Saturday, December 4, 2010

Waking up is hard to do

Just when you thought funding for ridiculous climate studies was on the wane, Professor Ole John Nielsen of Copenhagen has discovered that gases used in anaesthesia are up to 1600 times more potent as greenhouse gases than CO2. Happily, he reassures us that he won't call for them to be banned. Yet.
Nielsen, who got the idea while his wife was having a baby (whereupon the Daily Suppository will restrain herself from defamatory comments against the male persuasion...its been a rough few weeks) has written in the British Journal of Anaesthesia that the global impact of inhalation anaesthesia is comparative to a million cars. This sounds exciting, until you work out that that is the same as one coal fired power plant. Lets not freak out prematurely or anything.
Prof. "Not a medical doctor" Nielsen, has advised anaethetists that they should "sit up and take notice" of this, and since of the three anaesthetic gases analysed, one is more potent as a greenhouse gas than the other two:
If all three compounds have equal therapeutic work, there is every reason to use the one with the lowest global warming potential.

A statement so cute in its over-simplicity and mis-identification of significance. Just hazarding a guess here, but from what I know of anaesthetics (which isnt much, and Im not looking it up because Im on holidays) Im going to go right ahead and guess that the complex physiological and pharmaceutical science that is anaesthetics takes into account more factors in selecting an agent than its "therapeutic work". Thats because the "therapeutic work" of an inhalation anaesthetic is usually "knocking you out", and they all do that. Amazingly though, the pharmacokinetics of the agent, and dare I say it, the patient's individual physiology, plays a part, too. Not to mention the availability and cost of the agent itself.
Thinking of the anesthetists I know, I'm somehow not too worried that this is going to radically change the profession. Perhaps Prof. Nielsen should have investigated the climate impact of runnning just one hospital laundry, instead.

EDIT: Anthony Watts just debunked the paper's claims in a particularly educated and erudite fasion. His rebuttal is based on science-y stuff, mine on hanging out with anaesthetists at three in the morning on a labour ward, or watching one napping against a wall while I helped put a rubber hose up an unconscious patient's bum. Probably go with what Watts says, Im thinking.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Weather update

Hi All,
Usually I get the irrits with all these medical students who constantly update their facebook pages with comments about how many lives they've saved. Go and notch your stethoscope, or something. Seriously, who saves lives? I certainly dont. I'll be happy if I can just get through the next few years without accidentally killing anyone.
Until two nights ago that is, when I saved a life! It was actually my own. Good for me.
Yes, folks, I had "thunderstorm asthma", and it really sucked. I had never even heard the term before, nor ever had asthma, but realised something was wrong when I couldn't breathe. I find thats usually a diagnostic giveaway. Reasoning that it seemed to be occurring in line with a rainstorm, I thought perhaps pollen could be implicated (in your face all those people who said that being a science nerd is a bad thing, knowing how pollen behaves in the rain is useful after all!) and rummaged around until I found some old antihistamines and a bottle of prednisone left over from the last time the kids had croup. Then I sat around wheezing heavily until they kicked in. This is the point in the story where people are probably wondering: a) Wheres the weather / climate angle? and b) Why didnt you go to a hospital, you retard?
The answers are as follows: a) I'm getting to it. b) Medicos make terrible patients and usually dont go to an ED until they are unconscious, whereupon someone else takes them. Also, the kids were asleep and I didnt want to wake them.
Now, on to the weather angle. Australia is one of the worst places in the world for asthma and hayfever. I could provide links, but cant be bothered, just google it if you dont believe me. Interestingly, when people move to Australia from overseas, they run the risk of developing asthma and hayfever that is a function of how long they have been here for. 2-4 years seems to the magic number, then you get a bunch of expats suddenly presenting to their doctors with their heads exploding, saying things like "I've NEVER had this before." Lets just say our environmental conditions can be tough on the atopic.
Anyhoo, this is one of the wettest, coolest summers in southern Australian since around 1996. All of those bastard pollinating thingies are going apeshit. Then you get a couple of hot days where they pollinate themselves into a frenzy, followed by a thunderstorm, which bursts the pollen grains in the air. So instead of getting stuck in your nose and causing hayfever, you breathe all these antigenic particles down into your lungs and suddenly find it difficult to breathe.
Melbourne has been hardest hit and had 300+ people calling for an ambulance due to thunderstorm asthma in one night, which doesnt count those people who presented to ED themselves (or sat at home in Sydney self-medicating with kiddy prednisone and Phenergan). The Alfred hospital has had to open another wing to deal with the number of cases. Apparantly this hasn't happened on such a scale since the 1970's.
Television news are running stories warning people with hayfever to go straight to a hospital if they start wheezing. Fun times.
Global warming has clearly foresaken us. Bring back the drought.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Update...

Hi all,
I realise I kind of went AWOL for awhile there, so I thought I would put up a quick note to explain that I am around and will return to blogging in another 2 weeks or so. Lets just say that a perfect storm of hospital work, the obligatory hospital acquired illness, end of year exams and Mr. Paua going FUBAR in the head and disappearing on me in the midst of all this has put The Daily Suppository on a backburner for awhile. (BTW Mr. Paua, they have pills for that. Oh, thats right, you stopped taking them...)
I have been reduced to yelling at ABC news 24 stories instead, (which FYI would have made their way into the blogosphere had there been a Daily Suppository intern with a dictaphone and mad typing skills on hand. Just a thought, people.) And listening to angry nerd music about recalcitrant boyfriends.
Whatever gets you through.
See you in a couple of weeks.

Its funny 'cause my nickname for him really is "bitch":

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I heart the Gore-acle

Like fading A-list celebs the world over, Al Gore has taken to paid appearances in Asia and the Subcontinent to boost his bottom line. Most of his contemporaries end up lending their services to wierd advertisements for Japanese whiskey or toilet paper, or in the case of Al Pacino, spruiking a C grade coffee in Australia. In Al G's case, he recently jetted in to address a selected crowd of Indian cardiovascular specialists in Chennai.
After picking up his check, he immediately flew out again, avoiding any contact with the media. Even the event organisers thought that was a little wierd:
"His lecture was meant to be a private address to delegates at the congress" the media was told by members of the organising committee. But they themselves found it incongrous that "a man interested in creating global awareness on climate change and other environmental issues should have himself restricted the reach of his message."

Not so surprising when you hear the content of his speech. Al clearly struggled for common ground, and, dare I say it, relevancy when catering to cardiologists and cardio-thoracic surgeons, so went with comparing the human heart with the Earth's hydrological cycle. Clearly because he knows so much about both. I believe the word he was looking for instead was "plumbing". (Sorry, little doctor joke there.)
Also touched upon was the challenges faced by a rising global population, perhaps somewhat impolitic of him considering he was in one of the world's most populous nations.
Now, I've been to India, and I find it seriously hard to believe that the most entertaining thing anyone could come up with was Al Gore? Even the German's do a better line in weird conferecne entertainment. I once had described to me in great detail a German pharmaceutical conference where the entertainment consisted of a middle aged German guy jumping out of a large cake and attaching two toilet plungers to his chest, complete with song. And I probably saw wierder things in India just catching a suburban train through down-town Mumbai.
I certainly hope those doctors were on an all expenses paid junket, because if it was me and I was picking up the tab, I would vote for the Bahamas and Lady Ga Ga next time.

Everything you ever suspected about psychiatrists confirmed

So hands up who saw the "hilarious" 10:10 fest promotional video? I was one of those people who watched it and was completely appalled, and I get splatter humour. Seriously, if you didn't cry with laughter during the lawn mower scene in Peter Jackson's Brain Dead*, theres something wrong with you. The 10:10 promotional video, on the other hand, just wasn't funny.
The predictable fall-out of 10:10's epic own-goal fail, was that all of their corporate sponsors suddenly went the way of Pierce Brosnan's Remington Steele era chest hair in the 1990's, and just disappeared. Which kind of makes one wonder why on freakin' earth 4 of the major UK medical societies suddenly signed up to their campaign after the 10:10 splatter video?

And just like that....it was gone....


Seriously. I don't mean to sound indelicate, but f*ck me drunk and bury me pregnant, what were they thinking?! According to the Royal College of Psychiatrist's own website:
The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych), Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), have all joined 10:10, mindful of the threat posed by climate change.

The president of the RCPsych, Dinesh Bughra (is his last name really pronounced the way I think its pronounced?), even goes so far to say that living a low carbon life style will cheer you up. On the one hand, he may be right - apparently people in developing nations have historically rated their general happiness as being better than whingeing princesses in developed nations, but they tend to die quicker of really gross things like TB, and childbirth. Its also been put forward that peopled rated their happiness as higher during the world wars due to factors like a united sense of purpose, but in the long run I would counsel against invading Poland as a means of cheering everyone up.
A more recent compilations of studies into mental wellbeing created a global "happiness map", that showed a differing picture, and fairly clearly highlighted that the main predictors of happiness were access to health care, followed by wealth and education.


In Australia, there are longstanding media agreements to not report certain types of suicides and violent crime. It is well known that publicising suicides off of bridges, in front of trains and knife assaults (unless particularly extreme events) increases the number of similar events in the community. Due to this, most people here are happily unaware of the weekly parade of knifings and jumpers unless they work in a health care field, or, like I did 10 years ago, live next door to a train bridge. So if the media would voluntarily censor itself in the name of the greater good, this begs the question of why a national body of Psychiatrists would back an organisation that normalises blowing up innocents, including children, that show deviation from an arbitrary, political party-line.
Physician, for f*cks sake, heal thyself.


* And to think, this man went on to make Lord of the Rings and is now a knight of the realm.

Monday, September 13, 2010

If you have a job, the Greens don’t like you

How many people who voted Green at the last election have any idea what their actual policies are? Originally the Greens represented a protest vote, and as such were essentially a protest party. It didn’t really matter what their policies were, they were just assumed to be warm, fuzzy and had something to do with lesser spotted quolls or numbats or something. “Maybe”, people said hopefully, “they might legalise pot”. What wasn’t to love, right? Now, however, they have a member in the lower house and the resulting power-broking alliance with the minority Labour government, plus holding the balance of power in the senate. They would have us believe they could be a party of governance. So in the spirit of this, let’s have a little look-see at what they actually want to do with our country.

I started looking at their economic policies first, just because. Most Green’s voters could tell you that they want a price on carbon, but few probably realise that they want to tax you up the whazoo, redistribute your wealth and (probably) send you to the country side for re-education.

First off, let me preface this with a personal position statement: I’m poor. Really poor. However, given that I can get an education with little cash up front, eat pretty damn well and don’t have to bash my clothes on a rock down by the river to get them clean, I figure I have little to complain about. One day, though, I wouldn’t mind being better off, and so I’m a little bothered that the Greens want to:

• Increase the maximum tax bracket to 50% for high income earners, impose a minimum income tax obligation in your bracket so there is no way to reduce your personal tax burden and do away with concessions for capital gains tax. “That’s alright”, you say, “I can put it in a trust for my kids or post a loss on those dodgy soy-burger stocks that never broke even”.

• Au contraire. They want to tax your family trust as a company (whilst mentioning elsewhere that they will increase the company tax rate to 33%) and reckon you can only post a loss on an investment against income from that same investment. (This is kind of missing the point, if you ask me.) “Fine”, you say. “I’ll salary sacrifice and get as many fringe benefits out of my employer as I can”.

• Ha. Sorry. They’re gonna end fringe benefit tax concessions (and remember that fringe benefits tax is paid at the maximum income tax bracket which will then be 50%. Try selling your boss on that.) Purportedly, this is because fringe benefits tax concessions encourages people to drive more in company cars, confirming that, indeed, all Green policy seems to come out of the inner city. Seriously, just look at a map of this country sometime. Some people have to drive for 4 hours just to get to a shop. “Instead of driving the company car, why not just catch public transport?” the Greens say. (It’s the long distance coach that stops past twice a week, you can’t miss it.)

• “Alright then, I can give my hard-earned to my spouse or kids, or failing that, they can have it when I’m gone”. Nope again, if the Greens have it their way, they’re going to end capital gains tax concessions, too, and introduce an additional death duty that would be imposed on estates over a certain amount. Don’t worry, though, Bob Brown has made an unspecified promise he’ll help protect the family farm when you die (which is what I thought family trusts were for). An unfortunate shame when you won’t be able to operate that family farm anymore because of its environmental impact.

“Wow. That’s scary.” You say. But wait, there’s more, let’s have a little look at some of their foreign policies:

• They want to cancel the ANZUS treaty. You know, the one usually touted as “the only reason we aren’t all speaking Japanese or Indonesian right now”. Perhaps it’s time to send a memo to the Greens that the treaty is an agreement to be allies, not best buddies? We can have a treaty and still bitch about the US behind their back when they have a bad hair day, dress tres slutty or want us to cancel our national pharmaceutical benefits scheme.
If you think dropping ANZUS would be bad for Australia, consider what could happen to New Zealand if we dropped the treaty. Since New Zealand took the high ground, and themselves, out of the treaty with the US over their nuclear stance, they enjoyed treaty-by-proxy because we were allied with the US and they were still allied with us. In the event we drop ANZUS, hopefully that would mean their little nuclear-free, small population idyll would be invaded first. Sorry NZ.

• Hidden in the environmental section, I also discovered another gem. The Greens would like to limit our maritime Economic Exclusion Zone to only a 200 (presumably nautical) mile limit. At the moment our EEZ is 200 nautical miles OR the limit of the continental shelf. This was ratified by the UN under the Convention on the Law of the Sea. If we limit ourselves to 200 nautical miles (or the equidistant line between two countries less than 400 NM apart), East Timor may pick up a couple of natural gas rigs, but we would lose rights to 2.5 million square kilometres of seabed. Count them. Not that it matters, because they would lock up most of the oceans in Marine Protected Areas with a minimum 30% of that “no take” zones and oppose any new non-renewable resource drilling operations, anyway.

East Timor picks up a couple of gas rigs that they are already getting royalties from with line C, we lose 2.5 million Sq Km of seabed.

If you think that’s a worry, have a read up on their “Peace and Security” section:

• Among other things, they want to “close all existing foreign bases in Australian territory and end foreign troop deployment, training and hosting on Australian territory” (sorry America, we don’t want any of your high tech communications and satellite equipment anymore, we want to pay for it all ourselves and get a (Greens designated publically owned) Telstra to run it) and “end training and joint exercises by the ADF with the armed forces known to have committed human rights abuses”. Which would kind of rule out, ummm, everyone except the Swiss, who are famously neutral and lay claim to the second most boring city in Europe.

• Now for my favourite: “support the development of an Australian Coastguard to replace military personnel and equipment in coastal policing.” Ba ha ha ha. Just ask the US (while we’re still on speaking terms) how their hooligan’s navy is working out for them. A coastguard isn’t a police force, it’s a repackaged defence force for alcoholics, generally with the primary objective of dealing with illegal immigrants among other things, but with the unintended consequence of harassing recreational boaters trying to get their beer on. This amounts to an expensive marketing ploy, but what scares me is they probably think its solving some kind of imaginary problem. (I have been advised that the US coastguard isnt quite the same as it used to be, and has been known to do scary rescues in huge seas in places like Oregon, but the basic ridiculousness of the Australian proposal still stands.)

There’s more, but halfway through the blatant hypocrisy of their indigenous policy I suddenly needed to go and have a drink, and don’t worry, they’re going to tax that, too, based on the alcohol content of your beverage. I see a Green led future, and it involves light beer.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tofurkey of the week

The faux-poultry environmental idiocy awards just keep coming. This week, Alain Robert, the French "Spiderman", has been arrested for climbing a Sydney skyscraper in a bid to raise awareness about climate change advertise a web site. (The web site is great (not), BTW, its a ticker that says how many months we have before greenhouse gases kill us all. At the moment its going with 75 months.) Anyway, his efforts weren't widely reported, and he got arrested as a result, so we figure this probably deserves a Tofurkey, since Brad Pitt appears to have gone back to being pretty for the time being.
The Daily Suppository would also like to point out that dubbing Robert a "Spiderman" does not a hero make. For starters, he's fallen off very tall things at least twice, and in addition, he's up against true heroes in Spidey suits. Like, um... SPIDERMAN for one. Or failing that, the Thai fireman who just "happened" to have a spiderman suit in his work locker one day and was able to don it in a hurry to coax a young autistic boy from a third floor window ledge in downtown Bangkok. Sonchai Yoosabai, the Daily Suppository salutes you!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Is that piloerection, or are you just unhappy to see me?

In case you're wondering, piloerection is one of those medical terms, like formication, that sounds rude, but actually isn't. It merely refers to having your body hair stand on end. Which is always a nice introduction to anything to do with Clive Hamilton, Green's candidate, "public intellectual", internet censor, anti-semite, climate hysteric and all round 'freakin wierdo.

This morning your beloved author was busy trying to read her weekly horoscope and Jeremy Clarkson's auto review in the Weekend Australian, when she was distracted by Clive Hamilton's "advice" to the three incumbent MP's who currently hold the balance of power in our newly elected hung parliament. (I really wish I was blogging about the Sex Party right now, because at least they appreciate a well-hung parliament. Snicker.)

