Friday, May 1, 2020

Covid19 Fail: models vs reality

On April 7 the Federal government released its epidemiological modelling of the Covid19 outbreak in Australia. The models were used to justify strict quarantine and isolation measures enforced by Federal and State governments that will see Australia experience its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. ABC has thus far failed to provide any meaningful coverage of the models and their failure to match reality.

The rationale behind the government's "flatten the curve" strategy was to enforce strict physical distancing measures to ensure enough ICU beds were available to handle the caseload.

Under the government's model peak ICU demand with strict Level 3-4 Quarantine + isolation + social distancing measures in place was predicted to occur in week 43 (see graph below) which would be well into November with nearly 5000 ICU beds required, about double our capacity.

It seems reality played out quite differently.

The first case of Covid19 was reported in Australia on 25 January and around 14 weeks later it seems the "curve" has been well and truly flattened with only a handful of cases now reported daily.  We never reached more than 5% of ICU bed capacity with maximum daily use being around 100 beds way back in week 10 prior to the effect of level 3-4 measures being felt and the release of the Government's epidemiological modelling. The pandemic for us is well and truly over and we now face the social and economic consequences of a completely disproportionate response. Handling of the Covid19 pandemic by Australian Governments at all levels has been perhaps the worst example of Risk Management in history.

The ABC costs us well over $1 billion annually, we could fund 15000 nurses for that figure, yet somehow it lacks the integrity to take the government to task over models that were effectively disproven on the day they were released.



Data sources:
ICU bed use from April 5 via Dep Health infographic series https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-at-a-glance-infographic-collectioninfographic_3.pdf 

Total number of ICU beds: https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2020/surge-capacity-australian-intensive-care-units-associated-covid-19-admissions


More model fails:

From: https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/flattening-the-curve-to-help-australia-s-hospitals-prepare

And...

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Missing News: RIP Freeman Dyson

Freeman Dyson passed away last week (28 Feb). One of the world's greatest thinkers in physics. He was outspoken on many issues. On climate change he was completely unconvinced it was a major problem. He wrote recently:

To any unprejudiced person reading this account, the facts should be obvious: that the non-climatic effects of carbon dioxide as a sustainer of wildlife and crop plants are enormously beneficial, that the possibly harmful climatic effects of carbon dioxide have been greatly exaggerated, and that the benefits clearly outweigh the possible damage.
I consider myself an unprejudiced person and to me these facts are obvious. But the same facts are not obvious to the majority of scientists and politicians who consider carbon dioxide to be evil and dangerous. The people who are supposed to be experts and who claim to understand the science are precisely the people who are blind to the evidence. 

ABC failed to report his passing. The taint of the ideological spin coming from Ultimo so great that the passing of one of our best and brightest goes unnoticed because of his scientific scepticism. Utterly shameful!

RIP FREEMAN DYSON, your equations and words live on.

Dyson's Awards

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

OZ media spectrum - ABC sits in the looney left quadrant

Survey finds ABC sit at Looney left, low-quality end of Oz media spectrum.

ABC News and current affairs heavily weighted towards the looney left

An independent survey of media consumers has confirmed suspicions that ABC has a strong left-wing political bias. Oz Media watchers were requested to rank various Australian news sources on their perception of quality and right or left-wing political bias. The unsurprising results found a strong left bias among Oz media outlets overall. The Australian Newspaper was ranked highest for quality, while SkyNEWS returned a neutral bias ranking.
ABC news programs were perceived to have a very strong left-wing bias with its main news and current affairs outlets falling into the Looney left side of the political spectrum. This must be of concern for ABC's chairperson Ita Buttross who has stated previously the organisation might have issues with bias, despite having a charter that is supposed to ensure it is apolitical.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

The bias marches on... and on.

Gerard Henderson's column in today's Weekend Australian highlights the fact ABC is firmly stuck in trolley tracks of left-wing bias and nothing looks like shifting it back to the centre. Worth a read as usual....

