By JR on Saturday, December 20, 2014
Some medical news is so crazy that I just have to laugh
An excerpt below from a newspaper report of some experiments. The report was headed: "Is Ibuprofen the key to a longer life? Study finds it may provide 12 extra years of good health". The idea that you can generalize from yeast cells, worms and flies to human beings is of course absurd. Even mouse studies often don't generalize to people. Human beings are an unusually long-lived species so already have in their makeup most things that can prolong life
To those with a headache, it already works miracles. But ibuprofen could also hold the key to a long and healthy life. In a series of experiments, the popular painkiller extended the life of yeast, worms and flies by around 15 per cent.
What is more, the extra years were healthy ones.
In human terms, this would equate to an extra 12 years of good quality life. Put another way, people would be in good health for longer.
In one of the experiments, worms given ibuprofen throughout life were healthy for longer.
By JR on Friday, December 19, 2014
Will Xmas carols defeat the Left?
Just a small initial point: Is my use above of "X" to represent Christ disrespectful? It is not. It is in fact very respectful indeed. The Gospels were written in Greek and the first letter of Christ's name in Greek is the letter Chi -- which is normally written the same as our letter X.
And Greek letters are not exactly unknown in educated circles to this day. Statisticians, for instance, will all be familiar with the statistic "Chi squared" -- a way of testing the statistical significance of frequencies.
And there are still some of us who work their way through the New Testament in Greek. I actually own three recensions of the Greek New Testament: Griesbach, Westcott & Hort and a 1958 revision of Nestle. So my very occasional excursions into the original Greek are well supported.
And the early Christians made much use of Chi. They used it to represent Christ and closed one end of it to make it look like a fish when they were being persecuted. So the use of Chi has a most honorable background.
And to this day, some Christians (mostly Anglicans in my observation) do still use a fish to represent their faith.
But I did not intend this post to be about ancient Greek so let me get on to the small but perhaps important point that I originally wanted to make:
When I first visited California in the mid-70s I arrived, for some long-forgotten reason, in early December. So I was delighted to have Xmas carols piped at me from any retail outlet that I entered. I gather that that pleasant world is long gone now, however. Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and Frosty the Snowman are about it these days -- which must be very boring.
And the Left have some logic behind their suppression of Xmas carols. Most of the carols are very devout. They in fact largely tell the basic story of Christianity: That Jesus was God incarnate. I guess that people rarely pay full attention to the words of songs but to the extent that they are exposed to Xmas carols, people will learn rather a lot about basic Xian doctrine. The sheer beauty of the traditional Xmas carols will often get them past Leftist censorship.
By JR on Thursday, December 18, 2014
WHY do the old swing Right?
Back in 1985, I reported, in one of the academic journals, the results of a large body of attitude surveys that showed what beliefs were characteristic of older people. Both in what they favoured and in what they rejected, old people were shown to be very conservative.
Most people do swing rightwards as they get older, with the best-known examples being, of course, Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill. Reagan was even a union official in his early days and yet became arguably the most beloved conservative leader of all time.
And there are other examples. The person may not always change party loyalties but their views may evolve within that loyalty. A good example comes from my home state of Queensland, in Australia. Following is a brief excerpt from his Wikipedia entry:
Edward Michael (Ned) Hanlon (1887 - 1952) was Premier of Queensland from 1946 to 1952. After leaving school, he worked in the railways, and soon became a union official. In the 1912 Brisbane General Strike he played a prominent part as a militant.... Over the years Hanlon's outlook mellowed, and he shifted to the political right. He ended up, as [Labor Party] Premier, sending the police to suppress union demonstrations during the 1948 Queensland Railway strike.
So, again, why? It couldn't be simpler: The essence of conservatism is caution. And underlying that caution is a perception that the world is an unpredictable place. So change has to take place in small steps if its objectives are to be achieved. Massive changes such as Obamacare are to be avoided in case large unforeseen negative consequences emerge -- consequences of the sort that emerged rapidly in the case of Obamacare.
And as we get older that unpredictability of the world is forced upon us -- and that makes us cautious. Experience conservatizes us. And that is why the young tend to be Leftist: They lack experience. Shielded by their parents, they have yet to realize that the world is full of surprises -- many of which are unpleasant. As the great Scottish poet Robert Burns put it so memorably (and prophetically):
"The best-laid plans o' mice and men gang aft agley
and leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy".
Apologies for quoting the less-known next line of the verse. But it is undoubtedly apposite.
The transformation wrought by experience is only part of the reason for the differences I found, however. The world has undergone large changes in the last couple of hundred years or so, with a big swing towards socialism in many countries in the middle of the 20th century, ending in a decisive swing worldwide back to broadly free-market economic policies after that.
The large economic upswing -- greatly increased prosperity -- that began with the abandonment of socialist economic policies in the Reagan/Thatcher years, however, had consequences as well. As economic concerns became less pressing for most of the population, the policies and attitudes that accompanied economic struggle became less pressing too. People could afford to reduce greatly the strategies they saw as needed to put bread on the table. So there was an upsurge in permissiveness all-round. Survival was no longer a harsh master. So social (non-economic) attitudes liberalized -- reaching rather absurd lengths as time went by -- as with the idolization of homosexuality in the early 21st century.
So the age-related attitude differences noted in my research also partly reflected the era in which the individuals concerned were born. People who grew up in times of economic stringency acquired attitudes appropriate to that. Homosexuality, for instance, had to be anathematized because it threatened the survival of the family. And the family is of course the original social security safety net.
And so people who grew up in times of economic ease formed the more permissive attitudes allowed by that. People acquire attitudes in their youth which tend to last for the rest of their life -- unless powerfully contra-indicated by life-experiences -- which is the sad fate of many who enter adulthood with socialistic ideas.
A FOOTNOTE: The USA is a very successful country economically and yet also has large pockets of social conservatism. Why? It's at least partly because many Americans don't FEEL economically secure. And why is that? Because the only way many Americans can find to keep their families reasonably safe is to engage in "white flight". They need to get away from the extraordinarily high rate of violent crime that pervades black or partly black neighborhoods.
But the only presently legal (post-segregation) way to get away from such neighborhoods is to move to the more expensive suburbs that blacks can rarely afford. And that takes money, rather a lot of money. So Americans are economic strivers at a huge rate. The pursuit of money is America's biggest religion. It's a great pity that their society makes Americans so unrelaxed
The truth of all that can be seen in Australia. Australia's largest non-European minority is hard-working and law-abiding East Asians (mostly Han Chinese) -- at about 5% of the population. And Australia is also an economically prosperous place with very conservative economic policies. Australian Federal governments even bring down surplus budgets on some occasions! Contrast that with the trillions of debt run up by the Obama administration. So a prosperous but safe country should have a very relaxed population. And that is exactly what Australia is known for.
Apropos of that, I remember reading about 30 years ago (in "The Bulletin", I think) that Australia had at that stage the world's highest proportion of half-millionaires. Once they had accumulated that much, smart Australians tended to hop off the treadmill and retire to more recreational pursuits. Americans, by contrast, stayed on the treadmill for much longer -- because money is at least part of their religion. They reject St. Paul's view that the love of money is the root of all evil. They know money as the root of all safety. Even in their churches, Americans are often subjected to a prosperity gospel that would do Calvin proud. -- JR.
