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Words, words

There is far too much weight given these days to using exactly the "right" form of words.  I suppose it is a hopeless case but I think we should instead just look at the basic meaning and think about that

Let me give an example of the difference that the "right" word can make these days.  I once said: "All Jews should get back to Israel.  They don't belong here".  Did I get condemned for that? Was I immediately fingered as an antisemite? Not at all.  How come?  Because I didn't actually say that.  I said it in Hebrew instead. What I said was: "I think all Jews should make Aliyah".  Both of those forms of words mean the same thing but one was phrased in a way that bore on a great Jewish controversy. 

"Aliyah" literally mean "rising up"  -- rising up to Eretz Israel.  And many Jews acknowledge that as a holy duty and feel guilty and apologetic that they have chosen to live in the fleshpots of NYC instead.  So what I said was actually holy from a Jewish viewpoint. And some of my Jewish readers wrote to agree with me.

But isn't that crazy?  Why do we pay so much attention to superficialities? I may be wrong but I do genuinely believe that Israel, despite the attacks on it, is ultimately the safest place for Jewry -- but I was fortunate that I could put that thought in the "right" way.  If I had not been so able, I might have attracted much opprobrium for saying exactly the same thing.

So I hope that conservatives at least will sometimes look at and think about the underlying intention of an utterance and overlook or forgive less felicitous forms of expression.

FOOTNOTE:  My reason for thinking that all Jews should make Aliyah

The Ayatollahs have made clear that America is the great Satan.  Israel is only the little Satan.  And the 9/11 attacks were on NYC, not Israel.  So, if the Obama-enabled Ayatollahs are suicidal enough to unleash a nuclear strike, it will most likely be on NYC, not Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is, after all, holy to them too


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Are conservatives healthier?

I am indebted to Deniz Selcuk, my indefatigable Turkish correspondent, for drawing my attention to the 2007 article below.  The article argues that emotions of disgust have evolved to drive us towards being more hygienic and hence healthier.

As is, I think, well-known by now, Jonathan Haidt has found that conservatives are much more easily disgusted than Leftists.  Since even mass-murder does not seem to disgust Leftists, that stands to reason.  So are conservatives healthier and therefore more long-lived?  It is the obvious inference to be drawn from combining Haidt's work and the paper below.

I consulted Professor Google on the matter and the most useful article seemed to be This one.  It basically pointed out that most indicators did seem to confirm better health among conservatives but also pointed to a much-quoted study by Pabayo which found liberals to be more long-lived.

The Pabayo study, however, seems to have been withdrawn so there were obviously problems with it.  None of the studies, however suggest a big difference in lifespans according to your politics.  There are of course many factors influencing lifespan so that is not inherently surprising.  But, in any event, conservative are probably more hygienic.


A natural history of hygiene

Valerie A Curtis, PhD

Abstract

In unpacking the Pandora's box of hygiene, the author looks into its ancient evolutionary history and its more recent human history. Within the box, she finds animal behaviour, dirt, disgust and many diseases, as well as illumination concerning how hygiene can be improved. It is suggested that hygiene is the set of behaviours that animals, including humans, use to avoid harmful agents. The author argues that hygiene has an ancient evolutionary history, and that most animals exhibit such behaviours because they are adaptive. In humans, responses to most infectious threats are accompanied by sensations of disgust. In historical times, religions, social codes and the sciences have all provided rationales for hygiene behaviour. However, the author argues that disgust and hygiene behaviour came first, and that the rationales came later. The implications for the modern-day practice of hygiene are profound. The natural history of hygiene needs to be better understood if we are to promote safe hygiene and, hence, win our evolutionary war against the agents of infectious disease.

SOURCE

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English has a big lack of  words for "State"

Is it perhaps an Anglo-Saxon dislike of government that makes it difficult for us to make immediately clear statements about government?  The old Sapir-Whorf codability hypothesis would certainly suggest that.

For instance, we don't have a separate word for an intermediate level of government, a State government. In the English-speaking world -- The USA, Canada, Australia  -- such forms of government are common and important: Governments running Texas, California, Alberta, Ontario, Queensland and Victoria, for instance.

So a self-governing nation can be called a state but so can one part of that nation.

Germans are much better off.  They can use Staat, Reich, Land and Nation.  A State government, for instance is a "Land" government in Germany, while the nation is a "Reich".

And "Reich" is both an extremely useful German word and one   that CANNOT adequately be translated into English.  That deficit gets a bit embarrassing when we try to translate what the people of China call their nation.  The best we can do is to translate it as:  "Middle Kingdom".  But that is absurd.  China is NOT a kingdom.  In German, by contrast, "Mittelreich" is a perfectly adequate translation.

I use German words quite a bit.  It would probably help if more German words became better known.  We use heaps of French words, so why not?

Germans of course don't have it all their way.  They don't, for instance, have a good word for "pink".  They usually translate it as "rosa" or "nelke".  But both those words are names for flowers and both flowers can of course have a variety of colors.  Who can forget the yellow rose of Texas, for instance? So Germans should probably adopt our word. Maybe some do.

But A BIG gap in German is that they have no word for "happy".  Does that tell us something?  Maybe.  The nearest word to happy that they have is "gluecklich", but that just means "lucky.  Many years ago I was talking to an old German Jewish refugee who had narrowly escaped Hitler.   I asked him if he was happy.  He knew I understood a bit of German so he said: "Gluecklich I am but happy I am not".  He knew he was lucky to escape but missed the high culture of Germany.  And he needed two languages to say that concisely

So let us have more linguistic borrowing! -- JR

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The kids really ARE all right: There are no differences between children of same-sex parents and heterosexual couples, study finds

What complete and utter garbage.  There was no objective gauge of child wellbeing at all.  They took the parents' word for it.  And it was all done over the phone.  The researchers did not even see the children concerned.  Anybody see a problem with that?  The journal article is "Same-Sex and Different-Sex Parent Households and Child Health Outcomes: Findings from the National Survey of Children's Health"  It's a vivid demonstration that you can get the most rubbishy "research" published if it validates current political correctness

Traditionalists may worry about the impact of same-sex parenting on children, but a new study adds to a growing body of evidence that there's no problem at all.

Researchers say the children of same-sex parents are just as healthy - both mentally and physically - as those of heterosexual parents. The only difference noted was that lesbian parents found raising their children more stressful.

It's estimated there are 690,000 same-sex couples living in the United States and that 19 per cent of such couples and lesbian, gay or bisexual individuals are raising children under the age of 18.

There is growing acceptance of different-sex parents, as portrayed in the 2010 film The Kids are All Right, in which Julianne Moore and Annette Bening play committed lesbian parents.

Child development experts from the universities of Amsterdam, Columbia and UCLA, used the US' National Survey of Children's Health and matches 95 same-sex female households to 95 different-sex parent households with children between the ages of six and 17.

They took the parents' age, education and location into account, as well as their child's age, race and gender to get the best matches possible.

One parent from each couple was interviewed by telephone about their experience, such as whether raising a child is stressful.

To gauge their child's wellbeing, parents were asked questions such as: 'How often during the past month was your child unhappy, sad, or depressed?' and 'Does he or she do all required homework?'

They were asked to plot their answers on a scale of one to five, with one meaning 'never' and five meaning 'always'. The results were then weighted and analysed.

Nanette Gartrell at UCLA told CNN: 'It is the only study to compare same-sex and different-sex parent households with stable, continuously coupled parents and their biological offspring.'

The experts wrote in the study published in the journal Cell Press: 'Children with female same-sex parents and different-sex parents demonstrated no differences in outcomes.

SOURCE

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Reflections about my forebears

Taking an interest in one's forebears is a very conservative thing to do. Leftists usually act as if the world started yesterday.  They are certainly slow to learn from history. Despite all the horrors that Communism has unleashed on the world, you still have a neo-Communist, Bernie Sanders, running for President of the United States at the moment.  His rhetoric is over two centuries old and there is no doubt about where it has previously led.

I am rather bemused by what the more addled Leftists in American universities call "whiteness" studies. Whites are an evil lot who should be ashamed of themselves and give all their goods to minorities -- is the general message.

But I am not at all ashamed of my whiteness.  I am very pleased by it.  And I am impressed by my white forebears.  Two of my ancestors came out to Australia from the other side of the world in frail little wooden ships.  When men went to sea in such ships there was always a high likelihood (a third?) that they would never come back  Yet they repeatedly did it  Why?

It was partly because of the way that men are fascinated by machines. And their ships were quite complex wooden machines, probably the most complex machines of their day. Sail was perhaps an even older technology than the wheel.  It enabled people to move things through time and space without being totally reliant on human or animal muscle

Bodies of water were the highways of the ancient world.  People  had little in the way of roads so you could not go far or easily on land.  But you could by water.  So your technology was focused on movement across water.  And thus you could move things long distances and bring back things from far places.  Sailing ships were a very USEFUL technology.  They expanded greatly what humans could do.  They could even remove humanely problem people from their society.

And two of my ancestors were such problem people.  But by dint of the great skills of white people they arrived safe and sound  after long and wearying transport across a vast distance. Another society -- e.g. a Muslim one -- might simply have killed off or mutilated those two of my petty-criminal forebears but the humane white people of England simply sent them far away.  I am proud to be of that ilk.

But what do we know of my more remote forebears? There is always disputation about these things but it seems that they were originally Celts, ancestors of most of the people who now living in Cornwall, Brittany, Scotland and Wales. And the people now living in Cornwall, Brittany, Scotland and Wales are very similar to the rest of the current British population.   So it seems likely that the Celts were much like we are today.

