The Electric Car Fantasy

Hilariously unmentioned is that in a NY winter you will be able to drive electric cars only a small distance.  Winter heating gulps a huge amount of battery power, leaving a much reduced capacity to move the car.  So unless you have a very short commute, you will need a combustion car to get to work in winter. Fun!  A two car family is going to have a new meaning

And let me not mention congestion at charging stations.  Are you looking forward to waiting for half and hour while the guy in front of you charges up?

Greenie ideas are unbelievably dumb

Senator Chuck Schumer’s ambitious proposal bucks basic economics—and science.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer has promised that if Democrats win the Senate in 2020, they’ll pass a law requiring that every car in America be electric by 2040. Chinese policymakers must be celebrating, because China makes the majority of the world’s batteries and has the most new battery factories under construction.

The Chinese will need someone to buy all those batteries. This past summer, when China abandoned subsidies for electric vehicles (EVs), sales collapsed. China’s plan now is to require automakers to produce EVs, but at a paltry 3 percent to 4 percent of output. Perhaps Beijing will ultimately increase the allocation, but truly revolutionary technologies never require governments to order their adoption. As for Schumer’s plan, it will fail on every front—including saving China’s battery industry.

Let’s start with what consumers want. SUVs and pickups now account for 70 percent of all vehicles purchased. Most people, it seems, like big vehicles. The minority who buy purely for economy choose small cars with gasoline engines. This option, by the way, puts less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than a Tesla.

Consumers are price-sensitive in every category, a reality that politicians ignore at their peril. Batteries add about $12,000 to the cost of small and midsize cars. That’s meaningful for all consumers but the 1 percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, automobiles constitute the most expensive category of consumables for the average household, costing twice that of health care. (Housing is the biggest expense, but that’s not a consumable.) A recent McKinsey analysis suggests that automakers could “decontent” EVs to cut costs—that is, take out the extra features that every salesman knows are what sells cars.

Setting aside details like cost and features, the key claim is that widespread use of EVs will reduce global carbon-dioxide emissions—except that it won’t, at least not meaningfully. First, it bears noting that regardless of Washington’s creative accounting, the all-EV-option would entail at least a $2 trillion cost to America’s economy, just in higher car costs. Then, simple arithmetic shows that this option wouldn’t even eliminate 8 percent of world oil demand. And the impact on global carbon-dioxide emissions would be even smaller.

Why? It takes energy—the equivalent of 80 to 300 barrels of oil—to fabricate a battery that can hold energy equal to one barrel. Thus, energy used to make batteries brings a carbon “debt” to EVs which, depending on where the factories are located, greatly diminishes, or even cancels out, emissions saved by not burning oil.

None of this changes the fact that, for the first time in a century, EVs are exciting options for niche markets. Credit for that goes to the three scientists who received the 2019 Nobel Prize in chemistry for inventing the lithium battery—and to Elon Musk.

If Teslas weren’t well-designed and appealing, even subsidies wouldn’t have enticed well-heeled buyers. Nor would every automaker be trying to compete. But for perspective on sales adoption in niche markets: even Tesla’s impressive cumulative total of over 500,000 sold in the six years after its introduction was eclipsed by the Ford Mustang, selling 2.5 million in its first six years.

The reality: there’s no stroke-of-a-pen way to change energy use radically for mainstream cars, 100 million of which are purchased every six years in America. And, as the International Energy Agency notes, efficiency improvements expected for combustion engines will save 300 percent more global energy than will all the EVs forecast to be on roads by 2040.

Senator Schumer is looking for a transportation revolution in all the wrong places. New York City was the epicenter of history’s last mobility revolution, when citizens embraced the automobile, leaving behind the era of filthy streets congested with inconvenient and expensive horses and a fatality rate tenfold higher than for car passengers today. Changing the fuel used by today’s cars is no more revolutionary than changing the type and source of horse feed 120 years ago.

For a real energy revolution, policymakers should join Bill Gates in calling for the only viable path to a radically different future: much more research in the basic sciences. That’ll require different budget priorities, as well as patience. Someday a chemist or physicist may discover, for example, a way to make a low-cost room-temperature superconductor. That would really change the world. Such a discovery would mean that electrons could be poured into a meta-barrel as easily as oil is poured into a steel one. Meantime, if today’s electric cars were genuinely compelling, consumers wouldn’t have to be ordered to buy them.



Jacquie Lambie and Pauline Hanson slam the sale of iconic Australian baby formula brand to the Chinese

I usually agree with Pauline.  I have always voted for her when I could.  But she is not thinking deeply about this one.

This is quite unlike Mr Trump's attempts to protect American firms.  In this case the jobs will stay in Australia and the raw product will come from Australian farms.  So what does it matter who runs the bottling plant?

And this also opens up the chance of a bigger market for Australian milk.  The Chinese owner will be in a position to promote and sell it in China in a way that no Australian firm ever could.  It could be a big win for Australian dairy farmers

Senator Jacqui Lambie has slammed the sale of Australian baby formula company Bellamy's to the Chinese, calling the move an 'embarrassment to the country.'

On Friday, the Foreign Investment Review Board approved China Mengniu Dairy Company's $1.5billion bid to buy 100 per cent of the Tasmanian brand's shares.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg backed the approval but insisted that certain conditions were imposed.

The company will have to remain headquartered in Australia for a decade and run by a majority Australian board.

Shortly after the acquisition was approved, Ms Lambie took aim at the Morrison Government, saying the buying-up of Australian companies was 'concerning.'

'I think I'm like millions of Australians out there who are very concerned about the Communist Chinese takeover,' she told the Sydney Morning Herald on Friday.

'Every time they open a cheque book we roll over like a dog.'

Prior to the sale, Ms Lambie, along with senators of the Centre Alliance, had called for an inquiry into Chinese influence and buy-outs around the country from the foreign affairs committee.

Ms Lambie was joined by One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson as well as Barnaby Joyce who also voiced their frustrations over the acquisition.

Mr Joyce said he was 'disappointed' to see Australia lose yet another company to the Chinese and urged the government to make sure the conditions are properly met.

In a more scathing attack, Ms Hanson called on Mr Frydenberg to overturn the decision. 'Stop, just stop! Enough with the rampant sell off of Australia,' she said.

'These are money making entities, which are vital for our economy, they employ local people, and they contribute to our food production. Why compromise all that?

'Here we are allowing the Chinese to waltz in and snatch away one of the leading baby formula manufacturing businesses, with little consideration for what it means for our country's future; this takes another chunk out of Australia's ability to produce enough food for our own people.'

Ms Hanson, who accused the government of being 'frivolous' with Australian assets, said there needs to be 'more respect for what's ours.'

Bellamy's sale is expected to be finalised by the end of the year if shareholders approve the deal.

Mr Frydenberg has also required the Chinese buyer to invest at least $12million in infant milk formula processing facilities in Victoria.

'The conditional approval demonstrates our foreign investment rules can facilitate such an acquisition while giving assurance to the community that decisions are being made in a way which ensures that Australia's national interest is protected,' Mr Frydenberg said in a statement on Friday.

Before the takeover bid, shares in Bellamy's plunged 62 per cent in 18 months.

There were allegations the Chinese state brought this about by not approving Bellamy's request to sell organic formula in Chinese stores, which is still pending.

Mengniu is 16 per cent owned by food processing company Cofco, which is co-owned by the Chinese state.

The board of the Tasmania-based company denied the takeover had anything to do with fast-tracking Chinese regulation to allow expansion in the country.

Mengniu offered $12.65 per share and Bellamy's said it would pay a dividend of 60 cents per share, meaning shareholders get $13.25 per share.

That is a 59 per cent premium on the $8.32 price before the deal take-over bid was announced in September.

Mengniu is a huge dairy company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of $24.6billion.

Bellamy's CEO Andrew Cohen described Mengniu as an 'ideal partner'. 'It offers a strong platform for distribution and success in China, and a foundation for growth in the organic dairy and food industry in Australia,' Mr Cohen said.

Mengniu chief executive officer Jeffrey Minfang Lu said taking over Bellamy's would give it critical access to the Australian market.

'Bellamy's is a leading Australian brand with a proud Tasmanian heritage and track record of supplying high quality organic products to Australian mums and dads,' he said.

'This leading organic brand position and Bellamy's local operation and supply-chain are critical to Mengniu.'



Climate alarmists are brazen opportunists preying on misery

Chris Kenny writes well below but omits what is probably the most important point:  Global warming CANNOT cause drought.  Global warming would induce more evaporation off the oceans  which would come down as MORE rain, not less.

So the widespread claims that the fires are caused by  of global warming because global warming has induced drought are just another Greenie fraud. Drought is if anything a sign of cooling, not warming. It is true that drought does dry out the vegetation and thus encourages fires but what causes drought?

Nobody knows exactly.  All we know is that Australia is very prone to it.  Australian farmers often go for years without seeing rain -- which is why there is a lot  of irrigation

Like a struck match in the bush, global warming is the spark that triggers a destructive firestorm in public debate. Heated on emotion, fanned by sensationalist media and fuelled by ideology, it burns through common sense, reason and decency, showing no respect for facts or rational thought.