By JR on Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Some woolly Green/Left thinking in CA
What would it affect if Californian entities "divested" from coal shares? Very little. Not a kilo less of coal would be produced and used. All that would happened is a slight depression of the value of shares in coal companies -- making them cheaper for investors and particularly attractive to investors looking for dividends.
And after California aiming to subject gasoline sellers to the extra cost burden of cap & trade laws, Steyer blames oil companies for putting up gas prices! Does he seriously not see the connection between increasing taxes on something and prices of that something going up?
With Republicans threatening to shove climate change to the back seat as they take control of the U.S. Senate, state officials including Gov. Jerry Brown huddled with one of the nation’s leading Democratic donors Monday to talk up ways to keep it on California’s agenda — including legislation that could send a shiver through the coal industry.
The state Senate’s top leader said at an Oakland forum organized by billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer that he’s planning to introduce a measure next year to require the state’s public-employee pension funds to sell their coal-related investments.
“Climate change is the top priority of the California state Senate,” said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles. He said his legislation would require that the California Public Employees Retirement System, which manages public employees’ pensions and health benefits, and the California State Teachers Retirement System divest millions of dollars in coal-related investments.
“Coal is a dirty fossil fuel, and we generate very little electricity in California from coal,” de León said. “And I think our values should shift in California.”
But not oil and gas
De León, who just returned from an international climate-change summit in Peru, said he hadn’t worked out the specifics of his bill but that it would be limited to coal investments. He said it would not extend to all fossil-fuel holdings such as those in oil and gas production.
“We’re working out all the (divestment) details,” he said. “We’re talking about a way that’s smart and intelligent, not a way that hurts investment strategies.”
Climate-change activists have been pushing large investors to shed their holdings in coal, a major contributor to greenhouse gases. CalPERS, the nation’s largest public pension fund with $300 billion in investments, would be the environmental movement’s biggest prize should de León be able to push his legislation into law.
The biggest name at the California Climate Leadership forum was Brown, who said the state would face strong opposition from “very powerful people” as it continues its aggressive approach to climate change.
Those efforts include bringing gasoline sellers and distributors under the state’s landmark cap-and-trade climate law as of Jan. 1, requiring them to purchase credits to emit greenhouse gas pollutants. It’s been targeted as a “hidden gas tax” by the Western States Petroleum Association, which is lobbying to delay its implementation.
On the national front, Republicans who take control of the Senate next month have targeted several Obama administration initiatives aimed at reducing global warming. In particular, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has vowed to strip funding from the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to restrict carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
“We can do things in California,” Brown said, “but if others don’t follow, it will be futile.”
Fighting Darth Vaders
For his part, the 57-year-old Steyer depicted environmentalists as the good guys in a “Star Wars”-like battle for the planet’s health — with oil companies cast as a collection of Darth Vaders who are fully capable of raising gas prices “in order to punish us.”
By JR on Tuesday, December 16, 2014
A British Lawyer and a Conservative Party "wet" (cf. RINO) sets us straight about climate
Barrister Rupert Myers writes under the heading: "The Right needs to wake up - climate change is real, and we're causing it".
So what evidence does he muster to support his view that "climate change is real, and we're causing it"? None. He mentions not a single climate statistic: Just the current Warmist prophecy that 2014 will be the warmest year ever. Other than that, it's all just assertion and a warm feeling that all good chaps agree on this. I hope he argues his cases in court more convincingly
His talk about a "significant loss of landmass" is amusing. Where? Even Bangladesh is GAINING landmass. Is he aware that the latest modelling shows that sea level rise will take thousands of years to happen? See here and here
He also acknowledges the problem that China is still building coal-fired generators but gives no answer to it.
He also says that we should stick to the "core conservative principle of doing what works and looking at the available evidence" -- without giving any evidence. He may think that his handwaving allusions to things like strawberry crops in November count as evidence but, if so, he has no idea of what constitutes evidence in science.
I could go on but I think there is no cure for credulity. See it in full flight below
Whenever I head to the north Norfolk coast and see the wind farm offshore, visible from the Cromer pier, my heart sinks. The blinking red lights at night and the white spinning blades during the day spoil the historic view of the channel from the Victorian seafront. It was a view witnessed by a holidaying Winston Churchill at a place recommended by Austen; the clunking towers have written it off. I have not learned to love or to even silently accept the wind farms, and I cannot understand those claim that they are beautiful or elegant.
But I am persuaded that we need them. On the day that the Met Office has recognised that 2014, the warmest year on record, is attributable to man-made climate change, it’s time to put these eyesores into perspective. The results are in, and everyone from NASA to the UN agrees that there is an urgent need to change the way we behave, to prevent widespread destruction of our environment. From melting ice to strawberry crops in november, we are starting to see the early stages of a chain of events which - if not addressed adequately - will drastically alter the planet and the lives of generations to come.
There are enclaves of scientific denial on the Right, like tiny pacific islands on which old Japanese men still believe they are engaged in World War Two. The odd bloody scalp, the odd skirmish does not prove that the war is ongoing. Nick Griffin, who called man made global warming ‘a hoax’ has expressed his support for UKIP, a party which has vowed to bin the Climate Change Act, and which clearly wants to attract those who think that the war is still to be fought.
Yet you don’t have to be a pro-EU fixie-cycling ethical barista of no fixed gender identity with a piercing through your nose to wake up and smell the coffee. Indeed, you should enjoy the smell of coffee whilst you can, since climate change is having a dramatic impact on the bean crop yields. Bemoaning the ban on filament lightbulbs needs to be seen in the context of widespread food shortages and significant loss of landmass. The cost of renewables to the UK needs to be set against the likely cost of famine, drought, and the expense of keeping an overpopulating planet even remotely peaceful as its food and its land diminish. It will not improve the views from the East Anglian coastline if the coastline itself is eroded.
The deniers argue that any globally coordinated response to this problem will involve ‘socialism’ and EU control, calling many exponents of green policies ‘watermelons’ for being green on the outside and red on the inside. Yet the same people will often argue that unilateral action on climate change would be an expensive waste of time whilst China is still building coal power plants. We can’t work together because it will interfere with freedom – but we can’t act alone because it’s pointless. Even more confusingly, there are too many on the Right who then have a go at private companies for getting into renewable energy. When the socialist-finder generals aren’t calling people watermelons, they are calling out the corporate greed of making a profit from involvement in green energy solutions. Governments are bashed for taking a statist approach to climate change, and corporations for a capitalist one.
There are many dreadful side effects to man-made climate change, though most of them will only be apparent – experts warn – once it is too late to counter them. In trying to act to prevent the worst of it, we are having to tear up parts of our countryside and even get our heads around splitting our rubbish into different forms of recycling. But one of the most irritating and immediate consequences has been from the deniers, particularly on the Right, who, while understandably mistrustful of ideology and consensus, have abandoned the core conservative principle of doing what works and looking at the available evidence. The same populist movements which would abolish the ‘elites’ in politics have decided that an international scientific consensus about complex, long-term changes is no match for their lived experience of yesterday's weather. Despite the best efforts of our Prime Minister in opposition, many on the right are abandoning a commitment to environmentalism as a costly and unproven expenditure.
