for supposedly employing against Mabo. In any event, this has stuff all to do with the Tribunal's judgement. Quiggin's sort of like a junior Lambert.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Ken Parish reckons I've been fulfilling my role as right-wing shill by "gleefully stirring up fear and loathing over Peter Garrett’s refusal to distance himself from federal ALP support for a proposed new US military communication base in Western Australia". The guy wouldn't have a clue: I'm no shill; I'm a right-wing stooge.

Parish sees Garrett's shift on U.S. military installations in Australia -- from totally opposing to warmly welcoming -- as an example of democratic processes in action. The flip-flop certainly doesn't bring Garrett's principles or honesty into question and certainly wasn't a matter of "gutless expedience".

On the contrary, Parish contends Garrett is simply being a team player in ensuring cabinet -- in this case Labor shadow cabinet -- solidarity. Bullshit.

Garrett's opposition to U.S. "bases" in Australia derives from his core values -- he has continuously and passionately opposed these bases over a period of many years. His noteriety and popularity are directly related to his oft-stated position on this issue. In going with the flow on this issue Garrett is compromising political values that go to the core of his political existence.

The left continually berates Prime Minister Howard for taking stands or implementing policies that are politically expedient. When a Labor politician with perceived unrealized potential does the same many on the left look the other way.

Parish can tart this up any way he wants but there's no way to disguise the fact that Garrett is a Labor party politician only because the Greens vehicle isn't capable of taking him where he wants to go: to the top.


An Oakland global warming workshop was a veritable hive of creative thinking:
Palo Alto Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto proposed getting people out of their cars by hiking the cost of gas.

Bus advocate Lynn Conly suggested lowering the freeway speed limit.

An idea with a wider view came from Stuart Cohen, executive director of the Transportation and Land Use Coalition. "If we're doing more compact, well designed, walkable communities, near transit, we are going to greatly reduce the emissions from future generations," said Cohen. "We've got empty busses, empty bike lanes, and we could switch people over to more fuel efficient cars. Within a two year period we can really start to reduce our carbon emissions."

"Get those golf clubs out of the trunk of your car. They add a whole lot of energy inefficiency," said Ted Droettboom, with a regional agency on climate change.
Whew, problem solved and I didn't have to do a thing.

Update: Brit John Large did more than talk about global warming, he spent £13,000 having a wind turbine installed at his home. The results are, well, disappointing:
At this rate, it is calculated, it will take 2,768 years for the electricity generated by the turbine to pay for itself, by which time he will be past caring about global warming.

The wind turbine was installed at the engineer's home in Woolwich, southeast London, four weeks ago and has so far generated four kilowatts of electricity. An average household needs 23kw every day to power its lights and appliances.
Via James Waterton


Regular Dulltard reader frankis nominates me for an award any rational person would be pleased to receive from loony lefties:
I nominate JF Beck for Illiterate, Innumerate Troll of the Year. I have literally hundreds of pieces of supporting evidence which this margin is too small to contain, plus I believe Graham Young thinks very highly of him.
Cool. This follows closely on the Unenviable Reputation, Baggage Carrying Sock Puppet (Moderation Bypasser sub-category) award bestowed by the great Tim Lambert himself:
You've acquired an unenviable reputation and people tend to ignore you -- you are not going to be able to ditch the JF Beck baggage by coming back as "BBGun".
Lambert sees sock puppets everywhere and thinks BBgun is me. It's some sort of defense mechanism: he uses it as an excuse to delete inconvenient comments.


There's concern in Europe that EU money might have been spent in the publication of a weird booklet written by Polish parliamentarian Maciej Giertych:
The 30-page booklet by Mr Giertych, which carries a prominent European Parliament logo on the front cover, says Jews like to settle "among the rich" and "create their own ghettos." It also speaks of Jewish "biological separation" leading to differences in facial features.
The booklet is available here , in the right hand sidebar. The rambling and truly strange section on Jews starts on page 22.

Note: the originally posted link to the booklet wasn't working properly. Corrected.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


My post on the shenanigans at stock market discussion site HotCopper seems to have been noticed: the fringe left blog (Beyond the Fringe) operating via the site since August is no longer active. Too bad.


In 2004 Tim Flannery predicted a water shortage doomed Perth to be Australia's first "ghost metropolis". He admits he was wrong but claims he was right:
Australian of the Year Tim Flannery is sticking by his warning that Perth could become the first ghost metropolis of the 21st century.

But the outspoken environmental scientist says it's our addiction to coal, not just water, that is jeopardising our future.

Dr Flannery said he originally made the dire prediction about Perth based on its scarce water supply.