Most of what we know about the early Celts we get from Roman writers, particularly Caesar.  In Commentarii de Bello Gallico he tells us about his conquests of the Celts in Gaul (now France). We learn that they were big and fierce fighters who would rush into battle with great  enthusiasm.  They were too disorganized, however.  They were regularly defeated by the discipline of the little Roman troops.  Roman soldiers from Italy were mostly only about 5' tall but the taller Celts were regularly defeated by the  better organization and discipline of Caesar's troops.

When it came to the Germans however, the Romans had REAL trouble.  Those guys were even bigger and even more ferocious.  They wiped out whole Roman legions at times.  They stopped Roman conquest at the Rhine.

Caesar invaded Britain in 55BC but did not occupy it permanently.  That took place nearly 100 years later, leading to Britain being under Roman control for around 400 years.  And around 500 AD  later the Germans arrived, conquered and settled.

So you would think that modern-day British people  would have a blend of Celt, Roman and German genes.  And it is partly like that.  And I have no doubt both Celtic and German genes in me.  But what about the Romans?  The  DNA studies of the current British population find little or no trace of them.  We know that the first thing conquering armies did in the old days was to rape the women of the conquered population so what happened to all the Roman genes that should have entered the British gene-pool at that time?  Unlike the Greeks, the Romans weren't baby-killers so there does seem to be a mystery there.

But there is in fact no great mystery. Rome was very multicultural.  You did not have to be of Italian origin to have all the advantages of Roman citizenship.  Even St. Paul, a Hellenized Jew, was a Roman citizen.  And so it was with Roman armies.  It was very unlikely that many Italian troops ever went to Britain.  The legions that did go were probably raised from somewhere more conveniently located, most probably Celtic Gaul (modern France).  So Celts trained in Roman military discipline went to Britain and defeated Celts using Celtic customs.  The Roman conquest and occupation probably did very little to alter the Celtic nature of the British population.

So I have in me the genes of two very capable white populations, the Celts and the Germans -- plus a bit of Norman and Scandinavian probably.  And I know enough about both groups to be  rather pleased about all that.  I am privileged to be descended from such capable people.

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Does Australia have one of the most unequal education systems in the OECD?

The Left-leaning article below answers 'No' to that question but still searches for something to whine about.  They are up against it however -- as they concede that "Australia’s level of equity was not particularly different to that of many other OECD countries. New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France and Germany".

What they look at is how big is the achievement gap between well-off and poor kids.  And in the Australian case they admit that the gap is not due to lack of "resources" (mostly meaning money spent per pupil).  So insofar as the gap is largeish in Australia, it is probably due to Australia's huge network of government-subsidized private schools.  40% of Australian teenagers go to private schools.  And there is no doubt that such schools do have some beneficial effect on exam performance and other indications of educational achievement.  Well-off kids get better schooling in Australia

Is that unjust?  Maybe it is but it is not beyond remedy. Australian government schools for many years modelled their curricula and procedures on famous British private schools such as Eton.  I was one product of that system (including compulsory Latin!) and the excellent education I got from it has definitely helped make my life easier and richer.  I shudder at the impoverished and propaganda-laden curricula of today.

With their constant imposition of unproven and unsuccessful educational theories, the Left have destroyed the old system.  But it shows what is possible.  Government schools CAN provide a high quality education.  All you have to do is to go by what works


As the debate around public and private schooling in Australia rages on, writer and social commentator Jane Caro told the Q&A audience that Australia has one of the most unequal education systems in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Is that right? When asked for sources to support her assertion, Caro referred The Conversation to a 2015 report published by the Australian Council of Educational Research.

The report analysed results from the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) among countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and noted: "the general relationship between the overall level of schools’ educational resources and the resources gap between socioeconomically advantaged and disadvantaged schools. Where resources are high, the gap tends to be low, and where resources are low, the gap tends to be high"

    The OECD analysis also showed that, contrary to the general pattern, Australia has a high level of resources as well as a high level of inequity in the allocation of those resources. Australia’s overall level of schools’ educational resources is above the OECD average, yet it is ranked fifth among 36 participating countries in resource disparity between advantaged and disadvantaged schools.

Caro also sent The Conversation an article published by the Save Our Schools organisation titled OECD Report Highlights Education Inequity in Australia, and the PISA 2009 results report published by the OECD.

What the data shows is that Australia is not the worst or nearly the worst when it comes to equality and our education system.

However, it is true there is a great deal of evidence that Australia’s education system is very unequal. The level of equity is not getting better and if anything, it is getting worse.

What do we mean by ‘unequal’?  The best tool for understanding how equal or unequal the Australian education system is compared to other OECD education systems is the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Equity in PISA refers to how well students do on cognitive tests according to their socioeconomic background (SES).

Socioeconomic background is measured in PISA by taking into account parental occupation and education, access to home educational and cultural resources, family wealth, and books in the home.

According to PISA’s measure, “unequal” means there are large differences in the outcomes of high SES and low SES students. In other words, it’s when kids from wealthy or well-off households consistently get better test results than kids from poorer families.

In the 2000 PISA report, Australia’s performance in PISA reading literacy was indeed referred to as “high quality – low equity”. In other words, Australia’s achievement was higher than the OECD average but in terms of equity, Australia was below the OECD average.

In reading, in particular, Australia continues to fall into the category of high-quality - low or average equity.

In mathematics and science – subjects that less likely to rely on parental involvement and resources than reading literacy – this is not the case.  In these subjects, Australia falls into the high-quality - high-equity quadrant.

‘Among the worst’? While Australia’s performance in PISA reading literacy has been classed as low equity, Australia’s level of equity was not particularly different to that of many other OECD countries. New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France and Germany (among others) were also classed as low equity when it came to reading literacy.

Saying we are “among the worst” may stretching it a bit – but this is splitting hairs. The data supports the overall point that Caro was making: Australia does have a schooling system that is not equitable.

Based on data from PISA:

    There is a gap of about 2.5 years of schooling in mathematical literacy between students in the highest SES quartile and those in the lowest quartile.

    Low achievement is strongly associated with low SES. In both mathematics and reading literacy, low SES students comprised about 45% of all low performing students while students from the second lowest quartile accounted for a further 29%. Just 10% of students of low performers were from the highest SES quartile.

    Australia shows a high level of variation in reading literacy performance due to SES differences between schools

    A recent re-analysis of the PISA 2012 data found that a socioeconomically disadvantaged student in Australia was six times more likely to be a low performer than an advantaged student. After taking account of several other factors influencing school performance such as gender, immigrant and language background, family structure, urban or rural location, pre-primary education and grade repetition, a socioeconomically disadvantaged student is still five times more likely to be a low performer than an advantaged student.

    While all Australian schools report adequate educational resources, schools with a large proportion of low performing students report much lower levels of these resources than schools with a large proportion of high performing students.

    Between 2000 and 2009, Australian secondary schools became more differentiated in reading achievement. That differentiation became more strongly linked to the average socioeconomic context of the school.

Verdict: Australia doesn’t have one of the most unequal education systems in the OECD.  However, there is good evidence that our schooling system is not equitable.

SOURCE

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English has a big lack of  words for "State"

Is it perhaps an Anglo-Saxon dislike of government that makes it difficult for us to make immediately clear statements about government?  The old Sapir-Whorf codability hypothesis would certainly suggest that.

For instance, we don't have a separate word for an intermediate level of government, a State government. In the English-speaking world -- The USA, Canada, Australia  -- such forms of government are common and important: Governments running Texas, California, Alberta, Ontario, Queensland and Victoria, for instance.

So a self-governing nation can be called a state but so can one part of that nation.
Germans are much better off.  They can use Staat, Reich, Land and Nation.  A State government, for instance is a "Land" government in Germany, while the nation is a "Reich".

And "Reich" is both an extremely useful German word and one   that CANNOT adequately be translated into English.  That deficit gets a bit embarrassing when we try to translate what the people of China call their nation.  The best we can do is to translate it as:  "Middle Kingdom".  But that is absurd.  China is NOT a kingdom.  In German, by contrast, "Mittelreich" is a perfectly adequate translation.

I use German words quite a bit.  It would probably help if more German words became better known.  We use heaps of French words, so why not?

Germans of course don't have it all their way.  They don't, for instance, have a good word for "pink".  They usually translate it as "rosa" or "nelke".  But both those words are names for flowers and both flowers can of course have a variety of colors.  Who can forget the yellow rose of Texas, for instance? So Germans should probably adopt our word. Maybe some do.

But A BIG gap in German is that they have no word for "happy".  Does that tell us something?  Maybe.  The nearest word to happy that they have is "gluecklich", but that just means "lucky.  Many years ago I was talking to an old German Jewish refugee who had narrowly escaped Hitler.   I asked him if he was happy.  He knew I understood a bit of German so he said: "Gluecklich I am but happy I am not".  He knew he was lucky to escape but missed the high culture of Germany.  And he needed two languages to say that concisely

So let us have more linguistic borrowing!

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The lying never stops.  Now krill are being used to push Warmist nonsense

If you read carefully below, you will see that it's only warming in the Western Antarctic that is at issue.  So if the warming is due to climate change why is the much greater bulk of the rest of Antarctica remaining stable and even gaining glacial mass?  Easy.  The Western Antarctic warming is NOT due to climate change.  It is now well-known that there is extensive vulcanism at both poles -- localized in the South mainly in the Western Antarctic. It is subsurface volcanoes that are causing the localised warming of the Western Antarctic, not CO2 emissions

'Krill is the power lunch of the Antarctic': But now the decline in numbers of the tiny crustaceans caused by climate change is killing penguins

Penguins, seals and whales in the Southern Ocean are being threatened by a declining krill population caused by climate change and melting Antarctic sea ice.

