December 31, 2007

Predictions for 2008

Clever reviews on the year just past have been, err, non-existent. Perhaps the journo's are waiting for inspiration to strike in the New Year. (About as likely as the Oz journo collective being struck by lightening. )

Insightful analysis and horoscope readings for 2008 have been similarly lacking.

Thank goodness then, for the ever reliable Borowitz Report:

January: After paying five billion dollars for The Wall Street Journal, Rupert Murdoch will reduce the size of the paper by removing the facts.

February: Responding to the controversy over the CIAs’ waterboarding videotapes, President Bush will reaffirm his administration’s opposition to videotaping.

March: As the writers strike drags on, Paramount will produce the second “Transformers” film without a script, just like they did with the first one.

April: Monica Lewinsky will announce her candidacy for President of the United States. She will offer herself as an alternative to Hillary, saying, “It worked before.”

May: Attempting to bolster flagging enlistment rates, the Army will change its recruitment slogan from “Army Strong” to “I Can’t Believe It’s Not a Civil War.”

June: Population experts will warn that the world’s population will soar in 2008, largely due to the Spears sisters.

July: China will send a new brand of rat poison to the United States under the name “Delicious Cupcakes.”

August: Sen. Edward Kennedy will abandon plans to write his memoirs, explaining, “I can’t even remember what I did last night.”

September: At the Republican National Convention, G.O.P. nominee Mike Huckabee will select Jesus Christ as his running mate.

October: O.J. Simpson will be convicted in Las Vegas, proving that it is easier to get away with murder than stealing sports memorabilia.

November: President-elect Michael Bloomberg will defend the five-billion-dollar cost of his campaign, arguing, “Rupert Murdoch paid that much for The Wall Street Journal, and I get a whole country.”

December: In his last official act, President Bush will announce an exit strategy from Iraq. The President will withdraw all U.S. troops – through Iran.

December 30, 2007

Only because no-one died

"We all know viscerally and factually that whatever misguided idiocy possessed Hicks to undertake training and to write to his mother about his "lovely brother", Osama bin Laden, he poses no threat to our national security."
Feel free to speak for yourself big boy, but don't you dare suggest that my facts or my viscerals happily coincide with yours.

Australians and the Australian MSM have gone all intellectually gooey over David Hicks.

Let's be factual, shall we?

These free people, writing articles and letters, have the luxury of rabbiting on about Hicks' Middle Eastern adventures as being youthful folly only because Hicks didn't find time or opportunity to kill anyone.

The majority of successful terrorists, are young, stupid and misguided, of that we can definitely be sure. We don't however, wring our hands and offer to take them to McDonalds for a 'burger and a quiet heart to heart, mostly because those folly ridden lads are very often wandering about the heavens in search of their swag of virgins, having murdered dozens or hundreds of people here on planet earth.

Hicks is a failed terrorist. For many Australians that makes him innocent.

Some have even suggested that we don't and mustn't punish people for what they think about, but don't carry out, which is a nonsense (hello: pedophiles anyone?). Legal system can and do punish people for all types of unsuccessfully 'thought about' criminal activities.

Note, too, the blithering stupidity of the article's heading (below).

No: this "new era" -
all four weeks of it - has not resulted in fundamental changes to life or the universe as we know it.

Astonishing, isn't it?


Wonder which part of "me" or "too" that people failed to understand when they elected Rudd.

New era just as disgraceful as the old ...

Oh, and the good old Herald-Sun carried the front page heading: "Hicks refuses to say sorry". This would be fine, except that he hasn't refused to do any such thing. The heading would only make sense if Hicks was obligated to say "sorry", or had been asked by an interviewer if he wished to say "sorry" and had responded "no, I don't".

The "sorry" crap was started by the MSM; they hyped up a load of tripe that Hicks would issue a statement to say sorry (to who, one wonders?) upon his release from jail. So, Hicks didn't follow through on a media created scenario, which is promptly labeled as a "refusal to say sorry".

Clowns to the left of us, clowns to the right ...

Another expert baits us with global warming

Keeping up with the horrors of global warming is arduous, frightening, and exhausting.

Exhibit A: do you recognize the unfriendly shark in the picture, below? This particularly anti-social looking shark was used to illustrate the pending invasion of Victorian beaches by sharks in greater numbers than ever before - all brought about by global warming, of course. If you don't recognize this shark, it might be because the newspaper had to go all the way to South Africa to find a photo of a suitably angry great white shark to accompany this pointless story.

"A shark expert has warned that Victoria's "shocking" approach to beach safety could put swimmers at risk as the state faces what could be its worst shark season, due to global warming.

He also warned that tiger sharks could start appearing in Victorian waters as sea temperatures rise.

Sharks had already come "frighteningly close" to humans this season, he said, citing accounts of sharks swimming under surfboard riders at Gunnamatta and Point Lonsdale."

Yep, anything "could" happen. Life's like that.

Fortunately, lifesaving Victoria spokesperson has a tighter grip on reality:

"If we look at data over the years, the risk factors of drowning or getting skin cancer are so significantly higher than the risk of a shark attack it is almost lunacy that people are so focused on whether I'm going to get bitten by a shark," he said."
Yep. Shark attacks and death by shark-meal have remained stunningly stable in Oz since such statistics have been kept (the last 100 years or so?). The figures don't go up. Ever.

The Age wasn't even able to summon up a single shark attack death in Victoria in recent years, merely citing a couple of minor encounters.

■ December 2006: Torquay surfer Peter Galvin suffered severe leg injuries when attacked about 100 metres from Winki Pop Beach, near Bells Beach.

■ December 2005: Surfer Tom Burke punched and kicked a shark after it attacked him while surfing off Flinders.

■ January 2005: A three-metre shark bit a hole in an inflatable patrol dinghy at a children's sailing regatta on the Mornington Peninsula.