"When I said Perth could become the first ghost metropolis, that was true, but the Government acted and got a desalination plant going,'' he said. "The city could have run out of water if it wasn't for the desal plant.''
Yes, if.
Asked this week if he was being alarmist, an unrepentant Dr Flannery said it was time to put WA's abundant sunshine and wind to good use by developing renewable energy such as solar and wind power.

"We know that coal is the single largest polluter, so we've got to move on to a new energy future,'' he said. ``The Australia I grew up in rode on the sheep's back, but we've moved on _ it's the same with coal.''
In the cosmic scheme of things, the coal consumed in Western Australia wouldn't amount to a drop in a bucket yet we can solve the climate change "problem" by switching to renewable energy sources. Amazing. It's no wonder Flannery charges a speaker's fee of up to $50,000. Money well spent, I say.


Tennessee legislators propose to grant motorists unprecedented self-defense powers:
One bill in particular would allow motorists to kill an attacker that they feel is threatening to "murder, rape, kidnap, rob or carjack the car's occupants." Filing the bill was Rep. Ulysses Jones and Sen. Reginald Tate, two Memphis Democrats. "I've heard a lot of support for this. It's time to give citizens the opportunity to protect themselves. Right now, we're at the mercy of what I call 'scum'," said Jones, a Memphis Fire Department paramedic.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Climate models incorrectly predict Antarctic temperature and rainfall:
“The best we can say right now is that the climate models are somewhat inconsistent with the evidence that we have for the last 50 years from continental Antarctica."

“We’re looking for a small signal that represents the impact of human activity and it is hard to find it at the moment,” he said.

Last year, Bromwich’s research group reported in the journal Science that Antarctic snowfall hadn’t increased in the last 50 years. “What we see now is that the temperature regime is broadly similar to what we saw before with snowfall. In the last decade or so, both have gone down,” he said.
But what about the penguins?


Peter Garrett is a determined political opportunist:
Mr Garrett confirmed he had joined the ALP rather than the Greens because he sensed an election victory. "There's an energy that's coming out of this Parliament from Mark Latham and others that attracts me ... and there's a sense of possibility, that things can happen, that things can change," he said.
Who isn't about to let principles compromise his popularity:
The former Midnight Oil frontman, who protested against the Pine Gap installation in the 1980s and called for the US military to be evicted, yesterday dodged questions about a new unmanned military communications base to be built near Geraldton in Western Australia.

But today he gave it his support.

"You know, 25 and 30 years ago, like a lot of other Australians, I was involved in making music, in actions and in activities around the country," Mr Garrett told reporters in Sydney.

"Of course you change your mind about some things over time."
Yep, lots of Australians have stopped making music, are no longer involved in actions and activities and have executed a 180º political turn. This guy has Labor leadership potential.


It has been common knowledge for years that the Great Barrier Reef is in imminent danger of destruction. Well, maybe the reef isn't doomed:
Reports of the death of the world's most famous reef appear to have been greatly exaggerated. With their impassioned warnings to protect the coral, are scientists and conservationists doing more harm than good?

THE Great Barrier Reef is dying, crushed by an onslaught of rising ocean temperature, farming run-off, plagues of crown-of-thorns starfish, fishing and tourism. Better visit this rainforest of the oceans before it's too late. Right?

Wrong. Far from being on its last legs, the reef is in glowing health. Indeed, according to the 2002 "Report on the Status of the World's Coral Reefs", the reef is "predominantly in good condition", and just about pristine compared with reefs elsewhere in the world. So how has the perception that the reef is in imminent danger of collapse become entrenched in the public consciousness?

According to a small but increasingly vocal group of reef experts, the problem lies with scientists and conservation groups who have been distorting the health of the reef for their own ends...
That excerpt's from 2003 but the situation probably hasn't changed much; especially the doom and gloom mongering.


The BBC has failed to deliver on its commitment to reduce its environmental footprint:
Carbon emissions went up to almost 0.25 tonnes per broadcast hour in 2005, compared with just over 0.15 tonnes the year before.

According to the BBC's Corporate and Social Responsibilities Report 2006 - released this week - the total waste per BBC employee also rose, from almost 250kg per person to just under 300kg.
A cut in the number of broadcast hours is the obvious solution.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Anyone at all familiar with Tim Lambert knows he has a "thing" for accusing people of using sock puppets. Someone using the moniker "xxxx" has been lodging comments at Deltoid hassling Lambert about apparently false accusations of sock puppetry. True to form, Lambert at first ignored the comments but when xxxx persisted he started dodging and weaving and throwing out distracters. Watching Lambert squirm is very entertaining so I've been watching the situation closely.