ABC’s leading journos out of touch with Australia’s key issues
GERARD HENDERSON

It is just four months since the ABC’s mission to Bankstown in southwest Sydney. Led by ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose and managing director David Anderson, dozens of the ABC family headed to the outer suburbs for a planning workshop aimed at making content that was more relevant to average Australians than what had previously been on offer. That’s how ABC management described the mission at the time.

Gaven Morris (ABC director news, analysis and investigations) told Nine Entertainment newspapers there were “some parts of the community that we don’t serve as well as we could”. This implied the taxpayer-funded public broadcaster was in search of the “quiet Australians” to whom Scott Morrison had referred to immediately after the May 18 election last year.

The Coalition’s victory had stunned many journalists, but none more so than the ABC’s key political commentators — virtually all of whom got the result wrong. So certain was 7.30 political correspondent Laura Tingle that she told 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales on the eve of the election the Labor Party “will” win and dismissed the possibility of a Coalition victory with a laugh.

It is not clear what, if anything, the ABC learned from the mission to Bankstown of recent memory. Maybe only that it is a long way from its head office in the inner-Sydney suburb of Ultimo. Certainly the ABC is just as much a conservative-free zone as it ever was — perhaps even more so.

Subscription required to read the rest

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Lacking of inquiry: Where are the Bushfire Experts?

ABC continue their deranged crusade in all things climate uncritically spruiking a letter on the recent Bushfire crisis from 80 academics. members of the "group of Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellows". The list includes many esteemed academics from a range of fields oddly enough including anthropologists, economists, psychologists, lawyers and astronomers etc, but we could only find two, just two, on the list that appeared to have any expertise in Bushfire Science (highlighted below). Surely if you want to link Climate Change and the Bushfires then you would ask a credible voice. Recent expert lists on climate change have included the likes of Professor Mickey Mouse and Professor Dumbledore. At least Mickey has fire fighting experience and we wonder why he was left off the list this time!
At least Mickey and his team have fire fighting experience!

The overwhelming opinion of Bushfire experts has been that while Climate Change has had an influence the major problem this summer is in the area of Forest management and drought, and “…as far as the climate scientists know there is no link between climate change and drought.”

Here's CSIRO's David Packham explaining the issue... Former CSIRO scientist David Packham has urged the government to do more to combat the “most important” factor contributing to the current bushfire crisis - the build up of very dry fuel" 

Bushfire Expert Roger Underwood writing in Quadrant: An Inferno of Incompetence and Obfuscation "I reject the ‘blame it on climate change” position because it has two killer flaws: firstly, it ignores fuels, which are the main contributor to uncontrollable fires during a drought; secondly, it provides no practical solutions to the immediate problem. Both of these factors render the climate change argument utterly unsustainable, indeed ridiculous."

Once again ABC fails to ask any questions when it comes to climate change and its audience are left in the dark.

