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Wednesday, 18 July


ABC Fact Check: Error-ridden and misleading IV Catallaxy Files

So lets have a look at the quality control practiced at the RMIT-ABC Fact Check unit. This is how they self-describe their quality control:

Once the director approves a claim, one of our researchers contacts experts in the field to seek their opinion and guidance on available data.

We may also contact the claimant to ask for the basis of the claim.

The expert opinion and data is written into a draft, which is then reviewed by our chief fact checker, who identifies problems, and challenges the researcher on anything that they might have missed.

The chief fact checker also scrutinises all sources and makes sure the draft is consistent with what the data says.

The researcher continually reworks the draft based on this feedback, and once the chief fact checker is satisfied, the team discusses the final verdict

These discussions are rigorous and much thought is given to the verdict word and the colour that will be used, which is an important part of how we inject nuance into our verdicts.

Our online editor then prepares the final product, which is once again checked by the chief fact checker for any inaccuracies which may have crept up during the editing process.

Once the director signs off on the finished draft, its ready to be released to the world.

Sounds very impressive. The director has to give approval for a fact check and then the chief fact checker checks the facts not once but twice.

It obviously never once occurred to him that there might be conflict of interest problems with the RMIT-ABC Fact Check unit fact checking a criticism of the ABC by a pair of RMIT employees. Certainly that declaration is missing from the body of the fact check.  Youd also think that they do a better job. But no.

Apparently careful thought is given the whole process.

Yet none of this prevented the RMIT-ABC Fact Check unit from identifying Chris Berg as not being from RMIT, but rather an IPA employee.

Yet none of this prevented the RMIT-ABC Fact Check unit from not reporting that appropriate statistical methods were used in testing for differences between sub-samples to take account of the smaller sample sizes in the original study we rely on.

Yet none of this prevented the RMIT-ABC Fact Check unit from not reporting that their own commissioned research showed that our estimate of Greens voting relative to the general population was well within their 95% confidence interval.

Yet none of this...


ABC Fact Check: Error-ridden and misleading III Catallaxy Files

In this third installment (I and II) of the RMIT-ABC Fact Check analysis of Chris and my comment:

A 2013 survey revealed that ABC journalists are almost 5 times more likely to be Greens voters than the average voter and twice more likely to vote Greens than the average journalist.

I want to focus on the downright political dishonesty of the Fact Check.

Sinclair Davidson, an RMIT academic and adjunct fellow at think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, has co-authored a book with fellow IPA colleague Chris Berg, entitled Against Public Broadcasting: Why and how we should privatise the ABC.

Note: fellow IPA colleague Chris Berg. Now as we have pointed out to the ABC several times Chris Berg is an RMIT employee.

It would be very hard for the RMIT-ABC Fact Check unit to not know that Chris is an RMIT employee because they cite our Spectator article in their fact check.

The Spectator article gives our affiliations:

So in other words rather than report that two academics at RMIT wrote a book critical of the ABC, the RMIT-ABC Fact Check misrepresented the affiliation of one of the authors.  When we pulled up Media Watch on the very...


Another transparency failure No Right Turn

Last month, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones claimed he had received 365 text messages supporting his criticism of Fonterra. But surprisingly, he's refusing to release them under the OIA:

Self-styled "provincial champion" Jones launched a blistering attack on the long-serving dairy co-operative boss last month. Defending his remarks, Jones then claimed 365 people had sent messages supporting his stance.

But the NZ First Minister is now refusing to release those text messages. And that raises questions about the Government's official record-keeping processes.

"The messages I was referring to were received predominantly on my private phone and not in my capacity as a Minister. They therefore do not fall within the scope within the scope of the Official Information Act 1982," Jones said in a letter to Stuff.

As the article points out, that's bullshit. Its not the phone that matters, but the capacity the messages were received in. And when they are supposedly received in response to a statement made as a Minister, that capacity can only be as a Minister. Meaning that they are official information and covered by the Act.

Perhaps in recognition of this, Jones' office is now claiming that releasing them would require "substantial collation and research". Not really. Or rather, as Jones is claiming to have counted them, then he already knows which messages they are, which means most of the work is already done. While there will obviously be substantial work required to redact the identifying details from these messages, that is not part of the "collation and research" process and cannot be used as a reason for refusal.

Of course, the real reason for the request isn't so much the content of the texts, but that a response will show the public whether Jones actually received that level of public support, or whether he was just big-mouthing himself. And that's probably the reason for the refusal as well. But while relatively inconsequential, its another failure of transparency by this government, and another example of how they are all talk and no action on this issue.


Paul Kelly sings Trumps praises Catallaxy Files

Trump flew to the Helsinki summit after his visit to Britain where he trashed every notion of a trustworthy US-Britain alliance and treated his embattled but gracious host, May, with cavalier contempt. This followed his attendance at the NATO summit where Trump attacked alliance partners not just for their inadequate military spending but betrayed something far deeper his disdain for the EU, which he later branded a foe because he thinks it has undermined Americas economic interest over the decades.

Treated Theresa May with contempt? Told off NATO? Disdain for the EU?  Sounds awesome. Yet Paul Kelly seems to think these are all a bad thing.


In which nattering "Ned" sounds off ... loon pond

The pond is still brooding over the cowardice of Dame Slap, and her shift to an easy target

and the pond's mood wasn't helped by this cheeky tweet by the wittering, twittering dog botherer

"Strangely enough you have to opt in", and some actual loon retweeted it?

Here's the thing. If you're young, and especially if you have a medical condition with work implications, or you want data that has nothing to do with your health protected, opt out. And while you're at it, opt out of the lizard Oz because they'll want to monetize your information too

Of course the government has made opting out fiendishly difficult, but it can be done, though it means battling a dysfunctional website.

On the other hand, if you're old, and on a pension or such like, it doesn't much matter, because the police state already knows more than enough, and at some point the data it's acquired will be hacked and let loose on the world, because that's what happens to stupid governments, whether using old-fashioned filing cabinets or newfangled digital files. Oh and if you just opt in, you're probably of the right age to go shouting at clouds with the old farts at the lizard Oz

And there in a nutshell is why you don't need to opt in to Dame Slap to get suggestion...


Does Putin have something on Trump? Independent Australia

Does Putin have something on Trump?Amid fallout over President Trump's performance in Helsinki, the idea of so-called kompromat is feeling increasingly likely to many. read now...


When police investigate police No Right Turn

Another IPCA report is out today, this time into an officer's use of pepper spray in a police cell. The inquiry found that the officer's actions were unjustified, in breach of police policy, and unlawful. So there's the obvious question again: why wasn't the officer charged? Interestingly, his fellow police officers thought his actions were so beyond the pale that the police were forced to launch a criminal investigation. But rather than recommend prosecution, it decided the officer's actions were "commendable". As for the quality of that investigation, and a subsequent employment investigation, the IPCA had this to say:

The Authority considers that both Police investigations failed to critically and objectively analyse the evidence and, therefore, the findings (that Officer Hs actions were justified and lawful, and did not amount to misconduct) are unsustainable when measured against the provisions of sections 39 and 48 of the Crimes Act 1961 and Police policy.

In light of our findings, the Authority finds it particularly disturbing that the criminal investigation concluded that Officer Hs actions were commendable.

But that's what happens when police investigate police. And its precisely why we need to give the IPCA the ability to launch its own prosecutions: because even in egregious cases like this, the police are clearly incapable of enforcing the law against themselves.


Yet another bureaucratic report promoting more spending on electricity Catallaxy Files

I have a piece in Quadrant this morning addressing the latest piece of energy market advice and regulation cornucopia of advice and regulatory ground preparation from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).   This is the sixth major report on electricity in the past year.

In my pioece, I draw attention to the massive expansion of transmission that AEMO is planning to accommodate the poor reliability and greatly dispersed nature of renewable energy it sees as coming to dominate the national market.  It takes that view of the triumph of renewables at the very time when the effusive Fatih Birol at the renewable-promoting IEA is worrying that renewable investment is in decline.

With her finely tuned political antennae the head of AEMO, Audrey Zibelman is stressing that coal will continue to have a place for thirty years or more.  But she contemplates no new coal generators, a position that may be at odds with the recent ACCC horse-choker that opened up a window for government support of coal in recognition of the disaster renewable subsidies have created.  And the increased strides for roof-top renewables AEMO contemplates appears to take no cognisance of the ACCC call for removing theirsubsidies.

We have a superabundance of bureaucrats analysing, reporting upon and and pontificating about the electricity market a shifting bunch that has presided over the very situation they now offer solutions to correct!

In todays AFR, a piece by Sarah McNamara, the new head of the generators lobby group, the Australian Energy Council, which attempts to offer a more balanced view of the AEMO report.  The AER article notes that AEMO doesnt actually advocate much immediate spending (nor does it quantify how much its various options might cost).  Perhaps so, but the promotion of the report by Ms Zibelman ensures that its proposals will be widely accepted by politicians, some of whom are even calling for an ending of those pesky analyses that seek to ensure new transmission spending is justified.


UK drone pilots are criminals No Right Turn

That's the conclusion of a UK Parliamentary inquiry into drone strikes:

British military personnel could be prosecuted for killing civilians in drone strikes and risk becoming complicit in alleged war crimes committed by the US, an inquiry has found.

A two-year probe by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones revealed that the number of operations facilitated by the UK in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia has been growing without any public scrutiny.

As well as launching its own strikes, the Ministry of Defence is assisting operations by the US and other allies that could violate both national and international law, it said.


Because the use of force outside conflicts Britain is directly involved with is not protected by combatant immunity, British servicemen and women can be prosecuted for murder.

As can the Ministers who approve such strikes. And they should be. Because what the UK has is a state policy of murdering its political opponents (some of whom are UK citizens) outside of armed conflict. The only difference between them and Putin's polonium and novichok poisonings is that they do it in Syria rather than Salisbury, and they use even more indiscriminate methods.

The inquiry also found that because the US drone program "appears to be violating international law", and that assisting it was therefore illegal and similarly exposed UK military and intelligence personnel to prosecution for US war crimes. Unlike the US, the UK is a party to the International Criminal Court, so it has an obligation to prosecute these criminals - and the threat that the international community will do it if they won't. Which ought to incentivise the UK government to cease such cooperation.

It also ought to focus the minds of New Zealand's spies - because in 2014 the Prime Minister admitted that their data may have been used for drone murders. Which could put them on the legal hook for murder and war crimes, just as the UK is. Once the Inspector-General of Intelligence and security has finished their report on SIS and GCSB engagement with the CIA (and its torture and rendition program), maybe they could look into this?


ABC Fact Check: Error-ridden and misleading II Catallaxy Files

As Cats know the RMIT-ABC Fact Check unit did a fact check on Chris and my statement:

A 2013 survey revealed that ABC journalists are almost 5 times more likely to be Greens voters than the average voter and twice more likely to vote Greens than the average journalist.

