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Everything posted by Glaschu

  1. Good read RODNEY TIFFEN July 26, 2010 Chances are, you have not heard much about Climategate lately, but last November it dominated the media. Three weeks before the Copenhagen summit, thousands of emails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia were published on a Russian website. The research institute was a leading contributor to the fourth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, and some of the leaked emails showed the scientists in a poor light. The scandal was one of the pivotal moments in changing the politics of climate change. What seemed close to a bipartisan agreement on an environmental trading scheme collapsed with Tony Abbott's defeat of Malcolm Turnbull. Within months the Rudd government lost its nerve on what the former prime minister called ''the greatest moral and economic challenge of our time''. delayedAds.push(function(){ FD.addExternalReferralsAd($merge(FD.baseAd, { id: "adspot-300x250-pos-3", iframeId: "adspot-300x250-pos-3-iframe", params: $merge($merge(FD.baseAd.params, { pos: 3, aamsz : "300x250" }),getAdParams("300x250")) ,addSmall: true ,smallText: "Advertisement: Story continues below" }) ); });By casting doubt on the integrity of the scientists, Climategate helped puncture public faith in the science, and probably contributed to Labor's political panic. The echo chamber of columnists reverberated with angry and accusatory claims. In Australia, Piers Akerman said: ''The tsunami of leaked emails . . . reveal a culture of fraud, manipulation, deceit and personal vindictiveness to rival anything in a John le Carre or John Grisham thriller.'' Later he wrote: ''The crowd that gathered in Copenhagen were there pushing a fraud.'' Andrew Bolt thought that ''what they reveal is perhaps the greatest scientific scandal'' of our time. ''Emails leaked on the weekend show there is indeed a conspiracy to deceive the world - and Mr Rudd has fallen for it.'' Miranda Devine wrote: ''We see clearly the rotten heart of the propaganda machine that has driven the world to the brink of insanity.'' The ramifications of Climategate were immediate. The climate unit's head, Professor Phil Jones, was forced to stand down. Three inquiries were set up to examine the scientists' conduct. The first, a British House of Commons select committee, reported in March that the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and the CRU remained intact. The second, a science assessment panel, set up with the Royal Society and consisting of eminent British researchers, reported in April. Its chairman, Lord Oxburgh, said his team found ''absolutely no evidence of any impropriety whatsoever'' and that ''whatever was said in the emails, the basic science seems to have been done fairly and properly''. The third, set up by the university itself, published its 160-page report two weeks ago. On the specific allegations made against the behaviour of the CRU scientists, ''we find that the rigour and honesty [of the scientists] as scientists are not in doubt''. Importantly, it concluded: ''We did not find any evidence of behaviour that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments.'' In other words, nothing in the emails undermined the research of the climate scientists. Like the other two, the inquiry found aspects of the scientists' behaviour that fell short of professional standards - ''failing to display the proper degree of openness''. What might seem the most damning was the way Jones dealt with freedom of information requests, but context makes his behaviour more understandable. In July last year alone, the CRU received 60 FoI requests. Answering them would have been too much for even all the unit's staff time. In a matter of days, it received 40 similar FoI requests, each wanting data from five different countries - 200 requests in all. Jones concluded the unit was subject to a vexatious campaign. While not fully excusing their behaviour, one has to appreciate the embattled position of scientists who received a steady stream of obscene and abusive emails and constant public attacks on their integrity. After the leaks, Jones, now reinstated, received death threats and said he had contemplated suicide. You might imagine the media would be keen to report on authoritative conclusions about allegations it had found so newsworthy in December. But coverage of each of the reports has been non-existent in many news organisations and in others brief or without prominence. At best, the coverage of the inquiries' conclusions added up to a 20th of the coverage the original allegations received, which leaves us to ponder the curiosities of a news media that gets so over-excited by dramatic allegations and then remains so incurably uninterested in their resolution. The newspapers that gave greatest play to the allegations tended to give less attention to the findings. The columnists who gave greatest vent to their indignation have not made any revisions or corrections, let alone apologised to the scientists whose integrity they so sweepingly impugned. Even at the time, it was clear much of the coverage was more attuned to maximising sensation rather than to reporting with precision. The sheer number of leaked emails, for instance, was sometimes taken as proof of the scale of the scandal, as if they were all disreputable. In fact, only from a handful could anything sinister be conjured. It is a common criticism of the media that it prominently publishes allegations, but gives less coverage to the prosaic facts that later refute them. But rarely is the disproportion so stark. Rarely has such an edifice of sweeping accusation and extravagant invective been constructed on such a slender factual basis. Rarely does it do such damage. Rodney Tiffen is emeritus professor of government and international relations at the University of Sydney.