Climate alarmists are using tragic deaths and community pain to push a political barrow. Aided by journalists and others who should know better, they are trying to turn a threat endured on this continent for millennia into a manifestation of their contemporary crusade.

It is opportunistic, transparent, grisly and plain dumb. Contributions this past week take lunacy to new levels in an ominous sign for public discourse. In this land of droughts and flooding rains — Dorothea Mackellar’s “flood, fire and famine” — we now confront an extra injury every time the weather tests us; silly and reckless posturing from climate alarmists trying to prove their point.

History doesn’t matter to them, nor the facts. Rather than consider reality they proffer an almost hallucinogenic alternative, pretending their political gestures will deliver cooler, damper summers unsinged by bushfires.

This repugnant rhetoric must be called out; facts and science must prevail. But engaging in this debate must never be interpreted as downplaying the severity of what has occurred — four deaths, hundreds of properties destroyed, lives changed and trauma ongoing. It is only to say this is the perennial horror of our sunburnt country that will bedevil this land long after all of us, our children and our children’s children are gone.

Australia’s natural history is impossible to interpret without reference to fire; plants evolved to survive bushfire and depend on it for propagation. Indigenous heritage demonstrates an understanding of fire in managing vegetation, protecting kin and hunting animals. Since European settlement our story is replete with the menacing scent of disaster and tragic episodes.

Victoria has suffered most, in 1851 with a dozen people killed, along with a million sheep and five million hectares burned. In 1926, 60 dead; in 1939 there were 71 dead and just five years later at least 15 died. In the 1960s dozens were killed in Victoria in numerous years and just 10 years ago on Black Saturday 173 lives were lost along with more than 2000 houses.

In South Australia and Tasmania there is a similar repetition of tragedy, often during the same heatwaves, only with smaller and sparser populations the casualties are lower. Still, the toll is horrific; 62 people died in the Tasmanian fires of 1967.

Wetter summers and drier winters make the NSW fire season earlier and less intense, with blazes common in late spring. Devastating blazes have been regular, taking multiple lives on multiple occasions in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

Yet so much coverage and commentary in the past week would have it that the latest tragedy is a new phenomenon. Rare as it is for the rainforests of northern NSW and southern Queensland to burn, it happens.

Back in September, Joelle Gergis of the Australian Nationa University’s Climate Change Institute wrote in Guardian Australia about how “I never thought I’d see the Australian rainforest burning. What will it take for us to wake up to the climate crisis?”

The Climate Council member wrote: “As a scientist, what I find particularly disturbing about the current conditions is that world heritage rainforest areas such as the Lamington National Park in the Gold Coast hinterland are now burning.”

But such fires predate climate change: “A bushfire in Lamington National Park today swept through a grove of 3000-year-old Macrozamia palms,” The Cairns Post reported on October 25, 1951. “These trees were one of the features of the park … the fire has burnt out about 2000 acres of thick rainforest country.” That is rainforest burning in Lamington National Park 70 years ago.

Journalists, often encouraged by authorities, have written about the “unprecedented” nature of the Queensland fires. Yet newspaper searches tell a different story. Toowoomba’s The Chronicle in 1946 reported winter fires in late Aug­ust: “From Bundaberg to the New South Wales border … hundreds of square miles of drought-stricken southeastern Queensland were aflame.” Two years later in The Central Queensland Herald there were reports on September 30 of “An 800-mile chain of bushfires fed by dry grass stretched tonight along the Queensland coast from Cairns to Maryborough.”

Earlier this year, former NSW fire commissioner, now ­climate activist, Greg Mullins told ABC radio: “There’s fires breaking out in places where they just shouldn’t burn, the west coast of Tasmania, the world heritage areas, wet rainforest, subtropical rainforest, it’s all burning — and look, this is driven by climate change, there’s no other explanation.”

But The South Australian Chronicle of February 1915 reported lives lost and the “most devastating bushfires ever known in Tasmania sweeping over the northwest coast and other districts. The extent of the devastation cannot be over-estimated.” And in 1982 The Canberra Times detailed a “huge forest fire” burning out 75,000ha of dense rainforest on Tasmania’s West Coast.

Terrible as our fires are — often the worst in a generation or more — they are not abnormal in our landscapes, in our climate. A sober discussion in the global warming context might argue that, across time, our endemic bushfire threat could increase marginally rather than diminish with extra rain.

But to suggest the threat is new or can be diminished by climate policy is to pile false hope and mind-numbing stupidity on top of alarmist politicking.

This week, journalists and politicians have wilfully misrepresented claims from NSW fire authorities that they had never confronted so many emergency-level fires at once. An unprecedented number of fires, especially when deliberately lit, has more to do with expanding population than climate.

There also has been much ­hyperbole about the fire rating of “catastrophic”; a new category added to the rating system after Victoria’s 2009 fires to ensure greater community responsiveness. CNN International went heavy on our fires, saying half of Queensland was facing bushfire emergency.

The US-based broadcaster ran a Nine Network report by Airlie Walsh declaring it was the “first time in history Sydney had been met with such catastrophic conditions”. This was typical of the misleading reporting; it was merely the first time the “catastrophic” category had been invoked since it was introduced a decade ago.

Back in 2009, the ABC reported how the additional category was about raising awareness: “Victorian Premier John Brumby said in the last fire season, only five days would have been classified as code red. The new fire warnings system will provide the community with a better understanding of the level of bushfire threat on any given day based on the forecast weather conditions, he said in a statement.”

CNN also used our fires as the basis for an interview with David Wallace-Wells, author of The ­Uninhabitable Earth. He was asked “how dangerous” it was that our Prime Minister “doesn’t actually want to tackle the problem”. This, in the modern parlance, is fake news.

Wallace-Wells, without resort to science, asserted Australia was ­already “suffering intensely” from climate change which, according to him, was responsible for our current drought. He also wrongly claimed our government was not taking any “meaningful action” on climate.

As a national park staffer, and having studied and trained at bushfire management, I experienced one of the Ash Wednesday infernos in 1983. Temperatures well over 40C, tinder-dry bush in the steepest parts of the Adelaide Hills and winds gusting towards 100km/h; this was hell on earth, when fires become a storm and only survival counts.

I missed the worst of it but joined the mop-up — a miserable task amid burned homes, melted cars and the smell of death — ­before helping to extinguish blazes over following days. No one who was there will ever say they’ve seen worse.

People who have seen bushfires only on television can have no idea, and those who experience the horrors of a firestorm won’t get into silly comparisons. In her nonfiction account of Victoria’s Churchill fire on Black Saturday, Chloe Hooper relays first-person accounts.

“The flames were lying down because the wind was howling through.” “It was basically hailing fire.” “It was like a jet engine, I’ve never heard a noise like it and then the penny dropped — it was the fire coming.” “Trees ignited from the ground up in one blast, like they were self-exploding.”

All of this is so lethal, terrifying and devastating — and always has been. It insults all those who have been lost before to pretend it is worse now.

Heat, wind and fuel are what drive our fire threat, and the worst conditions will involve hot, dry conditions and gale force winds across a heavy fuel load. The only factor we can realistically control is fuel — hazard reduction is crucial but often resisted.

While drought can limit the fire threat in some areas by inhibiting grass and shrub growth, the big dry has turned the forests of northern NSW and southern Queensland into tinderboxes. This situation is directly linked to the drought, so the critical question is whether there is a connection between the drought and climate change.

The most authoritative assessment of this came in June from the director of the Centre for ­Climate Extremes, Andrew Pitman. (I have inserted an additional word, in brackets, that Pitman and his centre later said should have been included.)

“This may not be what you expect to hear but as far as the climate scientists know there is no (direct) link between climate change and drought.

“Now, that may not be what you read in the newspapers and sometimes hear commented but there is no reason a priori why climate change should make the landscape more arid.

“And if you look at the Bureau of Meteorology data over the whole of the last 100 years there’s no trend in data, there’s no drying trend, there’s been a drying trend in the last 20 years but there’s been no drying trend in the last 100 years and that’s an expression of how variable the Australian rainfall ­climate is.”

Pitman is no climate sceptic. These are just the scientific facts. Yet his comments are fastidiously ignored by most media except to deliberately reinterpret them.

Mostly preferred are unfounded prognostications from people such as businessman cum green campaigner Geoffrey Cousins telling Radio National Breakfast “everyone in this country now understands the link between climate change and these fires”.

Or Greens leader Richard Di Natale telling the Senate that global warming is “supercharging these megafires”.

What a confluence: media eager to elevate a sense of crisis; political actors exaggerating to advance a cause; horrendous threats that require no embellishment; public fascinated by weather patterns; and information from official authorities feeding the frenzy (revised fire danger categ­ories; weather bureau rainfall records starting only from 1900, therefore eliminating the first five years of the Federation drought; historical temperature readings revised downwards so that this January a record capital city maximum was declared in Adelaide despite a maximum one full degree higher being recorded in January 1939).

When cold, hard analysis of facts is required, we see wild claims constantly made and ­seldom tested.

