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Open Thread

I’ve been reading ‘The Lucky Culture and The Rise of an Australian Ruling Class’ by Nick Cater. Mr Cater has been a journalist with News Ltd and interestingly has a degree in sociology from Exeter University in the UK.

The book is very much a sociologist’s perspective on the contemporary Australian inner city pseudo-intellectual. Mr Cater is extraordinarily accurate in his description of their totems and their prejudices.

Nick Cater


145 Responses to “Open Thread”

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  1. Comment from: toby

    Around 10 years you suggested to me if i was so confident CAGW was crap I could have a bet with james annan…i tried, offered a 10k bet but not on even terms since he was so convinced temp was running away.
    He refused my bet…..just as well for him!

    You love to refer to it as a question of risk, but whilst i know you are happy to go down a nuclear path…nobody else is, japan has even just downgraded its 2020 committments.

    The world is not acting so you better hope we sceptics are correct i guess?

  2. Comment from: bazza

    Yes, very relevant MSM articles including the Global Carbon Project – as Dr Raupach said ” inaccurate information is written in sceptic blogs and websites all the time, spreading the idea that CO2 only represents only a minuscule portion of the atmosphere, and therefore does not matter. ”That argument is invalid on half a dozen grounds.”

    Or the notion that global warming has stopped over the past 15 years, which is sometimes repeated by commentators in the mainstream media”.

  3. Comment from: toby

    I just wish we would scrap the renewable energy targets as well.

    and Abbotts direct action plan or whatever the hell he calls his almost as useless policy!

  4. Comment from: spangled drongo

    A classroom many could do with today:

    “The increasing lack of close familiarity with what it takes to make and transport commodities has proved to be fertile ground for breeding a fast-spreading form of infantile mindset, which is as divorced from economic reality as the mindset of primitive cargo cultists. As experience is providing progressively less of a countervailing force, the remedy has to lie in public education.

    Instead of vacuously and mindlessly teaching kids the virtues and moral equivalence of patently backward and inferior cultures, ancient and present-day, they should be given the opportunity to understand and appreciate what underpins our material prosperity; and what is required to maintain and increase this prosperity, if we are to live comfortable lives and also help those in need.”

  5. Comment from: Debbie

    I am of course not at all surprised that you latched onto that one and then did an absolutely spectacular job of totally missing the point.
    It was politics masquerading as academia and the embedded attitudes of the “Australian Ruling Class” that Nick Cater examines in his book.
    It wouldn’t hurt for you to read it. . .it may help you to catch up a bit.

  6. Comment from: Larry Fields

    November 16th, 2013 at 9:56 am. Neville wrote:
    “Steve McIntyre gives another example of federally funded pseudo science. This absurd fraud and corruption has been going on for at least 40 years.”

    This is huge. Here’s what an Establishment website — supported by AAAS — has to say.

    “40 years of federal nutrition research fatally flawed

    University of South Carolina study shows flaws in NHANES data

    “Four decades of nutrition research funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be invalid because the method used to collect the data was seriously flawed, according to a new study by the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

    “The study, led by Arnold School exercise scientist and epidemiologist Edward Archer, has demonstrated significant limitations in the measurement protocols used in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The findings, published in PLOS ONE (The Public Library of Science), reveal that a majority of the nutrition data collected by the NHANES are not ‘physiologically credible,’ Archer said.”

    Read more here.

  7. Comment from: Neville

    Looks like alternative fuels make about as much sense as alternative energy. And that’s zip sense. Just more stupid super expensive nonsense by Bush and Obama.

  8. Comment from: Neville

    Thanks for that Larry, but you’re wasting your time trying to get Luke and bazza interested in anything that may require simple kindy sums.
    They can’t even add, subtract, divide or multiply at a level of a typical five year old so your links are way too profound for them to understand.

  9. Comment from: spangled drongo

    This makes you realise how little we know about CO2.

    Ian Plimer would be smiling.

    To all his dumb detractors it was apparently an UNKNOWN unknown:

    But it makes Abbott’s removal of the fish hooks inside our hair shirt a good idea.

  10. Comment from: Luke

    More climate porn via our climate crims from disinformation fear and loathing Wattsup. From “I’m not a scientist” and “don’t know what I’m saying” climate crim Neville, the paperboy. Just think boys your level of influence on anything 0.000000000000000

    See Toby confronted with some science instead of bilge had done a runner.


  11. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Go and read some Quadrant Luke.

    Improve your rationality no end.

  12. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    Just mentioning this here, so that others may not be repeating it with glee.

    MATT RIDLEY had a good one liner on the Bolt report, saying “why use 14th century technology?” referring to wind power.

    On the face of it makes a good line but we don’t use 14th century technology to harness wind power.
    Present efficiency of wind turbines is several magnitudes better than the old windmills.