A few hours back a pointed comment by poster "BBgun" popped up in the Deltoid thread where xxxx has been most active. The comment wasn't up for long before Lambert removed it, noting:
A post by JF Beck's sockpuppet has been deleted
This is wrong on two counts: I did not post the comment and dare Lambert to try to prove I did; even had I lodged the comment, using an assumed name is not sock puppetry (it's been weeks since my last comment at Deltoid so the removed comment certainly wasn't supporting anything posted by me).

Anyway, I did see the now gone comment and figured it wouldn't be there long so I copied it:
Tim Lambert, you claim rising seas are inundating Tuvalu forcing locals to flee to New Zealand. At On Line Opinion I repeatedly asked you about this claim but you refused to answer. I will now take advantage of your open thread (risking diversionary accusations of trolling or sock puppetry) to ask you again: "Does your hearsay evidence, that global warming induced sea level change is forcing Tuvaluans to flee to New Zealand, constitute proof of this being the case? 'Yes' or 'No'. If yes, do you accept the accounts of alien 'abductees' as proof that aliens are visiting earth?"


Please be brave and answer - relying on others to answer for you or stonewalling simply makes you look sillier.
Lambert doesn't want to answer the question so he made up the sock puppetry nonsense so he'd have an excuse for removing the comment. This is the same guy James Farrell refers to as "the ingenuous Tim Lambert". I don't know that a genius for bullshitting is anything to crow about.


The Australian left continually accuses the Primer Minister of exaggerating the terrorist threat for political gain. Lefties are not above using the terrorist threat to advantage, however.

In opposing the government's anti-terrorism legislation Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said the following in late 2005:
We are, however, in a state of fear. Our government has run a vigorous campaign to foster a climate of fear - to justify laws that will undermine fundamental legal provisions that ensure freedom from arbitrary detention, that ensure freedom of association, expression and movement.
In opposing the establishment of a new United States military satellite communication facility at the existing Kojarena Defence Satellite Communications Station in Western Australia Siewert sees the terror threat as a real worry:
Senator Siewert says it will be a terrorist target.

"I'm extremely concerned about this announcement," she said.

"We're virtually talking about a Pine Gap on Perth's doorstep and I think the people of Perth and particularly the people of Geraldton should be very concerned, and should be on their phones to their local MPs and politicians to ask them what is going on and how much they knew about it."
Yep, the people of Perth should be protesting the expansion of an existing terrorist target over 400 kilometers away. I mean, what with Perth already being packed with potential terrorist targets -- the Kwinana industrial estate, HMAS Stirling, Campbell Barracks, RAAF Base Pearce and Fremantle Port, for example -- we have enough to worry about, if we're going to worry.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


All Afghan refugees are to be sent packing:
In its most recent effort to clamp down on Taliban activity within its borders, Pakistan has announced that all 2.4 million Afghan refugees, most living in camps, must return home by 2009.
Where they will, of course, grow poppies.


As previously noted, Europeans are increasingly worried about Russia:
The Swedish Armed Forces are calling for more military resources inside the country following a revision of its stance on Russia.

Major General Michael Moore however warns against perceiving the news as "alarming", stressing that the military does not regard the level of threat to have dramatically increased.

The growing importance of energy, Russia's renewed economic power, and the growth of Baltic trade have all contributed to altering the overall picture, according to Moore.

Colonel Stefan Gustafsson, head of the Armed Forces' strategic analysis unit, agrees that the situation in Russia has changed.

"The country has the financial capacity to invest more in defence. That is not to say that Sweden is at risk of attack.
I don't know much about Sweden's military but imagine the Russian Girl Scouts could overwhelm them.


If the European Commission had its way, smoking would be banned in all public places. Well, not all public places:
The European Parliament's new leadership has dropped a complete ban on smoking in the House and decided to re-introduce smoking areas, with critics saying the move sends a negative message just as the EU is boosting an anti-smoking drive.
The parliamentary smoking ban was introduced in January 2007.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Brent Herbert, favoured Tim Lambert DDT "myth debunker", has a major bedbug problem; by the look of it he has a stimulant problem as well -- his two Indymedia posts over the past two weeks running to over 12,000 words. Before that he pointed to a vast conspiracy to remove bedbugs stories from the media -- he didn't realize Google News archives articles after 30 days.

Here's the latest DDT conspiracy gospel according to Herbert (240 words out of over 7,000 in his latest post):
The reason why the right wing is spreading the falsehood that DDT is the miracle chemical that fights malaria, and that environmentalists are killing millions of people, is because they are trying to make Mr. DDT into Mr. Happy so that when it comes time to spray down the country with DDT to stop that bedbug, people will no longer be haunted with fears about DDT but will instead have a warm fuzzy feeling, and not mind having their place sprayed with DDT.