In the last installment I dealt with their overall dodgy analysis getting themselves confused between what Chris and I did and what they thought we should have done.

One of the criticisms that the ABC Fact Check came up with was:

But experts told Fact Check that the ABC sub-sample was too small and the rate of undecided and non-response too high to be able to draw accurate conclusions from the survey on ABC journalist voting intention, let alone voting intention of all ABC employees.

That is a very strange statement to make. The original description of the study found at The Conversation has this note (emphasis added):

Note: This research has been accepted for publication in the June edition of the Australian Journalism Review. The margin of error for the entire study sample is 4%. Sub-samples of journalists responses to some questions such as voting intentions are likely to have a higher margin error, however, appropriate statistical methods were used in testing for differences between sub-samples to take account of the smaller sample sizes. The survey response rate was 89.5%.

The author of the study, Folker Hanusch, has this to say: 

If we disregard the 42.8% of journalists who are undecided, refused to answer or would vote for a party or candidate other than the major three, this is a statistically significant result.

It means that even though only a smaller number of journalists answered the voting intentions, which does increase the margin of error, it is still reasonable to conclude that there is a marked difference between the voting intentions of journalists at the three major media organisations.

So why did the ABC Fact Check not report those statements in its fact check? Its not like they didnt know it to be there The Conversation piece is listed in the sources.



An American pute politique went to Helsinki in July 2018...... North Coast Voices

Putin's putain is the one on the left in this picture, 16 July 2018

US National Public Radio, Transcript: Trump And Putin's Joint Press Conference, 16 July 2018, excerpts from President Trumps remarks:

During today's meeting, I addressed directly with President Putin the issue of Russian interference in our elections.

I felt this was a message best delivered in person. I spent a great deal of time talking about it and President Putin may very well want to address it and very strongly, because he feels very strongly about it and he has an interesting idea..

And that was a well fought, that was a well fought battle. We did a great job. And frankly, I'm going to let the president speak to the second part of your question. But just to say it one time again and I say it all the time, there was no collusion. I didn't know the president....


ACCC power pricing report: COALition's excuse for more coal Independent Australia

ACCC power pricing report: COALition's excuse for more coalPro-coal Coalition MPs have managed to interpret the ACCC report on power prices as justification for new coal-fired power stations. read now...


In which Hansonite Dame Slap goes missing in action ... loon pond

There was only one story at the lizard Oz today, and everybody was in on the game


The pond was shattered to see Dame Slap not mount a defence of her hero  

Instead, look at the company she was made to keep

So at last the reptiles confess, albeit in an indirect way, that Dame Slap is a Hanson voter? So it seems, because not just Hanson voters support Trump. Dame Slap was there, dancing in the streets of New York ...

But enough of cowards that desert their hero and the field of battle at the moment it counts enough of cowards who go missing in action, because at last and not least the bromancer has turned up, and it's a beauty, as flashy and as subtle as a carp in a pond


The ingredients of timely investigative journalism Antony Loewenstein

Richard Keeble is one of Britains leading journalism academics and hes taught at the University of Lincoln for many years. Author of seminal books on reporting, his latest, just released work is co-edited with John Mair and its called, Investigative Journalism Today: Speaking Truth to Power. It features a range of writers exploring the importance of investigative work from the English and non-English speaking world:

Rumours of the death of investigative journalism have been greatly exaggerated. This book is proof enough of that. Examples from the corporate and alternative media across the globe highlight the many imaginative and courageous ways that reporters are still kicking at the right targets.

Im honoured that Keebles chapter positively interrogates my work, especially around disaster capitalism, and hes allowed me to post it here: keebleloewensteinchapter

From the introduction:

Antony Loewenstein is an Australian investigative reporter, freelance author, photographer, blogger and campaigner. He has written for a wide range of publications both mainstream and alternative such as the Guardian, New York Times, Washington Post, Green Left Weekly, New Matilda and Counterpunch. His books include My Israel Question (2006) and The Blogging Revolution (2008 and 2011). His 2010 ABC Radio National feature documentary, A Different Kind of Jew, was a finalist in the UN Media Peace Awards. And his book, Profits of Doom: How Vulture Capitalism Swallowing the World (2013) has been followed up with a documentary film, Disaster Capitalism, about aid, development and politics in Afghanistan, Haiti and Papua New Guinea.

Profits of Doom also serves as a useful case study to examine Loewensteins investigative strategy in more detail. As this chapter will argue, Loewenstein draws creatively from a wide range of genres peace journalism, investigative reporting, literary, long-form journalism, counter journalism and activist reporting making his reportage both important and original. In particular, the study will focus on his investigative techniques, his ideological/political attitude and his distinctive investigative writing style.


The importance of strong encryption Antony Loewenstein

Today NGO Digital Rights Watch launched an important campaign that I was asked to support. Very happy to:

Today, a global coalition led by civil society and technology experts sent a letter asking the government of Australia to abandon plans to introduce legislation that would undermine strong encryption. The letter calls on government officials to become proponents of digital security and work collaboratively to help law enforcement adapt to the digital era.

In July 2017, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull held a press conference to announce that the government was drafting legislation that would compel device manufacturers to assist law enforcement in accessing encrypted information. In May of this year, Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity Angus Taylor restated the governments priority to introduce legislation and traveled to the United States to speak with companies based there.