It’s time for the doubters to surrender, and accept that there is nothing Right-wing about denying the global consensus of a scientific community. At this point too many of us on the Right echo the farcical warning of Stephen Colbert that “reality has a well-known liberal bias.” After all, it isn’t Blofeld’s SPECTRE warning us about climate change - it’s the British boffins in our own Met Office.
By JR on Monday, December 15, 2014
Is this the rudest necklace ever? 'phallic' pendants spark fury
Controversial designer Tom Ford has sparked fury by launching a range of penis necklaces - just in time for Christmas. The phallic pendants - which resemble the shape of a cross - come in gold or silver and are available with small, medium and large charms.
Intended as the perfect holiday gifts for kinky fashionistas, size apparently doesn't matter as they are all priced $790.
But the latest offering from the designer provoked outrage on Twitter from users who said the necklaces were 'unbelievably offensive' to Christians and branded Ford 'sick' for combining a phallic image with a religious symbol.
Kevlyn Hall added: 'How dare you use a phallic symbol in the Christian cross! You insulting piece of trash! HOW DARE YOU!'
One user said on Twitter: 'This is unbelievably offensive to me. Is he insane?'
I have no doubt that these pendants were meant to offend and were probably seen by their creator as innovative and original. They are not however. The cross was originally a pagan sex symbol, meant to symbolize a male penetrating a female. With the encouragement of St. Paul, however, the early Christians adopted many pagan practices, such as Sunday observance, Easter etc. Use of the cross is another such borrowing.
In the original Greek of the New Testament there is no mention of Christ dying on a cross. The words usually translated as "cross" are either "xylon", which simply means "wood" or "stauros", which simply means "stake'. Christ was executed by nailing him to a stake with his hands both directly above his head. Why bother to add a crossbar when a simple stake could do all that was needed?
By JR on Sunday, December 14, 2014
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE
By Dr David Pascoe BVSc PhD
I am a country boy myself. I grew up in a small Australian town based on farming. So I understand the anger below. And I agree that country people are unusually fine people. But I think I need to add something to the story below.
For a start it is not true that the drought in Western Qld. and NSW has gone unmentioned in the media. It has been mentioned quite a lot on both radio and TV -- particularly on rural programs. Though it has admittedly never been front page news.
Secondly, I gather that ANZ bank has recently softened its policies towards drought-hit farmers -- though how helpful that will be remains to be seen. It is certainly true that treating farming like any other business is stupidly rigid. Longer term thinking is needed.
Finally, I am not sure that it is in anybody's best interests to keep these people on the land. Australia gets drier the further West you go from the East coast and by the time you get to places like Winton, farming is a very risky gamble. It may rain or it may not.
And it is certain that people taking on debt in a drought are highly likely to be cutting their own throats. If the drought endures, as it often does, they will have no income for some years and no means of servicing their loans. So they will then lose the lot.
The proper way to use such dry country for farming is to destock and close the gate once you run out of money. You then go and get a job somewhere until the rains come again. If you can get a job nearby you may even be able to do some weekend farming and preserve a small herd or flock as a nucleus for future restocking. For many however, that way is too hard. They borrow instead. And the result of that is REALLY hard
There is of course traditional advice to that effect: "Neither a borrower nor a lender be". It is outdated advice in many situations but farmers ignore it at their peril. -- JR
Charlie Phillott, now 87, is a farmer from the ruggedly beautiful Carisbrooke Station at Winton. He has owned his station since 1960, nurtured it and loved it like a part of his own flesh. He is a grand old gentleman, one of the much loved and honoured fathers of his community.
Not so long ago, the ANZ bank came and drove him off his beloved station because the drought had devalued his land and they told him he was considered an unviable risk. Yet Charlie Phillott has never once missed a single mortgage payment.
Today this dignified Grand Old Man of the West is living like some hunted down refugee in Winton, shocked and humiliated and penniless. And most of all, Charlie Phillott is ashamed, because as a member of the Great Generation - those fine and decent and ethical men and women who built this country – he believes that what happened to him was somehow his own fault. And the ANZ Bank certainly wanted to make sure they made him feel like that.
Last Friday my wife Heather and I flew up with Alan Jones to attend the Farmers Last Stand drought and debt meeting in Winton. And after what I saw being done to our own people, I have never been more ashamed to be Australian in my life.
What is happening out there is little more than corporate terrorism: our own Australian people are being bullied, threatened and abused by both banks and mining companies until they are forced off their own land.
So we must ask: is this simply to move the people off their land and free up it up for mining by foreign mining companies or make suddenly newly empty farms available for purchase by Chinese buyers? As outrageous as it might seem, all the evidence flooding in seems to suggest that this is exactly what is going on.
What is the role of Government in all of this? Why have both the State and Federal Government stood back and allowed such a dreadful travesty to happen to our own people? Where was Campbell Newman on this issue? Where was Prime Minister Abbott? The answer is nowhere to be seen.
For the last few months, the Prime Minister has warned us against the threats of terrorism to our nation. We have been alerted to ISIS and its clear and present danger to the Australian people.
Abbott has despatched Australian military forces into the Middle East in an effort to destroy this threat to our own safety and security. This mobilization of our military forces has come at a massive and unbudgeted expense to the average Australian taxpayer which the Prime Minister estimates to be around half a billion dollars each year.
We are told that terrorism is dangerous not only because of the threat to human life but also because it displaces populations and creates the massive human cost of refugees.
Yet not one single newspaper or politician in this land has exposed the fact that the worst form of terrorism that is happening right now is going on inside the very heartland of our own nation as banks and foreign mining companies are deliberately and cruelly forcing our own Australian farmers off the land.
What we saw in the main hall of the Winton Shire Council on Friday simply defied all description: a room filled with hundreds of broken and battered refuges from our own country. It was a scene more tragic and traumatic than a dozen desperate funerals all laced onto the one stage.
Right now, all over the inland of both Queensland and NSW, there is nothing but social and financial carnage on a scale that has never before been witnessed in this nation.
It was 41 degrees when we touched down at the Winton airport, and when you fly in low over this landscape it is simply Apocalyptic: there has not been a drop of rain in Winton for two years and there is not a sheep, a cow, a kangaroo, an emu or a bird in sight. Even the trees in the very belly of the creeks are dying.
There is little doubt that this is a natural disaster of incredible magnitude – and yet nobody – neither state nor the federal government - is willing to declare it as such.
The suicide rate has now reached such epic proportions right across the inland: not just the farmer who takes the walk “ up the paddock” and does away with himself but also their children and their wives. Once again, it has barely been covered by the media, a dreadful masquerade that has assisted by the reticence and shame of honourable farming families caught in these tragic situations.
My wife is one of the toughest women I know. Her family went into North West of Queensland as pioneers one hundred years ago: this is her blood country and these are her people . Yet when she stood up to speak to this crowd on Friday she suddenly broke down: she told me later that when she looked into the eyes of her own people, what she saw was enough to break her heart
And yet not one of us knew it was this bad, this much of a national tragedy. The truth is that these days, the Australian media basically doesn’t give a damn. They have been muzzled and shut down by governments and foreign mining companies to the extent that they are no longer willing to write the real story. So the responsibility is now left to people like us, to social media – and you, the Australian people.
And so the banks have been free to play their games and completely terrorise these people at their leisure. The drought has devalued the land and the banks have seen their opportunity to strike. It was exactly the excuse that they needed to clean up and make a fortune, because once the rains come – as they always do – this land will be worth four to ten times the price.
In fact, when farmers have asked for the payout figures, the banks have been either deeply reluctant or not capable of providing the mortgage trail because they have on-sold the mortgage - just like sub-prime agriculture.
This problem isn’t simply happening in Winton, but rather right across the entire inland across Queensland and NSW. The banks have been bringing in the police to evict Australian famers and their families from their farms, many of them multigenerational. One farmer matter of factly told us it took “oh, about 7 police” to evict him from his first farm and “maybe about twelve” to evict him from his second farm which had been in his family for many generations. You think they are kidding you. Then you see the expression in their eyes.
And there was something far worse in the room on Friday: the fear of speaking out against the banks: when we asked people to tell us who had done this to them, they would immediately start to shake and cry and look away: They have been silenced to protect the good corporate image of their tormentors called the banks. What in God’s name have the bastard banks been allowed to do to our people?
This is a travesty against the rights and the human dignity of every Australian
So it’s only fair that we start to name a few of major banks involved: The ANZ is a major culprit (and they made $7 billion profit last year). Then there is Rabo, which is now owned by Westpac (who paid CEO Gail Kelly a yearly salary of some $12 million) According to all reports, the NAB and Bank West are right in there at the trough as well – and all the rest of them are equally guilty. For any that we have missed, rest assured they will be publicly exposed as well
But here’s the thing: when these people are forced off their farms, they have nowhere to go. There are no refugee services waiting, such is the case for those who attempt to enter the sovereign borders of this nation. The farmers simply drive to the nearest town – that’s if the banks haven’t stripped their cars off them as well - and they try and find somewhere to sleep. Some are sleeping on the backs of trucks in swags. There is basically no home or accommodation made available to take them. They camp out, shocked and broken and penniless – and they are living on weet bix and noodles. If there is someone that can lend a family enough money to buy food, they will: otherwise they are left completely alone.
And consider this: not one of them has asked for help. Not one. They just do the best they can, ashamed and broken and brainwashed by the banks to believe that everything that has happened is completely their own fault
There is not one single word of this from a politicians lips, with the exception of the incredibly courageous father and son team of Bob and Robbie Katter, who organised the Farmers Last Stand meeting. The Katter family have been in the North since the 1890’s, and nobody who sat in that hall last Friday could question their love and commitment to their own people.
There is barely a mention of any of this as well in the newspapers, with the exception of as brief splash of publicity that followed our visit.
The Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce attended the meeting in a bitter blue-funk kind of mood that saw him mostly hunched over and staring at the floor. He had given $100 million of financial assistance in a lousy deal where the Government will borrow at 2.75% and loan it back at 3.21%.
The last thing these people need is another loan: they need a Redevelopment Bank to refinance their own loans: issuing a loan to pay off a loan is nothing more than financial suicide.
The reality is that Joyce cannot get support from what he calls “the shits in Cabinet” to create a desperately needed Redevelopment Bank so that these farmers can get cheap loans to tide them through to the end of the drought.
Our sources suggest that those “shits in Cabinet” include Malcolm Turnbull – Minister for Communications and the uber-cool trendy city-centric Liberal in the black leather jacket:, Andrew Robb – Minster for Trade and Investment and the man behind the free trade deal, the man who suddenly acquired three trendy Sydney restaurants almost overnight, the man who seems to suddenly desperate to sell off our farms to China – and one Greg Hunt, Environment Minister and the man who is instantly approving almost every single mining project that is put in front of him.
At the conclusion of the meeting, we stood and met some of the people in the crowd. My wife talked to women who would hug her for dear life, and when they walked away people would suddenly murmur “oh, she was forced off last week” or “they are being forced off tomorrow” . Not one of them mentioned it to us. They had too much pride.
The Australian people need to be both informed and desperately outraged about what is being done to our own people. This is about every right that was once held dear to us: human rights, property rights, civil rights. And most all, our right to freedom of speech. All of that has been taken away from these people – and the rest of us need to understand that we are probably next.
In the last four weeks the Newman Government has removed all farmers rights to protest to a mine and given mining companies the rights to take all the water they want from the Great Artesian Basin – and at no cost to them at all.
And all of this has happened under the watch of both Premier Newman and Prime Minister Abbott.
Until Friday, we used to think of Winton as the home of Waltzing Matilda: it was written at a local station and first performed in the North Gregory Hotel. I think it was Don McLean who wrote, “something touched me deep inside…the day the music died”… in his song American Pie, and for us, last Friday was the day music died.
We will never be able to sing Waltzing Matilda again until we see some justice for these people, and all the farmers of the inland.
This is no longer the Australia we once knew: no longer our country, no longer our people, no longer the decent caring leaders we once remembered.
Right now, the banks, the mining mates, the corrupt politicians and all the ‘mongrels in suits’ have won – and the Australian people don’t have a clue what has been done to them.
Like the American Depression and the iconic photograph of Florence Owens Thompson, there is a terrible, gaping wound that has been carved across the heartland of this nation.
We need to fully grasp that, and to understand that our people – dignified, decent and honourable old men like Charlie Phillott - have been deliberately terrorized, brutalised – and sold out.
In one sense, Charlie Phillott has become the symbol overnight of every decent Australian: the simple right to live out our lives on the land we love - and the land we are still free to call our own. At least until some dangerously persuaded corrupted trendy liberal theorist decided to strip all that away.
The truth is, no Australian was ever consulted about whether or not they wanted to see their land mined into oblivion or see our precious water poisoned and given away for free, whether they wanted to be driven off their land by the greed of banking executives who saw the chance to make a profit by wiping out the weakest and most vulnerable amongst us.
No Australian was ever consulted about whether or not we wanted to see our beloved homeland sold on the cheap to greedy faceless foreigners just because some slimy two-faced minister managed to convince a weakened prime minster to meekly carry out his bidding.
Nobody has asked us. We the People. Not once.
So if we are ever going to do something, then we’d better realise that its now only two minutes to midnight – so we’d better move fast.
By JR on Saturday, December 13, 2014
Japanese north–south gradient in IQ predicts differences in stature, skin color, income, and homicide rate
By Kenya Kura
A fascinating academic journal article from Japan below. The Japanese and Chinese are less politically correct in talking about race than Americans are -- if only because they mostly believe that THEY are a superior race. And in average IQ terms, they are.
And the finding below, that high IQ people in Japan are taller, richer and less prone to crime and divorce, agrees well with American findings going back as far as the 1920s.
Not mentioned in the Abstract below but mentioned in the body of the article, is that the Koreans and Chinese score a touch higher on IQ than the Japanese do -- only by about one or two point but that is in the opposite direction to what one would expect. The Japanese are more Westernized than the Chinese are -- though that difference is diminishing rapidly -- so if there were any "Western" bias in the tests (which Leftists often assert there is), one would have expected the Japanese to be slightly ahead. Clearly, any "bias" in the tests is not detectable in the far East -- being detectable only by American Ivy League "wisdom".
But there is one point inferable from the findings below that seems at first completely regular -- the finding that the closer you get to the equator, the browner and dumber you get. The Japanese archipelago does cover a very considerable North/South range so there is plenty of room for that to emerge. So the really smart Japanese are in the Northern Prefectures of Honshu while the dumbest are in Okinawa.
And in South-East Asia we find the same phenomenon. Filipinos and Malaysian Bumiputras are notably browner and less bright than North-East Asians.
But that is not as regular as one might think. There are a number of exceptions to the rule. South Africa has a climate similar to Europe (if you have experienced a Bloemfontein winter you will know what I mean) yet the Bantu (South African negroes) are no brighter than any other Africans as far as we can tell. But that is only a superficial puzzle. The Bantu are recent immigrants originating in central Africa. The whites in fact arrived in South Africa before the Bantu did.
The Bushmen (original inhabitants) of South Africa are a little more of a puzzle as they are very primitive indeed. They are short of stature and live these days in extremely arid regions. Perhaps they always did live in arid regions to escape the many fierce predators in the rest of Africa.
And Tasmanian Aborigines were also at an extremely low civilizational level (they did not even use fire) before white-man diseases killed them all off. Yet Tasmania has a climate quite similar to England. Tasmania is however a rather small island that was cut off from the rest of Australia for many millennia -- and isolated populations are often backward. It appears that lots of invasions are needed to perk up average IQ -- which is why Eurasia is home to all the high IQ populations. Invaders can very easily sweep for long distances across Eurasia -- as Genghis Khan showed.
So the "exceptions" I have noted so far are all explicable by special factors. But there is one exception that absolutely breaks the rule: South India. South Indians can be very dark in skin color indeed. Yet they are far and away the brightest populations in India. The computer programmers, scientists and technologists in India come overwhelmingly from the South. The recent amazing Indian Mars shot was almost entirely the work of Southerners. It is no coincidence that Bangalore, India's science and technology hub, is in the South.
So what went on in the South to push them up the IQ scale is hard to say. The nearest I can come to an explanation is to note that they all hate one-another. The various regions have different languages and were often at war with one-another over the centuries. So perhaps invasions did the trick there too. But then West Africans are are always fighting one-another as well ...
So perhaps we have to draw into the discussion that some evolutionarily recent DNA mutations affecting brain complexity did not spread to Africa. Evolution can of course work either via natural selection or via mutations -- or both
A final note about the correlations reported below. They seem unusually high. That is common in "ecological" correlations (correlations between groups rather than individuals). It was Prefecture averages that formed the raw data below. Individual correlations between similar variables can normally be expected to be much lower -- JR
Regional differences in IQ are estimated for 47 prefectures of Japan. IQ scores obtained from official achievement tests show a gradient from north to south. Latitudes correlate with height, IQ, and skin color at r = 0.70, 0.44, 0.47, respectively. IQ also correlates with height (0.52), skin color (0.42), income (0.51) after correction, less homicide rate (− 0.60), and less divorce (− 0.69) but not with fertility infant mortality. The lower IQ in southern Japanese islands could be attributable to warmer climates with less cognitive demand for more than fifteen hundred years.
By JR on Friday, December 12, 2014
Reindeer Populations On The Decline Due To Climate Change, Study Says
An old trick: Choosing start and end points without looking at the in-between. Chinese reindeer populations may indeed have dropped over 25 percent since "the 1970s". But if, as alleged, that was due to global warming, the population drop must now have ceased and the population must now be stable. Why? Because the warming stopped rising 18 years ago. The temperature is stable to within hundredths of a degree.
We also read that the reindeer population in the Taymyr peninsula of Russia, "has declined from about 1 million reindeer in 2000 to 700,000 in 2013". Sad, no doubt, but warming was not the culprit -- because there wasn't any warming over that period
Reindeer populations across the world are plummeting, thanks to a combination of factors including climate change and human interference, a new study has found. This decrease could actually have lasting effects on climate change, even outside of the Arctic.
The study, which focused on reindeer native to China, found that the populations have seen large declines. In China, reindeer populations have dropped over 25 percent since the 1970s. Mount Daxinganling is the main habitat for reindeer in China. It has been negatively impacted by climate change, causing to soil degradation and higher temperatures, which have hurt reindeer. Human interference, such as poaching for antlers which are used in traditional Chinese medicine, the selling of reindeer to tourists, and reindeer being killed by cars, also have hurt the populations in China.
While the study focuses solely on reindeer populations in China, the trend is not limited to that country. A 2013 report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that major reindeer herds in Alaska, Canada, and Russia have all seen declines in population. The largest herd, located in the Taymyr peninsula of Russia, has declined from about 1 million reindeer in 2000 to 700,000 in 2013. The report also found that many reindeer herd’s ranges are smaller than they have been in the past. In 2012, the International Fund of Wildlife’s Jeff Flocken said there has been roughly a 60 percent decline from historical high levels, and that the decline was caused by climate change.
Loss of reindeer populations could actually exacerbate climate change. Researchers in Finland have found that grazing by reindeer can help prevent solar heat absorption which can lead to climate change. In their study, they found that areas where reindeer did not graze had higher levels of heat radiation, thanks to higher levels of shrubs and trees that absorbed heat. A Swedish study has found that reindeer can also prevent the climate-change-caused spread of invasive species in the Arctic tundra.
By JR on Thursday, December 11, 2014
Emery Barcs -- 1905-1990
Emery Barcs (born Imre Bruchsteiner) was a Hungarian Jewish journalist who escaped to Australia in 1938 -- fleeing Fascist persecution. He seems to have acquired English easily and in my youth I often read newspaper articles by him. He was especially informative about the Communist world. Something he wrote in 1961 will ring a bell: "Under Communism if theory clashes with facts then it's just too bad for the facts".
As a belated acknowledgement of my debt to him, I have just put 12 of his old newspaper articles online -- written between 1950 and 1970. There are no other articles of his online that I know of -- though diligent mining of Trove might turn up something. See my collection of his articles here. If he had been pro-Communist, every word he ever wrote would already be online, of course.
By JR on Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Genetic determination of social class
Using twin studies, Charles Murray showed 2 decades ago that IQ is mainly genetically inherited and that IQ underlies social class. The rich are brighter; the poor are dumber. The findings below reinforce that. The researchers were able to identify the actual DNA behind that relationship. High IQ people and high status people had different DNA to low status and low IQ people.
The research also showed something else that people find hard to digest: That family environment matters hardly at all. That repeatedly emerges in the twin studies but flies in the face of what people have believed for millennia: That your kid's upbringing matters. It may matter in some ways (value acquisition?) but it has no influence on how bright the kid will be. So now we have confirmation from a DNA study which shows that both IQ and social status are genetically determined. Home environment has nothing to do with it. The genes which give you a high IQ are the same ones that lead to high social status.
People can perhaps accept the genetic determination of IQ but accepting the genetic determination of social status will be more jarring. The wise men all tell us that a good upbringing will make you more likely to get rich. It won't. What you have inherited in your genes (principally IQ) is what will make you rich or poor
To specify exactly what was found: In a representative sample of the UK population, children from high status homes were found to be genetically different from children from low status homes -- and the DNA differences concerned were also determinant of IQ
Genetic influence on family socioeconomic status and children's intelligence
Maciej Trzaskowskia et al.
Environmental measures used widely in the behavioral sciences show nearly as much genetic influence as behavioral measures, a critical finding for interpreting associations between environmental factors and children's development. This research depends on the twin method that compares monozygotic and dizygotic twins, but key aspects of children's environment such as socioeconomic status (SES) cannot be investigated in twin studies because they are the same for children growing up together in a family. Here, using a new technique applied to DNA from 3000 unrelated children, we show significant genetic influence on family SES, and on its association with children's IQ at ages 7 and 12. In addition to demonstrating the ability to investigate genetic influence on between-family environmental measures, our results emphasize the need to consider genetics in research and policy on family SES and its association with children's IQ.
By JR on Tuesday, December 09, 2014
MEGA-PESKY for the Left! Republicans found to be brighter than Democrats
Leftists never give up asserting that they are the brightest but the research results below are well founded and are clearly against them. The findings even held among whites only. And the ardent Democrats were dumbest of all! The author is a bit apologetic about measuring mainly verbal ability but verbal ability is the best proxy for IQ as a whole so that need not detain us.
The final comment below about different types of Republicans is just a speculation. It was not examined in the research.
The differences found were slight, however so are not something for anyone to hang their hat on. The findings are primarily useful for shooting back at Leftist claims of superiority -- claims which are in fact intrinsic to Leftism. They claim to "know best"
For my previous discussions of IQ and politics see here and here and here and here
Cognitive ability and party identity in the United States
Carl (2014) analysed data from the U.S. General Social Survey (GSS), and found that individuals who identify as Republican have slightly higher verbal intelligence than those who identify as Democrat. An important qualification was that the measure of verbal intelligence used was relatively crude, namely a 10-word vocabulary test. This study examines three other measures of cognitive ability from the GSS: a test of probability knowledge, a test of verbal reasoning, and an assessment by the interviewer of how well the respondent understood the survey questions. In all three cases, individuals who identify as Republican score slightly higher than those who identify as Democrat; the unadjusted differences are 1–3 IQ points, 2–4 IQ points and 2–3 IQ points, respectively. Path analyses indicate that the associations between cognitive ability and party identity are largely but not totally accounted for by socio-economic position: individuals with higher cognitive ability tend to have better socio-economic positions, and individuals with better socio-economic positions are more likely to identify as Republican. These results are consistent with Carl's (2014) hypothesis that higher intelligence among classically liberal Republicans compensates for lower intelligence among socially conservative Republicans.
By JR on Monday, December 08, 2014
Fall snow cover in Northern Hemisphere was most extensive on record, all due to warming, of course
You can explain anything if you want to. In science it is called an "ad hoc" explanation -- known to the layman as being wise after the event. And the Warmist writer below does that. He offers various explanations for why the observed cold is actually due to warming somewhere.
But he actually has nothing to explain. He has drunk the NOAA Kool-Aid about current record high temperatures. He hasn't noticed the carefully unpublicized fact that temperatures in the 21st century are higher than one-another only by a few hundredths of one degree. So all we are seeing are natural fluctuations within a generally stable temperature environment.
Cold weather embarrasses him only because Warmists routinely chortle whenever we have an unusually hot spell. He can see that, by the same token, cold spells ought to have us chortling about cooling. That the Warmist chortling about occasional hot weather is desperate, disreputable and unscientific has escaped him
In 49 years of records, more snow covered the Northern Hemisphere this fall than any other time. It is a very surprising result, especially when you consider temperatures have tracked warmest on record over the same period.
Data from Rutgers University Global Snow Lab show the fall Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent exceeded 22 million square kilometers, exceeding the previous greatest fall extent recorded in 1976.
New Jersey state climatologist David Robinson, who runs the snow lab, shared these additional snow cover statistics:
North America had its most extensive snow cover on record
The Lower 48 had its most extensive snow cover on record (which is not surprising given the Arctic blast and snow events in the final two weeks)
The sprawling snows may seem counter-intuitive considering recent reports that September and October were the warmest months on record for the globe according to NOAA (and November the second warmest on record, according to satellite analysis from the University of Alabama-Huntsville).
Global temperature departure from normal for the period of January through October 2014. This year is on track to be the warmest on record, according to NOAA.
However, the amount of snow does not necessarily correlate with temperature. It simply needs to be near or below freezing for snow to fall. Temperatures that average 1-2 degrees F above normal over the globe can still support snow in many places.
Furthermore, slightly warmer than normal temperatures increase atmospheric moisture content, elevating potential snow amounts where they occur.
A recent modeling study showed high latitude extreme snows could increase 10 percent by the end of the century under global warming scenarios.
By JR on Sunday, December 07, 2014
Kids from affluent families start out smarter than the poor and the gap between them and the poor widens further as they grow up
It has long been known that the rich are smarter. Charles Murray got heavy flak when he showed that two decades ago but it's logical that people who are in general smart should also be smart with money. But the gorgeous Sophie von Stumm has amplified that in the research below. My previous comments about some of her research were rather derogatory but I find no fault with the work below.
Explaining the finding is the challenge. An obvious comment is that measuring the IQ of young children is difficult -- but not impossible -- and that the widening gap simply reflected more accurate measurements in later life.
I would reject the explanation that the better home life in a rich family helped improve the child's IQ -- because all the twin studies show that the family environment is a negligible contributor to IQ -- counter-intuitive though that might be.
The present findings do however tie in well with previous findings that the genetic influence on IQ gets greater as people get older. People shed some environmental influences as they get older and become more and more what their genetics would dictate
Sophie von Stumm
Poverty affects the intelligence of children as young as two, a study has found - and its impact increases as the child ages. Deprived young children were found to have IQ scores six points lower, on average, than children from wealthier families.
And the gap got wider throughout childhood, with the early difference tripling by the time the children reached adolescence.
Scientists from Goldsmiths, University of London compared data on almost 15,000 children and their parents as part of the Twins Early Development Study (Teds). The study is an on-going investigation socio-economic and genetic links to intelligence.
Children were assessed nine times between the ages of two and 16, using a mixture of parent-administered, web and telephone-based tests.
The results, published in the journal Intelligence, revealed that children from wealthier backgrounds with more opportunities scored higher in IQ tests at the age of two, and experienced greater IQ gains over time.
Dr Sophie von Stumm, from Goldsmiths, University of London, who led the study, said: 'We’ve known for some time that children from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds perform on average worse on intelligence tests than children from higher SES backgrounds, but the developmental relationship between intelligence and SES had not been previously shown. 'Our research establishes that relationship, highlighting the link between SES and IQ.
Socioeconomic status and the growth of intelligence from infancy through adolescence
By Sophie von Stumm & Robert Plomin
Low socioeconomic status (SES) children perform on average worse on intelligence tests than children from higher SES backgrounds, but the developmental relationship between intelligence and SES has not been adequately investigated. Here, we use latent growth curve (LGC) models to assess associations between SES and individual differences in the intelligence starting point (intercept) and in the rate and direction of change in scores (slope and quadratic term) from infancy through adolescence in 14,853 children from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS), assessed 9 times on IQ between the ages of 2 and 16 years. SES was significantly associated with intelligence growth factors: higher SES was related both to a higher starting point in infancy and to greater gains in intelligence over time. Specifically, children from low SES families scored on average 6 IQ points lower at age 2 than children from high SES backgrounds; by age 16, this difference had almost tripled. Although these key results did not vary across girls and boys, we observed gender differences in the development of intelligence in early childhood. Overall, SES was shown to be associated with individual differences in intercepts as well as slopes of intelligence. However, this finding does not warrant causal interpretations of the relationship between SES and the development of intelligence.
By JR on Saturday, December 06, 2014
Warmist Rahmstorf is now rubbishing statistical significance -- and he thinks a few THOUSANDTHS of one degree Celsius are important
Stefan Rahmstorf is a German oceanographer and big-time Warmist who got his doctorate in New Zealand! He writes very well and often in English and has been richly rewarded for it. He is definitely a man who knows on which side his bread is buttered.
His oceanographic background does however make him skeptical of the usual but absurd Warmist claim that the deep oceans suddenly started storing "missing" heat 18 years ago. So he has to deny that the heat is missing. Hence his latest article: Recent global warming trends: significant or paused or what?". In other words, he challenges the now generally accepted warming "pause". Consensus can be wrong, apparently.
I am not going to reproduce any of it as it is graphics intensive but, if you look, you can see that at the top of his figure 1 he gives the trend as 0.175 degrees Celsius per decade. The "5" in that figure is five thousandths of one degree. I have long ridiculed Warmist use of hundredths of a degree and think that I asked rhetorically once whether they would get around to using thousandths eventually. That day has come. As Oscar Wilde often said, nature imitates art.
But his main point is that although there has been no significant warming in the 21st century, there HAS been warming. It's just that the warming is not significant statistically. That is a defensible statement. There's a limit to what statistical significance tells us. But he skates around WHY the warming is not statistically significant. It is because the warming is TRIVIAL. When you can show years differing only by hundredths and thousandths of one degree in temperature, you are showing warming that is for all practical purposes non-existent. The statistical significance is, in other words, telling us something important. We do well to heed it.
Nice try, though. Warmism is one unending attempt to deceive -- JR.
By JR on Friday, December 05, 2014
The Mediterranean myth again
For years health freaks have been claiming that a Mediterranean diet increases your lifespan. So how come Australians are one of the world's longest-lived groups (longer than any Mediterraneans) and yet traditionally live on a diet that is just about opposite to a Mediterranean one?
A traditional breakfast often includes fried bacon and eggs -- and steak and eggs was pretty common once too, particularly in country areas. Lunch is big on hamburgers, beef pies and sausage rolls (which often ooze fat). Dinner consists of "meat and 3 veg" -- meaning various forms of red meat, usually fried, plus boiled vegetables. All accompanied by bread and butter and followed by "pudding" -- a very sugary dessert of infinite variety.
And the result? Almost all Australian families have (or have had) a nonagenerian tottering around among them -- after having lived all their lives on the diet I have described. Japan has its centenarians. Australia has legions of nonagenarians. And the result in both cases is long and roughly comparable average lifespans.
The Australian diet has of course changed in recent years but not perhaps as much as one might think. I asked one of my young stepdaughters last night what she mostly cooked for dinner. She promptly replied "meat and 3 veg". So both her kids and her husband could live to 90!
So what is the foundation of the claims below? It follows the unfortunate precedent set by Ancel Keys long ago. It looks at just part of the picture rather than the whole. Keys showed that Mediterraneans have much less frequent heart attacks but forgot to look at other causes of death
The Harvard galoots below looked at telomere length only, which is even more specific than what Keys did. There is indeed some correlation between telomere length and lifespan but it is miles short of a 1 to 1 relationship -- leaving plenty of room for other factors to come into play -- including "meat and 3 veg"!
A Mediterranean diet increases life expectancy by protecting the DNA from damage, research shows
Harvard academics studied 4,676 middle-aged women comparing their typical eating habits with the make-up of their cells.
Importantly, they looked at their telomeres – biological caps which are found at the ends of chromosomes that protect the DNA inside.
As we get older, our telomeres get progressively shorter, causing the DNA to become damaged and raising the odds of age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer' s, diabetes and heart disease.
The research – published in the BMJ – found that women whose diets were generally low in fat and high in fruit and veg had longer telomeres.
But this was even more pronounced for those who followed a Mediterranean diet rich in fruit, veg, nuts and pulses.
By JR on Thursday, December 04, 2014
Must not mention racial details of Egyptians
A famous ancient Egyptian -- with hat
News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch has come under fire on social media after making a racially insensitive tweet.
Mr Murdoch struck a wrong note minutes ago after offering his opinion on the casting controversy surrounding the 2014 film 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'.
Under his authenticated Twitter handle @rupertmurdoch, the media mogul wrote: "Moses film attacked on Twitter for all white cast. Since when are Egyptians not white? All I know are."
Predictably, the tweet went down like a tonne of bricks, but still determined to get his point across Mr Murdoch followed the original tweet with: "Everybody-attacks last tweet. Of course Egyptians are Middle Eastern, but far from black. They treated blacks as slaves."
After a barrage of criticism, which included some users telling Mr Murdoch to "drop dead", the News Corp chairman relented, tweeting: "Okay, there are many shades of colour. Nothing racist about that, so calm down!"
Rupert was perfectly right. Arabs ARE white -- a little swarthy, like most Mediterranean people, but a long way from black.
I suppose the issue is whether the ANCIENT Egyptians were white but we have rather a lot of paintings from ancient Egyptian tombs which show Egyptians as light brown (suntanned?) and many of their slaves -- Nubians -- as black -- as black as modern Africans. So there definitely was a color divide and it was not favorable to blacks.
So the ancient Egyptians may have been a bit darker than modern-day Arab Egyptians but they were sun-worshippers in part so it may have been religiously correct to portray them with suntans. In which case what we see in the tomb paintings may simply be suntanned versions of a Mediterranean skin. Tanned skin does after all have a following to this day.
Note also that the ancient world seems to have been very little concerned about race. People from all over the empire became Roman emperors, for instance. There may therefore have been some occasions when the ancestors of African blacks rose to positions of influence in ancient Egyptian society. If Obama is good enough for modern-day America, why not another black for Pharaoh?
It was of course religion, not race, that mattered most to the ancient world and that was true up until fairly recently. The first set of writings that obsessed about race that I know of is the correspondence between Karl Marx and his disciple Friedrich Engels. And the obsession of America's Democrats with race also goes back to around the mid-19th century.
A 19th century election poster
Even Houston Stewart Chamberlain, writing in the late 19th century, who is sometimes claimed as the main theorist behind Nazism, in fact thought that it was only out of racial mixture that the gifted could be created. He considered that the evidence of this was provided by the Prussian, whom he saw as the superman, resulting from a cross between the German and the Slav. From this Chamberlain went on to argue that the sum of all these talented people would then form a "race," not of blood but of "affinity." Not very racist in the modern sense.
By JR on Wednesday, December 03, 2014
NOAA is trying to tell Americans that 2014 is shaping up as hottest year on record
Steve Goddard comments: "It was obvious to me since about April that NOAA had decided that 2014 was going to be the hottest year ever. The White House needed this for their political objectives"
It's going to be a tough sell considering the unusual cold weather Americans have been experiencing -- but the main point never mentioned is that this year is projected to be hotter than other 21st century years only by hundredths of a degree Celsius. It will indeed be hotter by some tenths of a degree than the 20th century average because the 20th century did have some periods cooler than the present. But that tells us nothing about the present century. NOAA is judging a portion of this year against the 20th century average without mentioning that ALL the years of the 21st century average higher than the 20th century -- meaning that nothing different is happening this year.