The inch-long crustaceans are considered the 'basis' of the Antarctic food chain and use sea ice to protect themselves and feed from the algae that grows from it.

Penguin-watchers say the krill are getting scarcer in the western Antarctic peninsula, under threat from climate change and fishing

The inch-long crustaceans are considered the 'basis' of the Antarctic food chain and use sea ice to protect themselves and feed from the algae that grows from it

'Krill is the power lunch of the Antarctic. It's a keystone species for everybody,' group leader Ron Naveen said.

Sea temperatures on the peninsula have risen by three degrees in the past 50 years, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature said the threat of declining krill populations was significant and claims 300,000 tons of krill is caught annually and used for farmed fish and 'Omega 3' oil supplements.

However, Norwegian fishing company Aker BioMarine said the amount of krill caught by humans is comparatively small, with just 0.5 per cent of the 60 million tons eaten each year by sea creatures.

SOURCE


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Michael Brull just does not understand Australia's day of remembrance

Michael Brull is a far-Leftist Australian Jew.  So he hates Israel and Australia in roughly equal measures. But he is always good for a laugh.  His talent for missing the point is unfailing.  As with many Leftist articles, his article below is very long-winded. I have however reproduced it all so that people can see that he just doesn't get it.

Yet his basic point can be expressed quite simply.  He says that Leftist criticism of the ANZAC commemorations is somehow disallowed or suppressed.  But he quite spoils his own argument by listing towards the beginning of his article all the Leftists who HAVE criticised it, some of them quite prominent.

And if such criticisms have been suppressed, how is it that way back in the benighted early '60s my junior High School curriculum included a study of what is probably the most anti-ANZAC story ever written -- Seymour's "One day of the year".  And that was during the Prime Ministership of Sir Robert Menzies, an archetypal conservative.  Brull is talking through his anus.

He seems to have realized that his article lacked point and was  wandering all around the place like Brown's cows so he concluded it by saying:  "We are entitled to different values, and we are entitled to say so".  It's a conclusion that is quite detached from the rest of his article.  If he had shown that someone has denied him those entitlements, it might have made sense -- but he did not.  All he shows is that conservatives sometimes criticize  criticisms from Leftists.  Is it not allowed to criticize Leftist criticisms?  Is it only Leftists who are allowed to criticize? He seems to think so:  Typical Leftist bigotry.

The big thing that is totally missing from his article is any awareness that ANZAC day is a day on which we remember the premature deaths of our relatives.  I had relatives who died in both world wars.  I never knew them.  I was too young at the time.  But I know the families and know they must have been people like me who felt like me and I know how grievous their deaths were at the time. An uncle Freddie of mine in particular was much loved and I regret that I never got the chance to know him.

And most people who attend ANZAC day ceremonies are like that.  Their degree of  closeness to the dead will vary but they will all be mourning relatives.  And the ex-servicemen who march will be remembering close friends who were lost.

And enlisting in the armed forces is an heroic act.  We walk into great danger.  We offer to put our lives on line to defend our families from an enemy.  And on ANZAC day we honour that heroism

And, Yes. I myself did voluntarily enlist and serve in the Australian army in the Vietnam era.  I never got to Vietnam but I did apply to go


Go beyond the tedium of mainstream Anzac Day coverage and you’ll see the meaning ascribed to the Day, and the way the history around it is constructed, remain hotly contested. In a fundamentally political disagreement, shutting sceptics out should be seen as an act of political correctness, writes Michael Brull.

Once again, Anzac Day has sneaked up on me. For those of us who are unpatriotic, it is easy to feel like we’re a negligible minority. It is easy to think that your feelings of ambivalence, indifference, or even hostility to Anzac Day are totally marginal and isolated. It is just you and a few of your friends, while the rest of the nation patriotically gets up early and cries on cue at the heroism of our diggers. Yet the truth is that there is plenty of dissent about Anzac. The only reason you don’t hear about it so often is that it’s usually shut out of the mainstream media.

Right-wingers are perfectly aware of this. Since 2009, right-wing historian Mervyn Bendle has been complaining about academics trashing the Anzac legend, in a series of long and tedious essays for Quadrant. The “intelligentsia and the Left”, he complains, offer a perfunctory nod to the bravery of the Australian soldiers in World War One, only to follow by emphasising what they think really matters: an approach which is “always critical, debunking and even denunciatory of the legend, applying a form of methodological nihilism to allege that at the core of the Anzac legend there is nothing—only meaninglessness, futility, error, ‘a nightmare happening in a void’ as George Orwell remarked of Great War literature. Alternatively, if there is something at the core of the legend, it is shown by the revisionist to be unworthy, wicked and iniquitous—militarism, imperialism, colonialism, racism, sexism, masculinism—and therefore can and must be condemned and ridiculed.”

One summary of a collection of academic writings by Adrian Howe, an Associate Professor at RMIT University, identifies the Anzac legend as “a masculinist and British imperialist military tradition”; a “nationalistic, militaristic tradition [that is]class-based, race-based, ethnocentric and male-centred”; while Anzac Day is “a day celebrating Anglo-Australian manhood, militarism and a bloody defeat in an imperialist war [and]should be abolished”.

The list of offending scholars is long. They include Anthony Burke, Mark McKenna, Henry Reynolds, Marilyn Lake, James Brown, and David Horner. Military historians come in for a particular scolding, including Joan Beaumont, Brown and Horner again, Peter Stanley, and two books edited by Craig Stockings. Former Prime Minister Paul Keating is also counted among the unpatriotic. Bendle grumbles that in a speech, Keating “largely regurgitated the nihilist view that the conflict was pointless and futile, which has long been the default ideological position of the Left.” Alas, Keating dismissed “the war as the lamentable product of European tribalism, ethnic atavism, nationalism and racism in which Australia had no stake”.

Bendle assures readers in the tiny, largely unread magazine of the aggressive, purportedly highbrow intellectual right that Keating’s “facile, unhistorical ramblings” are wrong: “the Anzacs who sacrificed their lives or their health in battle did so for a great cause. To pretend otherwise is to betray their memory.” Thus, to doubt the cause of World War One, 100 years later is to betray the soldiers. It turns out that to be properly patriotic, we must not just mourn the dead. We must also celebrate the reasons they were sent to die.

In a sense, Anzac Day isn’t just about remembering suffering of soldiers. The sanctification of their memory is done with a political intent, with particular political aims.

The parallels to today are not hard to find. Many people thought it was really terrific how there were such widespread demonstrations around the world before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Even if they didn’t stop the war, at least they showed anti-war sentiment. Was there any precedent for such anti-imperialism?

Yes, there was. Adam Hochschild reminds us of the large anti-war demonstrations across Europe before World War One. As Austria declared war on Serbia, 100,000 protesters converged at the heart of Berlin against war. The French Socialist leader Jean Jaurès stood with his arm around Hugo Haase, co-chair of the German Social Democrats, before an audience of Belgian workers. In Britain, Keir Hardie spoke to an enormous crowd at Trafalgar Square, “the largest demonstration there in years”. To wild cheers, according to Hochschild, he urged a general strike in the event of war.

As is known, these protests more or less ended as the war started. As in 2003, the media decided to “support our soldiers”. Like Bendle, this support for the soldiers in practical terms meant stifling any doubts or criticisms about the cause for which they were sent. Though the interests of soldiers and the politicians who command them are not necessarily the same, they are conflated by leading political figures. The loyal scribes of these politicians assure the public that to doubt the politicians is to doubt the soldiers, and how dare anyone cast aspersions on those risking their lives to keep us safe and defend our freedom? How dare anyone belittle the sacrifice of the soldiers, by questioning the values and wisdom of the politicians who send them into harm’s way?

Last year, Scott McIntyre was fired from the SBS for his blasphemies about Anzac Day, at the behest of Malcolm Turnbull, then, judging by Turnbull’s own words, the Minister for Right-Wing Communications. Though McIntyre’s tweets were condensed due to the nature of the medium, his supposedly inflammatory comments were duly analysed by academic specialists on the Anzacs. Professor Phillip Dwyer, Director of the Centre for the History of Violence at University of Newcastle, agreed that the Anzacs were “no angels”, whose members included those who behaved in “overtly racist manner”, and also rapes and summary executions. Geoff Lemon observed that it was hard to argue that Gallipoli was “an imperialist invasion of a foreign nation that Australia had no quarrel with”.

Recording historical facts about wrongdoing by Anzacs makes it harder to valorise the soldiers. They shift from becoming our heroic diggers, to human beings, many of whom acted in the flawed ways armies often act in conflict zones. Yet historians have not just challenged the factual basis for hero-ising the soldiers. They are also resolutely sceptical about the value of worshipping the Anzacs. Frank Bongiorno commented that “Anzac’s inclusiveness has been achieved at the price of a dangerous chauvinism that increasingly equates national history with military history, and national belonging with a willingness to accept the Anzac legend as Australian patriotism’s very essence.”

Academics are not infallible. Academic specialists can be wrong, just as academic specialties can function to mostly serve power. Anyone who has too much reverence for academic specialists should revisit the performance of all the economists who failed to predict the 2008 crash. They may know more than the rest of us about what happened during the war, but that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily more right about the reverence with which the Anzacs should be treated.

My point in reviewing their Anzac scepticism is not to suggest that academics verify or vindicate such suspicion. It is to suggest that jingoism tries to pretend a moral or political disagreement is somehow inherently illegitimate. There are many different ways to approach history. Trying to sanctify one approach to one aspect, and acting horrified at those who dissent from this particular approach is a political act.

