dreamer_easy: (SCIENCE)
Why there's no sign of a climate conspiracy in hacked emails
New Scientist, 4 December 2009
"You can't fake spring coming earlier, or trees growing higher up on mountains, or glaciers retreating for kilometres up valleys, or shrinking ice cover in the Arctic, or birds changing their migration times, or permafrost melting in Alaska, or the tropics expanding, or ice shelves on the Antarctic peninsula breaking up, or peak river flow occurring earlier in summer because of earlier snowmelt, or sea level rising faster and faster, or any of the thousands of similar examples."
dreamer_easy: (CURRENT AFFAIRS)
Australian judge: it's OK to rape an unconscious woman. SMH columnist defends him against mean old feminists. Peachy.

Let's have some cheering crap:

Advice on finding a lost cat

Via [livejournal.com profile] fritters, here's a baby deer washing a very happy cat.

The exact link between obesity and diabetes may have been found - a protein secreted by fat cells.

More helpful science on teenagers' brains. "You constantly hear parents saying to their teens, 'What were you thinking?' but the truth is, they're not thinking at all. They are controlled by the emotional part of their brain. The frontal lobe, which is responsible for rational thought, is under construction. The limbic system, which is responsible for emotional thought, is running the show. That's why teens are moody and why they take risks and engage in excessive behaviour. They simply can't put the brakes on." We mock and sneer but the truth is we couldn't really help it.

The Catholic Church in Australia is auditing its carbon footprint with a view to reducing it. (I typed that as "crabon footprint", which is probably what New New York has to audit.)
dreamer_easy: (DEBUNKING 2)
What I should be doing: cleaning up for the annual real estate inspection tomorrow.

What I am doing: pondering Jeremy Clarkson's repeated remark that human activities only contribute 3% of atmospheric CO2.

Now, I don't know if Jezza's figure is correct in the first instance, but according to Wikipedia, 95% of the stuff comes from natural processes, so it's probably pretty close. However, as Wikipedia explains:
"Although natural sources represent most CO2 emissions, they do not contribute to the recent observed increase in concentrations because natural sources are balanced by natural sinks that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The increase in carbon dioxide concentration arises because the increase from human activity is not completely balanced by a corresponding sink."
This would explain the huge increase in CO2 levels since the beginning of the industrial age; we may only be producing a little each year, but it's got nowhere to go. Whack the figures into a compound interest calculator and you'll get some idea of the problem. (Plus, at the same time, we're stripping the forests that have been soaking up the naturally produced CO2 for millions of years.) So, even if Jeremy's right about the figure, he's wrong about what it means.
dreamer_easy: (TELEVISION)
Leaked documents confirm resident's fear of foul pulp mill: "The chemicals in pulp mill odours are some of the most objectionable smelling compounds known to science. The worst is methyl mercaptan, which smells like stale sewage. When we got out of the minibus in the car park [at a Swedish "world's best practice" pulp mill, Resource, Planning and Development Commission head] Julian Green very quickly became distressed - he couldn't breathe. I found the odour intensely objectionable, and within a matter of minutes, Julian Green was gasping and saying: 'For God's sake get me out of here.'" (The environment and neighbouring businesses aside - people are supposed to *work* in that?)

Double-blind review favours increased representation of female authors: when authors' names are removed from scientific papers being considered for publication, more women end up being published. (Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] dameruth!)

Can Psychiatrists Really "Cure" Homosexuality? "Masters and Johnson claimed to convert gays to heterosexuality in a 1979 book. But did they?" (In related news, Z and Vielpunkt are now proud gay parents.)

The first forty seconds of Zero Punctuation's review of a video game called "Too Human" outlines the case for the inherent superiority of polytheism. *smug*

In the name of the father - MPs flock to Jesus: "A new study shows federal MPs are invoking Christian beliefs with increasing frequency to justify their policies and articulate their personal values and visions for the nation." I question the researcher's apparent conclusion that 9/11 resulted in "erosion of the traditional view that political decision-making should be based on rational arguments rather than on religious faith or doctrine", though, as these are not mutually exclusive. I'll try to get hold of the journal article to get more specifics. In the meantime here's a sort of summary thing by the researcher.

Find My iPhone works, and it is awesome. A guy and his friends use GPS to recover his iPhone from a thief.


Jun. 30th, 2009 01:47 pm
dreamer_easy: (top gear clarkson)
On a quest for Top Gear bloopers, I watched some stuff cut out of the News earlier this year. There are lots of silly lols, as you might expect, and then this really nasty little bit where they slag off a woman for being ugly.

Obviously, the "news" on TG is entertainment, not actual information, as Googling any of their little outrages about the government or environment will quickly demonstrate. But that brief descent into boorishness disappointed me so much that I couldn't help looking up the lady in question, thereby discovering that (a) she probably does know what "novel batteries" means, being a former Director of Advanced Engineering at Rolls-Royce, former chief executive of the Institute of Physics, and so on, (b) her appearance is perfectly normal and in fact she probably looks like your mum and (c) she's around the same age as Clarkson.

