Thursday, 31 March 2011

Earth Hour flops again

In typical fashion Big Environment is yet again ignoring the utter failure of Earth Hour by heralding the puny participation rate as a huge success.

I was privileged enough to receive an email from Earth Hour Australia with all of the details (I think one of my asshat lefty mates signed me up to as a bit of a lark coz I never did).

Here's the first paragraph, along with some analysis:
Wow, what a night!
It sure was! I invited a few mates around, had all of the lights on, turned on the BBQ (well, we did have an assortment of bits from farmyard animals to cook), all of the hot plates, the oven (admittedly, it was also used for cooking roast veggies) and the microwave (also admittedly, one of my mates suggested we heat up cups of water for no good reason other than we could; the man's a veritable genius).
We hope that you enjoyed being part of the biggest Earth Hour ever.
It was that good I'm still recovering.
Earth Hour continues to be embraced by the global community, transcending race, culture and age.
Breathing and eating are also embraced by the global community and, funnily enough, also transcend race, culture and age.
A record 134 countries and territories on all 7 continents registered, with a whole host of countries officially joining for the first time (including Lebanon, Jamaica, Iran, Uganda, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Chad, Azerbaijan, Gibraltar, Palestine, Suriname, Uzbekistan, Trinidad & Tobago and Lesotho).
OK, I'll play your silly game. Which country in Antarctica registered for Earth Hour? And what are the 62 countries that didn't participate? That's actually quite a few when you think about how easy it is to be involved in this pointless piece of environmental onanism.
Across Australia, over 300 schools, 152 councils, almost 2000 businesses, and 220 government departments across Australia officially signed up to take part, as well as thousands of individual Australians.
Wow! That's amazing! What terrific penetration into society! Let's run a few numbers, shall we?

There are, according to the ABS, 9468 schools in Australia so Earth Hour organisers did a sterling job to sign up a whopping 300. That's 3% or, in IPCC terms, a consensus.

There are around 700 councils so 152 represents a mind blowing 22%. Given that councils are mostly run be leftist nitwits and are a haven for Green activists and the Climate Taliban I'm going to suggest that getting only 22% is actually a crap effort.

How many businesses are there in Australia? A heap. Over 2 million. To get a piddling 2000 of them to come on board, a microscopic 0.1%, doesn't seem too spectacular to me. But hang on, you say, aren't most of those small businesses and sole contractors? By jingo, you're right, 80% of them are in that category so it's really 2000 (assuming none are small businesses) out of 400,000 or 0.5%. Thanks for pointing that out!

I've got no idea how many government departments there are in Australia. Thousands, probably. But that's a bit irrelevant because organisers could pick up 100 simply by having the federal government on board, which in these days of Carbon Tax wars is a dead certainty so no points for the Earth Hour people from that, either.

As I said, I complete joke. Tim Blair linked to a report that over 10 million Australians had participated. He correctly described it as a lie.
What a fantastic display of care and commitment to this planet we call home. Thank you for being part of it.
Hey, pal, let me tell you something. I care more for the environment than your entire cohort of envirofascists combined.

The command and control policies you support led to the greatest environmental destruction the world has ever seen. And, embarrassingly for your side, it took free market capitalism to clean it up. Not that you'd ever even admit to that even if you could understand how it did (and continues to do so to this very day).

But thanks for the comedy. Keep it coming.

(Nothing Follows)

Things I don't understand

OK, how does this happen?

Shane Warne & Liz Hurley??!!

Or this?

Sean Penn & Scarlet Johannson??!!

But THIS is something I do understand.

George Clooney & Elisabetta Canalis...

What happened to his hand?

By the way, this is a photo of a young George Clooney...

...proving that for those of you that have kids who look like they were beaten with an ugly stick...there's hope for them yet.

(Nothing Follows)

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Japan's nuclear non-story

On 11 March a once in a lifetime magnitude 9.1 earthquake sent a wall of water hurtling towards Japan that would destroys hundreds of thousands of homes and take tens of thousands of lives.