As noted by Jumbunna researcher Paddy Gibson, in response to Aboriginal protests of Invasion Day, Prime Minister Bob Hawke started to push Anzac Day as an alternative to Australia Day as a way to cement Australian nationalism. This support for Anzac Day since the late 1980s has revived and reshaped Anzac Day, as the government has sought to push Anzac Day, and the particular values of its modern incarnation, on the general public. This culminated in the extravaganza of last year, when the government spent over $300 million on Anzac commemorations. Yet there were signs this had limited effects. Australians didn’t tune in to the World War One documentaries. Attempts to flog Anzac merchandise were increasingly seen as tacky. Everyone tried to cash in. Woolworths and Target put the Anzacs in their marketing. Now folded soft-porn mag Zoo featured a woman in a bikini with a poppy to mark the special day.

This kind of marketing was seen by some as exploitative. But using Anzac Day as a way to promote the virtue of World War One while hiding behind the political sanctity of Australian soldiers who died seems comparably cynical.

If we’re going to remember the past, and celebrate parts of it, why single out Australian soldiers? Why not celebrate Aboriginal warriors, who died resisting the invasion of their land and the decimation of their peoples and cultures? Why not celebrate trade unionists, who secured some of the best working conditions and entitlements across the world, and kept Australia one of the more egalitarian Western countries until the 1980s? Why not celebrate the suffragettes, who earned white women the vote in Australia before most of the rest of the world? Why not celebrate the activists for Aboriginal rights, who fought for land rights, treaty and sovereignty? Or those who won Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples the vote, and dismantled most elements of formal racial discrimination in Australia? Why not remember and celebrate the Australians who fought against World War One? Or those who successfully campaigned against conscription in Australia during World War One, or those who successfully ended Australian involvement in the war on Vietnam?

We can imagine a conservative response to these suggestions. Ah, but you see, these are political choices. Celebrating feminists, anti-imperialists, Aboriginal resistance and trade unionists doesn’t reflect the entire political spectrum. We couldn’t base nationalism on the political values of a segment of the population. It would leave out the rest of us.

Perhaps that’s fair enough. But what about those who feel left out by Anzac Day? Honouring those who fought in a war, while refusing to permit reflections on whether the war was unjust or not, is political. And so are nationalism and patriotism.

Some people may be proud Australians, who think ours is the greatest country on earth, with a largely, if not entirely unblemished history. Those who disagree are not committing a crime, they are simply engaged in a political disagreement. Australians who are horrified at Anzac sceptics are simply trying to enforce their political correctness on the rest of us. We are entitled to different values, and we are entitled to say so.

SOURCE

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"Renewables" are alone enough?

The bright-eyed Warmist guy below -- Mark Diesendorf  -- is triumphant in thinking that he has shown that there is no need for hydrocarbon-fuelled baseload power stations. What he  argues below (in summary) has some logic in that although renewable power sources have very uneven availability by themselves, a whole network of renewable sources is more reliable. So if everything is interconnected, you might be able to get power from solar cells when the wind isn't blowing and vice versa.  Because it does happen that all renewable sources are not always  available in the quantities demanded, he does however concede that reliance on other sources -- such as gas turbines -- would sometimes be required.

Clearly, however, such a system would require a lot of very tricky management and good luck for there always be some power source available.  And lot more transmission lines -- which are both costly and eyesores -- would be required to get the geographical spead needed to overcome the localism of things like clouds and wind.  The wind can be blowing in one place and not in another place nearby, for instance.  So to have a useful spread of inputs you would need generators scattered far and wide -- and all sorts of new and expensive transmission lines from them to a central core or elsewhere. And the NIMBYs would block you at every step along the way when you try to build those transmission lines.

And the backup gas-powered generators needed to fill in when nature is unobliging would have to be very powerful.  On those occasions at night when the wind isn't blowing, the gas generators would have to be capable of assuming the whole load.  So in the end you still end up with huge hydrocarbon-powered generators.  So where is the benefit?  A benefit to Warmist ideology only, it seems. You would still have to double up your power generating capacity.

And "renewable" power sources require much larger capital investment per megawatt so you are looking at spending something like three times what you need to in order to get an acceptable electricity service.  But money seems to grow on trees in the Greenie imagination so I suppose they dismiss that with a wave of their hands

I suppose I should briefly mention the main two other sources of "renewable" power -- solar furnaces and hydro-electricity.

Solar furnaces are easy.  They do not remotely live up to their promises and the two big ones -- Ivanpah in California and Abengoa in Spain -- have just been hit by huge cost over-runs.  Obama may bail out Ivanpah but it would just be pouring money down a hole if he did.  Its running costs far exceed what it can get for its power.  And the Spanish government will probably just have to switch their installation off -- if they have not done so already.

And building new hydroelectric installations is a laugh.  They all require big DAMS -- and, in their strange superstitious way, there is nothing a Greenie hates more than a dam.

So I think we have to conclude that Mr Diesendorf is up the creek in a barbed-wire canoe without a paddle -- as Barry Humphries puts it


The assumption that baseload power stations are necessary to provide a reliable supply of grid electricity has been disproven by both practical experience in electricity grids with high contributions from renewable energy, and by hourly computer simulations.

In 2014 the state of South Australia had 39% of annual electricity consumption from renewable energy (33% wind + 6% solar) and, as a result, the state’s base-load coal-fired power stations are being shut down as redundant. For several periods the whole state system has operated reliably on a combination of renewables and gas with only small imports from the neighbouring state of Victoria.

The north German states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein are already operating on 100% net renewable energy, mostly wind. The ‘net’ indicates trading with each other and their neighbours. They do not rely on baseload power stations.

A host of studies agree: baseload power stations are not needed

“That’s cheating”, nuclear proponents may reply. “They are relying on power imported by transmission lines from baseload power stations elsewhere.” Well, actually the imports from baseload power stations are small.

For countries that are completely isolated (e.g. Australia) or almost isolated (e.g. the USA) from their neighbours, hourly computer simulations of the operation of the electricity supply-demand system, based on commercially available renewable energy sources scaled up to 80-100% annual contributions, confirm the practical experience.

In the USA a major computer simulation by a large team of scientists and engineers found that 80-90% renewable electricity is technically feasible and reliable (They didn’t examine 100%.) The 2012 report, Renewable Electricity Futures Study. Vol.1. Technical report TP-6A20-A52409-1 was published by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The simulation balances supply and demand each hour.

The report finds that “renewable electricity generation from technologies that are commercially available today, in combination with a more flexible electric system, is more than adequate to supply 80% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the United States.”

Similar results have been obtained from hourly simulation modeling of the Australian National Electricity Market with 100% renewable energy (published by Ben Elliston, Iain MacGill and I in 2013 and 2014) based on commercially available technologies and real data on electricity demand, wind and solar energy. There are no baseload power stations in the Australian model and only a relatively small amount of storage. Recent simulations, which have yet to be published, span eight years of hourly data.

These, together with studies from Europe, find that baseload power stations are unnecessary to meet standard reliability criteria for the whole supply-demand system, such as loss-of-load probability or annual energy shortfall.

Furthermore, they find that reliability can be maintained even when variable renewable energy sources, wind and solar PV, provide major contributions to annual electricity generation, up to 70% in Australia. How is this possible?

Fluctuations balanced by flexible power stations

First, the fluctuations in variable wind and solar PV are balanced by flexible renewable energy sources that are dispatchable, i.e. can supply power on demand. These are hydro with dams, Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs) and concentrated solar thermal power (CST) with thermal storage, as illustrated in

Incidentally the gas turbines can themselves be fuelled by ‘green gas’, for example from composting municipal and agricultural wastes, or produced from surpluses of renewable electricity. More on this below …

Second, drawing on diverse renewable energy sources, with different statistical properties, provides reliability. This means relying on multiple technologies and spreading out wind and solar PV farms geographically to reduce fluctuations in their total output. This further reduces the already small contribution from gas turbines to just a few percent of annual electricity generation.

Third, new transmission lines may be needed to achieve wide geographic distribution of renewable energy sources, and to multiply the diversity of renewable energy sources feeding into the grid. For example, an important proposed link is between the high wind regions in north Germany and the low wind, limited solar regions in south Germany. Texas, with its huge wind resource, needs greater connectivity with its neighbouring US states.

Fourth, introducing ‘smart demand management’ to shave the peaks in electricity demand and to manage periods of low electricity supply, can further increase reliability. This can be assisted with smart meters and switches controlled by both electricity suppliers and consumers, and programmed by consumers to switch off certain circuits (e.g. air conditioning, water heating, aluminium smelting) for short periods when demand on the grid is high and/or supply is low.

As summarized by the NREL study: “RE (Renewable Energy) Futures finds that increased electricity system flexibility, needed to enable electricity supply-demand balance with high levels of renewable generation, can come from a portfolio of supply- and demand-side options, including flexible conventional generation, grid storage, new transmission, more responsive loads, and changes in power system operations.”

A recent study by Mark Jacobson and colleagues went well beyond the above studies. It showed that all energy use in the USA, including transport and heat, could be supplied by renewable electricity. The computer simulation used synthetic data on electricity demand, wind and sunshine taken every 30 seconds over a period of six years.

Storage or ‘windgas’ could also manage fluctuations

The above ‘flexible’ approach may not be economically optimal for the UK and other countries with excellent wind resource but limited solar resource. Another solution to managing fluctuations in wind and solar is more storage, e.g. as batteries or pumped hydro or compressed air.

A further alternative is the ‘windgas’ scenario recently advocated by Energy Brainpool as a greener and lower cost alternative to the UK’s Hinkley C nuclear project. The idea is to use excess wind energy to produce hydrogen gas by electrolysing water and then convert the hydrogen to methane that fuels combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power stations.

