Saving the Great Barrier Reef

Our government seems bent on saving the tourist industry by airbrushing the Great Barrier Reef out of UN reports. The report “World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate”, published jointly by UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Program and the Union of Concerned Scientists, initially had a key chapter on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as small sections on Kakadu and the Tasmanian forests.

The chapter was removed at the request of the Australian government. They were worried the tourists may not come. Continue reading Saving the Great Barrier Reef

Saturday salon 28/5

Warning. There’s nothing about Australian politics in this post!

1. American teen so rich he couldn’t tell right from wrong

In 2013, 16-year-old American teenager Ethan Couch

    was sentenced to 10 years’ probation after killing four people in a drink driving incident. During his sentencing hearing, Couch’s defence team successfully argued that their client was so wealthy he could not tell right from wrong, and therefore should be given a lighter sentence.

During sentencing his psychologist testified Couch “was suffering from “affluenza” at the time, a condition resulting from the inability of his wealthy parents to instil basic moral principles into him.” Continue reading Saturday salon 28/5

Election 2016 open thread

The election campaign grinds on, and we are not yet half way there. In this post I look at some of the claims being made on the economy, and it can serve as an open thread on the election.

The Coalition has made a big play on jobs and growth, plus Labor’s said recklessness and inability to manage the economy, finding huge ‘black holes’ in their costings. Of course, Labor is yet to supply it’s costings, which in 2013 the LNP only released on the Thursday before the election. So, always helpful to a fault, they’ve done Labor’s work for them.

Problem is, say Labor, it was a litany of fiction and lies. Continue reading Election 2016 open thread

Important messages from the polls

The AFR Fairfax-Ipsos page helpfully reminds us that Kim Beazley gained 50.98% of the vote in the 1998 election but did not win. So with the two-party preferred vote now at 51-49 to the LNP, officially it’s too close to call. Anyway that slight lead is offset by Newspoll which came in at 51-49 to Labor for the fourth time in a row. So a couple of weeks of electioneering appear to have made no difference overall. Yet there are, I think, some important messages to be mined from the polls.

Firstly, the voters in Queensland are grumpy. Continue reading Important messages from the polls

Labor makes health central in its election bid

stethoscope-adult-navy-blue-2147-12-214-240-lr_220In revving up his election spiel Shorten said spending on health was an investment, not a cost. He says investment in health is basic to economic growth. It would be an important battleground if Turnbull would engage. The pointy end is that Labor is choosing to invest in Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme rather than spending money on company tax relief.

Turnbull just says it’s unfunded, which is a lie, and he knows it. Continue reading Labor makes health central in its election bid

Saturday salon 21/5

1. Protect your plastic money

If you haven’t heard about it you will. And if you think it won’t happen in Australia, you’re wrong.

Thieves can use RFID technology to empty your card. Seems they can steal your details with a cheap credit card reader, which they hold near you wallet or purse. It could be on public transport, or standing next to you in a supermarket. Continue reading Saturday salon 21/5

Narrow Turnbull win could be a nightmare

While it is far too early for polls to be genuinely predictive, a new crunching of the numbers has produced a plausible scenario where the crossbench including Xenephon will simply be irrelevant, and the Greens alone will hold the balance of power in the Senate if numbers are fairly even in the HoR.

Metapoll intends to do polling of voters intentions for the senate, as will no doubt other pollsters. Meanwhile they have analysed recent polls by other organisations and inferred from them a senate result using the NSW upper house election data as a proxy for preference flows, as its voting system is most similar to the new senate voting laws. This is how it came out: Continue reading Narrow Turnbull win could be a nightmare

Duncan Storrar: the sequel

If Duncan Storrar knew how his life would change by asking a question on television, chances are he would have stayed stumm. Storrar sent a statement to Media Watch. Here is an extract, giving the main points:

    “If a person shows the powers to be, out-of-touch people that they are, they will be dropped, probed and attacked in any way with no thought to the mental wellbeing of their children. This exposing of your life and every discrepancy in it will be published, ruining your job prospects (would you give me a job after a google search comes up with the headlines of last week?) and will be used as a example to keep people like me quiet. Continue reading Duncan Storrar: the sequel

Flirting with 1.5°C as we record 12 hottest months in a row

April 2016 was the hottest April ever, making a run of 12 hottest months in a row. We are starting to flirt with the 1.5°C warming threshold. Here’s the global map, showing impressive warming in high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. Australia is also noticeably warm: Continue reading Flirting with 1.5°C as we record 12 hottest months in a row

Climate clippings 171

1. 3D solar towers

MIT researchers have developed and tested a range of 3D solar towers to achieve power output that is up to 20 times greater than traditional fixed flat solar panels with the same base area. Here is an example of two of the models tested: Continue reading Climate clippings 171