Why isn’t more research reproducible?

By | Books, Climate Change, Environment, History, Media, Politics, Religion, Research | 18 Comments

Some six years ago I wrote an essay about John Ioannidis, now at Stanford, who stirred up the medical research community with a paper arguing that more than half of all medical research papers could not be trusted because the work described in them could not be replicated. Ioannidis’s original work dates from 2005, but he and others have moved into other areas as well as medicine. The amount of money wasted because of poor research, both by private enterprise and by governments, is enormous. From time to time since I have heard murmurings that positive things are happening in…

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A Cool Look at Global Warming, ten years later PART II

By | Climate Change, Environment, History, Language, Media, Politics, Religion, Research | 102 Comments

If you missed the first part of this long essay, it is here. I am looking at what has happened in the last ten years with respect to the central assumptions of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) scare, about which I wrote a decade ago. You can read the original essay here. Assumptions #1 and #2 have already been dealt with. 3. Is the warming caused by our burning fossil fuels, clearing the forests and other activities? There is no doubt that CO2 accumulations in the atmosphere are increasing, and since we are burning a lot of fossil fuels, which…

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A Cool Look at Global Warming, ten years later PART I

By | ABC, Books, Climate Change, Environment, History, Language, Media, Politics, Religion, Research | 89 Comments

In April 2008 I delivered a paper to the ACT Division of the Planning Institute of Australia about the threat of global warming. Some months later we were to have the Copenhagen Climate Conference that was to solve all humanity’s problems. Many leaders said we had only a few weeks/months/years to save the planet. Al Gore, walking on stage to get his Nobel Peace Prize, barked to an interviewer that ‘the science is settled!’ Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had been rocketing up, and so had seemed to be global temperature. So 2008 was a year where global warming was…

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Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life

By | Other | 31 Comments

Jordan Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist who has taught at Harvard and the University of Toronto. He is something of a celebrity, mostly through his YouTube and TV appearances, where he comes across as cool, urbane, polite and determined. I have watched, three times now, his interview on the UK’s Ch4 where he politely bested the interviewer, Cathy Newman, for twenty minutes, to the point where she simply couldn’t proceed. That interview has been seen more than 1.6 million times on YouTube. He has recently been in Australia to launch this new book, which I thought I ought to…

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The April Off-Topic Thread

By | Other | 92 Comments

Cricket Like many others I was angry and sad in about equal proportion to discover the ‘ball-tampering’ event in South Africa. I  played cricket from an early age, and thoroughly enjoyed it, though it was always second to tennis and later to squash racquets. To me the action of Warner, Smith and Bancroft was simply inexplicable. It took me a day to calm down. Ball-tampering is now new, and du Plessis in South Africa was fined for doing it only a couple of years ago. At the core of it is the problem of money. Cricket is enmeshed in a…

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On the virtue of diversity in politics

By | Economy, Environment, Health, History, Language, Politics, Society | 12 Comments

This essay is in part an extension of the one I wrote on ‘diversity’, and in part an exploration of the party system that I’ve been mulling about for some time. One of the important elements of ‘electoral democracy’ (the sort of system we have), is that it allows pretty–well anyone to run as a candidate, and any group of citizens to call themselves a party if they can scrub up five hundred members from the electoral roll and $500. Why do they do it? Partly, because they can, and because to do so is an accepted and honourable way of saying…

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A Climate Dictionary

By | Climate Change, Environment, Humour, Politics, Religion, Research | 19 Comments

Willis Eschenbach is a citizen scientist who thinks outside the square. I like his work, and have referred to it before (for example, here and here). I had planned to write a piece on the use of terms in the climate debate, but Willis has done it for me. I think it’s funny, and readers are welcome to supply their own additions. I’ve added a few from the Comments to his original essay. TERM                                                         …

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Taxes and transfers

By | Economy, Education, Health, History, Media, Politics, Society | 63 Comments

I seem to be caught up in a variety of conversations and readings that focus on the sort of society we actually have in Australia. An artist preparing a large piece for the Sydney Biennale said, if I remember his words correctly, that our policy with respect to asylum seekers gave ‘Australia a bad image internationally’. In comparison to which country, I wondered (there is more below). Dick Smith wants us to stop immigration entirely, or almost entirely. Another speaker described Australia as one of the last outposts of ‘capitalism’. Again, I wondered where the other outposts were. I came…

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The #MeToo phenomenon and what, if anything, anyone can do about it

By | History, Media, Politics, Society, Theatre | 145 Comments

For those who have somehow missed all this, ‘Me, too’ is what someone wished she had said when a thirteen year-old girl told her she had been sexually abused. #MeToo became a digital movement in 2006, and spread astonishingly in October last year after allegations were made against the alleged sexual predations of film producer Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein was fired from the company he started, and suffered other losses as well. His career is in ruins. Thereafter came a cascade of allegations about other alleged baddies in the media, Hollywood and television, which you can see here. In the USA…

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The March Off-Topic Thread

By | Other | 185 Comments

I have had a busy few days, hence the delay. This thread is for observations and comments that are not related to the current essay. I note that the Northern Hemisphere has had a particularly nasty winter in many parts, and it is not yet over. I’ll post a reference or two here shortly.

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