The UnAustralian

Friday, June 20, 2003
Looting and Iraq

I haven't looked into the issue of looting in Iraq particularly deeply, but one recent meme that I've seen floating around the blogging world is that only 33 major artifacts were taken. Personally I find this quite surprising, simply that it is possible to accurate measure the damage at this stage. For example, if the National Museum was looted it would probably take years to evaluate the damage. Iraq is in considerable chaos, and has less infrastructure available for this task, so it seems reasonable for it to take considerably longer.

This article describes the state of some of Iraq's cultural treasures. Meanwhile this website is focusing on the looting.

I'm going to try to dig deeper.

| 2:23 AM

In an address to the IPCC Ian Castles states:

Although I have spent most of my life working for the Australian Governments, I need to make it clear that I am not now affiliated with any government agency, nor indeed with any other organisation involved in climate change matters.

Meanwhile from the Lavoisier Group's 2002 President's Report:

Two of our members, Bob Foster and Ian Castles, represented the Lavoisier Group at a workshop conducted by the Australian Academy for Technological Sciences and Engineering (AATSE) to review an Addendum to their 1995 Report on Climate Change on April 4 last.


There is a new development, however, in the Kyoto debate which may be just as important as the debate about the science. One of our members, Ian Castles AO, who was formerly Australian Statistician, and who is internationally recognised for his expertise in the field of comparative statistics, took it upon himself to examine carefully the assumptions and methodology behind the IPCC's predictions of global CO2 emissions during the 21st century.

Hmmm.... this sounds dodgy. Perhaps Ian Castles left between the Presidents Report (10th Sept, 2002) and his speech to the IPCC (10th Jan, 2003). If this is the case, at best, it can be said that Castles is being very misleading.


Castles Address To the IPCC (pdf file).
The Lavoisier Group Website, doesn't support deep-linking, so go here and search for their President's Report.
| 1:58 AM
Castles and Henderson vs. the IPCC

Michael Schlesinger (one of the lead authors of the IPCC's rebuttal of Ian Castles and David Henderson) has placed the rebuttal on his website. It can be found here.

I've just started skimming through it. It's got some shots at Castles and Henderson (such as Castles claiming that he wasn't affiliated with any organisation associated with climate change, while forgetting to mention that he's a member of the Lavoisier group. For an academic paper it's pretty scathing of them. I'll post my thoughts when I've read it all.
| 12:00 AM
Thursday, June 19, 2003
Global Warming

Since I've written a fair bit about global warming, I've decided to created a post summarising what I've written. I've already posted this, but that was ages ago, so it's probably time to update it.

Global warming, is an interest of mine, and consequently, I've posted a fair bit on it.

As also with science, it's important to test predictions. Here's one. This post compares IPCC predicted vs. observed atmospheric CO2 levels. Likewise here for sea level rises.

A selection of interesting links on global warming can be found here, and here.

There is some stuff on the costs of the Kyoto protocol for Italy here. And here's a post on the costs of not doing anything about global warming, sea levels in this case.

I've been meaning to monitor global temperatures (translation: link to other websites) for a while. Here's the first post on this.

Here's some posts (links) on the relationship between the sun and global warming.

What a comparison between global warming skeptics and creationists? Here you go. Here's another one.

A couple of economists have critiqued the economic modeling behind the IPCC global warming scenarios. I started to lay out a case against them, but never got round to doing most of it. But anyway, this post introduces the models used by the IPCC, and this post compares predicted growth rates vs. historically observed growth rates. I've also looked at their claims in a series of posts which can be found here, here, and here. I've also debated this with Sylvain Galineau, over at his old site. However it's crashed taking all of the old posts with it. A couple of posts on my site can be found here and here. Ken Parish has also commented on economics and the IPCC. I've replied to some of his points here, here and here. The IPCC have also responded to Castles and Henderson.

John Daly is a Australian global warming skeptic. At the request of Ken Parish (which was in turn induced by this post on the medieval warm period), I've looked at detail into one of his articles. Here, here, here, and here are a series of posts covering my comments on this article. These posts are summarised here. In order to get Daly's opinion on some of the sources of information he used, I emailed him twice. He replied to my second email, but since then has stopped responding. Here's a summary of his last (and only) email to me.

Another Australian global warming denier (and blogger) is Dr Aaron Oakley. I make fun of one of his posts here. We have also clashed over at John Quiggin's blog. For more fun making of a another reality denier, check out this post.

It's been suggested that the sun plays a greater role in global warming, than previously thought. Anybody interested in this, should find this post interesting. Likewise for this one.

Global warming effects the world in a number of ways. Here's a post on the recent drought and global warming.

What started out as a mild interest appears to be taking over my life...

