Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life

By | Other | 35 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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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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The February Off-Topic Thread

By | Other | 62 Comments

This is a thread that allows readers to post their own thoughts on subjects that are not relevant to the current essay. I start it with the note that President Trump, in his State of the Union address to Congress, did not refer once to climate change or global warming, for the first time in nine years in such a Presidential address. That might be expected, given his known views. But the Democratic  right-of-reply sequel, given by yet another Kennedy scion, Joe III, likewise didn’t mention that, or rising seas, or any of the other warming themes. Later: Because of…

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Australia Day again

By | Other | 127 Comments

Richard di Natale, the Federal Greens leader, has managed to capture the holiday news, or at least the Australian politics section of it, with an almost daily cry to find another date for Australia Day, January 26th being apparently offensive to some Aboriginal people, because it signals the ‘invasion’ of their country. Since the Day remembers Governor Phillips’s planting of the flag close to Circular Quay and only the local Aboriginal people were there to observe, I think there is a good deal of specious talk in all this. Moreover, it is entirely unclear what Australia’s Aboriginal people think about…

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Where do I stand, and why?

By | Other | 27 Comments

Judith Curry, of the Climate etc website, found herself involved in a wide-ranging Twitter debate which prompted her to summarise her position both in American politics and philosophically. I don’t use Twitter much, and am coming to the view that I should simply dispense with it, but I thought her summary position was well expressed, and thought further, why don’t I do the same? So here is mine, using her structure simply as a beginning. I have written about many of these points in the past, but here they are brought together. My politics I grew up in the country, and…

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The January Off-Topic Thread

By | Other | 192 Comments

We still seem to be in a weak la Nina, and all the usual bushfire warnings are out. No doubt we will have some fires too. My attention was caught on Judith Curry’s website by a reference to a piece (abstract only) in Nature on the incidence of wildfires in the last two thousand years. The authors used sedimentary charcoal as the evidence and suggest that global biomass burning declined from AD 1 to ?1750, before rising sharply between 1750 and 1870. Global burning then declined abruptly after 1870. The early decline in biomass burning occurred in concert with a global cooling trend and…

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The December Off-Post Thread

By | Other | 66 Comments

I start this month with a measured piece about the mismatch between strident claims about ‘climate change’ and the declining attention of citizens, by a former Canadian Minister. Joe Oliver: Ranting about climate isn’t good government policy, and isn’t convincing anyone Later, and for the benefit of reader Chris, are the paths followed by temperature and CO2 in the recent past. I’ve used GISS, the most heavily adjusted temperature set. Later Still: I enjoyed this little take on the extermination of species theme:  

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Is comedy still possible?

By | Other | 54 Comments

When I was about seven years old I was allowed to go to the Saturday matinee with another boy my age who lived across the road. We walked there and back (perhaps a kilometre), and we each had six pence. Threepence would get us into the pictures, while the other three pennies were for sweets. A small ice-cream in a cone would require the lot, so I tended to buy a musk stick (1d) and a small packet of jubes (2d). What we saw, every Saturday, were cartoons, a Movietone newsreel and a Western. I don’t remember a serial, although…

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The Dual Citizenship scandal/imbroglio/fiasco

By | Other | 15 Comments

Though I’ve waited now a few weeks to write this essay, it is plain that the issue will go for some time. While most of the media attention is on what nine sub jure parliamentarians mean in terms of the Turnbull leadership, or the effect on citizen attitudes towards parliamentarians generally, or the outcome of by-elections caused by the dual citizenship problem, my interest lies in the deeper questions. Do we want to exclude all dual citizens from parliamentary service? Or should we extend that exclusion to the public services? I was discussing the issue with a senior lawyer while…

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