Australia’s gas plan will push the Reef to extinction

A brainless Greenpeace emission below. Give them their assumptions and they would be right.  But all their assumptions are at best dubious.  

For instance, bleaching is mostly caused by sea-level fluctuations: Low level episodes in particular. They make no effort to look at that, They just regurgitate conventional assumptions

And coral is very good at regrowing so bleaching from whatever cause is never permanent.  Even Warmist Ove Hoegh Guldberg noted that rapid regrowth

After three mass bleaching events in the last five years, the Great Barrier Reef is not as great as it once was. Now, as Australia attempts to rebuild from the economic fallout of COVID-19, a new threat has emerged which could threaten the world’s largest living organism even further.

Scientists have made it clear that the blame for warmer and more acidic oceans lies on coal, the number one driver of climate change. But now that the Australian Federal government is pushing for a so-called “gas-led recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of gas in the Reef’s demise can no longer go unscrutinised.

Rather than heeding the best advice of scientists and switching Australia from polluting coal and gas to clean energy sources like wind and solar, the Australian Federal Government is instead laying the groundwork to replace one destructive fossil fuel with another. If the government’s gas dreams become reality, the implications for the Reef could be cataclysmic.

In its 2019 Production Gap Report, the UN warned that in order to keep global heating at 1.5 degrees, gas production must decline by 20 percent by 2030.

“The continued rapid expansion of gas supplies and systems risks locking in a much higher gas trajectory than is consistent with a 1.5 degree Celsius or 2 degree Celsius future,” the report reads.

“These declines mean that most of the world’s proven fossil-fuel reserves must be left unburned.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on the impact of 1.5C of global warming found that coral reefs would likely decline between 70% and 90% if the temperature increased to that level. If global warming reaches 2C, more than 99% of coral reefs could be wiped out.

Climate change expert and researcher at the Australian National University, Professor Will Steffen, was unequivocal that gas has already damaged the Reef and expanding the industry would only make that damage worse.

“There is no doubt that climate change is the primary driver of the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef,” Professor Steffen said.

“Climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels like gas, so there is a direct link between the greenhouse gas emissions from Australia’s gas industry, whether the gas is burned in Australia or elsewhere in the world, and the degradation and destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Many Aborigines are their own worst enemy

A case in point.  He paid the ultimate price for his foolishness.  

If you want the police to be civil to you, you have to be civil and co-operative with them.  And running away is the extreme of non co-operation

The police have an important job to do and we must expect them to do what it takes.  And in this case they clearly followed their rules

Dwayne Johnstone was handcuffed, shackled and running away when he was shot in the back and killed by a corrections officer outside Lismore Base Hospital, an inquest has heard.

State Coroner Teresa O'Sullivan will take submissions on Wednesday on whether the threshold has been met for her to refer the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The inquest into Mr Johnstone's 2019 death, which began on Tuesday at Lismore Court House, heard the 43-year-old Aboriginal man had been taken to hospital while on remand after suffering an epileptic seizure in the cells of Lismore Court House, where he'd been denied bail on assault charges.

Counsel assisting the inquest, Peggy Dwyer, said Mr Johnstone had a history of drug addiction and involvement in the criminal justice system – mostly over property theft, minor assaults and possession or trafficking of drugs. He had twice been convicted of escaping lawful custody.

Because of his history of escape, Ms Dwyer said he was classified E1, meaning "an inmate in those circumstances was to be handcuffed and ankle cuffed and treated as high risk at all times".

Ms Dwyer told the inquest Mr Johnstone, described as "a much-loved partner, son and stepson", had been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and had been sexually abused as a child by the principal of his primary school, and again at the Burnside boys home.

A nurse who treated Mr Johnstone at the hospital described him as "compliant" and "appreciative of hospital care", Ms Dwyer told the court.

But as he was escorted back to the van on March 15, 2019 by two corrections officers – one of whom was armed with a revolver – he "elbowed" the unarmed officer who had a grip of his pants, throwing him off balance, and started running. The officers cannot be named for legal reasons.

Ms Dwyer said the inquest would hear multiple accounts, including from the corrections officers, that Mr Johnstone was moving fast despite being shackled and handcuffed.

The officer carrying a revolver told police in an interview that he called out "stop, stop, or I'll shoot" before firing a warning shot into the bushes, Ms Dwyer said. Mr Johnstone kept running, so he said "f---ing stop" and fired again.

The officer told police he aimed a second shot "in Dwayne's direction but not at him". When he still didn't stop, the officer aimed a third shot "at the centre of mass". The bullet entered the middle of Mr Johnstone's back and went through his aorta, liver, and diaphragm, Ms Dwyer said.

The officer who fired the shots told police he was surprised at how fast Mr Johnstone could run, and didn't think he or the second officer would be able to catch him.

But Ms Dwyer said the second officer told police his partner had told him to "get out of the road", and asked if he thought he could have caught up, he said he "didn't know" and hadn't been given the chance.

Ms Dwyer told the inquest that armed corrections officers carry guns but unlike police, are not equipped with non-lethal weapons, such as Tasers, extendable batons, or capsicum spray.

She said corrections officers may legally discharge firearms in a number of circumstances, including "to prevent the escape of an inmate" – with a number of provisos, including that a warning must be given and there cannot be reasonable grounds to believe the shot could hit another person.

However, she said the use of force must be the "option of last resort" and officers "may use no more force than is reasonably necessary in the circumstances".

Ms O'Sullivan said the question of whether the threshold for the matter to be referred for criminal prosecution had been met "is certainly a live issue".

She adjourned the inquest until Wednesday, when she will hear submissions from the parties before making a decision as to whether to continue or have the matter referred to the DPP.

The Lockdown Left: socialists against society

There is no doubt that the virus has been a delicious opportunity for the Left.  Their entire existence is devoted to finding thihgs to do that will oppress people under the cloak of good intentions

Then the coronavirus fell into their laps.  Suddenly there was a golden excuse to oppress people more extensively than they could ever have dreamed of.  So they pulled out all stops and adopted the policies of Communist China.  Never before had huge lockdowns been imposed to deal with a virus.  But the Chinese gave them the precedent they were salivating for

And only the lone figure of Mr Trump questioned the Chinese precedent

As Britain staggers from lockdown to lockdown, the cruelty, destructiveness and wanton irrationality of the policy grows ever more obvious. Yet as spontaneous social and civic resistance to rolling lockdowns continues to grow, it will inevitably fail to cohere into organised opposition without meaningful political representation. Polls that indicate strong public support for lockdown are riddled with inconsistencies, suggesting that respondents are themselves confused and torn in their views on our collective response to the pandemic.

One of the reasons for the failure to translate this simmering discontent into organised opposition, and to resolve the contradictions of public opinion, is that most ‘oppositional’ forces in the country today support lockdown. This is the Lockdown Left, the core of which is the Labour Party with its allies and flanking supporters within the unions, the media and the liberal professions.

It is worth considering what the absence of meaningful political opposition means in today’s context. For a start, it is difficult to overstate the calamitous consequences of the government’s policies. Boris Johnson’s Tories have overseen an economic collapse worse than what they themselves predicted under a Corbyn government. Their policies have devastated swathes of the service industry, especially in those very same northern English constituencies that lent Johnson their support in the 2019 election, and that the Tories had themselves earlier destroyed with Thatcherite policies of deindustrialisation in the 1980s. The Tories have shredded the civil liberties they supposedly cherish with the draconian Coronavirus Act. They have even sought to organise the population as informants and police auxiliaries, with state snitch lines and ‘Covid marshals’. The policy of ‘Protecting the NHS’ has asked the population to sacrifice its health on behalf of the public-health bureaucracy – a sacrifice whose grim toll has been registered in care-home deaths and countless delayed tests and treatments, the consequences of which we will all be living with for years to come. This is to say nothing of climbing rates of suicide and domestic abuse. One of the reasons the Tories can get away with this gruesome trail of devastation is that they have the support of the Lockdown Left.

Leading figures on the left were demanding a stringent lockdown long before the Tory government lurched into it. Owen Jones broke the bounds of irony itself when he publicly stated that he welcomed the establishment of a Tory police state. As public weariness with lockdown sets in, the Lockdown Left has started to notice the effects it is having, all while remaining committed to the policy. The mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, opposes the government’s punitive lockdown policies against the north, while at the same time demanding a national lockdown. Owen Jones laments the toll that lockdown has taken on our collective mental health, pathetically pleading for a ‘national conversation’ as a substitute for opposition – a conversation presumably for those who have the free time to pontificate online and don’t have to continue working as normal.