By any definition, it's a calamity.

What has also been a calamity has been the reporting. From the time it was announced that the nuclear power plant at Fukushima had been damaged the focus of the media turned from the massive human tragedy to overblown hysteria about the possibility of a nuclear meltdown and radiation throughout the world.

Even the normally reliable The Australian newspaper has fallen for the anti-nuclear agitprop:

People are in dire need and yet this is the sort of drivel we get.

To be clear: there is zero, zip, zilch, nada, nil, none, no problem for anyone living anywhere in the world outside of the perimeter of the compound itself. None.

I happened to have dinner with a scientist who is expert on these matters and helps oversee nuclear safety in Australia a week or so after the tsunami in Japan and he was even more apoplectic than I was (which I didn't think was possible) about the media's reporting.

Even my old mum asked me about what was going to happen when I was driving her home one day. She was genuinely surprised that I said it was all hooey and no problem for anyone other than the plant operators and, politically, the government.

Such is the media hype and scaremongering that even the most senior Japanese politicians have to be seen to be on top of the nuclear plant issue and 'doing something' to protect the citizens. To 'do nothing', even though nothing needs to be done, is to commit political harakiri.

The tragedy is twofold.

Firstly, the Japanese government's attention is taken away, even for a short time, from the real task at hand and that is helping the people affected by the tsunami.

Secondly, those people who need help most from all over the world are not getting it due to the blanket media coverage of the nuclear non-event.

I agree with those who reckon that Fukushima will put back the nuclear debate in Australia by 10 years, such is the public's lack of understanding of the reality of nuclear power.

However, what a fantastic example of the true safety of nuclear power we have seen. Faced with an earthquake of much higher magnitude than engineers ever anticipated and a tsunami nearly twice as high (10m vs 5.5m or so) as what the plant was designed for the thing still shut down in an orderly manner, minimising the possibility of a large problem. Certainly, there have been problems that have needed dealing with. Given the scale of the problem that hit them it's hardly surprising.

But does the media tell us how remarkable a story this is of nuclear safety? No. Instead we get hysteria that radiation levels are 100,000 times normal while at the same time ignoring the fact that it's still many orders of magnitude below the level needed to cause a problem.

It's yet another example of how deeply the left's messages and propaganda have seeped into society that normally rational people would be so concerned by what is only a serious local issue.

(Nothing Follows)

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Socialism - before and after

In the pictures tell a thousand stories category come some examples of the differences between countries before and after socialism was implemented.

After World War II Germany ended up being split in two with West Germany a free and democratic state and East Germany falling behind the Iron Curtain and into the control of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - the commies.

This allowed an interesting experiment to play out. Which country would prosper the most given they both had the same starting point in terms of ability of the population?

In 1991 the Berlin Wall fell and, for the first time, the West got a close up look at what had happened in the previous 45 years.

There are many examples of the differences between the two states but this is the most glaring to me.

Here's the height of East German automotive engineering, the Trabant:

'Powered' by a thundering 1L motor that developed a mighty 19kW (26hp) it could race from 0-100km/h in 21 seconds before topping out at 112km/h. According to the Wikipedia entry:
There were two main problems with the engine: the smoky exhaust and the pollution it produced—nine times the amount of hydrocarbons and five times the carbon monoxide emissions of the average European car of 2007. The fuel consumption was 7 L/100 km (40 mpg-imp; 34 mpg-US). Since the engine does not have an oil injection system, two-stroke oil has to be added to the 24-litre (6.3 U.S. gal; 5.3 imp gal) fuel tank every time the car was filled up, at a 50:1 or 33:1 ratio of fuel to oil. Gas stations of the time in countries where two-stroke engines were common served premixed gas-oil mixture from the pump. Today, owners normally carry a container of two-stroke oil in the car for this purpose. The earlier models have no fuel gauge; a dipstick is inserted into the tank to determine how much fuel remains.
How completely awesome.