Di Natale and ­fellow Greens Adam Bandt and Jordon Steele-John stoop so low as to blame these fatal fires on the ­government, dubbing it “arsonists”. Former fire chiefs gather to suggest, with straight faces, that some additional climate change action from government could have quelled these fires. It is as ­offensive as it is ­absurd, but it is seldom called out by a complicit media.

Even Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has conceded that if we were to eliminate all our nation’s greenhouse gases (about 1.3 per cent of global emissions) it would do “virtually nothing” to the ­climate.

The real situation is even more hopeless, of course, because ­global emissions continue to rise. So, the first crucial furphy perpetrated daily by the virtue signallers is that Australian action can control the climate.

It is too ridiculous to be ­repeated yet it is, seriously, and daily. We also constantly hear, as we did on CNN, claims Australia is doing nothing; this ignores our Paris commitments, energy upheaval and the latest report from ANU experts Andrew Blakers and Matt Stocks. They found the country is on track to meet its Paris emissions reduction targets, investing 11 times the global average in renewable energy.

This has not, and will not, cool our summers or quell our bushfires. Still, even if we magically could freeze the climate — setting it permanently at whatever it was in the 1950s, 1850s or 1750s — we know we would still face catastrophic fire conditions in many, if not most, fire seasons.

Many commentators this week have done what they often do when the green left over­reaches; they say the debate has gone too far at either end.

This is intellectually dishonest; one side of this argument urges getting on with the hard task of battling our brutal and ever-present bushfire threat, the other side is playing inane and opportunistic politics.

No one has cut through the nonsense and sanctimony better than The Weekend Australian’s cartoonist, Johannes Leak. He has given us the brattish little arsonist sitting on his mother’s lap being told, “Don’t blame yourself darling, that bushfire you lit was caused by climate change.”

Then there was “Total Fire Bandt” who was fighting bushfires by installing solar panels while others confronted the flames. And Leak showed the Greens sacrificing the economy in a pointlessly pagan attempt to appease an ­ominous blaze.

The overwhelming majority of Australians, who comprehend the omnipresent bushfire threat, would agree with these points. But our debate is shaped by a media/political class far removed from practical realities, more afraid of the chill winds of the ­zeitgeist than a blistering hot northerly.



The Queensland government is to legislate every tenant's dream

And guess who will be most badly affected by that?  Tenants.  Like most do-gooder legislation, it will hurt most those it tries to help.

Why do landlords impose restrictions that tenants dislike?  They have to in order to remain in business.  I am a very experienced landlord (now ex) so let me give you a crystal clear example of why the present restrictions are in place

Pets:  Most landlords do not allow them.  Why?  Because pets shit and piss and even well behaved ones will occasionally do it on the landlord's carpet, which will then stink.

So what happens when the pet owners move out?  The landlord has to try to re-let a place that stinks of pet excreta.  Very few people will move into such a place.  Smell-removing treatments achieve little so the ladlord has to rip up and replace the carpet -- costing thousand of dollars, far more than can ever be covered by a bond.  The landlord would have been better off never to let the pet owners into his place

And guess what?  The new legislation will tell landlords that they MUST allow pets

So what would every rational landlord do in that case?  Stop renting the property out. Sell it instead.  And the supply of rental accomodation will steadily dry up from that point on.

So the only way poor people will in future be able to get accomodation will be to move into accomodation that is priced to cover the risks -- at a much higher rent.  So people who once were able to afford their own house or apartment will have to share -- and thus experience a much more crowded and trying accomodation experience.

Well done, do-gooders!  An editorial from the "Courier Mail" below:

PROPOSED sweeping changes to tenancy laws in Queensland should be given close scrutiny to ensure the right balance is struck between the rights of renters and landlords. Under plans revealed in today's The Courier-Mail, tenants would get greater rights to keep pets and make changes to rental properties to make them safer or more homely.

In what are the most extensive changes to residential tenancies laws in four decades, renters would be able to improve the safety of their home — such as by installing grab rails in bathrooms, furniture anchors, child safety gates and dead locks — without seeking permission from the owner.

Tenants would also be able to make changes that make the accommodation more inviting or energy efficient such as by hanging pictures or using water-saving taps — after seeking approval from the owner. In a dramatic boost to the rights of tenants, this permission would be granted automatically if the owner does not respond within seven days.

As part of the changes, it would also be more difficult for owners to refuse a pet, but renters would also be forced to pay a pet bond to cover costs of potential damage.

These measures, to be announced today, will be introduced in two phases, the first of which will deal with safety measures, accessibility and rights for renters to break a lease to escape domestic violence.

It's encouraging that these wide-ranging reforms will be introduced in phases. But we urge close analysis of the changes to guard against unintended consequences. It may be laudable to improve the rights for tenants, who make up more than one-third of all Queensland households, but if these changes are rushed or not thought through properly, they could end up harming both owners and renters.

The State Government already concedes that rents could rise by between $5 to $18 a week as a result of the changes. The new laws will also require better communication between real estate agents, landlords and tenants.

Allowing tenants to alter the property if they make a request and do not get a response within seven days seems to be a short notice period, particularly if the owner is away or the property manager fails to pass on the message promptly.

And while safety improvements seem reasonable, is it fair to allow tenants to alter a property without at least consulting the owner? Housing Minister Mick de Brenni says the changes will bring in minimum standards inspired by Lyn and Ken Diefenbach, who lobbied for changes after their granddaughter Bella died in an accident involving a rotten floorboard in a rented property.

Its clear that landlords should ensure their property is safe. Tenants have a right to feel secure and comfortable in the homes they pay to rent. But some of these proposals appear to go much further than improving safety and verge on aesthetic and lifestyle changes, which should only be allowed with great care. What one tenant thinks is a positive change to a property may not be what the owner thinks.

If these changes go too far, they could damage the value of owners' investments, push up rents and even harm property prices just as the housing market appears to be improving.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 16/11/2019


Running can help you live longer. And more isn’t always better

Here we go again.  As usual, the researchers did not ask WHY people were in their various categories. In particular, who were the non-runners?  Many were probably not very well, and that would swing the overall averages for their category  -- so all we have here is a finding that people who were not very well had shorter lives -- how astounding is that?

All these correlational studies fall because of the basic statistical dictum that correlation is not causation.  So they will never deliver watertight conclusions. But that is not a counsel of despair.  By controlling for likely confounders (such as health, above) they can still deliver persuasive evidence on their question

But very few researchers make much of an attempt at controls. Income and social class are the big lacunae.  Both are of course politically sensitive so that is part of the reason for the gap but I think another one is laziness.  Once they have done enough to get into the journals they think they have done enough

But it is not enough.  Every study of the subject that I have ever seen shows poverty to be a big influence on health. So even in the present study that could be at work.  Jogging and other running exercise seem to be a mainly a middle class activity.  So the researchers below were probably contrasting poorer people with middle class people.  So all they showed was nothing more that what we have always known -- that the poor die younger.  Big deal!

Education is a reasonably easy datum to get and that is often controlled for and presented as evidence of demographic control -- but that is a very feeble attempt.  As a measure of social class, for instance, it overlooks the big role of subjective class

It is true that getting income and social class data is the hardest part of survey research.  But I nearly always got that in my research career so it just depends on how much you are invested in your research.  I really wanted to find out what is going on rather than just producing something that was "publishable".  And I got lots published anyway.

One major reason americans don’t get enough exercise is they feel they don’t have enough time. It can be difficult to squeeze in the 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week that federal guidelines recommend; only about half of Americans do, according to the most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But new research suggests people may be able to get life-lengthening benefits by running for far less time.

In a new analysis of 14 studies, researchers tracked deaths among more than 232,000 people from the U.S.,

Denmark, the U.K. and China over at least five years, and compared the findings with people’s self-reports about how much they ran. People who said they ran any amount were less likely to die during the follow-up than those who didn’t run at all. Runners were 27% less likely to die for any reason, compared with nonrunners, and had a 30% and 23% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and cancer, respectively. This was true even for those who didn’t log a great deal of time. The analysis grouped people into clusters, with 50 minutes or less per week representing the group that ran the least—but still ran.

“Regardless of how much you run, you can expect such benefits,” says Zeljko Pedisic, associate professor at the Institute for Health and Sport at Victoria University in Australia, and one of the authors of the new analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine ("Is running associated with a lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and is the more the better? A systematic review and meta-analysis")

The analysis is The latest to illustrate the benefits of running on the human body. “It’s what we evolved to do,” says Daniel Lieberman, a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University (who was not involved in the new research). People may no longer chase down prey for their next meal, but running is still helping us survive: as leisure-time exercise, it keeps us healthy. “One of the best ways to avoid having to see a doctor,” Lieberman says, “is to stay physically active.”

The physical demands of running “affect just about every system of the body” in a beneficial way, Lieberman says. Take the cardiovascular system. Running forces it to adapt by “generating more capacity,” he says. “You grow more capillaries and small arteries, and that helps lower your blood pressure.” (High blood pressure is a major cause of health problems and death.) Running is good at guarding against cancer partly because it uses up blood sugar, starving the cancer cells that rely on it for fuel. And it protects you in other ways not necessarily measured in the latest research: by decreasing inflammation, for example, which is at the root of many diseases, and stimulating the production of a protein that improves brain health, Lieberman says. “Vigorous physical activity has been shown to be by far—with no close second—the best way to prevent Alzheimer’s,” he notes.