That those on the Lockdown Left continue to support the Tory lockdown exposes their deep callousness and misanthropy. For years they have criticised the Tories for the casual cruelty with which they have treated the vulnerable, for their vindictive and punitive economic policies. But when it came down to it, these leftists did nothing to counter the Tories’ grim view of society. The Lockdown Left has done its utmost to realise the old Thatcherite slogan, ‘There is no such thing as society’. While once upon a time Corbynistas would happily compose social-media rhapsodies to the virtues of collective solidarity, human warmth and compassion as the basis for social reorganisation in the wake of Tory rule, when the moment came precisely to maintain those values in opposition to a politics of fear led by a Tory government, they opted instead to collaborate with the Tories in destroying social and civic life and inflating state power.

How did so many self-avowed socialists end up being so hostile to society? If the pandemic has exposed the deep ineffectiveness of the British state, it has also exposed the absence of any genuine solidaristic politics on the left. That the majority of the left has supported lockdown speaks to the fact that many leftists’ politics are defined today not by any belief in our collective capacity to reshape social life, but rather in a vision of us all as fragile, isolated and vulnerable monads, who all threaten each other with our diseases, divergent opinions, toxic attitudes and unhealthy behaviours.

No social change will ever be achieved while we cower behind our laptops. But then again, a fully online society suits the middle-class base of the Lockdown Left very well: they don’t need to leave their home or present a public face to the world outside of the Zoom seminar, and they have a precarious, de-unionised workforce on hand to maintain their standard of living. The Conservative and coalition governments of the past decade must be held responsible for hollowing out public capacity, hobbling any effective response to the pandemic. But the Lockdown Left should also bear some responsibility for embracing the lockdown and the neoliberal, individuated attitude to society that underpins it.

If Trump loses, Trumpism will live on

Some excerpts below from a Leftist hate screed.  In their own way they recognize that Trump has revived basic conservatism

For instance, it was almost entirely the American Left that initiated America's many wars, so Mr Trump's efforts to bring the troops back home is thoroughly conservative -- and isolationism generally has a long history of support among American conservatives

And Trump's use of tariffs also runs against the international ideas of the Left. They want a one-world government.  Very few Americans like that idea and Trump has become their champion

And it has long been conservatives who have called for curbs on immigration, illegal immigration particularly.  Trump's wall is a most graphic display of sympathy for that

He has lost some voters in the course of four years. He won 46 per cent of the popular vote in 2016 and today has about 43 per cent on the average of the polls.

But he is still President unimpeached. He is still supported overwhelmingly by the Republican Party. And he is still a real chance of winning re-election, with the betting markets giving him about a 40 per cent chance of victory. Another way of expressing this probability is that if the election were held under the same circumstances 100 times, Trump would win 40 times. In spite of everything.

"They say I have the most loyal people – did you ever see that?" He said that four years ago, and it remains true.

"That's the thing that's most distressing," Francis Fukuyama tells me. "He still has the support of more than 40 per cent of American voters and they love him – they love the fact that he's wrecking the US government," says the world's most famous political scientist.

Or, as the election analyst Charlie Cook of The Cook Political Report puts it, "Voting for Trump is a cultural statement." It's not subject to events.

The pandemic has exposed the limits of Trump's nonsense populism. Fukuyama says Trump would be easily re-elected if not for the plague. But it also has revealed the power and persistence of his appeal.

Even if Trump loses, it's "scary because Trumpism survives Trump," says Fukuyama. The movement lives on even if he's voted out at the November 3 election.

"The core of Trump's support is still going to be there. He will be encouraging them. A lot of Republicans [in Congress] have thrown their lot in with him." He would become ex-officio leader of the opposition.

Cop to stand trial for murder after an Aboriginal teenager was shot dead as prosecutors allege he was right to pull the trigger once - but not three times

It's easy to miss when firing a pistol so it is normal to fire off a string of shots to ensure an effective hit.  And a person who is hit often does not react immediately so may give the impression that further shots are needed to subdue him

All that is perfectly normal and unremarkable so why is this phony charge being levelled at the cop?  It is just to placate black activists who are baying for blood.  It reflects the huge racial sensitivities of the era.  The authorities have to be seen as taking the death very seriously

The deceased was an habitual law-defying criminal so his aggressive behaviour was in keeping with his record.  But because he was black there is a furore. He was released from prison in October last year after serving eight of a 16-month sentence for unlawful entry, property damage and stealing offences with the remainder suspended. But he had allegedly breached his parole by removing an electronic monitoring device, among other offences.

There was “face-to-face combat” between him and the two officers. One officer was reportedly stabbed, which allegedly led to the teen being shot.

A Northern Territory police officer who shot dead an Aboriginal teenager will stand trial for murder, with his lawyers arguing he acted in self-defence. 

Constable Zachary Rolfe, 29, was charged with murder after shooting Kumanjayi Walker, 19, three times during an arrest in the remote community of Yuendumu in November last year. 

The teen's death was protested at rallies around Australia in the wake of African-American man George Floyd's death in the United States in May. 

Judge John Birch on Monday ordered Mr Rolfe to stand trial following a three-day preliminary hearing in the Alice Springs Local Court.

Prosecutors agree that the first shot fired at the teenager was self-defence, after the officer was stabbed and attacked with scissors.

But they claim the second and third shots, fired just 3.6 seconds later, were murder. 

Mr Rolfe was part of a four-member elite Immediate Response Team that drove 290km from Alice Springs into the Tanami Desert to arrest Walker.

The preliminary hearing in September heard evidence that Mr Walker wounded Mr Rolfe and his partner Adam Eberl with a pair of scissors in a darkened room.

Mr Rolfe allegedly shot Mr Walker with a Glock pistol three times as Walker grappled with Eberl. 

Prosecutors alleged the second and third shots were not justified, arguing the IRT 'disregarded' an arrest plan by Sergeant Julie Frost from the Yuendumu police station.

A criminologist said that two of the shots were 'excessive, unreasonable and unnecessary'. 

The case comes amid rising tensions about the treatment of black and indigenous people by police.

Minnesota just suffered its Largest Early-Season Snowstorm in Recorded History

This could mark the onset of global cooling or it could be just a weather phenomenon.

The article below is written from a viewpoint which does predict global cooling, based on solar cycles

By the close of Tues, Oct 20, many Minnesotans had received a taste of what the Grand Solar Minimum has to offer, as a record-busting early-season shot of polar cold and snow blasted the Midwestern U.S. state.

As of late Tuesday evening, the Minnesota State Patrol reported that 1,100 crashes and spinouts had occurred amidst the unseasonable conditions: between 11AM and 8:30PM, there had been 493 crashes, 614 spinouts, and 22 jackknifed semi-trucks — all resulting in 48 injuries.

The wintry storm system, which dropped up to 9 inches of snow in parts of metro, has officially gone down as Minnesota’s largest early-season snowstorm in recorded history, in books dating back around 140 years.

As reported, 9 inches were reported in Lakeville; 8.9 inches in Ellsworth, Wisconsin; 8 inches in Granite Falls; 8 inches in Red Wing, 7.4 inches at MSP Airport; and 7.1 inches in Woodbury.

In addition to this being the largest early-season accumulations in history, Tuesday’s dumping was also the second largest October snowstorm on record, coming a close second to 1991’s historic Halloween blizzard.

All this fresh powder only adds to the heavy falls witnessed in MN over the past week-or-so, it also contributes to an already above average start to the Northern Hemisphere’s 2020-21 snowpack season.

And just look at what’s on course to hit starting this weekend (linked below). There’s every chance this next round of early-season snow could break the all time October record held by the historic Halloween blizzard of 1991.

The COLD TIMES are returning, the mid-latitudes are REFREEZING in line with historically low solar activity, cloud-nucleating Cosmic Rays, and a meridional jet stream flow.

Both NOAA and NASA appear to agree, if you read between the lines, with NOAA saying we’re entering a ‘full-blown’ Grand Solar Minimum in the late-2020s, and NASA seeing this upcoming solar cycle (25) as “the weakest of the past 200 years”, with the agency correlating previous solar shutdowns to prolonged periods of global cooling here.

Furthermore, we can’t ignore the slew of new scientific papers stating the immense impact The Beaufort Gyre could have on the Gulf Stream, and therefore the climate overall.

Pope Francis calls for civil union laws for same-sex couples

The Pope is a heretic.  Both the Old and New Testaments are clear that homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord.  A Christian's duty is to condemn it, not support it:

Romans 1:27; Jude 1:7; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Mark 10:6-9; Matthew 19: 4-16; 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11; 1 Corinthians 7:2; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Genesis 19:4-8

Catholics do claim authority for themselves that does not originate from the Bible but teachings which fly in the face of the Bible are clearly not Christian

Pope Francis has called in a new documentary for the creation of civil union laws, giving his clearest support to date for the rights of same-sex couples while breaking from the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

“What we have to create is a civil union law,” the pope says in the film, released in Rome on Wednesday. “That way they are legally covered.”