    Same for hydro, they were in use at the time of Adam’s father in law but we improved the efficiency a hundred fold.

    Having said that I still think persisting with wind power is futile, there is simply no more improvement in the pipeline, it’s unreliable and way too expensive and because of the limitations it ever be thus.

    I keep my options on Solar open but there is the same problem limited power/sq metre and it’s not going to increase, thank God for that too, we’d really fry if it did.

    The technology might improve and if it does the cost may come down but as long as the storage issue remains unresolved we still need standby power.

  13. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Jonathan, the high-aspect ratio of modern wind foils don’t improve performance much over the old low-aspect foils when the wind angle is 90 degrees. At this angle low-aspect can even be more efficient. But yes, unless good batteries are invented they have virtually no commercial future. As a racing yacht designer I’ve been trying to extract the max out of wind power all my life and there is a definite limit. Whether it is modern wind turbines or America’s Cup cats, however magnificent they may be, they are limited in commercial application.

    Solar is in the same situation.

    With good storage that would allow us to be free of the power grid, wind and solar would make a lot more sense.

    Using the grid as a “battery” is having yourself on.

  14. Comment from: Neville

    You have to feel for Roy Spencer trying to debate a moron defending his mad cult.

    How could any nong be this dense?

  15. Comment from: cohenite

    Poor Roy against this twit ostensibly someone called mark hertsgaard; I don’t believe that; that sounds like a character from the Thor movies; this guy is a ring-in, possibly luke.

  16. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Cohers, Luke’s not that handsome, or polite, or even factual ☺.

  17. Comment from: Neville

    Yes Cohers he makes about as much sense as Luke. But I still think that Ridley’s Greening the planet video is about as good a way to spend 19 minutes as you could find. That stupid fool debating ????? Spencer would learn something if he had the brains to watch it.

  18. Comment from: Debbie

    OK. . .got my copy of “The Lucky Culture” back today.
    One of the chapters that resonated for me was chapter twelve “The Moral Persuaders”.
    In this chapter Cater examines those totems and prejudices that Jen mentions above in relation to the rise of the Human Rights Commission. He asks some very interesting questions about its mandate and its actual purpose and one of his conclusions is that: “at best, the expansion of the human rights industry is a misplacement of resources….”
    and at the very end of the chapter….
    “…but if, after 37 years it has failed to complete it’s task, it cannot be up to the job….. Ironically a body intended to promote unity has become a force for division. Perhaps the time has come to abandon this search for blemishes, and celebrate the virtues recognised by all”

    Sound familiar?

  19. Comment from: Robert

    Good Speccie piece on self-sabotage:

    “This is where Germany’s present agony becomes instructive. The infrastructure of the most costly power ever invented, offshore wind, is well-advanced there, though in Britain it remains in its infancy. The result, as Der Spiegel reported recently, is that green subsidies have already ‘reached levels comparable only to the eurozone bailouts’. This year, German consumers will pay a total of €20 billion for power from wind, solar panels and biomass — of which a staggering €17 billion is subsidy.”

  20. Comment from: Luke

    Because Ridley is slick and tells idiots like Neville want he wants to know Neville believes it all. What a tricky dicky little story “it’s not published but they guy told me”, he ignores most of the agronomic benefit from cultivation, herbicides and varietal improvement, what is being retired is marginal now rooted thanks to agriculture, if you ignore this big list of extinctions on islands and now Australia is an island ….blah blah , yea most of the other extinctions happened before his start date, tells us a whole bunch of stuff we already knew, glosses over water resources, glosses over fire regime impacts on savannas – a massive area, CO2 test tubes don’t equal FACE, Amazon is not greening ….. blah blah

    3rd world charcoal use on Haiti is RENEWABLE under Ridley – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA what a slimey little trick for the audience

    But our non-scientist paperboy Neville who lives on shit denier blogs for brekky, lunch and dinner and doesn’t ever check an alternative point of view just swallows it hook line and sinker – what a dope.

  21. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Here’s one to have with your beer Luke:

  22. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Luke, tell us ONE thing Paul Ehrlich ever got right.

  23. Comment from: John Sayers

    Your mates at the CSIRO disagree with you Luke.

    That Roy Spencer interview was disgusting!! A journalist quoting the 97% lie – doesn’t he research anything?

    Here’s a great story by two journalists who hired a people smuggler to get them to Xmas Island.

  24. Comment from: Luke

    The CSIRO paper is bunk actually.

    SD – Goddards’s just a denialist thinktank. Not even a person. They’re paid to gish gallop a whopper per day. Obviously the last whopper simply truncates the data set to HIDE THE INCLINE ! It’s horseshit as usual.