The good news for people who want the maximum longevity benefits—while spending the least amount of time slapping one foot in front of the other—is that running more than 50 minutes per week wasn’t linked to additional protections against dying. Neither were how often people ran and the pace they kept. As long as you’re running, more isn’t always better, especially given that the risk of injury increases with repetition.



EPA wants research data to be readily available

The screech from the NYT below relies, as usual, on a distortion.

Much of the "science" used by the EPA has in the past been secret.  The conclusions are announced but not the raw data used to arrive at the conclusion. That is a breach of scientific ethics but Greenies don't care about that.  Often, other scientists have doubted the conclusions and asked for a copy of the raw data so that they can do their own analyses.  The EPA has refused, a practice that throws their findings into doubt.

The new Trump rules aim to stop the rot.  Unless the data is made available to other scientists, the conclusions will be ignored.

The NYT rubbish below pretends that the new rules will cause scientists to breach confidentiality. It will not.  The raw data can be and normally is anonymized.  All that is required is a set of numbers

The Trump administration is preparing to significantly limit the scientific and medical research that the government can use to determine public health regulations, overriding protests from scientists and physicians who say the new rule would undermine the scientific underpinnings of government policymaking.

A new draft of the Environmental Protection Agency proposal, titled Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, would require that scientists disclose all of their raw data, including confidential medical records, before the agency could consider an academic study’s conclusions. E.P.A. officials called the plan a step toward transparency and said the disclosure of raw data would allow conclusions to be verified independently.

“We are committed to the highest quality science,” Andrew Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, told a congressional committee in September. “Good science is science that can be replicated and independently validated, science that can hold up to scrutiny. That is why we’re moving forward to ensure that the science supporting agency decisions is transparent and available for evaluation by the public and stakeholders.”

The measure would make it more difficult to enact new clean air and water rules because many studies detailing the links between pollution and disease rely on personal health information gathered under confidentiality agreements. And, unlike a version of the proposal that surfaced in early 2018, this one could apply retroactively to public health regulations already in place.

“This means the E.P.A. can justify rolling back rules or failing to update rules based on the best information to protect public health and the environment, which means more dirty air and more premature deaths,” said Paul Billings, senior vice president for advocacy at the American Lung Association.

Public health experts warned that studies that have been used for decades — to show, for example, that mercury from power plants impairs brain development, or that lead in paint dust is tied to behavioral disorders in children — might be inadmissible when existing regulations come up for renewal.

For instance, a groundbreaking 1993 Harvard University project that definitively linked polluted air to premature deaths, currently the foundation of the nation’s airquality laws, could become inadmissible. When gathering data for their research, known as the Six Cities study, scientists signed confidentiality agreements to track the private medical and occupational histories of more than 22,000 people in six cities. They combined that personal data with home air-quality data to study the link between chronic exposure to air pollution and mortality.



Leftist inversion of reality on Trump

The critique below by  David Limbaugh is of a "moderate" Leftist source but moderation seems to have taken a big flight from reality. As Limbaugh shows, Leftist Paul Waldman cannot see that reality is just the opposite of what he asserts. He cannot even see the deluge of criticism and attack that has been aimed at Trump.

Limbaugh is very cutting in displaying how Waldman repeatedly inverts reality but the Left will not read it. They cannot afford to.  Even if they did read it would leave them  unmoved.  They need to believe their lies so are beyond the reach of reason. They live in an unbreachable fortress of fantasy. 

Their tendency to fly straight past the facts is very disturbing.  It means that the policies they enact will fly right past reality too

The American Prospect's Paul Waldman gives us an earful about President Trump and how Trump is destroying everything that's good and decent in America. Let me share some of his words, which speak for themselves -- but I'll speak for them, too.

"The impending impeachment of Donald Trump brings with it the possibility of something that has been in short supply over the last three years: accountability," Waldman writes. "At last, you may think, we can use a constitutional process to proclaim at last that This Is Not OK." Waldman goes on to acknowledge that Trump probably won't be held to account after all, because though the House will likely impeach him, the Senate will vote against removing him from office.

What strikes me is Waldman's unchecked assertion that Trump's accountability "has been in short supply." He wholly ignores that Democrats have been feverishly pursuing Trump since he announced his candidacy. For two years, they've prosecuted a bogus case on Trump "colluding" with Russia, guaranteeing they had unimpeachable evidence.

They were lying, and their would-be savior, special counsel Robert Mueller, produced no evidence of collusion. Accountability? Why haven't the Democrats had to answer for their wasting taxpayers' time and money over this lie? Neither they nor their legacy media co-conspirators have uttered one syllable of apology to the American people, let alone President Trump, for dragging us through this nightmare.

Instead, they immediately pivoted to Ukraine. Here we go again -- but this time, it's really serious. What is this, the fourth impeachment attempt? Why not? We now know from released transcripts that they've been planning this coup from the jump. We already knew it, but we've got the smoking gun. Will they be held to account for their election and post-election interference? Of course not, unless their constituents vote them out of office for abuse of power.

Waldman continues: "This is one of the products of Trump's time in office: the contamination of our emotional lives. Trump has made us feel dread, despair, disillusionment, and a dozen other awful emotions whose grip it feels impossible to escape. And even if he loses in 2020 then slinks back to Mar-a-Lago to spend his days regaling his dwindling number of sycophants with tales of his matchless presidency, we'll continue to live with the effects for years or even decades to come."

I don't know whom Waldman purports to speak for, but millions of Americans would find his words repugnant. Trump doesn't make us feel dread and despair. Bullish on America and fighting leftist insanity and political correctness, he invigorates our patriotic instincts. His policies have stimulated robust economic growth, which is hardly cause for despair.

Waldman details "the unceasing parade of horrors emanating from the Oval Office," citing the usual litany of Trump's alleged sins -- his oh-so-offensive tweets, his racism and his cruelty. It's just so exhausting for poor Waldman. He writes: "And how many times have you found yourself almost involuntarily talking with friends or family about some awful thing Trump did or said, only to have someone stop and say, 'Oh god, let's just not talk about him for a while. I can't take it."

What's exhausting is the ceaseless leftist noise machine railing against Trump. Leftists need to remove the smudges from their mirrors and see that they are projecting. They are the ones who have been vicious and hateful toward Trump from the beginning. They have wrongly accused him -- and his supporters (half of Americans) -- of racism and cruelty. They have contempt for all his supporters. Yet has Trump called them Nazis? Racists?

If you don't believe me, read Waldman's elaboration: "For many the mere fact that Trump could win in 2016 (even if he got three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton) was reason enough to lose faith in their country in a fundamental way. Eight years before they had convinced themselves that Barack Obama's election meant America could be the place they wanted it to be: inclusive, tolerant, progressive, hopeful. Trump came along and told them that America was not that place."

What? Precisely the opposite is true. Progressives are the antithesis of inclusion, tolerance and hope. They are intolerant of opposing viewpoints, and they readily use the power of government and social media giants to suppress conservative speech and religious liberty. They bully conservatives out of restaurants and college campuses. They are anything but hopeful. Former President Obama's team told us the days of 3% growth were over. President Trump rejected the naysaying and gave us an economic boom, fulfilling his campaign promises and restoring hope.

The rest of Waldman's piece is even more desperate and bitter, but space constraints preclude further dissection. I'll just leave you with his closing paragraph, which encapsulates his TDS: "There may yet be more to come, if nothing else in the form of an election defeat next year. But it's hard to escape the gnawing feeling that nothing we can do to Trump will ever make up for what he has done to us."

To the contrary, Trump has done nothing to them, but they have done plenty to him. And he's done plenty for us -- specifically standing athwart the extreme left's crusade to fundamentally and permanently transform America into a nation our framers wouldn't recognize.

Thank you, President Trump, for standing up for America and those who still believe in it.



Remembrance Sunday is now 'a crazy religious ritual dominated by poppy fascism', says David Starkey

Starkey is an amusing commentator.  He says things that tend to offend both the Left and the Right.  But because he is queer, both sides tend to let him off without criticism.

Today's blast is vintage Starkey. He actually says below a lot of things that many conservatives would like to hear said more often.  He is very good on political correctness and Greta Thunberg.

As far as his criticism of armistice day customs is concerned, perhaps he is right that some people act out of mere formality rather than anything heartfelt.  But he, as an historian, must know what horrors armistice day ended and no feeling person could remain unaffected by that knowledge. Very many of us lost family members in that and other wars

And members or former members of the armed forces are particularly aware of the horrors of war. Many returned men from both world wars never spoke of their wartime experiences out of aversion even to think of what they underwent.

My time in the armed forces was maximally undistinguished (though I did reach the rank of Sergeant) but no time in the armed forces leaves you unaffected and it is with a whole heart that I mark armistice day very year. I don't ever do much but I did this year wear a poppy badge before and during the day and did make a small donation to an ex-diggers' organization. "Digger" is an honorific word for a soldier in Australia.