Ah, global warming: promising so much, delivering so little.

(Much like the average politician, now that I think of it.)

Fears of 'worst shark season ever' as sea heats up ...

Clueless pollies

Reminder: these people make policies for real people, like you and me.

The long touted childcare facility for federal parliament hit a snag when the pollies found out how much real childcare places cost in the real world. Seems the cost was too rich for the pollies, who believe their childcare should be "affordable".
Labor MP Jim Turnour, who has a four-month-old baby, said a childcare centre in Parliament would be convenient, but $80 a day was excessive.

"We should have affordable child care at Parliament House - not only for the Members, but also for staff," he said.

These people have no friggin' idea.

MPs childcare costs too much ..

December 29, 2007

Post-modern assassin's manual

There was no autopsy (the family declined), but the post-mortem examination of Benazir Bhutto apparently suggests that she died from banging her head on the lever of the car's sun-roof. There were no bullet wounds and no bomb blast wounds.

Almost as ludicrous as losing a Prime Minister at the beach.

Oh.

We did do that, didn't we?

Update

A Pakistani television station has released footage which it says shows a gunman firing at opposition leader Benazir Bhutto before an accomplice detonates a suicide bomb.

The footage clearly shows Ms Bhutto collapsing into her armoured-vehicle before the suicide blast, contradicting official government claims that she ducked to avoid the shots and cracked her skull on the sunroof.

The Government's version, which included only partial footage of the attack, has been met with widespread derision.

December 28, 2007

Fear and loathing in Oz

We can expect more insanity in 2008, however, it will be re-branded and re-badged (in numerous shades of green, would be my guess), now that the Howard's have vacated Kirribilli and the Libs are being led by the teary-eyed Nelson (I bet he cries at weddings too, mostly his own).

January: John Pilger advises Guardian readers that Australia has regressed from a social democracy "into a state of fabricated fear and xenophobia". Wollongong academic Peter Kell tells The Jakarta Post that Australian society has "broken apart".

February: Phillip Adams informs his ABC Radio National listeners the communist dictator Joseph Stalin and the United States President, George Bush, "have a similar attitude to science". Jeff Kennett predicts: "I'm going to live to 150 years … " God help us. Canberra academic Norman Abjorensen predicts that "come July" Malcolm Turnbull will be prime minister.

March: At the launch of his wood-based autobiography, titled Recollections Of An Unreasonable Man, the former National Crime Authority boss Don Stewart decrees that "in this driest continent in the world, there seems to be a desire to cut down every tree in sight".

April: Journalist Deirdre Macken compares Sydney with Melbourne and maintains that "Sydney people want to talk about footy. And wrestling matches. And Christina Aguilera's boobs." All of them, apparently.

May: In his Quarterly Essay, David Marr argues: "Australian children are taught not to speak. It's a big part of our upbringing, learning to shut up, to listen, to wait until we're spoken to." It can only be assumed that Marr's own teachers failed in their task.

June: Commentator Piers Akerman indicates that ACTU activists opposed to Work Choices have been told to target church groups and the like "using computer programs rather than the brick-through-the-window terror favoured by groups such as Hitler's Nazis, Stalin's communists and Mao's Red Guard". Phew. The editor of Meanjin, Ian Brittan, states that he needs his own office in order to discuss in private with authors "whether something should be a comma or a semicolon".

July: Robert Richter, QC, asserts that the attorney-general, Philip Ruddock, and "his cohorts" in the HFD constitute "a terrorist threat to our legal system". Writing in The Age, Richard Flanagan proclaims that "during the Howard years Australia became a country that believed its own propaganda, in the sort of way South Africa had during the apartheid regime".

August: Academic Gregory Pemberton suggests that "Australia's political and media value as a terrorist target will increase later this year at about the time of the APEC summit in Sydney and the federal election".

September: The Age columnist Catherine Deveny writes: "If I were John Howard, I'd be praying for a terrorist attack." She isn't and he didn't.

October: The Anglican bishop George Browning preaches that Jesus "spoke about climate change". Well, he was a prophet - even if his global warming concerns were not reported in the Bible. Channel Nine's John Westacott describes the battle of the election debate worm as "one of the great political censorships in living memory". In fact, Nine's worm-infested coverage was disrupted for only a few minutes. The actor Cate Blanchett tells The Guardian that "we're so in America's back pocket it's embarrassing" and warns that "we've really isolated ourselves from Asia". For the record, Blanchett does Hollywood but not, alas, Bollywood.

November: From his large colonial-style house on two hectares on the outskirts of Sydney, the former Labor leader Mark Latham condemns Australia's "culture of consumerism and isolationism".

December: It's time to reflect on the hyperbole king or queen for 2007. The title is shared. The Canberra academic Bruce Kent starred in comparing Howard with such Nazi mass murderers as Hitler and Himmler and by inventing similarities between the Howard government and the Third Reich. Especially since the HFD was defeated in a free election, which the real fascists never allowed. But Seer [Bob] Ellis of Palm Beach also performed well in the false prophecy stakes. Witness his prediction that Bush "will at least bomb Iran" by November 23 and thereby assist Howard on the eve of the election.

A year of fear and loathing and failed prophets ...

Sub-optimal aspirations

A survey of British women identified the following responses, in order of *popularity*, to the questions shown.

They are mostly forlorn, insipid, vacuous, asinine little aspirations, with a few genuinely freakish (and womanish) juxtapositions thrown in (being a rooly, rooly skinny Prime Minister perhaps?). There's nothing that would suggest anything other than a deep and abiding vanity, selfishness and obsession with the superficial.

Q: In your fantasy world, which of the following would you like to fulfill?