Francis’s comment does nothing to alter Catholic doctrine, but it nonetheless represents a remarkable shift for a church that has fought against LGBT legal rights — with past popes calling same-sex unions inadmissible and deviant.

Francis’s statement is also notable within a papacy that on the whole hasn’t been as revolutionary as progressives had hoped and conservatives had feared.

He has long expressed an interest in outreach to the church’s LGBT followers, but his previous remarks as pope have stressed understanding and welcoming rather than substantive policies.

The public remarks that led up to Pope Francis’s call for same-sex civil union laws

“This is the first time as pope he’s making such a clear statement,” the Rev. James Martin, a prominent Jesuit who has advocated for the church to more openly welcome LGBT members, said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I think it’s a big step forward. In the past, even civil unions were frowned upon in many quarters of the church. He is putting his weight behind legal recognition of same-sex civil unions.”

The remarks from the leader of the Roman Catholic Church have the potential to shift the debate for some of its 1.3 billion followers. While Catholic priests in some parts of the world already bless same-sex marriage, others clerics operate in countries where homosexuality is illegal.

In “Francesco,” a documentary that touches on several of the pope’s trademark issues, from migration to the environment, Francis does not indicate any openness to extending marriage to same-sex couples, but says “homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family.”

“They’re children of God and have a right to a family,” the pope says in his interview with the filmmaker, Evgeny Afineevsky. “Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”

“This is huge,” said David Gibson, director of Fordham University’s Center on Religion and Culture. “Looking behind all this, [Francis is] basically saying, again, ‘We’re not out here to be culture warriors. We’re not out here to pick fights. We are out here to build up the family.’ ”

Officially, the church teaches that homosexual sex acts are “disordered.” Francis’s predecessor, Benedict XVI, called homosexuality an “intrinsic moral evil.” In 2003, under John Paul II, the church issued a lengthy document laying out the “problem of homosexual unions.” The document, issued by the Vatican’s doctrinal office, said that “legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage” would amount to “the approval of deviant behavior.”

Roberto de Mattei, president of the conservative Lepanto Foundation in Rome, said Wednesday that “this is perhaps the first time Pope Francis has publicly taken a stance on a specific point of morality against the church’s doctrine.”

“There’s no doubt this will add to the great confusion already existing in the Catholic world,” de Mattei said, “and will be fodder for those who maintain that, at least privately, the pope promotes or supports heresy.”

Conservatives often accuse Francis of muddling the church’s teaching on sexuality, saying he is allowing cultural changes to influence what should be immutable rules.

Famously, Francis in 2013 said about somebody who is gay: “Who am I to judge?” And he has spoken often about his ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics, saying they are loved by God and welcomed by the church.

His previous commentary about civil unions as pope has been difficult to decipher. In 2014, he said such unions should be evaluated “in their variety.” Though some took his words as an endorsement, the Vatican’s press office at the time downplayed the significance of any message.

Pope to parents of gay kids: ’Let them express themselves’
On a flight to Rome in 2018, Pope Francis said children who show “homosexual tendencies” should be treated with understanding and not be condemned or ignored. (Reuters)
Earlier, as a cardinal in Argentina, the pope reportedly supported civil unions as a pragmatic alternative to same-sex marriage. By all accounts, he remains staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage.

Pope Francis’s new encyclical is a papal warning about a world going backward

Reaction in the United States among bishops who have been previously critical of Francis’s papacy was relatively muted Wednesday. Support for civil unions and same-sex marriage among U.S. Catholics has steadily risen over the years: According to a Pew Research Center study from 2019, about 61 percent of Catholics support same-sex marriage, compared with 42 percent a decade earlier.

Thomas Tobin, the bishop of Providence, R.I., said in a statement that “the Holy Father’s apparent support for the recognition of civil unions for same-sex couples needs to be clarified.”

“The Pope’s statement clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the Church about same-sex unions,” Tobin said. “The Church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships. Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and must have their personal human rights and civil rights recognized and protected by law. However, the legalization of their civil unions, which seek to simulate holy matrimony, is not admissible.”

Pompeo and Vatican officials face off over negotiations with China on bishops

For many LGBT members of the faith, Francis may not have gone far enough.

Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, a national organization of Catholics dedicated to LGBT rights, was skeptical on Wednesday.

“Is this a confession that the world and legal communities are moving forward and the church is eons behind?” Duddy-Burke said. “Is it a step forward, or is it a way to avoid going all the way toward same-sex sacramental marriage? Because we’ve experienced a push-pull from the church on this, we’ll hold our breath.”

The pope’s statement may be seen by some as the next step toward marriage equality, but the Catholic Church is far from taking that step, said Patrick Hornbeck, professor of theology at Fordham University.

Hornbeck, who left the Catholic Church for the Episcopal Church before he married his same-sex partner in 2015, said Catholics who stay in the church have to do so with open eyes, because it is not likely to change for decades.

“As long as the Catholic Church continues to treat the lives and loves of LGBT people as short of the divine plan for humanity, people who are LGBT will always have second-class status,” Hornbeck said.

World wheat crop tips record

Greenies are constantly warning that we about to run out  of food.  We're not

Thomas Malthus, Adolf Hitler and Paul Ehrlich are the best known prophets of food shortages but there are many others.  It is a perennial scare

IMPROVED late-season yield prospects in greater Europe and Australia have lifted the estimate for global wheat production by 5.9 million tonnes (Mt) from the previous Agricultural Market Information Systems (AMIS) estimate released last month.

The lift was offset by a total 1Mt decline in projections in Canada and Argentina.

The net 4.8Mt increase lifts the forecast for the world 2020-21 wheat crop to a record 764.9Mt, pipping by just a few million tonnes the previous records set in 2019-20 and 2017-18 (chart 1).

This month’s upward revisions included Australia and the EU, both up 2.2Mt from last month’s estimate, a 1Mt lift for the Russian Federation, and Ukraine up 500,000t.

Utilisation in 2020-21 is expected to grow at a slightly faster pace than projected earlier, supported by stronger feed use in China.

Trade in 2020-21 (July-June) is also expected to grow following brisk import demand, especially by China and Egypt.

Stocks ending in 2021 are lifted by almost 3Mt following this month’s upwards revisions in the EU, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine.

Conditions mostly favourable

In Argentina, conditions are mixed, with recent rainfall in the south improving conditions. However, in the north and west regions, crop conditions are poor and mostly irreversible due to prolonged dryness throughout the season.

In Australia, conditions are generally favourable except for Queensland which experienced persistent dryness and Western Australia following a dry September.

By contrast, New South Wales is showing exceptional conditions with an expansion of sown area.

In Canada, spring wheat harvest is progressing under favourable conditions with slightly above average yields expected.

In the EU, winter-wheat sowing has begun under generally favourable conditions except for France and Romania where dryness from the summer persists.

In the Russian Federation, spring-wheat harvesting is wrapping up under favourable conditions. Winter-wheat sowing is progressing under dry conditions, particularly in the south, which is hampering emergence and more rainfall is needed before winter dormancy.

In Ukraine, sowing of winter wheat is beginning under mixed conditions due to drought across much of the country, which is delaying sowing for much of the crop.

In the US, sowing of winter wheat is ongoing under favourable conditions.

Cambridge university to dump fossil fuel investments by 2030

All this will do is hand a bargain to less loony share investors.  It can't affect what the companies actually do.  One wonders how the students behind this can be so brain-dead

It would make more sense to buy up shares in the company. By buying in you become part owners and therefore have some influence

Cambridge university’s £3.5bn endowment fund has pledged to divest from fossil fuels over the next decade, in a landmark decision that follows a lengthy campaign involving protests, hunger strikes and petitions by students worried about climate change.

The move marks a symbolic step for the UK’s second-oldest university, which, despite being a leader on science and engineering research related to climate change, has faced sustained criticism over its links to polluting companies.

Oil companies, including BP, ExxonMobil and Shell, have donated money to the university. The fund’s exposure to the energy sector, of which fossil fuel companies are a sub-set, stood at almost £100m at the end of last year. It would not reveal details of individual investments.

The fund, one of the largest of its kind in Europe, announced on Thursday it would reposition its investment portfolio to remove all direct and indirect investments in the fossil fuel industry by 2030 and aim for net zero greenhouse gas emissions from any company in which it invests by 2038.