Note that Starkey (on the Right below) IS wearing a poppy badge.

Remembrance Sunday has become a "crazy religious ritual" which wrongly turns soldiers into either "victims or heroes", television historian David Starkey has said.

Speaking to Chopper's Election Podcast, Mr Starkey attacked what he described as "poppy fascism" which requires people to demonstrate that they are remembering Britain's war dead.

He said that acts of remembrance had "become a crazy religious ritual. It's become abstracted from reality. There is what we call poppy fascism, we're both suffering from it. The absolute requirement to do it".

He said: "It's also associated again with something else: we’re turning soldiers into either victims or heroes, and the two sort of uneasily shift around each other. They’re neither.

"Say if you have mass war and conscription, today's soldiers are volunteers. They are doing it usually because they like it, and they get tremendously excited about it. And many of them just enjoy killing and that’s very useful."

Mr Starkey, a constitutional expert, also took aim at today's politicians saying that many were not good enough to run the country and said MPs should no longer be paid to stop them getting "above their station" and defying the Government over Brexit.

He attacked the Left for using offence at inadvertent racist comments to shut down online debate like "the Grand Inquisitor" and said adults were "fools" for taking seriously the environmental warnings from the Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg.

Mr Starkey said it was "frankly mad" that politicians like former Environment secretary Michael Gove prostrated themselves before Miss Thunberg when she warned about threats to the environment.

He said: "The Middle Ages is filled with child saints and intelligent adult people like Michael Gove, prostrating themselves before them ... God speaks through the mouths of babes and sucklings ... and it is frankly mad."

Adults were "fools for treating her seriously. But you see, it also goes along with the sentimentality, it goes along with Diana-fication, it goes along with putting little teddy bears on war memorials. But again, you see, this is also mediaeval: offering up gifts at the shrine."

Mr Starkey said he despaired of modern politicians and pointed to "the 'on the whole' very poor quality of people standing for parliament. "It means that our executive, the Cabinet is generally speaking, spectacularly weak at administrative and intellectual skills - look [at] both front benches frankly.

"The Labour frontbench is indescribable. I mean, the idea of [Liberal Democrat leader] Jo Swinson as Prime Minister for Heaven's sake, you could imagine her running a rather preachy primary school."

Mr Starkey attacked Remain-supporting MPs for obstructing the work of the Government in the last Parliament, saying that they "stand on a party manifesto and they are not elected as individuals".

He said: "You cannot have an MP parading 'I am a free thinking representative and have democracy'. I'm sorry. It doesn't work like that... "They are the rules of Parliament itself, that give the Government with a clear parliamentary majority control over the parliamentary agenda.

"They've got above their station, and I blame paying MPs. I absolutely blame paying MPs, because this gives them the notion they've got a job. MPs don’t have a job.

"The backbench MP is the stooge. Traditionally you were in the Bar, you were employed in business, you were a trade union activist or whatever. And you turned up and you voted as your party tells them to." Mr Starkey warned Tory leader Boris Johnson against trying to modernise his party. He said: "The whole preposterous notion of Tory modernisation was to make the Tory party the party of preference for readers of The Guardian.

"This is an idea so stupid that I'm afraid you have to use a very strong word and say it is ----ing stupid. And it doesn't work, and also it's unhistorical."

Mr Starkey said it was  "by no means clear that Brexit will happen. So I'm afraid history may well record this as, a triumphant beginning, an abortion, an accident. We don't know, until it's done".

Mr Starkey was scornful of Theresa May, the former prime minister, describing her as being "like a dose of ice cold water poured over enthusiasm, she is a kind of permanent vacuum - an utter emptiness".

Mr Starkey also criticised the Left for using "racism" as "the absolute test of moral failure". He said: "Racism now becomes the equivalent of original sin, and also the way that the Left pursues language. It behaves, you know, like a Grand Inquisitor.  "

"If you use minutely the wrong word you are burned alive on Twitter. And that is a form of religious passion."



How the world has reacted to the NSW, QLD bushfires

Brain-dead Lefty journalists who know nothing about Australia (or anything else much) say: "Climate change" did it.

Australia has always had big forest fires, with some of the biggest many years ago.  So there is no way you can tie the present fires to global warming.  It is just empty assertion by brainwashed dupes

Where the fires mainly are at the moment -- Southern Queensland and Northern NSW -- is normal for spring, which is where we now are

Media outlets around the world have been reacting to the fires burning across Australia’s east coast, saying climate change is to blame.

Three people have been confirmed dead, five are missing and 40 have been injured, with 150 homes already destroyed — and the worst is yet to come.

“We’re not even in summer yet,” NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

“I’m quite concerned that … we’re going to see more fires as we close through the season.”

Mayor Carol Sparks told the Sydney Morning Heraldthat her community has been “devastated” and the entire country is at risk from dangerous climate change.

Sparks, a member of the Glen Innes Severn Council, has no doubt that global warming is increasing the number of fires and their intensity.

“We are so impacted by drought and the lack of rain,” she said.

“It’s climate change, there’s no doubt about it. The whole of the country is going to be affected. We need to take a serious look at our future.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told the Today Show that the discussion around climate policies being to blame is not one that will be had “for the next weeks.”

“We need to focus on saving lives,” the Premier said, and “the communities who are doing it tough.”

“Often, the first couple of days when I meet someone whose lost everything, they seem resilient.

“But you know that in the next few days when the shock wears off and they face reality, that’s when we really need to provide our support and I just asked everybody to put politics aside and just consider the human toll and what we can do as humans to support people in our state.”

Readers of the BBC’s coverage on the fires have shared Sparks’ concerns. While some shared “thoughts and prayers”, many others blamed climate change and the Australian government for the situation, with one reader writing, “Climate in peril as the world burns.

“Governments are to blame,” wrote Suzanne G Kelly on a BBC post.  “They have ignored climate change even though all of the experts including Risk Analysts have been talking and warning about this for over two decades. “It’s now gone beyond blame. Governments have to be held to account and have to act now. They have been warned for decades of this and have done very little. “It’s shameful and heartbreaking.”

It was a sentiment echoed by other readers, with another writing, “Climate change is truly the topic now. Government should take this seriously. But some take climate change as their advantage to win elections.”

The Guardian have also provided significant coverage on the fires — where readers have also pointed out there’s no denying climate change is the catalyst for the blaze.

UK’s The Times coverage included quotes from Adam Bandt of the Australia Greens party, who accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of inaction in the face of the global climate crisis, saying that he hadn’t done enough to reduce carbon emissions.

“I’m not saying the Prime Minister is directly responsible for the fires and the loss of life but he has contributed to making it more likely that these kinds of tragedies will occur,” he said.



Diversity as a snark

Below is most of an article from "The Economist" in the form of a letter to a chief excutive. It is about "diversity" -- i.e. getting women and blacks into well-paid jobs that they may or may not be suited for.  It is quite good on what to do and what not to do in accomplishing that political goal.

But the list of dos and dont's is very extensive. In effect, practically everything you do has to be changed.  One is reminded of the old German socialist (and Nazi) slogan:  "Alles muss anders sein" (Everything must be changed).

So an obvious question in that case is whether diversity-mongers are trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Is an impossible task being attempted? The figures below certainly suggest that. They suggest that diversity is an immovable object. So are the coveted minorities just not very suited for what is asked of them? If everything has to be upended to get them in, that is an obvious question

And experience elsewhere reinforces that question.  Indians, Chinese and Jews are minorities but nobody needs a diversity program to get them wherever you want them.  They get into the top echelons all by themselves.  The highest earning ethnic group in America is Indians.  Being brown men with a tendency to funny accents certainly does not hold them back.  Not many went to Ivy League schools either.

So it looks like diversity efforts are just another of the unnatural goals that Leftists are always setting for other people. The way things are never suits Leftists.  So they impose on others all sorts of difficult tasks with dubious benefits.  Their never-ending speech codes are a prime example of that. So given the vast abusive screeches that Leftists go on with, I guess some appearance of diversity-seeking has to be attempted -- but it would be unwise to take it very seriously. It won't work

This is where we are: lots of talk, plenty of initiatives, little change on the ground. Between 2015 and 2018 the share of female executives at large (mostly) American and British firms went from 12% to 14%; for ethnic minorities it moved from 12% to 13%. The FTSE 100 has fewer female CEOs (six) than it does bosses who share your name (seven). In American companies with over 100 employees, the share of black men in management was 3.4% in 2017, half their share in the population as a whole—and virtually unchanged from 3% in 1985. White women make up 25% of executives and senior managers, compared with 60% for white men. Something is clearly amiss.

In the past this letter would have gone straight to your legal department. Since the term “diversity” entered the corporate lexicon in the 1960s it has been code for avoiding lawsuits—especially in America, where companies have coughed up billions in fines for discrimination over the years. The financial sector still treats it mostly as a compliance issue.

Deep inside, you may be wondering if anything really needs solving. The short answer is: it does. With that in mind, you should ask yourself three things.

Are you hoping that diversity will boost the bottom line? To be perfectly honest, I have no idea if it does. It is hard to tell if diversity helps firms do well, or if successful firms are also more enlightened on other matters. But variety has been linked to innovation, productivity and, for example in diverse teams of surgeons, fewer mistakes. Lack of it breeds groupthink— which in turn can lead to disasters. The Bay of Pigs invasion and the Lehman Brothers collapse stemmed from narrow-minded-ness. And employees who believe their firm cares about gender diversity are 40% more likely to be satisfied at work—and possibly more productive as a result.

Once you have sorted out the why, consider where you want to get to. Some firms, like Facebook, Nike or P&G, say they wish to mirror their customer base. Others are keen not to recruit from an artificially thin talent pool. Goldman Sachs claims its new entry-level recruitment targets—50% female and, in America, 14% Hispanic and 11% black—are based on things like graduation rates. Clear goals make it easier to assess if you are on track. But make them attainable. Qantas’s goal of 40% of its pilot intake to be female by 2028 is as admirable as it looks unrealistic: today just one in 20 pilots worldwide is a woman.

The third question concerns barriers that stop diverse talent from flourishing at your firm. Mapping how it flows through your organisation and where the blockages and leaks happen is a start. A McKinsey study of more than 300 companies identified the second step of the career ladder, from entry level to manager, as the “broken rung”: for every 100 men only 72 women (and just 68 Hispanic and 58 black ones) earned that critical early promotion. When Google was losing women in disproportionate numbers it homed in on maternity as the principal cause; the technology giant increased maternity leave and support for mothers returning to work.

Now you’ve got your diversity-and-inclusion (D&I) priorities straight and diagnosed what needs fixing. Good. Before you order a rainbow float for a Pride parade and send staff on a micro-aggression avoidance course, here is what not to do.

The don’ts

American firms spend billions a year on training. Half of large ones have unconscious-bias seminars. Most of these “D&I” programmes are a waste. Or worse: recent research from America shows that diversity statements can put off minorities, possibly because they perceive them as tokenism. Often, firms do D but forget I, which is about ensuring that the workforce is not just diverse, but thriving. Too many try to fix people instead of procedures. Training women to be more assertive in asking for a promotion or pay rise is pointless; they are just as likely to ask for these but also likelier to be seen as pushy when they do. Ushering your managers onto the “Check Your Blind Spots bus”, currently touring America as part of the CEOs’ drive, is unlikely to do much. “Days of understanding”, popular in American offices, risk causing “diversity fatigue”. It is hard to beat bias out of individuals—easier to root it out of systems.

Take Silicon Valley. Big Tech has splurged on D&I to little effect. Representation of blacks and Hispanics has been flat (see chart). Girls Who Code, an industry-sponsored NGO, found that a quarter of young women who applied for internships at tech firms said they were asked inappropriate or biased questions. Others reported being flirted with or demeaned. It’s no use hiring diverse coders if the message then is: wear a hoodie and pretend to be a guy, or this is no place for you. They will underperform—or flee, leaving you as undiverse as before. Firms that do not change their ways beyond recruitment see high attrition rates of diverse talent. A lack of diversity is a symptom of deeper problems that a few diversity hires won’t mend.

The how

At this point the how should be relatively clear. In a nutshell, it is all about creating a level playing field. When recruiting, software can mute biases by concealing giveaways to a candidate’s gender or ethnic identity. These include names but also less obvious hints like the sports they play. If only the usual suspects apply, look harder. Specialised recruitment drives, such as visiting “black” colleges or advertising in women’s forums, appear to work. The Bank of England no longer visits the Russell group of top universities, whose graduates apply in spades anyway, and focuses instead on less elite schools. BHP, an Anglo-Australian mining giant, broadened its search for female miners by recruiting from professions, such as nursing, with some similar skills.

In an effort to find trainees from different backgrounds, British law firms are trying “contextual recruitment”. An applicant with Bs from a school where everyone got Cs may be more impressive than one with As from a place full of A* pupils. Rare, a recruitment firm, has developed software which screens candidates for disadvantage and gauges their outperformance against the average for their school.

Once in the workplace, the clearer your criteria for professional advancement, the better. Informality is the enemy of women and minorities. It perpetuates bias. Surveys of American engineers and lawyers found that female workers were nearly twice as likely as their male peers to be saddled with “office housework”, like setting up meetings and conference calls. White men were likelier to be given career-enhancing tasks such as client meetings.

Sponsorship schemes are an effective way to ensure traditionally sidelined groups get a fair shot. Payscale, a pay-com-parison site, found that employees with a sponsor made 11.6% more than those without. The Bank of England has offered most of its sponsorship places to ethnic-minority women. Staff surveys, if bite-sized but regular, can bring clarity to fuzzy inclusion metrics. “Psychological safety”, lingo for an environment where people feel free to speak their mind, can be tracked with questions like “are your ideas regularly attributed to someone else?” or “are you regularly interrupted in meetings?” Rotating who chairs a meeting, or a firm word with loudmouths who dominates it, can help.

Many employers—yourself included— would be horrified to learn that they implicitly require employees who want to be considered leadership material to adjust their behaviour. Women shouldn’t need to “act like a man”, gay employees to “act straight” or people with frizzy hair to treat it to “look professional” (ie, white). Let grievances fester and your workers will lose motivation or simply leave.



Irish academic calls for the term 'Anglo-Saxon' to be DROPPED from modern speech because it has 'links with white supremacists'

"Anglo-Saxon" is simply history. Post-Roman Britannia was successfully invaded in about 500AD by Germans from Jutland.

Most of Jutland is now Denmark.  It was originally German. The Danes came South from Norway, immediately North of Jutland.  They were early Vikings. They pressed hard on the Germans, forcing many of them to relocate to Britannia.

Jutes came from North Jutland, Angles from central Jutland and Saxons from South Jutland.  Saxons were never overrun by the Danes but were busy pushing South in Germany so came to Britannia in only small numbers. So the invasion of Britannia was dominated by Angles -- who therefore gave the new domain their name -- England.  We still speak a derivative of their language.

Slightly later, the Danes also came to what was by then England.  The Danes never conquered the Saxons in Saxony and were also eventually driven out of England by Saxons.  The Saxons were the tough guys.

So the term "Anglo-Saxon" is accurate testimony to great historical events in the ancestry of many people reading this blog. But Leftists hate history

There is a sense in which England is still ruled by Saxons. The historic surname of the present British monarchy is
Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha, where "Sachsen" is the German spelling of Saxony

The term Anglo-Saxon is 'bound up with white supremacy' and should be replaced with 'early English', academics have argued.

Anglo-Saxon traditionally refers to groups from Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands who settled in Britain at the end of Roman rule.

However, early medieval England specialist Mary Rambaran-Olm, an independent scholar and author, claimed the term is used by white supremacists to refer to white British people and should be banned.

The academic – raised in Canada and now based in Ireland – says previous objections to the term Dark Ages sets a precedent.

She told The Times: 'Generally, white supremacists use the term to make some sort of connection to their heritage (which is inaccurate) or to make associations with 'whiteness' but they also habitually misuse it to try and connect themselves to a warrior past.'

Miss Rambaran-Olm said people in early England – or 'Englelond' – did not call themselves Anglo-Saxons but tended to refer to themselves as 'Englisc' or 'Anglecynn'.

The academic said the term became more popular in the 18th and 19th century and was used to link white people to their 'supposed origins'.

Hitler wrote of the 'Anglo-Saxon determination' to hold India, while imperialist Cecil Rhodes also regularly used the term.

John Overholt, curator of early books and manuscripts at Harvard's Houghton Library, backed a ban on the term.

'The term Anglo-Saxon is inextricably bound up with pseudohistorical accounts of white supremacy, and gives aid and comfort to contemporary white supremacists,' he wrote on Twitter. 'Scholars of medieval history must abandon it.'

Earlier this year the International Society of Anglo Saxonists took a poll of its 600 members, and 60 per cent of the group agreed to remove the reference to 'Anglo-Saxon' from its name.

But Tom Holland, author of books including Athelstan: The Making of England, said the term was 'inextricably bound up with the claim by Alfred ... to rule as a shared Anglian-Saxon identity'.  'Scholars must be free to use it,' he said.

In a tweet, he wrote of the idea to ditch the term Anglo-Saxon: 'Mad as a bag of ferrets, as they say in Deira [a former kingdom].'



Blinding Themselves: The Cost of Groupthink in Social Psychology

It is mentioned below that the Leftist bias in academe can damage social psychological research.  I saw a vivid example of that during my research career in social psychology.  I noted that when my colleagues designed a scale to measure conservatism, it normally showed little if any correlation with vote.  So, apparently, lots of Leftists voted for conservative political candidates!

Basically, the scale designers never talked to conservatives so had only stereotyped and incorrect ideas of what conservatives actually thought. Insofar as one can summarize it, the Leftist researchers saw conservatives as brutes whereas in reality conservatives are basically cheerful, relaxed people. They rarely hit back the way Mr Trump does -- which is one reason why Mr Trump so shocks the Left. Gentlemen like Ronald Reagan and George Bush II are much more representative of the conservative mainstream. So scales by Leftists measured something that existed only in their own heads.

