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Some profound thinking from a distinguished Canadian  university

Below are some excerpts from a Leftist academic article which displays vividly how filled with rage and hate Leftists  are -- rage that can only express itself, not argue coherently for anything.  It's good evidence of how degraded academic discourse has become since the Leftist takeover of academe.  Apologies for the language but it is as it occurs in the original:


The lad himself. I am betting that he has never done a day's worth of real work in his neo-Marxist life

Fuck Neoliberalism

Simon Springer (simonspringer@gmail.com)

Department of Geography, University of Victoria

By saying ‘fuck neoliberalism’ we can express our rage against the neoliberal machine. It is an indication of our anger, our desire to shout our resentment, to spew venom back in the face of the noxious malice that has been shown to all of us. This can come in the form of mobilizing more protests against neoliberalism or in writing more papers and books critiquing its influence. The latter preaches to the converted, and the former hopes that the already perverted will be willing to change their ways. I don’t discount that these methods are important tactics in our resistance, but I’m also quite sure that they’ll never actually be enough to turn the tide against neoliberalism and in our favour.

There is nothing about neoliberalism that is deserving of our respect, and so in concert with a prefigurative politics of creation, my message is quite simply ‘fuck it’. Fuck the hold that it has on our political imaginations. Fuck the violence it engenders. Fuck the inequality it extols as a virtue. Fuck the way it has ravaged the environment. Fuck the endless cycle of accumulation and the cult of growth. Fuck the Mont Pelerin society and all the think tanks that continue to prop it up and promote it. Fuck Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman for saddling us with their ideas. Fuck the Thatchers, the Reagans, and all the cowardly, self-interested politicians who seek only to scratch the back of avarice.

International Journal for Critical Geographies


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A possible gun regulation compromise?

Leftists regularly argue while having no apparent knowledge of the relevant facts.  And the current outcry for gun control after the Florida shooting is a prime example of that.  They act as if nobody had ever tried gun control before.

Yet gun regulation varies greatly across the fruited plain -- so the data to assess the proposal is readily available.  And the fact is that in places like Chicago guns are very heavily regulated.  Yet Chicago, Detroit etc are also the places where gun deaths are at their highest.

So the existing facts on the ground tell us that gun control does more harm than good.  Criminals are greatly encouraged when the rest of the population has little or no protection so shoot with every expectation of impunity.

But a conservative writer has come up with a suggestion that may have some merit.  It may not however pass constitutional muster:

Instead of debating gun regulations that would apply to every gun owner, we could consider limits that are imposed on youth and removed with age. After all, the fullness of adult citizenship is not bestowed at once: Driving precedes voting precedes drinking, and the right to stand for certain offices is granted only in your thirties.

Perhaps the self-arming of citizens could be similarly staggered. Let 18-year-olds own hunting rifles. Make revolvers available at 21. Semiautomatic pistols, at 25. And semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 could be sold to 30-year-olds but no one younger.

This proposal would be vulnerable to some of the same practical critiques as other gun control proposals. But it is more specifically targeted to the plague of school shootings, whose perpetrators are almost always young men.

And it offers a kind of moral bridge between the civic vision of Second Amendment advocates and the insights of their critics — by treating bearing arms as a right but also a responsibility, the full exercise of which might only come with maturity and age.

SOURCE

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Kids incarcerated in Australia have 'alarming' levels of neurodevelopmental impairment

This is worse than political correctness. It is straight out political deception.  The word "Aboriginal" is not mentioned below but most of the kids concerned will be Aboriginal.  Fetal alcohol syndrome is, for instance, common among Aborigines.

So what can you do about it?  Take the Aboriginal children out of their dangerous home environments and give them to whites to bring up?  Then you would have another "stolen generation" and we have been through that ad nauseam before.  Any other ideas?  I know of no realistic ones.

The do gooders below say that "care plans can be put in place."  That could conceivably help a little whilst the kids are in detention but they will never be detained for long -- and do you have any idea of how much notice an Aboriginal family would take of a "care plan"?

While Aboriginals commit every dietary sin imaginable  -- including the drinking of metho (methlyated alcohol) -- both they and their children will always have bad health


An alarming world-first study into the cognitive abilities of young people in detention in Australia has found evidence of severe neurodevelopmental impairment in almost every child assessed.

Researchers from the Telethon Kids Institute assessed 99 children aged 10 to 17 incarcerated at the Banksia Hill Detention Centre in Western Australia. The findings uncovered an unprecedented prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and severe neurodevelopmental impairment.

Most of the impairment had been left undiagnosed despite multiple contacts with government agencies and sentencing in court, leading the experts to call for improvements in the way health, education, justice, child protection and other systems took care of young people who presented with school difficulties, mental health issues or behavioural problems.

The study, led by Professor Carol Bower and Clinical Associate Professor Raewyn Mutch, will be published in the British Medical Journal Open on Wednesday. It found WA had the highest known prevalence of FASD in a custodial setting in the world.

"Of the 99 young people who completed full assessments we found 36 of them – more than one in three – had FASD," Professor Bower said.  "Of this 36, only two had been previously diagnosed."

They also found 89 per cent of sentenced youth had at least one severe neurodevelopmental impairment, whether they had FASD or not. Two thirds had at least three domains of severe impairment, while 23 per cent had five or more domains impaired. These domains included executive function, not being able to relate cause and effect, memory, attention and cognition problems.

A quarter were found to have an intellectual disability, with an IQ of 70 or less.

"These findings, which document an unprecedented prevalence of FASD and severe neurodevelopmental impairment, highlight the vulnerability of young people within the justice system and their significant need for improved diagnosis to identify their strengths and difficulties, and to guide and improve their rehabilitation," Professor Bower said.

"We recommend that young people be fully assessed on entry into the juvenile justice system and preferably much, much sooner, at their first encounter with the law or before, so their vulnerabilities are recognised, and specific and appropriate interventions and care plans can be put in place."

SOURCE


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Who is right?  Judith or Nils Axel?

Nils Axel Morner is a Swedish sea-level expert and he does searching research leading to a conclusion that the sea level is stable overall. His recent Fiji research is exemplary.  The only response to it from Warmists is an "ad hominem" one -- noting that a group of climate skeptics quite openly helped Morner with costs of his trip to Fiji.  The  Warmists see that as a fatal flaw.  They fail to see any similar problem flowing from the fact that Warmists generally have their research funded by sympathetic university departments. Universities are unbiased, you see.  Anybody who has worked in a university department will give that a horse-laugh.

Judith Curry calls herself a "lukewarmer", meaning that she accepts global warming theory but doubts that the warming will be large enough to be worth bothering about. But she does accept that there has been some sea level rise in the 20th century.

These days, just about everything bad is said to be made worse by global warming but the original scare was sea-level rise.  Both Hansen and Gore, for instance, predicted in the early '90s that substantial parts of Manhattan would be permanently underwater some time soon. If that were true, some parts of Manhattan should already by now be looking a bit watery.

Sadly, however Manhattan and most of the rest of the world are going about business as usual.  For most of the world, the sea seems to be just about where it always was.  The lay observer at least can see no change.  So Morner would seem to be the only scientist with his feet on the ground.  Only his account coincides with commonly perceived reality.

So the big threat of severe worldwide flooding seems utterly empty -- which is why a vast range of other bad outcomes from warming have been conjured up.  There have to be new fears to replace the old failed fear.

Warmists are never deterred by reality, however, and continue to assert that sea levels are rising, even if it is very slowly.  So there is a minor industry of trying to work out exactly what the sea level is doing. And most researchers agree that there is some sea level rise going on, though they all estimate only minute amounts of it.  And estimate is the word.  Gross sea level rises such as Gore and Hansen predicted would have hit you in the eye  but the tiny rises that Warmists can squeeze out of their data are very slippery. There is nothing clearly observable.  It is all guesswork.

And a moment's thought will tell you that it HAS to be guesswork.  Oceans have these pesky things called waves.  The ocean won't stay still enough for you to measure it. You can try to measure high-water marks but what if a gust of wind causes a really big splash during the day that is not repeated later in the day?  Is that the high-water mark?

In addition to those commensense limitations on measuring small changes in sea level there are more profound difficulties. Judith Curry lists some of them.  See the folowing excerpt:

"To reconstruct equilibrium sea level changes from tide gauges, account must be made of vertical shifts of the land, caused by geological processes or land use (e.g. ground water extraction). To improve scientific utility for sea level studies, numerous modern tide gauges are being augmented with automated, continuous GPS measuring instruments which records vertical land movements. Further, account must be made of non-eustatic dynamic changes in sea level due to tides, storm surges, tsunamis and large-scale ocean currents.

Further, tide gauge technology has changed over time.  Simple wooden staffs have evolved into higly sophisticated digital equipment — it is likely that the results from different equipment might not agree with each other.

A wooden staff is not going to measure with the same degree of accuracy-or under the same circumstances as a digital equipment.

Tide gauges have the following disadvantages for determining global sea level changes: uneven distribution around the world; missing data; spatial and temporal variations in ocean circulations; and land movements. Because of these disadvantages, calculating global mean sea level rise from the limited tide gauge network has proven to be difficult.

Although considerable progress has been made, further improvements to the historical record are still needed, particularly in accounting for ocean circulation changes."