Anyway, Clive "it should have been me" Hamilton would like the three (fairly conservative and rural) independents to know that should they back a conservative coalition government chaired by a climate skeptic, that they will be responsible for the worst death of the entire planet, evah, it will rain fire and locusts will eat their babies. Or something. For pure, bizarre vitriol bordering on the libellous, it really has to be read to be believed. Really, he brings in everything from Monckton to the Tea Party movement and with liberal sprinklings of the word "denier".
Even the title of his piece: "MPs' obligations to the planet" sort of misses the point of a democratic election, which in my opinion would put their obligations rather firmly with their local electorates rather than "the planet". Which FYI, would like to see their MPs back a coalition government, and largely have major issues with most Green's policies.

Sensing that his views wouldn't hold much sway with skeptical independent Bob Katter in a bar room brawl, Clive took a swing in print:
Bob Katter is a lost cause, another climate denier from the bush who reinforces every urban stereotype about rural backwardness.

Thanks, Clive. Suspicions about the Greens confirmed. Does it not seem incongrous to you that you and your party seek to speak for the people of rural and remote Australia, whilst holding them in utter contempt and with power based solely on votes from the inner-city? Not just the city, but the inner-inner city?!

A little known fact about this author is that as a very young woman, starting at the age of about 15, my only available mode of transport for many years was via hitch-hiking in rural and remote parts of Australia. I largely avoided any trouble of the "fork it or walk it" kind and emerged from this experience unscathed, but in the process developed a finely tuned psycho-meter. On the hitchiking-teenage-girl-psycho-meter, I can tell you now which out of Bob Katter and Clive Hamilton I would be most concerned about being alone in a car with on a deserted country road.
Bob Katter is exactly the type of guy to yell and bluster alot about politics close to his heart, let out an occasional "yeehaw" when overtaking and take it upon himself to lecture you about anything stupid he thinks you're doing at the present time. However, he would probably drive out of his way to take you to where you were going and stand you a counter-lunch at the pub on the way. Clive Hamilton, on the other hand, is exactly the sort of guy to keep an old tarpaulin and cable-ties in the boot of his car and to think you were "asking for it".

A double-dip Tofurkey

Heres something to go with the impending double-dip recession: Two notable Tofurkey awards for the same week! For those just joining us, the Tofurkey of the Week Award is a faux-poultry plinth awarded to those who have acted like a complete turkey in the name of the environment. This weeks shared prize goes to University of Virginia activist Ryan McElveen and hollywierd star Brad Pitt.

McElveen has been nominated for a Tofurkey for his services in arranging a mass protest against Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's continued efforts to formally inquire into Mike "Dodgy Tree Ring" Mann's climate research.
The 2008 UVA graduate had been hoping that at least 50 people would appear for the protest he launched with some emails and flyers. He chose Friday, August 20, because that was the day that a judge, just a mile away, was hearing arguments on whether Cuccinelli’s inquest could move forward. Turns out that’s also the eve of move-in for the fall semester at UVA.
“Bad timing,” McElveen admitted as just two students and two professors rallied with him on the marble steps of the UVA Rotunda.


Meanwhile, Brad Pitt has been nominated for his bizarre on-camera rant against BP, calling for the death penalty for those involved in the gulf oil spill. Slightly excessive, you say? If having an accident by definition attracted punishment by death, we would probably be having difficulty keeping the globe populated. Shhhh, don't tell PopOffSets. Personally, this reader is of the opinion that the death penalty has its place, but should probably be reserved for those people who leave dirty dishwater in the sink for hours under the guise of "soaking stuff" and LEAVE THE SPONGE IN THE WATER, TOO.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I knew carbon trading was a scam...

So anyway, a family member just got a phone call from a telemarketer with a subcontinental accent, who said he was calling on behalf of Microsoft because they had identified a virus on his computer. Apparently, for the low-low price of AUD $59 they could remove this for him, but first they just had to go to this web site and...
Behold! The "your computer has a virus" phishing scam is now available via telephone.
Anyway, in the process of convincing my relative that it was, indeed, a scam, I was checking out the SCAMwatch website, which is where I saw this:

WesternField Holdings Inc. carbon credit investment scams

WesternField Holdings Inc., a bogus overseas based telemarketing business, offering so called ‘investment opportunities’.

SCAMwatch understands that overseas telemarketers are making unsolicited calls to Australian consumers and businesses. Recipients are asked about their views on current environmental concerns and whether they would consider investing in environmental projects.

Recipients who express an interest in the environment or indicate that they are interested in investing are then contacted by a representative from WesternField Holdings.

WesternField Holdings has gone to great lengths to convince investors that it is a legitimate investment opportunity. It has a genuine looking website (www.western-field.com) and assures potential investors that they can review their ‘investment certificates’ online through a supposed independent website registered to CTR Limited (http://carbontrustregistry.com).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Green on black

One thing that has been bugging me for along time, but seemed to get relatively little media play, is the rather overwhelming evidence that the Green party, who bang on about cultural diversity, are racist against indigenous Australians.
Apparently, they care more for beleagured boat people than they do for our first people. Alright, I'll go right ahead and say it: The Greens don't like Aborigines.
Or, to put it another way, they like them as long as they stay suitably poor and nobly savage. How else can you explain the Wild Rivers Legislation?
I dont tend to get too excited over current events, but when the Wild Rivers legislation came in, I was almost apoplectic with horror. I grew up with Eddie Koiki Mabo's fight for basic recognition of his people rights. I still get tears in my eyes thinking of what red-neck cocksuckers did to his grave in Townsville, and this felt far, far worse.
Contrast that with the attitudes of most of our white, urban population, who really think that eco-salvation ranks above economic and cultural autonomy for Indigenous Australians on their own land. Most people either haven't heard of it or think its probably a good idea. The vast majority of people would have no inkling of the true implications for indigenous Australia.
Read more here.
Rather strangely, the conservative opposition leader was so aware of the travesty of this he entered a private members bill to overturn the legislation (which was subsequently quashed). Somewhat not in keeping with the traditional Coalition, and with Labour happy to sell out Indigenous Australia for Green preferences.
Lately, Tony Abbott has even been quoted as saying that on many of his policies, he has been "channelling Noel Pearson". When was the last time a would-be Prime Minister recieved policy advice on non-indigenous affairs from an indigenous Australian?
How bizarre that I still don't particularly like the man, he is just another politician (and I'm not quick to forgive on his Catholic anti-abortion drug stance during the mefipristone block), and I'm convinced that Noel Pearson and Abbott will have wefare recipients on food stamps before this is done, but on the other hand: hes sworn to overturn Wild Rivers, suspend the ridiculous Marine Protected Areas that were once again brought in at the behest of the Pew Conservation Trust and the Greens and is going to stop the ridiculous GP superclinic idea.
He had me at "climate change science is utter crap", anyway.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

We're gonna need a bigger flow chart

Hows this for a beauty of a left-wing circle-jerk:
Picture this. A government department hands out cash to community activist groups, who in turn use the money to run a campaign to pressure political parties to devote more money to the department. At minimum, it seems to be a conflict of interest. Foolish, more like it. A betrayal of public trust even. But that's exactly what Australia's overseas aid agency, AusAID, has done

Turns out that under a Labour government grant scheme, AusAID has handed out AUD $1.5 Million in local grants to raise public awareness of global poverty, so that we all donate more money to AusAID. In particular, multiple grants were given under several guises to the Make Poverty History campaign, who seem to spend most of it on plastic armbands.
And the No. 1 goal for Make Poverty History is to "accelerate growth in the aid program" - to push the government to devote a larger share of national income to foreign aid. In other words, boost the AusAID budget.

Noice one, mate.

Where's the love?

Its not that I don't love you guys anymore, I'm just in the process of moving house and was stupid enough to sign up to a Telstra bundle because it was actually the best one going at the time (normally I get a bit twitchy around our national telco). However, true to form, they are moving my connection ahead at the speed of a geriatric snail, and all I have in the meantime is a mobile-broadband USB dongle that is *possibly* faster than dial-up and an LG phone that is begging to be thrown against a wall everytime I try and access the internet. (I never wanted to be a Mac-whore, but after this bloody phone I might treat myself to an i-phone for no other reason than you can get a free medical eponym app that goes over well at trivia nights down the pub.)
At least telstra managed to get my home phone connected eventually, but not before they managed to connect me on an extension to the house next door, and when I say "house", I actually mean "church". A telecommunications factoid I only discovered after the Vicar's wife rang up looking for her husband and got me instead, much to both of our suprise.
Stick with me, and before long I'll be back in full snark, but it does blow my election coverage somewhat. Sorry 'bout that, so in the meantime, here is my take-home federal election coverage boiled down to one pithy statement:

"In the upper house, if you can't be bothered voting below the line and are feeling a bit vote-freaky a la diversity in the senate, read the preference flow cards for every party and vote for one that preferences everyone, including, but not limited to, the Australian Sex Party before they preference the Greens."