This will then save billions of dollars in equity, and hotels will not have to worry that people will avoid hotels, this time not because of a bedbug, but because their room was doused with DDT. Something must be done to rehabilitate the reputation of DDT, and fast, real fast, because the bedbug is spreading fast, real fast.

The only problem with this reckless course of action is that when the DDT resistant bedbug comes roaring back, you wind up having DDT in your place, which means that you now are worse off than before, because you have a permanent Frankenstein bug in your place, for, you see, DDT does not break down in the environment, but rather it is a persistent organic pesticide. If you had to chose the lesser of two evils, the bedbug is the right choice, because as I have discovered you can deal with a bedbug but you cannot deal with Frankenstein.
Herbert obviously has not idea what he's talking about: this explains why Lambert linked to him and he in turn links to Lambert.


In early February Spiegel Online trumpeted "Munich to US: 'Don't Send Your CIA Thugs out into Europe's Streets'" in reporting that the Munich public prosecutor had issued arrest warrants for 13 suspected CIA agents thought responsible for the abduction of Lebanese-born German citizen Khaled el-Masri. As it turns out el-Masri is definitely a thug and, unlike CIA agents, doesn't have a job; unless beating up social workers counts as work:
Just one day later, however, the headline had acquired a certain unintended irony as reports emerged that Masri himself had beaten up a social worker in his hometown of Neu-Ulm, leaving the man hospitalized for three days. The assault occurred on Monday, Jan. 29. According to a Feb. 2 report in the Südwest Presse newspaper, citing the local Neu-Ulm prosecutor's office: "Masri is supposed to have pulled the man by the hair and thrown him against a wall. Then he threw a table at him, punched him in the face and stomped on him."
There's lots more to the Khaled el-Masri story; go here to read all about it.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Vladimir Putin has been flexing Russia's energy enhanced muscles:
Russian leader Vladimir Putin's tough speech in Germany this weekend is a wake-up call to the harsh realities in EU-Russia relations, early reactions from European politicians say.

The bullish speech was seen by some analysts as a throwback to the Cold War era but US defence secretary Robert Gates played down the comparison, with US officials planning to go to Moscow to help clarify some of the Russian remarks.

Meanwhile, Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt told Reuters: "we should take [Putin] at his word. This was the real Russia of now and possibly in four or five years time it could go further in this direction."

Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg thanked the Russian leader ironically, saying that he had vindicated NATO's decision to take in members from the former Soviet east over the past decade.
Being intimately familiar with Russians, the eagerness of the Poles and Czechs to get under the U.S. defense umbrella is understandable. Never fear, the Force de frappe will defend old Europe. Heh.

Editing note: forgot to include the link. Corrected.


The emergence of Iran as a Middle East power has caused an unusual convergence:
Last month, Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's departing ambassador to the United States, attended a Washington reception sponsored by American Jewish organizations. The event honored a State Department diplomat appointed to combat anti-Semitism.

The appearance of a Saudi diplomat is "unprecedented," said William Daroff, Washington office director for the United Jewish Communities, which organized the reception.

Among the other recent Arab-Jewish contacts:

•Saudi national security adviser Bandar bin Sultan met privately with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jordan in September, said Daniel Ayalon, Israel's former ambassador to Washington. He said it was the highest-level Saudi-Israeli meeting he'd ever heard of.

•The United Arab Emirates has invited a delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The conference, a 51-member umbrella group, is a strong supporter of Israel.

•Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres met the emir of Qatar in late January after taking part in a debate with Arab students there. It was the highest-level Israeli meeting with the Gulf nation since 1996, when Peres visited as prime minister.
This sort of stuff must be driving Antony "Israel is evil" Loewenstein madder.


USAID has been working on upgrading Kajaki dam in southern Afghanistan but work has been slowed, even stopped at times, by insurgent activity. When the project is eventually finished it will supply reliable power to 2 million locals.

The Taliban isn't about to let this happen:
At least 700 Taliban fighters have crossed from Pakistan into Afghanistan to attack a key dam, a major source of electricity, a provincial governor said on Monday.
Wouldn't want a reliable electricity supply prompting the development of business activities that might lure locals away from poppy farming. Women might want to work.


The ABC's The World Today has a segment titled "Expert documents counter-terrorism torture tactics" featuring journalist Stephen Grey, author of extraordinary rendition exposé Ghost Plane -- he's on tour promoting the book.

Here's an excerpt from Eleanor Hall's introduction:
Stephen Grey is an investigative journalist whose meticulous research tracking secret CIA flights around the world helped expose the US practice of outsourcing the interrogation of terrorism suspects, and the involvement of countries like Sweden and the United Kingdom.