Separately, the university said it would from now on vet all future research funding and donations, which totalled about £700m last year, to ensure that those giving money were aligned with the university’s objectives to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Stephen Toope, the university’s vice-chancellor, said the decisions reflected Cambridge’s desire to be “part of leading not following” in the move towards a zero carbon economy.

We know we have to get to net zero to avoid catastrophic climate change. We’re trying to align our investment strategy with the science

Universities around the world have come under pressure to divest from fossil fuels in recent years as concerns about climate change grow. According to campaign group People & Planet, £12.4bn of endowments across the UK higher education sector have dumped at least some fossil fuel stocks over the past few years.

Oxford university pledged earlier this year to sell out of fossil fuels across its £4.1bn fund. However, the university did not set a deadline. People & Planet currently ranks Oxford as having a partial commitment to divestment, having sold out of coal and tar sands but not other fossil fuels.

Tilly Franklin, the Cambridge fund’s chief investment officer, said it was incumbent on the university as a leader in scientific research to take action on climate change. “We know we have to get to net zero to avoid catastrophic climate change,” she said. “We’re trying to align our investment strategy with the science.”

She said the fund would measure emissions of every investment, from “food to transport to energy and manufacturing”.

Cambridge Zero Carbon, a group that campaigned for the endowment to dump oil and gas stocks, called the move “a historic victory”, despite coming “five years too late”.

The fraught divestment campaign at Cambridge, which has grown over the past decade, included students taking over buildings and disrupting the university’s annual rowing race with Oxford on the river Thames in London. Cambridge initially held its ground: in 2018 it ruled out divesting despite reviewing the matter at the behest of students.

But the appointment of Ms Franklin this year following an overhaul of the fund’s investment team in 2018 paved the way for changes. Further pressure was heaped on the fund in the form of a new university-commissioned report outlining the case for divestment “across moral, social, political, reputational, and financial dimensions”.

What the Never Trumpers are saying

The summary below turns on the definition of conservatism. The Never Trumpers are correct in saying that Trump has overturned what American conservatism has meant since Reagan. It should be remembered, however that Reagan was by his own admission as much a libertarian as anything else. He once said: "If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism..... The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom".

So, wonderful as Reagan was, taking your definition of conservatism from him is very narrow.

The big failing of libertarians is that they see liberty as the solution to all problems. That is very dogmatic. We certainly could have much more liberty than we do but part of the reason why we do not is that there are other factors that are influential on human decision-making. Open borders are for instance a libertarian ideal but conservatives foresee many problems with that -- increased crime, increased load on the welfare and health systems, support for Fascist politics -- and Trump has clearly acted on that reasonable fear, which is one of the big factors behind his huge popularity among Republican voters

So what we are looking below at is what a small group of post-Reagan intellectuals think is good policy and what the big mass of conservative voters think is good policy. Trump has created a new definition of what conservatives stand for and the old guard can't accept that. They cannot accept what the mass of conservative voters have shown to be conservatism in the present era. They dismiss as "populism" the verdict of the people.

And the Trump gospel is both crystal clear and with much traditional conservatism behind it. The one thing it is not is libertarian.

Trump is patriotic, gives foreigners no unearned credits and will use whatever means are available to him to advance America's interests as he sees them. And that includes tariffs and trade deals. It should be noted that, contrary to all libertarian assumptions, America's great thriving in the 19th century took place behind high tariff walls.

Tariffs are in fact a great insult to libertarians. Free trade is one of their most basic beliefs. And they have orthodox economic thinking on ther side. Tariffs do clearly to some degree jack up the prices that Americans pay in their supermarkets. So in ignoring that Trump has simply reminded us that money is not everything, which is a thoroughly Christian view. If paying a bit extra at the supermarket helps troubled communities a government may well consider that worthwhile

And Trump's patriotism is very conservative. Patriotism may seem crass to many intellectuals but it means a lot to many ordinary Americans. And notable British conservative philosopher Roger Scruton has argued that patriotism is at the heart of conservatism. So Trump is not breaking new ground in his emphatic patriotism

Isolationism too is traditional in American conservatism and Trump's largely succesful efforts to bring American troops back home from the Middle East is a vivid expression of that

And Trump's tough stance abroad has had amazing results. Three peace deals in the Middle East and the Balkans is exactly three times more than anybody else has accomplished. The success of Trump's economic policies in creating jobs is a legend and he has now added to that achievement a stellar record of achievement in international politics. So his form of conservatism works wonders. The Never Trumpers should swallow their pride and their outdated assumptions and recognize that Trump has revived real conservatism and shown that it works wonders

The future of American conservatism will be decided at the coming election with the two options being the self-destruction inherent in a Trump victory or the long agony of reinvention necessitated by a Trump defeat.

Both will be chaotic — but in their different ways. From his 2016 presidential victory Donald Trump has throttled and then recreated the American conservative movement under new values and ideas — yet the Trump revolution remains bitterly contested and the movement is divided against itself. This election is about the destiny of American conservatism. Trump is the most important transformative figure for conservatism since Ronald Reagan, with The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald F Seib saying of Reagan’s 40-year inheritance: “He personally made the Republican Party into a conservative party and his legacy inspired the movement’s leaders, animated its policy debates and stirred its voters’ emotions long after he left the scene.

“Then four years ago it all changed. Donald Trump ran in 2016 and swamped a sprawling Republican field. In doing so, he didn’t merely win the nomination and embark on the road to the White House. He turned Republicans away from four decades of Reagan-style national greatness conservatism to a new gospel of populism and nationalism.”

Seib calls the political revolution that saw the Reagan legacy buried in the Trump upheaval the “most important political story of the new millennium”. This is hard for Australians to grasp since there is no organised conservative movement in this country able to take command of a party like the Republican Party.

In America conservative ideology constitutes a throbbing, rampant, powerful coalition with ties to churches, corporates, small towns, middle-class virtue, blue-collar workers, the military, the flag and national pride. The thesis in Seib’s new book, We Should Have Seen It Coming, is self-­explanatory — his story is the collapse of the Reagan foundations and Trump’s storming of the ­fortress.

In retrospect, it looks so obvious; it always does. The Reagan legacy hit the wall when the conservative movement turned against the Republican Establishment with the Bush family in its sights. In truth, the Reagan legacy was sandbagged by a changed world.

It came in unsuccessful wars after 9/11, the 2008 global financial crisis where Wall Street was saved and Little America punished, the arrival of China’s trade power at the cost of jobs in Middle America while poor services, compressed wages and skyrocketing incomes at the top end fermented a store of grievance. Seib says that when ­George W Bush left the White House in 2008 he identified three threats — isolationism, nativism and protectionism. They became the troika that Trump mobilised.

After Barack Obama’s 2012 ­re-election the Republicans faced an internal revolt. Trump’s one-time political guru, Steve Bannon, wanted to burn the edifice — he wanted to make rejection of immigration and free trade into the two biggest issues. Trump was neither a true Republican nor a reliable conservative. But the times suited a rebellious outsider who looked beyond the party establishment and exploited a rebellious conservative base. By contrast, the conservative power structure was aghast.

Trump offended at every level. Where Reagan had been a “morning in America” optimist, Trump warned of carnage as he raged and insulted; Reagan had a core of deeply held beliefs while Trump’s essential outlook was what suited his instincts and interests; where Reagan had an expansive view of US global leadership, Trump saw America as a victim being ripped off; where Reagan’s confidence saw him back immigration and free trade, Trump was a passionate double protectionist.

True conservatives saw the real threat. Hillary Clinton might defeat the Republicans but she could not betray their purpose. Trump could and he did. Yet Clinton had another role — along with the lurch to the left of the Democrats, she frightened many moderate conservatives who had no time for Trump. Seib said Republican ­National Committee chairman Reince Priebus swallowed his misgivings and “turned the keys to the party’s entire infrastructure over to the Trump campaign”.

“Still, even most people in Trump world didn’t think he would win,” Seib said of the 2016 contest. “Indeed, some of his campaign managers put Trump’s chance of winning at only 15 per cent.” But it was how Trump won that mattered — he largely repudiated the past policies and behaviour of Republican presidents as he exploited a grassroots hostility to nearly all forms of established power.

The core of Trump’s appeal lay in tribalism and nationalism. His message was the bankruptcy of old conservatism — it was too global, too Wall Street, too economic libertarian and out-of-touch elitist. Trump said what mattered were national borders, government intervention, cultural traditions and national pride. That meant knowing the differences between citizens and foreigners, jobs in China and jobs in America and honouring the difference between a man and a woman.

But Trump’s campaign against the system in 2016 was much easier than his 2020 campaign as an incumbent President. Four years in the White House have proved Trump does not possess the discipline, consistency and focus to ­entrench a new settlement based on populist and nationalistic ­conservatism.