Todays letter (download here) signed by 76 organisations, companies, and individuals, asks leaders in the government not to pursue legislation that would undermine tools, policies, and technologies critical to protecting individual rights, safeguarding the economy, and providing security both in Australia and around the world.

This is a really important issue for anyone who uses the internet to shop, bank or communicate so basically everyone. Strong encryption is essential to the modern Australian economy, and it would be a mistake to deliberately weaken it, said Tim Singleton Norton, chair of Digital Rights Watch.


NSW Northern Rivers koala deaths continue at an alarming rate in 2018 North Coast Voices

Echo NetDaily, 12 July 2018:

Friends of the Koala reports that despite its campaign to prevent koala extinction on the North Coast, 12 sick, injured and dead koalas were brought to i...

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Tuesday, 17 July


The joy of extra CO2 Catallaxy Files

Sit up class!

Straight backs. Face the front.

Davidson stop reading comics under the desk. Will the big lout at the back put the stock market report away. Do your trading at playtime.

Take out your copy of Climate Change: The Facts 2017.

No not the 2014 one Lizzie. Stop making faces at her Gab. Its not her fault that shes slow.

Turn to page 189. Chapter 14. Carbon Dioxide and Plant Growth by Dr Craig D Idso, the founder, former president and current chairman of the board of the Centre for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.

This is an amazing paper and it falls right into my original ballpark Agronomy, the integrating part of Agricultural Science that I studied in Hobart and then at the Waite Ag Research Institute in Adelaide. The Institute is a centre of excellence located next to the CSIRO Soils Division and the Wine Research Institute. Wine was not the big deal that it is these days, we were still taking it from glass flagons and beer was still overwhelmingly the drink of preference.

No I am not going to tell you about my research again, I told you about that when we did the neutralisation of the oceans and the barrier reef.

You all know that the level of CO2 is seriously sub-optimal for plant growth and a revelation in this paper is that the temperature is arguably sub-optimal as well.

The trend in CO2, from a preindustrial baseline a bit under 300 ppm we are now about 400 and we could reach 800 by the end of the century under the business as usual scenario.

Productivity. He cites figures for the extra growth of plants with 300ppm extra CO2 (not sure about the baseline). Average for herbaceous plants is 33% extra biomass. Especially strong performers are fruit of all kinds including grapes and also carrots and turnips near 70% extra.

Trees do even better, woody plants average 50% more biomass with the extra CO2.

Many aquatic plants do better as well, although there has been less study of them.

Yes Johanna I know hes still reading comics. You dont need to be a tittle tattle.

Enhanced water efficiency

This is a doozey because water is a limiting factor many places especially for broad acre farming and grazing where irritation is not an option.

You dont need to laugh Bruce, you know I meant irrigation.

Higher CO2 reduces the opening of the stomata (pores) in the leaves which give out water vapour (the main loss of water from the plant). They also produce less stomata. One might expect this to reduce the intake of CO2 but apparently with higher concentrations that is not an issue.

Enhanced water efficiency enables plants to expand into drier areas. This is already being observed to reduce soil erosion as a collateral benefit.

More or...


Calls to make Britain great again draw on pseudo-intellectual defences of Empire "IndyWatch Feed"

Are white academics and politicians finding the space in Brexit Britain to rehabilitate colonialism, even as they claim victim status themselves?

Image: Rhodes Must Fall Oxford.

The British Empire was a white supremacist project of conquest, plunder and dispossession requiring the most extreme and brutal forms of violence. But since the Brexit vote with questions of immigration to the fore the nations appetite for imperial mythology and fantasy has grown. In place of the European market, government officials expected to revitalise long-abandoned trade relationships with the Commonwealth, expressing a preference for Indian and Australian migrants over Europeans.

Dubbed Empire 2.0, the policy mixed the arrogance of former imperial grandeur with the recycling in commodity-ready form of a discredited and shameful era in British history. Brexit has created the space for an unapologetic reassertion of colonialism. The hankering for Britain to be great again has not only infused British politics, but has been mirrored in the renewed appeal of mythical narratives about Britains imperial history in academia. Pseudo-intellectualised attempts to rehabilitate Britain's imperial past have surfaced, partly in response to the ground gained by effective anti-colonial movements.

Last year Oxford University announced a five-year project entitled Ethics of Empire' to be led by Oxford theologian Nigel Biggar. Biggar is a long-time apologist of the British empire, and as such has unsurprisingly seized the opportunity to gain institutional support for his research on empire. Biggar and Oxford...


The conversation we dont have but desperately need The AIM Network

By Sean Hurley We need to have a conversation about economics. Not the prototypical economic conversation; theres no need to discuss regulation, interest, inflation, derivatives, or even the type of money we use. Our conversation should instead address the foundation of our modern economic system. Examine our economy from a broad perspective, without getting bogged

The post The conversation we dont have but desperately need appeared first on The AIM Network.


In which the pond enjoys a postprandial Caterist disruption to its usual torpor ... loon pond

The reptiles continued during 'the day' to attempt to cope with 'alternative reality', like 'Russian spies' , but the pond felt the need, with the sun over the yard arm, for a hit of distilled essence of Caterism

The valiant lad, taking a break from sucking on the teat of the Australian taxpayer, was blessed by a Krygsman which distilled the essence of Caterist thinking floating in mid-air ...

The pond has no idea why anyone might be agitated. Sue 'em!

More Graudian cartoons here ...

