A Time to Kill: Meryl Dorey and her AVsN give medical advice on seizures.

Originally posted on reasonablehank:

After an extensive investigation into the Australian Vaccination skeptics Network, the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission issued a Public Health Warning on April 30 2014 [my bold]:

Public warning

The Commission has established that AVN does not provide reliable informationin relation to certain vaccines and vaccination more generally. The Commission considers that AVN’s dissemination of misleading, misrepresented and incorrect information about vaccination engenders fear and alarm and is likely to detrimentally affect the clinical management or care of its readers.

Given the issues identified with the information disseminated by AVN, the Commission urges general caution is exercised when using AVN’s website or Facebook page to research vaccination and to consult other reliable sources, including speaking to a medical practitioner, to make an informed decision.

The Commission has recommended that AVN amend its published information with regard to the above issues and the Commission will monitor the implementation of these…

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Russia’s warming faster than the rest of the planet—and seeing disease, drought, and forest fires as a result

Originally posted on Quartz:

When Vladimir Putin declined to support the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty to limit carbon emissions, he famously quipped that higher temperatures might actually benefit Russia since its people would have to spend less on fur coats.

Well, he’s getting his wish. Changes in wind and ocean currents caused by global warming shift heat around unevenly, causing some areas to heat up dramatically even as other regions cool. Russia, it turns out, is in the unusually hot category. Between 1976 and 2012, average Russian temperatures rose 0.43°C (0.8°F) a decade—more than twice the global average of 0.17°C—according to a new report out by Russia’s climate and environment agency (pdf, link in Russian).

The increase in the average temperature in Russia.

Trends in Russia’s average temperatures.

This is a big problem for a variety of reasons, say Russia’s climate scientists. Hotter temperatures appear to be driving a spike in episodes of dangerous extreme weather:

Dangerous-extreme-weather-is-on-the-rise-in-Russia-Incidents-e-g-floods-drought-cyclones-5-year-moving-average_chartbuilder (2)

The frequency of forest fires

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The cost of man-made disasters

About once a week or so, I receive an email from random people/businesses wanting me to post something they think is relevant to my blog. More often than not they just want to generate traffic and/or get a bit of free advertising. So far, I am yet to post anything because I don’t wish to be used in that way and don’t wish to promote private businesses, that I know nothing about. Today I am making an exception because the infographic I was sent does two things.

First it highlights just how stupid we humans are in terms of how we treat our home. It shows oil spills, nuclear disasters, the great plastic garbage patch in the Pacific and a few others and it puts a price tag on them.

The second thing it does, is it fails to mention the cost of anthropogenic climate change, and I thought that was interesting, because the annual cost of that is orders of magnitude greater than the one-off costs of the disasters it lists. More on that in a moment.

Here is the infographic. Note: In no way do I endorse the educational courses this mob are promoting. I don’t know enough about them, if the courses are legitimate or value for money or whatever. I just like the picture.

manmade-disasters

Chernobyl is listed here as the most expensive man-made disaster at $235 Billion. I don’t know if that figure is a direct cost or if ongoing opportunity costs are factored in and I’m not going to bother checking, because it pales into insignificance against the cost of anthropogenic climate change.

In September, 2012 a large study, entitled Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of A Hot Planet was published by the Europe based DARA group and the Climate Vulnerable Forum. Commissioned by 20 governments, it was written by more than 50 scientists, economists and policy experts. From the executive summary…

Climate change caused economic losses estimated close to 1% of global GDP for the year 2010, or 700 billion dollars (2010 PPP). The carbon-intensive economy cost the world another 0.7% of GDP in that year, independent of any climate change losses. Together,  carbon economy- and climate change-related losses amounted to over 1.2 trillion dollars in 2010.
The cost figure of 1.7% of global GDP is expected to rise to 3.2% annually by 2030. That’s a lot of money for a human caused disaster, but hey, it’s only money. The report also estimates that human deaths caused by climate change will reach 100 million by 2030. Sobering thought.
That report is here.
The infographic website is here.

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What the scientists really think about climate change.

 

Picture

Growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s on a farm in a small town, I spent most of my spare time outside playing riding around on my bike with my friends, and also helping out in the family business. I never really watched a lot of television but when I did I loved to watch The Curiosity Show with Rob and Dean. For those unfamiliar, here is a random clip from one of their shows.

