Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Anti-whaling activists say they were seriously concerned for their safety during recent operations off Antarctica:
Members of the conservation group Sea Shepherd have raised concerns about safety on board the anti-whaling ship the Steve Irwin.

Several volunteer crew members believe lives were put at risk when a zodiac boat capsized and threw four people into Antarctic waters in January.
Captain Paul Watson says the volunteers are liars. Go here, click the audio link and see if Watson doesn't come across as less than convincing.

Monday, March 24, 2008


England's chief environment scientist Professor Robert Watson has doubts about the sustainability of biofuels and wants their introduction delayed:
He said biofuels policy in the EU and the UK may have run ahead of the science.
With biofuels scheduled for introduction on 1 April an interesting question arises:
But many will question why energy experts promoting biofuels in the EU were allowed to go unchallenged so long by the views on biofuels of agriculture specialists or soil scientists.
In their rush to legislate EU bureaucrats obviously misread the scientific consensus.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Participate in Earth Hour without all that bothersome switch flipping by getting a few friends together and putting your lights out with a cocktail or two:
2 shots Everclear

2 shots Bacardi 151

1 shot Pepsi
Everclear isn't available in Australia as far as I know so locals can substitute Spirytus 95% Polish Pure Spirit (neither has any taste so it doesn't really matter). Warning: be very careful if you're a smoker and stay well clear of candles or you might just light up the night.


AES Drax in Yorkshire pumps smoke out of the tallest chimneys in the country. The coal-fired power plant emits more CO2 – 22.8 million tonnes annually – than the 100 least-industrialised nations combined. Drax provides 7% of Britain’s electrical power. Burning fossil fuels to turn steam turbines and create electricity accounts for a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and coal has the highest carbon content of all fuels
Photograph: Jason Hawks/Getty Images

The striking image and caption are from a gallery of environment photos at Much of the caption is inaccurate. The Drax chimney is indeed the tallest chimney in the UK. The structures to either side are cooling towers. Cooling towers release steam not smoke. The plume coming from the chimney is likely also steam as exhaust gases from the plant are electrostatically scrubbed and under normal atmospheric conditions are barely visible.

The claim that Drax emits more CO2 "than the 100 least-industrialised nations combined" is ridiculous: as a huge power generating facility Drax emits lots of CO2 but nowhere near as much as Bangladesh.

Jeez, it's almost as if the tree-huggers are trying to scare us.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Penises as food.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


According to the Olympic Charter:
The Olympic Games are competitions between athletes in individual or team events and not between countries.
As if; elite sport is now dominated by national training and development programs into which governments pour literally tons of cash:
Kevin Norton is a professor of exercise science at the University of South Australia. He says sport at an elite level is expensive and becoming more so.

"We estimated back in 2000 that it was about $40 million per gold medal," he said.

"I imagine that with inflation, the cost of Olympic 'gold' has increased ... and also inflates at a faster rate because other countries like China and the UK are putting in so much money," he said.
If that estimate is correct, Australia's 2000 Olympic tally of 16 gold medals cost us the modest sum of $640 million. To put that in perspective, even at today's record gold price that amount of money would buy over 18 1/2 tons of real gold rather than 16 gold plated medals. Jeez, and I thought arts funding was a huge waste of money.


New Scientist consultant Michael Reilly on getting the global warming message across to the ignorant masses:
People make decisions based on what they can relate to, and when they can't relate to stem cells or greenhouse gases, they simply don't care.

The way to solve the problem is by framing the issue. Here's a quick multiple choice question:

Which of the following scenarios best convinces you that climate change is a problem caused by people that leads to catastrophe?

A) The movie poster of An Inconvenient Truth (pictured above). It's a smokestack spewing out a hurricane.

B) Members of atmospheric science community who until recently said things like: "Well, um, we think it's somewhat likely to be probable that certain anthropogenic emissions are causing increased solar energy to become trapped within the atmosphere???"

If you picked B, you probably have a PhD. And that's fine - we need you all to keep doing your incredibly important work! We'd be lost without you.

But get real: Choice A is a show stopper. Choice B, a conversation stopper in all but the most erudite circles.
Lying is Okay so long as it's done for a cause you believe in.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Eliot Spitzer is not alone in suffering the consequences of hanging out with prostitutes:
Tehran's police chief has resigned following his arrest after being found naked in the company of six nude prostitutes in a local brothel.