1 Travel the world

2 Develop my own successful company

3 Learn a new language

4 Marry a wealthy man

5 Gain top qualifications in university

6 Have children

7 Star opposite my favourite actor/actress

8 I would keep my life exactly the same

9 Win X Factor

10 Become Prime Minister

Q: Which of the following would improve the quality of your life?

1 To weigh less

2 Better home

3 More time to myself

4 More time with my family/friends

5 A new wardrobe

6 Better job

7 Better sex

8 Meet the partner of my dreams

9 Cosmetic surgery

10 Children/more children

Q: If you could improve one thing about yourself, what would it be?

1 Better body

2 More assertive

3 Less emotional

4 More beautiful

5 More intelligent

6 More athletic

7 More popular

8 More compassionate

9 More sexual partners

10 Better sense of humour

Women just want the Posh life ..

Duck Friday

December 26, 2007

Gerbal warming has stopped

"Global warming stopped? Surely not. What heresy is this? Haven’t we been told that the science of global warming is settled beyond doubt and that all that’s left to the so-called sceptics is the odd errant glacier that refuses to melt?

Aren’t we told that if we don’t act now rising temperatures will render most of the surface of the Earth uninhabitable within our lifetimes?

With only few days remaining in 2007, the indications are the global temperature for this year is the same as that for 2006 – there has been no warming over the 12 months.

The fact is that the global temperature of 2007 is statistically the same as 2006 as well as every year since 2001. Global warming has, temporarily or permanently, ceased. Temperatures across the world are not increasing as they should according to the fundamental theory behind global warming – the greenhouse effect. Something else is happening and it is vital that we find out what or else we may spend hundreds of billions of pounds needlessly.

But here it starts getting messy and, perhaps, a little inconvenient for some. Looking at the global temperatures as used by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the UK’s Met Office and the IPCC (and indeed Al Gore) it’s apparent that there has been a sharp rise since about 1980.

The period 1980-98 was one of rapid warming – a temperature increase of about 0.5 degrees C (CO2 rose from 340ppm to 370ppm). But since then the global temperature has been flat (whilst the CO2 has relentlessly risen from 370ppm to 380ppm). This means that the global temperature today is about 0.3 deg less than it would have been had the rapid increase continued.

For the past decade the world has not warmed. Global warming has stopped. It’s not a viewpoint or a sceptic’s inaccuracy. It’s an observational fact. Clearly the world of the past 30 years is warmer than the previous decades and there is abundant evidence (in the northern hemisphere at least) that the world is responding to those elevated temperatures. But the evidence shows that global warming as such has ceased.

Scientists and politicians talk of future projected temperature increases. But if the world has stopped warming what use these projections then?

The science is fascinating, the ramifications profound, but we are fools if we think we have a sufficient understanding of such a complicated system as the Earth’s atmosphere’s interaction with sunlight to decide. We know far less than many think we do or would like you to think we do. We must explain why global warming has stopped."
And we mustn't spend trillions of dollars on the human conceit of "reversing the climate", rather than providing two billion people with safe drinking water and sanitary living conditions. And we mustn't let the opportunistic entrepreneurs become rich, fat and happy, taking our money for the spurious cause of "off setting" our carbon emissions, or any among thousands of shonky environmental frauds being promoted and encouraged by everyone from politicians to scientists, all of whom should have enough synapses firing at any given moment to not be seduced by mass hysteria and Al Gore.

Has global warming stopped?

Wednesday Wisdom

You are not superior just because you see the world in an odious light.

Vicomte de Chateaubriand

December 25, 2007

Nut crackers

UK doctors have complained to a chocolate maker after it changed the shape of two chocolates that can be used to measure testicles in pubescent boys.

The 8mm oval shape of Treasures and Truffles was a dead ringer for a bead that measures testes to monitor development, but Masterfoods changed the shape of the chocolate.

In a joint letter to the British Medical Journal, doctors said the change was a major setback to pediatric endocrinology.

"The original design should be reinstated. It could play to the maker's advantage. By including an insert with clear instructions, young males could self-evaluate (ideally not at the point of sale)", the doctors wrote.

May all you balls be right-sized and chocolate, at least for today - Merry Christmas everyone!

December 23, 2007

This is serious

The New York Times is touting South Australia ("even its nickname, “City of Churches,” implied an innate conservatism" ... sure, if you overlook the ever so grisly murders for which S.A is rather better known) as some sort of "culinary hub" of Australia.

Stop laughing!

They're serious!

It's The New York Times: they don't *do* jokes.

"Two decades ago, Adelaide, the capital of the state of South Australia, was considered the dowdy wallflower to its lively coastal siblings, Melbourne and Sydney. Even its nickname, “City of Churches,” implied an innate conservatism. Australia’s most famous conservative, Rupert Murdoch, started his global media empire from the city.

But now South Australia’s capital, nestled along the Pacific Coast and sprawled against the garden greenbelt of the gentle River Torrens, has become the colorful cosmopolitan hub of Australia’s culinary revolution — 51 percent of the country’s wine is produced in the region, while the Adelaide Hills are Australia’s fruit and veggie basket.

Add to that picture the multiethnic population that has swarmed into this rapidly growing city of 1.1 million [ooh, aah - ed], and it seems inevitable that a teeming cafe and restaurant scene would arise. In fact, Adelaide claims the country’s highest number of restaurants per person, including the Grange and Petaluma’s Bridgewater Mill, often mentioned as among Australia’s best restaurants.

Some claim that the region was a culinary haven even before the first Dutch ship spotted the coast in 1627. “See this wet bark? We used to peel it off and suck on it for its sweet taste,” said Haydn Bromley, an Aboriginal guide showing me a towering gum tree in the city’s more than century-old Botanic Garden."

Not once does the NYTs mention Croweaters, or cutlery, for that matter.

A "City of Churches" emerges as culinary hub ...

