Debunking

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Ain’t that nice? Don’t know where it is.

There’s been a fair bit of bullshite being spread around by people like Alan Jones and Malcolm Roberts about climate change and global heating recently.

Jones, with no scientific qualifications, tried to tell us that CO2 comprises only about 0,04% of the atmosphere and since Australia only produces a bee’s bucket of CO2, then we couldn’t possibly be responsible for any global warming at all.

Roberts, that stupid member of the crazy One Nation Party, and a graduate engineer who should know better, also tried to use statistics to throw doubt. He also said it’s a conspiracy by all the world’s climate scientists, all 10,000 or more of them, to skew the statistics and has said that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology is in a plot with NASA to spread false information and data.

Anyway, the reason I mention all this is that all these crackpot theories and allegations are covered in this article:  Here Are Five of The Most Common Climate Change Misconceptions, Debunked from http://www.sciencealert.com, which I find to be a better than average science site (i.e. more science, less showbiz).

I also found this a few years ago. It sets things out very clearly:

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I’ve had to turn it on its side as it’s quite big. Right Click on it and choose View Image to see it clearly.

What is it about the Liberal Party that makes it seem as if they are a startled kangaroo in the headlights, unable to move either way?

It’s two things: fear, and resistance to change. These are actually linked, but essentially the climate science deniers such as former PM Abbott and current Minister for Drought and Natural Disasters (whatever!), David Littleproud, don’t understand science but mainly, they fear what it means and what they need to do. It’s easier for them to resist any change.

Yet this is despite clear evidence and despite dire warnings of the harm it is going to do to the future generations, their children and grandchildren. It’s astounding. They seem to be just closing their ears and refusing to think clearly. Typical symptoms of panic.

Of course, there’s the other argument, that they’re being “rewarded” by Big Coal and Big Petroleum. But can anyone be so venal as to threaten their children’s future for dollars now, when they’re in no position to enjoy their wealth? I think the answer is yes, but it’s hard to grasp.

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Coincidences again. This morning I read an article in The Guardian which mentioned an academic named Sofia Izquierdo Sanchez. I have never in my life heard that middle name before. Yet the surname of the French woman Wanda who bought my Magna car a couple of weeks ago was Izquierdo. How about that? They keep on comin’.

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I’m going on a long drive to Singleton tomorrow (don’t know where it is? Near Mandurah) to buy a car “entertainment unit” I found on Facebook Market.AVH-X3700DAB_blue_front_top

I intend this for Vera, for three reasons: 1. its CD/radio has CDs stuck in it that won’t eject; 2. this new radio has DAB+ reception; 3. because I can fit a reversing camera to feed into it. Once you’ve used one, you realise how useful they are, for not much money.

It’s advertised as near new in box for about half the RRP. I’ll have to take it on trust, though, as I can’t try it out on the kitchen table.

 

The Meaning of Life

General relativity

Einstein’s gravitational equation, just an illustration.

 

(-80538738812075974)^3 + (80435758145817515)^3 + (12602123297335631)^3 = 42

There it is, ladies and gentlemen, the definitive answer to that famous question, what is the meaning of life? This equation comes from the web site www.livescience.com and is the answer to the Diophantine equation x^3 + y^3 + z^3 = k, where k in this case is 42.

Don’t feel bad if you didn’t immediately know the required numbers for x, y and z. It only took a worldwide network of around 500,000 home PCs around the globe working as a crowdsourced supercomputer and 1 million hours of processing time, and it finally came up with those numbers. I should add that 33 was one other number that had defied solution until recently.

This is mind boggling, a brute force solution to something that had defied solution for centuries. It’s not an elegant way of solving things, but “it does the job”.

We really have reached the age of advanced technology, or the very start of it, where massive computing resources are linked together worldwide via the internet to store incredible amounts of knowledge (e.g. Wikipedia) and provide massive parallel computing.

In addition, metals and materials technology and advanced manufacturing are providing us with beautifully designed products which are ultra reliable, yet very reasonably priced. I’m loving it.

I realise there are some problems with these products (they’re not all reliable, and they usually don’t bio-degrade) but that’s a separate issue. If you think about it, at the rate technology is advancing, do you really, desperately want your TV or toaster or laptop to last more than five years?

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Speaking of computing power:Type exampleI use a Photoshop-equivalent program called Affinity Photo. A few weeks ago I was just fiddling around to learn it and randomly typed these letters as plain text. Then I converted them all to a nice font, broke them apart so I could manipulate each letter individually, and finally applied an overall metallic effect. Neat, eh? My point is that this takes graphics and computing power that we just didn’t have 15 years ago, yet now I can do it in real time with no lag. Wow.