They're lucky that bit wasn't broadcast, really: how large a part of TG's audience is made up of perfectly normal-looking women of a certain age? Pissing them off could dent the boys' chances of being voted "weird crush of the year" again. Although I'm sure the ladies would have enjoyed as much as I did what appears to be a helpful offer by Richard to ejaculate into Jeremy's mouth.

(If you're interested, search the PDF of the King Review's Recommendations for Action for the phrase "novel batteries". If you're only slightly interested: cutting CO2 requires r&d to find technological solutions, such as new kinds of batteries.)

ETA: I'm not sure if the TG Australia site provides subtitles / transcripts. If you need one of the bit in question, leave a comment and I'll type it up. ETA: There's a transcript of the relevant bit in the comments.
dreamer_easy: (science)
Letter in the TWT this week referring to "the extravagant claims made by a section of the screaming popularist (sic) media", ie, the fact of global warming, which has been "exposed by a prominent Australian geologist, David Archibald". As far as I've been able to find out, Mr Archibald works for the oil exploration industry; his theory that sunspot activity means the weather will be getting colder has not been published in any peer-reviewed scientific journal, but in the climate sceptic front journal Energy and Environment, in what appears to be a vanity-pressed book, and in various places online. "I am no expert on climate", admits the letter writer; it appears Mr Archibald isn't, either.

ETA: Sun 'not to blame' for global warming
dreamer_easy: (CURRENT AFFAIRS)
In other news, TWT's latest editorial opens: "Thousands of well intentioned simple folk made April Fools of themselves a few days early last Saturday when they fell for the 'Earth Hour' hoax." A couple of paragraphs later, those "well intentioned simple folk" were engaging in "egoistic selfishness", using the event as "an excuse to party by candlelight". Well, which is it, Mr Booth? Virtuous dupes or self-indulgent wankers?
dreamer_easy: (AND MORE)
I've buggered up my wrist, so I can't get much housework done today, so you're about to be spammed with all my backed up links. Plus I'm in a rubbish mood. Duck and cover.

Recent postings suggest that lj Doctor Who fandom may be beginning to reclaim itself from the shipwarriors and other obsessives. Huzzah.

Australia's gag rule will soon be lifted. "[Foreign Minister Stephen Smith] Mr Smith said the focus of Australia's foreign aid would remain on avoiding abortions by providing better family planning education, as he pledged to boost funds for preventing maternal deaths by $15 million over four years."

Saith Gordon Brown: UK, US 'aiming for nuclear-free world', with Britain making some reductions to its nuclear arsenal and offering to go further if the US and Russia will.

Are bad sleeping habits driving us mad? "Take anyone with a psychiatric disorder and the chances are they don't sleep well. The result of their illness, you might think. Now this long-standing assumption is being turned on its head, with the radical suggestion that poor sleep might actually cause some psychiatric illnesses or lead people to behave in ways that doctors mistake for mental problems."

Guantanamo guards "take their last revenge"

Carbon dioxide is good, so more carbon dioxide is better! Unless you're a foram and can't make a shell because dissolved CO2 has acidified the ocean. Oops.
dreamer_easy: (science)
You may remember my posting about the local rag owned by a climate sceptic and misused to promote his ill-informed views. From a different local rag (The Northern District Times, 4/3/09), another sceptic's letter, betraying much the same ignorance:
I am distressed that the blame is placed on excessive carbon dioxide. How ridiculous. Carbon dioxide is used to promote plant growth naturally and artificially. Nurseries with glasshouses inject the gas to promote plant growth.
Great, mate. Water is also used to promote plant growth - in the right amounts. Try flooding your garden and see what happens. Come to think of it, carbon dioxide is crucial to human respiration, triggering our breathing reflex. That must mean high levels of CO2 are harmless! And of course we need oxygen to survive, so high levels of that must be harmless too! It's kind of boggling that both random members of the public and actual scientists make the same silly statement. (The letter writer goes on to expound a theory about mulch upon which I am not qualified to comment.)
dreamer_easy: (DEBUNKING)
A problem with freedom of the press is that, if you happen to own a press, you're free to say whatever bullshit you please. Case in point: the editor of a local Sydney rag, The Weekly Times, John F. Booth, who regularly rants about the "Climate Change Scam" on his own front page:
"[Australia's state and federal governments] are teaching our children utter lies about the danger of CO2 which the Australian Oxford Dictionary tells us is 'a colourless odourless gas occuring naturally in the atmosphere and formed by respiration'.
Indeed, CO2 is quite harmless... in the right amounts. (Like that other familiar compound, H2O.) But John, just you try breathing them. Seriously, mate. Seriously.
"Yet they continue to show scary pictures of power stations supposedly spewing out dangerous CO2 into the atmosphere when the 'smoke' is really clean steam dissipating in the air."
Never mind the confusion between government and media; at this point I fear we cross from mere nonsense into either wilful ignorance or deliberate deceit. Anyone with access to Google can quickly discover that the 'smoke' is a mixture of carbon dioxide, water vapour, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide. After (effectively inert) nitrogen gas, CO2 is the largest component of the emissions, hardly surprising given that 99% of the carbon in coal is converted to CO2. (You've got to wonder: what the hell does John think coal is made of?)