December 22, 2007

Just a little bit controlling

From the ABC News:
"The CSIRO, the Australian Research Council and Cooperative Research Centres [both statutory authorities] now have to have their media releases cleared by the PM's office to make sure they reflect the new Federal Government's key messages.

The secretary of the Department of Innovation, Industry Science and Research, Mark Paterson, is the senior bureaucrat who issued the new directive.

Mr Paterson says it is not about controlling the message, it is about consistency.

"It was something that we were asked for from those agencies so that they were certain as to how to deal with media releases," he said.

"The essence of the message was that the Government wanted to ensure a degree of consistency in message on key messages and therefore wanted to clear key messages through the Prime Minister's office."

Mr Paterson says it is not an unusual move, and similar things happened under the previous government."
I strongly object to any bodies, most particularly research bodies, being subject to political and ideological cleansing prior to my being permitted to read their press releases. What comes next, the research itself?

Police state anyone?

Oh, oops, sorry: that was the Howard government.

Now we're free, kind, warm, fuzzy, happy and cleansed of wrong thoughts.

December 21, 2007

Bull

Two sisters, one blonde and one brunette, inherit the family ranch. Unfortunately, after just a few years, they are in financial trouble. In order to keep the bank from repossessing the ranch, they need to purchase a bull so that they can breed their own stock.

Upon leaving, the brunette tells her sister, "When I get there, if I decide to buy the bull, I'll contact you to drive out after me and haul it home."
The brunette arrives at the man's ranch, inspects the bull, and decides she wants to buy it. The man tells her that he will sell it for $599, no less. After paying him, she drives to the nearest town to send her sister a telegram to tell her the news.
She walks into the telegraph office, and says, "I want to send a telegram to my sister telling her that I've bought a bull for our ranch. I need her to hitch the trailer to our pickup truck and drive out here so we can haul it home."
The telegraph operator explains that he'll be glad to help her, then adds, it will cost 99 cents a word." Well, after paying for the bull, the brunette realizes that she'll only be able to send her sister one word.
After a few minutes of thinking, she nods and says, "I want you to send her the word "comfortable."
The operator shakes his head. "How is she ever going to know that you want her to hitch the trailer to your pickup truck and drive out here to haul that bull back to your ranch if you send her just the word "comfortable?"
The brunette explains, "My sister's blonde. The word is big. She'll read it very slowly.... "com-for-da-bul."

Duck Friday

December 20, 2007

Happy non-specified holiday

Merry Tossmas ...

Common rankles

  • People who point at their wrist while asking for the time. I know where my watch is pal, where the hell is yours? Do I point at my crotch when I ask where the toilet is.
  • People who are willing to get off their ass to search the entire room for the T.V. remote because they refuse to walk to the T.V. and change the channel manually.
  • When people say 'Oh you just want to have your cake and eat it too'. Damn right! What good is cake if you can't eat it?
  • When people say 'it's always the last place you look'. Of course it is. Why the hell would you keep looking after you've found it? Do people do this? Who and where are they? Gonna kick their asses!
  • When people say while watching a film 'did you see that?'. No loser, I paid $12 to come to the cinema and stare at the damn floor.
  • People who ask 'Can I ask you a question? Didn't really give me a choice there, did ya sunshine?
  • When something is 'new and improved!'. Which is it? If it's new, then there has never been anything before it. If it's an improvement, then there must have been something before it, couldn't be new.

  • When people say 'life is short'. What the hell?? Life is the longest damn thing anyone ever does!! What can you do that's longer?

  • When you are waiting for the bus and someone asks 'Has the bus come yet?'. If the bus came would I be standing here,dumbass?

December 19, 2007

School 1957 vs. 2007

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fight after school.

1957 -
Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up mates.
2007 - Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.


Scenario: Jeffrey won't be still in class, disrupts other students.

1957 -
Jeffrey sent to office and given a good caning by the Principal. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2007 - Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.


Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbour's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1957 -
Billy is more careful next time, grows up normally, goes to uni, and becomes a successful businessman.
2007 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. Psychologist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their Dad goes to prison. Billy's Mum has affair with psychologist.


Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1957 -
Mark shares aspirin with Principal.
2007 - Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.


Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.

1957 -
Pedro gets extra tuition, passes English, goes to Uni.
2007 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. Class action lawsuit filed by anti discrimination commissioner against Education Dept and Pedro's English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.


Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers, puts them in a model aeroplane paint bottle, blows up an ant bed.

1957 -
Ants die.
2007 - Local police & AFP called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, parents investigated, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny's Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.


Scenario: Johnny falls while running during morning tea and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.

1957 -
In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2007 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in prison while Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

Wednesday Wisdom

My Grandmother is over eighty and still doesn't need glasses. Drinks right out of the bottle.

Henny Youngman

December 18, 2007

A little bit country, a little bit dead

"Mexico’s country music stars are being killed at an alarming rate — 13 in the past year and a half, three already in December — in a trend that has gone hand in hand with the surge in violence between drug gangs here.

The motives for the killings remain a matter of speculation, and no evidence has been found to link them to a single killer. In some cases, the musicians appeared to have ties to organized crime figures, making them potential targets in reprisal attacks from rival gangs.

Others had composed ballads known as narcocorridos, glorifying the shadow world of drug dealers and hit men, which can offend other drug dealers and hit men. In still other cases, as the musicians’ fame grew, they may have become embroiled with criminals unwittingly."

None of the murders have been solved.

Songs of love and murder, silenced by killings ...

December 16, 2007

Send post it notes

Staff at a Melbourne chemical importer were surprised when a man wanted a quantity of nitric acid, a key ingredient in nitroglycerin, which is a substance used to make bombs.

A staff member called our multi-squillion dollar Terrorist Hotline. Person on the other end says:

"Oh. Hang on while I get something to write that down on."