By contrast, here's a highlight from the West German 1991 motor industry, the Mercedes 560SEC:

With a 32 valve 5.6L donk pumping out 235kW this beautiful beast could thunder to 100km/h in 5.8 seconds on the way to a top speed of 280km/h.

How could this happen? How could people start from the same point but end up so far apart?

The answer is clear. Socialist - and other command and control - economies lack the feedback loop required to create the continuous improvement that comes from good, old fashioned competition.

There are so many examples where this has happened that it's surprising anyone can still believe government intervention in the economy can be a good thing. Hello, Mr Krugman? Time for your reality check.

You'll probably have seen this shocking photo of North and South Korea taken from an orbiting satellite that shows the difference between the two states in terms of electricity use, which is a proxy for economic development.

What's remarkable is that it's only 50-odd years since the end of the Korean War. In the South you see prosperity at a level never before experienced in that country while in the North you see poverty and depravity that has probably never before been experienced even under the cruelest of Chinese despots from days of yore.

These are extreme examples of the negative impact that governments can have on the lives of their citizens, which has given rise to the Tea Party in the United States and is driving a lot of the anti-government protests in Australia.

The point is that people understand that relationship. They can see the pernicious effects of the welfare state. They understand that redistribution of income ends up hurting everyone in the end as jobs evaporate and government debt starts to cause services to be reduced and interest rates to rise.

It's not just socialist ideology that is the problem. Take, for example, the development of Pakistan and India. Created at a similar time to many other countries after World War II and starting with the same abilities of the people, Pakistan has turned into an economic basket case while India - once it started to unshackle itself from the anchor of socialism, which is an important point to note - has accelerated at a massive pace lifting tens of millions of people out of poverty. In Pakistan, like in many nations in Africa, corruption by government officials has a similar effect as having a socialist economy. When you combine the two, such as in Zimbabwe, then you simply hasten the collapse.

And let's not mention the economic miracle in Israel, a country literally carved out of dirt, that makes its Arab neighbours look like something from the Stone Age.

It really does give one pause for thought.

(Nothing Follows)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Climategate really is the greatest scientific scandal of all time

Shortly after the Climategate scandal broke and I'd had a chance to go through the documents released I described it as the greatest scientific scandal of all time.

Worse than Piltdown Man (which was a corker) or Hwang to name just a couple of famous ones.

The Climate Taliban have been in denial about what Climategate means and the defensive lines seems to be that, yes, mistakes were made but it doesn't undermine the overall scientific support for the climate change thesis.

The scientist at the centre of Climategate is Phil Jones. He had such credibility within the climate community that he was a contributing author to Chapter 12, Detection of Climate Change and Attribution of Causes, of the Third Assessment Report (2001) and a Coordinating Lead Author of Chapter 3, Observations: Surface and Atmospheric Climate Change, of the Fourth Assessment Report (2007).

In this latter role Jones wielded a lot of power and had the ability to control the direction of the report.

So his credibility matters. A lot.

Now it has come out that not only did his climate group at the University of East Anglia 'hide the decline' in the post 1960 'spaghetti graph' of temperature that is pervasive throughout climate literature but they also manipulated the starting point of the series in order to eradicate an inconvenient result - in pink below - as demonstrated by the one man climate science truth finder, Steve McIntyre:

How amazing is that?

What sort of scientist goes to work knowing that what they're putting forward is a complete fraud?

If Phil Jones can't be honest with what his own team is putting forward then how can we trust anything he's allowed into the Fourth Assessment Report?

More importantly, how could it survive peer review? Aren't we repeatedly told that peer review in climate science is beyond reproach? If that's really the case then why do so many critical errors and fabrications continue to be discovered? It's as if the peer review process is either a sham or is carried out be people who accept the science and don't look too hard.

I have a theory that climate science has attracted a large number of mediocre scientists over the years simply because there's a lot of funding to be had and, critically, there's no demand to prove what they're doing is true. How else can climate models have a zero percent prediction rate yet the people who create them are held in high regard within the climate community? There is so little scientific skill that scientists simply trust each other's work.

The worst part is that the mainstream media will completely ignore yet another piece of proof that climate science is a corrupt, inaccurate discipline that has been taken over by scientific hacks seeking money and prestige, and environmental activists wanting to use it for political advantage.

(Nothing Follows)

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Labor's Carbon Tax is really a redistribution of income scam

Julia Gillard's freakish political contortion, the likes of which have probably never before been seen in Australian politics, of breaking an election promise to not introduce a carbon tax, bowing to the radical Greens and then introducing a carbon tax can have no other outcome than increase the size of the Australian deficit and reduce employment.

Let's assume that the amount raised from power companies by the carbon tax each year is $10 billion.

There are a number of groups that will be especially hurt by an increase in power prices - those at the low end of the income spectrum, trade exposed industries whose position against overseas competition will be damaged and small business, which seems to be a forgotten factor in the conversation so far.

It's clear that the government can't compensate all groups affected so let's assume that they distribute the money to low income earners. Note that they are on record as saying that the money will not simply go into Treasury coffers so let's also assume that it joins the short list of promises kept by this government since being elected in 2007.

The tax is introduced in 2011 and low income workers rejoice as they see the effects in their bank balances. They then feel the pain when they get their utilities bills but, being conscientious with their money and in no way tempted to buy more grog or smokes or stick it in the pokies or back something to beat Black Caviar*, they pay what they owe. So there's no impact on them.

Power companies now have an incentive to reduce the amount of CO2 they produce, which is the whole point of the exercise and so they invest in clean technologies that have the effect of reducing CO2 emissions to zero thus fulfilling the government's ambition.

Can you see the problem?

At this point the government will raise no money at all from taxing so-called 'carbon pollution', the cost of power will not be reduced due the investment made by power companies that needs to be paid for meaning that low income households will still need financial support to meet their utilities bills.

So the government now has a $10 billion hole in its budget. Is it going to fill the void by raising taxes or by increasing the deficit? Either way, the impact on employment is negative.

And while all that has been going on our trade exposed industries have been shedding jobs at a terrific rate to countries that are not bound by the onanistic impulses of the climate brigade.

So let's give all of the money to trade exposed industries instead of low income workers.

The government gets stuck in the same cycle. When the power companies clean up their act the government will need to maintain support for trade exposed industries otherwise there'll be a massive loss of jobs in a short time frame to overseas competitors. Not a palatable outcome for any politician.

And all the while small business is getting hammered and is shedding jobs.

So here's Labor's dirty, little secret. I'm going to shout it at you so that you can take it in.


The government knows this, of course, which is why it's just a great, big, redistributionist scam but it also knows that its allies in the mainstream media won't point it out to the voting public any time soon.

The result will be that the tax will be in place before an emissions trading scheme is introduced, which the government expects will continue to provide the revenue it needs.

And bad luck to the people who lose their jobs because of it.

* I don't live in this world, either, but the good folk who create government budgets surely must.

(Nothing Follows)

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Why does the left wet its pants at the slightest hint of trouble?

Remember the Bird Flu epidemic that was going to wipe out vast numbers of people, especially in Asia?

Remember the dire warnings about Swine Flu from the World Health Organisation and Joe Biden's classic "I wouldn't go anywhere in confined spaces..." line?

How did that whole heterosexual AIDS thing work out?

What about silicone breast implants? The most negative effect was to the aesthetic appeal of the bodies of those women who chose to get them.

From the population bomb leading to mass starvation to peak oil to the hysteria du jour, global warming, we have had no shortage of end of days scenarios to contend with.

Now we can add to the list the massive overreaction to what has essentially been a serious local problem at the site of the Fukushima nuclear plant that the Japanese have had pretty much under control from the start. That people in the US and Asia were running out and buying iodide tablets shows the massive influence of the mainstream media to panic the masses (or, at least, those masses prone to panic). I wonder what the result of a survey of the political affiliation of those buying the tablets would be.

US radio talk show host Dennis Prager constantly reminds people that the hysterics, who are mainly on the left, are wrong 99% of the time.

How can this be? What drives people to so badly overreact at the slightest whiff of difficulty? Why is the left so much more likely to get things so badly wrong than the right?

I presume it relates to the left's tendency to seek to exert more and more influence over people's lives and nothing provides more control than a potential extinction event.

While that might explain the political advantage the left seeks to gain from upheaval it doesn't tell us why people get so genuinely frightened when there's no rational reason to be so. It doesn't explain why they get so angry and abusive when they're called out on their poor judgements.

I don't know what the answer is, either. What I do know is that there's a high correlation between those who believe in global warming and those who thought that Fukushima was an existential threat to life everywhere.

Somehow, that doesn't surprise me.

(Nothing Follows)

Monday, 21 March 2011

Fear of religion actually means fear of Islam

Australia's Human Rights Commission, an unneeded organisation if ever there was one, has released a report saying that there's a general fear of religion in the community.

By way of example they use only Islam to make their point, as outlined below in this piece from The Australian:
THERE'S a pressing need to use education to reduce ignorance and fear about religions in Australia, a new report says

It said there is a current anti-Muslim discourse that suggests entrenched hostility which is often related to overseas events.

The report, entitled Freedom of Religion in the 21st Century, was prepared for the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The researchers said some Christians fear the introduction of sharia law in Australia and believe that governments appease Muslim communities by giving Islam preferential treatment.

Some people told the researchers that evangelical Christians demonise Muslims partly because of "high levels of ignorance by churches about Islam".

It also said some Muslim children see themselves as outsiders because they see their religion vilified at every turn.

"They see how they are viewed as Muslims, which in turn affects how they view themselves," the report said.

The report's conclusion said the commission needs to "foster a discussion about the place of religious rights along side other rights".

It said the commission must allow "for the view to be heard that religious rights are absolute, and then to allow that view to be tempered by other views".

It urges religious leaders to play a key role in overcoming ignorance about religion in the community.
There are currently only three groups who have issues with religion:

1. Anyone with half a brain who understands that more than 90% of the world's terrorist attacks (excluding in Iraq and Afghanistan) are carried out in the name of one religion - Islam - in order to promote Sharia and create a new Ummah and is wary of all of those who say that it's a small minority that carry out the attacks and they don't represent the religion.

2. Secular fanatics who worship at the feet of Richard Dawkins' and Christopher Hitchens' post modern atheism that disguise their contempt for Christianity and Judeo-Christian values under the umbrella of rejecting religion completely.

3. The left and its rank anti-Semitism disguised as opposition to Israel.

When the Australian Human Rights Commission says there's a fear of religion then do they include Buddhists? Sikhs? Hindus?

Why would we be afraid of the Mormons? Are they going to be sickeningly nice to us until we're dead?

What about the Rastafarians? Afraid of reggae music and a little weed?

And why didn't they include being a Green as a religion? They're hardly any different to animists, if you ask me.

The reason that people in Australia are afraid, though 'concerned' is probably a better description, of Islam is two-fold:

1. Most terror attacks in the world are carried out in its name (as outlined above) and every, single person indicted for planning terrorist attacks in Australia has been Muslim; and

2. People understand that Sharia is a barbaric, restrictive, misogynistic, homophobic relic that controls people's lives and has no place in a modern, progressive society.

Why am I not surprised that the folk at the Australian Human Rights Commission think that genuine and legitimate concern about the practices of one group of people, Muslims, is the same as a blanket fear of religion?

(Nothing Follows)