Hell, I would preference the Australian Socialist Alliance before the Greens at the moment. I could tell you why at great length, but my internet is going to max out and make me poor (er), so you will have to wait a few days.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The day I lost the snark...

It used to be so easy to snark away here on my blog, but lately I have found it hard going in terms of subject matter. Im not sure if this is because the media is pulling their head in when it comes to alarmist reporting post-Climate Gate, or whether Im easily distractable. In truth, I think it could be a bit of both, there seems to be less blatent idiocy popping up in my news feed (and I do love an easy target), and I keep getting sidetracked by involuntarily picturing my male colleagues sans accoutrements.
Its not my fault, I can't help it. I am attracted to intelligence and self-confidence, which is oft-times in short supply, but seems to be a pre-requisite for doctors. As a medical student, my job is to generally follow along behind the other doctors on ward-rounds, and well, the end result of this is that I seem to find myself looking speculatively at a lot of bums. Even that short Scottish guy. Sorry Mr. Paua.
Anyhoo, about the only thing I could find to talk about is a recent study that worked out that if you frame climate change in terms of a public health risk, it seems to have more of an impact. Researchers discovered that linking climate change with asthma tends to increase the "positive" response from readers, more so than linking it with more remote issues, such as polar bears and the arctic.
Halfway though reading this, I realised that this isn't a health study, this is market research. I should know, because for one brief, poor stage of my life I worked for a market research company doing telephone interviews. (Sorry. To everyone. I'm really sorry. I was scarily good at it, BTW).
This "study" isn't interested in unbiased research into what peoples attitudes are to climate change, you would do that with a focus group or a survey, this study is trying to work out how best to sell us something we may otherwise be reluctant to buy.
Just ewww, frankly.
This will probably annoy the crap out of me for just so long as it takes for me to get distracted by a pathologists abs.
Sorry, what were you saying?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Winter Sundays...

Some of my cronies in the blogosphere have been posting about the glory of a hot saturday in summer, complete with soundtrack. Well, some of us live in the southern hemisphere, and its been a pretty cold winter. I even had to scrape ice off my car a couple of times (only an Australian can understand the deep and abiding horror of this), so I feel an alternative soundtrack may be in order:











You're welcome.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Living proof that you can't legislate against stupidity....

Professor David Shearman has been at it again. When not busy doing secretarial things over at Doctors for the Environment, he can be found publishing books calling for the end of democracy as a solution to impending climate doom. Seriously, is this the guy you want to perform a rectal exam on you?
He also has his own website, the address of which is his own name with the designation .org. Cute. If you listen closely, you can almost feel the hysteria.
Anyway, he's managed to publish a poorly disguised propaganda piece / self-advertorial over at The Australian calling for the end of coal power due to its alleged deleterious health effects in first world nations. He doesn't actually cite anything, just some "studies" that apparently show that coal particulate is bad for you, but then gets confused between pollution in the form of particulate matter and "pollution" in the form of carbon dioxide that, yawn, will kill us all via climate (but forgets to mention the offshoot of bigger tomatoes). He does a particularly poor job of seperating out the sources and impact of coal pollution, and manages to generate a big cloud of poorly thought out hysteria. For example:
The health burden of coal in Australia is estimated conservatively at $2.6 billion a year. There are also economic losses due to land pollution and degradation and the open mining of good agricultural land in the face of the projected world food crisis.
The main health impact of coal is caused through climate change. The World Health Organisation ranks climate change as one of the greatest threats to public health.
Morbidity and mortality are increasing in the developing world as the effects of climate change take hold of the environment. As the world's fourth largest producer of hard coal and the world's biggest exporter, from which we garner $20bn each year, our contribution to this pollution is far greater than our culpability as the world's greatest domestic per capita producer of greenhouse emissions.

Etc. Etc.
Im not sure exactly what Dr. David lectured in to make him an emeritus professor of medicine, but I somehow think it wasn't epidemiology or public health, at least not in the conventional sense, and begs the question of why he is no longer a professor?
For starters, yes, coal fire particulate is definitely bad for you, but it is particularly bad for you if you are burning it in your loungeroom, which is what people without central, coal-powered (or nuclear) electricity plants do. A quick read through the WHO publication "The health effects of indoor air pollution in developing countries" may prove informative for him. If he doesn't have the time, or finds that reading about babies dying of pulmonary disease or women with premature cataracts makes him go soft, I could probably sum up the entire booklet with just one of their diagrams:

Oh, look. Electricity is better for you. Who'd have thunk it.
I would also hazard a guess that his emeritus status didn't stem from a career in health economics, either. To wit:
Renewable energy industries create more jobs than coalmining; they are generally safer and much healthier for workers and communities. They will offer sustainable economic development in an area where Australia already trails other developed nations. The federal government's proposed resource super-profits tax -- now recast and rebadged as the minerals resource rent tax -- will aid this transition.

Ha ha ha. Thats hysterical in the freaking funny sense. Just ask Spain or New Zealand how their green jobs and their ETS are working out for them.
Once upon a time we had religion for guys like this to feel bad about. Instead of worrying about saving the planet from a trace gas that is, frankly, the least of our worries right now, he would have been wearing a hair shirt in a cave somewhere. Unfortunately, if he gets his way, he'll have all of us doing just that.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Laissez les bon temps rouler

I remember on one occasion during my childhood a lady from Louisiana attempting to teach me how to Cajun dance one night while my parents were out drinking at a folk club. For an eleven year old, it was excruciating. Through the haze of tween-age embarassment, though, I do remember learning the Cajun maxim of "Laissez les bon temps rouler", or "Let the good times roll". Keep this in mind while you read the following.
I haven't been posting as much as usual because to be honest its a slow news month for my usual climate change related ranting, I think the globe has largely started to lose interest in climate hysteria, and I will have to branch out more in my topic matter if this keeps up. Added to which I have been going through the "just-shoot-me-now-and-be-done-with-it" agony of having to find a rental property in today's ghastly, overinflated Australian property market. For those of you who havent had to find a 3+ bedroom house in an Australian capital city lately, they actually bid on rental properties now. Which has led me to really, really dislike real estate agents. More than I usually do. In fact, I can honestly say there is only one real estate agent I've met that I haven't wanted to hand a photograph of and a sum of cash to a large tattooed Polynesian named "Sione", and mention that I don't want the agent's legs to look that way anymore. The real estate agent I liked rented me a commercial property some years ago, was a raging alcoholic named Kevin, and would conduct business in thongs (the footwear) when his gout played up. I liked Kevin.
The Australian housing bubble is running at the level of property values up to 8 times the annual family income. The global standard is from 2 to 3 times the average family income. This bubble is going to burst, and how. Although the vast majority of people here refuse to believe its possible, in fact, even with property analysts finally being forced to admit the bubble can't always keep getting bigger, they still would prefer to believe that the outcome of all of this is that property prices may just stay on hold for a decade until they readjust, like they did in Japan a while ago. Excuse me while I laugh bitterly and take a swig from a port bottle in a brown paper bag. Forgetting for a moment that Japanese interest rates for housing loans are set at something like 1%, I could list you a host of reasons why this is unlikely here, from variable interest rate hikes, the Chinese commodity market problem, to where Australian banks source their finance from (i.e. Overseas). For my US readers ,its also worth pointing out that when you default on a mortgage in this country, you continue to owe the bank the money into posterity, even while they sell the property at the market value. The only way out is bankruptcy, and that isn't so easy to do, here.
Meanwhile, in Europe.....Oh, never mind. Too depressing. Well, in the States.....Oh, don't worry. In short, things aren't looking too rosy in the global financial sphere at the moment, and in other news, Japan let Pete Bethune off on a suspended sentence which allowed him to immediately run back to the welcoming arms of that idiot with the white beard and the black boat.
Then, just to top off my sorry news week, the Climategate whitewash review finally replied to allegations of fudging data. "Shut up." They explained.
Finally, I discovered that even brothels have been forced to close due to an economic slump. When the world's oldest professional, traditionally considered recession-proof, becomes insolvent, then surely the end-times are upon us.
It could be worse, though. I could own a large dog. Or live in California. Which is why, while the world seems to get closer to teetering on an economic precipice, I am reminded of the Cajun directive to Let the good times roll. For instructions on how its done, I refer you to Louis Jordan:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pikinini bilong rot boskru bilong Sea Shepherd gone bagarup

I love Pidgin English, so forgive my attempt in the title at expressing my thoughts on the functionality and moral character of the Sea Shepherd crew. I thought Pidgin might give this rant a bit of panache. FYI, "pikanini bilong rot" is an illegitmate child. You can work out what I meant by that.