List of Laureates and areas of expertise below.
Name
Experience
Expertise in bushfire science
Steven Sherwood, Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
Physical Meteorology and Atmospheric Climate Dynamics
?
Quentin Grafton, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU
Professor of Economics
?
Trevor J McDougall AC, School of Mathematics and Statistics, UNSW Sydney
Oceanic processes (excl. climate related), physical oceanography.
?
Matthew England, Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
Prof England’s research explores global-scale ocean circulation and the influence it has on regional climate, large-scale physical oceanography, ocean modelling, and climate processes
?
George Zhao, School of Chemical Engineering, U. Queensland
Prof Zhao’s research focuses on nanoporous materials for sustainable energy storage and conversion, as well as for environmentally friendly chemical processes and products.
?
Michael Bird, College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University
My research interests include the terrestrial carbon cycle, biochar, geoarchaeology and understanding the trajectory of past and future environmental change in the tropics.
?
Tamara Davis, School of Mathematics and Physics, University of Queensland
Professor Tamara Davis is a cosmologist interested in investigating new fundamental physics, such as the properties of dark energy and dark matter and the mass of the neutrino
?
Mark Westoby, Dept of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University
 PhD (Wildlife Ecology)
?
Eelco J. Rohling, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU
High-resolution investigation of ocean/climate changes during the Neogene, and in particular the Quaternary, to determine the nature, timing and magnitude of natural climate variability. 
?
Lesley Head, School of Geography, University of Melbourne
I am a geographer whose research examines human-environment relations, both conceptual and material
?
Chris Turney, Chronos 14Carbon-Cycle Facility, UNSW Sydney
To do something positive about climate change, I helped set up CarbonScape, a clean-tech company using microwave technology to make green products (carbonscape.com).
?
Trevor Lithgow, Centre to Impact AMR, Monash University
Uncovering clues to new disease control strategies
?
Paul Mulvaney, School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne
current interests include the optical properties of single quantum dots, surface plasmon spectroscopy of single metal particles, nanocrystal based electronics, nanomechanics and solar energy conversion
?
Zheng-Xiang Li, School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Curtin University
research interests are mainly in regional to global tectonics and paleogeography, paleomagnetism, and geodynamics.
?
Peter Hodgson, Institute for Frontier Materials, Deakin University
research includes steel processing and the development of new alloys
?
Philip Boyd, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania
Professor of Marine Biogeochemistry 
?
Madeleine JH van Oppen, School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne
ecological geneticist with an interest in microbial symbioses and climate change adaptation of reef corals
?
Lisa Kewley, Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Australian National University
Astronomer
?
Warwick Anderson, Department of History and Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney
Janet Dora Hine Professor of Politics, Governance and Ethics
?
Chennupati Jagadish, AC, Research School of Physics, Australian National University
Distinguished Professor and Head of Semiconductor Optoelectronics and Nanotechnology Group
?
Sue O’Connor, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University
Areas of expertise
Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Archaeology
Archaeology Of Asia, Africa And The Americas
Archaeological Science
Archaeology Of New Guinea And Pacific Islands (Excl. New Zealand)
Archaeology

?
Ronald Rapee, Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University
Professor of Psychology
?
Jolanda Jetten, School of Psychology, University of Queensland
Doctor in Psychology, University of Amsterdam
?
Richard G. Roberts, School of Earth, Atmospheric & Life Sciences, University of Wollongong
Centre for Archaeological Science,
?
Katherine Demuth, Centre for Language Sciences, Macquarie University
Professor in Linguistics
?
Gottfried Otting, Research School of Chemistry, Australian National University
PhD (biomolecular NMR)
?
John Dryzek, Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Democratic Theory, Democratization, Environmental Politics, Climate Change and Global Governance

?
Belinda Medlyn, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University
My research focuses on how plants, especially forests, respond to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide and climate change.
?
Adrienne Stone, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne
Primary Interest
Free Speech Law

?
Ben Andrews, Mathematical Sciences Institute, Australian National University
Research interests
Differential geometry: I am interested in many areas of differential geometry, including
geometry of curves, surfaces and hypersurfaces;
Riemannian geometry; effects of local curvature conditions on global geometry and topology;
geodesics, minimal surfaces, and related problems;
isoperimetric inequalities;
differential geometry associated with conformal transformations, projective transformations, affine transformations and other groups;
general relativity and semi-Riemannian geometry;
geometry of convex bodies;
Finsler geometry.

?
Stuart Wyithe, School of Physics, University of Melbourne
Primary Interest
Astrophysics

?
Leann Tilley, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of Melbourne
Professor Tilley’s group undertakes research in the areas of cell biology and drug development related to the malaria parasite,
?
Geoffrey McFadden, School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne
Primary Interest
Origin Of Plastids

?
Matthew Bailes, ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery, Swinburne University of Technology
His research mainly concerns developing instrumentation for time domain astrophysics and using it for pulsar and Fast Radio Burst discovery
?
John Quiggin, School of Economics, University of Queensland
research economist and as a commentator on Australian economic policy
?
Bernard Degnan, Centre for Marine Science, University of Queensland
Research Interests
Genomes, Development & Evolution
1. Origin of animal complexity
2. Marine biology and biotechnology
3. Genomics and evolution of biomineralization