He documents how suspects were kept in cells the size of coffins, tortured with razor blades, dogs and electric shocks and interrogated by some of the most brutal regimes in the world.
Grey is simply a journalist who has investigated the U.S. handling of terrorist suspects. The ABC nominates him an expert to add cachet to Grey's undocumented suppositions.

During the interview Grey has a bit of a rave about the abduction from Kennedy airport of Canadian Maher Arar, failing to note that Arar was most likely seized and detained at the behest of the Canadian government.

It's also interesting to note that even though Grey is billed as an expert on extraordinary rendition, detention and torture, he admits the program is "being conducted completely in secret". He hopes to damn Americans as cowards for running a secret program but in the process discredits himself -- if the program is completely secret how does he know all about it?

Regardless, the interview works out well for both Grey and the ABC: Grey will sell a few more books; the ABC will score a few more political points with its true believer audience.


Award winning science writer and former New Scientist editor Nigel Calder refuses to accept that the global warming debate should end:
Twenty years ago, climate research became politicised in favour of one particular hypothesis, which redefined the subject as the study of the effect of greenhouse gases. As a result, the rebellious spirits essential for innovative and trustworthy science are greeted with impediments to their research careers. And while the media usually find mavericks at least entertaining, in this case they often imagine that anyone who doubts the hypothesis of man-made global warming must be in the pay of the oil companies. As a result, some key discoveries in climate research go almost unreported.

Enthusiasm for the global-warming scare also ensures that heatwaves make headlines, while contrary symptoms, such as this winter’s billion-dollar loss of Californian crops to unusual frost, are relegated to the business pages. The early arrival of migrant birds in spring provides colourful evidence for a recent warming of the northern lands. But did anyone tell you that in east Antarctica the Adélie penguins and Cape petrels are turning up at their spring nesting sites around nine days later than they did 50 years ago? While sea-ice has diminished in the Arctic since 1978, it has grown by 8% in the Southern Ocean.

So one awkward question you can ask, when you’re forking out those extra taxes for climate change, is “Why is east Antarctica getting colder?” It makes no sense at all if carbon dioxide is driving global warming.
Calder and Danish researcher Henrik Svensmark have coauthored a book examining the impact of cosmic rays on climate:
The only trouble with Svensmark’s idea — apart from its being politically incorrect — was that meteorologists denied that cosmic rays could be involved in cloud formation. After long delays in scraping together the funds for an experiment, Svensmark and his small team at the Danish National Space Center hit the jackpot in the summer of 2005.

In a box of air in the basement, they were able to show that electrons set free by cosmic rays coming through the ceiling stitched together droplets of sulphuric acid and water. These are the building blocks for cloud condensation. But journal after journal declined to publish their report; the discovery finally appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society late last year.
Calder and Svensmark are going to be crucified by the true believers.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Even lefty urban atheists need something to believe in:
Today, the popularity of British author James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis — that the Earth itself functions as a living organism — confirms the return of a sort of idolatrous animism, a religion of nature. The recent IPCC report, and a week’s worth of turgid headlines, did not create this faith, but certainly made it more evident.

It can be felt in the frisson of piety that comes with lighting an energy-saving light bulb, a modern votive candle.

It is there in the pious propaganda of media outlets like the, Toronto Star, which on Jan. 28 made the completely implausible claim that, “The debate about greenhouse gas emissions appears to be over.”

It can be seen in the public ritual of cycling to work, in the veneer of saintliness on David Suzuki and Al Gore (the rush for tickets to the former vice-president’s upcoming appearance crashed the server at the University of Toronto this week), in the high-profile conversion (honest or craven) of George W. Bush, and in the sinful guilt of throwing a plastic bottle in the garbage.

Adherents make arduous pilgrimages and call them ecotourism. Newspapers publish the iconography of polar bears. The IPCC reports carry the weight of scripture.
Click that link and read the whole thing.


HotCopper describes itself - "Australia's most popular stockmarket internet discussion site with 20,000 new members since 29 March 2004 and counting!" Membership is free, requiring nothing more than registration. Symantec, Weight Watchers and Virgin have prominent adverts on the site.

The topics discussed are pretty much as expected but there are also forums for humour, sports and general discussion. Tucked in amongst these are lots of nasty comments about Jews, Zionists, Americans (United Stupids), Bush (chimpy) and the Howard government. Such shenanigans are probably to be expected at any site that offers unrestricted membership. It is surprising, however, that such comments and even whole threads are allowed to remain in place: obviously no-one is moderating the site. And surely the prominent international companies advertising on the site aren't aware of the nature of some of this discussion. I mean, is Weight Watchers happy for its ad to appear on a thread about Jews and "Nazi support for Zionism"?