Trump is a rebel, not a governor. He is a shooting star, not a ­policy builder. He cannot turn populist sentiment into a governing model. A narcissist obsessed by his own needs cannot create a new structure for his country. Every stakeholder quickly learnt Trump was a compulsive deal-maker.

Anything could be traded. Everything was negotiable. No principle would stand in the way of Trump’s advantage. His governing model violated every notion of conservative principle.

Companies, churches and Republicans — anyone who dealt with Trump — knew that trying to strike bargains was the only language he knew. Trump even told the Chinese that if they fixed the North Korea problem they’d get a trade dividend.

Classic conservatism is wary of executive power but Trump was addicted to executive assertion. He ran on instinct, not analysis. He saw history as bunk. He criticised allies and threatened to walk out of NATO. He was attracted to dictators with whom he could do deals.

He was obsessed with tariffs, cared nothing about budget deficits (before the pandemic) and had no interest in reforming government programs.

Seib quotes the “Never Trumpers” in the Republican Party saying: “Trump has blown up what used to be the ideological core of the party.” Can it be put back together? No, the Trump experience has changed American conservatism forever. It has been seduced by Trump’s success and the corrupting prospect he offers — that only Trump can resist the progressive tidal wave seeking to cancel every aspect of US cultural values and traditions.

By throwing in their lot with Trump, conservatives have turned their movement towards tribalism, populism and government intervention, rejecting both Adam Smith and Edmund Burke in favour of Trump’s “only I can fix it” narcissism. History will show it’s a bad deal.

Populism is the antithesis of conservatism. It rests upon stirring up passions, fuelling division, promoting polarisation and policy based on “reward and punish” transactions. Seib does a brilliant job in describing with detachment the transition from Reagan to Trump and the existential dilemma that confronts American conservatives regardless of who wins this presidential contest.

New Study: E. Antarctica Was Up To 6°C Warmer 1,000 To 2,000 Years Ago

The good ol' Medieval warm period again. Greenies try to wriggle out of it by saying that the MWP was a purely North Atlantic phenomenon.  It never was 

And the report below confirms that. The Antarctic is as far as you can get from the North Atlantic.  And note that it was a LOT warmer than today, despite the lack of SUVs and coal burning power stations back then

As recently as 2,000 to 1,000 years ago, spanning the Roman to Medieval Warm Periods, East Antarctica was 5-6°C warmer than it is today. The consequent ice melt resulted in >60 meters higher water levels in East Antarctica’s lakes.

East Antarctica has been rapidly COOLING in recent decades, with magnitudes reaching -0.7°C to -2.0°C per decade since the mid-1980s (Obryk et al., 2020).

A new study (Myers et al., 2020) reports that until about 15,000 years ago and throughout the Last Glacial Maximum, East Antarctica was 4-9°C colder than it is today.

Antarctica then abruptly warmed 15°C within centuries. From 12,000 to 6,000 years before the present, East Antarctica was about 5°C warmer than it is today.

And then as recently as 2,000 to 1,000 years ago, East Antarctica was so warm (~6°C warmer than present) that its lakes were filled with 60 to 80 meters more meltwater than exists in lake basins today.

“Resistivity data suggests that active permafrost formation has been ongoing since the onset of lake drainage, and that as recently as 1,000 – 1,500 yr BP, lake levels were over 60 m higher than present. This coincides with a warmer than modern paleoclimate throughout the Holocene inferred by the nearby Taylor Dome ice core record. …  Stable isotope records from Taylor Dome (located roughly 100 km west of the MDVs) indicate mean annual air temperatures ca. 4-9 °C lower than modern during the LGM (Steig et al., 2000).”

“Between 12,000–6,000 yr BP, Taylor Dome ice core record indicates that regional temperatures were up to 5 °C warmer than modern conditions (Fig. 2) (Steig et al., 2000).”

“Permafrost age calculations indicate late Holocene lake level high-stands (up to ~81 masl, 63 m higher than modern Lake Fryxell) roughly 1.5 to 1 ka BP that would have filled both Lake Fryxell and Lake Hoare basins (Fig. 3b). …  Taylor Dome ice core records show a highly variable Holocene, with short lived peaks up to + 6 °C above modern temperatures between 1-2 ka BP (Steig et al., 2000).”

“Lake levels were higher potentially during and after the LGM when an ice dam blocked the mouth of TV, allowing for lake levels to increase by over 280 m compared to modern level. Taylor Dome ice core records indicate an abrupt warming of >15 °C from 15 – 12 ka BP, (Steig et al., 2000), which may have coincided with the maximum lake level of GLW.”

“Short lived changes in temperature such as a 6 °C increase in the late Holocene could have resulted in anywhere between 60 to 80 m of lake level rise and subsequent drawdown.”

This substantial regional warmth can also be verified by the 1,000-year-old elephant seal remains that document a time when Antarctica was sea-ice-free 2,400 kilometers south of where sea-ice-free conditions occur today (Koch et al., 2019).

Elephant seals require sea-ice-free conditions to breed, and the same locations where they used to breed during the Medieval Warm Period are today buried in sea ice.

US dictionary Merriam-Webster redefines the term 'sexual preference' as OFFENSIVE after Amy Coney Barrett used it and was criticized by Democrat senator who said sexuality is not a choice

As many people have pointed out, 'sexual preference' was for a long time the normal Leftist way of referring to homosexuality but suddenly it has become "wrong". Mazie Hirono is very radical so she is shifting the whole discussion in a far left direction

The new term appears to be "sexual orientation" but I imagine that will become incorrect too -- because it fails to stress that homosexuality is inborn

Merriam-Webster dictionary has updated its definition of 'sexual preference' to an 'offensive' term one day after Amy Coney Barrett's use of the phrase was slammed during her SCOTUS hearing.

The reputable dictionary's fifth definition of the word 'preference' cites 'orientation' and uses the example of 'sexual preference'.

On Wednesday, this definition was updated to explain that the use of preference in relation to sexuality is 'offensive'.

The change came hours after Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono said Barrett's appointment to the Supreme Court would pose a threat to LGBTQ rights and used the judge's use of the term 'sexual preference' as evidence of this concern.

Hirono said the phrase is highly offensive to the LGBTQ community and is used by 'anti-LGBTQ activists' to suggest sexuality is a choice rather than an unchangeable part of an individual's identity.


Houses in good school zones sell in a flash

This is a case of a virtuous circle.  Success feeds on success. Schools that already have good students and teachers attract parents who are very concerned about that and have the money to buy in to a place where their children will be well treated.

And because the school is a good one, that will push prices up in its area as so many people want in.

And a school with well-off parents will generally mean that the parents will be of higher IQ -- and high IQ parents tend to have high IQ kids,  So that will keep the school results and standards up -- thus making the school and its area ever more attractive

Parents desperate to get their kids into a good public school have taken to sleeping in swags overnight in the hope of landing a coveted spot.

But it has never been cheaper to buy a house inside a sought-after catchment zone thanks to low interest rates, government incentives and flat house prices.

However competition is fierce, with one house in a sought-after catchment zone going under contract in less than 24 hours.

On Tuesday night, about a dozen parents camped outside the gates of Pimlico State High School, one of Townsville’s top performing schools.

The school, like many other top state schools in the city, is the subject of an Enrolment Management Plan (EMP), meaning the number of students accepted from outside of its catchment area is strictly capped.

Students living within the catchment zone are automatically guaranteed a place at the school.

A five bedroom fixer upper at 35 Latchford St was listed on a Thursday and under contract the following day, snapped up by a family with young children.

To put that in perspective, the median days on market in Townsville is 84, according to the latest data from

Listed for $270,000 negotiable, it was sold by Sibby and Lucy Di Bartolo of John Gribbin Realty, with the contract due to settle today.

“There was a lot of interest in it, from first home buyers and families,” Mr Di Bartolo said.

“Buyers are keen to get their kids into that school (Pimlico) but the suburb also offers affordable houses.

“I wish I had 10 more like it because a lot of people missed out.”

A few doors down is 17 Latchford Street, a five bedroom Queenslander on a 971 sqm block.

It is listed with Julie Mahoney of Ray White Julie Mahoney and will go under the hammer on October 26.

One of its key selling points is the fact it is located within the school catchment.

“Being located in a good school catchment can be a huge drawcard for buyers,” Ms Mahoney said.

“And we have had huge interest in this property, mostly from families and young couples planning for the future.”

