Revisiting August 2016 – plus Debbie Reynolds

Cyrille de Lasteyrie via Eric Tenin on Facebook posted this remarkable photograph:

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Carrie Fisher watching her mother on stage from the wings

M returns, while I waste more time on Senator Belfry…

Posted on August 17, 2016 by Neil

M is (i believe) just back from Europe after a long and most wonderful two months and more. He went towards the end of May. Among a heap of photos he posted on Facebook a couple of days ago is this, taken while trekking to Mont Blanc.

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An appropriate kind of image given the rest of the post.

Yesterday I devoted time to Senator Belfry’s amazing appearance on QandA on Monday. The transcript is now up. A small sample:

[BELFRY] Sure, the longest temperature record for temperatures on this planet is the Central England Temperature Record, which goes back to the mid-1600s. And the first of the – sorry, the latest in the 17th century, the latest warming cycle in the 17th century going into the 18th century was faster and greater than the latest warming which finished in 1995. And Justin Bieber wasn’t flying his private jet around in the 1600s. That’s the first thing. The second thing was we’ve had a pause in this so-called warming for now 21 years. It depends how you measure it. 21 years. And I’m absolutely stunned that someone who is inspired by Richard Feynman, a fantastic scientist who believes in empirical evidence is quoting a consensus.
BRIAN COX: Can I just say – I brought the graph, right.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TONY JONES: Okay.
BRIAN COX: Let me tell you where the pause is. The pause that’s often quoted, if you take this point here, which is about 1997, I think, and you ignore 2015-2016, you can choose that point and you can draw a slightly straighter trend line on there. But that’s a misunderstanding. The question is does that rise and, also, secondly – I’ve brought another graph – is it correlated with that, which is the graph that shows the CO2 emissions – the CO2 in parts per million in the atmosphere – and you see that peak there, where it goes flying up. So the question essentially is first of all are those two things correlated and, secondly, do we understand the physical mechanisms and we’ve understood those since the 19th century. I mean, I can teach you. I’ll give you a lesson if you want.

Belfry’s technique is to drown you in a blizzard of horseshit. Let’s be honest here. You can go to yesterday’s post and find a link to his own site where the horseshit is stored in vast quantities. On the other hand you could go here.

Date:  Feb. 27, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

U.S. National Academy of Sciences, U.K. Royal Society Release Joint Publication on Climate Change

WASHINGTON — The U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, the national science academy of the U.K., released a joint publication today in Washington, D.C., that explains the clear evidence that humans are causing the climate to change, and that addresses a variety of other key questions commonly asked about climate change science…

The horseshit vendors, Belfry among them, are armed against that of course. In response to what they will fling at you go to  Has the Royal Society embraced climate skepticism? and The Latest Denialist Plea for Climate Change Inaction.

Rather than being distracted by Belfry’s twaddle, take notice instead of David Attenborough, himself at one time a doubter of anthropogenic climate change.

When asked by the Independent if the world should be more concerned by our deteriorating environment than we are about the threat of terror attacks, his answer was simple: “Yes”.

“The nature of human beings is that they’d far rather face the disaster that is happening tonight than the one that is happening tomorrow,” he said.

“Climate change will affect the whole of humanity, while terrorist attacks will only affect a small section of humanity. Of course, you wouldn’t say that if you were related to someone who had been beheaded or blown up or murdered. But humanity is facing a very big, slow, long, drawn-out threat, and that is to do with the way the weather is changing and the size of the population.”

Sir David reiterated his warning during an interview with the Associated Press to mark his 90th birthday on Sunday, when he explained the most critical problems facing the natural world today. Top of his list was rising temperatures caused by climate change – “a very, very serious worry indeed”.

Finally, an excellent piece in today’s Fairfax press – if you could have found it on their abominable new websites, that is. I resorted to Google in order to locate it.

Richard Muller, a former prominent sceptic US scientist, re-examined 14 million temperature observations from 44,455 sites across the world going back to 1753. The results prompted a “total turnaround” in his views, as my colleague Ben Cubby wrote in 2012.

“Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by 2½ degrees fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of 1½ degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases,” Professor Muller wrote.

Roberts [Belfry], a former coal engineer, and then manager of the Galileo Movement, was unimpressed.

“We’ve based our views on empirical science, and there’s nothing in the Muller study to undercut that,” Roberts told Cubby at the time. Climate change science had been captured by “some of the major banking families in the world” who form a “tight-knit cabal”, he insisted….

‘It does sound outlandish’

For Roberts to be right, at least 80 science academies around the world have to be wrong, as would almost 100 per cent of the scientists publishing work in the field….