  25. Comment from: Luke

    And Spencer easily won that video debate by keeping quiet. You’ve got to be more sophisticated than that to get an experienced player like Spencer. Give that journo the arse.

  26. Comment from: John Sayers

    why is it bunk Luke?

  27. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Luke shown up for the dumb denialist he is !

    CO2 levels in 1998 were 370ppm as per Goddard’s graph:

    And as per RSS, global temps have dropped 0.08c since then:

    That graph of Goddard’s is spot on.

  28. Comment from: Luke

    Jeez John – by now I thought you’d have known my responses off by heart. It’s simply modelled and grossly deficient in leaving out the biggest driver – well researched and documented global changes in fire regime towards fewer savanna fires leading to woodland thickening. That landscape to observing satellites appears greener due to increases in the non-grassy component- i.e. woody shrubs and small trees. It’s entirely non-controversial.

    Also why Cape York with more fires doesn’t show the effect. Do try to keep up John.

    CO2 – pigs bum. Now to be fair there’s probably a bit of CO2 fertilisation in there – but not detectable among the noise at field data resolution.

  29. Comment from: Luke

    SD – starting from 1998 – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA

    You clown.
    Hey check this –

    now peez orf and stop wasting our time eh? Goddard just a denier on the tea party dime. It’s only horseshit for the gullible faithful nutters.

  30. Comment from: spangled drongo

    So what, Luke?

    Don’t be so pathetic.

    370 ppm was reached in 1998 and since then, with the increase to 400 ppm, the GAT as measured by RSS has dropped 0.08c.

    Goddard is spot on and you are simply WRONG.

  31. Comment from: Luke


  32. Comment from: Luke

  33. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Luke, you incredible denier of the bleedin’ obvious, let met put it in simple terms that even you should be able to understand.

    1998 was the hottest year in the NASA RSS calendar and at that time the CO2 levels were 370 ppm.

    Today, with CO2 levels at ~ 400ppm RSS temps are 0.08c lower.

    Got it???

    Now that doesn’t represent any sort of global warming, let alone man made.

  34. Comment from: toby

    I did nt do a runner at all Luke, but if you cant see that co2 and temp did not track each other well last century I cant see any point in discussing it with you. Even your own chart shows its lack of correlation.

    And you must know that the MWP etc are not underpinned by one ice core alone!? Goodness gracious what a cop out,

  35. Comment from: Jennifer Marohasy

    Now the Coorong is too fresh…

  36. Comment from: bazza

    sd ( sea dog?) would define sea level by a line from the top of one wave to the bottom of the trough.
    I suppose I have to spell out that 1998 was a near record El Nino, the crest, and 2010 was extreme La Nina, the trough. It is called extreme natural variation. and there is some evidence that climate change is actually increasing ENSO variability so that would make it also a bit of unnatural variation if it was well understood.

  37. Comment from: Robert

    The most radical and sudden swing between extreme El Nino and extreme La Nina was that from El Nino 1914-15 and La Nina 1916-18.

    Of course, you’d have to be phenomenally literal-minded to read much into that. The contradictions between what ENSO indicates and what actually happens are the real “extremes”.

    Sadly, the phenomenally literal-minded walk amongst us, and can appear like normal, functioning people at moments. Then you give ‘em an acronym or a factoid or a stat…and the zombie transformation begins.

  38. Comment from: Ian George

    1914-1915 was characterised by an extreme drought.
    1916-1918 had some extreme cyclones. The autumn of 1917 is still one of the coldest autumns on record.

    2009-10 Extremely dry and hot (esp spring 2009)
    Spring 2010 – wettest spring on record
    summer 2010-11 – 2nd wettest summer on record
    autumn 2011 – coldest autumn since 1950

  39. Comment from: toby

    At last adults are back in charge.
    “Australia and Canada had reservations about the language and indicated that they could not support a Green Capital Fund at this time.”

  40. Comment from: Robert

    The El Ninos a century apart, those of 1902-3 and of 2002-3 were devastating in my region. These were classified as weak El Ninos. (1902-3 was devastating everywhere, of course. Someone on this forum described the current Qld drought as “AGW creeping”. Qld in 1902 must have been doing its own AQW, with ultra-turbo and supercellular octane.)

    The two most powerful El Ninos, 1997-8 and the 1982-3 biggie, were fairly benign in my region. That of 1997-8 didn’t real hurt Oz much at all, though 1982-3 was a shocker in most of the country.

    Just remember that the thirties are still deemed by the BoM to have been without El Nino and that 1938-9 is actually classified as La Nina – and not just a weak one! Compare that to what actually happened in 1938-9. The rain eventually came in buckets, but it only came after Black Friday and all that heat.