?
Jon Barnett, School of Geography, University of Melbourne
political geographer whose research investigates the impacts of and responses to environmental change on social systems in the Asia-Pacific region.
?
Martin Asplund, Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Australian National University
Research interests
Stellar astrophysics, origin of the elements, formation and evolution of the Milky Way, the first stars, Big Bang nucleosynthesis and the cosmological lithium problems

?
Ivan Marusic, Melbourne School of Engineering, University of Melbourne
He is known for his work on turbulence at high Reynolds number, using both theoretical and experimental approaches. 
?
Edward Holmes, School of Life & Environmental Sciences and School of Medical Sciences, University of Sydney
known for his work on the evolution and emergence of infectious diseases,
?
Kate Smith-Miles, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne
I'm interested in most branches of applied mathematics, but especially optimisation, pattern recognition, and modelling of complex systems.

Current projects include developing new methodologies for objective assessment of algorithm performance; generating new test instances for various classes of optimisation problems; improved scheduling algorithms; and expensive black-box optimisation.

?
Justin Marshall, Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland
Marshall's principle aim is to understand how other animals perceive their environment
?
Peter Goodyear, Sydney School of Education & Social Work, The University of Sydney
Learning sciences; psychology of education
Learning technologies and new media
Learning, cognition and motivation
Research on teaching and learning
Learning and teaching in higher education

?
David Lindenmayer, Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University
Landscape Ecology050104
Environmental Management050205
Forestry Management And Environment070504
Terrestrial Ecology060208
Wildlife And Habitat Management050211
Environmental Monitoring050206
Forestry Fire Management070503
Conservation And Biodiversity050202
Natural Resource Management050209
Ecological Applications0501
Zoology0608
Forestry Sciences0705
Forest fire management
Alexandra Aikhenvald, Language and Culture Research Centre, James Cook University
 prolific body of research that included Berber languages of North Africa and Hebrew but focused on tropical languages, predominantly those of Amazonia, the Papuan languages of New Guinea and Aboriginal Australia.
?
David Bellwood, College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University
research interests encompass the evolution and ecology of reef fishes
?
Glenda Sluga, Laureate Research Program in International HIstory, THe University of Sydney
published widely on the cultural history of international relations, internationalism, the history of European nationalisms, sovereignty, identity, immigration and gender history.
?
Enrico Valdinoci, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Western Australia
Enrico's research interests mainly focus on partial differential equations, nonlocal equations, calculus of variations, and dynamical systems.
?
Michelle Coote, Research School of Chemistry, Australian National University
published extensively in the fields of polymer chemistry, radical chemistry and computational quantum chemistry
?
Jennifer L Martin AC, University of Wollongong
renowned protein crystallographer and structural biologist.
?
Ian Reid FTSE, University of Adelaide
His research interests include robotic and active vision, visual tracking, SLAM, human motion capture and intelligent visual surveillance
?
Hilary Charlesworth, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University and Melbourne Law School
Theory and practice of international law; law and society; feminist legal theory; human rights law at international, national and local levels; peacebuilding; and justice and democracy after conflict
?
Bostjan Kobe, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland
Structural biology of infection and immunity
?
Peter Visscher, The University of Queensland
research focuses on understanding individual differences betweeen people in traits that are important for health outcomes and ageing
?
Terry Hughes, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University
coral reef ecosystems
?
William F. Laurance FAA, Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science, James Cook University
His research focuses on the impacts of intensive land-uses, such as habitat fragmentation, logging, hunting and wildfires, on tropical forests and their biodiversity.
Wildfires
Kaarin Anstey, School of Psychology, University of New South Wales
research interests include dementia risk assessment and risk reduction, late-life development and ageing, mental health in older adults, and older drivers
?
Hugh Possingham, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland
His research projects are in the field of decision theory in conservation biology
?
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, ARC Centre for Excellence for Coral Reef Studies & School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, is a biologist specialising in coral reefs
?
Jamie Rossjohn FAA, Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University
Professor Jamie Rossjohn's research is centered on an understanding immunity.
?
David Studdert, Stanford Law School, Stanford University
David M. Studdert is a leading expert in the fields of health law and empirical legal research. 
?
Maria Forsyth FAA, Institute for Frontier Materials, Deakin University
Associate Director
DEAKIN UNIVERSITY