It is of course above the Caterist pay grade to provide a detailed explanation of "a hard Brexi...


Barnaby's 'Leave Me Alone Tour' continues at Canberra Writers Festival Independent Australia

Barnaby's 'Leave Me Alone Tour' continues at Canberra Writers FestivalFormer Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is the headline event at this years Canberra Writers Festival. read now...


ABC Fact Check: Error-ridden and misleading I Catallaxy Files

Cats will recall that Chris Berg and I recently calculated that ABC journos are nearly 5 times (precisely: 4.74 times) more likely to vote Greens than the general Australian population. I wrote about it recently here at the Cat.

To remind ourselves this is what Chris and I did:

What Chris and I did was match that peer reviewed research with data from the Australian Electoral Commission results for the 2013 election and then report that ABC journalists were almost 5 times more likely to vote Greens than the general population.

This has caused a huge kerfuffle and now is the subject of an RMIT-ABC Fact Check analysis.

Their conclusion: Flimsy.

Now it isnt quite clear what flimsy means Im sure they would have loved to have concluded False, Wrong, Misleading etc. Anyway lets have a look at what the ABC Fact Check unit did.

It is important to have a clear understanding of what Chris and I did: we compared results from a peer-reviewed survey of journalists (conducted by Folker Hanusch) to the actual election results. When the ABC Fact Check unit asked me what we had done I explained that to them, sending them a link to the Cat post where I described it, and also a cut and paste from our book where we discuss it.

Okay so what did they do?

Step 1: Ask psephologist Kevin Bonham is this is a valid comparison. He suggests that rather than compare voting intentions to an actual election that we should have compared the voting intentions to Newspoll.

Dr Bonham suggested using an average of the Greens primary vote taken from the Newspolls conducted in the period in which Professor Hanuschs survey took place.

Step 2: Ask Associate Professor Jake Olivier about that comparison. What comparison you ask? The comparison that Chris and I did, or the comparison suggested by Kevin Bonham? Well look at the answer Jake Oliver gives (emphasis added):

I think the quality of the data makes it difficult to draw strong conclusions here. This is compounded now by comparing results from very different surveys (Hanuschs versus Newspoll). 

Just to remind everyone we didnt compare Folker Hanuschs sample data to Newspoll.

Step 3: Ask Folker Hanusch what he thinks (e...


When is a record not a record? John Quiggin

Its been  cold here in Brisbane for the last few days, at least by our subtropical standards, with overnight minimums of 6 degrees in the city, and negative temperatures in  towns like Stanthorpe in the nearby Granite Belt. That occasioned lots of news coverage, with the observation that this was the coldest temperature weve had since 2014 and one of the coldest since 2000. The same was true for much of Eastern Australia. Melbourne had its coldest morning in several years, and  a couple of towns in NSW had the lowest minimum for several decades.

All of these are records in the trivial sense that we record the temperature every day, but none of them are records in the commonly used sense of lowest (or highest) value in the relevant record. That didnt stop the usual denialist suspects claiming a RECORD (all caps in original) and evidence of global cooling. The Daily Mail  claimed Australias east coast shivers through its coldest EVER morning even though the sub-headlines made it clear this wasnt true.

Whats striking here is that the same people who are willing to claim that the Bureau of Meteorology is part of a world-wide warmist conspiracy to doctor climate records are eagerly credulous about any piece of data that suits their case. Next time we get record heat, the conspiracy theories will be wheeled out again, but for now the Bureau is an unquestionable source of scientific evidence.

To take this news a little more seriously, its important to remember that there are vast numbers of records that can potentially be broken on any given day highest and lowest maxima and minima, for a given month, in any location where weather is recorded. That means we need either to confine attention to a limited number of records most obviously mean global temperatures or look at statistical measures, such as the relative frequency of new records for cold and heat. Both of these measures give the answer that is by now obvious* from experience: the climate globally and Australia is getting warmer.




In which reptile Stewart updates the pond on his update ... loon pond

An interesting thing happened today a change in the air, a mood swing, though the bromancer seemed to have gone missing and the Caterist decided it was wiser to bob up and talk about Brexit than mention the Donald

The pond even made a rare visit to the Bolter to see how he was reacting, but everything was running on empty as usual there

It was left to Cameron Stewart to chart the sudden change in the mood for the lizard Oz.

Here he was early on, doing the usual Fox schtick

It seemed the auguries were right, the Donald was upbeat, Vlad the impaler not so sour ...

A partial thaw, a success of sorts

Admirable stuff, as the forelock-tugging quisling played a straight bat and treated it all with solemnity and seri...


Helsinki Theatrics: Trump meets Putin The AIM Network

The first official meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart Donald Trump was a fairly casual, unpeopled affair, absent bureaucrats and note takers. This was what both wanted in Helsinki, men who believe in the gold weighting authority commands. According to Masha Gissen of The New Yorker, their meeting reflected their shared understanding

The post Helsinki Theatrics: Trump meets Putin appeared first on The AIM Network.


New Economy Infrastructure for Philanthropy and Social Good Catallaxy Files

The RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub and Blockchain Philanthropy Foundation is hosting a full day conference on Blockchains and Philanthropy. The objective is to explore new blockchain technology and how it provides new economic infrastructure and business models for the charity and philanthropy sector.

The event will cover topics such as Blockchain 101, Crypto Altruism and Social Impact, Blockchain and Public Finance, Blockchain Application in organisations.

Click here for the program.