John quotes Sydney's Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell, who as of April last year continues to maintain that global warming is merely a "bandwagon" and that climate change is over. His reference? An article in New Statesman - subsequently debunked in New Statesman (and for more debunkage, check out New Scientist).

It's pretty clear neither of these gentlemen have bothered to do any research into the subject. Instead, they rely on half-understood soundbites from "climate sceptics", aka the fossil fuel industry. Given their power to sway public opinion, this is unforgiveable.
dreamer_easy: (FOOD)
Which is greener: imported organic food, or locally produced conventional food?

(Obviously the greenest choice is locally produced organic food - if you can afford it - but not everything is available in this, erm, format.)
dreamer_easy: (SCIENCE PHYSICS)
Nellie is an elephant. Planes are a major contributor to greenhouse. All elephants are pink. Nuclear power produces less greenhouse. Therefore, Nellie is pink. And nuclear powered passenger planes are a good idea.


Aug. 24th, 2008 03:53 pm
dreamer_easy: (science)
Global warming deniers caught in fibs

Less sex as bugs enjoy the good life: "researchers believe the growth of agriculture is causing many insects to abandon sex in favour of cloning, reproducing asexually."

The science of ice cream headaches

From New Scientist: Evolution: 24 myths and misconceptions
dreamer_easy: (australia)
It looks increasingly like the Gunns paper mill in Tasmania is doomed - despite the company's notorious attempts to smother opposition. Want to help it give it the final push over the edge? Pop over to the Wilderness Society site.
dreamer_easy: (australia)
The "next Kyoto agreement" will be finalised by December 2009. Send a message to Kevin Rudd urging him to protect Australia's native forests. This will combat global warming in two ways: deforestation contributes a fifth of greenhouse emissions; and forests soak up CO2 from the atmosphere. You can also make a donation to help the Wilderness Society's campaign, and get more info on forests and global warming at their site.
dreamer_easy: (australia)
Our new PM has ordered up a White Paper on the 100,000 homeless Australians, emphasising prevention. Insufficient crisis accomodation an urgent problem: more than half of those who seek it are turned away, including families with children; the guvmint has pledged $150m for additional accomodation.

Yay for democracy: the Police Commissioner proposed media blackouts during terrorism trials and was swiftly rebuked by all and sundry, including the PM. The President of the Law Council of Australia said: "The price the police must pay for assuming greater powers is an increased level of public scrutiny." The SMH drily noted: "Mr Keelty's call to ban media comes after the well-publicised bungling of the Mohamed Haneef case."

Folks in a nearby Sydney suburb have discovered they're living next to an unmarked radioactive waste dump. (Hilariously, the contaminated land is owned by the Department of Health.)

Oh, and Australian strawberries are contaminated with pesticides and fungicides. (I feel less foolish for spending the extra $ on organic now.)
dreamer_easy: (yay)
Australia has just ratified the Kyoto Protocol.
dreamer_easy: (australia)
Maxine McKew claims victory in Bennelong

Law will recognise gay unions: "...Labor is unlikely to block a proposal by the ACT to legally recognise same-sex couples - a plan that was repeatedly stymied by the Howard Government."

UN report points finger at Australia: "If every person on Earth created as much pollution as the average Australian, we would need another six planets to cope, a United Nations' report says."

Greenhouse gases: we are among worst polluters: "New research shows our power stations are the world's highest per capita producers of carbon dioxide."

But! It's hard being green and lean: "The average household won't have a lot of trouble making adjustments to their homes, by insulating them and switching to renewable energy sources, such as gas or solar hot water. But people on low incomes will. They can't take advantage of government grants, for solar hot water systems for example, because the capital expenditure that's required is still beyond their capacity."
dreamer_easy: (AND MORE)
Horrors of war too much for captain

Soldier guilty of attack was in Iraq shock

I worry that the serious psychological damage inflicted by combat gets left out of the equation when the costs of war are being considered.

Cost of nuclear plant closure put at $10m

Internet bullying warning to parents. A Sydney man recently made a foolish YouTube threat against his former high school, warning "they will get what they deserve". It worries me how many people must share Xander's fantasy of shooting up their high school.

Nicaragua's draconian abortion laws kill scores of women


dreamer_easy: (Default)

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