Prior to, oh, about one week ago, I just really disliked Paul Watson (or "Kapten Kok" as I like to think of him in Pidgin. Yes, it means exactly what it sounds like it means. Its not swearing if its in Pidgin.) Then he decided to go to war on Tuna fishermen in the Mediterranean. Thats when it got personal. Now, I hate him. First of all, I like fishermen. Actually, I like sailors in general, but it sounds a bit questionable when I say it out loud like that. Secondly, I like tuna. Alot. And I'm not buying into the hysteria about the species' tenuous hold on the land of the living.

For starters, forgetting for a moment that marine science is as plagued by hysteria as that of climate science, common sense would dictate that since its impossible to actually fish up all the tuna that are out there with our current fishing technology, that one would expect to see a realistic (I stress this) decline in fisheries production should the stocks be getting low, to the point where the industry is no longer economically viable. One has not seen this yet, has one.

To add to this, the actual taxonomy of the "endangered" northern blue-fin is a little hazy, to say the least. Part of a CITES listing for an endangered animal requires that inspectors be able to correctly identify them, which is problematic with bluefin tuna, as even taxonomists have trouble differentiating the northen bluefin from the pacific one, they don't taste any different, and as the kicker, their DNA isn't different enough to tell them apart that way, either.

Unfortunately, saving tuna is the latest hippy cause du jour, and Sea Shepherd and their ilk need to justify their drain on society somehow, so off they went to the Med to harass legitimate and hard-working fishermen during the very brief tuna fishing season. How they managed to fit this into their busy schedule in between selling erstwhile poster-boy Pete Bethune down the river, while he awaits sentencing in Japan, is anyones guess. Poor old Patsy Pete found out the hard way who his mates were when Sea Shepherd threw him out of the organisation and severed all ties with him when it was revealed Pete had taken a bow and arrows on board. Being a supposedly non-violent organisation and all, someone had to go down for it in order to keep their "never convicted" record clean. Which makes me wonder who is going to carry the can for the rubber bullets they have been packing lately? Which brings me to their latest escapade...

Following on from the Greenpeace fail attempt at sabotaging legitimate tuna fishermen in the Med, Sea Shepherd decided to ram a Maltese fishing enterprise. One poor Maltese diver was injured, and another said he was hit repeatedly with rubber bullets. Malta is not impressed.

Luckily for Malta, Japan has just succeeded in getting Interpol to issue a blue notice for Kapten Kok himself. Paul Watson has shrugged it off, since a blue notice does not compel Interpol associated nations to arrest him, but rather that they pass on information about his whereabouts and activities. However, methinks some of Sea Shepherd's overworked lawyers should point out that any country can detain the subject of a blue notice if they feel like it, even if no valid national arrest warrant exists. Which is what they recommend doing for certain Yemeni terrorists, who are also subject to a blue notice.

Things are going to get interesting for Watson now, as Japan has many friends, and Watson is rapidly gathering enemies. A brief check of Japanese foreign aid recipients in the Pacific should put things into perspective for him, if Paul Watson isn't careful, he might find himself, as they say in pidgin, "lookem closeup hallelujah time" at one of his refuelling spots. Et tu, Tuvalu?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

SBS want me for a sunbeam

Hi all,
This comment turned up at my blog the other day:
Kyle said...
Hi Paua,

Nice blog! I'm interested in getting in touch with you for a TV program I'm doing. We need lots of articulate climate change skeptics like yourself! Could I send you an email with some of the details? Cheers, Kyle - my email is kylet@sbs.com.au if you want to touch base.
(I have left the email address as is, because they posted it in a public comments box that I cant edit due to the way Blogger works, and because I am fairly unconcerned by the thought of SBS recieving spam.)


Kyle from Insight then went on to explain in an email that they are going to have a panel of climate scientists (no politicians) and allow an audience of people who aren't climate scientists, but are skeptical or "confused" by climate science, to ask questions of the panel, which they then get to rebut. Nothing like a bit of balance in the media, don't you think?

I will hereby post my reply as follows:

Dear Kyle from Insight,
Thanks for your kind offer, which I must respectfully decline. I don't often talk about several years of my life spent around the documentary film industry, as I like to think I've, y'know, Changed. However, apart from acquainting me with a level of bitchiness not often seen outside of teen movies of the 1980's, I also learnt how to recognise a media set-up when I see one. Given that prior life experience, a passing acquaintance with the program you represent and a clearly stated desire for anonymity, I think you must be out of your cotton-picking mind.
When I first saw your comment on my blog, I must confess I did for a second entertain the notion that you might be working on a novel project out of keeping with the general level of SBS alarmist hysteria. Wishful thinking, and all that. Luckily, gifted with an uncanny ability to use an internet search engine, I soon discovered you were just another petty-echelon research schmo from Insight. I even noticed that you had invited the boys over at a footy lover's forum to contribute to the same show you invited me to contribute to. I thought I was special, Kyle. I also noticed that they invited you, in return, to "suck" their "big, fat hairy balls." Given that I am unencumbered by testicular tissue, I will have to proffer something else instead*.
Sadly, I will be unavailable to contribute to the program described on your web site as being for people "confused by climate science" and will not be able to play the straight-man to your panel of Tim Flannery-esque comedic talent. I think I'm washing my hair that night.
Good luck with the program.
Paua.

* "Something else" is not what I initially said, but I'm trying very hard to keep my potty mouth in check these days.


Now, in a bid to suspend my utter disbelief, I will consider for a nano-second that the upcoming Insight program may be a great expose of the problems inherent in climate science, but somehow I doubt it. History will show whether I was right or not. If the skeptics come off looking great, then I will heartily apologise to Kyle, and he will be well within his rights to ask me to suck something of his. We're all adults here.
I just have a bad feeling about this, and unfortunately in a bid to get me to contribute, they mentioned someone who has already agreed to appear on the show as a skeptic, I won't say who it is, but I wish them well, and hope to hell they aren't going to end up being an ersatz patsy for the edification of the Flannery's of Australia.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Like Lazarus, only with a worse attitude and better dress sense...

Hi All,
Im back, but probably will only have intermittent posts for the next few weeks because I found myself on the wrong end of a colorectal surgery rotation. Which wasn't meant to be a joke, but the pun was pretty good, now that I read it. I will describe the joys of long, long days, a permanent line across my forehead from a surgical cap and exactly how you stick you finger up someones whotsit in an investigative sense another time.
Right now, I just wanted to poke fun (once again, no pun intended) at the interestingly named "Code Pink" activist group of wimmin..ummm...feminists...sheilas. Apart from possibly breaking a raft of laws that prohibit excessive use of a colour reminiscent of a baboon's arse, they also smack slightly of misinformed opportunisim.
This they did by protesting the latest hippy-horror-de-jour, the Gulf oil spill, by marching on BP's headquarters wearing not much more than strategically placed packing tape (be careful when you take it off, BTW) and the aforementioned simian pink. Whereupon they chanted "BP, what do you say? How many fish did you kill today?". To which I would like to reply, ummm, not as many as you'd think. Y'see, oil often floats, fish don't. Unless they're dead, and thats the thing, if there were millions of dead fish, you would see them from the air, everywhere, because they would be doing the dead-fish putrefactive bob on the surface. Now, some of the oil has probably been emulsified (hence the reports of an alleged underwater plume) but it doesn't take long for it to re-coalesce on the surface, and most larger fish can move quickly enough to get away from the oil, anyway. So there may be some sprat sized fish that get offed by the oil, especially in coastal areas, but it wont represent that much of the total number of the fish that are out there.
The CodePink founder, Madea Benjamin, then went on to state:
“This is the crude awakening that our country is on the wrong track and that we need an energy system that doesn't kill workers, that doesn't destroy our ocean and that works with nature, not against nature,”

That would be nice, and I have seen something like this in action before, but I don't think Madea would like it. Probably because the options available to us down that track seem to wind up with women slaving over wood stoves or spending their days engaged in such career edifying past-times as hauling water. Oh, and puh-lease, dont even begin to talk to me about solar power either, because as anyone who has ever had to live with a 12-volt solar system would know (and I have), its probably less hassle to burn tallow-rush lamps and beat your laundry on a rock by the river.
The BP oil spill is immensely regrettable, for everyone concerned, but somehow I don't think its going to singlehandedly destroy our oceans, or even the bit of ocean that its occurred in. At the end of the day, we either accept the fact that we go without oil and the attendant consequences, or stop the pity-party and deal with the occasional oopsy. It might also reassure readers to know that oil gushers are much like bleeding, and all bleeding stops. Eventually. Even if we did nothing, the oil would lose pressure after awhile and stop. The fish will be fine, a few seabirds and otters will die tragically, much to the continued erections of news photographers and environental activists everywhere, and before long the oil will have mostly broken down and that part of the planet will be back to business as usual. If you dont believe me, then I invite you to read about the Mina Al Ahmadi oil spill during the Gulf War, which remains the biggest oil spill in history, where transects of the affected coral reefs only a few short years later revealed that they had escaped "remarkedly unscathed".
I strap myself in and await your hate mail.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Whats the opposite of Tofurkey?

