Dear Marcus …

All in all a very bad night at the footy …

A man barracking for Carlton grabbed Marcus hard around the throat and pushed him back into his seat.

He then unloaded a string of profanities at the startled boy.

Marcus said the incident had ruined his night.

I know how you feel, mate, I have to live with one. And then, then, they go and steal the game with a fluke of a goal, a total accident. Have they no shame?

Data adjustment …

Anthony Watts suspended his blog Watts Up With That a couple of days ago ahead of a press release. Two hot issues for the unsettled scientists have been the siting of weather recording stations and the subsequent “correction” of data. Watts reports …

The USHCN is one of the main metrics used to gauge the temperature changes in the United States. The first wide scale effort to address siting issues, Watts, (2009), a collated photographic survey, showed that approximately 90% of USHCN stations were compromised by encroachment of urbanity in the form of heat sinks and sources, such as concrete, asphalt, air conditioning system heat exchangers, roadways, airport tarmac, and other issues. This finding was backed up by an August 2011 U.S. General Accounting Office investigation and report titled: Climate Monitoring: NOAA Can Improve Management of the U.S. Historical Climatology Network.

which addresses the first issue, and regarding adjustments …

A reanalysis of U.S. surface station temperatures has been performed using the recently WMO-approved Siting Classification System devised by METEO-France’s Michel Leroy. The new siting classification more accurately characterizes the quality of the location in terms of monitoring long-term spatially representative surface temperature trends. The new analysis demonstrates that reported 1979-2008 U.S. temperature trends are spuriously doubled, with 92% of that over-estimation resulting from erroneous NOAA adjustments of well-sited stations upward.

The new improved assessment, for the years 1979 to 2008, yields a trend of +0.155C per decade from the high quality sites, a +0.248 C per decade trend for poorly sited locations, and a trend of +0.309 C per decade after NOAA adjusts the data.

It certainly unsettles me that warming owes more to the adjustments than to carbon dioxide!

Not all nutbags are mad …

And having alerted the world to the banger in the bottom spectacular, in which I may have used the word crackers I await in fear and trepidation the arrival of the word police …

MEDIA outlets that broadcast or use phrases such as ”loony”, ”psycho” and ”nutcase” would be censured under a plan to crack down on language that stigmatises the mentally ill.

Headspace, the national youth mental health foundation, wants television, radio and print regulators to adopt tougher codes to penalise those who use mental illness as a derogatory term …

The story is brought to us by Jill Stark, who, depending how wide the net is cast, may have to change her name.

The really useful Julian Disney was beside himself in his haste to further erode Australian freedom of expression …

Australian Press Council chairman Julian Disney said such concerns were ”important and persuasive”, and would be given the ”highest possible priority” in press standards now under revision.


More arse than class …

A NORTHERN Territory man may be flown to Adelaide after a party trick involving setting off firecrackers between his buttocks went badly wrong.

The 23-year-old man was at a party in the Darwin suburb of Rapid Creek on Saturday night when he decided to let the cracker off, NT Police said.

“It appears a party was in full progress when a young male decided to place a firework between the cheeks of his bottom and light it,” said Senior Sergeant Garry Smith.

“What must of seemed to be a great idea at the time has backfired, resulting in the male receiving quite severe and very painful burns to his cheeks, back and private bits,” Snr Sgt Smith said.

Alcohol was a possible factor involved in the stunt, police said.

<Herald Sun>.

Live wire …

Nearly a Darwin award.

Two men and a seven tear old girl at Prestons, NSW, pulled up at an excavation, fenced and clearly marked as dangerous, “Live cables below”. In a determined attempt to prove that NSW stands for “No sense whatever”…

Police allege the younger man entered the area with a battery powered angle grinder and attempted to cut into the insulation surrounding the cables.

It is further alleged that as the grinder cut through the cable and struck the live copper wiring there was an explosion.

The 32-year-old man suffered extensive burns to his upper body but was able to return to his vehicle and drive to Campbelltown Hospital.