  2. A positive step forward Flannery to head climate change commission Former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery has been chosen to head a new climate change commission which has been set up to build community support for a carbon price. The Federal Government-appointed Commission is made up of climate experts and has held its first meeting today. The Government agreed to set up the commission, made up of climate experts, after dumping its election promise of a citizens' assembly. Climate Change Minister Greg Combet says it will work independently of the Government. "It is very important that people in the community can get access to information about climate change, about climate science, [about] what is going on internationally and also to get access to informed independent information about the measures being taken to tackle climate change - including what a carbon price is and how it may work," he said. "Central to that is that people in the community will have access to the people with the relevant qualifications," he said. "I'm delighted to take up this challenge. I think it's a very timely one," Mr Flannery said following the announcement. "I will be trying to lead discussion on what climate science has to offer us ... and also to lead a discussion in terms of the options." The other members of the panel are ANU Climate Change Institute executive director Professor Will Steffen, Australian Science Media Centre CEO Dr Susannah Eliott, former Department of Environment head Roger Beale, and Macquarie University professor Lesley Hughes. Mr Flannery has refused to comment on the Government's emissions reduction targets and its decision to make cuts to climate abatement programs to pay for the flood recovery. "I don't think it's our role to comment on policy, but we'll certainly be leading a discussion on how this issue may be addressed," he said. "That may range from adaptation issues through to a price on carbon, but there's a big job there to just get a broader understanding in the community of the options that are before us."
  3. You sure you wouldnt want to be like Waz??? Comment from this article sums it up really... Gee Whizz
  4. Gee willikers isn't it getting interesting. Havent logged in for a while but still getting my daily dose of SS. In the process of moving back to Aus, what a time to find a job, hopefully I'm a few months early... Noticed this hasnt been posted yet... Investors cop flak as 'parasites' November 23, 2010 - 12:52PM Rising property prices and worsening housing affordability isn’t just fuelling talk of a bubble. Investors are increasingly coming under fire as “parasites” who are destroying the Great Australian dream. Talking property really brings out the nasty in some people. About a fortnight ago, I wrote a blog post on some of the potential benefits of investing in cheaper properties (particularly in regional areas), rather than chasing pricier stock in the capital cities. The story attracted about a dozen comments. Some took issue with the real-life applicability of the yield and capital growth data; others the apparent hazards of a renting in low socio-economic areas. There was even a little ditty foretelling Australia’s impending property collapse, set to the tune of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” (or is it Sheena Easton?). But what really caught my attention was this: Oh great! So now that parasitic investors have eroded affordability in inner city areas, its time to export this cancer to more affordable regions? Investors as parasites. Investors as cancer. Bombastic stuff. But it’s only one comment, right? Wrong. This notion of investors as some kind of parasite/disease on Australian society appears again and again in comments on stories about the property market. Run a few Google searches to check out just how often these kinds of statements come up. But here are a few samples from some recent stories run by Fairfax (edited for space): The tax subsidised negative gearer parasites are close to the worst form of humanity - gaining from others disadvantage and then compounding their won position at the ever increasing expense of others. ….The parasites in removing the option of a home to the genuine home owner then has the vile cheek to offer that same person a rental proposition. Apparently by bludging off the tax system and being supported by everyone else and by being allowed to create scarcity these egregious greedy twits then play Father Christmas (or at least thats what they believe) The amount of damage that this bubble has already caused to young people deserves jail sentences and massive compensation. This bubble pricking will only hurt idiots who borrowed too much and parasitic scum who are sucking the life out of the workers. Cont.... Link http://theage.domain...1123-184uy.html
  5. Cheers muzza, welcome to the forum.
  6. Agreed. Cant remember where I saw the quote "we pay to live, what went wrong" but it does seem pretty silly to go into massive debt or any debt for that matter for the sake of having a place to live and maybe grow some food. It's not like it had a price tag when we came down from the trees... Human nature, greed, power etc etc I know, it's just a shame we cant look after each other a bit better. At the end of they day it causes pain and anxiety for the majority not to mention it's pretty unproductive in the big scheme of things. Bring on the renaissance.
