Various lockdown hacks and escapes — 46 — not too cheerful but still good…

God knows what joy Gladys Berejiklian or Brad Hazard, NSW Premier and Health Minister respectively, will bring us at 11am today! Yesterday was another record.

Needless to say all sorts of party political argy-bargy ensues and it is as plain as a pikestaff that some things could have been done better at both state and federal levels. I do not propose to add to that. But I do sympathise with this tweet from Stephanie Dowrick:

Who else finds it unbearable to hear @GladysB – on worst numbers day & with 12 deaths – lecturing “other States” about how they will have to “learn to live with #Covid”? Does she have no comprehension that it was a #NSW #Quarantine breach plus #Fed #VaccineFails that led to this?

I don’t have any doubt at all that infallibility is not part of the DNA of ANY of our politicians or — perhaps even more so — of our keyboard warriors or self-appointed pundits. Nor, such is the nature of things, are the true experts infallible — though they are a hell or a lot more worth noting than said pundits etc.

I had to attend the Wollongong Medical Centre yesterday — face-to-face!

Necessary trip to the medical centre and chemist this morning. The COVID security at the medical centre is much enhanced. You are greeted by a person in full PPI who asks if you have an appointment (I did) and QR code scanned or details taken — the latter in my case as I still have a dumb phone.

A positive note now, however, of a most articulate expert, a virologist in fact (which just might make him relevant!) and an interviewer who is cool, intelligent and really asks the right questions came my way from the US yesterday. This is totally admirable. The interviewer concerned is David Pakman, who impresses me more and more. I said when posting it to my Facebook:

Well worth careful watching. Unlike so many on YouTube or Sky or Fox, this person is qualified to talk about the subject! Information, reliable information, not loud-mouthing from click-baiting opinion mongers! Or drongoes.

Yes, a real honest-to-goodness virologist! How radical of David Pakman to talk to such a person — when he could have asked Alan Jones or Craig Kelly….

Except David is lucky. He has probably never heard of either twerp.

Incidentally, this virologist shoots down the Wuhan Lab Leak meme as a politically motivated distraction — and highly unlikely.

Vincent Racaniello, virology professor at Columbia University and host of the podcast This Week in Virology, joins David to discuss the pandemic, COVID-19, the coronavirus, vaccines, contagion, incubation periods, and much more.

Professor Racaniello contributes to this expert blog, which ranges beyond COVID. Looks like a reliable source.

Our local TV news, WIN, had a really interesting story yesterday too — for once the LNP has done something right! Even Labour Council Secretary Arthur Rorris thinks this is a great idea! And, the Union Movement generally.

A wind farm off the Illawarra coast is a step closer after legislation enabling development was introduced to parliament.

It’s billed as the opportunity of a lifetime for the region, with OceanEx Energy hoping to start the landmark project within six years.

To alter the tone considerably, I happily shared a meme yesterday and many friends endorsed it. Indeed, who are they? And why should we care?

Various lockdown hacks and escapes — 40 — our town and some brilliant finds

Yes, the 40th in the series! OMG! Longer actually, as our lockdown began 26 June. So Day 61 in fact.

In accordance with NSW Health advice Saturday 26th June Collegians will be closing its venues from 4pm today. This includes:

Collegians Wollongong, Collegians Balgownie, Collegians Illawarra Leagues, Collegians Figtree & Collegians Port Kembla

At this stage we hope to re-open our doors on Saturday 10th July in accordance with the end of the lock down Midnight Friday 9th July. Pending further advice from NSW Health.

Thank you for your understanding. Stay safe and take care. Collegians Management

Well here we still are… As I have said City Diggers is taking advantage of the lockdown to do major renovations.

The coffee shop bar yesterday!

Talked to a club friend from early on in my return to The Gong, Steve Hitchens, about this yesterday on the phone. BIG changes. But as I said to him, I hope the Bistro menu is better than it was in the lead-up to lockdown — the reason I and Maurice and many others migrated to Illawarra Leagues. Be interested to see the changes though.

