The latest from the ‘Redneck-Wonderland’.

The following was recently posted by shock jock Andrew Bolt who has just been given his own TV program by Australia’s richest person, mining billionaire Gina Rinehart. For those overseas – Greg Combet is our Federal Minister for Climate Change.  For those wondering why the reference to “Redneck Wonderland” go here and here.

Note that the ‘experts’ that he refers to are unqualified and unpublished in the peer-reviewed literature associated with the majority of expert areas behind their claims.  Good choice Andrew – I guess they match your expertise on climate change and  its impacts.  Wouldn’t want to have a real expert disagree with you!


Bob Carter, David Evans, Stewart Franks and Bill Kininmonth identify 10 errors in Climate Change Greg Combet’s big speech last week on his carbon dioxide tax.

Go here for their explanations, but these are the 10 falsehoods Combet uttered:

1. The evidence of atmospheric warming is very strong, and the potential for dangerous climate impacts is high. The scientific advice is that carbon (sic) pollution (sic) is the cause.

Continue reading

Report: Global Warming Issue From 2 Or 3 Years Ago May Still Be Problem

Climate change – something that is possibly worth some consideration?

WASHINGTON—According to a report released this week by the Center for Global Development, climate change, the popular mid-2000s issue that raised awareness of the fact that the earth’s continuous rise in temperature will have catastrophic ecological effects, has apparently not been resolved, and may still be a problem.

While several years have passed since global warming was considered the most pressing issue facing mankind, recent studies from the Center for Atmospheric Research, the National Academy of Sciences, NASA, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, and basically any scientific report available on the issue confirmed that it is not only still happening, but might also be worth stopping.

“Global warming, if you remember correctly, was the single greatest problem of our lifetime back in 2007 and the early part of 2008,” CGD president Nancy Birdsall said. “But then the debates over Social Security reform and the World Trade Center mosque came up, and the government had to shift its focus away from the dramatic rise in sea levels, the rapid spread of deadly infectious diseases, and the imminent destruction of our entire planet.”

“Last year’s federal budget included more than $200 million in funding for the Office of Personnel Management,” Birdsall said. “Since nobody really knows what that is, we suggest that money perhaps be spent making sure the oceans don’t turn into acid.”

I’ll let you read the rest of the article over the Onion (of course).

This is a news website article about a scientific paper

Classic article by The Guardian which seems to nicely sum up the state of science reporting by the general media these days:

This is a news website article about a scientific paper

In the standfirst I will make a fairly obvious pun about the subject matter before posing an inane question I have no intention of really answering: is this an important scientific finding?

In this paragraph I will state the main claim that the research makes, making appropriate use of “scare quotes” to ensure that it’s clear that I have no opinion about this research whatsoever.

In this paragraph I will briefly (because no paragraph should be more than one line) state which existing scientific ideas this new research “challenges”.

If the research is about a potential cure, or a solution to a problem, this paragraph will describe how it will raise hopes for a group of sufferers or victims.

This paragraph elaborates on the claim, adding weasel-words like “the scientists say” to shift responsibility for establishing the likely truth or accuracy of the research findings on to absolutely anybody else but me, the journalist.

In this paragraph I will state in which journal the research will be published. I won’t provide a link because either a) the concept of adding links to web pages is alien to the editors, b) I can’t be bothered, or c) the journal inexplicably set the embargo on the press release to expire before the paper was actually published.

“Basically, this is a brief soundbite,” the scientist will say, from a department and university that I will give brief credit to. “The existing science is a bit dodgy, whereas my conclusion seems bang on” she or he will continue.

I will then briefly state how many years the scientist spent leading the study, to reinforce the fact that this is a serious study and worthy of being published by the BBC the website.

This picture has been optimised by SEO experts to appeal to our key target demographics

This is a sub-heading that gives the impression I am about to add useful context.

Here I will state that whatever was being researched was first discovered in some year, presenting a vague timeline in a token gesture toward establishing context for the reader.

To pad out this section I will include a variety of inane facts about the subject of the research that I gathered by Googling the topic and reading the Wikipedia article that appeared as the first link.

I will preface them with “it is believed” or “scientists think” to avoid giving the impression of passing any sort of personal judgement on even the most inane facts.

This fragment will be put on its own line for no obvious reason.

In this paragraph I will reference or quote some minor celebrity, historical figure, eccentric, or a group of sufferers; because my editors are ideologically committed to the idea that all news stories need a “human interest”, and I’m not convinced that the scientists are interesting enough.

At this point I will include a picture, because our search engine optimisation experts have determined that humans are incapable of reading more than 400 words without one.

This subheading hints at controversy with a curt phrase and a question mark?

This paragraph will explain that while some scientists believe one thing to be true, other people believe another, different thing to be true.

In this paragraph I will provide balance with a quote from another scientist in the field. Since I picked their name at random from a Google search, and since the research probably hasn’t even been published yet for them to see it, their response to my e-mail will be bland and non-committal.