SYNTHETIC ENERGY SYSTEMS
ELECTROMATERIALS
?
Peter Taylor, ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers, University of Melbourne
PhD in Applied Mathematics
?
Michael Tobar, ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems and the ARC Centre  of Excellence for  Dark Matter Particle Physics, Department of Physics, University of Western Australia
Professor Michael Tobar is a leading researcher in precision and quantum limited measurement and testing fundamental physics
?
Jason Mattingley, Queensland Brain Institute & School of Psychology, The University of Queensland
PhD in Psychology
?
Rose Amal, School of Chemical Engineering, UNSW Sydney
Professor Rose Amal is recognised as a pioneer and leading authority in the fields of fine particle technology, photocatalysis and functional nanomaterials 
?
Marilyn Fleer, Conceptual PlayLab for STEM education, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne
The Conceptual PlayWorld is a model of intentional teaching that Monash Professor Marilyn Fleer developed based on extensive research and experience working with young children and how they form concepts in science, technology and engineering.
?
Matthew Spriggs, College of Arts and Social Sciences, The ANU
“research interests are areally the archaeiology of Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, and also Cornish Studies.”
?
Joy Damousi, SHAPS, University of Melbourne
Her current research includes war, trauma and post-war Greek migration to Australia; sound and the two world wars; and child refugees and war.
?
Dan Li, Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Melbourne
Research interests
Colloidal processing of advanced materials
Electrochemical energy materials and devices (e.g. supercapacitors, batteries and fuel cells)
Flexible electronics
Graphene-based materials and related atomically thin materials
Materials systems engineering
Nanoionics and nanofluidics
New ion separation technologies such as capacitive deionization
?
Julian Gale, School of Molecular and Life Sciences, Curtin University
Research interests include the nucleation and crystal growth of minerals, nanoporous frameworks, materials for energy storage and conversion, and molecular crystals of relevance to pharmaceutical application.
?
Mark Finnane, Griffith Criminology Institute and School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences, Griffith University
His research in Australia and Ireland has focussed on the history of mental hospitals, prisons, punishment, policing and the criminal law
?
Lorraine Mazerolle, School of Social Science, University of Queensland
research interests are in experimental criminology, policing, drug law enforcement, regulatory crime control, and crime prevention
?
Alex Haslam, School of Psychology, University of Queensland
His research focuses on the study of group and identity processes in organizational, social, and clinical contexts.
?
Barry Pogson, ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, Australian National University
Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology
?
Michael Fuhrer, ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies, Monash University
Michael's research explores novel two-dimensional materials such as graphene
?
Zhiguo Yuan AM FTSE, Advanced Water Management Centre, The University of Queensland
PhD degree in aeronautical engineering 
?
Lianzhou Wang, School of Chemical Engineering and Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the University of Queensland
Director of Nanomaterials Centre 
?
Barry Brook, ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, University of Tasmania
ecologist interested in conservation biology and global change
?
Paul S.C. Tacon, Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, Griffith University, Queensland
Rock Art Research and Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology
?


Update complaint issued: 
ABC report on a letter signed by 80 academics that links the recent bushfire crisis with climate change. The list only includes two academics with expertise in bushfires and includes many non-scientists. There is no coverage for alternate views by recognised Bushfire experts such as David Packham or Roger Underwood.

Report breaches ABC editorial guidelines:
2. Accuracy - the link between climate change and droughts is contested.
4. Diversity of perspectives. The subject of the letter merited obtaining the opinion of actual experts (like Packham and Underwood).

The report also lacks journalistic integrity in not being sceptical of the claims made or who they are made by. What relevance, for instance, does inclusion of the opinion of non-bushfire experts have? I'm waiting on the reporter's breathtaking report on the opinions of the Nail painting industry on the relationship between bushfires and climate, they have as much relevant expertise as many on the list.