It was this show that really got me interested in Science. Rob and Dean had a way of making science exciting and they did this through effective communication. They could explain what they were doing and make it exciting and relevant. What young kid watching the above example wouldn’t get excited about blowing the lid off something? All that nitrogen gas was also cool and creepy.

The other show I never missed was Why is it So? with Professor Julius Sumner Miller. Here was a guy who could have been typecast into any Hollywood movie or television drama as a stereotypical nutty professor. He was brilliant, not so much because he could communicate effectively (which he obviously could) but because he was so passionate about science and self-assured and this really came through. I was left in no doubt about how he was feeling at any given moment. Recently I have become re-acquainted with Miller and have spent many hours on YouTube watching grainy copies of Demonstrations in Physics. One of my favourites was his lecture on Bernoulli. It is classic Sumner Miller and it will leave you in no doubt about his passion for physics and ability to effectively communicate. I particularly enjoy his language. His “common enchantment” is on show.

Fast forward 30 something years to today and one of my biggest laments in science is the unwillingness of scientists to really express their personal feelings about the science they are doing. Scientists are for some reason almost expected to maintain the dispassion they apply to the scientific method throughout all aspects of their life or at least to keep their personal feelings out of the public eye, especially if they are negative. Perhaps I’m generalising a bit here but it is the impression I have gotten over the years, especially where climate science is concerned. I’m not a climate scientist and I am really pissed off about the lack of action. I am really pissed off by the bullshit “arguments” put up by non-experts. I am pissed off with the media giving false balance to these morons. When I see charlatans from fossil fuel funded think-tanks on my television I want to throw something. I will throw my hands up in the air and wonder why the climate scientists are not being heard? Why aren’t they putting a human face on their findings? I know they are all passionate about their science and they have to be tearing their hair out at the prospect of what we are doing to our world.

Well, with our new dysfunctional, fossil fuel funded, climate change denying, anti-science, fossil-filled conservative government destroying renewable energy initiatives, dismantling key climate institutions, removing the only demonstrable method of reducing CO2 emissions, dishing out corporate welfare to billionaire miners and removing environmental impediments to their business interests, it seems some Australian climate experts are finally putting their thoughts in the public domain.  Joe Duggan, a master’s student in science communication at the Australian National University’s Centre for the Public Awareness of Science has asked the experts to write down their thoughts and has put them on his blog. It makes for some sobering reading.

Check it out here.

 

 

 

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Ice sheets thick as a denialist’s head

Originally posted on Millard Fillmore's Bathtub:

Cartoonist Randall Munroe at XKCD demonstrates ice age issues.

Of course it was a cartoonist. Where else does one go to find the truth these days, but the cartoons?

XKCD dramatically shows differences in North American cities and their relationship with their local ice sheets, 21,000 years ago.

XKCD dramatically shows differences in North American cities and their relationship with their local ice sheets, 21,000 years ago. Cartoon by Randall Munroe.

Enric Sala wrote about our disappearing ice for the World Economic Forum — a post worth reading.

Twenty kilometres in 20 years. That’s how much the Ilulissat glacier has retreated as this mighty, flowing river of ice crumbles into the ocean. It sounds like a lot. But I did not fully realize what this meant until we flew over the Ilulissat icefjord. It takes 10 minutes for the helicopter to fly over the amount of ice that has been lost because of global warming – in this glacier alone.

The speed at which the glacier moves has doubled…

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Information Aversion

Originally posted on Azimuth:

Why do ostriches stick their heads under the sand when they’re scared?

They don’t. So why do people say they do? A Roman named Pliny the Elder might be partially to blame. He wrote that ostriches “imagine, when they have thrust their head and neck into a bush, that the whole of their body is concealed.”

That would be silly—birds aren’t that dumb. But people will actually pay to avoid learning unpleasant facts. It seems irrational to avoid information that could be useful. But people do it. It’s called information aversion.

Here’s a new experiment on information aversion:

In order to gauge how information aversion affects health care, one group of researchers decided to look at how college students react to being tested for a sexually transmitted disease.

That’s a subject a lot of students worry about, according to Josh Tasoff, an economist at Claremont Graduate University who…

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Hunt launches personal attack on head of Australian solar lobby

Is this any way for a government minister to behave? The fact is, Greg Hunt is a AGW denier like the rest of his lunatic fringe party. He says he accepts the science underpinning climate change but then flags and implements policies that don’t reflect the science. He is either a fraud, completely incompetent or stupid…..or all three.

Hunt launches personal attack on head of Australian solar lobby.

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