Despite all that however, Judith does accept that some sea-level rise is proven.  She says:  "Global mean sea level (GMSL) has risen about 8 inches during the 20th century".

In coming to that conclusion she relies heavily on "corrected" data and Morner claims that corrections are the whole of any stated sea level rise.  For instance, Curry appears to accept the Stockholn record.  And it's true that the official Stockholm record does show a slight rise.  But what did that record show before it was "corrected"?  John Daly has the graph:



So an actual FALL in the sea level in the Baltic has been "corrected" to show the opposite.  That is some shenanigans.  But shenanigans like that are common in global warming "research".

So how do they justify their shenanigans?  They postulate just enough "isostatic uplift" to get the result they want.  By isostatic uplift they mean that the ground was rising rather than the sea level falling.  And the theory behind that is that the last ice age put such heavy glaciers on the ground that the ground sank down a bit.  So, when the glaciers retreated, the land bounced back up again.  That seems to be true.  But how come that is still happening thousands of years after the ice has gone?  It makes no sense.  It is just a theoretical fix, not reality-grounded.

It is true that in different times and places the ground does rise or fall in response to various local factors but those changes are all over the place, not just where glaciers used to be.  The most established changes are falls in the land on the East coasts of both Florida and England.  And where I live in Northern Australia, the land is geologically very ancient and very stable.  Glaciers never reached us.  Yet I have documented a notable sea-level FALL in the ocean nearby over recent decades. And let us not forget the earlier but carefully delineated sea level fall at the Isle of the Dead in Tasmania.

And that goes back to the fact that the oceans don't behave like water in a jug. Water in a jug has a fixed level.  The level in one part of a jug will be the same as the level in all other parts of the jug.  But the earth is not a jug.  It is a sphere and the water sloshes about.  So the level in one time and place will be different from the level in other times and places.  You can calculate a statistical average but there is no physical reality to it. And attributing a cause to the observed movements can only be guesswork. The RAW tide-gauge data is full of both rises and falls.  There is no detectable uniform effect -- as global warming theory would require.

But Let's get back to Stockholm and the Baltic. As a very enclosed sea situated withing a limited latitude range and little subject to air and water currents, it should be a fairly good "thermometer" of what the  sea level as a whole is doing -- if anything.  So that Stockholm data is pretty important.  So is it real?  Has the sea level really fallen that much or is it just some error of measurement?  Are there similar findings in other parts of the Baltic?  Could the Swedish scientists have been right to "adjust" it?

Hardly. The Baltic sea level really has fallen.  You can see evidence of it that no adjustment can hide. In the ancient Hanseatic port city of Talinn in Estonia at the East end of the Baltic you can see where the old sea walls used to be.  But they are about a kilometer inland from the present sea-shore.  As the sea level has fallen, Talinn has gained several hectares of new land where the sea used to be.  Even the most dedicated Warmists would have difficulty adjusting that out of existence.  So there are places on earth where the sea level has fallen and places where it has risen.  The situation is nothing like what global warming theory predicts.

Nils Axel Morner is the one in touch with reality. Now that she is retired maybe Judith too can become more skeptical -- JR.





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World's coral reefs face new peril from beneath within decades (?)

This is just a new variation on an old fraud.  For the ocean to become more acidic it has to absorb more CO2 and thus produce carbonic acid (H2O + CO2 = H2CO3). And as CO2 levels rise, that might happen.

But according to Warmist theory higher CO2 levels will bring higher temperatures.  But higher ocean temperatures will REDUCE the carrying capacity of the oceans for CO2.  So CO2 will OUTGAS from the oceans under higher temperatures and the oceans will be LESS acidic.

So if the galoots below really believed in global warming they would welcome it as REDUCING the threat to corals.

So there is a potential threat to corals from higher CO2 levels but it will only eventuate if there is NO global warming. Fun?


The world's coral reefs, already enduring multiple threats from bleaching to nutrient run-off from farming, also face another challenge - this time from below.

New research, published in the journal Science on Friday, has found the sediments on which many reefs are built are 10 times more sensitive to the acidifying oceans than the living corals themselves. Some reef bases are already dissolving.

The study used underwater chambers at four sites in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, including Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef, and applied modelling to extrapolate results for 22 reefs in three ocean basins.

As oceans turn more acidic, the corals themselves produce less of the calcium carbonate that forms their base. Instead of growing, the reef bases start to dissolve.

"The public is less aware of the threat of ocean acidification [than warming waters]," said Brendan Eyre, a professor of biogeochemistry at the Southern Cross University and the paper's lead author.

“Coral reef sediments around the world will trend towards dissolving when seawater reaches a tipping point in acidity - which is likely to occur well before the end of the century,” he said.

At risk will be coral reef ecosystems that support tourism, fisheries and the many other human activities, he said.

The ocean's acidity has increased about 30 per cent since the start of the industrial revolution, as seas absorb about one-third of the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“It is vital that we put pressure on governments globally to act in concert to lower carbon dioxide emissions as this is the only way we can stop the oceans acidifying and dissolving our reefs,” Professor Eyre said.

Rates of dissolving reef sediment will depend on their starting points, including their exposure to organic sediment. The Hawaiian reef studied is already showing signs of its sediment dissolving, with higher organic nutrient levels likely to be contributing, he said.

"Carbonate sediments in Hawaii are already net dissolving and will be strongly net dissolving by the end of the century," the paper said.

Living corals themselves appear to be able to resist the acidification process, with mechanisms and strategies to resist some of the impacts.

Still, the study said the transition of the dissolution of reef sediment "will result in the loss of material for building shallow reef habitats such as reef flats and lagoons, and associated coral cays". It is unknown if the reefs will face "catastrophic destruction" once the erosion begins, the paper said.

Over time, as coral bases begin to dissolve, they are more likely to become more vulnerable to cyclones and other threats, Professor Eyre said.

He said further study was needed to understand how reefs would be affected by temperatures, rising organic and nutrient levels and more acidic waters in combination, he said.

The impact of bleaching - such as the two mass events in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 summers on the Great Barrier Reef - would most likely accelerate the breakdown of reefs by "making more sediment and organic matter available for dissolution", the paper said.

SOURCE

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Gun Confiscation in Australia:  A model for the USA? 

The writer below is correct in saying that differences between Australia and the USA mean that what works in Australia would not work in the USA.  He ignores the elephant in the room, however.  America has many blacks who frequently mount assaults of various kinds on whites.  So whites need guns to defend themselves.  Australia has for a long time had almost no Africans so has had much less personally endangering crime.

The situation has however just changed.  Australia has recently taken in a population of Africans as "refugees".  And in one Australian city -- Melbourne -- they have become numerous enough to form gangs of criminal black youth.  These gangs frequently break into people's homes even while the family is home and even use crowbars to defeat security doors.  That is immensely disturbing to the people victimized and leaves them feeling helpless and very insecure.

The response so far is to demand that the police stop the raids but the police clearly have got not a clue what to do about it.  Talk has been the only response so far.  Once the impotence of the police has been widely accepted, Australians too will be demanding guns to protect themelves

In the wake of last October's mass murder by a sociopath in Las Vegas, comes tragic news of another mass murder on a school campus in Florida.

The contrast between the response of two presidents is revealing, one focusing on culture and the other focussing on guns. Despite all the Democrat rhetoric about “gun control," as is the case with their faux rhetoric about immigration, when Barack Obama took office in 2009, Democrats had full legislative control of the 111th Congress. In the Senate there were 57 Democrats and two Independents who caucused with Democrats. In the House there were 257 Democrats and 178 Republicans.

Democrats could have enacted every gun control measure they wanted between 2009 and 2011 – but didn't. Why?

Regarding the most recent tragedy, predictably Democrats and their MSM propagandists have re-warmed their latest batch of lies about the murder of children in order to peddle their political agenda.

The BIG lie this week, in order to bolster the Left's calls for “gun control," is that there have already been “18 school shootings" this year. Even The Washington Post has called foul on that claim, noting it's “a horrifying statistic. And it is wrong." Indeed, it is wrong, but most of the Demo/MSM colluders don't allow facts to impede their political agendas.

However, this is an indisputable fact. There are three things the Leftmedia's saturation coverage always communicates to future mass murder assailants: 1. We will make sure you are famous by devoting all our air time, 24/7, to you! 2. As targets go, a school is best because that will get you the most attention, and nobody will shoot back! 3. Use an AR-15 – they are the most popular gun for the job and we can call it an “assault weapon"!

There are many media myths about gun control being propagated by the Left this week, and by extension, all their lemmings who regurgitate those “facts."

Most prevalent myths in social media forums are calls echoing the MSM's solution: Enact the Australian gun confiscation model. By way of addressing this claim, allow me to repost here a debate with my friend Neville, who is a deeply entrenched liberal from the UK now living in the US, and who has taken it upon himself to reform our nation. Here is an abridged summary of that debate…

Neville:

The time is now to talk about Gun Control! The maiming and death of these children is so pointless, unnecessary and PREVENTABLE. Get rid of the guns. No mass shootings in Australia for over 20 years and counting after a government gun ban.

MA:

The tragic murders in Florida were, indeed, senseless — as are the emotive “solutions" that, predictably, follow such tragic events. I share your grief for these victims and their families, but not your prescription to resolve the culture of violence.

