Saturday, June 28, 2014

Eye worthy

This piece in today's Australian by Jim Allan makes for eye worthy reading....
Touched for the very first time by Q&A’s amazing balancing act

We don’t have a choice in the matter, the way we have a choice in whether to buy a Fairfax lefty newspaper or a News Corp righty one.

Apologies for slow posts .... our WEB continues.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

ABC's Green decree

Came across this interesting proclamation on one of the ABC's green pages....my bolding.

Energy

With over 65 stations around the country the ABC has huge power bills. In 2012-13 we used 41,651,532 kWh of electricity, and 16,142 GJ of gas. That's enough to run about 6,500 Australian homes (and none of them had better be watching commercial tv!).
What are they going to do bury their heads further in the sand?




Marshall islands: ABC provide half the story

ABC News claim to be "Australia's most trusted, independent source of news." A marketing ploy is to make a claim and repeat it. If you say something often enough people believe it, even when its false. ABC claim their news service is world class, but as we have demonstrated here time and time again this claim is a load of bollocks.

Another example is demonstrated by this ABC/Reuters report broadcast by ABC's Australia News Network. The headline reads:  Climate change disturbing Pacific war graves, warns Marshall Islands minister. Like many ABC reports on climate change only half the story is reported, even the photo is misleading!
The UK's Telegraph shows how real journalists might have covered the story and includes a photo of the actual graves. Their headline:
World War Two skeletons washed from Marshall Islands graves 'by rising seas'
includes the following information ABC/Reuters considered unimportant:

However, despite extensive damage to parts of the Marshall Islands' coast, researchers have begun to cast doubt on claims that the Pacific islands have already begun to disappear or that the damage is due to rises in sea levels that have occurred in recent decades. Indeed, while experts say the nation does face a long-term threat, new findings show that many of the islands are largely either remaining stable or growing.

Dr Murray Ford, from the University of Auckland, has been comparing aerial photographs of the islands taken by the United States military during World War II with photographs taken in the 1970s and in recent years. He found that many islands are getting larger and that the shrinking shoreline along coastal villages has largely been caused by commercial development, building of seawalls and land reclamation.

“It is a much more complicated story than the island being washed away,” he said.

“What the people are seeing is real – there are graves and houses falling into the water – but often it is a result of engineering and sea walls being built inappropriately. Some parts of some islands are eroding as sand has moved around but some islands are growing in size.”

A newly-published study showed a southern atoll which was devastated by a 1905 typhoon has grown back to a stable state, with its vegetated area expanding by about a quarter since 1945; other smaller islands joined together to form a single landmass.

Dr Ford said climate change is causing sea levels to rise at an increasing rate and the phenomenon poses a serious threat to the islands. But, he said, the damage that has occurred so far has been due to “inappropriate” construction, while some islands have grown due to natural accretion and endlessly shifting shorelines.

“The sea level is rising and will accelerate and on the ground the response will not be pretty,” Dr Ford said.

“But the islands have shown a wide range of change and not all of that is erosion… The story in Majuro is very much a human-driven impact on the island. In the outer islands, it is driven much more by waves, currents and movements of the sands.”

The scientists are still trying to understand the changes in the islands, which can shift shape over time periods ranging from hours to centuries and can sometimes erode during winter and grow back in the summer.

An expert on coastal changes, Professor Colin Woodroffe, from the University of Wollongong, said population increases and inhabitation of low-lying lands are probably playing a part in the increasing signs of damage.

“To say the little bit of rise has led to the erosion is too simple,” he said. “The islands are already quite vulnerable to erosion - human settlement is the most important factor.”


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

ABC environment-a good yarn

ABC pump up the alarm with this piece by "free lancer" and non climate expert Sue White:

7 of your favourite foods affected by climate change
Climate change could be coming to a supermarket near you, with a shocking list of your top seven favourite foods affected.

In her description about herself Sue says she "can compile a good yarn on almost any topic, but she mostly focuses on health/wellbeing, environment, travel, careers and productivity."