The Great Barrier Reef has lost half its corals

The heading above -- from a Warmist outfit -- is most implausible. If it were true,it would have been widely noted by now but it appears to be the first such claim. And the journal article they rely on contradicts it:

"The relative abundances of large colonies remained relatively stable"

And the reference to"greenhouse gases" is also not in the original reoprt.

There has undoubtedly been some loss of coral cover in some places in recent years but the cause is conjectural. Many things affect coral abundance, not the least of wich is heavy weather in the form of cyclones etc.

One of the largest declines happened during a fall in the sea level in the general area. And that exposed corals to unusual dessicatory and other damage

And, finally, even research by doomsayer Hoegh-Guldberg has revealed that bounce-back of damaged coral is very good. So the mere fears in the article below are unpersuasive

Journal abstract included below

A new study of the Great Barrier Reef shows populations of its small, medium and large corals have all declined in the past three decades.

Lead author Dr Andy Dietzel, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoralCoE), says while there are numerous studies over centuries on the changes in the structure of populations of humans—or, in the natural world, trees—there still isn’t the equivalent information on the changes in coral populations.

“We measured changes in colony sizes because population studies are important for understanding demography and the corals’ capacity to breed,” Dr Dietzel said.

He and his co-authors assessed coral communities and their colony size along the length of the Great Barrier Reef between 1995 and 2017. Their results show a depletion of coral populations.

“We found the number of small, medium and large corals on the Great Barrier Reef has declined by more than 50 percent since the 1990s,” said co-author Professor Terry Hughes, also from CoralCoE.

“The decline occurred in both shallow and deeper water, and across virtually all species—but especially in branching and table-shaped corals. These were the worst affected by record-breaking temperatures that triggered mass bleaching in 2016 and 2017,” Prof Hughes said.

The branching and table-shaped corals provide the structures important for reef inhabitants such as fish. The loss of these corals means a loss of habitat, which in turn diminishes fish abundance and the productivity of coral reef fisheries.

Dr Dietzel says one of the major implications of coral size is its effect on survival and breeding.

“A vibrant coral population has millions of small, baby corals, as well as many large ones— the big mamas who produce most of the larvae,” he said.

“Our results show the ability of the Great Barrier Reef to recover—its resilience—is compromised compared to the past, because there are fewer babies, and fewer large breeding adults.”

The authors of the study say better data on the demographic trends of corals is urgently needed.

“If we want to understand how coral populations are changing and whether or not they can recover between disturbances, we need more detailed demographic data: on recruitment, on reproduction and on colony size structure,” Dr Dietzel said.

“We used to think the Great Barrier Reef is protected by its sheer size—but our results show that even the world’s largest and relatively well-protected reef system is increasingly compromised and in decline,” Prof Hughes said.

Climate change is driving an increase in the frequency of reef disturbances such as marine heatwaves. The study records steeper deteriorations of coral colonies in the Northern and Central Great Barrier Reef after the mass coral bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. And the southern part of the reef was also exposed to record-breaking temperatures in early 2020.

“There is no time to lose—we must sharply decrease greenhouse gas emissions ASAP,” the authors conclude.

Long-term shifts in the colony size structure of coral populations along the Great Barrier Reef

Andreas Dietzel et al.


The age or size structure of a population has a marked influence on its demography and reproductive capacity. While declines in coral cover are well documented, concomitant shifts in the size-frequency distribution of coral colonies are rarely measured at large spatial scales. Here, we document major shifts in the colony size structure of coral populations along the 2300 km length of the Great Barrier Reef relative to historical baselines (1995/1996). Coral colony abundances on reef crests and slopes have declined sharply across all colony size classes and in all coral taxa compared to historical baselines. Declines were particularly pronounced in the northern and central regions of the Great Barrier Reef, following mass coral bleaching in 2016 and 2017. The relative abundances of large colonies remained relatively stable, but this apparent stability masks steep declines in absolute abundance. The potential for recovery of older fecund corals is uncertain given the increasing frequency and intensity of disturbance events. The systematic decline in smaller colonies across regions, habitats and taxa, suggests that a decline in recruitment has further eroded the recovery potential and resilience of coral populations.

The public hospitals with no doctor

The pub  with no beer was a joke.  This is no joke.  A hospital with no doctor is not a hospital at all.

The pretence that you can rely on consulting a doctor over the net is an absurdity.  There are many ways in which a doctor has to feel the patient.  The nurse can no doubt undertake such a routine task as taking the patient's blood pressure but much else will be beyond her skill level.  Palpation is important in dignosing a lot of medical problems and you can't pull that through a computer monitor.

The classsical solution for country medicine was to have a resident GP who was paid a retainer by the government but who could also do some private practice.  That  does of course run up against the reluctance of most doctors to work in country areas.  But the solution to that is money.  And that is where the problem lies, as is reported below

But the problem is not the total overall funding.  It is funding allocation.  And a major drain on funding in all States is a corpulent medical bureaucracy.  Fire a few health bureaucrats and you will have plenty of funding to expand your coverage of country areas.  Health bureaucrats don't cure people.  Doctors do

A woman bled to death in the emergency department of a regional NSW hospital that had no doctors physically present because authorities had replaced face-to-face doctors with treatment via videolink outside business hours.

Doctors and patients have voiced anger and alarm over the moves to treat critically ill patients via teleconference in at least seven hospitals across the Western NSW Local Health District, which spans 31 per cent of NSW.

In another example of the practice, a non-verbal patient who turned up to an emergency department in central-western NSW was offered a video conference with a doctor in Switzerland.

Some postcodes targeted for the changes have large elderly and Indigenous populations and extremely high rates of disadvantage, with preventable deaths up to 31 per cent higher than the state average and mortality rates up to 94 per cent higher.

"We couldn’t believe this is what a community has to live with," said Hayley Olivares, whose mother died from haemorrhaging while being treated by a doctor over teleconference in Gulgong Hospital, near Mudgee.

Dawn Trevitt, 66, was rushed to the emergency department – where only nurses were physically present – last month with dangerously low blood pressure.

She died within an hour.

Ms Olivares, who lives in Canberra, was stunned to discover the doctor had been treating her mother remotely when it was mentioned in passing by a police officer.

She said the case was referred to the Coroner because the doctor wasn’t comfortable signing off on the cause of death, which was ultimately determined to be a gastrointestinal bleed that sent Mrs Trevitt into cardiac arrest.

Mrs Trevitt, a school teacher, has been remembered as a "lively and funny and energetic woman".

Her family is tormented over whether the outcome could have been different had there had been a doctor on site.

"I really don’t want to see another family have the same experience," Ms Olivares said.

A spokesperson for the Western NSW Local Health District said it offers sincere condolences to Mrs Trevitt’s family and would undertake a review.

Gulgong has not had a doctor inside its hospital walls since June, when the town’s doctor was informed his contract with the hospital would not be renewed by the health district.

The health district has also failed to renew the contract of Rural and Remote Medical Services (RARMS), a non-profit organisation providing doctors to hospitals at Bourke, Walgett, Lightning Ridge, Brewarrina, Coonamble and Collarenebri.

The health district put the contract to tender last month, revealing it would now allow a mix of face-to-face doctors and telehealth in the hospitals.

Under new "minimum requirements" in the documentation, doctors will have to be physically present between 8am and 6pm on certain weekdays. Video conferencing can be offered at all other times.

A doctor will have to be present at least one day a week in Collarenebri, two days a week in Brewarrina, three days a week in Lightning Ridge and Coonamble, and five days a week in Bourke and Walgett.

Walgett is the largest of the towns, with a population of 6100.

Dr Phillip Jolly works in Lightning Ridge, servicing both the medical practice as a GP and the hospital.

He warned the "dangerous and inappropriate" changes could cost lives and would take "further resources away from an impoverished health system".

Dr Jolly said the initiative appeared to be being introduced by stealth as the new normal for rural communities.

"Telehealth should be a service for places that can’t get medical staff, not a service that replaces medical staff," Dr Jolly said.

"If we’re going down the path of hospitals not having doctors physically in them, that should be a policy discussed at a political level."

Another doctor with knowledge of the system, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said patients would have to hope to have "your heart attack between nine and five".

"It’s much easier to service Bourke from a doctor sitting there in Balmain on his bum and leave the nurses to deal with a difficult patient with half a leg cut off, or a spear in his leg, or a car accident," the doctor said.

A spokeswoman for the Western NSW Local Health District rejected suggestions the services were being cut back.

She stressed each hospital would continue to have full-time access to a doctor, whether physically or virtually, and the on-site hours were an "absolute minimum".

The aim of the tender was to secure sustainable access to medical services for the hospitals, the spokeswoman said.

"The use of innovative telehealth technology is commonplace in health facilities around the world," the spokeswoman said, noting it had been used in facilities much larger than the hospitals covered by the tender.