Note: Bloggers only seems to be finding some these links, and I'm not sure how to fix this. Republishing my archives doesn't seem to do much. Sorry.
| 11:31 PM

Great post from Calpundit here. While I think he's a bit harsh on the Iranian moderates and students, there isn't much I can add to this line "So if you want to blog about these places, that's great. If you post good stuff, I'll read it and thank you for the insights. But quit trying to score sophomoric debating points by carping about what other people choose to write about."
| 10:59 PM
The Non-Sacking Of Tim Blair

Tim Blair sounds pretty pissed that Crikey have claimed that he was sacked. Personally I'm not too concerned. It's a bit disappointing to see the significant numbers of commenters at his site baying for lawsuits. Hopefully they would support Pat O'Shane getting a huge payment from Janet Albrechtsen... I suspect that most of them are that consistent.

The other not-so interesting point is the number of commentors who appeared to be disappointed that subscribing to a bitchy email list gets you bitchy gossip.

Scott Wickstein also comments on this.
| 10:33 PM
An Alternative Definition of Faith

According to Ambrose Bierce the definition of the word faith is

Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

Perhaps, a bit over the top in the case of Claire Bibby, but still interesting...
| 6:48 PM
You've Got To Have Faith

Thanks to Tim Blair, I read this little extract:

Claire Bibby, a solicitor, was typical of those along the route, having endorsed Australia's involvement from the beginning. "You have to have faith that John Howard did what he thought was right for the country based on the information that was given to him at the time," she said.

She's right. In the absence of evidence, you've got to have faith.

| 6:42 PM
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
O'Shane Vs. Albrechtsen

Pat O'Shane has won her defamation case against the Sydney Morning Herald. The Supreme Court has found that Janet Albrechtsen has defamed O'Shane eight times in one article. I'd be interested in finding out more about this case. On one hand, there is Albrechtsen, who is a professionally lier, and on the other there are defamation payouts in general, which I'm not the biggest fan of. It would be interesting to see what Albrechtsen wrote vs. reality (and considering Albrechtsen's past work, there could be a massive difference between the two).
| 10:48 PM
Jack Johnson

What is it with trendy places and Jack Johnson. Whenever I walk past one, guess who's playing. Not that this is that bad, but there is such a thing as moderation. It's physically not possible to walk through the world capital of trendness, Queenstown, and not hear him at least 17 times.
| 10:16 PM
Review: Following Ho Chi Minh

Following Ho Chi Minh, by Bui Tin is a very interesting book. Bui Tin was North Vietnamese Officer who first acted as a scout and later as a military journalist. Now he is a dissident living in Paris. He achieved fame, by being the highest ranking officer into the Presidential Palace in Saigon, and accepting the surrender of the South Vietnamese government. He was later one of the first people into Phnom Penh, after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. He was the editor of a significant Vietnamese newspaper. However, his dissatisfaction with the communist regime (which started before the war) grew as he witnessed the harsh treatment of South Vietnamese, corruption, incompetence in Cambodia etc. Eventually, during a conference in Paris, he announced that he wouldn't return to Vietnam.

His book covers very little of his actual life (which from the small parts which he provides would be fascinating), but rather concentrates on being a critique of Vietnam. Tin strikes me as an honest patriot who is attempting to reform the country which he clearly loves. His descriptions of Ho Chi Minh are particularly interesting (see here for an example).

The book was published in the early 1990's, so it would be interesting to hear Tin's thoughts on the recent reforms in Vietnam.

| 9:48 PM
Who Are These People, And Why Do They Keep Spamming Me

Every place in the world has it's collection of fringe groups, and now an Australian one has decided to bombard my uni with their publication. The Citizens Electoral Council (I think?) have taken up leaving copies their magazine everywhere. With a name like theirs, it would be pretty easy to mistake them for some group interested in some aspect of electoral reform. This illusion could be dispelled within seconds, by reading their stuff. Conspiracy theories of the highest order. Sorry guys, but the US is either run by religious fundamentalists, or by an evil atheist plot - you only get to pick one.
| 9:19 PM
Peas In A Pod

One of the more common myths floating around the internet, is that there isn't a scientific consensus about global warming. Unfortunately, it's pretty easy to gather together a group of PhD's (there are a surprising large number of scientists out there, and every group has a small number of nuts) to support any dumb statement. These three lists illustrate just how various shades of pesudoscience can get support in the form of large lists of scientists.

HIV Doesn't Cause AIDS
Global Warming
| 6:08 PM
Sunday, June 15, 2003
Right Wingers Are Stupid

Yobbo whinges about lefties "condescension and insinuation of stupidity" towards righties.

Thankfully the recent bout of overblown moaning about Robert Corr's essays, has forever removed the need for the lefties to insinuate that the right wingers are stupid. Rather just linking to their posts should do the job.

| 5:57 PM