Afterthoughts:

So frustrating having to revisit some of the most asinine arguments ever! I watched  my copies of The Climate Wars (2008) by Dr Iain Stewart and Meet the Sceptics (2011) and sighed deeply that all this was bubbling up again. See also my posts Look who’s at the rally along with A Jones and A Anderson… With friends like these… (2011) and Documentaries to make you think, cringe, cry, or wonder.. 2 (2011).

This one I have just downloaded!  Watts Up With That hates it; Lord Monckton tried to have it suppressed.

The truth is that it is brilliant and very fair to a whole lot of people who are not used to the concept of fair representation themselves. Even Lord Monckton is humanised rather than demonised; the presenter even goes so far as to say he rather likes him as a person. That is not just a ploy.

What’s up with Monckton is now pretty well known. It’s easy really: he’s just plain wrong.

Scarier even than that is the US Republican Party and so many “freedom-loving Americans” and weird right-wing TV channels from Fox on through even more biased and crazy excuses for news and commentary. Watch the doco to see what I mean.

And more on the egregious Belfry:

J.K. Rowling Joins Physicist Brian Cox and Monty Python’s Eric Idle in Calling Out Climate Science Denial

And more! Do visit Peter Sinclair’s Denier Destroyed on Aussie TV. Crowd Goes Wild (19 August), especially for the last two videos addressing the climate denial myths that Belfry promotes.

First, the “no warming in…(pick a number) years” canard, (which has really gotten pretty ragged with 2 record warm years in a row and a third underway) is a favorite of Far right US Senator Ted Cruz. I asked 4 scientists to weigh in on the deception…

Finally, the idea that “NASA has fudged the data” is put to rest by scientists who actually understand temperature data and how it is used…

Memento mori – another from the Class of 1959

Posted on August 19, 2016 by Neil

Look at my 2013 post Found–something from my last year at high school.

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Look at the Latin prize in Fourth Year, our second-last year at SBHS. David Chadwick, here some years later, but still very recognisable.

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And that is from his obituary, published in today’s Sydney Morning Herald

With the Japanese bikers in the halal restaurant…

Posted on August 21, 2016 by Neil

Samaras Restaurant was very busy yesterday when Chris T and I went there for lunch. I felt more than usually patriotic – proud of living in a land where diversity is accepted and respected — as we hoed into the amazing “meat lovers” platter, all halal of course. This is what we had:

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The menu says that is “for one” – well, you’d have to be very hungry to manage it. Chris and I shared and, with a side dish of cauliflower, had more than enough. And I tell you, it is even better than it looks! Even in Surry Hills’s “Little Lebanon” in the past I have not had better.

And yes, there was a table of around 15 young Japanese bikers and friends in the restaurant as well, all tucking into the excellent food, and appreciating the friendly vibe and good service. As did the anglo-celtic Aussies who took over those tables when the Japanese left.

Ah Wollongong! Here it is not too unusual to see sights like:

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Note the Buddha in the background, by the way. These photos are from my photoblog under the tag “multicultural”. Despite what some say, we Australians have been rather good at creating a positive experience of cultural diversity. May we continue thus to grow,

Which brings me to the latest by the Revenant of Oz, now a Senator. I prefer to name her thus 1) because she is a revenant and 2) I avoid adding to the sum of her name being mentioned on the Internet. Her latest has caused a degree of mirth:

Australian Multicultural Foundation and SBS chairman Hass Dellal said One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s preoccupation with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) implementing some squat toilets in its Melbourne office reeked of “insecurity”.

ATO’s acting chief finance officer Justin Untersteiner told the Herald Sun this week that the office deployed the toilets because it was committed to “maintaining an inclusive workplace”.

Pauline Hanson asks in a Facebook video posted on Sunday: “If they don’t know how to use our toilets…then what the hell is going on?”

She then responded to a comment on that post: “It’s not just a matter of dollars Wade. It starts with toilets and ends with costing us our Australian way of life.”

Waleed Aly commented in the Fairfax Press: a good opinion piece, I thought. He goes on to make an interesting point, having mentioned Revenant sidekick Senator Belfry’s amazing outing on last Monday’s #QandA.

…And  [Belfry]  sounds nothing like Hanson. Sure, he’s not a fan of the Racial Discrimination Act, but he doesn’t seem especially fixated on Muslims – or toilets for that matter. That’s even truer of Rod Culleton, who will be One Nation’s senator in Western Australia. He hates banks, probably because one of them took his farm.

But when asked recently about One Nation’s dogma that multiculturalism has failed, he replied: “I wouldn’t say it’s failed. I respect multiculturalism. You know, I’ve married a very beautiful Greek woman and her family love me like a son.” That woman, by the way, was also a One Nation candidate in Western Australia. Ask her about Hanson’s proposed royal commission into Islam and she says, “that’s one of the ones that, again, I will not be in agreeance with”.