She said the health district had been successfully operating a virtual service to assist on-site staff for years, and it would be available to the successful tenderer.

A woman, who asked not to be named, turned up to the Gulgong Hospital’s emergency department earlier this year with a family member who was in severe pain and unable to speak.

They were put onto a teleconference with an Australian doctor who was in Geneva, Switzerland.

She said the nurses and the doctor were doing a "brilliant job", but she was concerned for non-verbal patients who did not have a relative to advocate on their behalf.

Sharelle Fellows, who has been circulating a petition against the move, stressed Gulgong was popular with tourists and grey nomads and did not have a dwindling population.

$1 billion pumped hydro scheme would open up NSW grid, backers say

Another idea that is great in theory but big in cost and unreliable in output.  Pumped hydro requires the building of TWO dams -- and we all know how much Greenies love dams.

And in the end it only works when there is a substantial flow in the river.  What happens during one of our frequent droughts?  It's a nonsense

The Berejiklian government has given accelerated approval status to a billion-dollar pumped hydro project that will unlock twice as much renewable energy investment and reduce grid congestion.

The venture, backed by Alinta Energy, would generate as much as 600 megawatts of electricity by releasing water between two reservoirs near the Macleay River between Armidale and Kempsey.

Developed by the same consultancy EMM that is working on the larger Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro scheme, the Oven Mountain energy storage project is expected to support a further $2 billion in new solar and wind farms in the New England Renewable Energy Zone.

The closed-loop or off-river system would could also boost the water security of Kempsey, located about 75 kilometres to the south-east of the freehold site.

Among the benefits would be the displacement of some 876,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, and a reduction of load-shedding risk to some 770,000 customers as coal-fired plants shut, according to an accompanying document seeking government fast-track approval for the project.

The new plant is within the New England Renewable Energy zone, one of three designated regions for supporting clean energy in the state. Its development would enable more clean energy to be added to the grid.

"[T]he current capacity to [can] host only 300 MW due to insufficient network infrastructure," the document says. "The project’s 12 hours of flexible and fast=acting
storage will directly help to overcome this challenge and accelerate the implementation of the [zone]."

Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean said that pumped hydro was "essential for the state’s energy future", using off-peak power to pump water to the higher dam and releasing it went prices rise.

“The Australian Energy Market Operator says that NSW needs more than twice the energy storage of Snowy 2.0 again by the mid-2030s and projects like Oven Mountain can help us reach that goal,” Mr Kean said in a statement.

“It can take about eight years to deliver massive pumped hydro projects and we need to get going now to create jobs and improve the reliability of the energy grid.”

Adam Marshall, Agriculture Minister and the MP for the Northern Tablelands, said regional NSW had some of the best pumped hydro resources in the world. It would also support the local economy by creating some 600 new jobs during construction alone.

“This project is the jewel in our region’s renewable energy crown and cements the New England as the renewable energy powerhouse of Australia," Mr Marshall said.

“We’re already home to the two largest wind farms in NSW and the largest solar farm in Australia is about to start construction, so this project is the cherry on top of us.”

The government is providing about $2.5 million to support the Oven Mountain project's feasibility study from its $75million Emerging Energy Program.

The program is supporting investigations into the prospects for three pumped hydro projects in NSW.

The proponent will still need to request assessment requirements for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement Once received, the EIS will then on exhibition for community feedback and detailed assessment by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment before a final decision is made, the government said.

UK: Don’t ‘decolonise’ my English degree

The student below is pretty on point but he misses out on the breadth of things that literary studies can contribute. Such studies are in fact one of the best time machines we have. The canon of English novels starts with Richardson and Fielding in the 1740s and has a wealth of contributions from then on.

And as the decades roll by we see an ever-changing world described.

The main interest in a novel is the story it tells. But to make the story as persuasive and engaging as possible, the novelist tends to make the setting of his novel as true to the times as he can. So the interest in literary studies tends to move from the story to its setting. We marvel at the different customs and beliefs of the times that the novel is set in. It is sociological history

It can be almost a laboratory for social ideas. We see how different beliefs about society play out. That is very explicit in the novel “Mr Midshipman Easy” an 1836 novel by Frederick Marryat — where socialist ideas are powerfully satirized and mocked.

So the novel introduces you to different social ideas in a vivid way — a way with far more impact than dry sociological statistics. And in any era there is a variety of novels so you get quite a survey of how the world looked directly from those who lived in that era.

There is much more that I could say about the value of classical litrature and its studies but I think I have made the case that it desrves respect for what it is in its own right. Studying novels originating in other cultures may have its own value but the value of the existing English canon is great and well worth experiencing and studying by and of itself

As we university students return to campus, we are bracing ourselves for the New Normal. For the majority, lectures will take place over laptops, tutorials will be reduced to sad, spaced-out affairs, and, for some, the academic day will end at eight in the evening to ensure adequate social distancing.

What we learn could soon change, too. I’m doing an English literature degree at the University of Edinburgh, which is not immune to the identitarian pressures facing other places of learning across Britain. The rallying cry that has been gaining mainstream traction is that of ‘decolonising the curriculum’.

The phrase ‘decolonise’ might make a bit more sense when applied to history courses, which deal with Britain’s colonial past and the atrocities committed in the name of Empire. I don’t imagine that university staff rooms are filled with rabid apologists for racial injustice, and the Atlantic slave trade was hardly portrayed in glowing terms when I learnt about it at school. But the less savoury aspects of our island story should never be brushed under the carpet.

It is more complicated with literature, however. Edinburgh’s English faculty recently received two letters from members of the student body, calling for the curriculum to be revamped to include more ethnic-minority voices. The suggestions offered illustrate why ‘decolonising’ English might not be so easy.

The first letter, calling for the diversification of first- and second-year core texts, suggests including The Souls of Black Folk by WEB Du Bois – undoubtedly a seminal work of sociology and American literature. But American is the key word here. The letter admits that the texts these students want included are ‘all written by American nationals’. And it is worth remembering that the subject in question is called ‘English literature’, not ‘literature in English’. While our course contains the odd novel, poem or play from the United States and the Commonwealth, the focus is on the British Isles.

While one can specialise in the honours years of an Edinburgh degree, the first two years are dedicated to grounding students in the English literary tradition, and that includes all the big hitters taking us up to the 20th century. Without this grounding, students would not understand the influences of today’s authors – of all backgrounds. Contemporary BAME writers take inspiration from Emily Brontë and John Donne as well as Phillis Wheatley and Olaudah Equiano. We should avoid the patronising assumption that undergraduates from a minority background can only identify with figures who share their skin tone.

Ultimately, a survey of English literature can only accommodate a certain number of authors, and each work should be sufficiently influential and studied to justify its inclusion. The ‘whiteness’ of the canon stems from historic, rather than present, inequalities, and we should look at the history of literature in this context. But including historical black authors on the basis of race, rather than their influence on literature, is an act of tokenism, and a denial of how literature has progressed in Britain. Literature is often political, but the calls to decolonise the curriculum seek to make the discipline inseparable from contemporary debates about identity.

The other letter sent to the Edinburgh English department goes further, accusing it of being ‘racially and culturally exclusive’. It complains that there was an entire term in which no ethnic-minority writers were studied. The period covered in that term was 1300 to 1700 – not exactly a golden age for black writing. The letter decries ‘colonialist’ texts by Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe) and Aphra Behn (Oroonoko: or, the Royal Slave), assuming that their inclusion is somehow an endorsement of Empire. But English students can surely admire the craft of these works while condemning the attitudes they express, just as an art student can rate Caravaggio without supporting murder.

One of the letter’s most laughable claims is that the very concept of ‘books’ (its scare quotes, not mine) is indicative of a colonialist mindset. The letter demands that we study comic books, cartoons and other variants of media. As someone who came to university to learn about Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, George Eliot and TS Eliot, the thought fills me with horror.

The word ‘whitewashing’ is thrown around a lot in this debate, as if university curricula are part of some grand conspiracy – masterminded by racial supremacists, masquerading as educators, desperate to exclude Chaucer’s Afro-Caribbean contemporaries. In truth, the academic sphere is a remarkably progressive one.

Though the English faculty could not publicly comment on the letters, except to acknowledge their receipt, a statement released by Edinburgh’s senior management in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death shows us which way the wind is blowing. The university vows to ‘interrogate the role of the university in slavery and colonialism’ and ‘embed culturally relevant pedagogy by critically examining our work from a decolonial perspective’. The decolonisation crew appear to have a receptive audience.