“The research is useful”, they will say, “and gives us new information. However, we need more research before we can say if the conclusions are correct, so I would advise caution for now.”

If the subject is politically sensitive this paragraph will contain quotes from some fringe special interest group of people who, though having no apparent understanding of the subject, help to give the impression that genuine public “controversy” exists.

This paragraph will provide more comments from the author restating their beliefs about the research by basically repeating the same stuff they said in the earlier quotes but with slightly different words. They won’t address any of the criticisms above because I only had time to send out one round of e-mails.

This paragraph contained useful information or context, but was removed by the sub-editor to keep the article within an arbitrary word limit in case the internet runs out of space.

The final paragraph will state that some part of the result is still ambiguous, and that research will continue.

Related Links:

The Journal (not the actual paper, we don’t link to papers)

The University Home Page (finding the researcher’s page would be too much effort).

Unrelated story from 2007 matched by keyword analysis.

Special interest group linked to for balance

Nikon Camera Lost at Sea Found 1,100 Miles Away With Video Taken by Sea Turtle

Epic! Camera and waterproof housing found intact in Florida, turns out it was lost in Aruba 6 months prior, complete with video footage taken by a sea turtle somewhere in Honduras:

On May 16, Coast Guard investigator Paul Shultz was walking along a Key West, Florida marina when he came across a red Nikon L18. Although the underwater housing surrounding the camera was battered from what appeared to be a long period at sea, the camera was in tip top shape.

After finding nothing in the photos and videos on the memory card that pointed to the owner, Shultz turned to the Internet, posting the photos to Within days, it was determined from clues in the photos that they were taken in Aruba, about 1,100 miles from where the camera was found.

The clues included a plane’s tail number that revealed that the plane was in Aruba the day the photo was taken, a blue roof that was located on Google Maps, and a school poster written in Dutch (Aruba is a Dutch island).

Once the camera’s origin was known, Shultz published the photos to Within two days a woman recognized the children in some of the photos as her son’s classmates and, after contacting the family, the mystery was solved.

Dick de Bruin, a sergeant in the Royal Dutch Navy, was salvaging an anchor from the USS Powell for a WWII memorial when his camera floated away. One way or another it ended up 1,100 miles to the north and into the hands of Paul Shultz.

An interesting part of this story is that among the things found on the memory card was a video recorded by a sea turtle that dragged the camera for a period of time during the journey. The shaky video has amassed hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube:


(via Reddit)

And who is this “Lord” Monckton you ask?

The Republican party of the United States of American, in just a few hours, will put forth a single witness to rebut the testimony of widely respected scientists on the science supporting anthropogenic climate change.  This is beyond bizare.  I only heard of him less than a year ago and now he is one of the biggest names in the media’s phony climate change “debate”.  He has said so many nutty things and has been refuted so thoroughly by so many people, it is really hard to know where to begin. So here is a small sampling of the lies of Lord (he really isn’t one) Monckton.

You can see some of our posts on his lies about ocean warming in the waters off Australia and on a range of other topics here.

Take a look at Tim Lambert’s coverage of Monckton here.

And by all means, watch these two riveting videos by Peter Sinclair (and note Peter has his own web site now where he releases and hosts his videos here):



Peter also has a list of Monckton-revealing links with his videos, that I will borrow and share with full attribution him:

Debate: Monckton and Tim Lambert……

Dr. Pinker’s explanation…

Snowball Earth animation created by Eurisko Studios

National Academy of Science-
“Origin and Evolution of Earth: Chapter 3, A Habitable Planet”…

Monckton’s artful graphs…

Fabricated Quote…

Detailed Account of Monckton’ s errors…………

Claims to be member of Parlaiment……

Claims to have won the Falkland’s war, by
giving the Argentinians diarrhea…

Cure for Aids/Nasa crashed its own satellite……

Politifact finds Monckton “not only be unsupported but preposterous” on
the Copenhagen treaty…

Open letter to Rockefeller and Snowe…

Whale poo reduces carbon levels: ‘Huge Amounts Of Iron’

Full of…? Either way, this little gem has made for some of the best headlines this year (Poo for the Planet: The Many Functions of Feces, Australians say whale poo should not be poo-pooed, Save the Whales! We need their poo, Climate change: whale poop to the rescue! among others!). Judge for yourselves:

The important role whale poo plays in the productivity of the Southern Ocean has been revealed in a new study.

Scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems
Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC) are looking at how krill and whales contribute to the recycling of iron in the Southern Ocean.

Iron is a critical element in the ocean that enables the production of aquatic plants, known as algae
, which absorb carbon dioxide (CO2).

When algae die they sink and strip iron from the surface of the ocean, but much of the algae is eaten by krill, which in turn become prey for larger animals such as seals, penguins and whales.

Australian Antarctic Division scientist, Dr Steve Nicol, said the study looked at fecal and tissue samples from four species of baleen whales and tissue samples from seven species of krill.