Speaking of The Gong, on Thursday I went to town to the chemist as I had to renew some medication. Waiting for the bus at this bus stop I had a conversation which I later reported on Facebook:

At the bus stop in The Gong this morning — a woman around my age was consulting the bus timetable as I scanned the intersection of Crown and Keira for a bus…

“Are they after you?” she suddenly said.

Apparently some kind of police or public order officers had just gone past. I hadn’t noticed…

She laughed and said, “You never know these days, do you?”

We chatted about how things were going. “It’s bad,” she said.

“Yes, but our parents lived through the War,” I replied. “This is not as bad.”

She agreed. “Yes, I was born just after and I remember…”

And told stories of shortages and rations.

“I was born during,” I replied. “And I think now we should be tapping into the spirit our parents had back then.”

“True,” she replied. And went on her way.My bus arrived. A 39. Good, Mount Keira Road service. And I was the only passenger.

Meanwhile the internet continues to deliver, especially through Facebook, some amazing things.

First a family history treasure from the Wollondilly Historical Page on Facebook. I have colourised the image.

John (Jack) Whitfield (1864-1956) joined the Police Force as a Probationary Constable on 28th October 1889. Previous to this he worked as a sawyer with his father W.J.J. Whitfield at his Bluegum Creek Sawmill near the Thirlmere Lakes.John Whitfield was the last constable with the Police Force at Appin. The Court House/Police Station was closed in 1933. Photograph from Whitfield family collection.

Uncle John deserves colour! I met him when I was a kid, but I hardly remember him I’m afraid. I better remember his brother Bill and indeed his other brother, my grandfather Tom. And his sister Annie, who attended the reception in Shellharbour in 1972 for my gold medal Olympian cousin Beverley.

Then on a completely different tack is this brilliant video from journalist George Monbiot on climate change.

So very true! I am ashamed to see that Aussie motormouths like Alan Jones PhD (not) are a significant part of the picture! Game, set and match George! He uses plain and sometimes Anglo-Saxon words at times — perfectly justified, in my view! But if you are a bit precious about such things. be warned if the letter F frightens you….

And yes — kind of contradictory of me, but I really love steam trains! This wonderful footage is of my favourite steamer of all time — the C38! Beautifully edited too. The ending is so apt, given this was the end of the era really. Enjoy! Sorry that you have to watch on YouTube instead of here, but it is very much worth it!

Yes, I know absolutely dreadful things have been happening in Afghanistan. On Facebook first thing yesterday I wrote:

I will not spend too much time on this but like everyone I will be following these events closely. Nothing but absolute revulsion can be our attitude, There is nothing good about ISIS, nothing worthy in their cause or their tactics. They appear to hate everyone except themselves.

Any here or in the USA who turns this into partisan politics of any kind is simply contemptible.

But soon after I did share an item from blogging and FB friend in California, Kanani Fong with this note:

Kanani Fong shared this saying “I thought of this photo this morning, when I heard the news about the Kabul airport. It was the last image I saw last night before tucking in. The Marines have always brought a dose of safety and clarity wherever they go. Much love to their family, friends, and fellow Marines.”

Her husband worked as a surgeon with the US military in Afghanistan. She was involved in that excellent documentary Restrepo.

On not posting about the IPCC Report 2021

Yesterday on Facebook I boldly stated, after quite a few shares there on the subject:

So I will give the blog a day off tomorrow — after all there are a whole lot of great (I think so!) posts I have put out there since our lockdown began.

And no, I am not going to do a post on the climate emergency or the latest IPCC Report.* I have read and seen many good things about all the bad things in it, as have you no doubt — but I have not read the thing itself, and probably neither have you.

Anyway, I have no expertise in any relevant field. I depend on carefully selected sources I have been following for years now.

And went on with what — ironically — has become this post! Stiill, I am the master of this blog,eh, and I can change my mind if I want to!

If you go to my blog (and of course here you are!) you will see in the side-bar (as in these screen shots) what I did from at least 2007 when I got sick of going over and over the same damned fool arguments denialists and minimisers and often their powerful industry sponsors have recycled again and again.