Football victory for France reverberates worldwide Independent Australia

Football victory for France reverberates worldwideEven at the end of the Earth, or at least a most far-away point from France, they stayed up all night to revel in the countrys great victory. read now...


New Zealand should ratify the Kampala Amendment No Right Turn

In 2010, the parties to the International Criminal Court agreed the Kampala Amendment, which finally gave a formal, legal definition to the crime of aggression (you know, the one they convicted the Nazis of), allowing the court to prosecute it. 35 states have since ratified the amendment, and it finally came into force today. But strangely, New Zealand wasn't one of them. Writing in Stuff, lawyer Roger Clark and former Green MP Kennedy Graham argue that we should ratify:

Should New Zealand join? Of course it should. If it is good enough for the German chancellor and the prime minister of Samoa to be accountable under law for aggression, it is good enough for our own leaders. New Zealand signed on to the Kampala Amendment back in 2010. Liechtenstein ratified in 2012, Germany in 2013. New Zealand could also have done so then. No reason to delay further.

In the New Zealand Parliament back in 2009, a member's bill making aggression a crime was given a first reading debate. The penalty for a New Zealand leader could stretch to 10 years in prison, a sobering consideration. The bill was voted down, but the vote was close 64 to 58.

It is time for the Kampala Amendment to be brought into the House, and for that vote to be reversed.

And they're right. New Zealand's fundamental foreign policy position is for a peaceful, rules-based international order. But such an order is impossible where aggression is legal. As a small country, all we have is our voice. So if we want a peaceful, law-governed international order, we need to put our money where our mouth is, agree to be part of one, and do our bit to strengthen and spread those norms. I'm actually boggled we haven't done so already, but I guess that's what happens when you have a previous government obsessed with grovelling to the aggressive US...


Dodgy data from the Bureau of Meteorology Catallaxy Files

Several chapters of Climate Science: The Facts raise really serious issues about the temperature records maintained by the Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau). In addition to the adjustment (homogenisation) of records and the trashing of old files investigators met bureaucratic obstruction to keep the management processes out of sight.

One of Tony Abbotts last moves as PM was to set in train an investigation into the operations of the Bureau but that initiative was aborted by the incoming PM Turnbull. This is understandable given the importance of fake science and fake news to sustain the push to destroy the electrical grid of the nation.

Joanne Nova described mysterious revisions to Australias long hot history that were located by a team of well qualified and experienced volunteer citizen scientists. The story really has to be read to get the full flavour. For example they found that thermometers accurate to a tenth of a degree were being adjusted by as much as two degrees. The records now indicate that the hottest day recorded in modern history was at Albany on the coast of WA rather than in the baked arid zones of Oodnadatta or Marble Bar. The temperature reported in Albany on 8 February 1933 was 44C and 8 decades this was adjusted by 7C to 51. This pipped the 50.7 that was recorded for Oodnadatta on 2 January 1960.

New electronic thermometers were widely installed in the 1990s and many ran alongside the old system which would permit comparison of the old and new systems but the data are not available to the public and are routinely deleted as a part of normal practice. It is likely that the new system generates a step up in recorded temperatures but it appears that the trashing of records has eliminated the possibility of a proper investigation.

Early explorers were trained to record temperatures and there are masses of newspaper records that indicate weather patterns around the nation with many accounts of temperatures around 125F in the shade translating into 52C. On 3 January 1909 an observer recorded 125F at Bourke. The handwritten entry was underlined as one might do for a remarkable reading. Decades later this was declared an error for two reasons: it was taken on Sunday when the observers didnt normally work and the temperature at some other towns in midwestern NSW only hit 113F. On the first point, why would an observer NOT make an effort to record a potentially record-breaking temperature? On the second, a newspapers reported a figure of 123 at Brewarinna which is the nearest town to Bourke.

This team joined forces with Senator Bernardi to ask for an audit of the historical records from the Australian National Audit Office in 2011 but the Bureau announced a...


MUNGO MACCALLUM: Latham, Hanson and Leyonhjelm will end in tears Independent Australia

MUNGO MACCALLUM: Latham, Hanson and Leyonhjelm will end in tearsLatham, Hanson and Leyonhjelm are 'The Three Stooges' incarnate, but they are indicative of Australia's dysfunctional politics. read now...


In which dashing Donners rides in on Rocinante to save the day ... loon pond

The pond hadn't bothered to stay up to see the Donald commit treason, safe in the knowledge that the bromancer would be on the case early in the morning.

It's not just the FBI, of course, it's the CIA and every other American of the Mueller kind with some passing relationship to the facts and the real world and surely there must be some sort of pee tape somewhere ...

But please, allow the reptiles to keep a proper perspective. 

You see, the reptiles aren't in any sense republican. They love their kings, they love the divine right to rule, they love their lifetime monarchs

A courtly, kingly triumph.

And that's why the reptiles ordered their affairs this morning to celebrate monarchists and dictatorships everywhere


Good morning Australia Catallaxy Files

Not a bad day on the windfarms the bird-killing factories, apart from Qld (1), too early for solar but Wind and Other are cranking out 8% of demand! Interesting to see the demand building up in the last few minutes.

Work in progress on a post about the fake data supplied by the Bureau of Meteorology, one of the requirements along with fake science to support the policies that are destroying the electricity grid of the nation.

At 9 demand has gone up but Solar is kicking in and Solar and Other are delivering 11.5% of demand.

1.30pm Demand down to 21GW Wind and Other up to 4 19% of demand! What a relief, we might only need six or seven times as much (and storage).