When I heard a story, (possibly an urban myth) about nurses showering an obese patient and finding a TV remote under a fat roll that the patient reported losing nine months before, I thought, "Now, Ive heard everything." I was wrong.

Stop press! Hippies are coming out as climate skeptics!

Maleny in south-eastern Queensland has just had one of their local, prominent environmentalist "come out" as a climate skeptic. For those of you not acquainted with Maleny and the Sunshine coast hinterland, they are well known for organic produce, a rockin' folk festival (is that an oxymoron?), tenancies in common, craft markets and all-round hippy goodness.

Jon Woodlands has top-notch green credentials, and is probably one of those people who would see me as slightly to the right of Genghis Khan. He doesnt like uranium mining, logging rainforests, large corporations opening supermarkets in his town or things that endanger platypii. Good for him. I come from a town full of people just like him, and the yearly tradition of "special" christmas cakes certainly made for fun teenage years.

Then one day he decided to write an article for the local paper describing how he became skeptical of climate change alarmism, and the proverbial cow-pat hit the windmill.
''I've had people go off the Richter scale even if you suggest there's any doubt [about climate change science],'' the former TAFE teacher says. ''It's like a religion.''
Which was reported (with a fair amount of poorly concealed distate, by an SMH article bemoaning increasing climate skepticism.)
You know what they say, "Swings and roundabouts". As I understand it, after being dumped by his local alarmist friends, Jon found himself embraced by the skeptic community, which FYI are more fun at parties.

The Daily Suppository would like to say "Welcome Aboard, Jon!"
For more on Jon's views, see here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Look! Over there!

If you've been wondering about the lack of posts lately, I have managed to put a couple up at the Daily Bayonet. G'awn, take a look. I will try and keep all the medical related ones here at the Daily Suppository in future, and will go over there for ranting and obligatory "hotties".

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Well, spank me and call me a deluded, disinterested denier.

Ahhh, Doctors for the Environment Australia. Deludedly Eager Arses. Dickheads for Energy Abuse. However you choose to think of them, have struck again in the name of pulic health idiocy. This time, they have gone all Mad Men on us and decided that its the language of the climate change debate that is backwards, so since we are talking all arse-about-face, try this on for size:

Peter Tait, proud banner-waving member of DEA (The Australian no-fun-doctors, not the arm of US law-enforcement more commonly known as "narcs"), has decided that if we all just stopped dignifying the climate skeptic crowd with the term "skeptic", then the public would stop being so regrettably disinterested in crippling our economy fighting climate change. Instead, he proposes the following:
Deniers: believe that there is no climate change, or deny it is anthropogenic. (see distressed and doubt sowers)

Disinterested: don’t care one way or another.

Distressed: recognise climate change and some may be responding appropriately. Others if using psychological defence may appear as disinterested or deniers. They may need help to engage and act.

Doubt sowers: may or may not accept the reality of climate change but publicly deny its reality or effects in order to avoid or delay responses as they are protecting vested interests. Their action needs to be publicly named.

Deluded: accept the reality of climate change but argue that it will be beneficial, effects are overstated, action is too costly and the time is not right. They also need to be publicly named.


To which one droll, liberated and no-doubt devastatingly handsome commentator with the handle "Gederts Skerstens", replied with the following comment on the Croakey blog that published Tait's BS:
Man-made climate change is disappearing as a serious issue because those that support it are now revealed as falling into these unappealing categories:

THE HUMBLY OBEDIENT
A large group of very wise men were paid to assemble and tell the ignorant what to do. Lots of trailing letters after their names, lots of acronyms for all the groupings. Best do as they say. Stumble around muttering “Must-Save-Planet, Must-Save-Planet…”

GOERS WITH THE FLOW
The Green petition sheet circulating the dinner table gets signed because everyone else signed it.

AGENDA OPPORTUNISTS
The noisiest portion of the set. The science is irrelevant. Setting up disaster Aversion Mechanisms is the objective. An easy method to establish unelected, publicly funded,
autonomous clusters of Lefties to run pretty much any social engineering they want.

DELUDED APOCALYPTICS
The most easily dismissed. They believe The End Is Nigh and then some. And when the winters are the coldest on record and the sea level doesn’t rise at all, they go from revered prophets to clowns within two or three years.

It’s Over.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm still here!

Sorry 'bout that. I AM still here, and haven't completely dropped off the map, or fallen off the perch, or whatever your metaphor of choice may happen to be.
I've just had a busy few weeks with my current hospital rotation, and had some family issues crop up that needed some sorting.
There will be posting in the near future, I assure you!
Just give me a couple of days and I'll be back.
Cheers,
Paua.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Climate change good for your health. If you're English.

Finally, a research team has pointed out the blindingly obvious: that Britain can only be improved by climate change.

A recent study published in the UK in the last week has examined the possible effects of climate change on human health in the West Midlands, and worked out that it could save thousands of lives over the next 70 years. Of course, after that, the researchers warn, things could get a bit hairy for the locals with all those nice warm summers, so they caution against any wild parties celebrating the fact just yet.

The researchers then go on to add, in a fairly predictable display of British weather-pessimism, that whilst less cloud cover resulting from climate change sounds good, it could cause more skin cancers and cataracts. Kind of like retiring to the med, I guess. No mention of the fact that nicer weather in the West Midlands would completely change the meaning of the phrase "to be sent to Coventry", too.

Just in case the reseachers were going to be accused of being climate-disaster apologists, they ignore major advances in refrigeration technology i.e. the invention of the 'fridge (which owes much to an Australian penchant for keeping beer cold), and further caution that warmer weather will cause more food poisoning. Kind of like retiring to the med...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Is this love?

I just came across a columnist for the Santa Monica Daily Press by the name of Steve Breen, and its like hes me, only with better verbiage and a paying job. (And presumably, with a name like Steve, obligatory man-tackle.)

I give you exhibit A:
one could only reasonably conclude that environmentalism's intellectual life or death is dependent on earlier entangling random events such as the leaked Climategate e-mails, the IPCC's retreat from several of their key global warming positions and Greenpeace leader, Gerd Leipold, admitting that Greenpeace has lied and exaggerated about global warming and melting polar ice caps regardless of Milankovitch's spank-me-Daddy solar calculations to the contrary.

Oh, stop, you naughty thing. He even mentions Tofurkey in that article. I was an instant fan.

Then I perused some more of his articles and discovered this:

...allow me to introduce the first annual Golden Gobbler Award for 2009. This accolade is bountifully bestowed, by me, to any person, place, thing, organization or focus group that has, by its merit, demonstrated a complete and utterly inarguable talent for being as smart as the dumbest animal on the chopping block, the classic Thanksgiving turkey.

And he gave it to Al Gore and the AGW, environmentalist crowd.

Huh, says I, thats kind of familiar. Maybe he is me. Don't I bestow a poultry-esque award for something similar? In fact, my first ever Tofurkey Award predates his Golden Gobbler by one week. Coincidence?
With further perusal I have discovered he seems to have a problem with publically funded abortions. Damn. I was prepared to get past the similarity to my own work, but why can't you find a funny, misanthropic conservative guy who keeps his mind in his own pants, and not mine? Wait, that didn't come out right....You know what I mean. This is like that time I discovered P.J. O'Rourke had a problem with stem-cell research. Sigh.

Anyway, Steve. If you're not busy later, lets have a few drinks and discuss my royalties...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tofurkey of the Week # 8

Yay for Tofurkeys, the award for those found acting like a total turkey, albeit sustainably.

This week the Daily Suppository was put in a difficult position, on the basis that the Tofurkey really should go out to anyone who switched off their lights for Earth Hour. In the end, since it was problematic to award this virtual mock-fowl to so many, and technically that would have meant awarding it to North Korea, we went with the environmental group Rising Tide instead.