By contrast my scales of conservatism predicted vote very solidly, with correlations as high as .50.  How come?  I am a conservative so was intimately familiar with what conservaties actually think.  My scales were valid. The Leftists' scales were not.

So did Leftists start using my scales?  No way!  They preferred to continue using their own invalid scales, thus making their findings of unknown meaning

The social sciences have a problem: If their scholars think too much alike, they will be blinded to the flaws and gaps in their research. Rather than explaining how individuals in society act and think, academics can sometimes slip blinders on themselves and the public.

Polling shows broad agreement within some disciplines. For instance, recent data from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s Diversity and Climate Survey revealed that almost 90 percent of their members who took the survey self-identify as liberals—but fewer than 5 percent identify as conservatives. This imbalance seems to affect how welcome conservative academics feel in scientific environments: They report feeling excluded more, they feel less free to express their ideas at SPSP events, and they do not believe that SPSP lives up to its diversity values.

And a study by Yoel Inbar and Joris Lammers of Tilburg University in the Netherlands showed that more than a third of the American scholars surveyed would be willing to discriminate against hiring a conservative job candidate, all else being equal.

In theory, the lack of political diversity shouldn’t affect research quality. Western civilization developed scientific methodologies to make sure that knowledge is universal and shareable. If the methods and analyses are adequate, the data openly available, and the conclusions justified, then any qualified investigator could evaluate the merits of a study. Ideally, scientific validity does not depend on the political or moral values of the scientist, but on the reasonability of the research process.

However, personal values and biases can affect researchers in multiple ways. They can affect how scientific ideas are conceived, developed, and tested. One of the biggest effects is in how values determine research questions.

How does a social scientist decide what to study? Undoubtedly, personal preferences push academics toward some topics over others. Similarly, scholars are embedded in a research hierarchy (laboratories, advisors, mentors, colleagues, assistants) that might make decisions for them—especially early in their careers. But those communities are usually committed to specific goals. Members of a laboratory studying the effects of smoking on the academic performance of college students probably are not indifferent to policies regarding smoking on campus. Those who study economic development want to find ways to ameliorate poverty. And those who study depression want to treat it better.

Funding agencies bring their own values to research, too: Grants are given to advance scientific knowledge in specific areas chosen by the values of the funding agency. Grant recipients, in turn, need to adjust their research interests to the funder’s vision.

Thus, the personal views of researchers shape research programs by investigating what they decide are most important. For example, the last three issues of the Journal of Social Issues (the flagship journal of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues) were special issues dedicated to “neoliberalism,” “ableism,” and “immigration and identity multiplicity.” These topics and the language used are clearly aligned with specific left-leaning views, which express what those scientists believe needs to be studied. It’s unlikely that special issues investigating entrepreneurship, the benefits of patriotism, or gender complementarity will follow.

It’s important to note, however, that choosing some topics over others is not a sign of low-quality science per se. Scientific studies on ableism might be as rigorous as any. The problem is that the ideological imbalance among researchers means equally valid research questions that enrich the understanding of society are left uninvestigated.

For example, for decades it was taken as common psychological knowledge that conservatives were more intolerant and prejudiced than liberals. However, psychologist Jarrett Crawford showed, in a series of studies, that those results depended on which groups were the target of prejudice. While right-wingers showed more prejudice and intolerance toward blacks, LGBT individuals, and welfare recipients, left-wingers show similar levels of intolerance for those with right-wing political values.

In other words, what is being researched depends on personal, social, and institutional values—considerations that are not necessarily rational nor objective. Liberal scholars studying prejudice might focus their research on victimized groups rather than more-secure ones, which is a noble objective and a valid scientific decision. Yet, their research can lead to activists or other academics claiming more than is scientifically valid.

In psychological terms, it is not that conservative ideologies are necessarily linked to prejudice, as had been suggested since the 1950s. Crawford showed—and the psychological establishment has come to accept—that prejudice can be found across the political spectrum, but targeted at different groups. That is the way science makes progress—testing the accepted consensus and foundational knowledge.

In another domain, a 2014 study showed that women with unplanned pregnancies did not change their decision about having an abortion after looking at an ultrasound. Those findings can be—and have been—used as scientific evidence for specific policy views and partisan agendas. However, the study was conducted in Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, where about 9 in 10 of the incoming patients were reported to be “highly certain” about their decision to terminate the pregnancy. This study is valuable in and of itself, but it should not be stretched to imply that all women with unplanned pregnancies will be unaffected by looking at an ultrasound.

And in a unique instance, one professor discovered his own research was biased because he didn’t have anyone around to challenge his assumptions. In the late 1990s Keith Stanovich, a prominent cognitive psychologist at the University of Toronto, and his colleagues published a scale to measure “actively open-minded thinking”—i.e. the disposition to rely on reasoning rather than impulses, to revise one’s beliefs or to tolerate ambiguity. Recently, studies showed that this trait was strongly negatively correlated with religious beliefs: the more religious someone is, the less open-minded they are. Those findings were consistent with previous literature about the relationship between religious beliefs and analytical thinking.

However, in a highly unusual publication, Stanovich himself revised his own scales and realized that they might be intrinsically skewed against religious individuals. Evidence showed that once the bias in the open-minded scale is corrected, the correlation decreases noticeably. Reflecting on this, Stanovich wrote: “It never occurred to us that these items would disadvantage any demographic group, let alone the religious minded. No doubt it never occurred to us because not a single member of our lab had any religious inclinations at all.”

The above examples show how the ideological imbalance in the social sciences has a cost. Some questions don’t get asked. Then, established “knowledge” does not get challenged for inaccuracy because academics do not have another way to frame the issue. Since the demographics of academia are not likely to change in the short-term, how can this issue be addressed by researchers?

The key is dialogue: In the early stages of a research project, social scientists could reach out to scholars in departments that traditionally do not hold dominant liberal views (such as business schools, health sciences, or engineering departments). Even a non-technical discussion of research questions could yield valuable insights about potential blind spots. Academic institutions could promote these dialogues to improve scientific research—which is the very reason they exist in the first place.



Another grim week leaves private health insurance in Australia on life support (?)

The Leftist moan below has a point but there is no threat to the continued availability of private health insurance.  The increasing costs of medical procedures are probably unfixable so the cost of private insurance must increase. No government fiddling will alter that. And, yes, that will freeze out some people.  But those who can continue to afford it will do so.  The opportunity to avoid government medicine is compelling.

Government medicine is good enough and sometimes excellent but getting access to it is the problem. You can die on a waiting list and nobody even says "Sorry".  And government hospitals face a double whammy.  They too have to fund the increasing costs of procedures and on top of that they will face an influx of former private patients driven into their arms by those same costs.

So the future for private hospital insurance will remain strong but it will service fewer people.  It will be confined to a mostly affluent clientele, which it is not now.  Middle income people can and do afford it at the moment.

There is no doubt that the situation is politically unpalatable so what is likely to happen?  Restrictions.  Government hospitals will simply refuse some care to some people.  An early candidate for that would be to offer very limited service to people with self-inflicted illnesses -- principally smokers and the obese.  That already happens informally but will almost certainly increase -- no hip jobs for the obese and no lung resections for smokers, for instance.

I can speak from personal experience about one of those strategies.  A high-tech procedure of relatively recent origins is the PET scan. It is the best way of detecting cancer in you.  I gather that there is some access to them in public hospitals but it is very limited so you mostly have to go to a private laboratory to get one.  I did. I had it very promptly and it cost me $700 with NO Medicare rebate.  You can see why there is no rebate.  If there were it would be widely prescribed. And what would 100,000 prescriptions at $700 each cost?  It would break the bank.  So restricting availability of the procedure is both necessary and opens it up only to the well-off

So two-tiered medical care is inevitable. It already exists and will get worse.  Government medicine aims to prevent that but it cannot.  Medical innovations will continue and will continue to be ever-more costly

In April this year, the health minister, Greg Hunt, introduced reforms the government said would make private health insurance easier to understand and more affordable.

The changes, described by the federal government as the most significant reforms to the private health insurance system in a decade, included classifying the some 70,000 private health insurance policies available into gold, silver, bronze and basic categories, and discounts for young people.

A review from the consumer advocacy group Choice published on Wednesday found the opposite. More than 215 “silver” and “silver plus” policies cost more than “gold” policies, the report found, leaving consumers as confused by their options as ever. An Australian Medical Association report published one day later warned private health policies remained unaffordable and non-transparent.

The other cornerstone of the reforms – lower premiums for people under 30 – has failed to stop the exodus of young people from the system, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority [Apra] data shows. The financial authority in May issued a directive to the private health industry to take responsibility for the decline in affordability and uptake of insurance rather than rely on government reforms.

The situation has several health economists and policy experts questioning whether the private health insurance industry, far from being salvageable through reform, is worth saving at all.

Apra executive board member Geoff Summerhayes said it was “frustrating to see little evidence that insurers are taking actions that reflect their own assessment of the heightened risks in this challenging environment”.