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Two points about politics today:

  1. The former Chinese citizen Gladys Liu, now an Australian citizen and a member of Federal parliament, has been revealed to have been a member of Chinese government organisations before her election, and perhaps subsequently. She at first denied it, but was shown to be lying, then protests her allegiance to Australia, but refuses to criticise China’s annexation and militarisation  of the South China Sea.
    It’s the same as the former senator elected as a member of Clive Palmer’s party a few years ago. He also said that China has the right to shoot at Australian military ships or aircraft if they go too close to those islands. Where was his loyalty? He was an Australian citizen, elected to our Senate, yet he was taking China’s side. To me that was treason.
    My point is that China can NOT be trusted. They lie as if it doesn’t matter (look at what they are telling their people about the Hong Kong riots). They break international law as if there is no law, then defy the courts. They steal, they spy, they takes our citizens prisoner, they run secret trials where the prisoner is denied a lawyer.

    China is a renegade country which cannot be trusted in any sphere. Ms Liu can protest her innocence but I can’t believe her. She lied at the start this morning, so how can she be trusted. Oh, I forgot, she’s a member of the Liberal Party, and the Liberals always lie to you.

     

  2. The Minister for the Environment David Littleproud, and the four other Liberal ministers with portfolios in similar fields, have all said they don’t accept that global heating is caused by man. This is unbelievable. Even at this late stage, when we’ve got less than 12 years to get things reasonably right in terms of temperature rise and CO2 emissions, we are STILL governed by climate science deniers!

    If you voted Liberal in the 18 May election, is this OK with you? Because you’ve put them back in power. And after all these years, this Liberal government STILL does not have a climate change policy framework. Their attitude is to sit on their hands and deny the evidence.
    We have a government of fools, and those who voted for them last May are guilty of causing me, us, actual harm. I may sue.

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A sad day

Pinnaroo

Part of Pinnaroo Memorial Park

I’ve just got home from the burial ceremony of an old friend from Channel Seven and later, Les Beck. He died last week from a massive stroke and was on life support in hospital, but he had told his family that he wanted them to withdraw support if it came to it, and so he died. He was 72, so we were the same age. Makes you think.

I’d known Les for many years, from sometime in the ’70s, I think, when he started at Channel 7, up to 1999 when I left and we remained friends in the years since. He visited me out here several times and helped me with my OSMO gimbal camera. In the usual way, time drifted on and I thought, “I must give Les a call.” But I didn’t, and now it’s too late. There’s a lesson there. He did a demo flight of his drone for me in the park near my house (it’s silent). There’s a shot of Les and me at the end:

He was notable for his calm manner and ready wit in crises at work. No matter how serious the problem, he always managed to smile and crack a small joke.

There’s a joke whereby a guy has jumped from the roof of a tall building. People notice him falling past the windows and call out, “Hey, how are you going?” The falling guy answers, “OK so faaaaar……”  That was Les’s standard reply if you asked him how he was. Unfortunately, his luck ran out.

He had rheumatic fever when he was a child and therefore had a weak heart. It caused a crisis in the late ’80s and he had to have a transplant of a pig’s valve. It worked very well, but it left him with a mechanical click sound on every heartbeat. He was proud to show it off to us in quiet periods at work, with a big cheery grin. Always joking was our Les.

I wonder how many know that his surname actually used to  be Beeck, in the Dutch style, and we called him Beeky or Beaky then. But he grew tired of explaining the spelling and that the pronunciation was actually Beck, despite the double e, and changed his name to Beck. We didn’t want to call him Becky, so Beeky it remained.

I also used to call him Lessss, after a character in WKRP Cincinatti, a crazy funny show about a US radio station. One of the sales guys in the show was called Les (pronounced Lessss in the American way) Nessman. So to me, Les was always Lessss.  RIP Lessss.

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That was my first time at Pinnaroo, which I’m a bit ashamed of because I haven’t attended many funerals. It’s a measure of how good a friend he was that I made the effort for this one.

I also joked a little that it was my induction course because that’s where I want to be when I go. Take note.

The funeral was conducted by another old Channel 7 guy, Harvey Deegan, who used to be a sports and racing commentator. We remembered each other and had a little chat.

It was a secular, non-religious service mainly, although God got a few mentions. Being an atheist, my service should remain God free, please, although mention him if you will. And maybe I’d better write some notes for anyone who thinks they want to read my eulogy.

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It’s a very welcome break with winter today, 31C forecast and it feels like it. I wished I’d worn a hat even at 9.30am at the service.

My garden is doing nicely. My kangaroo paw was looking a bit wilted in the cold weather a couple of months ago, but almost without me noticing, look at it now!

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My West Indian lime tree, after about five years of growth, is now producing fruit and flowers.

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Only small buds at the moment.

I’ve had about six limes from it so far, and although small, they are very juicy. But the spines on the branches make gathering them hazardous.

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I’m off to the doctor’s surgery in 20 mins. I’ve been summoned to take part in an osteoporosis survey. Crumbs, I’ve fallen so many times in the past 20 years, especially in Bali with their giant steps, but never with any problems. I’ve never broken a bone in my life and I don’t feel in any danger. 🙂