Your tax dollars at work.

1800 123 400

(via The Sunday Age)

December 15, 2007

It's the world's biggest catastrophe, right?

"Who says it is warming catastrophically?

Humans have only been trying to measure the temperature fairly consistently since about 1880, during which time we think the world may have warmed by about +0.6 °C ± 0.2 °C. As we've already pointed out, the estimate of warming is less than the error margin on our ability to take the Earth's temperature, generally given as 14 °C ± 0.7 °C for the average 1961-1990 while the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) suggest 13.9 °C for their average 1880-2004.

We are pretty sure it was cold before the 1880 commencement of record and we would probably not handle the situation too well if such conditions returned but there has been no demonstrable catastrophic warming while people have been trying to measure the planet's temperature.

If we have really been measuring a warming episode as we think we have, then setting new records for "hottest ever in recorded history" should happen just about every year -- although half a degree over a century is hardly something to write home about -- so there's really nothing exciting about scoring the highest number when looking at such a short history."

Also, did you know:

  • Water vapor and carbon dioxide are major greenhouse gases.
  • Water vapor accounts for about 70% of the greenhouse effect, carbon dioxide somewhere between 4.2% and 8.4%.

  • Much of the wavelength bands where carbon dioxide is active are either at or near saturation.

  • Water vapor absorbs infrared over much the same range as carbon dioxide and more besides.

  • Clouds are not composed of greenhouse gas -- they are mostly water droplets -- but absorb about one-fifth of the longwave radiation emitted by Earth.

  • Clouds can briefly saturate the atmospheric radiation window (8-13µm) through which some Earth radiation passes directly to space (those hot and sticky overcast nights produce this effect - that is greenhouse but has nothing to do with carbon dioxide).

  • Greenhouse gases can not obstruct this window although ozone absorbs in a narrow slice at 9.6µm.

  • Adding more greenhouse gases which absorb in already saturated bandwidths has no net effect.
  • Adding them in near-saturated bands has little additional effect.

Junk Science ...


UN (and Al Gore) taking the world in entirely wrong direction

Letter to the Secretary-General of the UN from about 100 (actually 103 according to my rough count) of "independent scientists, engineers and economists active in research of climate related areas". In it they list several reason for their disagreement with the IPCC.

These scientist, et al don't appear to be "lackeys of the fossil fuel industry" and they seem to be agnostic and / or atheistic rather than born gain climate-cuddlers:
"It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation.

Contrary to the impression left by the IPCC Summary reports:

  • Recent observations of phenomena such as glacial retreats, sea-level rise and the migration of temperature-sensitive species are not evidence for abnormal climate change, for none of these changes has been shown to lie outside the bounds of known natural variability.
  • The average rate of warming of 0.1 - 0. 2 degrees Celsius per decade recorded by satellites during the late 20th century falls within known natural rates of warming and cooling over the last 10,000 years.
  • Leading scientists, including some senior IPCC representatives, acknowledge that today’s computer models cannot predict climate. Consistent with this, and despite computer projections of temperature rises, there has been no net global warming since 1998. That the current temperature plateau follows a late 20th century period of warming is consistent with the continuation today of natural multi-decadal or millennial climate cycling."

Dear Mr. Secretary-General - Re: UN climate conference taking the World in entirely the wrong direction

December 13, 2007

December 12, 2007

About those destroyed CIA tapes

The prevailing assumption is that the CIA tapes were destroyed to conceal "harsher than usual" interrogation methods. Gerald Posner suggests another possible explanation:

Re: the breaking news that the CIA destroyed the videotapes of interrogations with 2 terror suspects, you might have seen that the tapes of the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah were destroyed.

You might also recall that in my 2003 NYT bestseller, Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11, my last chapter was titled, "The Interrogation." Based on two active US intelligence sources, I was the first to disclose Zubaydah's interrogation. To date, I am the only reporter to have printed the info about what happened to him.

Zubaydah, wounded when he was captured in Pakistan, was fooled in a fake flag operation to believe that the Saudis held him. Instead of being afraid of the Saudis, he demanded to talk to three Saudi princes (one, the nephew of the King, who happened to be in the U.S. on 9/11). He gave his interrogators the private cell phone numbers of all 3. He did the same regarding the chief of Pakistan's air force.

After the U.S. told the Saudis and Pakistanis of Zubaydah's finger pointing, all four men had tragic 'accidents.' The King's nephew died of complications from liposuction at the age of 43. A day later, the 41 year old Prince named by Zubaydah died in a one-car accident on his way to the funeral of the King's nephew. The third named prince, age 25, died a week later of "thirst," according to the Saudi Royal Court. And shortly after that, the chief of Pakistan's air force died when his plane exploded with his wife and 15 of his top aides on board.

When my book was published, CIA officials trashed it 'off the record,' but made no public comment. I have always held the same position. There is (or was) firm evidence of what transpired, of whether my reporting was accurate or not. Make the interrogation tapes public and then we'll know whether one of the top al-Qaeda operatives accused leading Saudi royals and a top Pakistani military man--now all dead--of being his sponsors. And accused two of them ­ the King;s nephew and the Pakistani Air Force chief of having advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Now, suddenly coincidence of coincidence, the CIA says the Zubaydah interrogation tapes are destroyed. How convenient.

Hoi polloi words

Not a list to leave one particularly piqued or agog at the wonders of our language.

Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year 2007

1. w00t

2. facebook

3. conundrum

4. quixotic

5. blamestorm

6. sardoodledom

7. apathetic

8. Pecksniffian

9. hypocrite

10. charlatan

I don't think I'll be finding an excuse to throw Pecksniffian into a conversation any time soon; I might be able to give w00t a burl though.

Wednesday Wisdom

You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims.