“Apra recognises the industry has been under duress for some time, and the main factors, such as rising demand for health services and the soaring cost of treatments, are beyond insurers’ direct control,” he said. “But that’s not an excuse for doing nothing and hoping the government will fix everything.”

According to the Consumers Health Forum and the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association [AHHA] the only way forward is for the federal government to order an independent Productivity Commission review of the whole healthcare system, both public and private components. Unlike previous examinations of the private health insurance industry, this review should not be ordered from the starting point that the private health insurance must be saved, rather would question whether it should be.

AHHA acting chief executive Dr Linc Thurecht said the review should also investigate the public policy objectives that are being served by government support or private health insurance through publicly-funded subsidies.

“While there is a cost associated with holding such a review, this must be seen in the context of the latest data we have showing that Australia spent $185bn a year on healthcare,” he told Guardian Australia.

“AHHA would not say that the death of private health insurance is inevitable. But we need to hold all levels of government to account in reforming our healthcare system to better coordinate the delivery of healthcare, to take a longer-term view of individual’s healthcare journey, to remove low value care, to stop some healthcare providers charging exorbitant fees, to remove inequities in access to healthcare and health outcomes, and to improve transparency on outcomes and costs that matter to people.

“Private health insurance is seen by virtually all as being too expensive, too complicated and opaque, and not offering value for money.”

Grattan Institute health economist Dr Stephen Duckett said the death of the private health industry was inevitable. But he said while it was in a “death spiral, it’s a slow death spiral”.

“So do we arrest the death spiral and are there ways to do it without costing more money?” Duckett said. “The private health insurance industry says the answer is to give them another billion dollars. The answer from the industry always seems to be around forcing more people into private health insurance or undermining Medicare.

“The industry should be told enough is enough. That even if we keep the rebate for taking out private health cover, you must stand on your own two feet. It is crazy that people are forced into private health cover through rebates.

“Can you imagine any other product where we say ‘you don’t want to buy it, we think you should though, so you’re forced into it? It’s the most amazing policy for an economy where we value choice.”

At a presentation to the Actuaries Institute conference in Melbourne in October, the Private Healthcare Australia chairman, John Hill, said insurers would find it challenging not to pass on the rising costs of medical devices through premium increases come April.

“Inflated prices for established medical technologies must come down in line with the rest of the world,” Hill said. “One of the most commonly used implants, cardiac stents, are five times the price in Australia as they are in New Zealand.” It was a claim the chief executive of the Medical Technology Association of Australia, Ian Burgess, rejected as “absurd”. He accused the private health insurance industry of “an increasingly desperate attempt” to rein in costs and maintain profitability “by pointing the finger at everyone else”.

The chair of the Australian Healthcare Reform Alliance, Jennifer Doggett, said all of the reforms implemented to salvage private health insurance to date had been cosmetic. She said while reviews of the system had been done before, the benefit of a productivity commission review would be its scope.

“We haven’t had a review yet that includes the premise that we might not need private health insurance at all,” she said. “The reviews we’ve had so far have not examined what is best for Australia. We need a review that looks at consumer needs, not the needs of the private health insurance sector or doctors who want to keep their fees high, or the private sector, or some other interest group.”



Liberals Beyond Stupid

Read the excerpt from an article by Ray Kraft below.  It sets out well a problem that conservatives constantly encounter:  Why are Leftists so unreachable by reason? You can point out holes in their arguments but they are unmoved.  And some of their claims are entirely out of touch with reality. "All men are equal", being the prime example of that.  And they can change positions on a dime -- as Mr. Obama did: In the Senate he was against gay marriage. As president he was for it.

I think I can explain why they are like that.  Freud understood. Sometimes people NEED false beliefs to make them happy with themselves and with life.  Not everyone can face reality head-on. The use of mind-altering dugs is proof of that.  Even in prehistoric times they brewed beer.  Men have always needed to blunt the harsh impact of reality.  Some of us can come down from delusions and finally face the real world and others can do that only partially or not at all.

And the Leftist has a particularly strong need that he has to cope with.  He is a born-angry person; Born-miserable; Born unhappy. And the happiness research is very clear:  You are largely born with your level of happiness/unhappiness. Some things can lift you up and some things can drag you down but it is transient.  You soon revert to your chronic level of unhappiness.

The Leftist could take anger management classes or prayerfully approach the wisdom of Christ but he does not do that.  He does what Freud called displacement.  He explains his anger as caused by something outside himself  -- as caused by "injustice", for instance.  But the world is awash with injustice.  Just the fact that 50% of the population is of below average IQ is a huge injustice. So conservatives just accept that while doing what little they realistically can do to ameliorate problems.

But the Leftist does not want to solve any problem.  He wants to mentally bathe and luxuriate in problems.  Even if some problem is solved, there will always be more problems.  He needs injustices to explain to himself why he is so angry.  So he sees himself as living in a world of evil, conniving people.  "I'm not mad. There really are lots of bad people out there" is his message to himself.

And as Freud pointed out, such false beliefs tend to be deeply entrenched. The defensive person cannot afford to let go of his false beliefs.  Lose too much of his protective belief system and he will have to face his own unfortunate nature head-on.  He would have to face the reality that there are no sufficient grounds for his unhappiness.

So, in a word, the Leftist NEEDS his angry beliefs.  He cannot afford to let go of them.  Compared to his needs, logic and reason is a very weak force

I am coming to suspect that liberalism may be a genetic defect, or at least a congenital defect, because in the correspondence I get froms libs I observe that most of them are completely unable to grasp even the most rudimentary concepts of logic and reason, and also completely unable to grasp the idea that they are not grasping the most rudimentary concepts of logic and reason.

I am not sure that it is merely beyond their will, I am coming to suspect it is beyond their ability.

Those who are able to think more or less rationally and logically tend to become conservative and Republican, while those who are unable to think more or less rationally and logically tend to become liberal and Democrat.

Which makes the Democratic party (as it is today) by definition the party of illogic and unreason, the party of emotionalism rampant.

This may have something to do with the fact that Logic, as a subject, is no longer taught in most schools.

The libs who are not thinking coherently always think (or feel) that they are thinking coherently, no matter how clearly and cogently one points out that they are not. They are apparently unable to recognize (much less understand, or analyze) the inconsistencies and non sequiturs in their own thinking -

For instance, if one points out that the observed one degree of global atmospheric warming over the last century (per the IPCC report) is hardly conclusive proof of catastrophic runaway global warming, and probably within the margin of measuring error (!) the response is Yes! There is Global Warming! Didn't you see Al Gore's movie?! . . . so there really is Global Warming, Toto, I guess, even if we can't actually see it.

Yes, some glaciers are melting, but the fact that glaciers have been melting for the last ten or fifteen thousand years since the beginning of the end of the last ice age is an uncomprehended, or incomprehensible, idea, that cannot possibly have any relevance at all to the faith and doctrine of Global Warming!



Queensland tourist industry calls for non-lethal shark control measures

This is a disgrace.  The tourism industry wants to have its cake and eat it too.  The unmentioned fact below is that shark diving is a significant tourist activity.  Going down in cages to observe sharks is a big thrill. So the tourism operators want to keep the sharks alive.  But what about the swimmers?

Swimmers have been kept safe in tourist areas for many years by catching the sharks on hooked lines and killing them. But that has now been forbidden in some areas.  So swimmers are already getting bitten. And that is VERY bad for tourism.

The way the tour operaters propose to square the circle is by using airy-fairy catch and release strategies that offer a very low level of protection to swimmers.  But that is OK to the operators.  They would rather have live sharks and a few dead tourists

I was alerted to the fact that there was something fishy going on (forgive the pun) when I saw that the Greenies were praising the tourism operators

Queensland tourism operators are demanding urgent government action to control sharks in the Great Barrier Reef amid fears foreign tourists are being scared off.

The call comes after bickering by state and federal governments over the best way to control sharks around the popular Whitsunday Islands and other destinations. The two governments have been at loggerheads, with Queensland calling on Canberra to pass laws allowing it to kill sharks in the reef.

In a joint statement, tourist operators have called for aerial shark spotters, netted swimming areas, particularly around Stradbroke Island, and SMART drum lines.

The Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Tourism Whitsundays and Tourism Tropical North Queensland are concerned without such measures to protect swimmers, tourists will be turned off the region.

There are also demands for an investigation in increased shark attacks in the wake of last week's incident involving two British backpackers in the Whitsundays. Alistair Raddon, 28, and Danny Maggs, 22, were attacked in the waters of Hook Passage on Tuesday, leaving Mr Raddon without a foot and Mr Maggs with a lacerated calf.

They had been on a ZigZag Whitsundays boat tour and were in the water when the shark bit one man before circling and returning to bite the other. They are now planning to tell their story to British media and there is concern the fallout may deter overseas tourists.

Shark attacks in Queensland have recently become a political football between state and federal governments. The stoush began after Queensland lost a federal court battle to be allowed to use baited hooks to catch and kill sharks in the reef, requiring state fisheries staff to now catch and release sharks.

It has called on the government to introduce laws to circumvent this decision, but the federal government has told them to use SMART drum lines, despite state fisheries authorities saying they didn't work