Since the crucial statistics are in hundredths of a degree and errors of measurement are in tenths of a degree NOAA's claims are in fact meaningless. The 21st century temperature variations they parade are so small that they exist only as statistical artifacts. They cannot be shown to be real. So NOAA's own figures show that there is nothing significant about temperatures this year. The global temperature is still on a plateau -- where it has been for all of this century, and then some
The claims below are just an exercise in lying with statistics -- a Warmist specialty. They have to lie. If Warmists stuck to telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth they would have nothing of interest to say. The whole truth is that we live in a time of exceptional temperature stability
The first ten months of 2014 have been the hottest since record keeping began more than 130 years ago, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
That may be hard to believe for people in places like Buffalo, New York, which saw a record early snowfall this year.
But NOAA says, despite the early bitter cold across parts of the United States in recent weeks, it’s been a hot year so far for the Earth.
With two months left on the calendar, 2014 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record. The average global temperature between January and October has been 0.68 degrees Celsius (1.22 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the 20th century’s average global temperature of 14.1 C (57.4 F).
NOAA’s analysis is an important “health gauge” indicating an ominous trend for the planet, says CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam. “It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to be a skeptic of the causes of our warming planet,” he says.
This October was the hottest October on record globally, NOAA data showed. The mercury climbed more than one degree Fahrenheit above the 20th century average of 57.1 F. It was the fourth warmest October on record for the United States, NOAA said. [Not the warmest?]
“The record high October temperature was driven by warmth across the globe over both the land and ocean surfaces and was fairly evenly distributed between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres,” the agency said.
That’s significant, says Van Dam. “Most notably, this record warmth is not contained to any specific part of the world. Meaning, we are all in this together,” he says. “So far this year, record-breaking warmth has been observed in at least every continent and major ocean basin of our planet. This is something we cannot ignore.”
NOAA’s analysis breaks down global temperatures into two categories — land and ocean — then an average that includes both. The record high temperatures in October were recorded across both land and sea.
The surface temperature on land approached an important scientific benchmark. It was almost 2 degrees Celsius higher than the 20th century average for October of 9.3 C (48.7 F). [Cherry-picking one month is useless. I could pick another month to show something entirely different]
Scientists have long predicted that a change in global average temperature of just 2 to 3 degrees higher could spell disaster for the planet, contributing to catastrophic storms, sea level rise, dangerous storm surges and melting polar ice.
According to the non-binding international agreement on climate change — the Copenhagen Accord, reached in 2009 — any temperature increase above the 2 degree Celsius mark is “dangerous.”
NOAA said the ocean temperatures were also the warmest on record in October with an increase of 1.12 F over the 20th century average of 60.6 degrees.
“Record warmth for the year-to-date was particularly notable across much of northern and western Europe, parts of Far East Russia, and large areas of the northeastern and western equatorial Pacific Ocean, ” NOAA said. “It is also notable that record warmth was observed in at least some areas of every continent and major ocean basin around the world,” the agency added.
Of particular note, several countries have already seen an average temperature increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius in October 2014 compared to 20th century averages, including Australia, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Sweden. [Cherry-picking one month in a few places tells us nothing. What about all the other places?]
There was also one notable cold spot on the map. The average temperature this year in the midsection of the United States, which saw a severe winter, has been below the 20th century average. [So the place for which we have the best records was cooler!]
By JR on Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Good riddance to bad rubbish
She was in charge of the "totally chaotic" operation which led to British police shooting dead an innocent electrician who was just minding his own business but looked "woggy". Anyone else who goofed so badly would have been at least demoted. Why did she skate free? For the same reason she got such a responsible job in the first place: Because she is an open Lesbian. And homosexuals are a privileged class. Pity about the man her bungling caused to be shot, though! I have observed that masculine-appearing women are often over-confident of their abilities so putting her in charge of anything was a risk. Reading between the lines below, however, she has now been eased out -- probably for other incidents of incompetence
Cressida Dick, the senior police officer who headed the operation which led to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, is quitting Scotland Yard after 31 years.
Her departure for an undisclosed security role at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office comes just months after she was moved from a key counter-terror role at the Metropolitan Police.
As the assistant commissioner in charge of specialist operations, including counter-terrorism, between 2011 and this summer, Miss Dick is one of Britain's most senior female police officers.
However, a reorganisation saw her put in charge of specialist crime, including overseeing investigations into murder and sexual offences.
Miss Dick, 54, was in charge of a surveillance operation which led to the fatal police shooting of Mr de Menezes, a Brazilian electrician, when he was mistaken for a suicide bomber in the wake of the failed July 21 bomb attacks on London's transport network.
Miss Dick gave evidence at a trial connected with the shooting and at an inquest in 2008, when she came close to tears as she described the "horrible'' and "terrible'' tragedy.
The control room of which she was in charge was said to be "very noisy and quite chaotic" by one witness.
She denied that she gave an order that Mr de Menezes must be stopped from getting on to a train at Stockwell "at all costs" and also denied instructing the firearms teams to use lethal force to stop him.
By JR on Monday, December 01, 2014
Does ambien make a sleepwalking criminal out of you?
I took some of this stuff for a little while and I don't believe the claims below. When millions of people are taking the stuff a small percentage of them will be sleepwalkers (with or without the pill). And that is all we see, I think. There doesn't even seem to be a proper epidemiological study below. It is just anecdote piled on anecdote. As far as I can see, Zolpidem is just a whipping-boy for faults that lie elsewhere. It is just a convenient scapegoat for various unknowns. After all it is made by a DRUG COMPANY and they make PROFITS! Unforgiveable!
Sleeping pills taken by celebrities including Lindsay Lohan and Tiger Woods – and prescribed widely in Britain – could be to blame for numerous cases of dangerous and even criminal behaviour.
Zolpidem [Ambien; Stilnox], which is handed out to 750,000 NHS patients seeking treatment for insomnia each year, has been found to be a factor in dozens of instances of people breaking the law while sleeping.
They include 43 instances of driving, nine rapes, eight assaults, ten murders or manslaughters, and burglaries – all of which were claimed to have been carried out while the perpetrator was apparently asleep. In most cases they also had no memory of the event.
Neurologist Professor Mark Mahowald, of Sleep Forensic Associates, a US-based organisation of doctors who help those who break the law while still asleep, says: ‘It appears that one part of the brain responsible for complex activities, like driving or cooking, is awake, while another, involved in memory, is not.
Numerous studies have reported rare instances of patients driving, eating, making telephone calls and even having sex while under the influence of the medication.
One report, by doctors at the Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, claimed that up to one per cent of patients had a sleep-eating problem after taking the sedative. The only clues to their nocturnal feasting were morning leftovers and crumbs in the bed [Handy to blame snacking on Zolpidem}.
Patients being prescribed Zolpidem are already warned that changes in sleep behaviour, including sleepwalking, are a possible side effect, but this is the first time data on criminal behaviour linked to the drug has been comprehensively collected.
Mild and fleeting, so-called confusional arousals, such as waking up in a hotel room with no idea where you are, are common, especially in people who are over-tired.
Some researchers say the events seen in users of the drug occur during these arousals, and point out that no drug has ever been shown in laboratory studies to cause sleepwalking, a phenomenon that happens when the cortex is asleep but areas of the brain concerned with movement are active.