5.00pm Demand is up to 25GW (heaters going on, early dinner?) no wind in Qld and the sun is setting. Wind and Other deliver 2.7GW 11% of demand.


Aid coordination: its all about keeping up with the Kardashians "IndyWatch Feed"

Recently I was asked to participate in the Great Debate, an academics versus students comedy debate that is part of ANU Asia Pacific Week, on the topic of Does foreign aid do more harm than good. Myself and the other academics were on the negative team, and managed to keep the crowd on side (who were already supportive of aid at the beginning).

The students put forward some good arguments, particularly around the colonial history of aid, some of the failures of aid, the changes brought forth from non-aid economic growth and technological advancement. But one thing that really stood out, and that stands out time and time again when seeking to explain foreign aid to groups of people with limited knowledge of it even those who maybe have done a development studies class or two is that people dont really understand how aid gets from the developed country to the developing one.

There seems to be a popular misconception that aid is simply a transaction between two countries. That on 1 July each year, Australia opens its internet banking app, flicks Papua New Guinea half a billion bucks and just writes in the transfer description Frm Oz plz spend on health n ed.

This misconception is problematic for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it fuels the idea that aid is just handed over to corrupt governments or dictators without any degree of accountability. Second, it doesnt give a clear sense that there are rules around what aid can and cant be spent on. And third, it really understates the complexity of the global aid system, which leads to sweeping generalisations about everything when one thing goes wrong.

So my goal in the debate was to try to get across the complexity of aid, especially to explain why some project failures dont mean that most aid is causing harm.

I started thinking of ways to describe the range of actors involved in the aid space. Having recently returned from a family funeral that has its own coordination challenges, an extended family immediately came to mind. And the worlds most famous extended family are no doubt the Kardashians.

So, imagine you are in a country called Calabasas, and every Kardashian-Jenner is an aid project. This is what youd be faced with (Ive added some Kardashian kontext for those who might not have been keeping up lately).

Kris Jenner (Kardashian-Jenner matriarch and momager extraordinaire) A very tightly run managing contractor (some might say micromanaged) that delivers results to its beneficiaries, even if the social benefit of its projects is questioned by some. The coun...


Government of the bureaucrat, for the bureaucrat, by the bureaucrat Catallaxy Files

Who would have thunk it.  A government filled with no-one who has ever run their own business, has passed another virtue signalling law that will achieve nothing.  Nil, nada, nought, nuffin.

Which government you may ask?  The NSW Liberal-National government following the footsteps of the Commonwealth Liberal-National Government.

And when Spartacus says no-one who has ever run their own business, he is not referring to people who have worked in the private sector but rather people who have never run their own business, who receive nothing before the tax man and the salaries are paid.  The ones who have an ever growing bureaucratic compliance activity list which achieve nothing but keep the government active and busy.  The ones on whom layer upon layer of idiotic laws and regulations fall, distracting from, you know, the act of running a business.

You see, the NSW Government has just passed a law requiring companies to report on modern slavery:

the Modern Slavery Bill of 2018 (the NSW Act), which requires companies with employees in NSW and with an annual turnover of over AU $50 million to release an annual statement that details the steps taken to ensure their operations and suppliers do not engage in modern slavery.  The NSW Act has no effective date yet.  Implementing regulations are expected to further define the contours of this new law.

Bonza!  But wait, there is more:

NSW Act comes on the heels of a similar law proposed by the Australian federal government, raising questions of overlapping responsibilities on companies.  The NSW Act adds to the increasing number of supranational, national, and sub-national laws that place direct obligations on certain companies to report upon efforts to identify and mitigate human rights risks such as human trafficking, child labor, and other forms of forced labor often collectively described as modern slavery from their global operations.

The NSW parliament is not only dumb enough to pass such virtue signalling laws but too lazy to define Modern Slavery in the act, leaving it to bureaucrats to define it and subsequently re-define and re-define and re-define it as is their capricious desire?

Hey Bob, if you have nothing do to next week, can you work up a new definition of Modern Slavery and update the regs.  Not urgent.  Only if you have nothing better to do.  Gotta keep that budget ticking.

And what will this legislation achieve?  Other than of course stopping businesses from conducting business?   Perhaps nothing, nil, nada, nought, nuffin.

There must be a Modern Slavery conference coming up somewhere in Europe or the the USA next northern summer.

Next on the keep the bureaucrats busy but kill the business hit li...


Time for a new US Air Force One North Coast Voices

Air Force One is a fleet of at least two highly customised Boeing 747-200 commercial jets which the US Air Force is currently replacing with 747-8s.

One of the websites illustrators lent a hand with visualizing a more American look.

These new aircraft are actually undelivered planes ordered by bankrupt Rusian airline, Transaero.


The Winston Churchill of our times Catallaxy Files

Our relationship had never been worse but that changed four hours ago: Trump hails direct, open, deeply productive talks with Putin

US President Donald Trump has come face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland

The pair made opening remarks to the media before reaching across to shake hands ahead of private talks

Trump said he hoped for extraordinary relationship with Moscow and praised Russias hosting of World Cup

Afterwards, Trump admitted ties between nations had never been worse but said the situation had changed

Putin said the Cold War was over and that the US and Russia now needed to solve problems together

The above from here with quite a bit more. The Russians are no longer an ideological enemy, but there are many who are.