In fact, not all the hydrogen needs to be converted into methane, and it’s more efficient to keep some of it as hydrogen, a useful fuel in its own right. Another option is to use the hydrogen to make ammonia (NH3) which can both be used as a fuel, and as a feedstock for the fertiliser industry, displacing coal or natural gas.

In Brainpool’s scenario, the system is used to replicate the power output of the 3.2GW Hinkley C nuclear power station, and shows it can be done at a lower cost. But in fact, it gets much better than that:

    as each wind turbine, CCGT, gas storage unit and ‘power to gas’ facility is completed, its contribution begins immediately, with no need for the whole system to be built out;

    the system would in practice be used to provide, not baseload power, but flexible power to meet actual demand, and so would be much more valuable;

    as solar power gets cheaper, it will integrate with the system and further increase resilience and reduce cost;

    the whole system creates grid stability and cannot drop out all at once like a nuclear plant, producing negative ‘integration costs’.

But in all the flexible, renewables-based approaches set out above, conventional baseload power stations are unnecessary. In the words of former Australian Greens’ Senator Christine Milne: “We are now in the midst of a fight between the past and the future”.

The refutation of the baseload fairy tale and other myths falsely denigrating renewable energy are a key part of that struggle.

SOURCE

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Camera traps show animals have reclaimed Chernobyl's radioactive wasteland 30 years after the disaster -- and are in good health

Thus showing as completely wrong the Greenie claim that even tiny amounts of radioactivity are harmful.  Chernobyl shows that even quite high levels are not harmful.  Radioactivity has been much demonized for political reasons. Radioactive leaks from nuclear power plants will not do harm unless you are very close to them.

In other evidence of low harm from radioactivity, Tsutomu Yamaguchi was one of a small number of Japanese to live through  both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear detonations.



He was only only 3 km away from the epicenter on both occasions. He was badly burned by the heat but he recovered from that and lived to 93.  


Exactly 30 years and one week ago, a small town in the former Soviet Union witnessed the worst nuclear disaster the world has seen.

Following a fire in one of its reactors, an explosion at the Chernobyl power plant in the former Soviet Union town of Pripyat leaked radioactive material into the environment and saw the surrounding area evacuated.

But while radiation levels in the region is still considered too high for humans to return, wildlife has moved back into the area and is flourishing.

Studies of the animals and plants in the area around Chernobyl are now providing clues as to what the world would be like should humans suddenly disappear.

The exclusion zone is still in effect around the site of the disaster in what is now Ukraine to protect people from the high levels of radiation which persist in the environment.

But in the absence of human activity, wildlife has flourished ­– making the site a unique habitat for biologists to study.

Scientists are monitoring the health of plants and animals in the exclusion area to see how they react to chronic radiation exposure.

Camera traps set up by researchers have captured a stunning array of local wildlife, including wolves, lynx, mouse, boars, deer, horses, and many others, as they wander through the area.

It shows that three decades on from the disaster, the area is far from being a wasteland. Instead life is thriving there.

Using the motion-activated traps to get snapshots of wildlife at a number of sites throughout the exclusion zone, researchers at the University of Georgia have recorded 14 species of mammal.

In a study published this week in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the Georgia group reports it found no evidence to suggest that the areas with the highest levels of radiation were keeping their numbers down, and that populations inside the exclusion zone are doing well.

Sarah Webster, a graduate student working on the project and first author of the study, told UGA Today: 'Carnivores are often in higher trophic levels of ecosystem food webs, so they are susceptible to bioaccumulation of contaminants.'

'Few studies in Chernobyl have investigated effects of contamination level on populations of species in high trophic levels.'

The exclusion zone, which covers a substantial area in Ukraine and some of bordering Belarus, will remain in effect for generations to come, until radiation levels fall to safe enough levels.

The region is called a 'dead zone' due to the extensive radiation which persists. However, the proliferation of wildlife in the area contradicts this and many argue that the region should be given over to the animals which have become established in the area - creating a radioactive protected wildlife reserve.

It would be expected that carnivores would receive extensive radioactive exposure, both directly from the environment and water sources as well as ingesting it through eating contaminated animals.

In the long-term, this accumulation of radioactive material would be expected to be harmful to the top predators and would restrict their number, but findings from the latest study don't seem to support this.

'We didn't find any evidence to support the idea that populations are suppressed in highly contaminated areas,' said Dr James Beasley, a biologist at Georgia and senior author of the paper.

'What we did find was these animals were more likely to be found in areas of preferred habitat that have the things they need – food and water.'

Other research groups working within the area, including the TREE consortium, have found that endangered Przewalski's horses – released into the exclusion zone in the 1990s – are breeding successfully.

In addition, the camera studies have identified a number of protected bird species, including golden eagles and white tailed eagles.

SOURCE  


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A Leftist view of patriotism

The Left can't help it.  They just cannot see straight.  The academic article below by Israeli academic Gal Ariely starts out by standing reality on its head.  He is perfectly right in saying that in recent years in America there has been a "more pronounced tendency towards suppressing civil liberties and critical voices".  But who is responsible for that?

America has been undergoing quite spectacular attempts by Leftists endeavouring to squash Christianity in general and rejection of homosexuality in particular so is  Dr. Ariely blaming the Left for speech suppression?  Far from it.  He says the guilty ones are patriots!  Patriots these days are usually conservatives so Dr Arielya has got the boot on precisely the wrong foot!  For a HUGE chronology of Leftist censorship activities, see here

The whole aim of his article is to discredit patriotism. But there is nothing wrong with patriotism.  It is the Leftist distortion of patriotism -- nationalism -- that is the problem. Orwell understood the distinction between the two:

"There is a habit of mind which is now so widespread that it affects our thinking on nearly every subject, but which has not yet been given a name. As the nearest existing equivalent I have chosen the word ‘nationalism’, but it will be seen in a moment that I am not using it in quite the ordinary sense, if only because the emotion I am speaking about does not always attach itself to what is called a nation — that is, a single race or a geographical area. It can attach itself to a church or a class, or it may work in a merely negative sense, against something or other and without the need for any positive object of loyalty.

By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’(1). But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests.

Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality"

So how does Dr Ariely demonize patriotism? He shows that in economically advanced societies, patriotism tends to be low but in impoverished and strife-ridden societies it tends to be high. In a cautious academic way, he draws from that the entirely perverse conclusion that patriotism is in general a bad thing EVEN IN COUNTRIES WHERE IT IS LOW. He does not consider that patriotism in affluent countries might be the unproblematic residuum of an often mixed phenomenon.

So the final sentence of his article makes no distinctions about patriotism: "This study suggests that national pride is related to a less attractive environment than its advocates tend to assume". He clearly thinks patriotism is all the same, wherever it is found. No nuance there. I suppose all men are equal as well.

The Israeli Left are certainly a poisonous lot. Excerpt only below



Why does patriotism prevail? Contextual explanations of patriotism across countries

Abstract

Addressing the normative and empirical debate regarding the nature of patriotism, this paper examines the social contexts in which patriotism – defined here as an expression of national pride – thrives. Combining diverse theoretical explanations, it investigates whether expressions of patriotism are related to globalization, state function, social fractionalization and conflict. A multilevel regression analysis of data from 93 countries led to three principal findings. First, citizens of more developed and globalized countries are less likely to be proud of their country. Second, citizens are more likely to be patriotic in countries characterized by higher levels of income inequality and religiously homogeneity. Third, citizens of countries exposed to direct conflict – that is, suffering terror and causalities from external conflict – tend to exhibit higher levels of national pride. Patriotism frequently being identified as a mandatory political commodity, these results suggest that, overall, patriotism forms part of a less attractive matrix than its advocates tend to assume.

Introduction

The rise in patriotism in the United States following 9/11 has led to two trends – a stronger sense of solidarity and civic engagement, the ‘we’ becoming more important than the ‘me’ (Skocpol 2002; Sander and Putnam 2010), on the one hand, and a more pronounced tendency towards suppressing civil liberties and critical voices on the other. These different outcomes reflect the long-standing debate concerning the nature of patriotism, conventionally defined as love for and attachment to one’s nation (Bar Tal and Staub 1997; Kosterman and Feshbach 1989).

Conclusions

An overall pattern nonetheless emerges. By and large, higher levels of patriotism occur in countries whose citizens are worse off. In societies that form part of the globalized community, enjoy more income equality and are not subject to the threat of terror or external conflict, patriotism levels appear to be lower. Taking into account the fact that politicians, pundits and philosophers frequently describe patriotism as a mandatory political commodity, this study suggests that national pride is related to a less attractive environment than its advocates tend to assume.

SOURCE

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NOAA's monthly deception again

Sure, there's been a recent temperature rise but is it caused by human activity?  They dodge that all-important question.  They admit that El Nino is partly responsible but fail to quantify or correct for its influence.  Scientists quantify.  They don't indulgle in hand-waving dismissals.  Ergo, none of the guff below is science.  

So what is the science?  The science is that the first 8 of their 11 months of warming were at a time when there was NO CO2 rise and hence no human cause.  So the recent rise is clearly an effect of El Nino only.  Below is a great coverage of El Nino effects, nothing more (excerpt only)

Last month marked the hottest March in modern history, setting the longest heat streak in the 137 years of record-keeping, US officials said.

The month's average global temperature of 12.7°C (54.9°F) was not only the hottest March, but continues a record streak that started last May.

The combined average temperature in March was the highest for this month in the 1880–2016 record.

The temperature was 1.22°C (2.20°F) above the 20 century average of 12.7°C (54.9°F).

This surpassed the previous record set in 2015 by 0.32°C / (0.58°F), and marks the highest monthly temperature departure on record.