The protest group Rising Tide are a bit concerned about Australia's coal mining industry. Even though Australia's coal reserves make us energy secure for at least the next 150 years, essentially float our economy and make China vewy vewy happy to call us mates, they don't like it. No, sir, not one bit. So they decided they were going to put a stop to all this carbon nefariousness by attempting to block coal-transport freighters entering Newcastle harbour, with....wait for it....kayaks.

No news on how successfull they were at stopping several hundred feet of dry-bulk carrier with one of those itty-bitty yellow plastic paddles. Ouch.

Not surprisingly:
Newcastle Port Corporation says the six hour protest did not interrupt ship movements, with several ships loaded during the day.

But Rising Tide spokeswoman Naomi Hodgson insists the protest did have an impact.

"Usually the shipping movements are publicly available online and the only time they ever take it down is when we're holding one of these protests and sure enough five days ago they took the schedule down," she said. Source here.

I'm sure the Newcastle Ship-Spotter's Club will rethink their carbon footprint immediately.

So many double entendres, so little time...

Just stopping by to tell y'all about some amusing green-on-green action thats set to get any hippy Mac-whores out there (you know who you are) all riled up. Which is fun for everyone involved.

Greenpeace has just put their birkenstock-clad foot into the side of the new i-pad touch, claiming that whilst they look schweet, they are causing climate change. Oh, dearie me, where's the app for that?

Naturally, this has annoyed several of Greenpeace's erstwhile supporters, who have quickly moved to defend the gadgets, claiming that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages (which interestingly, isn't seen to be a good enough reason not to cripple our economies in the name of carbon reduction):
"If Greenpeace really wants to get up in people's grill about something that needs to change, it should start with their cars," says Steffen, a self-described Greenpeace supporter. He also argues mobile devices like the iPad can ultimately save energy by allowing people to work and shop from home.
Jonathan Hiskes of Grist, another eco-minded blog, agrees. He writes: "These technologies bring far more promise than peril for engineering sustainable societies."


Quoted from this source.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Reefgate update

I recently blogged about an unfolding drama that is (naturally) being referred to as Reefgate, involving academic malfeasance and misrepresentation by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, particularly in reference to a recently published study that appeared in the well known scientific journal PNAS.

The marine scientist at the centre of exposing this mess. Walter Starck, has written to PNAS with his concerns. A full copy of his letter has been reproduced over at OmniClimate, with the author's permission.

Read it here. This is going to get interesting, so stay tuned.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Don't be a joiner

The University of Tasmania is recruiting for a new study they are conducting into the health effects of climate change on chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Reasons you should be concerned:

* What they are actually researching is the health effects of "extreme temperatures". That means the effect of extreme temperatures on you, the sick volunteer. Whats wierd is that global warming isn't expected to make Tasmania have extremes of temperatures. If anything it would make it nicer there. Why aren't they researching the health effects of a sub-tropical holiday on people with chronic health then?

* Their hypothesis is that the health of chronically ill people will suffer from subjecting them to extremes of temperature. (Once again, let me point out they mean you.)

* Somehow, presumably, this got ethical approval.

Reefgate

There is a story brewing here in Australia that is rather major. Its a big deal, and the Australian population at-large, let alone the world, doesn't seem to realise what is happening. Many people would be aware of the Great Barrier Reef, and most have a nebulous, erroneous idea that it needs to be "saved".

Marine scientist Walter Starck has just outlined some of the mismanagement issues of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), as well as an emerging issue of gross academic misconduct, and has published these over at Quadrant Online. Rather than copying and pasting the story from Quadrant, I would recommend people go there and read the whole thing, which is available in pdf.

In a very simple nutshell: GBRMPA has just been outed for some major academic malfeasance, which they had perpetrated in the hopes of turning the entire Coral Sea off of the north eastern coast of Australia into a Marine Protected Area (which they would then get to "manage" - leading to a massive increase in the size, power and funding of their organisation.) They are acting in concert with NGO's such as the Pew Trust which is slinging around major funding dollars behind the scenes. Given GBRMPA's and the Pew trust's track record, this can only be a bad thing.

There is a huge backstory to all of this that is desperately at odds with much of the public's (generally wrongful) perception of the reef,which I will try and outline in upcoming posts.

Suffice it to say this story has everything:

* Beaurocratic bungling.
* Misrepresentation of research.
* Failure to declare major conflicts of interest.
* A major US scientific journal.
* Huge and poorly concealed hidden agendas.
* Destruction of people's livelihoods and an entire, almost extinct fishing industry.
* Collusion between politicians and NGO's such as the Pew Trust (aka "The Face of Evil"). (Which is so poorly concealed its scary. When you look at the story on Quadrant, cast your eye to the google ads on the page - a frequent one to appear based on the key words in the article is one inviting you to sign a petition to make 100% of the Coral Sea a reserve. If you go to the site, it is maintained by a bunch of conservation societies, including the Pew Trust. Which is such a perfect illustration of their presence in all of this.)

Edit: After pointing out the google ads from the Pew Trust over at Quadrant, it appears they have disabled them on that page. Update me if you find something different!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Yeh, what he said.

I have noticed that my posts tend to be preaching to the choir these days. I figure I'm not trying to change anyone's mind, Im writing to my skeptic buddies who are on the same page as I am. So for this reason I dont often bother refuting issues scientifically or otherwise fleshing out issues that seem pretty much self-apparent to me.
I missed the testimony of Princeton Physicist William Happer to the US senate at the time it was made (February last year), but watching it now, I just want to say that damn, its good:



Not least because it garnered a fairly hysterical reaction from some people at the time.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mirth Hour

Im having a crap week and am mourning some close family members. This makes me quite cranky, and its bound to show somewhere. Like this blog. Believe it or not, my regular posts actually represent a restrained version of what I am actually thinking, with much less swearing. In everyday life I swear like a sailor with tourettes, just ask my children. I know this is terribly uncouth (unless you're turned on by pretty young women using the words "c*nt" "m*therf*cker" and "c*cksucker" as the second word in every sentence. I don't know, there may be some of you.) So please, I will try and reign back the worst of it, but every now and again I may need to unleash the cranky. You have been warned.

I really, REALLY dislike frickin' earth hour. (That doesn't count as swearing). The whole idea stinks. Not only is switching your lights off for an hour completely pointless and tokenistic, it encourages hippies to feel good about themselves, which should be avoided at all costs. Smug bastards. (OK. That was technically swearing, but its better than the word I was thinking.)

So in honour of Earth Hour, I plan to do a little bit of celebrating, Daily Suppository style, join me if you wish:

* Tyres. Burn them. I plan on having a backyard luau around a merry bonfire of Bob Jane All-Rounders. If I pull this one off right, you should be able to see my own little private ecological disaster from space. Call Red Adair and pass the matches, 'cause Mamma's making a barbeque tonight.

* Don't tell Mr. Paua, but I know all about his little private incandescent light bulb stash that he bought in a panic after the government planned to bring in those toxic mercury bombs that flicker in a visible range of hertz. Old school lightbulbs are just the ticket for building my very own redneck chandelier:



This puppy makes my electricity meter spin faster than an ecologically friendly front-load washing machine on a spin cycle.
Optional extras include a safety switch (if you're of a nervous disposition. Pussy. Whats a little house fire if it helps the cause?) Or red bulbs and a prominent position in a window facing the street, for that authentic "late night in the Reeperbahn" feel.

* If these little festive options don't appeal, you could always drive to your closest airport in an SUV and fly to an exotic destination very, very far away from where you live. (Or next door, just be sure to fly there the long way around.) Make sure when you get there you take a long hot bath and wrap everything you purchase in double layers of plastic bags, just to be safe. Then make sure you call some friends who are sitting in front of their Mac tweeting by candle-light, and tell them all about it. I recommend India and China, as this way you can support their carbon emitting economies by spending your money there and irritate annoying hippy friends with your profligate air travel and cool ethnic purchases.

* Or better yet, maximize your carbon output and take a holiday on a cruise ship, making sure to leave the lights on in keeping with conventional maritime law.

In your face, Al Gore!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Counting the carbon cost of cancer

Doctors in the United Kingdom have once again exceeded my expectations on wierd climate alarmism by agreeing that they need to cut the carbon cost of cancer treatment, and make cancer treatment more "environmentally sustainable".

Which is just odd.

At a recent summit, a group of doctors representing key organisations in the field agreed to:

• developing a carbon reduction strategy,
• signing up to the 10:10 climate change campaign, and
• supporting the research, dialogue and action necessary to create environmentally sustainable cancer services.