As for those who must live in the past, this is what we say to them. And there are plenty among the insane, with the deep state comprised of the politicians of the left and their supporters, bureaucrats and public servants, virtually the whole of the media, and the academic social sciences left and not just social scientists. This is how they see things.

This instead is the new reality.

Trump winks at Putin during high stakes Helsinki summit
Putin declares Cold War is over
Body language expert analyzes
EU urges to protect global order
China watching
Journalist dragged out of press conference by secret service

Hardly peace in our time but greater safety and a collective focus, hopefully with the Russians, on those who really would do us harm.


Liberals continue to behave badly - Part Four North Coast Voices

A Liberal local government councillor and a Berejiklian Government Liberal MP discovered conducting what appears to be some decidedly unparliamentary business by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption during Operation Dasha.

ABC News, 13 July 2018:

New South Wales Government MP Daryl Maguire has resigned from his role as a parliamentary secretary and will now sit on the crossbench after admitting before a corruption inquiry that he sought payment over a property deal.

Mr Maguire stepped aside from the parliamentary Liberal Party after the revelations at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

The corruption watchdog is investigating claims of improper conduct by former Canterbury City councillors Michael Hawatt and Pierre Azzi and today heard a tapped phone call between Mr Hawatt and Mr Maguire.

Monday, 16 July


Stefan Molyneux & Lauren Southerns hate-speech tour kicks off in Cairns (with a little help from the AFL) slackbastard

Yeesh. The Australian Football League (AFL) has been combating allegations of racism for some time now. Recent headlines include : Racist slur on footy field still hurts former Freo Docker Scott Chisholm, Steve Butler, The West Australian, July 13, 2018 Continue reading


Tax Is Bad, Welfare Is Bad; However, Shorten Threatening My Cheque From The Government Is Worst Of All! The AIM Network

Article from the Australian excerptEarlier this year Mr Shorten unveiled his franking credits policy to claw back nearly $60bn over 10 years by abolishing cash refunds for excess dividend imputation credits. Modelling from the listed investment companies sent to the ALP this week argues it would increase the tax burden on individuals with low marginal

The post Tax Is Bad, Welfare Is Bad; However, Shorten Threatening My Cheque From The Government Is Worst Of All! appeared first on The AIM Network.


Donald J. Boudreaux: The Myth of Predatory Pricing Catallaxy Files

Economic reality is enormous and complex. Each and every moment brings countless actions, reactions, course corrections, and unexpected discoveries. To make sense of it all requires sound theory and a healthy knowledge of history.

Among the important tasks that sound theory and knowledge of history enable us to perform is to distinguish whats merely possible from whats probable. The range of all that is possible is vast. It includes, for example, your discovering next month a vaccine for cancer while modifying a recipe for turtle soup.

It is indeed possible that cancer will be prevented in this way. Yet no one in his or her right mind would leap from a recognition of this remote possibility to the conclusion that all medical research into cancer should end.

Nearly everything that is possible will never happen. Never.

The Theory

This truth is important when discussing so-called predatory pricing. Prices are said to be predatory when they are both below cost and used as a means of monopolizing a market. Superficially, fears of predatory pricing make sense. After all, if a firm today charges prices below cost, not only does it forgo profits today, its low prices also threaten the existence of its rivals. Once the predatory firms rivals all go out of businessvoila!the predator has a monopoly and then jacks up prices to monopoly levels. Consumers suffer unwarranted harm.

Its possible. But this outcome is no more probable than your stumbling upon a cancer vaccine while cooking turtle soup. The reasons are many. Here are just some.

The Reality

For a firm to drive its rivals out of business by charging excessively low prices, it must not only cut its prices but also expand its sales. Remember, the objective is to take so many sales away from rival firms that they all go bankrupt. But when a firm increases its sales at below-cost prices, that firm necessarily incurs huge losses. The predators rivals, while they might all be obliged to also sell at prices below cost, have an advantage that the predator doesnt: they can reduce their sales during the price war in order to keep their losses to a minimum.

Basic economic theory makes clear that a firm that tries to monopolize a market by charging prices below cost inflicts on itself losses larger than those it inflicts on any of the firms its trying to bankrupt.

Basic economic theory makes clear that a firm that tries to monopolize a market by charging prices below cost inflicts on itself losses larger than those it inflicts on any of the firms its trying to bankrupt. And the greater the number of rival firms that must be pushed into bankruptcy, the greater the number of s...


Is the world swerving extreme right? The AIM Network

By Ad astra Are you as alarmed as I am when you see on our TV screens, or hear on the radio, or read in our disappearing newspapers about the deteriorating state of democracy in Europe, Asia, the United States of America, Africa, the Middle East, even in our own country? Do you see, as

The post Is the world swerving extreme right? appeared first on The AIM Network.


And so to the onion muncher for the late arvo slot ... loon pond

There you go: US citizen's newspaper features Pommie bastard deploring ethnic activism

Why isn't the pond surprised?

Well it's just a quick item for the specialist late arvo slot, as a reminder of why the onion muncher still reigns supreme ...

Now will he slip in a reference to clean dinkum Oz coal, oi, oi, oi? 

Hands up anyone who had any doubts, because you can leave the classroom and stand head down in shame in the corridor:

Now the pond is all in favour of nationalising media groups owned by foreign citizens, and might well join any campaign to send ten pound Poms back where they came from, if it'll help stop this incessant blather ...


It's time to remind OUR government that WE are in charge Independent Australia

It's time to remind OUR government that WE are in chargeThe narrative needs to change to reflect the democratic reality that governments work for us. read now...

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