Well, that’s quite a disagreement. It’s remarkable that Hanson would have candidates so at odds with what, until now, has seemed her party’s political reason for being…

We’ll only figure out what that all means over the next three (or six) years. But the starting point is that Hanson presides over nothing particularly organic. Drill to the bottom of One Nation and you find varieties of disillusionment, but not always xenophobia. It’s just not that coherent… But they might have more in common than they seemed to a month ago. That includes the same proclivity for bizarre video stunts. And you know that old saying: it starts with toilets and ends up costing your political authority.

I have wondered what collective I might use for the Revenant’s group: Ein Volk has connotations that may be unfair. I thought of the Had a Gutful Party, which is accurate but abbreviates to HAG, possibly sexist. Maybe POP? Pissed Off Party?

BTW, I do suspect that when you saw, as we all did…

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… your first thought was not “that’s a Muslim.” You probably felt something about the cruelty of war. You probably saw a frightened child. You probably reached out in humanity and wished this world could be better. Let’s keep those reactions alive, eh!

Addendum

And this bus-load makes me proud to be an Australian!

…Many of us are still pretty far from being comfortable travellers in an increasingly diverse world. We may be curious, but we can lack confidence, erring on the side of silence rather than diving in and risk saying the wrong thing.

Perhaps we worry that no one will stand with us if we do speak out. That our fellow Australians indeed are the racists we’re stereotyped to be. That it’s easier to stay quiet than risk a debate with a Hanson supporter. Perhaps it all just makes us feel too nervous and we pretend not to hear over our headphones.

Whatever it was on Thursday, this was a pretty neat example of 50-odd people keeping their cool, making it calmly clear that none of us was tolerating racism, and having the confidence to sort it out. The standard you walk past is the standard you accept, so they say.

Thirty years is a long time and forty even longer

Posted on August 24, 2016 by Neil

I missed this, unfortunately, as I rarely attend night-time things these days, especially in Sydney. I had been invited:

Its a long time ago, but you taught me for a few years at Sydney High – 1985 and 1986 – for 2 unit English. Memorable times, including the infamous “shit poem” you asked a friend to come in and read for us, and our universal dislike of Dickens’ Great Expectations!

My colleagues and I are having a 30 year reunion on Saturday August 13, 2016 – we’d like to invite you if you’d like to come.

The inviter is on the right, a former teaching colleague on the left:

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Apparently a debate on the topic “It is better to live fast and wild in middle age than in high school” was part of the night’s proceedings. They were very good at debating, that class of 1986. Some have gone on to considerable eminence in related fields. I’m told  “over fifty-five ex-students and a small number of teachers calling ‘present, sir’ at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst on Saturday 13 August.”  I am sorry I could not be with them, but am having fun guessing, occasionally successfully, who is who in the photos.

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Some of these people may recall this:

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See More “Neil’s Decades” – 10: 1986 again

Watching “Billy Elliot” again

Posted on August 28, 2016 by Neil

Back in August 2006 I posted:

Then another coachee, doing Standard English, has as one of his texts (yes, I know) Billy Elliot. Again the laptop and the local video library worked wonders for us. Great movie. and a rich enough text too at many levels. A shame I have this embarrassing tendency to cry in the last few scenes, a phenomenon I described to my coachee rather than enact in front of him.

So ten years on I blubbed (privately) in the last few scenes all over again.

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Interesting viewpoint about that scene:

The worst part of the film, Billy Elliot, is the ending. I know that the ending has people sobbing in their seats (including Elton John), but it is so sweet and corny that it destroys the real-life aspect of the film. In the film, everybody is happy. Billy is a super-star. Michael is open and proud of his new boyfriend. Tony is thrilled to see his little brother perform. And Dad is overcome with joy and pride. Only Fairytales for children under seven should end with “And they all lived happily ever after.”

The story of Billy Elliot and the miners is depressing, and the audience needs a lift at the end. The film uses the silly happy ending to send the audience home happy. But it ruins the gritty reality of the story. The musical finishes the show with only hope for Billy’s future, and no real hope for anyone else. It is much more realistic for older children and adults. Then the musical cheers up the emotionally drained audience with the “Company Celebration” (Finale). Hall and Daldry corrected a major flaw with this change…

What I posted one year ago

Posted on August 25, 2016 by Neil

You’ll have to go to the original to see what this was about:

Random Friday memory 26: naked in The Shire

Posted on August 28, 2015 by Neil

Oh yes. Well, once at least when I was maybe ten years old…

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It was all down to my classmate CT who was a bit of a junior nudist…

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