The canon should not be rigid, but it should be organic. Important new writers emerge all the time from a variety of backgrounds, and old ones can regain relevance after years out of favour. We can also view traditional writers through modern lenses: Shakespeare’s plays are ripe for postcolonial and queer interpretations, for instance.

Minority fiction is currently enjoying a purple patch, with four out of this year’s six Booker-shortlisted novels written by non-white authors. Years from now, we may be discussing the lasting importance of Zadie Smith and Bernardine Evaristo, and we would be doing so because they are among the most talented novelists of their time, not for purposes of diversity.

Decolonising the curriculum is, at its heart, a deeply authoritarian project, in which the past is twisted and reshaped to fit the present. Every individual, every item of knowledge, becomes racialised, which only serves to further ‘Other’ black students. This campaign is not simply a bugbear for conservative hacks – it is a worrying prospect for those who study and love literature. The decolonisers should leave our books alone.


Facebook ads sharing climate "misinformation" have been viewed more than eight MILLION times, despite the firm saying it is committed to tackling the problem

The newspaper article below has presented uncritically a "report" from a Greenie outfit.  So it is written from a Greenie viewpoint. It accepts global warming as known truth, not the poorly supported theory that it is.  

It is a testimony to how infinite repetition can make such a claim into accepted wisdom.  Dr Goebbels lives again:  If you tell a big enough lie often enough people will believe it.

It is however sad proof of how the real scientists -- climate skeptics --  have lost the PR battle.  The Leftist stranglehold on most of the media and the educational system is hard to beat

Mr Trump has spoken of arranging a public debate between Warmists and skeptics.  That might be what we need to restore well-deserved doubt in people's minds

A new report finds that dozens of climate disinformation ads have run on Facebook in the first half of 2020.

Produced by a variety of conservative groups, ads have received a total of 8 million views.

The report, produced by the climate group InfluenceMap, accuses climate-denialist groups of using Facebook's advertising platform to spread disinformation, 'intentionally seeding doubt and confusion around the science of climate change.' 

The ads were predominantly targeted at men, people in rural states and Americans over the age of 55.

Most raised doubts about the science of climate change, including denying there's consensus or certainty about it, and attacked the credibility of climate experts.

Launched by Dylan Tanner on the eve of the Paris climate accords in 2015, InfluenceMap analyzes how corporations influence climate change opinion and policy.

Its newest report, 'Climate Change and Digital Advertising: Climate Science Disinformation in Facebook Advertising' found 51 climate-denial ads running on Facebook between January and June 2020.

The spots cost a total of $42,000 to run and received a total of 8 million impressions, though it's not clear how many people saw them in total. 

InfluenceMap says that while the ads were produced by a variety of right-wing groups - such as Prager University, Turning Point USA, and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy - the ultimate source of funding 'is often opaque.'

To date, only one ad was removed by Facebook before it was scheduled to end. 

Craig Strazzeri, chief marketing officer at PragerU, denied the company was running disinformation ads.

'Apparently 'disinformation' means anything Facebook or the left disagrees with,' he told The Guardian. 'The ad in question is an educational video on the truth about the Green New Deal.'

Jordan Peterson on Marriage and the family

Thankfully, Jordan Peterson has now recovered from the shock of nearly losing his wife of many years and his subsequent illness and is now in good voice again.  Below is his advice for young men seeking marriage and a family.  And I have no doubt that anyone following that advice will have a happy life.  It is very conservative advice, pointing out how important and desirable marriage and children are. But there is also no doubt that it goes against the grain of modern times.

For a start, he overlooks the divorce problem.  Feminist inspired divorce laws have destroyed marriage for a large slice of the population. The divorce laws so heavily favour women now that the possibility of divorce scares off any well-informed man.  They don't enter marrige because they know that marriages do end and that such an end will leave them financially ruined.  

I know a tradesman who was well-paid in his lifetime who should now be retired in comfort but who is now in his 70s almost completely "skint".  Two divorces took the lot and he is too old to start again

Another thing that Peterson overlooks to some extent is the power of sexual appeal.  The sex drive is often strong in women and will lead them into relationships that are unwise.  And the more good-looking men in particular can fall victim to that.  They might find that they have a very satisfying sexual partner and start living with her, only to find that she is a "bitch".  The lady gets into bed very readily but the two of you are so  ill-matched in other ways that after a while you end up making one another unhappy.

And because their sex drive is so strong, women will find a range of different things sexy in men, with a large wallet being the traditional example of that.  So even men without traditional good looks can end up in bad relationships after the initial glow wears off.  So divorce or breakups can be needed if a relationship ends up as being unwise and painful.

So Jordan's advice that a married couple should at some stage tell one-another all their secrets is undoubtedly wise in general but has been known to destroy relationships.  And what can seem toxic to one woman may be relatively untroublesome to a more worldly woman.  It's a risk.  It could destroy an otherwise successful marriage.

I have found in my own life that total openness about myself and my varied past works wonders.  Women really love a man who is honest with them. And the converse of that is that they hate men who lie to them.  I have had four marriages and four divorces with minimal financial or other damage because I am habitually honest. It is quite amazing what women with put up with if the man they like is always honest with them. Honesty is powerful stuff. 

So Peterson is right.  Having no secrets is highly desirable and constructive.  But it does depend on the secrets.  Some things are probably best left to lie undisturbed in a man who has made mistakes but has learned from them.  It is amazingly liberating if you have no secrets, however, as I have found.

I could go on but this essay is developing into a treatise rather than than a commentary on Peterson

Reducing air pollution levels by 20 per cent could put children a month ahead in their learning every year, study finds

Same old, same old.  Children in polluted areas do worse on tests.  But who live in polluted areas?  The poor.  And we know that they do badly on tests.  What we are seeing is a poverty effect

There is no end of these studies and if they do not forget to control for income, the effects are vanishingly small.

The fact is that humans cope well with fine pollution.  They just cough it up and spit it out

Researchers believe inhaling microscopic particles MAY affect children's brains

Cutting air pollution outside schools could boost children's memories, putting them the equivalent of a month ahead in school, experts SUGGEST.

A reduction of a fifth in nitrogen dioxide pollution, produced by traffic fumes and industry among other sources, could improve schoolchildren's memory by 6.1 per cent, according to researchers at the University of Manchester.

Experts suspect that inhaling microscopic particles of pollution may affect the development of children's brains.

Researchers *did not actually test* British schoolchildren's memories or achievement in school.

But previous Spanish research has shown children at schools in highly polluted areas, similar to those in the UK, see slower than normal memory improvements over time.

A 20 per cent reduction in pollution could help children's memories improve up to four weeks faster in a year, based on the Spanish evidence.

The findings will raise concerns about further risks to children from dirty air beyond asthma and respiratory problems.

However some doubt remains on whether pollution really can affect memory, as previous studies have not always found a link.

But Professor Martie van Tongeren, an environmental health expert at the University of Manchester, who led the research, said: 'Pollution of indoor and outdoor air affects the health of our children.

'In addition, the available evidence indicates that it affects their cognitive development, which may affect educational attainment.

'Policies should be set out by ministers to tackle this urgent challenge, immediately.'

Last month new analysis, commissioned by Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, found more than a quarter of British schools, nurseries and colleges are in areas with 'dangerously high' levels of pollution particles called PM2.5, which can trigger asthma attacks in children.

To see how pollution might affect children's thinking skills, researchers referred to two recent Spanish studies.

These looked at nitrogen dioxide levels in school grounds, and PM2.5 levels inside school, as well as pupils' memory tests.

Children were shown a series of images, such as numbers, colours or words, and asked to remember one they had seen previously - up to three images ago.

In polluted areas, children were slower and less accurate on average, and this allowed researchers to work out how pollution in British schools could affect pupils.

They could also see the rate at which children's memories improved over a year, and calculate how many weeks of additional improvement a cut in pollution might provide.

Halving nitrogen dioxide levels in schools could give children the equivalent of up to seven weeks of extra learning in a year, the scientists suggest.

An air purifier in a classroom was found to reduce pollution by 30 per cent in a Manchester primary school.

The research was carried out to mark Clean Air Day, and commissioned by its coordinators, the charity Global Action Plan and the Philips Foundation.

Global Action Plan is calling for Government action to reduce pollution at schools and provides advice through its Clean Air for Schools Framework on measures such as improved ventilation and traffic-free streets (SUBS - pls keep).

Responding to the findings, Jonathan Grigg, professor of paediatric respiratory and environmental medicine at Queen Mary University of London, said: 'There is emerging evidence that air pollution has effects on the developing brain and this type of modelling, based on a peer-reviewed study, helps to showing the benefits of reducing air pollution.

'Reducing children's exposure will have many other positive outcomes, including less cases of asthma and better lung growth.'