Harriet Woods (1927-)

December 9, 2007

More unappealing hunches

Soooo, you're all in a dither about the sea levels in 100 years time and losing sleep over CO2 radiative effects, and polar bears dying from long range swimming between icebergs?

The latest, biggest and greatest UN report has been issued and we are all damned to hell, signed and sealed by trillions of scientists and their dinky computer models (of which they can't reflect cloud systems, dust, wind or the self-cleaning capability of the atmosphere. They also can't replicate natural causes of any kind. Hell, hey can’t even reproduce past known weather events in their models).

Fear not, things are not as they seem, but you won't find the UN or the MSM letting on.

Not much of a headline to tell people that sea levels will rise a heart-breaking less than 7 seven centimeters after 100 years, not seven meters imminently.

Ooh, aah: "Disaster, death and damnation are not at hand".

Can't sell copy with a good news story like that folks.

Christopher Monckton says the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has quietly admitted to exaggerating the possible rise in sea levels, and worse:

"The (IPCC’s 2007) report’s first table of figures - inserted by the IPCC’s bureaucrats after the scientists had finalized the draft, and without their consent - listed four contributions to sea-level rise. The bureaucrats had multiplied the effect of melting ice from the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets by 10… Until I wrote to point out the error, no one had noticed. The IPCC, on receiving my letter, quietly corrected, moved and relabeled the erroneous table… The IPCC now says the combined contribution of the two great ice-sheets to sea-level rise will be less than seven centimeters after 100 years, not seven meters imminently, and that the Greenland ice sheet (which thickened by 50 cm between 1995 and 2005) might only melt after several millennia, probably by natural causes, just as it last did 850,000 years ago.

(Al) Gore, mendaciously assisted by the IPCC bureaucracy, had exaggerated a hundredfold… At the very heart of the IPCC’s calculations lurks an error more serious than any of these. The IPCC says:

“The CO2 radiative forcing increased by 20 percent during the last 10 years (1995-2005).” Radiative forcing quantifies increases in radiant energy in the atmosphere, and hence in temperature. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 in 1995 was 360 parts per million. In 2005 it was just 5percent higher, at 378 ppm. But each additional molecule of CO2 in the air causes a smaller radiant-energy increase than its predecessor. So the true increase in radiative forcing was 1 percent, not 20 percent. The IPCC has exaggerated the CO2 effect 20-fold."
No corrections in any newspapers or news broadcasts.
"Recently a High Court judge in the UK listed nine of the 35 major scientific errors in Gore’s movie, saying they must be corrected before innocent schoolchildren can be exposed to the movie. Gore’s exaggeration of sea-level rise was one."
Christopher Monckton is one of the many UN climate change report writers who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore.

Dishonest Political Tampering with the Science on Global Warming ...

Monckton concludes:
"My fellow-participants, there is no climate crisis. The correct policy response to a non-problem is to have the courage to do nothing. Take courage! Do nothing, and save the world’s poor from yet another careless, UN-driven slaughter."

After you Tim Flannery

From South African academic David Benatar, author of Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence -
"Benatar is serious. ‘The central idea of this book is that coming into existence is always a serious harm.’ And, he continues, ‘Coming into existence is always bad for those who come into existence. In other words, although we may not be able to say of the never-existent that never existing is good for them, we can say of the existent that existence is bad for them.’

Benatar spends a chapter demonstrating that ‘human lives contain much more bad than is ordinarily recognised’. Given his distaste for life, why has he hung around for so long? It’s hard to say.

As you might expect, the extinction of the human race seems like an excellent idea to Prof B, although he acknowledges that it might be difficult for society to manage it in a humane fashion. However, if a couple of asteroids could be coaxed into colliding with our planet, it would be a positive outcome for all concerned.

Tim Flannery, science’s answer to Stephen King, insists that the population Down Under ... should contract from 20 million to an optimum level of six million to keep us from wreaking havoc upon the environment. He was named 2007 Australian of the Year, so his message seems to have struck a chord amongst the extra-skinny soy latté set, at least. And judging from the hectoring of the United Nations Population Fund and its gaggle of birth control busybody NGOs, nearly everyone in Africa, Asia and South America urgently needs condoms to keep brown babies from entering the world and, later on, from entering Europe."
We need serious leadership on this matter, and Prof. B and Tim Flannery look like just the men to lead by example. Walk the talk boys, walk the talk.

The ultimate miserabilist ...

Was it you?

"Kevin Rudd and Labor owe their election victory a fortnight ago to just 0.1 per cent of the national vote after fewer than 12,000 people across nine electorates dumped the Coalition.

It is a remarkable statistic, revealing that despite an impressive overall swing to Labor across the nation of 5.6 per cent, the Rudd Government holds office by a slim margin.

A relatively small number of voters out of the total 13.6 million people enrolled decided the election outcome."

Well, the Libs aren't "dead" after all. (Der.)

It would seem that the Rudd-Rapture was nothing much more than a burp.

Meanwhile, hands up if you were one of the 12,000 who had the pleasure of casting a deciding vote.

A Ruddslide that never happened ...


December 8, 2007

Conspicuous perversion

Organic foods and goods are for the rich and fat.


Conspicuous environmentalism for the over-indulged, with Brobdingnagian *environmental footprints*.


I know I've made this point before, but I'm going to keep making it, because "dumb" is one of my pet hates, and when "dumb" and "environmentalism" are linked my (lady-like) fury is roused.
"Malawi hovered for years at the brink of famine. After a disastrous corn harvest in 2005, almost five million of its 13 million people needed emergency food aid.

But this year, a nation that has perennially extended a begging bowl to the world is instead feeding its hungry neighbors. It is selling more corn to the World Food Program of the United Nations than any other country in southern Africa and is exporting hundreds of thousands of tons of corn to Zimbabwe.