    Just imagine what the literalists would make of an event like Black Friday during a marked La Nina if it were to occur now. Not to mention that 1938-9 heatwave. We make a huge mistake feeding terms like ENSO, PDO, AMO etc to people whose thinking is too mechanistic and literal. These rough observation sets are handy and may lead to better things. But don’t give ‘em to climate zombies!

  41. Comment from: toby

    A year ago or so I made a suggestion that believers in CAGW were also likely to be supporters of the NBN. Comments that followed this statement strongly suggested I was correct.

    It appears abundantly clear that the NBN as planned is a disaster.

    “A senior analyst in telecoms, media and technology at stockbroker BBY, Mark McDonnell, told an NBN-focused conference in Sydney the project was “the worst idea ever devised in the history of Australian telecommunications” and this was “in serious trouble”. “The magnitude of this mistake is truly staggering,” Mr McDonnell said.

    “It is the Fukushima of Australia’s telecommunications industry … The NBN is a testament to the naivety of our policymakers and the gullibility of our political class.”

    - See more at:

    Maybe we are also right about the C in CAGW?!…And we are most certainly correct about our own policy responses.

  42. Comment from: jennifer Marohasy

    Just filing this here:
    How conservatives have been on the wrong side of history…

  43. Comment from: Larry Fields

    On another thread,
    Comment from: jennifer November 28th, 2013 at 12:14 pm
    “Thanks everyone for your contributions. I’m going to close off comment here for another week. Will reopen next Wednesday evening, December 4th.”

    Last night (Wednesday, California Standard Time), I wrote a tentative comment for that other thread. Lo and behold! When I went to post it, the thread was already closed.

    I appreciate your efforts. And I realize that the blogging time in your busy schedule is limited. But the timing of the open window is creating a small problem for those of us on the other side of the Pacific Pond.

    Here’s a modest suggestion. Please be more specific about when that other thread will be open. And please post a chart for converting from Oz Time to other time zones. (I hope that I don’t have to rustle myself out of bed at some ungodly hour in order to post a comment.)


  44. Comment from: jennifer

    Hey Larry

    Sorry! And point noted about being specific about times… we are ahead of almost everyone in the world here in Queensland, Australia.

    But if you post the “tentative comment” here and/or email it to me at jennifermarohasy at I will post it at the thread.

    Otherwise, I shall make sure the blog is open for Wednesday evening next … California Standard Time.

    Thanks for your efforts. Best, Jen

  45. Comment from: Larry Fields


    Comment from: jennifer November 23rd, 2013 at 2:08 pm
    “Beth, I don’t actually think science ever really happens the way Popper suggests.”

    Larry’s comment #1. What about the Polywater fiasco of the late 1960s and early 1970s? This story is too long to describe adequately here. However one can read all about it at Wikipedia. Here’s a long story short.

    A Russian physicist thought that he had discovered a new form of water. Supposedly, the freezing point and density were different from ordinary water. This would have been truly revolutionary science if it had panned out. Kuhn would have been proud.

    The first fly in the ointment was the fact that other scientists had difficulty in reproducing the finding. Some could; others could not.

    Richard Feynman had an insightful biology-related take on the controversy.

    The coup de grace came from a scientist who had a great sense of humor. After playing a vigorous game of handball one day, he collected a bit of his own sweat. It turned out that this sample tested positive as ‘Polywater’.

    These days, scientists are loathe to discuss the Polywater story in mixed company. The initial ‘finding’ was an artefact of dirty glassware.

    The Polywater hypothesis was thoroughly falsified. This is one of the reasons that I feel comfortable with Popper’s popularization of the word, “falsifiable.”

    Jennifer also wrote:
    “And I note that Popper was an economist rather than a scientist.”

    Larry’s comment #2: A person who didn’t know you better could easily misinterpret this as follows:
    We should not take Popper seriously, because he didn’t have the right piece of paper.

    Larry’s comment #3: On a Kuhn-related side note, I have known two people who made revolutionary discoveries in the sciences — including macroeconomics, physics, and (yikes!) mathematics. Speaking of the devil, here’s a maths problem from one of these men. It’s absolutely unsolvable with integral calculus, but it lends itself to a much simpler albeit non-obvious approach.

    While out for a ride, you go through a long puddle of water, and get your bicycle tires wet. Then you make a right-angle turn onto a side street. The wet tires make a crescent shape on the pavement, because the rear wheel is always taking a shortcut in its ‘attempt’ to catch up with the front wheel. You know the distance between the hubs of your bicycle. What is the area of the crescent?

    Anyway, only one of these two guys is beginning to get the recognition that he deserves. Both men possessed a special gift for pissing off their peers.

    Oops, I almost forgot the obligatory remark about the Flying CO2 Monster. Here goes: AGW is the zombified 21st Century equivalent of Polywater.

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