Suffering injury to 50 per cent of his body the man will be transferred to the burns unit at Concord Hospital and remains in a serious but stable condition.

Paradise lost …

Australian cavers have stumbled upon a vast network of tunnels containing fossils that could offer key insights into species’ adaptation to climate change, scientists have confirmed.

The limestone caves in Australia’s far north contained what University of Queensland paleontologist Gilbert Price described as a “fossil goldmine” of species ranging from minute rodents and frogs to giant kangaroos.

Once part of an ancient rainforest, the remote site now lies in arid grassland and Price said the fossilised remains could hold key clues about how the creatures had adapted to climate change and evolved to their current forms.

The caves’ oldest specimens are estimated to be 500,000 years old. Price said they lived in a period of major aridification of central Australia and retreat of the rainforest that triggered a “formal extinction event”.

“What we’re trying to do up here is really look at the fossils and look at the animals and see how they responded to those prehistoric climatic changes, and that’s something that’s really quite relevant to today,” Price told AFP.

Our Gilbert would have been delighted to stumble across a fascinating hoard of fossils for their intrinsic interest and, of course, paleontologists are hard pressed to be paleontologists without them. He would have been thrilled at any time, but at this particular time he displays them to the world through the prism of climate change.

And if he wants a grant, why not? Philippa Martyr has been having a look at successful grant applications, she writes …

Along the way, I was tickled to see just how far-reaching the impact of climate change will be in Australia.

She gives a quite detailed list. Areas of research to benefit from climate change include …

  • Physiology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Public Health and Health Sciences
  • Political Science

Some are just too delicious to resist giving in greater detail

Psychology: “Climate change represents a moral challenge to humanity, and one that elicits high levels of emotion. This project examines how emotions and morality influence how people send and receive messages about climate change, and does so with an eye to developing concrete and do-able strategies for positive change.” ($197,302)

Journalism and Professional Writing: “This project will examine the use of news management or ‘spin’ by Australian governments. Is it a legitimate tool of government in the face of a hyper-adversarial news media or a technique which undermines democracy? It will examine ‘spin’ in connection with policies on climate change, economic policy, indigenous policy and asylum seekers policy.” ($95,000)

Sociology: “We know very little about the ways food security is governed in Australia. This study – the first social-science based study of food security in the nation – will allow us to understand how a multiplicity of agencies come together to ensure the delivery of food, especially at a time of climate change impacts.” ($100,000 – 2 years)

Literary Studies: “The project will devise and develop a new ‘cultural materialist’ paradigm for science fiction studies and apply it to a case study of science fictional representations of catastrophe, especially nuclear war, plague and extreme climate change.” ($239,000)

Historical Studies: “This project will produce a comprehensive new biography of H.V. Evatt, High Court judge, minister in the 1940s, President of the United Nations General Assembly and leader of the Australian Labor Party opposition during the 1950s. Evatt’s life resonates with modern challenges both of liberty in a time of terror, and of internationalism in a time of global warming.” ($185,000)

Move over and make room on the gravy train.

The earth has been around for a very long time. The geological timescale using eons, eras, epochs, periods and ages is one way of breaking that immense time into useable chunks. It’s often represented something like this …

Once life began and started to leave fossils the paleontologists were able to make a considerable contribution to this scheme. In almost all instances the boundaries of these time slices are the result of major climate change.

One of those boundaries is the subject of a 1994 book on our planet as it was 33 million years ago by veteran paleo-climatologist Donald A. Prothero—The Eocene-Oligocene Transition: Paradise Lost. The Eocene (55-33 million years ago) began what is sometimes called the Golden Age of Mammals. This geological age was at least 10°C warmer than today, free of ice caps, and with CO2 levels, Prothero suggests, of up to 3,000 parts per million, which is almost eight times today’s level of about 400 ppm. Yet Prothero calls the Eocene a “lush, tropical world.”

The reality is earth is currently its coldest in almost 300 million years.

Price’s fossils have no descendents in the north Australian desert because of a great cooling that brought an end to the lush rainforests that formerly flourished there.