Farmers explain Malawi’s extraordinary turnaround — one with broad implications for hunger-fighting methods across Africa — with one word: fertilizer.

Over the past 20 years, the World Bank and some rich nations Malawi depends on for aid have periodically pressed this small, landlocked country to adhere to free market policies and cut back or eliminate fertilizer subsidies, even as the United States and Europe extensively subsidized their own farmers. But after the 2005 harvest, the worst in a decade, Bingu wa Mutharika, Malawi’s newly elected president, decided to follow what the West practiced, not what it preached.

Stung by the humiliation of pleading for charity, he led the way to reinstating and deepening fertilizer subsidies despite a skeptical reception from the United States and Britain. Malawi’s soil, like that across sub-Saharan Africa, is gravely depleted, and many, if not most, of its farmers are too poor to afford fertilizer at market prices.

Here in Malawi, deep fertilizer subsidies and lesser ones for seed, abetted by good rains, helped farmers produce record-breaking corn harvests in 2006 and 2007.

The rest of the world is fed because of the use of good seed and inorganic fertilizer, full stop,” said Stephen Carr, who has lived in Malawi since 1989, when he retired as the World Bank’s principal agriculturalist in sub-Saharan Africa. “This technology has not been used in most of Africa. The only way you can help farmers gain access to it is to give it away free or subsidize it heavily."

Estimates show that corn production in Malawi rose to 2.7 million metric tons in 2006 and 3.4 million in 2007 from 1.2 million in 2005.

Ending famine, simply by ignoring the experts ...

Less beer for the buck

The Cascade Premium Lager stubby has shrunk from 375ml to 330ml.

This has been bandied about as being a "secretive price hike rip-off".

Well, sooky sooky.

I guess the lads and lassies who drink beer never go near a grocery store.

This little trick has been played out by grocery producers, and even women's cosmetics, for a good couple of decades, generally accompanied by lovely new packaging and a price hike to boot - all with less content.

(Hey, you don't seriously believe they repackage things just for the pleasure of recapturing the consumer's attention, did you?)

December 7, 2007

December 5, 2007

Careful who you give your sperm to

"A British firefighter who donated his sperm so a lesbian couple could have two babies is being forced to pay thousands of pounds in child support.

Andy Bathie, 37, initially agreed to help Sharon and Terri Arnold after being assured he would not have to be involved in the upbringing of their young boy and girl or have any financial responsibility towards them.

But the British government's Child Support Agency has begun docking his pay to force him to contribute to the children's upbringing because the lesbian couple have split up.

Mr Bathie has launched unprecedented court action in an attempt to ensure he cannot be recognised as a legal parent to the children.

"These women wanted to be parents and take on all the responsibilities that brings," he told the Evening Standard newspaper.

"I would never have agreed to this unless they had been living as a committed family.

"And now I can't afford to have children with my own wife - it's crippling me financially."

Wednesday Wisdom

I wanted to be tall and to have an important nose.

Giorgio Armani

December 3, 2007

How America Lost the War on Drugs

"All told, the United States has spent an estimated $500 billion to fight drugs - with very little to show for it. Cocaine is now as cheap as it was when Escobar died and more heavily used. Methamphetamine, barely a presence in 1993, is now used by 1.5 million Americans and may be more addictive than crack. We have nearly 500,000 people behind bars for drug crimes - a twelvefold increase since 1980 - with no discernible effect on the drug traffic. Virtually the only success the government can claim is the decline in the number of Americans who smoke marijuana - and even on that count, it is not clear that federal prevention programs are responsible."
If you know nothing about the illicit drug industry, if you think simple and wrong answers to complex social problems are the way to go, or if you believe that illicit drugs are inherently the source of all evil an the scourge of the universe - oh heck, whatever you believe and even if you you no opinions of any kind about illicit drugs - you should read this anyway:

How America Lost the War on Drugs ...

Bitchy Bob

A succinct critique of Bob Brown and the Greens, by Paul Sheehan, which starts out with:
"Why is Bob Brown so bitchy about Peter Garrett?"
and ends with:

"At 62, Brown has just been elected for another six-year Senate term. He has been in the business of accumulating power for a very long time. When Garrett emerged as a threat to Brown's power base, he was subject to a steady stream of claims that he had "sold out". Brown dismissed him as Little Red Riding Hood. Now, just three years after entering Parliament, Garrett sits in federal cabinet with his hands on the machinery of policy and power. He has always practised the art of the possible.

If anyone has sold out in this contest it is Brown, for using the environment as a screen for other obsessions, and for failing to grasp the enormous political opportunity presented by the 2007 election.

The Greens should start thinking about a new leader, one more honourable and less shrill."

Bob is the sell-out, not Garrett ...

December 2, 2007

Go Well - Matt Price

Eloquent, heart felt, tear inducing tributes to Matt Price:

News Limited chief John Hartigan - A great journalist, unabashed dag and wonderful human being ...

Annabel Crab - Vale Matt Price, a man of talent, humour and passion ...

Allan Ramsey writes about Matt toward the end of this piece ...


From Father Park (comment posted on earlier post reporting Matt's death):
"It's a pity this thread has sorta fallen off the page...so to speak. It's the way of these threads I s'pose. Death, maudlin...

I have no idea why but Matt Price's death has sort of resonated. Like Annabel Crabb in the SMH observes, I'm one of those who would write "I didn't know matt, only read him...”. I'd add, also, watch him mercilessly tear strips of the egregiously pompous Piers Ackerman on Insiders. Piers was always such an easy target but Price’s parries and observations were always so understated and …wry. Delivered with that “larrikin” grin, Piers was constantly spotlighted for what he was. Insiders was always worth watching when Price (or Trioli) was on.

No, I didn’t know him. I only read and watched him. He wrote extremely well. As a part of that press gallery he stood out with both the erudition of his pieces and the originality of his wit.