March 2016 also marks the 11 consecutive month a global temperature record has been broken, the longest such streak in 137 years.

SOURCE  

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Another endorsement of Trump from the Left

James Petras is a retired NY Professor of Sociology and as far-Left as you would expect from that.  In his angry tirade below, he says The Donald is just loud and that Hillary is the real criminal.  He has a point. I don't of course remotely agree with him on illegal immigration but he is correct that Trump's foreign policy is isolationist and, as such, well within the American conservative tradition. It's mostly Democrats who have sent America's young men abroad to die.  And I agree with his diagnosis of Hillary as a psychopath, though not, perhaps, for all the same reasons

Introduction: From left to right a raucous chorus has emerged to denounce Republican Presidential primary frontrunner Donald Trump as a ‘fascist’. They cite his campaign promises to build an Israeli-style wall along the US border; his threats to expel eleven million undocumented immigrants; and to restrict foreign Muslims from entering the US, as well as the way his pugnacious face and arm resemble those of Benito Mussolini (’he juts out his chin, he raises his arm’).

They decry his extreme nationalism as ‘resembling Hitler’s policy’, by which they mean his opposition to detrimental free trade agreements and his slogan to “Make America Great.. Again.”

In this article I will critically address the current cartoonish image of fascism with fascism’s historical reality, and then proceed to analyze the so-called “lesser evil” politics behind the re-invention of an American fascist in the guise of billionaire Donald Trump.

Fascism: Fact and Fiction

Historically, fascist politics involved organized mass movements, armed militia and paramilitary groups who assaulted political opponents and violently censored critical speech and suppressed the right to assemble. Fascists scapegoated minorities, especially gypsies and Jews, and burned trade unions and leftist headquarters, assassinating their leaders and beating their members. Programmatically, they attacked pacifists and defended overseas wars and empires in the name of ‘living space’. Evoking a past imperial glory, they were not ‘isolationists’.

Candidate Trump has not organized anything resembling a mass movement, let alone an armed militia. There are no ‘Trumpeting Brown Shirts’. At most, the police and a handful of his (often elderly) white supporters have punched a few KKK-dressed provocateurs who have physically disrupted and threatened Trump’s public meetings and his exercise of free speech. In fact, the ‘fascist’ disruption of democratic freedoms seems to be mostly organized and practiced by his political rivals.

Trump, far from scapegoating the powerful Jewish minority in this country, gave a shamelessly Israel-centric speech and received a standing ovation from nearly 18,000 mostly prominent Jews at the March 2016 meeting of the major pro-Israel lobby (AIPAC).

His rhetoric, concerning the expulsion of 11 million undocumented workers from Mexico and Central America and the building of a border wall, is a far cry from the practice of imprisoning and violently expelling over two million undocumented Latinos under the Clinton-Bush-Obama/Clinton regimes. At its worst, Trump promises to continue the existing federal policy on immigration and not create a ‘fascist’ rupture with past administrations. Is a ‘rhetorical cement wall’ worse than the real wall of armed border police, helicopters and armed carriers that have operated under the Presidencies of Clinton – Bush – Obama/Clinton with its hundreds of migrant deaths in the desert? Are declarations of a repressive immigration policy more ‘fascist’ coming from Trump’s loud mouth than the actual official practice of violently seizing undocumented workers from their homes and workplaces with long-term imprisonment and expulsion? Expelling youth, raised and educated in this country, or violently splitting up productive, well-integrated families and imprisoning their main breadwinners for lack of documents…that’s the official policy of the current and past three administrations.

There is far less of the truly fascist embrace of pre-emptive war and invasion in Trump’s speeches than in the actual policies pursued by the Clinton-Bush-Obama/Clinton regimes. In fact, among Trump’s numerous critics, especially his Republican rivals and the Hillary Clinton camp, we hear the loudest denunciations of his non-interventionist foreign policy (isolationism), which is “out of line” with the interventionist, overseas wars of current and past Republican and Democratic administrations. Trump’s critics and media pundits are ‘horror-struck’ at his apparent willingness to co-operate with Russian President Putin against common enemies, such as ISIS. Is his pragmatic regard of Russia more or less fascist than his rivals’ support for the Ukrainian putsch, orchestrated by the Obama regime in alliance with bona fide armed anti-Semitic Ukrainian fascists? His calls to dump NATO as an expensive drain on US treasure and manpower have the elite howling in outrage!

The propagandists, who paint Trump as a modern American fascist, cite his crude sexist remarks as ‘examples of a misogynist totalitarian’ while pointing favorably to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as potentially the ‘first feminist President’. In regard to his alleged misogyny, ‘the Donald’ pointed to Madame First Lady, Senator and Secretary Clinton’s promotion and critical role in US wars against Libya, Iraq and Syria where well over one million women have been rendered refugees, raped, injured or killed. Which is worse, one may ask: Crude locker room jokes or millions of orphaned boys and girls denied parents, homes, education and any future in the Middle East and North Africa? That is the world Midwife Hillary Clinton had helped to deliver.

Misogyny is the in the eye of the deceiver.

Are Trump’s verbal attacks on the practice of US multi-nationals relocating abroad to avoid US taxes and Wall Street financial houses hiding billions of the US elites’ obscene wealth in offshore tax shelters, more detrimental to ‘American values’ (as charged) than Hillary Clinton’s pandering to Wall Street while pocketing over $300,000 for each 45 minute sycophantic performance (marketed as her ‘policy lectures’), or her decades of actively promoting globalization – including the US job-destroying NAFTA?

Clearly Trump currently lacks program, organization and practice that define a fascist politician. At the very worst, he parrots the general line of attack against immigrants and Muslims. So far he would just bar them from the US but not bomb them ‘to the stone-age’. This should be contrasted with the actual policies carried out by the war-criminals Clinton/Bush/Obama-Clinton. It would be hard for Donald to ‘trump’ Hillary when she threatened to ‘obliterate Iran’ and its scores of millions of citizens because of Iran’s fictitious ‘nuclear program’.

On the other hand, Trump’s own meetings and rallies have been the victim of repeated disruption by organized groups acting like fascist thugs. Role reversal in real life: Trump, the target of rabid sustained mass media attacks, is pronounced the fascist …

Bashing Trump: Backdoor Backing of Hillary the Militarist Psychopath

If the objective case for labeling Trump ‘a fascist’ is weak or non-existent, why do so many prestigious academics and journalists play this stupid game of name-calling?

The commonsense explanation of their ruffled bluster is because they are setting up ‘Trump-the- Straw-Dragon’ in order to promote the poisonous Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton as the ‘lesser evil candidate’ for President of the United States.

No serious observer minimally aware of Clinton’s carnal embrace of multiple simultaneous disastrous and destructive wars in Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Libya, could possibly support her – unless if they are convinced that a greater danger looms on the horizon and “we have to defeat fascist Trump at all cost”? No serious democrat or wage and salaried employee can ignore Madame Clinton’s role as Wall Street’s most shameless pimp unless they ‘believe’ that a loud-mouth New York ‘fascist is worse than Wall Street’.

The phony scaremongering about Trump’s “fascism” just serves to cover up Clinton’s most servile promotion of traitorous wars for the benefit of Israel. One should envision the thousands of desperate Syrian refugees clinging to decrepit boats in the Mediterranean when reading excerpts of Clinton’s private e-mails: According to WikiLeaks, Hillary declared that “the best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability (sic) is to help (sic) the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad. … The fall of the House of Assad could well ignite a sectarian war between the Shiites and the majority Sunnis of the region drawing in Iran, which, in the view of Israeli commanders would not be a bad thing for Israel and its Western allies”. Not a bad thing for Israel – but a cruel and criminal policy against a sovereign nation and multi-ethnic society. Madame Clinton followed through with these demented pronouncements, which can only be viewed as genocidal! Clinton promoted the most violent proxy war, uprooting over half of the civilian population of Syria and killing hundreds of thousands, while shredding a sovereign nation. She thus pandered to her Israeli mentors and Pluto-Zionist funders.

To justify backing a serial war monger, a US Secretary of State who has served Israel’s interests, and a politician who has carnalized her ‘feminist principles’ with Wall Street billionaires, Hillary Clinton’s smarmy supporters have had to invent an opponent who is even worse: Creating and then denouncing “Trump the Fascist” serves as a backdoor justification for supporting a proven political psychopath!

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Some REALLY addled Leftism

As postmodernism goes, the article below is not too bad.  You can sort of get what they are driving at.  They seem to be saying that whites have a particular psychologoical state and that that state is psychotic.  Since they themselves sound thought-disordered, that is a rather amusing claim. Psychosis refers to a loss of reality contact so I suppose we could all be living in a dream world -- but as far as I can see the claim is unfalsifiable and therefore non-empirical

If the writers below are allowed to point the skinger of forn at whites, I assume it is fair if I say something more factual back:   The prevalence of mental illness among blacks is greater than among whites and by ordinary psychiatric criteria, blacks also have a high incidence of psychopathic personalities


The Psychosis of Whiteness: The Celluloid Hallucinations of Amazing Grace and Belle

Kehinde Andrews

Abstract

Critical Whiteness studies has emerged as an academic discipline that has produced a lot of work and garnered attention in the last two decades. Central to this project is the idea that if the processes of Whiteness can be uncovered, then they can be reasoned with and overcome, through rationale dialogue. This article will argue, however, that Whiteness is a process rooted in the social structure, one that induces a form of psychosis framed by its irrationality, which is beyond any rational engagement. Drawing on a critical discourse analysis of the two only British big budget movies about transatlantic slavery, Amazing Grace and Belle, the article argues that such films serve as the celluloid hallucinations that reinforce the psychosis of Whiteness. The features of this discourse that arose from the analysis included the lack of Black agency, distancing Britain from the horrors of slavery, and downplaying the role of racism.

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Hospital accused of 'incompetence or racial profiling' in treatment of Aboriginal singer

It's possible that a black may have been negligently treated by white staff.  I have lived in Darwin and the way many Aboriginals live around Darwin would put most people off, leading to a reluctance to have much to do with any one of them.

But, as it happens, I see what happened as the sort of routine negligence that you get in most over-worked government hospitals. Getting into surgery only 8 hours after arrival is in fact pretty good by such standards.

And making a mistake over his diagnosis is also a routine feature of government medicine.  Staff seldom have much time to sit down and take a detailed history.  And diagnosis is guesswork anyway.

And it takes time to look at a patient's notes too.  This guy had quite a history so the notes would have taken a while to digest.  So the most probable diagnosis -- Aboriginal alcohol problem -- was made and staff went on to other demands on their time.

This was government medicine, not racism


The doctor and manager for Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu have accused a Darwin hospital of either being incompetent or racially profiling the Indigenous singer during a recent medical incident.

Gurrumul was taken to the emergency department on Easter Sunday, with internal bleeding complications known as oesophageal varices, resulting from liver disease. His manager, Mark Grose, and specialist doctor, Paul Lawton claim Gurrumul was not adequately treated for eight hours, causing his health to deteriorate and him being placed in intensive care where he then received the necessary surgery.

Gurrumul has been battling liver disease related to having hepatitis B as a child, Lawton said, and hospital staff should have responded immediately. He said Gurrumul’s life had been risked because doctors did not perform the surgery in a timely manner.

Gurrumul had previously been hospitalised a month ago for the same reason, Lawton said.

In a published letter to the NT health department, Grose, who accompanied Gurrumul to hospital with nurse Michele Dowd, accused the hospital of leaving Gurrumul in A&E “for over eight hours, it seems, without any real attempt to treat the problem”.

“Why was he left for over eight hours when the reason for his admittance was clearly evident in Michele’s explanation to A&E staff and was clearly in all of his notes?” Grose wrote.

“There are two assumptions I can make which are both very disturbing but which need answering: Was Gurrumul Yunupingu’s level of A&E care related to assumptions based on his race or is there a serious fault in the system which allows someone to be largely ignored in A&E while seriously ill?”

The Top End Health Service categorically rejected the assertions.

Executive director of medical services, Professor Dinesh Arya, said a review was launched as soon as the concern about Gurrumul’s care were raised and he was “satisfied that care provided at RDH was timely and appropriate”.

“I will also be offering an opportunity to the patient and his carers/friends to meet with the clinical teams who were involved in providing care to the patient so that they have an opportunity to understand assessment findings, treatment provided and ask any questions. This will also enable clarity in relation to ongoing care and treatment of this patient.”

Arya said he and the RDH patient advocate also met with Gurrumul on Monday to ask him if he was satisfied with his treatment.

“It is concerning it has been suggested that some care assumptions may have been made based on the patient’s race,” he said.

“The hospital has a proud multicultural staff and more than 60% of patients admitted to Royal Darwin Hospital identify as Aboriginal. Claims of poor treatment due to a patient’s race have never been raised at the hospital and RDH will continue to provide the best possible service to all patients requiring treatment.”

Dr Lawton said the treatment of Gurrumul was not timely, and concurred with Grose’s assessment.

Lawton, who has been outspoken on issues of race in the treatment of kidney and liver disease, suggested the incident illustrated systemic issues with care of Indigenous people in hospitals.

He said someone had written on Gurrumul’s chart that he was a drinker, when he is not. “Someone has made that assumption initially and then it has been repeated and amplified based on no evidence whatsoever,” he told Guardian Australia.

“It’s assumed people with liver disease have alcohol problems. Which is, to use Mark’s term, racial profiling.”

Arya said no chart or medical record notes about a patient’s history were made without being confirmed. “Questions about use of alcohol and/or other substance use are part all clinical assessments,” he said.

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Rich eccentric takes on a racist university

The pro-Jewish and anti-Asian admission policies of Harvard are grotesque and Ron Unz has done good work in exposing them.  As Harvard was pro-Nazi in the '30s it is perhaps some justice that Jews are now favoured there.  But there is NO justice in keeping a low cap on Asian student numbers.

Ron Unz's attempt now to get on the Harvard Board of Overseers is an obvious next step towards pushing Harvard towards racial justice so the powers that be are very keen to block him.  And the opposition to him is very "ad hominem".  His character has been attacked at length.  As it happens, he really is an odd character so points to pick at have been found.  His replies to his critics are here.

He seems to have made big bikkies when he sold his stock-picking application to Moody's so he now has millions to burn.  And he uses it in an unusually pro-social way.  Instead of spending in it in the usual moron way -- on big yachts and private planes and such things -- he uses it to expand intellectual diversity in the USA.  Leftists talk diversity but  all they mean by it is "black".  Unz really DOES promote diversity.  He funds all sorts of marginal voices on both the Left and the Right.  He even gives money to people he disagrees with!

Why does he do that?  Probably because of his high IQ.  The higher your IQ the more likely you are to see the world differently and when you act on that perception, the rest of the world can only dismiss you as "eccentric".   To Unz's eyes intellectual diversity is clearly very valuable.  He can see many ways in which it could prove beneficial. So he fosters it.

And his unusual mind also makes him neither Leftist nor Rightist.  Although he perhaps is slightly Right-leaning on balance, he favours some iconic leftist positions too --  rejecting a major genetic influence on IQ, for instance.

I have had some correspondence with him in the past about IQ and illegal immigration which I found interesting but in the end both too glib and surprisingly defensive. See e.g. here and here. He has great virtues but I don't think he is a particularly good academic. One notes that he did not finish his doctorate at Stanford


The election of Harvard’s Board of Overseers is usually a quiet affair. Five new members, who must be alumni, are chosen annually by paper ballot for six-year terms. The board meets five times annually and has little power beyond helping the school set long-term goals.

But this year, the election is causing a stir on campus, among alumni, and beyond.

Conservative software engineer Ron Unz, who led a successful 2002 ballot initiative that severely limited bilingual education in Massachusetts, has rounded up four other candidates — including Ralph Nader — on a platform of making Harvard tuition free for undergraduates and questioning its use of race in admissions.

The race veered into new territory last week, after opponents of Unz brought to light his funding of some authors and researchers with views critics brand as white supremacist, including several who write for a website that professes “diversity per se is not strength, but a vulnerability.”

Unz, a member of the Harvard class of 1983, defended his donations to VDare.com writers and others, including $600,000 to Gregory Cochran, who posited in an article that a “gay germ” causes homosexuality, and $24,000 to Steven Sailer, who wrote that combining economic populism with “white party” issues would win the presidency.

Unz, who is also running for US Senate in California, said he does not agree with or support the positions taken by all the writers, including Cochran and Sailer, he supports financially but wants to provide an assist to “alternative media.”

“I most certainly do NOT stand behind everything said or written by everyone with whom I’m friendly, whose writings I publish, or even who have been the recipient of my financial support over the years,” Unz said in an e-mail last week.

As part of his Free Harvard/Fair Harvard campaign, Unz is also pushing for more information about the university admissions process, which prior analyses, he said, found tilted against Asians in favor of less-qualified minorities.

Meanwhile, Harvard is facing a lawsuit from a coalition of Asian-American groups, also claiming it discriminates against Asians in admissions. The groups seek the same information Unz wants, about how Harvard chooses whom to admit.

The university has defended its practices. Harvard spokesman Jeff Neal said a free tuition program would become a subsidy for families who can afford to pay the $63,000 cost of attendance, noting that the college has a generous financial aid program already. Families that make less than $65,000 pay nothing.

On admissions, Neal said Harvard’s undergraduate college performs a “whole-person” review of applicants that includes their racial and ethnic background, in order to admit a broadly diverse freshman class.

A group of alumni has coalesced to try to quash Unz’s Board of Overseers slate and to question his claim that he simply wants more information about the admissions process.

“It just seems clear that this is an agenda beyond the slogan, an agenda to end race as a factor that can be considered in the admissions process,” said Jeannie Park, founder of the group, Coalition for a Diverse Harvard.

Park called the revelations about Unz’s funding of the controversial writings “disturbing” at a time when the university is grappling with many issues involving gender and race, including the campus’ historical ties to slavery.

“The fact that Unz sprinkles money around to a range of viewpoints doesn’t make it OK to finance hate speech,” Park said.

The other slate members are Stuart Taylor Jr., a journalist who wrote “Mismatch,” a 2012 book that argues against affirmative action; Stephen Hsu, a theoretical physics professor at Michigan State University, and Lee C. Cheng, chief legal officer at online electronics retailer Newegg and secretary of the Asian American Legal Foundation, which has advocated against race-based affirmative action in an ongoing Supreme Court case.

Taylor said in an e-mail that “while I deplore the views of some of the people and organizations that [Unz] has funded, I don’t see them as very relevant to assessing Ron — let alone the rest of our slate.”

Taylor said he joined the slate because he believes socioeconomic diversity is a more important factor to consider in admissions and he has “grave concerns” about the use of racial preferences and quotas. Taylor also said making Harvard College free would attract a more diverse pool of applicants.

Nader, a five-time presidential candidate, said Thursday that he supports race-based affirmative action and agrees with the other petition candidates only in that Harvard should tap its $37.6 billion endowment to provide free tuition.

The VDare website editor, Peter Brimelow, rejected claims that the site is “white nationalist or white supremacist.” He said it publishes writers of all ideologies “who are united in their belief that America’s post-1965 immigration policies have been a disaster.”

Nader said he knows Unz from their work together on raising the minimum wage, when Unz was able to galvanize conservatives in support.

He distanced himself from the articles Unz has funded.

To appear on the ballot, the petitioners collected 201 signatures. They join eight other candidates nominated by the Harvard Alumni Association.

Ballots are due May 20, and winners will be announced at commencement.

The last time there were this many petition candidates for the 30-member board was 1990, according to Harvard.

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Marxist paper says that barrier reef damage is being covered up by Murdoch newspaper

The main Murdoch paper in North Queensland, where the reef is, did cover the bleaching.  It was just the main Murdoch paper in the South, where the reef is not, that mostly ignored the alarms.

And the "Courier Mail" had good reason to ignore the Greenie shrieks.  Greenies have been crying "wolf" over bleaching almost incessantly for many years.  Another such cry is not much news.

And the point is that corals always recover.  On Bikini atoll the corals re-grew even after sustaining a direct hit from a thermo-nuclear blast.  And even the chief reef alarmist said: I’d expect most of the corals from Cairns southwards to recover”

Coral bleaching is a complex event and it is only Warmists who are sure that global warming causes it. As NOAA says: "Coral bleaching is not well understood by scientists. Many different hypotheses exist as to the cause behind coral bleaching"

I grew up a short boat ride from the reef and as far back as I can remember (over 60 years) there have been alarms about damage to the reef, including bleaching. And that was long before global warming is supposed to have got going.

Assuming that warmer water is the problem, however, note one thing:  Both the big 1998 die-back and the present die-back coincided with big El Nino events.  And Australia is right in the path of an El Nino event.  It's by far the most parsimonious hypothesis to say that the present problems of the reef are wholly an El Nino effect, and hence just another one of nature's cycles, nothing to do with global warming

But most of the people quoted below are well-known Warmists so they are too predictable to be heeded


The images went around the world. The snapshots of the Great Barrier Reef, from Cairns to Torres Strait, looked more like a pile of bones than coral. Professor Terry Hughes, director of the Australian Research Council’s centre of excellence for coral reef studies at James Cook University in Townsville, was surveying the reef by plane and helicopter. It was, he wrote on March 26, “the saddest trip of my life”.

From March 22, Hughes criss-crossed 520 individual reefs in four days, covering 3200 kilometres by air. Just four showed no evidence of bleaching. The further north Hughes travelled, over what were once the most pristine waters of the reef, unspoiled by the runoff that pollutes the south, the worse the bleaching became. Fringing reefs in Torres Strait, he said, were “completely white”.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science currently has 300 researchers swarming over the reef, complementing the aerial surveys. Reefs are scored on a scale of zero, which indicates no bleaching, to four, which means more than 60 per cent is bleached. Their observations have replicated Hughes’s. In the meantime, Hughes has continued southwards, trying to find a limit to the unfolding tragedy beneath him.

Like most scientists, Hughes prefers to talk in numbers. “I wouldn’t talk about the Barrier Reef dying or the killing of the reef or whatever. I think that’s overstating it,” he says. “I’ll say what number of reefs we’ve surveyed, how many are severely bleached and how many are not severely bleached – but then often the language gets changed, depending on the style of reporting by particular outlets.”

“It’s fair to say it’s getting more coverage outside Australia than inside.”

To clarify, bleached coral is not dead coral. It’s just very unhealthy. Varying combinations of heat stress, bright sunlight and poor water quality cause coral to expel the algae, or zooxanthellae, on which it feeds, and which also gives it its brilliant colour. This exposes the limestone skeleton beneath. Different types of coral are more susceptible to bleaching than others.

Hughes is clear, though: this is really, really serious. “There’s a window of opportunity to survey the corals when they’re severely bleached, because after a few weeks they start to die, and then the skeletons get covered in seaweed and you can’t see them from the air anymore,” he says. “We timed our northern surveys to coincide with the peak whiteness of the reefs, before there was significant mortality.”

North of Cooktown, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is now reporting up to 50 per cent mortality rates. The full extent of the damage, Hughes says, will take months to unfold. “Different corals linger for longer before they die – and also, of course, some of them won’t die, they will recover. I’d expect most of the corals from Cairns southwards to recover.”

When Hughes returned from his first sojourn north, his phone rang off the hook. In the week before April 7, according to the media monitoring company Meltwater, the story was reported more than 1000 times in 70 countries. Video footage given to ABC TV’s 7.30 and later used by the World Wildlife Fund has been viewed more than four million times. “It’s fair to say it’s getting more coverage outside Australia than inside,” Hughes says.

By any objective measure, the bleaching of the reef is a massive story. It’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world – the only Australian environmental feature to be granted such status. It’s home to about 215 species of birds, 30 types of whales or dolphins, half a dozen kinds of sea turtle, and 10 per cent of the entire world’s species of fish.

Any potential danger to the reef is economic and diplomatic as much as environmental. According to a Deloitte study commissioned by the Australian government in 2013, its value to the national economy is about $5.7 billion annually. It attracts two million international visitors each year. It employs close to 70,000 people on a full-time basis.

There have been some efforts to inform people about the devastation under way on the reef in the media. News Corp’s The Cairns Post – with a local readership whose livelihoods are directly threatened – has reported the issue, as has Fairfax’s Brisbane Times. But in Queensland’s only statewide newspaper you wouldn’t have read about Hughes’s findings or their ramifications. Since his surveys began, The Courier-Mail hasn’t interviewed him, nor sent one of its journalists into the field to verify either his or his colleagues’ observations.

“It basically shows they’re either in denial about the science,” says Ian Lowe, emeritus professor in the School of Science at Griffith University, “or they’re colluding in obscuring the science so the community don’t understand the threats being posed to the reef, both by climate change and by the associated acidification of the oceans, both of which put real pressure on corals.”

On March 25, the day Hughes completed his survey of the northern section of the reef, the newspaper ran a short piece on page three, lambasting Greenpeace for sharing an image of bleached coral taken in American Samoa that was incorrectly labelled as being from the Barrier Reef.

Last week, on April 7, The Courier-Mail ran on its front page a story titled “David Attenborough’s verdict: Still the most magical place on Earth”, accompanied by a picture of the famed naturalist and filmmaker standing atop some coral at low tide. Inside was a double-page spread headlined “It takes your breath away”, with the sub-head “Reports of reef’s death greatly exaggerated: Attenborough”.

Well, at least that was what the subeditor said. The lead quote came not from Attenborough, but from federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, after he was granted a preview of the first part of Attenborough’s TV series on the reef that aired last Sunday. “The key point that I had from seeing the first of the three parts is that clearly, the world’s Great Barrier Reef is still the world’s Great Barrier Reef,” Hunt said.

Had Hunt seen the third part, or had the reader progressed to the end of the article, they would have noted Attenborough’s conclusion: “The Great Barrier Reef is in grave danger. The twin perils brought by climate change – an increase in the ocean temperature and in its acidity – threaten its very existence. If they continue to rise at the present rate, the reefs will be gone within decades.”

The Courier-Mail’s relationship with environment organisations has been frosty since the departure of long-serving reporter Brian Williams. Williams says these issues have always waxed and waned. “Not long before I left The Courier-Mail I was doing stories on the prospect of this bleaching occurring, and I actually spoke to some friends in the conservation movement and suggested that the debate would swing back again.”

For now, though, the newspaper is running heavily in support of Adani’s massive Carmichael coalmine in the Galilee Basin, which had been given the go-ahead by the Queensland state government on April 3. “In the real world you need jobs,” began an editorial on the same day, which lambasted “hashtag activism” and defended the regulations it claimed would protect the reef.

“The science on the health of the reef is plain,” the paper said. “This great natural wonder loved by all Queenslanders faces a range of stresses – as it has during the entire past century – from agricultural runoff to the current coral bleaching.”

No mention was made of climate change. The science on that is plain, too: according to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, bleaching is caused primarily by heat stress. The authority also notes that the reef has in fact been bleached only twice previously in the past century – and those events were in 1998 and 2002. This event is far worse. Hughes has said the reef is being “fried”. It’s perhaps more accurate to say it’s being slowly boiled. Water temperatures are up to 35 degrees around Lizard Island, and about 2 degrees above normal summer averages generally.

Climate scientists say that in addition to 2015 being the hottest year since records began in 1880, water temperatures around Australia are at all-time highs. They point to more frequent El Niño events, and more intense cyclones. It’s not just the Barrier Reef that is suffering, either: corals are being bleached across the southern hemisphere, from the central and eastern Pacific across to the Caribbean.

Scientists usually fare poorly in the media for their struggle to speak in lay terms. Now, the government’s own experts are being dismissed as activists.

John Cook, a climate communication fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, says it’s a deliberate strategy. “It’s an attempt by people who oppose climate action to deliberately lump them together, and so when a scientist publishes empirical research about climate change, then they get labelled an activist.” Politicising science, he says, is a way of casting doubt on it.

“I remember having conversations with editors about how climate should be covered, and being told that it was a political story,” remembers Graham Readfearn, who launched his GreenBlog at The Courier-Mail in 2008, before resigning in 2010. “The politics are a distraction when the issue is quite literally staring you in the face, in the form of white coral.”

The newspaper’s website has since deleted all of Readfearn’s posts. Questions to The Courier-Mail’s editor, Lachlan Heywood, went unanswered.

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a professor of marine science at the University of Queensland with a special interest in the communication of science issues, notes that the premiere of Attenborough’s series on Sunday night was watched by 10.6 million people in Britain alone. But in Queensland, there is an eerie silence. In politics and in the state’s most-read newspaper, no one wants to talk about what is happening in front of them.

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