Friday, 25 November 2011


It is most interesting to compare the focus (bias?) of the top 10 hits in a search for IPCC in The Australian:  
  1. Climate forecasts 'exaggerated': journal Latest

    Professor Schmittner said taking his results literally, the IPCC's average or "expected" value of a 3C…
    1 hour ago | The Australian > News > Health And Science | Article | Find related

  2. IPCC's 'folly' writ large: Howard

    the IPCC's scientific reports were compromised by entrenched bias and poor oversight. The report… McKitrick said the IPCC's standards of peer review fell far short of those imposed by scientific…
    1 day ago | The Australian > National Affairs > Carbon Plan | Article | Find related

  3. Politics muddies the debate Latest

    the emails - the release of which appears to have been timed to undermine the IPCC's Durban conference next… This includes the internal politics of making sure "friendly" scientists were appointed to the IPCC
    1 hour ago | The Australian > News > Opinion | Article | Find related
  4. Scientists say IPCC should be overhauled or scrapped

    or even turning the whole climate science assessment process into a moderated "living" Wikipedia-IPCC. Writing… or lead IPCC report authors - agreed a mechanism for assessing the facts and impacts of climate change…
    11 Feb 2010 | The Australian > News > The Nation | Article | Find related
  5. UN panel to review climate body

    of the IPCC's procedures. The evaluation of the IPCC comes amid growing scepticism about humanity's role… to a binding agreement on emission reduction targets. Among issues to be examined is the IPCC's use of non…
    12 Mar 2010 | The Australian > Politics | Article | Find related
  6. UN climate head under pressure to quit

    Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has insisted… theIPCC on the eve of the Copenhagen climate summit. A journalist working for Science magazine had told…
    4 Feb 2010 | The Australian > News > The World | Article | Find related

  7. Greenpeace's role in UN climate study

    A headline briefing on the IPCC's special report on the potential of renewable energy, released… years and was the most optimistic of the 164 investigated by the IPCC. Reduced demand for electricity…
    18 Jun 2011 | The Australian > National Affairs | Article | Find related
  8. The IPCC has been wrong for 15 years

    Who Was Mistaken for the World's Top Climate Expert, has destroyed the last shreds of credibility the IPCC… possessed. It is, of course, the case that the recent introduction of a carbon tax was predicated on IPCC
    2 days ago | The Australian > News > Opinion | Article | Find related

  9. The Australian and the IPCC: Correction

    The Sunday Times and the IPCC: Correction The article "UN climate panel shamed by bogus rainforest… claim" (News, Jan 31) stated that the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report…
    24 Jun 2010 | The Australian > National Affairs > Climate | Article | Find related
  10. IPCC 'must investigate report bias'

    on Climate Change (IPCC) resulted in overstatements of the severity of the problem. Professor Watson… by up to 50 per cent by 2020. A senior IPCC contributor has since admitted that there is no evidence…
    15 Feb 2010 | The Australian > National Affairs > Climate | Article | Find related

to the latest News & Analysis section in Science on Humans Are Driving Extreme Weather; Time to Prepare.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Why I drink coffee?

I drink coffee for its antimicrobial properties. According to Matheson et al. (2011), people who drank hot tea or coffee were half as likely to carry in their nose the bacterium methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) than those who never drank these beverages. Of course, that is not the real reason ...

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Ideology not cause of debt

Last weekend The Australian ran an article by the Oliver Marc Hartwich entitled Europe's social failure. Reading this article my first reaction was one of amazement; Hartwich had concluded that the cause of the failure was "the grand European experiment of social democracy" with no mention of rampant free-market capitalism or the global financial crisis. Hartwich is, of course, entitled to his view, but I do not understand why the editor of The Australian would permit such an unbalanced and poorly argued article to waste so many column inches. Fortunately, Mike Skeketee's balanced and well-argued response, Ideology not cause of debt, subtitled "Blaming social democratic governments for the European crisis makes no sense", clearly articulates my feelings. Two points from Skeketee's article, dismiss Hartwich's nonsense:
A strange idea has taken hold about the crisis in Europe: that it is the fault of social democracy. This may be a convenient argument for those who want smaller government. But it overlooks a problem that occurred a few years ago called the global financial crisis. It was triggered by the collapse of a US housing bubble that had been fuelled by the reckless lending practices of banks and other financial institutions.
This recent history is curiously absent from the recent debate, including in the article by the Centre for Independent Studies' Oliver Marc Hartwich in these pages last weekend. Blaming social democratic governments for the global financial crisis is like saying Britain started World War II.
There are very few writers in The Australian that write well and argue clearly and logically. The regular publication of articles from right-wing think-tanks, and columnists such as Janet Albrechtson, Angela Shanahan, and Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked and libertarian gadfly, are usually illogical and unbalanced; I imagine that Mike Skeketee must sometimes feel very lonely ...

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Egalitarianism and Climate Justice

A most interesting advert for a Climate Justice Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne was featured in the Weekend Australian Professional Education section. The aim of the project is to
...provide a new framework for how to fairly distribute the costs of responding to climate change and to contribute to the understanding of a range of moral issues associated with climate change. Topics covered by the project include: models of how to distribute the burdens of climate change between and within nations, egalitarian discussions of climate change, understanding climate skepticism and the harms caused by climate change.
An essential criterion for the position is "a PhD or substantial progress towards one in Philosophy or related discipline". This is unclear: related to Philosophy, or to the topic of the research? Reading the project aim, I would have thought that a degree in Science, say in Psychology, with strong Physics (to understand the science) and Mathematics (to do the modelling), along with with a minor in Philosophy or Ethics, would be better suited to answering questions such as "how to fairly distribute the costs", "modelling how to distribute the burdens of climate change between and within nations". A desirable criterion is the "ability to work on applied or interdisciplinary problems"; a background solely in Philosophy would be, I think, too narrow for this.

Let's bring classrooms into the 21st century

I agreed with much of Rupert Murdoch's Keynote Address to the Foundation for Excellence in Education Summit. It reminded me of Conrad Wolfram's TED talk, which highlighted that there is far too much emphasis on hand computation in traditional teaching of mathematics. As Sir Ken Robinson says, schools kill creativity. Listening to Robinson's 2006 led me to his excellent 2010 talk and made me think more about how I should teach, and what I should teach.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Best Perth small bars

In Spirit of Change, John Lethlean makes the case that the Perth bar scene comes of age, featuring the following bars:

I've enjoyed Greenhouse and Who's Your Mumma. Now to try out the rest.

Cycling through Provence

I plan to return to Aix en Provence in mid-2012, so I was interested to read the wheels thing about how Cadel Evans discovered Provence is a paradise for the amateur cyclist, with its quiet, winding roads and its villages perched on rocky outcrops where you can stop for a break. Looking forward to trying out his suggested route.

Stay Cool: NYC Hotels

In Stay Cool, Edwin Heathcote of the Financial Times featured three new hotels for design-lovers:

Looking forward to my next vist...

Kew House 3

Kew House 3 by vibe design group, mentioned in my post on Australian contemporary architecture, was featured in The Age and the Weekend Property section of The Australian. It is to be auctioned this Saturday with an expected price of $3M+. I wish that I had some spare cash...