Okay it's probably understandable that such nasty non-business discussions are taking place mixed in amongst a huge volume of business related traffic. What is hard to understand though, is that this member blog is allowed to remain -- with over 100 posts dating back to August 2006. It's author is definitely no fan of Israel, calling it Israhell (clever or what?), with a recent post suggesting Israel knew about 9/11 beforehand. Now granted the blog contains no advertising but it is accessed via HotCopper and is described as a member blog.

So, are the HotCopper advertisers unaware of what's going on at the site or they aware and just don't care? And what about HotCopper's administrators? Maybe I should send off a few emails to find out.


In his eagerness to ridicule Alan Ramsay and Tim Flannery -- if anyone deserves ridicule, it's these two -- Andrew Bolt makes an embarrassing number error and eventually admits (sort of) he's wrong. This just goes to show you, Andrew Bolt is not the go-to guy for climate science. Me personally, I rely on Tim Blair.

Anyway, Tim Lambert's gloating (both at his blog and Bolt's) about Bolt's error, sarcastically praising Bolt's sort-of correction. This is a multifaceted irony.

As far as I know, anyone can go to Bolt's blog and comment so long as they don't say anything too outrageous -- I'm unaware of anyone being banned or subjected to moderation. Comments at Deltoid are, on the other hand, tightly controlled by Lambert. Any commenter not toeing the line can expect to be called a troll or to have his comments manipulated so as to make them unreadable (disemvowelled). Commenters who persist in being “difficult” can expect their comments to be neutralized through “moderation”, where comments linger for hours, even days; to be posted only when the discussion has moved well on. Some comments never emerge from moderation. Lambert has even so fas as to removed comments already posted.

Anyone who adopts an alternate identity to get around Deltoid's moderation black hole can expect to be held up for ridicule as a sock puppet. This is ludicrous, of course, because simply adopting an alternate identity does not automatically make that person a sock puppet.

In his posts Andrew Bolt frequently engages in give and take discussion with his readers -- as he does in the post with the bogus number. Lambert is very much inclined to stonewall, simply ignoring comments he finds troublesome. At blogs other than Deltoid Lambert responds to challenges by immediately exiting the conversation, popping in now and again to snipe.

Acknowledging errors and posting genuine corrections are not amongst Lambert's repertoire. He came pretty close in May 2006 when yet again caught out posting DDT rubbish, acknowledging his error in comments (where he also accused me of sock puppetry for commenting under an assumed name). The correction wasn't posted on the front page of his blog, rather hidden in the original (over a year old) post at his old blog.

Lambert again screwed up in a, October 2006 post titled "How many Iraqis have to die before it is front page news?" in which he claimed the Washington Post hid the story about the 650,000 excess Iraq deaths claimed by the then new Lancet study. In fact, the Washington Post featured the study on the front page (above the fold) with the photo of a grieving Iraqi mother. The story itself was on an inside page but the study had indeed made the front page. Lambert's reaction:
"In comments, ragout informs me that the story was referenced on the front page. The actual story, however, was not on the front page, but buried on page 12."
Lambert also got it seriously wrong in claiming Bolt was wrong in all 10 points raised in a post about global warming. Bolt's post was strictly light-weight and not particularly well researched but he was right on probably seven of his ten points (scroll down to BBgun's list of points Bolt gets right). Lambert had plenty of opportunities to defend himself at the link immediately above but wimped out and retreated. (Regardless, Lambert was certainly wrong to claim rising sea are forcing Tuvaluans to flee to New Zealand.

DDT's use in the fight against malaria is a frequent Lambert topic. His DDT posts are especially likely to contain errors and misrepresentations. Examples are to be found here, here, here, here, here, and here. For more on Lambert's DDT deceptions go here.

Lambert has repeatedly crashed and burned but always manages to survive, like some sort of asbestos crash test dummy. He pulls this off by limiting the discussion at Deltoid and refusing to engage when outside the secure confines of his own blog. Regardless, while he might be a scientist, he certainly isn't blogging science.

I'll leave the last word to Lambert, here explaining how to handle difficult commenters:
Err, Jason. Beck is a troll. He doesn’t actually believe the things he writes — the point is to get a rise out of the people he attacks. He’s been spectacularly successful with this latest effort. You should ignore his comments and his posts and never link to him. There is also a handy plugin for WordPress that bounces any links he makes to you. This seems to really annoy him.

Friday, February 09, 2007


In a post titled "Soldiers who like to rape" Antony Loewenstein damns the mind-set of the US military. He bases his post on a new study that "assesses veterans’ tolerance for detainee abuse and variables associated with it". The linked item bears the follows disclaimer:
The level of tolerance exhibited by these findings is surprising, but may not be true for all veterans and certainly cannot be said to be representative of active-duty military.
The guy's a simpleton.