“We found that krill concentrated the iron they consumed in their bodies and because they swim near the surface, they keep the iron in the top layer of the ocean,” Dr Nicol said. “There’s huge amounts of iron in whale poo.”

“Approximately 24% of the total iron in the Southern Ocean surface water is currently stored within krill body tissue.”

The most recent estimates of krill biomass in the Southern Ocean is 379 million tonnes, storing about 15,000 tonnes of iron.

“When whales consume the iron-rich krill, they excrete most of the iron back into the water, therefore fertilizing the ocean and starting the whole food cycle again,” Dr Nicol said.

“The baleen whales’ fecal iron concentration is calculated to be about 10 million times that of Antarctic seawater,” he said.

Before commercial whaling began early last century whales used to consume about 190 million tonnes of krill, converting this into about 7,600 tonnes of iron-rich feces.

“This monumental fertilizing effort means the whales may have been responsible for recycling about 12% of the current iron content in the surface layer of the Southern Ocean,” Dr Nicol said.

The recycling role of krill and whales in the ocean helps to explain how the ecosystem was able to support far larger populations of both predator and prey.

The research suggests that, in future, increasing populations of baleen whales and krill would have a positive effect on the productivity of the entire Southern Ocean ecosystem and could improve the ocean’s ability to absorb CO2.

Climategate: Russian secret service blamed for hack

With the climategate ‘scandal’ over and done with, it seems like we’ll never figure out who was responsible for the email hack at CRU. Oh wait, it was Russian secret service. Intrigued? Read the article below… oddly enough, published by the usually pretty reputable New Scientist and quoting Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, the IPCC vice chairman:

The Russian secret service has been accused of masterminding the theft of the confidential data from one of the world’s leading centres of climate change research. The charge comes as news emerges that hacked climate scientists have received death threats.

Since over 1000 emails were hacked from a server at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, it’s been hard not to play climate change Cluedo: who committed the crime?

Rumours on the identity of the perpetrator now appear to be firming up, according to the Independent’s Shaun Walker.

According to Walker, a senior member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has voiced suspicions that the hack job was not the handy work of a lone amateur but that of a “highly sophisticated, politically motivated operation.”

“It’s a carefully made selection of emails and documents that’s not random,” Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, IPCC vice chairman, told the paper. “This is 13 years of data, and it’s not a job of amateurs.”

Anonymous “others” in the IPCC have gone further, pinning the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Russian secret services, aka the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB), reports Walker.

The leaked emails are now threatening to overshadow climate change talks that have started in Copenhagen: last week, Saudi Arabia’s lead climate negotiator warned the world that they would have a “huge impact” on any treaty that is drawn up.

But isn’t it crazy to suggest that Russian agents want to prevent the world from tackling climate change? Perhaps not, speculates Walker.

For a start, the hacked data apparently surfaced on the server of a Russian internet security company based in the Siberian city of Tomsk, where the FSB has an office. And the FSB, argues Walker, is notorious for grooming hackers and launching cyber attacks.

What’s more, by keeping the Arctic Circumpolar Seas ice-free all year round, climate change will unlock Russia’s enormous and lucrative reserves of fossil fuel. The suggestion is that Russia will welcome this effect of global warming.

So: Russia not only had the capacity to carry out the hacking job, it also has a motive, as nations rich in fossil fuels will be penalised by any post-Kyoto agreement that seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, suggests Walker.

That said, the case is far from closed. Even if Russian hackers are to blame, who is to say that they weren’t in the pay of another party? How’s that for a new conspiracy theory? (Link to full text)

Introducing… Bathynomus giganteus (yes, you can eat it)

Here’s an interesting one. A commentor on Reddit posted the above photos (titled ‘My god, it’s a monster‘) along with the following text:

“I work for a Sub-sea Survey Company, recently this beast came up attached to one of our ROVs. It measures a wee bit over 2.5 feet head to tail, and we expect it latched onto the ROV at roughly 8500ft depth. Unfortunately, the e-mail that these pictures were attached to came from a contractor, and the ship he was operating from (and therefore location) is unknown, so I can’t tell you what part of the Earth this beast was living.

What is this, Reddit? Is it edible?”

Turns out the ROV managed to capture a giant isopod, Bathynomus giganteus. Fortunately, these creatures live between upto 2000 metres deep, and tend to hang out between 365 and 730metres (i.e. not commonly encountered in our realm). From the entire Wikipedia article, this is definitely my favourite line:

When a significant source of food is encountered (in captivity), giant isopods gorge themselves to the point of compromising their locomotive ability.

So, can you eat it? Apparently (according to Wikipedia), they are definitely edible:

…in northern Taiwan and other areas, they are common at seaside restaurants, served boiled and bisected with a clean lateral slice. The white meat, similar to crab or lobster in texture, is then easily removed. The species are noted for resemblance to the common woodlouse or pill bug, to which they are related. The few specimens caught in the Americas with baited traps are sometimes seen in public aquaria.

Looks weird? No more bizarre than the Brisbane local delicacy, Moreton Bay bugs.