As a simple rule ignore just about everything ever published in the Murdoch press (especially The Australian) and of course the opinion mongers at Sky In The Bog are literally unbelievable and often even less qualified than I am.

The links in the side-bar are up-to-date and all work. I have just tested them. Of course the pic is just a pic, so I have added with each picture a link to the blog so you can check out the EXCELLENT resources the real thing links to.

Seeing you of course are here, let me take you through each of those links.

Skeptical Science — winner of the Australian Museum’s Eureka Award in 2011. Excellent, and VERY sound and sane! In the left sidebar you will also find all the latest posts, including on that current IPCC Report.

The Great Global Warming Swindle Swindle — is a 2007 post of my own, referring to a column by the egregious Murdoch hack Miranda Devine.

Why shouldn’t we be told humans produce a small fraction of the CO2 that goes into the atmosphere each year, compared with volcanoes, bacteria, animals, rotting vegetation and the oceans?

That is in Miranda’s damp squib defence of “The Great Global Warming Swindle, a science-backed [sic] rebuttal of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.” I’ll let notoriously non-Marxist Christian Sir John Houghton, a top meteorologist and former Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Oxford University, reply.

The late Sir John Houghton

Next question. Miranda?

Why shouldn’t we hear about the 2005 House of Lords inquiry, which first examined the economics of climate change, expressing concern about the objectivity of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?

Sir John?

8. The IPCC process stifles debate and is used by scientists to further their own self interest – NOT TRUE.

I chaired the main meetings of Working Group I during the production of the first three IPCC scientific assessments. I can say categorically that the process was very open and honest. The aim was to distinguish between what was reasonably well known and the areas where there is large uncertainty. The chapter groups had complete freedom to investigate and assess the scientific literature and draw their conclusions.

Contrary to the impression given in the programme, no one ever resigned from being a lead author in Working Group I because of their disagreement with the process or the final content of their chapter. In fact, no one ever communicated to me a complaint about the integrity of the process.

I should mention, however, a case of disagreement that occurred in Working Group 2 of the IPCC that dealt with the impacts of climate change – a more complex area to address that the basic science of Working Group I. Professor Reiter who appeared in the programme described how, unfortunately, his expert work on malaria failed to get recognition in the relevant IPCC chapter.

Even Professor Lindzen, who appeared at length on the programme, stayed the course as lead author within Working Group I, expressing his satisfaction with the report’s chapters as good scientific documents. He has often, however, gone on to express his view that the conclusions of the Policymakers Summary did not faithfully represent the chapters. But he has never provided any supporting evidence for that statement – nor, to my knowledge, has anyone else who has quoted that statement originating from Lindzen.

It is important to note that IPCC Policymakers’ Summaries are agreed unanimously at intergovernmental meetings involving over 200 government delegates from around 100 countries. This agreement is only achieved after several days of scientific debate (only scientific arguments not political ones are allowed) the main purpose of which is to challenge the scientific chapter authors regarding the accuracy, clarity and relevance of the summary and most especially its consistency with the underlying chapters. Agreement at such a meeting has ensured that the resulting document, so far as is possible, is scientifically accurate, balanced and free from personal or political bias.

Reference was made in the programme to an article in the Wall Street Journal in 1995 about the 1995 IPCC report accusing the IPCC of improperly altering one of the agreed chapters before publication. This was a completely false accusation as was pointed out in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, September 1996, 77, pp1961-1966.

You may like to listen to (or read the transcript of) this tribute to Sir John Houghton, broadcast on the ABC Science Show in April 2020, on the occasion of his passing.

With his leadership, Sir John Houghton did more than inspire a generation of scientists. No one has more successfully and effectively traversed the world of cutting-edge science, domestic and international climate politics, and the institutions and policies required to reduce climate risk. His combination of scientific rigour, humanism and political nous made him truly formidable.

How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: Responses to common arguments is just brilliant! Every sincere and/or damned fool question is there!