As for your solution … as I am sure you are aware, the culture in Australia has not been conducive to violence in decades. In fact, at one time the culture in America was not conducive to violence either. Not long ago, there were plenty of guns on high school campuses, but no mass shootings.

Yes, Neville, there have been no mass shootings in Australia since the gun ban was enacted, but there were few before then.

In fact, there are few murders in Australia, period. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1996, before enactment of the gun ban, Australia had had 311 murders, 98 by assailants with guns (including the 35 people killed in one mass shooting that prompted the confiscation). In the latest year of record, there were 227 people murdered, 32 by assailants using guns.

I should note here that the population of Australia is only 7% that of the United States, but when adjusting for population size, the number of murders in Australia are still only 20% of the US annual total, of which about 70% were assailant using firearms. But note that, after Australia confiscated all guns, assailants are still using guns to murder people… I guess only law-abiding citizens turned in their guns.

Of course, crime in the U.S. has actually declined more than in Australia over the last two decades. Concurrently, gun ownership in America has increased significantly while homicides by assailants with guns have also declined.

Apparently, more guns, less crime.

So what accounts for the difference in murder rates?

Australia is not plagued with urban poverty plantations created by five decades of failed Democrat social policies, and the resulting epidemic of violent crime. For the record, the top urban crime centers have the most restrictive firearm regulations in the nation. Using Demo-logic, shouldn't these “gun-free zones" be the safest places in America?

As for the “gun problem," if you are NOT a gang-banger or associated with drug trafficking (and Neville, I think you are clear on both counts), the probability of your being murdered in the U.S. falls in line with the probability of your being murdered in your beloved native UK homeland — where most types of guns have been banned for years.

Notably, however, American children are at much greater risk of being killed by a drunk driver than an assailant with a gun. Thus, while I know you favor the finer labels of liquid libation and use it responsibly, by your logic, the government should confiscate it because there are far more deaths associated with alcohol use than firearms — in fact, in many cases assailants using a firearm are alcohol impaired…

As for your sentiments about guns, I would be pleased to provide you with some “Gun-Free Household" stickers so you can broadcast the fact that your home is the best neighborhood option for uncontested intrusion!

SOURCE

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Unemployment under Trump

One of the clearest pieces of evidence showing that Trump's ideas are the right ones for America is that unemployment is now way down.  Getting people into jobs is the biggest welfare achievement that there is.

The Left, however, will have none of it.  That the white unemployment rate is now down to a historic low of 3.5% means nothing to them.  They probably wish it were higher.

But they have to give some justification for being so dismissive.  And what they say is that the fall under Trump is merely a fall that was already underway under Obama.  And they produce graphs to prove that.  Leftists have to be desperate to resort to graphs -- a sob-story is more their metier -- but on this issue they clearly are.  So let us ignore the graphs and look at the raw numbers.  Here they are:


White adult unemployment numbers from Bush to Trump

SOURCE

The months all tell much the same story but January is the only one we have for 2018 so let us look particularly at that.

And what we see is an enormous contrast.  As soon as Obama got in (2009) unemployment leapt. From 4.4% under Bush in 2008, it was double that by 2010.  And it stayed high through 2013.  By 2014, however, the fracking boom was well underway and unemployment declined from that point on.  And note that the fracking took place on private land with no encouragement from the government.  It had nothing to do with Obama.  It happened too quickly for the bureaucracy to step in and stop it.  And when the bureauucracy did notice it, it was already too big to stop.

So in the second year of Obama, unemployment was 8.8% while in the second year of Trump it was 3.5%.  Is there any comparison?

So what lies behind those numbers?  The key thing to know is the importance of being able to plan ahead.  To create jobs, businessmen need to be able to make reasonable predictions about the costs and benefits that will flow from putting on workers.  But prophecy is a mug's game so businessmen have to be pretty heroic to make such predictions.  And the only way that they can do so at all is to go by what is already happening and what has already happened.  They have to assume continuity with the past and present. If something is already working well or is known to have worked well, they assume that doing more of it will continue to work well.

But it is a nerve-racking business to see whether your strategy works.  Something like 90% of business startups go broke within the first 12 months.  So if some threat to your plans heaves into view you are going to be frantic and decide to lie low until you have seen how the future turns out.

And that is exactly what happened when Obama defeated the uselsss McCain.  The wishy-washy GOP put up two RINOs against Obama and lost badly.  When the grassroots rebelled and put up a real conservative, Republicans suddenly found themselves back inthe driver's seat.

Obama came to office after making a wildly-cheered campaign speech which promised that he would "fundamentally transform" America.  So all bets were suddenly off.  The President was promising to make the past no longer a guide to the future.  All business plans were suddenly based on sand.  So businessmen did all they could do.  They sat on their hands and hunkered down to wait and see. All plans ground to a halt, meaning that job creation also ground to a halt.  Obama destroyed business confidence.  He did one of the worst things a President could do. He was and is a dumb-cluck. The unemployment numbers tell the story.

Trump, by contrast, is himself an entrepreneurial businessman who is very encouraging and supportive towards business -- so when he got in businessmen nationwide breathed a sigh of relief and got on with doing what they were good at.

One President gets in and unemployment promptly leaps.  Another gets in and unemployment promptly falls.  That is what the numbers tell us.

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Satellites show warming is accelerating sea level rise (?)

Dedicated Warmist Seth Borenstein sets out below a coherent story about warming causing sea-level rise.  He regurgitates all the usual Warmist talking points regardless of their truth.  He says, for instance, that the Antarctic is melting when it is not.

So we have to go back to the journal article behind Seth's splurge to see what the scientists are saying.  I append it below Seth's article.

And what we see there is very different from Seth's confident pronouncements.  We see a very guarded article indeed which rightly lists many of the difficulties in measuring sea level rise.  And they can surmount those difficulties only by a welter of estimates and adjustments.  Anywhere in that process there could be errors and biases.  And as a result, we see that the journal authors describe their findings as only a"preliminary estimate" of sea level rise.

And it gets worse.  When we look further into the journal article we see that the sea level rise is measured in terms of only 64 thousandths of one millimeter.  So we are in the comedy of the absurd.  Such a figure is just a statistical artifact with no observable physical equivalent.

So the sea level rise Seth talks about with great confidence ends up being an unbelievably small quantity measured with great imprecision!  Amazing what you find when you look at the numbers, isn't it?


Melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are speeding up the already fast pace of sea level rise, new satellite research shows.

At the current rate, the world’s oceans on average will be at least 2 feet higher by the end of the century compared to today, according to researchers who published in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

Sea level rise is caused by warming of the ocean and melting from glaciers and ice sheets. The research, based on 25 years of satellite data, shows that pace has quickened, mainly from the melting of massive ice sheets.

It confirms scientists’ computer simulations and is in line with predictions from the United Nations, which releases regular climate change reports.

"It’s a big deal" because the projected sea level rise is a conservative estimate and it is likely to be higher, said lead author Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado.

Outside scientists said even small changes in sea levels can lead to flooding and erosion. "Any flooding concerns that coastal communities have for 2100 may occur over the next few decades," Oregon State University coastal flooding expert Katy Serafin said.

More than three-quarters of the acceleration of sea level rise since 1993 is due to melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, the study shows. Of the 3 inches of sea level rise in the past quarter century, about 55 percent is from warmer water expanding, and the rest is from melting ice.

Like weather and climate, there are two factors in sea level rise: year-to-year small rises and falls that are caused by natural events, and larger long-term rising trends that are linked to man-made climate change.

Nerem’s team removed the natural effects of the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption that temporarily chilled Earth and the climate phenomena El Nino and La Nina, and found the accelerating trend.

Sea level rise, more than temperature, is a better gauge of climate change in action, said Anny Cazenave, director of Earth science at the International Space Science Institute in France, who edited the study. Cazenave is one of the pioneers of space-based sea level research.

Global sea levels were stable for about 3,000 years until the 20th century, when they rose and then accelerated due to global warming caused by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, said climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute in Germany, who wasn’t part of the study.

Two feet of sea level rise by the end of the century "would have big effects on places like Miami and New Orleans, but I don’t still view that as catastrophic" because those cities can survive — at great expense — that amount of rising seas under normal situations, Nerem said.

But when a storm like 2012’s Hurricane Sandy hits, sea level rise on top of storm surge can lead to record-setting damage, researchers said.

Some scientists at the American Geophysical Union meeting last year said Antarctica may be melting faster than predicted by Monday’s study.

Greenland has caused three times more sea level rise than Antarctica so far, but ice melt on the southern continent is responsible for more of the acceleration.

"Antarctica seems less stable than we thought a few years ago," Rutgers climate scientist Robert Kopp said.

The reduction of ice in Antarctica has increased the sense of urgency among travelers hoping to see the continent. Tourism in Antarctica has risen from fewer than 2,000 visitors in the 1980s to more than 45,000 visitors from around the world last year.

The number of people traveling to the frozen continent dipped during the economic recession of the late 2000s, but rose again in recent years, according to data kept by the Rhode-Island based International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators.

SOURCE

Climate-change–driven accelerated sea-level rise detected in the altimeter era

By R. S. Nerem et al.