I wrote once before that I thought Annabel Crabb might have been his female counterpart. She’d likely disagree strenuously with that assessment. Her “send off” in today’s SMH is heart-felt and succinct – as is Alan Ramsay’s.

I can only say that I hugely missed Matt Price’s mug on the “opinion banner” at top right of the Oz’s web page throughout the campaign. And that, without a doubt, I will miss his writing full stop.

Not half as much as his family will miss him though. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, fair about life."

December 1, 2007

Power plays: week one

Remember just a few short days ago (see previous post):

"Rudd and Gillard are not in power for power's sake."

Yeah, sure, right.

Turns out that Gillard, who, as Deputy Prime Minister, has carte blanch to pick her own portfolio - err, oops - not quite: any portfolio except Treasury.

It's like this: Gillard wanted Treasury. Rudd said no.

Gillard then demanded both IR and education, so that she can overshadow and outshine new Treasurer Swan, presumably on the basis of volume of work and getting her face in the MSM.

(None of them are in it for the love of power though. It's all about being the saviors who will avert global catastrophe.)

November 30, 2007

We wuz jibbed

Better looking.

Better suits.

Better haircuts.

Duck Friday

November 29, 2007

Post election dissembler

Steve Biddulph can take a bow for being the first, and possibly the last, uber-dissembler to bounce all over a newspaper since the election we had to have.

From this:
"The Liberal Party is in trauma. The corporate sector is attempting to calm its nerves, and even the victors in the Labor Party cannot quite believe the seismic change in the landscape of power. But the ramifications of last Saturday may be much greater than just one election won or lost. In a way that seems unthinkable to us now, 2007 may mark the end of the Liberal Party itself. It won't happen overnight, but just watch it happen."
To this:
"We are a civilisation in collapse. Labor is the right party to manage this. Despite the widespread belief after years of cynical politics that politicians are all the same, Rudd and Gillard are not in power for power's sake. I am willing to stake my 30 years as a psychologist on this, but I think many observers have also come to this conclusion. Kevin and Julia, as Australia already calls them, want to make this country a better place for the people in it. In the coming times of deprivation, they have the value systems that will be needed to care for the sudden rise in poverty, stress, and need"
Someone, anyone: Steve Biddulph needs serious help, now, bad, fast.

Read the whole thing for a sobering look at the worst that can happen if you stop taking your meds ...

Girly job?

Traditionally, the deputy leader of a party is also the Treasurer. Treasury is the most senior ministry.

Since Rudd and Gillard took over the ALP, Gillard has been the shadow industrial relations minister. Not, as I've noted numerous times before, exactly a senior role for a deputy leader.

Now that the ALP have won office, Gillard has been given Education.

Which still leaves the begging question still begging: why is Gillard up to the task of being Deputy Prime Minister of the country, but not up to managing a senior ministry?

Education, let's not forget, is primarily the domain of the states, it's not even a federal function.

Handing out laptops to every high school student - the ALP "education revolution" - will not improve any child's eduction (note: already proven in studies that computers make no difference to learning), but I suppose Ms Gillard will gain the love and affection of the nation, much like Santa Clause.

Who got the discarded IR portfolio?

November 28, 2007

Tuuurrrnbuuulll

Tony and his people skills have pulled out of the Liberal Party leadership race, suggesting that his barnacle-like association with the Howard government has turned his colleagues off, rather than the fact of him being, essentially, too much of an massive arse for the public to tolerate.

That leaves Turnbull and Nelson to bitch slap it out.

Seeing as neither man is likely to want to play second trollop to the other, that leaves the deputy leadership waiting for a taker.

Have not heard a peep out of Nelson, but Turnbull is busy spruiking himself to journalists:
"Mr Turnbull said he was not like outgoing leader John Howard and not an ideologically-driven person.

"We're two completely different people," he said.

"My approach would be one that is much more objective about policies.

[News flash Mal: no one is objective about policies. Does he mean pragmatic perhaps? Or easy? Or popularist? If so, he shouldn't start off on the wrong foot by trying to pass pragmatism / ease / popularism off as objectivity, it won't wash.]

"I am not an ideological person. I am a practical person. I come with a long experience in business."

[Three long years in politics and Mal still isn't getting it: being a merchant banker isn't the same skills set as running the country. Politics isn't, and has never been, the art of practicality. Besides, there are only 36 practical business people in the entire world, only 8 of whom live in Australia.]

Mr Turnbull said history would judge whether Mr Howard had stayed too long in the Liberal leadership.

"I think, with the benefit of hindsight, that will undoubtedly be the judgement of history," he said.

"John Howard is in his last days as prime minister. He's packing up his house and so forth. I don't want to sit here today and criticise John Howard. This is not the time for it.

[He'll wait until later - everyone will - then they'll rip the guts out of the "bestest ever" Prime Minister.]

"But the proposition (that he stayed too long) is one that will be universally held by historians.

"Of course, we all have 20-20 vision in hindsight."

Your hindsight Mal, perhaps, and all the historians.
Your hindsight Mal, perhaps, and all the journo's, the experts, and the historians.

I first predicted the massive Work Choices blow-back, and that Howard would pull the entire party down with him by not retiring, as far back as 18 months ago. I was howled down. Every time I repeated myself since then, I was howled down. Where are all you geniuses now, hey?

I suspect Turnball will get the leadership, but he is not even close to being job-ready, as it were.

We've already had one "Mal" as the PM. I predict we will never have another.

Baaarrrrnaby!!!

The little that is left of the National Party is struggling to come up with anyone willing to take on the mantel of party leader.

Barnaby Joyce could be the man of the hour!

Whoo hoo!

Or Warren Truss, which might not be nearly as much fun as Barnaby.