While detained at GITMO Mamdouh Habib claims to have been tortured with a drug used to treat benign enlargement of the prostate:
In particular, he spoke about "human experimentation" at Guantanamo by researchers given access to the facility. At one point, he took out a bottle of the drug Tamsulosin (Flomax) and recounted how he was forced to take this medicine against his will to treat non-existent prostate cancer. (The prescription sticker on the bottle appeared genuine and was clearly marked "NAVAL HOSPITAL GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA PH: 72190").
He also makes more sinister claims:
Afterwards, Habib told a reporter with the Canberra Times that inmates were injected with HIV-AIDS.
Those crafty Yanks have figured out how to inject a syndrome. Moron.


Abu Bakr thinks British Muslims are being targeted unfairly:
It's a police state for Muslims. It's not a police state for everybody else. Because these terror laws are designed specifically for Muslims and that's quite an open fact because the people who have been arrested under the terrorism laws, the groups for example that have been banned under the terrorism laws, the people affected by the terrorism legislation, have been Muslims.

So we're feeling the brunt of it all. So we're the ones who are being locked up, detained.
Isn't it just like the Poms to overreact to a couple of suicide bombings and sundry murderous conspiracies.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


A report recommends major curriculum changes at Harvard:
The main change is that professors would be asked to design the courses with real-world relevance in mind.
It's not often you see "professors" and "real-world" in the one sentence. And for good reason.


Tim Lambert was the other day caught fudging sea level rise figures. Not being one to admit his errors, Lambert refused to admit he got it wrong. Emboldened by his successful stonewalling (his gullible readers didn't question his desperate maneuvering) he takes the sea level rise fudging one step further in attempting to embarrass Bjørn Lomborg.

Lambert contended that he was correct in describing the original 88 cm IPCC sea level rise forecast as similar to the latest 59 cm IPCC sea level rise figure because additional water had to be accounted for, quoting from AR4 (my bold):
Models used to date do not include uncertainties in climate-carbon cycle feedback nor do they include the full effects of changes in ice sheet flow, because a basis in published literature is lacking. The projections include a contribution due to increased ice flow from Greenland and Antarctica at the rates observed for 1993-2003, but these flow rates could increase or decrease in the future. For example, if this contribution were to grow linearly with global average temperature change, the upper ranges of sea level rise for SRES scenarios shown in Table SPM-2 would increase by 0.1 m to 0.2 m. Larger values cannot be excluded, but understanding of these effects is too limited to assess their likelihood or provide a best estimate or an upper bound for sea level rise.
Lambert ignored the uncertainty described in the excerpt, picked out the top-of-the-range 20 cm figure and added it to the 59 cm forecast to come up with a total forecast sea level rise of 79 cm. He says 79 is similar to 88. But no matter how you look at it this is all a little bit tricky; the 10 to 20 cm contribution is highly qualified and could in reality be more or less. Thus the correct sea level rise figure is 59 cm plus an unknown amount. Now I don't know about you, but if a plumber quoted a job as costing $59 plus an unknown additional amount (but likely an extra $10 to $20), I'd probably look for a different plumber.

Anyway, Lambert is now applying the same dubious thinking to an article by Bjørn Lomborg:
Bjorn Lomborg makes the (by now traditional) claim that the new IPCC report has significantly reduced the estimates of projected sea level rises.
Six years ago, it anticipated ocean levels would be 48.5 centimeters higher than they are currently. In this year's report, the estimated rise is 38.5 centimeters on average.
But the 38.5 number Lomborg presents does not include increases from accelerating ice flows. About these, the report says:
For example, if this contribution were to grow linearly with global average temperature change, the upper ranges of sea level rise for SRES scenarios shown in Table SPM-2 would increase by 0.1 m to 0.2 m. Larger values cannot be excluded, but understanding of these effects is too limited to assess their likelihood or provide a best estimate or an upper bound for sea level rise.
Lambert has omitted the crucial first two uncertainty sentences from the report excerpt:
Models used to date do not include uncertainties in climate-carbon cycle feedback nor do they include the full effects of changes in ice sheet flow, because a basis in published literature is lacking. The projections include a contribution due to increased ice flow from Greenland and Antarctica at the rates observed for 1993-2003, but these flow rates could increase or decrease in the future.
Lambert wants Lomborg to say the new report predicts sea level will rise rise by 38.5 cm plus 10 to 20 cm, at least equaling, and probably exceeding, the previously forecast 48.5 cm rise. This is ludicrous since the 10 to 20 cm range is at best a guess. It would perhaps have been more accurate for Lomborg to describe the reports forecast rise as 38.5 cm plus an unknown amount but that still leaves 38.5 cm as the only cited figure.