Abstract

Using a 25-y time series of precision satellite altimeter data from TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1, Jason-2, and Jason-3, we estimate the climate-change–driven acceleration of global mean sea level over the last 25 y to be 0.084 ± 0.025 mm/y2. Coupled with the average climate-change–driven rate of sea level rise over these same 25 y of 2.9 mm/y, simple extrapolation of the quadratic implies global mean sea level could rise 65 ± 12 cm by 2100 compared with 2005, roughly in agreement with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report (AR5) model projections.

Introduction

Satellite altimeter data collected since 1993 have measured a rise in global mean sea level (GMSL) of ∼3 ± 0.4 mm/y (1, 2), resulting in more than 7 cm of total sea-level rise over the last 25 y. This rate of sea-level rise is expected to accelerate as the melting of the ice sheets and ocean heat content increases as greenhouse gas concentrations rise. Acceleration of sea-level rise over the 20th century has already been inferred from tide-gauge data (3⇓–5), although sampling and data issues preclude a precise quantification. The satellite altimeter record of sea-level change from TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1, Jason-2, and Jason-3 is now approaching 25 y in length, making it possible to begin probing the record for climate-change–driven acceleration of the rate of GMSL change (6). Unlike tide-gauge data, these retrievals sample the open ocean and allow for precise quantitative statements regarding global sea level. However, detecting acceleration is difficult because of (i) interannual variability in GMSL largely driven by changes in terrestrial water storage (TWS) (7⇓–9), (ii) decadal variability in TWS (10), thermosteric sea level, and ice sheet mass loss (11) that might masquerade as a long-term acceleration over a 25-y record, (iii) episodic variability driven by large volcanic eruptions (12), and (iv) errors in the altimeter data, in particular, potential drifts in the instruments over time (13). With careful attention to each of these issues, however, a preliminary satellite-based estimate of the climate-change–driven acceleration of sea-level rise can be obtained. This estimate is useful for understanding how the Earth is responding to warming, and thus better informs us of how it might change in the future.

SOURCE

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Leftists are born unhappy

A reader has drawn to my attention a journal article from 2010 that suppports my contention that Leftists are born miseries. The author tries to put a leftist spin on it but the facts pretty well speak for themselves.  The abstract is below. I will add some comments at the foot of it

Political leanings vary with facial expression processing and psychosocial functioning 

Jacob M. Vigil

Abstract

Conservative, Republican sympathizers show heightened threat reactivity, but greater felt happiness than liberal, Democrat sympathizers. Recent evolutionary models interpret these findings in the context of broader perceptual and expressive proclivities for advertising cues of competency (Republicans) and trustworthiness (Democrats) to others, and in ways that facilitate the formation of distinct social networks, in coordination with individuals’ life histories.

Consistent with this perspective, I found that Republican sympathizers were more likely to report larger social networks and interpret ambiguous facial stimuli as expressing more threatening emotions as compared to Democrat sympathizers, who also reported greater emotional distress, relationship dissatisfaction, and experiential hardships. The findings are discussed in the context of proximate and ultimate explanations of social cognition, relationship formation, and societal cohesion. Keywords evolution, group identity, neuroscience, political psychology, social cognition

SOURCE

So let us look at the findings and not the interpretations

Conservatives are happier.  That always comes out and Leftists hate it.  They claim that conservatives are maladjusted misfits but happy misfits is not a very persuasive notion.

"Threat reactivity"? A fancy way of saying conservatives are more cautious, which we already knew.

Conservatives have more friends.  "Laugh and the world laughs with you.  Cry and you cry alone"

Democrat sympathizers reported greater emotional distress, relationship dissatisfaction, and experiential hardships.

My case rests:  Conservatives are the happy people. Leftists are the angry people.

These findings derive from a survey of students so are not authoritative by themselves but they do confirm what we see  in Leftist politics all the time.


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A cautious retreat

The article below was headed "Expect more 'complete surprises' from climate change: NASA's Schmidt". And that is surprisingly honest.  The article starts out with a re-run of the old pine beetle scare -- which I have dealt with previously -- and from then on consists of a whole litany of things that Warmists don't know or don't understand.  Most refreshing!  They seem to be gradually getting around to admitting that they don't know whether the globe will warm up or not

A very amusing bit occurs at the end of the article below.  Schmidt is quoted to say that the ozone layer is also being surprising.  But the journalist "forgets" to say exactly what the surprise is.  It is that the "Ozone layer NOT recovering" the way the Greenies said it would.  Much fun!


The eruption of pine bark beetles that has devastated millions of hectares of forests in North America is an example of the surprises yet to come as the planet warms, says Gavin Schmidt, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The tiny beetles, which have infested forests from Colorado to Alaska, develop a type of anti-freeze as winter arrives. With fewer cold snaps before the insects are "cold hardened", more of them are making it through to spring.

“We just don’t understand ecosystems to the extent we understand the physical climate systems," Dr Schmidt told Fairfax Media during a visit to Sydney. “We will see over the next few decades more and more thresholds being crossed.”

However, that's not to say the physical climate is fully understood either.

Carbon dioxide levels are now the highest in about three and a million years when the Earth had a "very, very different climate", Dr Schmidt said, adding it was inevitable more "unknown unknowns" would emerge.

The southern hemisphere, especially Antarctica, is of particular interest to NASA and other global organisations trying to understand how the build-up of additional heat will affect planetary processes, he said.

“There’s a tonne of extra energy that’s going into the south - in fact there’s more energy going into the sourthern ocean than the north," Dr Schmidt said. "But that isn’t necessarily being seen at the surface."

Scientists' understanding of Antarctica continues to be limited by the short observational record, with much of the data compiled only since the late 1950s.

Satellites and argo floats are also not very helpful in gauging changes under the sea ice and ice shelves.

The region is already throwing up surprises. Dr Schmidt cited the Mertz Glacier Tongue, which used to protrude about 80 kilometres into the Southern Ocean until it was cut in two by an iceberg in 2010. “It seemed very, very stable...but the whole thing got taken out by an iceberg and now it’s totally disappeared," he said.

Research is focused on places such as the Totten ice sheet "where people think there is the greatest amount of potential change in the East Antarctic ice shelf", Dr Schmidt said.

A study out last year in Science Advances estimated Totten itself had the potential to lift global sea levels by 3.5 metres if it melted entirely.

The east Antarctic ice shelves, though thought to be mostly stable, "are big enough that should anything start to happen there, these will be noticeable increases to the rate of sea level rise," Dr Schmidt said. "So that makes them interesting.”

Sea ice cover around Antarctica is close to record low levels - set just a year earlier - as the region approaches its summer minimum extent.

Antarctica is also home to another scientific surprise: the ozone hole that was detected over the contenent in the mid-1980s.

While the class of chemicals - mostly chlorofluoro carbons - were relatively well known, their potential to destroy the crucial ozone layer that helps keep out cancer-causing ultraviolet light was not.

"It was a massive shock to the system - it hadn't been predicted by anyone," Dr Schmidt told a public talk last week.

SOURCE

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For global water crisis, climate may be the last straw

The usual rubbish about drought below.  It lists a whole lot of population factors that threaten the water supplies in many countries.  The recent big increase in the population of India, for instance, is putting big pressure on water supplies there.  So far, all very well and good.

But then comes an attempt to link the water shortage to global warming.  A link is just asserted, however, with no facts or reasoning to support it other than quotes from the ethically challenged Peter Gleick and his ilk.

The fact is of course that warming would produce more rain, which would ALLEVIATE the problem, not magnify it

A lot of Africa is certainly in drought at the moment but that is one consequence of El Nino. It shifts rain around from one place to another.  If a good La Nina gets going, that should bring back the rain.

The interesting thing is that in many countries in Africa and elsewhere, it is well known that water shortage is a recurrent fact of life.  So do you do anything about that?  You can't build any new dams because the Greenies will make such a fuss that the poliicians will cave in.  Greenies would rather have people die of thirst than build a dam.

But there is one country that HAS moved out of being water-deprived and into water riches.  That is Israel.  They have super-efficient desalination plants on the coast that get all the water Israel needs from the sea.  So the problem is solvable but it takes brains and effort.  Australia has very variable rainfall so it also has big desalination plants in most of its major cities -- but it hasn't had to turn them on yet, thanks mainly to El Nino.


Before man-made climate change kicked in – and well before “Day Zero” in Cape Town, where taps may run dry in early May – the global water crisis was upon us.

Freshwater resources were already badly stressed before heat-trapping carbon emissions from fossil fuels began to warm Earth’s surface and affect rainfall.

In some countries, major rivers – diverted, dammed or over-exploited – no longer reach the sea. Aquifers millennia in the making are being sucked dry. Pollution in many forms is tainting water above ground and below.

Cape Town, though, was not especially beset by any of these problems. Indeed, in 2014 the half-dozen reservoirs that served the South African city’s four million people brimmed with rainwater.

But that was before a record-breaking, three-year, once-every-three-centuries drought reduced them to a quarter capacity or less.

Today, Capetonians are restricted to 50 litres a day – less than runs down the drain when the average American takes a shower.

Climate scientists foretold trouble, but it arrived ahead of schedule, said Helen Zille, premier of the Western Cape province. “Climate change was to have hit us in 2025,” she told a local news outlet.

“The South Africa Weather Services have told me that their models don’t work any more.”

Worldwide, the water crises hydra has been quietly growing for decades.