Below is a complete listing of the articles in “How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic,” a series by Coby Beck containing responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming. There are four separate taxonomies; arguments are divided by:

Stages of DenialScientific TopicsTypes of Argument, and Levels of Sophistication.

Individual articles will appear under multiple headings and may even appear in multiple subcategories in the same heading.

The Discovery of Global Warming — A hypertext history of how scientists came to (partly) understand what people are doing to cause climate change by Spencer Weart — “a noted historian specializing in the history of modern physics and geophysics. Until his retirement in 2009 he was Director of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) in College Park, Maryland, USA, and he continues to be affiliated with the Center.”

And of course the IPCC itself.

As for Australia’s position, a discussion came up on Facebook yesterday following our Prime Minister’s response to the latest IPCC Report. My bottom line:

Even if ScoMo believes every word — and he just might — he is going down the wrong path. And taking us with him. So he has to go.

As I said — the wrong path. That rather than his sincerity is the issue. They have been running with the technology will fix it line for ages now, and it is pathetic as a lot of their fixes are extremely hypothetical.

I care about us having a better climate policy. I am not going to go back over all those issues. The fact is I really do not care all that much one way or another about Scott Morrison, either to lionise him or demonise him. Simple fact — he and his government have the wrong policies. Let’s hope the other side — who have been a bit messy too in the past — do a better job.

This cartoon offers a view which resonates with me.

And of the many media responses yesterday, this one from India is one of the most powerful.

And here is an hour from someone I am sure you know. I offer it in the unlikely event you have not seen it — it is an hour well spent though.

These things gained my attention in the last day or two — our changing world!

Given our Prime Minister’s embarrassing performance on Joe Biden’s climate summit our government seems to have retreated to some kind of bubble….

OK, #1:

With that in mind, #2 is particularly impressive — indeed dramatic. When I showed it to Colin MacD at Illawarra Leagues yesterday he too was amazed. Are you?

Data from the World Bank. Animation made in Brazil — hence the title in Portuguese.

Then I wondered:

There was an impressive feature on the following on ABC News Breakfast this morning — on the world chip shortage. Silicon chips, that is. An earlier version of the story.

The current shortage highlights the fragility of this system and how easily production can be slowed by, say, a freak snowstorm.

The cold snap in Texas last month saw electricity shortages, which led to Samsung halting production at its Austin chip foundry.

Meanwhile, a drought in Taiwan (where the largest producer, TSMC, is based) has dried up manufacturers’ reservoirs.

A single computer chip requires up to 8,000 litres of water to produce, and the big foundries use thousands of tonnes a day. 

I fear I was a weird kid!

Yesterday morning I shared this with my niece Christine, who is in hospital, partly for the images and partly for the music. Normal kids went to Luna Park, probably more than once. I suspect I never did! Can’t recall that I did anyway — and I know (though of course I saw it from Sydney Harbour many times) — it never attracted me.

I was much more attracted to the Australian Museum –– indeed, even took my neighbourhood friends and classmates there, just a year or two after this was taken at Sutherland Public School — that is from when I was maybe ten years old, travelling by train by myself (or with said friends) to the city, walking across Hyde Park to the Australian Museum. Loved the place!

And what not to love, eh? This was what you saw in the 1950s when you came in the front door — and in those “socialist” days entry was FREE!

Many of the galleries still looked like this, and you could pull open drawers and discover all manner of amazing things. And we kids pretty much had the run of the place. I can’t remember some official telling us what we could or couldn’t do!

Looking back on it, some of the exhibits especially in ethnography and anthropology were pretty revolting by modern standards — First Australian skulls, for example, and models of people in various stages of nudity and “primitiveness” — but even these were informative to us as kids. There was a bust of Truganini, I recall.

Believe it or not, with my pocket money I bought every publication I could, no matter how unlikely I at 10 or 11 could really be expected to read it. The shop never questioned the pint-sized customer either! Their magazine was a favourite, and here is a 1961 copy — that is about seven years after my purchases, but you will get the idea.

In those days I planned to be a scientist — but that did not work out. Always interested though.