  7. Great to hear from someone who's done it. I'll take your word for it being more work than it looks. I really like the idea of growing a substantial amount of your food locally though, perhaps that includes trading surplus at a farmers market or something. I agree, to do the lot start to finish, growing every variety you want would take up most your time and I've only read a few books and keep a little veggie patch in the court yard... A couple of decades is bloody good going. The wife and I are hoping to somehow strike a good mix between growing our own and working in our professions. Livestock would add a heap more work but I'd like to give it a go small scale. Hoping to avoid either having a broken body or a fried brain... Somewhere deep down though I think I might be a half arsed hippy I've done veggie patches with my Dad, done a lot of camping and a decent bit of travel. I think that is what's needed, a respect for nature that influences everything we do. I hear schools are integrating farming topics into history, geography and science and more projects/involvement with conservation, growing food & environmental issues. It's great as I think many city/suburb dwellers have lost connection with the land & food. 5 Acres per person, that much really?
  8. Well I cant hang around and discuss all those points however being skeptical is better than being a denier One thing though. Since the 1960's the energy from the sun has been decreasing and at the same time land & sea temperatures have been rising. So whilst the sun might have influenced climate in the past I don't think it can be blamed for the past few decades.
  9. Had a look at Gippsland after your post as the wife's been settled on the west. You're right there are some great ones for 300k+. Nice idea. NG the F*$k out of it. pisser
  10. Yeah I get your point about causing damage throughout the ages although it depends how you define damage. The minute man digs up the earth to plant a crop or cut down a tree to make a shelter? Whilst we may have altered landscapes to suit our lifestyle (and there's some horrible maps/data on how much of the land mass we've affected) I'm not sure we'd suffer tragic consequences with the amount of technical, medical & agricultural advances we have made. (not a supporter of GMO btw) We can do things smarter now, clean tech, more recycling, less pollution the list goes on. As is often said in renewable energy debates, there is no one solution, we will need to employ all the technologies & strategies to get there. I think it needs to be the same with the way we live. I still believe we can coexist with all species & live sustainably. This includes the fact that for the most part we've taken ourselves out of the food chain, until you're buried that is Cremation is a tad destructive imo, you still join the cycle although you deprive a lot of worms... So again I think it's about balance and understanding an acceptable limit. If we can learn to live in harmony with the environment instead of always trying to tame it and bend it to our will, chose only to reproduce to replace and get off the whole growth is good cycle, the planet can support us and we can still have a comfortable life and retain/regenerate vast natural areas. Agreed there has been too much stuffing around, lets hope there is still enough time. I believe most scientists say there is so fingers crossed. Geo Engineering is potentially a good backup plan and should be thoroughly investigated however I hope we can turn things around before being forced to implement such solutions. To change, we need to change our thinking. I'd be happy to cut back on the office work and spend my extra time on the veggie patch for example. Perhaps a good proportion of the population would like to cut back on their 40+ hour job, be a little more involved with the community and have more variety of experiences. That said, I'm not sure the entire population of the planet can live like Westerners have the past century. The age of extreme excess can not continue for ever.
  11. Sure, I agree, the western world has never lived better and I don't particularly want to go back to the way life was even 100 years ago. Get rid of machine harvesters and we put 90% of the population back on the farm to feed ourselves. I'm definitely not against engineering and that includes large scale it just needs to be done with minimal impact and consideration for future generations. My point regarding non human life being sustainable for millions of years was merely pointing out that other species haven't risen to the levels of greed that humans have and as we have evolved to be more mentally advanced shouldn't we now have the sense & moral obligation to improve for the good of all rather than destroy? All in all I think we have a good degree of knowledge and technology now to live comfortably and not mess with the planet too much. Like all things in life, it's a balance. Therefore I believe we should try not to interfere with natural systems as much as possible. Sure, we've built cities and high density living may well be the way to go. New York is an amazing example of large scale engineering & complex systems for a massive population. However, moving forward I think we really need to live within our means environmentally, not over populate, let rivers flow where they may and we might have a better chance. As an IT Guy Tor, you'd know adding improvements/functionality or simply making changes to a stable mission critical system invites risks. I'm not saying tweaking doesn't help but wide spread changes rarely come off without a glitch. Luckily redundancy can be employed through clustering. We don't have another Earth just yet. I wouldn't want to go back either, life expectancy sucked. Much more interesting times and opportunities now. Perhaps Hugh Hefner is a candidate... That's going back some 90 years isn't it?
  12. Yep, and also the speed at which it is changing. Natural occurrence give ecosystems time to adjust. The rapid changes of late will put far to much stress on the biosphere. As I think I mentioned here before, I am a tread lightly kind of guy. I think we're better off not engineering the environment to suit us* but work with the environment as man has done for 1000's of years and for the most part other species have lived pretty sustainably for millions of years. "self important knobs" Bit of resentment there savagegoose, who gives you such an impression? I'd say there are far more self important knobs in industries primarily focused on profit or power and not on making a positive change to the welfare of life on the planet. *Large scale engineering. It is complex, I'll admit. For example, measures to avoid landslides in already populated areas are probably worthwhile with minimal impact although our attempts to manage water since the industrial revolution has often had repercussions down the line.
  13. Cheers for the heads up Max, was an interesting Q&A. I'd say a touch scary too although the audiance was pre selected. Not sure if it was here that I saw this link or not, anyway some good info... Climate Denial Crock of the Week -
  14. I became a bit of a convert after reading John Seymours' "The complete book of self sufficiency". Found a 77 copy in an old book store. Not sure if the term permaculture was around then but he had similar principles, increase bio diversity as much as possible, rotate your fields year on year including your livestock and have lay years for clover etc. He called it High Farming from memory. From what I've read it's approx 1 acre per person to be self sufficient, John Seymours' book said you could keep a family of 5-6 in meat, veg, grain, clothes, fuel, beer & cider on 5 acres including food for the livestock. Making everything yourself would take heaps of time. Fun, but hard. Might want to consider growing a little surplus unless you want to make your own clothes & vegemite. Many sources on the net say it can be done with less. I thought this article was interesting - Some good info here too - http://tinyfarmwiki....d_one_person%3F Vic acreage still seems a bit expensive to me, especially when you factor in all the setup costs, time & labour. Should prices drop in the cities I wonder how rural prices will react.
  15. Nice links SC So he's happy to insure us against an unlikely invasion but will only commit to reducing emissions by 5%. Not much of an insurance policy for something that even if half true will cause far more suffering globally not to mention we're not the only species this impacts.
  16. Signs of a tipping point in the debate with climate sceptics Jo Chandler August 17, 2010 Deniers are swapping sides as the evidence continues to build. There's a lot of talk about ''tipping points'' in the climate science literature these days. It's an innocuous enough little phrase, implying just a nudge over the edge of something. But in climate terms, that step beyond the ''critical threshold'' is a doozy. In warming scenarios, a tipping point is a mechanism that sweeps us off the edge of the recognisable planet. These narratives are most usually and soberly described in the pages of scientific journals, yet they read like the plot of a Hollywood thriller - think The Day After Tomorrow - but with warming suddenly supercharged by melting permafrost or by clouds of methane belching from beneath the seas, the seas rising by metres as the great polar ice sheets collapse, the powerhouse of the ocean conveyer system failing, or the waters becoming too acidic to nurture life. These are real enough threats to warrant the intense scrutiny of many of the sharpest scientific minds of our age. Nonetheless, great uncertainties surround each of these scenarios. What is the evidence, the probability? When and how fast? What capacity might nature have to put itself right? What lever might humanity pull? Uncertainty and doubt are comforting to people who don't want to face the climate spectre - the get-out clause. And frankly, who can blame them? Uncertainty and doubt are also the most valued currency available to campaigners involved in the orchestrated effort to debunk the science of warming. As US spinmeister Frank Luntz famously counselled Republicans in a leaked 2003 memo on ''winning'' the global warming debate: ''The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science. ''Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming in the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly.'' But has a confluence of extreme weather (fire, floods, heatwaves, mud slides) and dogged science - sober, clear consensus statements such as that released yesterday by the Australian Academy of Science - finally outmanoeuvred the engineers of denial? Are we at a tipping point in terms of public comprehension of the climate crisis? In terms of campaign denialism, is the jig up? The front page of The New York Times, a publication not known for getting hot under the collar about climate, yesterday featured a photographic display of floods in Pakistan, wildfires in Russia, and wild storms in Chicago with the headline, ''In Weather Chaos, A Case for Global Warming''. Might these far-flung disasters be linked? ''The collective answer of the scientific community can be boiled down to a single word: probably.'' More frequent, more intense weather events and excessive heat were all ''consistent with our understanding of how the climate responds to increasing greenhouse gases'', said Jay Lawrimore of the US National Climatic Data Centre. ''If you ask me as a person, do I think the Russian heat wave has to do with climate change, the answer is yes,'' said NASA's Gavin Schmidt. ''If you ask me as a scientist whether I have proved it, the answer is no - at least, not yet.'' Last week, the science editor of Britain's proudly sceptical Daily Mail filed a long article from the Arctic under the headline, ''The Crack in the Roof of the World: Yes, Global Warming is Real - and Deeply Worrying''. ''I have long been something of a climate-change sceptic,'' wrote Michael Hanlon. (One commentator describes him as Britain's most influential sceptic.) ''But my views in recent years have shifted. For me, the most convincing evidence that something worrying is going on lies right here in the Arctic . . . ''I still believe climate change has probably been exaggerated, but after coming here it is impossible to maintain that nothing is going on.'' It's doubt, but not as we know it., a blog run by scientist and former Clinton administration official Joe Romm, documents a half dozen recent ''scales-from-their-eyes'' moments in sceptical or previously mute publications, among them a Canadian bastion of the right, the National Post, lambasting global warming deniers as ''a liability to the conservative cause''. So is this the tipping point in the debate? On this, it pays to be sceptical. Let's remember it was in the super-heated summer of 1988 when NASA's James Hansen went to Washington DC and sounded the alarm. Twenty-two summers later, and here we are. Australian scientists are to be congratulated for enunciating clearly, at this critical moment, what is not in doubt - that an increase in greenhouse gases as a result of human industry pushes up temperatures, and that these are now at the highest levels seen in 800,000 years. There is still much to doubt about the consequences. But am I strange? Why do I find so little comfort in uncertainty? As veteran British climate writer Fred Pearce observes, sceptics have a valid point when they say that climate predictions are far less certain than is often claimed. But ''those sceptics are dreadfully wrong to take comfort in this . . . There is chaos out there, and we should be afraid.'' Jo Chandler is an Age senior writer.
  17. Yeah good point. If there is stagflation the disappearance of the equity fairy is going to hinder further growth. Hadn't thought of that. Pearler of an article.
  18. Bought a Valiant VG Coupe for $1,700 in 2004. Cost me about the same to get her on the road. 2007 I could have seen close to 10k for her, who knows now. Couldn't sell her though, I love her... Best deal ever. No car loan, fix yourself, awesome cruiser, what's more to say. Just gotta work out how to make her a little greener... Already LPG, well duel fuel but she runs on gas most the time. And I'm recycling too, not funding the new car market. Have I justified myself yet...?!
  19. Yep I think that's what it says. Took me a veeeerrry long time to work it out though...
  20. I think Dicks' with you on that one. Have a crack if you're under 30. Looks like he's making a doco too. Dick's blonde ambition: $1m cash to save civilisation Dick Smith wants to save the world from population growth, and he is willing to pay $1 million for it. The larger-than-life Australian entrepreneur launched his Wilberforce Award at the Financial and Energy Exchange in Sydney this morning, flanked by five young blonde women, celebrity publicist Max Markson, a Chihuahua dog and an old suitcase filled with $1 million in $100 notes. The aim of the prize is to encourage people around the world below the age of 30 to come up with the best solution to stop what Mr Smith terms society's capitalist-driven addiction to consumption growth.
  21. Great convo everyone, I'm learning heaps, glad I posted the article. Max & staringclown, awesome info, thanks.
  22. I normally get a couple a day also for Melbourne inner bayside & rural Vic. Been pretty quiet since the 5th, 1 for Williamstown only. There's been a lot more than usual the past few months.
  23. Cheers, Dose, Plonk, Zaph. I don't know what I put on my cornflakes this morning. I went to the sites before posting and saw the info. I was looking for W/E 11th... yep, got a little ahead of myself on the dates. I'd try and blame Windows' calendar but I don't think it's gonna cut it.
  24. Yyyyyyyup. 56% above trendline now, ouch.