Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ian Plimer, the ABC, taxpayer funding, and let the Torrens fill with blood ...

An interesting showdown featuring the bluff and bluster of Ian Plimer - when asked the question as to whether 'white' asbestos (chrysotile) was a carcinogen - took place last night on PM, which you can listen to or read about here in Plimer launches kids' climate sceptic book.

The conversation - for politeness's sake, let's call it a conversation - drifted away from climate science to asbestos, and to a letter the reporter had allegedly received from the good professor allegedly asserting that 'white' asbestos was not really asbestos and not a carcinogen.

All Plimer had to do to defuse the situation was to say (a) yes I wrote a letter to you asserting that 'white' asbestos was not a carcinogen, or (b) no, I did not, you're a liar and I'll see you in court.

If yes I did, then (a) sorry, I was in error, the literature is now clear that 'white' asbestos is a carcinogen, and likely it was at the time that I wrote the letter, but there was a miscommunication or misunderstanding on my part or perhaps what we have here is simply a failure to communicate; or (b) the literature is in error, and I'm in sole possession of the truth, and whatever you hear to the contrary remains wrong.

Instead he resorted to bullying and blustering, hedging and equivocating, evoking ideology and damning the ABC and taxpayer funding, babbling on about mass ignorance and people out of their depth.

He invited to the interviewer to attend a first year geology lecture, but in lieu of forking over an airfare and accommodation I thought I might just make use of the full to overflowing intertubes - especially because all the fuss about the Woodsreef mine at Barraba in the wild New England ranges had involved inter alia the mining of 'white' asbestos (Abandoned asbestos mine causes community outrage).

No doubt it would generate great relief in Barraba citizens labouring under the delusion they might be at risk to be reassured by the sight of Ian Plimer taking a snifter of the white fibres into the lungs as a way of showing how safe they were.

Why the news might spread around the world, and the pond could bask in a little of the reflected glory for spreading the good news ...

Sadly the first thing we bumped up against was this story: Government's Chief Scientific Advisor Confirms White Asbestos as a Class 1 Carcinogen. (Class 1 being the UK definition of a substance directly involved in causing cancer).

The committee agreed that white asbestos causes lung cancer. However the evidence to prove the link between chrysotile and mesothelioma was said to be less established, particularly in individuals who have had only low levels of exposure to white asbestos.

This link to lung cancer supports the current international consensus that white asbestos is a carcinogenic and as such is correctly classified as a Class 1 carcinogen.

Golly gosh, what scaredy cats, it's only a firmly proven link to lung cancer, and no one knows what's a safe level, so they kept it at Class 1.

Sadly it seems the antipodean lackeys at the NOHSC have also fallen into line, prohibiting its use and treating it like crocidolite (blue) and amosite (brown) asbestos. (here).

Then I trotted off to the WHO at the UN, and what do you know, they took a dim view of 'white' asbestos too:

The principal forms of asbestos are chrysotile (white asbestos) and crocidolite (blue asbestos). Other forms are amosite, anthophylite, tremolite and actinolite.

All forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans, and may cause mesothelioma and cancer of the lung, larynx and ovary. Asbestos exposure is also responsible for other diseases, such as asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs), pleural plaques, thickening and effusions. (here)

It immediately became clear that the black helicopters were circling, and the pond had discovered a vast international conspiracy, involving but not limited to a staggering number of governments around the world, the WHO, the UN, and - it almost goes without saying - the taxpayer-funded ABC.

Since taxpayer-funding seems to be a grievous crime which leads to grievous ideological errors, the pond is now determined to run rampant through the University of Adelaide (where you may find Professor Ian Plimer's contact details), demanding to know who might have taken a bent penny from innocent taxpayers, and then put them to the sword.

As the federal government has been shovelling money down the throat of the University like climate change has kicked in and there's no tomorrow - don't take my word for it, take a look at the Vice Chancellor's budget - this might result in a massacre, but what the hell.

Come spirits of direst cruelty, make thick my blood. Let the Torrens flow with the crimson gore of those who've sullied themselves with taxpayer money ...

Anyhoo, in the meantime, it seems that amongst the 101 questions a first year eighteen year old student in geology should ask the good professor - when next in class and wanting to troll the teacher - is whether 'white' asbestos is considered a carcinogen. Or whether it might be called asbestos at all, especially by impertinent pups languishing in mass ignorance.

On the other hand, this might lead them to be expelled, especially if they're on a Commonwealth scholarship ...

Still, the pond understands that reading from cheat sheets and being expelled is all part of a sound education these days, a way of avoiding the dire clutches of fiendish leftist progressives.

Oh and the capper for the interview, when the good professor was asked this question?

MATT PEACOCK: A final question, with respect Professor, have you ever taken any money from the coal industry or the asbestos industry or their lobbyists?

IAN PLIMER: Not at all. But have you, sir, ever taken any money from the tax payer? And that is what you are doing to paint an ideological picture which in most cases can be regarded as misleading and deceptive

Yep, it's taxpayer funding what does it. Let the blood flow in the Torrens so that the University of Adelaide can be cleansed and purged and made whole and decent again.

Meanwhile, who'd have ever imagined the pond quoting a piece by Tory Shepherd flinging hooks and uppercuts at The Punch. Yet here she is in How Plimer's climate change might just work:

The reports immediately reminded me of the tactics of a Christadelphian church in Adelaide that advertised exciting sermons on how humans co-existed with dinosaurs at the dawn of time (around 6000 years ago).

Proselytisers used to lurk around, approaching school children to ask: ”Hey, do you want to find out how stupid your teachers are?”

When eager kids nodded, they’d be presented with pamphlets containing convoluted questions about gaps in fossil records, or pictures of dinosaur footprints next to human footprints. There’d be references to studies and experts and some Biblical passages. And if your teacher didn’t know off the top of their head how to explain that not all transitional fossils were preserved, it was mindboggling proof they didn’t know what they were talking about!

Poor teachers.

Hang on, hang on? Poor teachers? Primary, secondary or tertiary? They've all got their snouts in the taxpayer trough one way or another, and likely enough are part of a vast international conspiracy. It seems we must damn them, damn them all to hell ...

(Below: can farmers, babies and the entire Mexican fire department be wrong?)

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