Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The crazy makes me lol

I love the meeting of psychology, climate science and the main stream media. Sometimes, the logic (if you wish to call it that) gets so convoluted I feel like I need a whiteboard and a flowchart. It's kind of reminiscent of arguing with my 10 year old, Thing-two, only I can't put and end to the ridiculousness by screaming "Because I damn well said so!" and then threatening to set fire to all the chocolate / gaming systems / trampolines in the house.

See if you can stay with me, and I will attempt to take you on a tandem water-slide ride of modern health research.

A new report from the Climate Institute has found that the recent drought was really bad for mental health in the bush. The researchers know, KNOW, that since the drought was "caused" by climate change, ergo climate change has negatively impacted mental health.

Still with me?

Good. Luckily, there are warning signs to look out for if you think that the mental health of someone you know has been negatively impacted by climate change:
such as changes in normal behaviour, flat moods, not enjoying things they enjoyed before, isolating themselves, not going to barbecues and social functions, and not keeping up with work.

Oh no. Add "lying on the couch refusing to move and watching several hours of really bad science fiction in protest at your life", then that pretty accurately describes medical school.

The reasoning behind the report was so overtly questionable that even Bjorn Lomberg commented on it.

When John Connor CEO of the Climate Institute, was questioned on "...the evidence for climate change not being believed in many rural areas", he ignored the fact that this then negated the entire presumption behind the report.
he says despite that the vast majority of Australia's do have concerns about climate change.

Adding also, that lots, LOTS of science-ey guys believed in climate change, too. So there. No news on how the drought affected those science-ey guys mental health.
Tim Flannery, however, seems to be doing just fine.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

You've got to be f******g Sh*tting me.

I just received a letter from someone claiming to be "my neighbour", spruiking the benefits of the carbon dioxide tax. This on a day when the global economy looks like it is finally going to take the belly flop off the cliff that I predicted a while back. What was most offensive, was that it was a letter template from SayYesAustralia, the organisation that Cate Blanchett did that ridiculous television ad for. I got cranky, and thought it only fair that I reply. Please consider the letter that follows to be a template that any of you out there who recieved a similar "my neighbour" letter can use in response.

Dear XXX, my “Neighbour”,

I just received your mail out today, and I have to say I was quite offended by the content therein. Firstly, the basic premise of you feeling that you need to tell me what to think about the Labour-Green Government’s carbon dioxide tax is offensive in the main, as I was raised with the firm etiquette that inquiring about how one votes, ones political affiliations and how much money one earns is the worst sort of crass.

Secondly, I find that the subject matter that was espoused in your missive represents the worst sort of dishonesty. For starters, the letter that you sent was not penned by you, which I would have accepted as an expression of your own viewpoint, however unwelcome. It was compiled by a consortium of politically motivated organisations, and amounts to propaganda of the worst kind. Not only that, but the issue which it sought to address was fundamentally misrepresented. Not once in that execrable piece of junk that you gleefully put your name to was the term “carbon dioxide” mentioned. It referred several times to “carbon” and a price on same, which is somewhat of a misnomer. Carbon, as most of us know it, is the stuff left over in a fireplace or on a burnt piece of toast, so one could be forgiven for thinking that “carbon pollution” refers to the worst kind of industrial effluent. Soot, if you will. Carbon dioxide on the other hand, which the subject tax of your letter refers to, is not a blackened by-product of industry, it is plant food, and essential to life.

To say that I was cranky upon receiving your letter probably undersells the eyes-rolling-back-in-the-head irritability that ensued. I was ropable in the extreme. In a bid to talk myself out of calling you at home and giving you a piece of my mind, I drank half a bottle of chardonnay (and I don’t even like chardonnay) and ate a three week old wheel of camembert I found in the bottom of the fridge that I suspect by all appearances my youngest child attempted to eat with their feet). At first I told myself that you were probably a teenager, feeling strongly about things you’re yet too young to understand, unfortunately, with the marvels of the internet, it took me only a matter of minutes to establish that not only are you an adult with school age children, but also your home ‘phone number, mobile number and street address. Whilst I commend your courage in placing your name so freely in the public domain, (after all, there wouldn’t be a ‘phone book without people like you) I must counsel caution. I myself am a fairly reasonable human being, I recognise your right to a difference of opinion and firmly recognise that it is impossible to legislate against stupidity, and had you not cluttered up my mailbox, I would have been happy to live and let live sans reply of this nature. However, given that a recent Galaxy poll showed the stable figure of 55% of people being against the carbon tax versus 37% in favour, it would appear incumbent upon you to let discretion be the better part of valour on this highly politicised and emotive issue, especially given the fact that the global economy seems to be sliding into an abyss. Just a heads up that not everyone you letter-box dropped may be so reasonable in the upcoming financial and philosophical climate.