Since 2015, the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Risk Report has consistently ranked “water crises” as among the global threats with the greatest potential impact – above natural disasters, mass migration and cyberattacks.

Borrowed time

“Across the densely-populated Indo-Gangetic Plain” – home to more than 600-million people in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh – “groundwater is being pumped out at an unsustainable and terrifying rate,” said Graham Cogley, a professor emeritus at Trent University in Ontario Canada.

More than half the water in the same basin is undrinkable and unusable for irrigation due to elevated salt and arsenic levels, according to a recent study.

Groundwater provides drinking water to at least half of humanity, and accounts for more than 40% of water used for irrigation.

But underground aquifers do not fill up swiftly, as a reservoir does after a heavy rain. Their spongy rock can take centuries to fully recharge, which makes them a non-renewable resource on a human timescale.

As a result, many of the world’s regions have passed the threshold that Peter Gleick, president-emeritus of the Pacific Institute and author of “The World’s Water,” has called “peak water”.

“Today people live in places where we are effectively using all the available renewable water, or, even worse, living on borrowed time by overpumping non-renewable ground water,” he told AFP.

Exhausted groundwater supplies also cause land to subside, and allow – in coastal regions – saltwater to seep into the water table.

Dozens of mega-cities, rich and poor, are sinking: Jakarta, Mexico City, Tokyo and dozens of cities in China, including Tianjin, Beijing and Shanghai have all dropped by a couple of metres over the last century.

“Half a billion people in the world face severe scarcity all year round,” said Arjen Hoekstra, a water management expert at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.

More than one in three live in India, with another 73-million in Pakistan, 27-million in Egypt, 20-million in Mexico, 20-million in Saudi Arabia and 18-million in war-torn Yemen, he calculated in a recent study.

Enter climate change

“Global warming comes on top of all this,” said Hoekstra.

For each degree of global warming, about seven percent of the world’s population – half-a-billion people – will have 20% less freshwater, the UN’s climate science panel has concluded.

By 2030, the world will face a 40% water deficit if climate change continues unchecked.

Glaciers in the Himalayas and Andes upon which half-a-billion people depend are rapidly retreating.

At the same time, global water demand is projected to increase 55% by mid-century, mainly driven by the growth of cities in developing countries.

For Gleick, global warming is already a threat multiplier.

So far, Earth’s surface temperature has risen by one degree Celsius, and the odds of meeting the UN goal of capping the rise at “well under” 2 C lengthen each year. Global warming alters wind and humidity, in turn affecting rainfall patterns.

“Climate changes caused by humans are driving changes in our water resources and demands,” Gleick told AFP. “As climate change worsens, impacts on water resources will also worsen.”

The prospect of empty water pipes haunts other urban areas in climate hot spots.

California has just emerged from a five-year drought, the worst on record. In 2014-15, Sao Paulo’s 12-million souls came close to its own “Day Zero”. Beijing, New Delhi, Mexico City and Las Vegas are among other cities that have been facing “huge water supply risks for more than a decade”, noted Hoekstra.

When climate change really kicks in, large swathes of Africa – the Sahel, along with its southern and western regions – will be especially vulnerable.

Currently, only five% of the continent’s agriculture is irrigated, leaving its population highly vulnerable to shifting weather patterns.

Two-thirds of Africans could be living under water stress within a decade, according to the World Water Council.

For Cape Town, drought conditions may be a taste of things to come. 

“Our new normal, at least when it comes to rainfall, is that the chance of dry years increases as we go forward toward the end of the century, and the chance of wet years decreases,” said Piotr Wolski, a hydro-climatologist at the University of Cape Town who had compiled data going back more than a century.

More HERE

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All phobias are not equal

As an academic psychologist with extensive publications on clinical psychology topics, I think I am in a good position to comment on phobias. In psychiatry and psychology, a phobia is a mental state, a strong fear, that manifests in an extreme and irrational avoidance of certain objects or people.  In politics, "phobia" is simply a term of abuse.  It is used in politics however as a pretense that the accused "phobic" person is mentally defective. So let us look at HOW deranged the alleged phobics are.

"Homophobia" is a complete misnomer.  I can find distasteful the thought of a man sticking his dick into another man's anus without fearing anything from the deviants concerned.  And most normal men DO find the idea distasteful.  It is because of that general distaste that the behavior concerned was for so long illegal.  I cannot see that there is anything to fear from the acts of two unfortunates in their bedroom.  So there may be a few cases around of true homophobia but most people who are critical or unacceptant of homosexuality are not that way because they fear it.  They may simply think the act is distasteful or they might accept Bible teachings about it or have some other reason -- thinking that it is inimical to family formation etc.

So what about Islamophobia?  It is a term commonly applied by the Left to people who are critical of Muslim behavior.  And there is much to be critical of in that murderous religion.  The big sufferers from Muslim savagery are other Muslims of a different Muslim sect  but aggression seems to be lurking just under the surface wherever there are Muslims.  People who want peace -- most Westerners -- can quite reasonably be critical of people who are inimical to peace.  I personally think it is none of my business how Muslims treat one another but when they inflict random savagery on peaceful law-abiding people in my own community, I  think I have every right to be critical. But whether that criticism rises to the status of a phobia I cannot see.  Don't forget that a phobia is an IRRATIONAL fear whereas I think that fear of what Muslims do and might do is perfectly rational.

And there is another attitude that could be called a phobia:  A tendency to avoid blacks, seen most clearly in white flight.  Such attitudes are not normally called phobias (though "Xenophobia" is available) because Leftists have another handy-dandy term that is even more accusatory:  "Racism".  But the same considerations apply.  Avoidance behavior is not per se racism.  The rate of violent crime among people of African ancestry is stratospheric wherever they are to be found.  Among American blacks, the rate of  violent crime is 9 times the white average.  And a wish to avoid being victimized by that is neither racist nor phobic.  It is self preservation.  Anti-discrimination laws have made such avoidance difficult but ways can be found

And the term 'racism" denotes more than avoidance behavior.  The example of "racism" that springs to everybody's mind is the policies and deeds of Adolf Hitler.  Yet Hitler is not at all representative of racial consciousness.  In Hitler's day just about EVERYBODY, was antisemitic. But racially discriminatory attitudes did not normally translate to physical harm towards Jews.  A good example is 19th century Britain. Brits of that era thought that THEY were the master race and they were very suspicious of Jews. To get much social acceptance, a Jew had to convert to the Church of England -- a dismal fate but not a life-threatening one.

So when a brilliant conservative political politician came along who was Jewish, what did the "racist" Englishmen do?  Did they send him to the gas ovens or otherwise harm or restrict him?  No.  They made Benjamin Disraeli their prime minister.  And he was quite outspoken about his Jewishness -- right down to his surname,  which means "Of Israel".  So calling racial consciousness "racist" calls on irrelevant history.  A German socialist like Hitler was atrocious indeed in what he did but the example of racial consciousness that people of British descent or culture should look to is the Conservative British politicians who gave a Jew the highest political distinction that they could.  Their "racism" was innocuous.

Incidentally, the British political leader who declared war on Hitler was Neville Chamberlain (Yes.  Neville, not Winston) and Chamberlain was known to have antisemitic views. So racial consciousness and beliefs can coexist with very benign behavior.  They are not automatically wrong in any sense and  should not be condemned of themselves.

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Who are Jordan Peterson’s followers?

Justin Murphy is a self-described Left-libertarian who has collected some statistics from Reddit which enable him to see who are the supporters of Peterson.  He does some analyses which I don't entirely agree with but it is clear that the most popular politician among Peterson supporters is Donald Trump, followed by Gary Johnson, the libertarian party candidate who many other libertarians dismissed as too Leftist (on gun control etc.)



So Murphy shows that there is a large silenced population and that Peterson has picked up the ones who are put off by Trump's very simplistic approach.  He sees both Peterson and Trump as having similar messages but with Peterson being the intellectual and impeccably scholarly representative of the same basic ideas.  And from Murphy's eigenvector analysis it seems clear that the suppressed ideas are on the whole simply traditional conservative ones

I wrote a book in 1974 under the title "Conservatism as heresy".  It seems that not much has changed since.  Excerpt only below


In many educated circles, support for Donald Trump is seen as somewhere between insane and evil, quite seriously. Yet, about 50% of the Americans who voted did so for him, so we know at least a non-trivial number of educated people voted for him. But who are they? I haven’t really had strong intuitions about this, and my sense is you just don’t really see or hear from educated and highly thoughtful Trump supporters. I’m aware this could definitely be “my bubble,” but I don’t think it’s just that. I think there exist thoughtful educated Trump supporters, but I think they are systematically unlikely to appear in mainstream culture.

But I have been watching closely the explosion of popularity enjoyed by academic psychologist Jordan Peterson, and it has seemed to me that his constituency might just be some of the educated Trumpians. It is also consistent with my “long-term mass suppression” thesis, because this helps to explain how a random academic psychologist achieved genuinely extraordinary, anomolous levels of fame, all of a sudden. It’s the same pattern with Trump (though I’m not, at all, equating the two individuals): a massive unexpected and rise-to-power indicating a massive reservoir of public interest in something that has hitherto been systematically under-supplied by the status quo.

As an ultralefty who is also 90% on board with Peterson’s key messages, I honestly did not expect this many of the Peterson disciples to be Trump supporters. I was thinking I’d find a sizable minority and say “Aha! A little evidence for my hypothesis.” But Trump is far and away the most favored candidate.

The reason this is important, in my view, is that Trump and Trump supporters are genuinely seen as unworthy of intellectually serious debate in progressive educated circles. But Peterson is an undeniable intellectual master of the most authentic kind. What this means is that genuinely educated progressives who are opposed to Trump need (if they are serious and sincere) to go through Peterson and his intellectual community. In other words, educated progressives cannot pretend there are no serious intellectual forces associated with Trump. There is at least one, and it’s the cluster of ideas Peterson has been working on for decades.

To be clear, I am not saying Peterson has caused support for Trump and I’m not saying Peterson himself supports Trump (I don’t know, but he generally avoids na├»ve blanket identifications.) I am just saying that, as far as I can tell, his perspective represents a major, public intellectual force that coincides with at least some vectors of support for Trump.

And the sizable minority of left libertarians makes sense to me (because that’s me, basically). So it’s interesting that left-libertarians are communicating thoughtfully in a community with many Trump supporters. I want to show this to all the left libertarian activists I know (who are very different than left libertarian people in general). To show them there is serious intellectual content in the new seeming “right-wing” ecology of ideas and figures

More HERE

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Australian churches and their institutions are generally legally free to hire and fire on religious grounds regardless of anti-discrimination law

The article below by Brian Morris deplores that. It is said to be based on a Religious Freedom Review submission by NSW barrister, Dean Stretton. Something has got lost along the way, however, as the article is founded on a belief that is wrong at law. He says "the constitution was framed on secular principles, with the foundational concept of separation between Church and State."

That is utter rubbish.  The separation of church and State is not even in the American constitution, though it has been read into the anti-establishment clause of the 1st amendment.  But nothing like that exists in the Australian case because our head of State, the Queen, is also head of the Church of England.  In her person, the Queen embodies both the church and the State. Try to split that up! So the claim that Australia should be wholly secular is without legal foundation.  It is just the preference  of the writer

And in the end it all comes down to politics.  The churches believe that their mission requires certain freedoms from restrictions and they have the political heft to ensure that they get those freedoms from the politicians.  Enough people believe in freedom of religion to ensure that the politicians go along with it.

Australians are for the greatest part happily secular but they are not dogmatic about it.  They are happy for AustrAlia to be only partly secular.  "One size fits all" is a great Leftist prescription in the simple-minded tradition of Procrustes but not everybody is trapped in that rigid mindset.  They can allow exceptions to even a generally good rule where circumstances seem to warrant it.


Quite remarkably, a public majority will be unaware of the likely impact of Prime Minister Turnbull’s decision to empower the Religious Freedom Review. Few will grasp its social implications. Some may recall the PM appointing Philip Ruddock to head an ‘expert panel’ to take public submissions on ‘religious freedom’ — and to identify freedoms believed “lost” when same-sex marriage was legalised.

On 31st March, Ruddock will recommend to parliament measures to restore those “lost” freedoms.

For most, this rather solemn-sounding review will be seen simply as one more political committee — with Ruddock sifting through a few submissions to appease Christians, Muslims, and other faiths who continue to feel aggrieved about gay marriage.

But fundamentalists of all faiths see this as a rare opportunity to win new concessions. One has only to view the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) website, with its 15-point rallying cry for devout Christians to swamp the Review with submissions.

Indisputably, religion asserts its current raft of freedoms through exclusive exemptions from Australian law. They are privileges not accessible to the 78 per cent of citizens who believe the constitution was framed on secular principles, with the foundational concept of separation between Church and State.

Under federal law, protection of ‘religious freedom’ and legal exemptions include: the Fair Work Act; Migration Act; Age Discrimination Act; Sex Discrimination Act; Evidence Act; and Section 116 of the Constitution. And religions pay no tax under the Charities Act and Tax Act — based on the sole criterion of “Advancing Religion.” International and State laws double this list of entitlements to all faiths!

Here’s the problem. Religion is now, collectively, one of the largest employers in the nation. Private religious schools currently enrol close to 40 per cent of all children — that alone is a huge workforce. Include, too, all the private hospitals, aged care facilities, employment agencies, charities, shelters, and a raft of commercial enterprises, and the total number of religious employees is staggering.

Church institutions are already free to “hire and fire” on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and marital status. Without question, submissions to the Ruddock Review will call for further entitlements to discriminate in employment in favour of the faithful — the Australian Christian Lobby website makes that clear. The truth is that most of the duties performed are not religious in nature — they are secular.

Ironically, these religious institutions will argue vigorously that it should be illegal to discriminate against them — because of their religious beliefs — but in the same breath insist they should be given further employment entitlements to discriminate against people who do not share those beliefs!

Certainly, it is fair to say many roles within private religious enterprises require training suitable to their ‘mission’. Those engaged in overt religious practice, in pastoral care, theological positions, and for advocacy, will need to meet church criteria. But for the majority of ‘secular’ positions, employment opportunities should not be barred to those who do not meet their strict standards of biblical faith.

It would be wrong for the Religious Freedom Review to extend faith-based exemptions for secular positions in education, health or social services. In fact, exemptions should be wound back for all ‘public services’ run by religious organisations.

These exemptions are not a matter of genuine religious freedom, because there is no religious law or doctrine that requires its followers to run education, health or social service facilities! Our constitution rejects a ‘religious test’ for public office; why not also for secular roles in ‘publicly funded’ religious enterprises?

If religious adherents cannot follow laws that apply to all other citizens — and without privileged legal exemptions — they should consider withdrawing from those activities and focus solely on their beliefs and religious worship. One clear example is private religious schools which are free to discriminate against secular employees, while the institutions are publicly funded to the tune of $12.8b.

Religious exemptions undermine our secular constitution; they weaken the basic rule of law that must apply to all people; and they deny the non-religious the right to their own beliefs. Why do we give exclusive entitlements to people of faith when all religion is purely a matter choice? Believers are not compelled to believe — particularly when “doubt” is uppermost in the minds of many. Every religion cannot, by pure logic, be equally true. It raises questions for people of faith to contemplate.

Special entitlements, based on arbitrary faith, are necessarily problematic. Such privileges should be equal to all — or to none. However, there seems little doubt the Ruddock Review will make a number of recommendations to parliament, to rectify the perception of “lost” freedoms.

We can only trust parliament does not acquiesce to further religious entitlements. Indeed, the process needs to be reversed — specifically for non-theological positions in faith-based institutions funded by taxpayers. The level of religious privilege and authority is already inappropriately high — in a nation that claims to be a secular democracy.

SOURCE


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Townsville is NOT dry because of global warming

Townsville is always pretty dry because of where it is.  Why was Townsville founded?  It has a negligible natural harbour, can't grow much, has no natural resources and only service industries.

Townsville was founded for one reason and one reason only.  There is immediately behind it a gap in the Great Dividing Range and the gap is close to the coast.  There are some small hills around the place -- who can miss the pink granite monolith of Castle hill? -- but nothing like the behemoths of the great Dividing Range elsewhere, like Mt. Bartle Frere and Bellenden Ker.

So Townsville was an ideal place to run bullock teams and later a railway from the coast through to some pretty good country inland, including the Charters Towers goldfields and the rich silver, lead and zinc mines of Mt Isa. Both trains and bullock teams are very bad at handling mountains but by starting out at Townsville, severe gradients could be avoided (maxing at 2%).

But the Great Dividing Range is the reason why the East coast strip of Queensland is generally so wet.  When trade winds blow inland from the Pacific, they are heavily laden with moisture from ocean evaporation.  They hit the mountains of the Great Divide and drop the moisture as rain.  So a couple of hours drive to the North of Townsville are two of the highest mountains in the State -- Bartle Frere and Bellenden Ker.  And guess what lies in their foothills?  The town of Innisfail, one of the wettest places in the world.

So Townsville's reason for existence, a break in the Great Divide there is also the main reason why it is dry.  You can't have your cake and eat it too.  So the guff below is total nonsense. There's NO "invisible barrier that stops rain".  It's the lack of a barrier that stops rain.  Townsville will always be dry.  It would not exist otherwise.

Townsville pipes in water from Mt Spec and Lake Paluma. And the Ross river has a dam on it which  also supplies some water. So, with irrigation, Townville does grow crops and life is comfortable, even without much rain.


TOWNSVILLE could go from being the driest city in North Queensland to the wettest place in the state due to a quirk of global warming, a leading professor says.

Professor Ray Wills spoke to the Bulletin after a recent article which stated geography in Townsville could be to blame for the notorious “dome” — an invisible barrier that stops rain — and instead blames climate change.

Prof Wills is a commentator and adviser on sustainability and technology and responded to comments made by Thomas Hinterdorfer, a forecaster from weather group Higgins Storm Chasing.

Mr Hinterdorfer said the geography of Mount Stuart and other smaller surrounding hills were forming a barrier against rain.

Prof Wills noted Townsville had historically experienced wet periods and argued climate change was the real driver of the long dry period and failed wet seasons.

“Mount Stuart hasn’t changed in height, however the climate has and it is changing as a result of global warming,” he said.

Prof Wills said the phenomenon was linked to atmospheric circulation, temperature and rainfall.

He said Townsville temperatures were up and rainfall was down, especially in summer.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s 2017 Annual Climate Survey showed Townsville was the driest of the coastal cities in North Queensland last year and had 30 per cent less rain than the long-term average.

Townsville received just 791mm in 2017, against the long-term average of 1128mm. It is the fifth consecutive year of below-average rainfall in Townsville. The city’s residents also endured a year of hotter-than-average temperatures. But it might not stay dry for long.

Prof Wills said climate change was moving the “climate belt” — areas with distinct climates — south.  “What Townsville could well be experiencing is what would have been a dry area further north that is being pushed southward,” he said.

With places such as Tully to the north of Townsville — where average annual rainfall is more than 4000mm — that could mean a wet future for Townsville.

“That’s a possible scenario,” Prof Wills said, but it could take decades. He also said mountains surrounding Townsville complicated forecasts, as did oceanic currents and atmospheric circulation.

Prof Wills said although some areas could benefit from climate change, overall it should be treated as a concerning phenomenon.

SOURCE

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Capitol Hill GOP Spending Like Obama Is Still President

I was not going to comment on this until I see what actually gets enacted but all the comments I have seen from others miss an important point. Obama and the Donks made an amazing discovery:  At least for the USA, you can spend all you like without raising taxes and nothing bad happens!  According to conventional economic theory, Obama & Co. should caused a roaring inflation that made the greenback as worthless as the Venezuelan Bolivar.  It didn't happen.  Inflation remained within normal low bounds.

Why did it not happen?  There has been much scratching of heads about it among economists of both the Right and the Left and various theories have been put up.  I have put up attempted explanations myself.  But basically no-one knows.  It's a mystery on a par with the Holy Trinity.

And Trump has pushed the mystery even further. He is betting that you can actually CUT taxes and still spend as much as you like.  On form, he will almost certainly get away with it, if only because his spending will increase employment and hence tax revenue.

So, basically, while we seem to be in this happy state of suspension from reality, Trump and the GOP are saying "Let the good times roll.  Why should Obama have all the fun?  Let US get credit for looking after all sorts of special interests with all of this magic money".

Unless there's a whole new economic truth somewhere that we have not yet discovered, the whole show has got to come down to earth some time but when that will be nobody knows.  But Trump and the GOP are right to take advantage of our strange new fiscal state while they can.


In the aftermath of the 2010 Tea Party wave that returned Republicans to the majority in the House conservatives proposed a plan to reduce spending and balance the budget called “Cut, Cap and Balance.”

The plan would have cut and capped spending and brought the budget into balance after a period of time, and it federal debtwould have worked – except the Republican leaders in the House and Senate never gave it their support or a vote.

Instead they championed a plan worked out between Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid and Barack Obama that put spending caps in place through a process known as “sequestration” that placed most of the spending cuts on the defense budget.

Fast forward to 2018 and the three-day government shutdown over amnesty for illegal aliens that was a PR disaster for the Democrats.

Claiming to want to avoid another government shutdown, the Senate’s Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer announced a bipartisan deal to increase defense and domestic spending by roughly $300 billion over two years, according to administration and congressional sources quoted by Politico's Burgess Everett and John Bresnahan. The deal will also lift the debt ceiling through the election and include tens of billions of dollars in disaster aid.

Everett and Bresnahan report the agreement would increase defense spending this year by $80 billion and domestic spending by $63 billion beyond strict budget caps, according to a summary of the deal they obtained for POLITICO. Next year, defense spending would increase by $85 billion and domestic funding by $68 billion beyond the caps. The deal also includes $140 billion for defense and $20 billion for domestic in emergency spending over two years.

President Trump quickly announced his support tweeting, "The Budget Agreement today is so important for our great Military," he wrote. "It ends the dangerous sequester and gives Secretary Mattis what he needs to keep America Great. Republicans and Democrats must support our troops and support this Bill!" However, conservatives were equally quick to pan the Schumer – McConnel deal.

Our friends at The Club for Growth issued a statement saying, “…now that the BCA spending caps are busted under this deal yet again, it’s clear that McConnell and the GOP establishment want to speed up the big government freight train with the help of big spending liberals on the other side of the aisle. As if that’s not bad enough, this deal also includes $80+ billion in so-called disaster relief spending, cronyist tax extenders, an expansion of farm subsidies, and another suspension in the debt ceiling, conveniently timed to expire after the mid-term elections.”

Nowhere in this deal, the Club for Growth noted, are the $54 billion in spending cuts outlined in President Trump’s budget. Instead, the big government freight train is running out of control.

The deal ends sequestration caps on the Pentagon without acceding to Democratic demands for equal boosts to domestic spending, but it still raises spending by nearly $300 billion over the next two fiscal years.

That was a bridge too far for the Freedom Caucus reported Victor Morton of The Washington Times.

The principled limited government constitutional conservatives of the House Freedom Caucus tweeted Wednesday night that they officially oppose the budget deal struck by McConnell and Schumer earlier in the day.

“Official position: HFC opposes the caps deal. We support funding our troops, but growing the size of government by 13 percent is not what the voters sent us here to do,” the conservative group posted on Twitter.

The loss of the Caucus, which is believed to have a membership of almost 40 representatives, basically ensures the Senate deal cannot pass the House without significant support from House Democrats.

SOURCE

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Even psychologists are now beginning to notice Leftist authoritarianism

With Antifa and many students marching in the footsteps of Hitler's brownshirts, it had become hard not to notice.After the summary and abstract below I add a few notes designed to recontextualize the article below

New research provides evidence that left-wing authoritarian attitudes exist in the United States. The preliminary findings, published in the scientific journal Political Psychology, suggest liberals could be just as likely to be authoritarians as conservatives.

“Political ideology in general is one of the most important and predictive variables in human psychology,” said study author Lucian Gideon Conway, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Montana.

“I became interested in left-wing authoritarianism in particular because some people have said it isn’t a very real or likely phenomenon — and yet I know people I would describe as left-wing authoritarians. So I was curious to figure that out.”

Conway and his colleagues developed a measure of left-wing authoritarianism, which was adapted from the right-wing authoritarianism scale developed by psychologist Bob Altemeyer.

The RWA scale asks participants how much they agree with statements such as: “It’s always better to trust the judgment of the proper authorities in government and religion than to listen to the noisy rabble-rousers in our society who are trying to create doubts in people’s minds” and “Our country desperately needs a mighty leader who will do what has to be done to destroy the radical new ways and sinfulness that are ruining us.”

The new LWA scale, on the other hand, asks questions such as: “It’s always better to trust the judgment of the proper authorities in science with respect to issues like global warming and evolution than to listen to the noisy rabble-rousers in our society who are trying to create doubts in people’s minds” and “Our country desperately needs a mighty leader who will do what has to be done to destroy the radical new ways and sinfulness that are ruining us.”

Both scales were tested on a group of 475 undergraduates at the University of Montana and a group of 305 U.S. adults who were recruited online from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

The researchers found that left-wing authoritarianism was associated with liberal views, dogmatism, and prejudice among both samples of participants, suggesting it is a valid concept.

“Our data suggest that average Americans on the political left are just as likely to be dogmatic authoritarians as those on the political right. And those left-wing authoritarians can be just as prejudiced, dogmatic, and extremist as right-wing authoritarians,” Conway told PsyPost.

SOURCE

Finding the Loch Ness Monster: Left-Wing Authoritarianism in the United States

Lucian Gideon Conway III et al.

Abstract

Although past research suggests authoritarianism may be a uniquely right-wing phenomenon, the present two studies tested the hypothesis that authoritarianism exists in both right-wing and left-wing contexts in essentially equal degrees. Across two studies, university (n = 475) and Mechanical Turk (n = 298) participants completed either the RWA (right-wing authoritarianism) scale or a newly developed (and parallel) LWA (left-wing authoritarianism) scale. Participants further completed measurements of ideology and three domain-specific scales: prejudice, dogmatism, and attitude strength. Findings from both studies lend support to an authoritarianism symmetry hypothesis: Significant positive correlations emerged between LWA and measurements of liberalism, prejudice, dogmatism, and attitude strength. These results largely paralleled those correlating RWA with identical conservative-focused measurements, and an overall effect-size measurement showed LWA was similarly related to those constructs (compared to RWA) in both Study 1 and Study 2. Taken together, these studies provide evidence that LWA may be a viable construct in ordinary U.S. samples.

SOURCE

COMMENT: This article was written from within the tight bubble of leftist political psychology so it is unusual only in that context.

Readers of history or observers of contemporary politics would know that ALL Leftism is authoritarian. Barack Obama was the chosen delegate of the Democratic party so when in his first campaign he said to wild cheers from his supporters that his aim was to "fundamentally transform" America he was presenting an ideology that was just about as authoritarian as you could get. And Leftism in general is about imposed change.

And in the French revolution and the Communist regimes of the 20th century we saw how brutally Leftists impose change when they get their hands of the levers of power. Fortunately, Congress was too big a block on change for Mr Obama to accomplish much of his aims.

But let us temporarily abandon reality and dive into the bubble of Leftist thinking about political psychology.

Leftist political psychology principally originated to meet a desperate need of the American Left immediately after the defeat of Hitler. Hitler had become a huge embarrassment. Anybody who knew well the Americam "Progressive" politics of the 1930's would be aware Hitler's ideas and what was preached by Americam "Progressives" were basically the same -- including the antisemitism and the eugenics. Hitler just applied German thoroughness to 1930s socialism.

But Hitler was now the great political failure so there was a desperate need to prevent any connections with him and his ideas. You could abandon some of your policies that you shared with hin -- such as eugenics -- but other policies -- such as hostility to business and a desire to control it -- were too basic to let go.

So where was a way out of that dilemma? One way out was to adopt the Communist claim that Hitler was "Rightist". And the Marxists were partly right about that. Hitler was less disruptive to the existing order than the Communists in Russia were so he was clearly to the right of Communism, but Leftist otherwise. But that in fact made him MORE like the American Progressives than less so that was not much of a solution.

But help was at hand. Some mostly German academics led by prominent Marxist theoretician, Theodor Wiesengrund (AKA Adorno) had a solution. They would use the methods of psychological research to show that it was really conservatives, not Leftists who threatened America with authoritarian rule. Reality could be flipped on its head and conservatives could be presented as the true heirs of Hitler.

One would have thought that such an absurdly counter-factual proposition would be laughed to death but the opposite happened. The whole American Left celebrated the revelation with gladsome hearts. They built an intellectual bubble wherein only conservatives could be authoritarian. And they never strayed from that bubble. The highpoint of that folly was probably when Robert Altemeyer claimed that he couldn't find a single Authoritarian Leftist in the whole of Canada! So you can see what brave skeptics Conway and his co-authors above are. It will be interesting to see if he has any influence.

Just a methodological note to conclude: Conway et al. used as their measure of authoritarianism the ludicrous Altemeyer RWA scale. That scale allegedly measures Right-wing authoritarianism. But the highest scores found on it were from Russian Communists. But if Communists are Right-swing, we would seem to be in a state of definitional collapse. If Communists are Right-wing, who are the Leftists? The RWA scale clearly does not measure what it claims to measure.

Altemeyer himself has backed down in response to that revelation and defined his RWA scale as measuring "submission to the perceived established authorities in one's life". It now measures neither authoritarianism nor anything Right wing! Looking at its items, I would say that it just measures political hostility but who knows what it measures, if anything?

In his future research Conway should clearly pay much more attention to the validity of the instruments he uses. As it stands, I doubt that he has proved anything

My academic publications on authoritarianism are here. A comment on Altemeyer's more recent capers is here


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The EQ dream

The whole idea of IQ is poison to the "all men are equal" crowd because it demonstrates that they are not. So the game is on to show that IQ differences may exist but those differences are unimportant. And the prime way of doing that has been to promote the idea of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), which can be trained.  In any activity taking part among a group EQ is said to be very important.  It's an attractive dream but it is at variance with reality.  Because it is so attractive it has been much researched and the Wikipedia entry on it summarizes the findings pretty well.

Chief among the problems with EQ, is that there are a variety of things which are called Emotional Intelligence but they correlate poorly with one another  So which is the "true" emotional intelligence?  The concept is fine but going out there among the population and assessing it is very difficult.  One could argue that if it can be measured, nobody so far has achieved that.  Different tests will pick out different groups of people as emotionally intelligent.  Does it exist at all in reality?

The second problem is predictive power.  No matter which version of EQ that you use does it predict success (however defined) any better than IQ?  And it does not in general.  All the enthusiasm for it is misplaced.  It is a unicorn concept.  It sounds attractive but it does not exist out there in the world.

So why on earth is Ezekiel Emanuel pushing that old barrow of rubbish below? Easy. He is a far Leftist and the chief architect of Obamacare. His brother is Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. His ideology makes him WANT to believe in EQ. The editors of JAMA were very incautious to let his blatherings into the pages of their journal. Obviously, they knew nothing about the psychological research into EQ


Does Medicine Overemphasize IQ?

Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD; Emily Gudbranson, BA

Everyone wants the best physician. Patients want their physician to know medical information by heart, to possess diagnostic acumen, and to be well-versed in the latest tests and treatments. Finding the best physicians often involves looking for resumes with stellar attributes, such as having graduated at the top of a collegiate class, attended the best medical schools, completed internships and residency training at the nation’s most prestigious hospitals, and been awarded the most competitive fellowships. Many medical schools, likewise, want only the smartest students, as assessed by the highest grade point averages and MCAT scores.

This selection process has persisted for decades. But is it misguided? Do the smartest students, as measured by science grades and standardized test results, truly make the best physicians?

Overemphasizing IQ

By prioritizing academic pedigree, the medical profession has traditionally overemphasized general intelligence and underemphasized—if not totally ignored—emotional intelligence. With “objective” assessments and little grade inflation, performance in hard science courses and on the MCAT have been the primary determinants of medical school admissions.1,2 Although good test scores and grades in calculus, physics, or organic chemistry may signal one kind of intelligence, reliance solely on those metrics results in an incomplete and inaccurate assessment of a student’s potential to be an excellent, caring physician.

Medical schools often conflate high MCAT scores and grades in the hard sciences with actual intelligence. For instance, good test takers can score extremely high on multiple-choice examinations but may lack real analytic ability, problem-solving skills, and common sense. Scoring well on these metrics reveals nothing about other types of intelligences, especially emotional intelligence, that are critical to being an excellent physician. Knowing how to calculate the speed of a ball rolling down an inclined plane or recalling the Bamford-Stevens reaction are totally irrelevant to being an astute diagnostician, much less an oncologist sensitively discussing end-of-life care preferences with a patient who has developed metastatic cancer.

The prioritization of student grades and test scores in the US News & World Report rankings of medical schools fuels a vicious cycle. Medical schools have placed more emphasis on these criteria, ultimately striving to select students with higher scores to maintain their ranking. From 2000 to 2016, the grade point averages of students admitted to US medical schools have actually increased from 3.60 to 3.70,3 and MCAT scores in both biological and physical sciences have also increased by 5% to 10%.4 European universities may emphasize IQ even more in medical student selection, because they rely on standardized tests at the end of high school, such as A-level examinations in England.

Providing high-quality care certainly requires intelligence. A high IQ may help a physician diagnose congestive heart failure and select the right medications and interventions, but it is still no guarantee that the physician can lead a multidisciplinary team or effectively help patients change their behaviors in ways that tangibly improve their health outcomes.

The Ubiquitous Importance of Emotional Intelligence
A certain threshold of intelligence is absolutely necessary to succeed in any field. In medicine, IQ is necessary to master and critically assess the volume and complexity of information integral to contemporary medical education. But past this threshold, success in medicine is ultimately more about emotional intelligence.

Psychologists have identified 9 distinct kinds of intelligence, ranging from mathematical and linguistic to musical and the capacity to observe and understand the natural world.5 Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to manage emotions and interact effectively with others. People with high EQs are sensitive to the moods and temperaments of others, display empathy, and appreciate multiple perspectives when approaching situations.

Is EQ really necessary for success? A major part of what distinguishes human brain functions from those of primates is a larger prefrontal cortex and extensive intrabrain connections, which endow humans with significantly greater ability to navigate social interactions and collaborate. It makes sense, then, that humans should use this unique ability to its greatest extent.

Consider a simple negotiation session. Participants—executives, physicians, and others—are grouped into teams and given the exact same starting scenario and facts. When told to come to the best possible deal, as measured in a hard outcome such as the most money, results vary 4-fold or more. The best deals are reached by teams that exhibit mutual trust, an understanding of the interests of the other side, and the ability to reach a mutually beneficial arrangement. These variations are not the result of differences in brain power but rather differences in EQ. According to Diamond, “[In negotiations] emotions and perceptions are far more important than power and logic in dealing with others. [EQ] produces four times as much value as conventional tools like leverage and ‘win-win’ because (a) you have a better starting point for persuasion, (b) people are more willing to do things for you when you value them, no matter who they are, and (c) the world is mostly about emotions, not the logic of ‘win-win.’”6

EQ in Medicine

Vitally important to the success of 21st-century clinicians are 3 capabilities: to (1) effectively lead teams, (2) coordinate care, and (3) engender behavior change in patients and colleagues. (Both 1 and 3 require negotiating skills.) Thus, effective physicians need both an adequate IQ and a high EQ.

For the 10% of chronically ill patients who consume nearly two-thirds of all health care spending,7 the primary challenge is not solving diagnostic conundrums, unraveling complex genetic mutations, or administering specially designed therapeutic regimens. Rather, physicians caring for chronically ill patients with several comorbidities must lead multidisciplinary teams that emphasize educating patients, ensuring medication adherence, diagnosing and treating concomitant mental health issues, anticipating potential illness exacerbations, and explicitly discussing treatment preferences.

These activities depend on listening, building trust, empathy, and delineating mutual goals. Chronic care management, in addition to sufficient intelligence, therefore primarily requires a high EQ. As Goleman suggested, “Analytics and technical skills do matter, but mainly as ‘threshold capabilities’—that is, they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions… [But] emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it a person can have the best training in the world; an incisive analytical mind; and an endless supply of smart ideas; but he still won’t make a great leader.”8

Minimizing or ignoring EQ when selecting and training medical students may partially explain why US medical professionals fare so poorly in assembling well-functioning teams to care for chronically and terminally ill patients.

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