If the science backing up Lambert is sound, why does he resort to such trickery? Regardless, Lambert's your man if you want political points scoring through subtle manipulation; if you're after science you need to look someplace else.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Relentless self-promoter Antony Loewenstein has formed a group to, well, relentlessly promote Antony Loewenstein:
A BREAKAWAY group from Australia's mainstream Jewish organisations aims to encourage "open debate" within the Jewish community on the Middle East.

Sydney-based Jewish commentator Antony Loewenstein said yesterday that the group would challenge the pro-Israel stranglehold over local debate on the Middle East.
No details on the group's size or makeup but there is this interest generating information:
Mr Loewenstein, who has received death threats since his book's publication...
Wouldn't, "You can't write for shit; give me my money back or I'm going kill you", be justifiable homicide if acted upon?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


The West Australian (no link available) print edition features on its front page (above the fold) a photo of a burnt out Dwellingup home under a teaser outlined in red: "Has climate change ended a life among the tress?" Below the photo is this: "Fatal attraction: Despite valiant efforts by fire crews, 14 houses were destroyed at Dwellingup at the weekend but the State Government has ruled out any ban on homes in high-risk, tinder-dry bush."

The main story (tucked away on page 6) notes that a 1961 Dwellingup fire destroyed 150,000 hectares (over 370,000 acres; compared to the latest fire's 3,000) of bush and 50 homes. It is also noted that despite the bush fire threat being well known, many residents are failing to comply with the recommended 100 meter fuel-free buffer zone around houses. Climate change and its possible link to the fire are not mentioned although the seed had earlier been planted. Now there's some responsible reporting.

Monday, February 05, 2007


By the time sea level rises Gore's deadly 20 feet, the open sewer that is China will have poisoned the Earth.

Update: And anyway there's no point in entering the global warming debate if you aren't a climatologist of note (and AGW true believer):
What I find so amusing is that armchair pundits and people with high school diplomas are making points about 'solar forcing' and 'natural cycles' accounting for the current warming as if the climate science community hadn't considered these potential factors. What do they think researchers have been doing in their university and research programs over the past 15-20 years? ...

I obtained my PhD in 1995 (population ecology) and have been a senior scientist for the past 7 years, yet I defer to those scientists in the climate science community who have been researching the field for years over some of those denialists who contribute comments to these threads who have no formal training in the field. The armchair pundits in the denial camp who are posting here should too.
Well, I ain't got no PhD but I know that people do tend to find what they're looking for.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


The whooping crane is North America's largest bird. Near extinction for ages, the population now stands at 373, from a low of 15 in the 1940s. The only current natural habitat in the U.S. is along the Texas gulf coast.

Efforts to revive whooper numbers are ongoing. Eggs are incubated in laboratory-like conditions. Birds introduced to the wild are taught the ropes by costumed surrogate parents. An ultra-light aircraft flown by a costumed pilot taught them to migrate.

Mother nature refuses to cooperate, however, a storm killing the entire Florida migratory population.


Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt poked fun at Tim Lambert for predicting the latest IPCC report would confirm a sea level rise "similar" to its earlier prediction of 88 cm, when the report predicts a rise of 59 cm instead. Unable to admit that he's wrong, Lambert is trying to worm his way out of the situation he's gotten himself into by including additional water not otherwise accounted for:
Models used to date do not include uncertainties in climate-carbon cycle feedback nor do they include the full effects of changes in ice sheet flow, because a basis in published literature is lacking. The projections include a contribution due to increased ice flow from Greenland and Antarctica at the rates observed for 1993-2003, but these flow rates could increase or decrease in the future. For example, if this contribution were to grow linearly with global average temperature change, the upper ranges of sea level rise for SRES scenarios shown in Table SPM-2 would increase by 0.1 m to 0.2 m. Larger values cannot be excluded, but understanding of these effects is too limited to assess their likelihood or provide a best estimate or an upper bound for sea level rise.
In other words, it's uncertain if these factors will contribute anything to sea level rise but the best estimate is a contribution of 10 to 20 cm. Lambert then grabs the upper bound (20 cm) and adds it to the report's 59 cm to come up with 79 cm, which is, according to him, similar to 88 cm. Notwithstanding the fact that 79 isn't really similar to 88, he really should have added in the range of 10 to 20 cm, resulting in a sea level rise range of between 69 and 79 cm. A range of 69 to 79 cm is not similar to 88 cm.

Lambert's an embarrassment to science.