Definition of yarn:
yarn
yƤrn/
noun
  1. 1.
    spun thread used for knitting, weaving, or sewing.
    synonyms:threadcottonwoolfiberfilamentMore
  2. 2.
    informal
    a long or rambling story, especially one that is implausible.
    synonyms:storytaleanecdotesaganarrativeMore
verb
informal
  1. 1.
    tell a long or implausible story.
    "they were yarning about local legends and superstitions


Seems that definition spot on! Your tax dollars at work.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Fact Free opinion

Brief WEB break.
It seems ABC's commentators make up their minds in the absence of facts. A more rigorous editor might request facts but if the end result fits with your own alarmist mindset, it seems those pesky facts are not required.

Case in point is a recent opinion piece on ABC's environment page titled Walking the climate tightrope on Macquarie Island This deals with die back of Azorella (a cushion plant) on Macquarie Island. The writer immediately leaps to climate change as the cause : "The most likely culprit it would seem is climate change." ABC promote this tenuous link in the following manner: "Even in the remote reaches of the Southern Ocean, climate change is likely having an affect on the most hardy of plants." ABC promote certainty where there is none.

In a related piece broadcast on the increasingly irrelevant Landline, titled Cold Comfort we are told the cause of the die back that was only noticed about 5 years ago, has not been determined. In relation to the role of climate change it seems this must be very recent climate change indeed. Given the definition of climate change relates to an average of about 30 years of weather the link does not stand up to even moderate scrutiny. A look at some real data casts more doubts over climate change as the cause.
Macquarie Island has weather records going back to 1948. The graphs below from the BOM website chart max/min temp and rainfall.




There does not appear to have been a significant change in the weather in that time, especially over the last 30 years which would represent 1 climate cycle according to the WMO definition. 

There are quite a number of factors that may account for the die back admitted to in the Landline piece. It is unfortunate that the ABC allows its commentators to make statements unsupported by factual data. It seems ABC are unable to accept that we do not know the cause and instead promote alarmist speculation. 

Of note, a coincidence not mentioned is that the pest eradication program started a little over 5 years ago. Another hypothesis may involve the introduction and/or spread of a pathogen by this program.


Horses, donkeys, pigs, cattle, goats, dogs and sheep are long gone, and between 1989 and 2000, weka and cats were eradicated. A major project to remove the last remaining mammal species - rabbits, ship rats and mice - has been under way since 2007.  Aerial baiting of the entire island was completed in July 2011, followed by intensive monitoring by hunters and highly trained detection dogs, to detect and dispatch any surviving individuals.

In April 2014, after nearly three years of monitoring with no sign of surviving individual rabbits, rats or mice, the project was declared a success. 

The likely cause?...
Abstract: Azorella dieback on Macquarie Island.  A. macquariensis is a keystone species of the dominant feldmark vegetation on Macquarie Island. In recent years it has suffered from a severe dieback yet no causal agent could be isolated. In an attempt to determine whether a potential pathogen is associated with the die-back next-generation sequence technologies were used to characterise fungal bacterial and oomycete communities associated with healthy and die-back affected plants. A species of Rosellinia was the most frequently detected fungal species overall and was strongly associated with roots and rhizosphere soil of die-back affected plants. While Koch’s postulates must be fulfilled to demonstrate that this pathogen is a primary cause of the die-back on Macquarie Island, this finding provides strong evidence to support this hypothesis. Current attempts to isolate the pathogen responsible for Azorella dieback include techniques and semi-selective media suitable for this genus.
About the Speaker: Morag is a molecular biologist and mycologist with an interest in forest health, biodiversity and biosecurity of natural ecosystems as well as plantations. Current work is focussed mainly on root rots and rusts.

Friday, May 16, 2014

WEB

Blog taking a break while more important things take precedence. Back when we are back. Thanks for your patience!

In the meantime ABC news being regularly scrutinised by BOLT, BLAIR, HENDERSON, QUADRANT AND CATALLAXY.

Cheers
Marc

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

ABC failing on fat facts

From The Australian...

ABC admits Catalyst health show erred on fat facts.


A BELATED admission by the ABC that popular television science program Catalyst had demonstrated bias against mainstream medicine has been welcomed by health groups.
Catalyst sparked controversy seven months ago with a two-part special that described the link between saturated fats, cholesterol and heart disease as “the biggest myth in medical history’’ and downplayed the benefits of anti-cholesterol drugs known as statins.