Zarei has been in charge of enforcing the Islamic dress code on Iranian women to help with "moralizing of the city," the Israeli news agency reported. During the past six months, hundreds of young people were arrested for not honoring the Islamic code of behavior.
Like my dear departed father always told me, be careful who you hang out with.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


On Sunday The Observer helpfully provided a quick reference guide to "the world's 50 most powerful blogs". Number 33 is blogging colossus Crooked Timber, summarized as follows:
With a title pulled from Immanuel Kant's famous statement that 'out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made', it's an amalgam of academic and political writing that has muscled its way into the epicentre of intelligent discussion since its conception in 2003. Formed as an internet supergroup, pulling several popular intellectual blogs together, Crooked Timber now has 16 members – largely academics – across the US, Europe, Australia and Asia. The site has built itself a reputation as something of an intellectual powerhouse; a sort of global philosophical thinktank conducted via blog.
Wow, with 16 contributors – including intellectual muscle-man John Quiggin – Crooked Timber must get heaps of traffic. Well, according to Alexa, Crooked Timber lags just a bit behind Glenn Reynolds' one man blog, which didn't make the list, by the way. Maybe it's a lefty intellectual favouritism thing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Audi's Q7 twin turbo 1000 Nm of torque V12 diesel SUV. Why? Because it's impossible to have too much power.

Friday, March 07, 2008


Francisco Rodriguez, Chief Economist of the Venezuelan National Assembly from 2000 to 2004, reckons Hugo Chavez and cronies are wrecking the economy and will eventually be unseated from power, possibly violently. Read it.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


I've had only limited success engaging Tim Lambert (he's scared of me and refuses to acknowledge my comments) and his DDT ban denialist groupies in a meaningful discussion of DDT's use in the fight against malaria. Unable to come up with a counterargument, Ian Gould responds to my civil and well researched comments:
Poor Jeff, he desperately wants his 50 (or is it 100? or 500?) million dead African babies, murdered by the evil environmentalists.

At this point I imagine he'd settle for as few as 10 million dead babies.
Even one baby dying due to malaria that might have been prevented by DDT is too many.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Green replaces red as the colour threatening civilization.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Lefties love Global Warming because addressing it provides an opportunity to greatly expand government control over all areas of our lives, even our transport choices:
CAR travel should be cut by 80%, road construction halted and public transport boosted if Australia is to meet carbon emission targets, energy experts have warned.

Federal and state governments should stop building new arterial roads, the two scientists from Monash University's department of mechanical and aerospace engineering argue.

Instead, governments must focus on phasing out cars, improving the energy efficiency of public transport and making people use it, they argue.
Sorry, an 80% cut just isn't enough:
Greenhouse gas emissions will have to be eliminated completely to stabilise the Earth's climate and prevent temperatures from rising. That’s the conclusion of climatologists in the US who say that our current efforts to merely stabilise emissions will not be enough.
Oh well, there goes civilization as we know it.


Controversial Muslim identity Tariq Ramadan will be allowed to visit Australia because, as Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs Laurie Ferguson puts it, he "has an important contribution to make to the community's understanding of Islam.". Sydney Muslim writer/lawyer Irfan Yusuf admits he doesn't really know much about Ramadan other than the little he's read but thinks him a swell guy:
You’d think this is exactly the kind of Muslim intellectual we need more of.
Ibn Warraq, of Why I Am Not a Muslim fame, checks out Caroline Fourest's book on Ramadan and isn't impressed:
Fourest has rendered an invaluable service. She demonstrates with great skill that Ramadan is a dangerous radical who, far from modernizing Islam, is in fact attempting to Islamize modernity. Of undoubted ability and charisma, but with no respect for or allegiance to Western values of liberty, Ramadan is poisoning the minds of young Muslims in the West. He spreads his message through personal appearances and with the sale of tens of thousands of cassettes through Tawhid, an Islamist publishing house with close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Under Ramadan’s influence, Islamist youths develop a hatred for Western values and dream of creating a totalitarian Islamic theocracy, not only in the heart of Europe, but eventually the entire globe, until, in the words of al-Banna, “the Islamic banner . . . waves supreme over the human race.”
Irfy might want to add Fourest's Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan to his reading list. Nah, like they say, ignorance is bliss.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


A Swedish man has been charged after police discovered he was "satisfying himself on the seats of women’s bicycles":
The 36-year-old man has confessed to the crimes, explaining that he felt an overwhelming calm wash over him when he approached women’s bicycles and smelled the handlebars.
Yep, there's nothing like the enticing aroma of female hand sweat, chrome and rubber.


BBC News reports on ongoing Palestinian rocket attacks: Gaza rocketeers confound Israel

BBC News reports on the Israeli response: Israeli forces pound Gaza Strip

Subtle, ain't it?


Perpetual complainer Tracee Hutchison whines about TV news-presenters' ostentatious displays of flesh:
There's not a woman — or man — alive that doesn't know the power of cleavage. And the reason cleavage is so often overstated — and over-represented — in TV news reporting is because news reporters and presenters are rarely seen in anything other than a medium close-up — filmed from just below the breastline up. For this reason breasts, and how much or how little they are seen, tend to dominate the frame of vision, quite literally. As a consequence breasts end up looming very large in TV newsrooms.
Now I don't pay much attention to TV news but can't recall seeing any presenter's cleavage, ever.