Whats a bit of a worry is that "treating" cancer isn't envrionmentally sustainable at all, if you want to make cancer therapy environmentally sustainable, then it probably makes more sense to not treat it.

Its not a real stretch to get to this point, once they build more "sustainable" buildings to give treatment in, they really have nowhere else to go with this campaign to cut the carbon footprint of cancer care, other than reducing services.

The other option is to reduce cancer rates so there is less to treat, unfortunately, this group has thought of that already:
“High-carbon lifestyles are a cause of cancer and chronic disease and, indeed, many preventative measures for cancer encourage low-carbon lifestyles. Moreover, lower carbon cancer care can, in itself, contribute to prevention,” Frances Mortimer, medical director of the Campaign for Greener Healthcare, said.

FYI, a "high-carbon lifestyle" is the one you are enjoying now. The one with cars, mains electricity, pop-tarts, steak and out-of-season produce shipped in from afar. The "low-carbon lifestyle" they are talking about is the one that many of the recent immigrants to your developed nation of residence can tell you all about. They probably wouldn't recommend it on an ongoing basis, though.

You say potato...

Clearly the days of having some young media lacky check for continuity are finished. Over at the Daily Telegraph, in their dedicated climate change news section (which Im having a bit of trouble even believing they have) they are running two stories side by side.
One story is about how marine biologists are desperately trumpeting that waters are warming on the east coast of Australia, with predictably catastrophic predictions ensuing. (did y'see what I did there?)
The other is an article about how the 3km open water swim at the World Master's Games was cancelled in Sydney because the water was too cold.

Tofurkey of the week # 7

I think we are up to our seventh Tofurkey award now, I'll double check later. The latest environmentally sensitive turkey(s) to garner the kudos of our favourite faux-poultry plinth, is a bunch of Australian Greenpeace protestors. Cunningly dressed as ninjas to conceal their identity (beware of future arse-whoopings from the real shadow-warriors when they find out about this), the protestors scaled the Sydney Opera House to unfurl a banner that said something unimaginative about, yawn, climate change.

In the process they managed to create a safety hazard to the public, drain untold amounts of taxpayer funding in the form of police time, helicopters etc, and risk the lives of actual police men and women who had to work out how to get them down.

The Tofurkey is thusly handed out on the following basis:

* They got arrested for trespass. (Yay!)
* The accoutrements of a ninja warrior should not EVER be co-opted by any outfit as lame as Greenpeace.
* The police who had to respond to this were dragged away from actual real police work, and were rightfully pissed about it. Somewhere a granny got rolled for her pension money, a junky stole a car stereo and some twit smashed my car window even though a 12 year old could pick the lock with a coat-hanger and I dont even have a stereo, and its all Greenpeace's fault.
* This protest has been done to death. I mean, cliched, much. (In 2003 protestors painted "No War" on the opera house in red house paint and had to pay compensation for "willfully marking a building without consent".)
* Their protest slogan and cause de jour was lamer than the organisation they represent. "Stop the politics climate treaty now"?! Awww. C'mon. Really?! You climbed the opera house for that?
* And finally, they used the same slogan in december last year, and got arrested that time, too.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fat people: apparently not just annoying on 'planes...

According to an excessive amount of Australian doctors, fat people are at fault for climate change. Or climate change is causing obesity. No. Wait, obesity and climate change are both caused by rampant consumerism funded by the tobacco lobby. No, thats not right....hang on, I'll get it in a minute....

Oh! Rampant consumerism is causing climate change and obesity and we are all going to die horribly and climate skeptics are acting just like tobacco companies to obstruct anyone trying to fix it. Thats it!

Over 300 Australian doctors published (another) open letter (which you probably can't read because its not open in the sense that you don't have to pay to see it) in the Medical Journal of Australia, explaining the above position. According to the climate doctor in-crowd:
“We are now seeing the emergence of health risks caused by excesses in market driven consumerism (including the consumption of energy dense processed foods), energy subsidised exertion-free living, an over-arching pre-occupation with gross domestic product and ... population growth."

According to a Herald Sun Article (which you actually can read):
“As health professionals, we urge Australian politicians (and the public) to recognise the overlap in the underlying cause of two great health threats that our population now faces,'' the experts wrote.
''... the rise of obesity and its life-threatening disease consequences and the great threats to health from global climate change.

I also particularly like that they didn't hold back from not-so-subtly lumping climate skeptics in with tobacco companies, which they described as an example of:
“the well financed, doubt-fostering opposition of vested interests'"

There they go with that "well financed" crap again. Or maybe Im doing this skeptic thing wrong, and I really needed to go to tobacco giant Philip Morris for funding (after all, what could be more Australian than Philip Morris? They own Kraft, which owns Vegemite.)

The many and varied authors of the abysmal piece of catastrophising excresence that parodies an open missive, also didn't hold back from blaming impending, hypothetical climate woe on a growing population. Clearly they don't read my blog, or they'd know that our actual birth rate is below replacement value, and the only reason our population is increasing is immigration. Sure, its something to bear in mind, but lets face it, Australia hasn't exactly thrown open the gates Corey-style and said "house party, and you're all invited".

What I would like to know, is where in the rolling, bucolic hills of their imaginations did this group representative of one of the highest earning professions in the country, not see the blatent hypocrisy of a political stance that smacks of socialism? Seriously, some of these people have stethoscopes that are worth more than my car (I'm not kidding, although mind you, some people have electric tea kettles that are worth more than my car). Especially considering that its actually POOR people in this country who are more likely to be obese. (If you don't believe me, I invite you to conduct your own literature review. Or alternatively you could go to your local McDonalds.)

I realise that I have strayed far into unexplored victriolic territory today, but I am on the wrong end of too many early mornings, sick kids, cranky husbands and chlorhexidine hand-rub, and it was a given that the next person(s) who messed with me were gonna get torn a new one. Much to an entire teaching hospital's continued relief, it turned out to be a bunch of histrionic, hypocritical alarmist doctors that irked me first, and in a virtual sense.

Sadly, I know some of the people who put their name to this, and all I can do is shake my head in a rueful, slightly sad kind of way, and say: "Y'all are gonna be REAL embarassed about this some day, and the internet (and a certain under paid and overworked blogger) never forgets..."

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tofurkey of the Week # 6

Ahh, the Tofurkey. The Daily Suppository's award for all those found acting like a total turkey in an environmentally sensitive manner. This award has become somewhat of a fixture around here, athough everyone has been very kind to not point out that it hasn't been as weekly as the name would indicate.

Regardless, I have found another candidate for the award, and this week it goes out to the wife of fellow Tofurkey alumni, Pete Bethune.

Pete Bethune, erstwhile "Captain" of the doomed Ady Gil Trimaran and all 'round danger to the public, has just landed in Japan, where all his, um...tofurkeys, have come home to roost in the form of an arrest for tresspass. This charge is for his ill-advised boarding of the whaler Shonan Maru II, and may attract a sentence of up to three years or a hefty fine. Pete can console himself with the fact that it could have been worse, he could have been charged with piracy.

Sharyn Bethune, Pete's wife, has earned herself a tofurkey for expressing "shock" at his arrest.

Sharyn was quoted as saying:
“You can't just shrug it off. It's a long way for his kids to go and see him - a Japanese jail.”

Which came as a bit of a shock to me, too, as I assumed given the way Pete has been gallivanting around the southern ocean throwing butyric acid missiles around and generally having a, forgive me, whale of a time, that he mustn't have any kids.

Blind Freddy could have seen this arrest coming, so the Tofurkey is also awarded on the basis that people with dependent children should not knowingly put themselves in such a compromising situation and then plead for sympathy when the inevitable happens.

The New Zealand foreign minister has also stated that he is not going to intervene on Pete's behalf, and is happy to leave him to the tender mercies of the Japanese judicial system. Which, as mentioned previously, has a track record of a 98% + conviction rate.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Xena, princess stupid

Just caught an interview with Lucy Lawless, best known for her role as "Xena, Princess Warrior", and was intrigued by this bit:
Q: After Climategate and other reports questioning climate change science, many people worldwide are still skeptical about global warming. What would you say to disbelievers to get them to change their minds?
A: I think the people running climate change denial campaigns are sociopaths. They don't want you to get off the grid in any sense because then you'd be autonomous and they couldn't make you buy their poison.

The stupid, its hurting me. FYI Lucy, I don't own a utility company and Im not peddling poison. Im just a discerning, skeptical individual.
And just so you know, you sucked in Battlestar Galactica. There, I've said it.

NB: The link in the original interview (from Mother Nature Network of all places) actually really did link to climategate.com. Big ups to the lads over there!