Not only am I a single parent living in a rental property that costs $18,000 per year, with gas-ducted heating and several mouths to feed at prices that are some of the highest in the developed world, I also work at the local public hospital. Guess what? Hospitals are not being compensated under the proposed Gillard government carbon dioxide tax. A hospital energy bill runs into the millions per annum, and under this proposed carbon dioxide tax, energy utility bills are set to rise by around 20%. How do you propose the hospital meet the extra costs? Should people such as I lose their jobs in a cost cutting exercise? Are you personally volunteering to wait longer in the Emergency Department for treatment? At present, key performance indicators at this hospital call for a Category 4 triage patient to be seen within about 3 hours of presentation, that’s a long time to be sitting around with a broken limb, and we don’t always meet it anyway. Are you seriously telling me that you will be OK with, for instance, a 6 hour wait to be seen if your little one breaks their arm on the jungle-gym? How about 8 hours? Or even 12? And that’s just to see the junior doctor who will inform you that, yes, indeed, the limb is broken. So this is not withstanding how long it takes the orthopaedic surgeon to get around to seeing you. Perhaps instead, we should have a garage sale and on-sell the new PET-CT machine that cost this community so dear? I’m sure that the next time you or someone else you know is investigated for cancer, you won’t mind a 2 hour drive to access the next available machine.

Finally, I note with interest, that at no stage do you, SayYesAustralia who authored your letter template, or the Gillard Government, actually quantify the exact amount of warming that will be averted by knee-capping our entire economy and beggaring our way of life, based on current (albeit essentially flawed) modelling. In case you haven’t pondered this yet, estimates run around 0.01 of a degree Celsius. That, to me, does not seem worth it, and I withhold my thanks at your misguided and somewhat rude attempt to change my mind.

Sincerely Yours,

Your Neighbour.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Paging Doctor Turnbull

Opposition frontbencher Malcolm "it should have been me" Turnbull has been touted by the ABC as decrying "the war on climate science." Hey, I thought, thats what I do, isn't it?
He likened climate change denial to "ignoring your doctor's advice on the basis that someone down the pub told you his uncle Ernie lived to 95 and smoked a packet of cork-tipped cigarettes every day and drank a bottle of whisky".

Wait a minute, isn't medical advice what I do, too?! Luckily, I kind of disagree with Malcolm, or I'd be out of a job. Misuse of the word "denial" aside, I think that being somewhat skeptical of the current anthropogenic global warming meme based on a careful evaluation of the current evidence for and against, is not like the "uncle Ernie" example cited by Turnbull above. If anything, it's more like being skeptical of:

* Radioactive thorium toothpaste.
* Eugenics.
* Avoiding eggs from fear they will raise your cholesterol, and
* The perception of homosexuality as a mental illness.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Stick it in your backyard

Oh, look. Apparently we're all going to die of climate. Again. "News at JAMA" have just reported on a recent "analysis" which found that extreme weather, infectious diseases and air pollution (air pollution?) due to climate change will pose a growing health risk, which will be most pronounced in the south-eastern United States. Quick, someone tell Jimmy Buffett.

Wondering what this "analysis" was, I clicked the link provided and was taken to the web site of some activist collective named the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and a page entitled "Climate Change Threatens Health." with the bi-line "Serious threats where you live and what to do about them". Which just didn't seem right. Clearly what was missing, apart from science and an actual analysis, was some of these !!!!!. There, thats better. Still unable to find an actual scientific study, it appears after further scrutiny that the analysis referred to is actually a map of the United States which allows you to see in handy image form exactly how threatened by Dengue you will be "in your own backyard."!!!!!! Emphasis mine.

Good 'ole Dengue. Its always getting trotted out as the next great climate thing. Sadly, it ain't all that. In fact, if you refer to great entomological minds, such as Dr. Paul "You're so hot, lets do a field study together on a beach in the Caribbean" Reiter, or a WHO publication from 1989 a.k.a "Before the world went completely mental", it turns out the mosquito most implicated in dengue spread is a big fan of human settlements:
The peri-domestic, highly anthropophilic Aedes aegypti is the principal vector of all the serotypes and the sole vector in the New World and Australia

In other words, it's expansion of the urban environment, not climate change, that increases the vector distribution. The same publication shows the dramatic decline in A. aegypti distribution between the years 1930 and 1980.*

Such a shame that much vaunted JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, is getting its breaking medical news from an NGO infomercial. I expect the next News at JAMA story will be on a recent analysis of exactly how many times its weight in water a Shamwow can actually absorb (!!!!!). Or maybe they could elect Dr. Ho to the editorial board. (Hes a "caring doctor".)

I'm not even sure how deep in the climate alarmism funding pie the NRDC has sunk its fingers, but it didn't take too long to work out they aren't exactly about balance in the scientific debate. Their founding director appears to also be the Pew Oceans commissioner. Enough said. Well, if "enough" means "partisan-extremist-behemoth-that-seeks-to-destroy-the-livelihoods-of-fishermen-across-the-globe-and-dictate-to-other-sovereign-nations-that-they-must-lock-up-their-marine-resources-in-green-zones-so-a-few-rich-nobs-from-the-US-can-feel-better-about-their-oil-inheritances." Gasp. Then enough said.

*Many people assume the reduction in mosquito borne disease during that time was probably due to DDT, but thats because they haven't seen this: