Thursday, January 17, 2013

Doing a tarantella with the Devine ...

(Above: it's time for an historical hanging).

Right on cue, enter Miranda the Devine, stage door right (she simply refuses to enter from stage left) with Aussies have weathered nature's extremes before.

The Devine has always blamed greenies and green philosophies - and a failure to turn the continent into a giant tar and cement carpark - for bushfires. Every year, as sure as bushfires and blowies come round ...

Doesn't much matter which year, the greenies are to blame, which is why she advised that instead of hanging arsonists from a lamp post, it would be wise to consider a pre-emptive greenie hanging.

Yes she did:

The warnings have been there for a decade. If politicians are intent on whipping up a lynch mob to divert attention from their own culpability, it is not arsonists who should be hanging from lamp-posts but greenies. (Green ideas must take blame for deaths).

It was only a few days ago that she felt compelled to add to her diatribes of bile with Green arrogance burns fiercely.

But at the same time, the Devine is battling all sorts of spot fires on another front, led by a veritable wave of climate alarmists, as she explains at the start of her latest piece:

Climate alarmists have waited a while for a good heatwave to press their case that human activities are causing unprecedented catastrophic global warming. 

Yes, don't you mind events in Europe or the United States or around the world, please let's keep this strictly parochial. Insular. Closed-off. Locked in a very small dunny with a very small mind.

This summer the weather delivered. Right on cue, after a record string of hot days across Australia, the ABC, The Guardian (UK) , the Climate Commission, the CSIRO and the UN's IPCC (coincidentally meeting in bushfire-racked Tasmania) all trotted out scary climate statements.

How to defeat these scary fear mongers, who are completely at odds with the Devine's expert scientific adviser, Lord Monckton? Well, suddenly greenie vandalism warps into "nature's extremes".

Australia has always had extreme heat, droughts, bushfire and flooding rains.

Which means, if you follow the logic, that instead of always having had greenies who need to be blamed for everything (yes Bob Brown's great great grandad, run free and wild and blameless), bushfires are part of nature's extremes.

The Devine is such a featherhead that she can't even begin to process this kind of contradiction.

Truth to tell, Dorothea McKellar's poem is about as close to scientific rigour as she can manage.

The pond would like a humble dollar for every time these lines have popped up, either directly, or with the Devine and others indirectly, in any and every debate about climate change:

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains, 
Of ragged mountain ranges, 
Of droughts and flooding rains. 

We'd be rich, richer than Al Gore, I tells ya, and we'd fly everywhere first class to warn the world of impending doom. The mainstream churches would go out of business.

We keed, we keed, it's hard not to go barking silly and jump off the deep end when you've spent a bit of time with the Devine.

Anyhoo, cherry picking is one of the favourite sports in the climate science game, so naturally the Devine does it in spades, courtesy of the 1879 Australian dictionary of dates.

Immediately the pond became suspicious:

December 27, 1790: "Great heat in Sydney, 39C in the shade. Settlement visited by myriads of flying foxes, birds dropped dead from the trees." 
 February 10 and 11, 1791: "On which days the temperature at Sydney stood in the shade at 41C, the heat was so excessive at Parramatta, made worse by the bushfires, that immense numbers of the large fox-bats were seen to drop from the trees into the water, and many dropped dead on the wing."

39C, 41C?

What is this malarkey? What is this European, dare one say, cheese-eating French way with a thermometer? What are these ostensibly direct quotes?

Egad sir, and madam, Sir John Henniker Heaton was an English gentleman, and he would have none of the dastardly centigrade.

See how he writes of Black Thursday:

Black Thursday (Victoria). Memorably hot day in Victoria; the thermometer was 112˚ in the shade, and the whole country wrapped in flames. The ashes from the fire at Macedon, 46 miles away, fell in Melbourne; many had to leave their flocks and herds and fly for their lives, February 6, 1851.

Yes, yes, the pond can perform the very same intrepid investigative journalism as the Devine, by the simple expedient of heading off to the Internet Archive and reviewing a copy of Heaton's work here.

And as a result, the pond came up with something of a scoop, because Heaton continued:

At the darkest moment, when the blackened sky obscured the sun, a crowd noted that two greenies in Macedon, whose philosophies were adjudged to have caused the fire, were seized by an angry mob, and hung from the lamp post in Macedon's main street. It was a wild kind of justice, but the authorities were helpless to prevent it, because it was widely announced in the press that these certifiable greenies were directly responsible for the appalling events of February 6, 1851.

Oh okay, the pond has never had a strong sense of history, and maybe that last bit didn't actually happen, and wasn't written up by the venerable Heaton, but the pond must take a strong stand against this centigrade nonsense.

On and on the Devine goes, quoting Heaton here and there about hot days, and any time a number is mentioned, it's in centigrade.

Yet this very morning RN (that's Radio National for those not in its * sized audience) provided the daily temperature estimates for the entire country in Farenheit.

Now this might simply be the quirky eccentricity of the temporary host John Doyle, or it might be a softening up process for the return of the Latin mass, but by gad, sir and madam, it can be done.

Meanwhile, the Devine continues on with what is surely the laziest piece of cut and paste, slack-arsed, illogical journalism the country has seen since the grand days when Alan Ramsey could fill up a column either quoting himself or others ... until she drops exhausted, like a pigeon caught out in the open in a heat wave:

In January and February 1791, wrote Heaton, there were "several weeks of excessive heat, hot winds, birds dropped dead from trees and everything burnt up, stream of water supplying Sydney nearly dried up". 
And so on. 

Yes, and so on, to pointless, meaningless, silly excess.

The only guaranteed result is one exhausted pigeon, and what a remarkably silly unscientific pigeon it is, to quote individual days of heat and fire, up against the notions of climate science, which involves a gradual, incremental and sometimes imperceptible increase in temperature and in the ferocity of natural events.

Is there any other way to sound informed while actually sounding incredibly stupid? Could religion perhaps somehow be introduced?

As you ask, so it is given:

Australians were religious about their climate in the past as well. 
Heaton wrote they prayed for rain on November 2, 1858, and "for breaking up of drought" on November 2, 1876, and on March 1, 1878, with a fast day and "day of humiliation". 

Which is as handy a moment as any to remind the world that Rick Perry issued a proclamation for prayer for rain in Texas.

Yes he did, and the pond loves it so well, because it's full of whereas and what for, here it is, and the original site link is here (click on image to enlarge);

And by golly if that's not enough of a prayer fest for you there's another Rick Perry prayer fest here.

Now what, you might ask, has this got to do with climate science, as opposed to the peculiar stupidity of a certain breed of Rick Perry Texans?

Why nothing at all, but the pond just felt it was important to remind the world that it isn't just Australians who still to this very day, get religious about the weather. Ripleys or what? Can you believe this weather, or what?

Yes, that's the weather, not the bloody climate the Devine yabbers about.

And the rest is just a blind alley, a distraction, because there are all sorts of folks who still get religious about the weather, and listen faithfully to news about it in Farenheit (oh lead us out of the wilderness John Doyle and towards the Latin mass).

So how to end it all? Is there a Devine solution?

Australia has never had a mild and easy climate. 

Hah! Tell that to the greenies responsible for the latest bushfires.

And now perhaps a caveat?

Whatever is the extent of global warming and any human contribution to climate change, exaggerating the 2013 heatwave is just another green lie which will blow up in all our faces.

Yes, roll that one around on your tongue like a good trocken German reisling (then pucker up and swallow), because suddenly there's a chink in the armour, an acknowledgement that maybe the fanatical Devine is weakening ...

Whatever is the extent of global warming and any human contribution to climate change

What, there might be some? There might be an "extent", however much that "extent" might be?

And all that yabbering about temperatures in the nineteenth century is just so much smokescreen, part of an idle moment, which involves forgetting that greenies are the real culprits when it comes to bushfires ... and have been so since at least 1851!

So what on earth does it all mean?

.. exaggerating the 2013 heatwave is just another green lie which will blow up in all our faces.

Sorry, it turns out it means absolutely nothing.

It's meaningless gibberish, written by someone who, after all the stupidities and illogicality, remains desperate to link "green" and "lie" in the one sentence, and then climactically and conclusively announce that somehow this will blow up in all our faces.

As if only a few days ago the Devine hadn't had a hysterical fit making a mountain out of the 2013 heatwave.

But Miranda, Miranda,

Australia has always had extreme heat, droughts, bushfire and flooding rains.

And it's always going to blow up in your face, or so you said.

Who'd have thought Hilaire Belloc would have been the one to pin-point the problem?

Do you remember a lamp-post, Miranda? 
Do you remember a lamp-post? 
And the knotting and the tying
Of the rope for a hanging, 
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees, 
And the trocken German riesling that tasted of tar? 
And the cheers and the jeers of the young climate scientists
(Under the vine of the dark verandah)? 

Oh it's a sacrilege, it's shocking. Please, let the rest of staunch Catholic Hilaire Belloc's poem unfold as he wrote it

Do you remember an Inn, Miranda, 
Do you remember an Inn? 
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteeers 
Who hadn't got a penny, 
And who weren't paying any, 
And the hammer at the doors and the Din? 
And the Hip! Hop! Hap! 
Of the clap 
Of the hands to the twirl and the swirl 
Of the girl gone chancing, 
Backing and advancing, 
Snapping of a clapper to the spin 
Out and in -- 
And the Ting, Tong, Tang, of the Guitar. 
Do you remember an Inn, Miranda? 
Do you remember an Inn? 
Never more; 
Never more. 
Only the high peaks hoar: 
And Aragon a torrent at the door. 
No sound 
In the walls of the Halls where falls 
The tread 
Of the feet of the dead to the ground 
No sound: 
But the boom 
Of the far Summer Season like Doom.

Oops, that line feels a little odd, but since things are blowing up in our faces ...

And what you ask one more time, more in hope than fear, has any of this got to do with climate science?

Well in one way sweet bugger all.

And yet in another, as much as the drivel you might read in the Daily Terror from a writer who is ostensibly one of the rag's star members of its commentariat, snatched away from Fairfax so that the intellectual tone of the tabloid could be driven even deeper into the gutter.

So it goes, Ned Kelly might have said, and Kurt Vonnegut certainly did, and such is life.

There's just time for a tarantella before the hanging!


  1. What's the chance that Sir John's measurements would meet modern standards? NOAA recommends that a Temperature / Humidity Sensor
    • Should be placed on a patch of level ground, over a surface representative of the area.
    [Avoid rock/concrete and dark-colored surfaces, roofs, or irrigated lawns].
    • Should be mounted in a ventilated radiation shield.
    • Height between 4’ 1” and 6’ 7” above ground (1.25 – 2.0 m)
    • Place sensors at a horizontal distance of 2 times the height of the nearest object (tree,
    structure, etc). [Example: 40 feet away from a 20 foot tall tree].
    • Keep away from other sources of heat such as chimneys, air vents, air conditioners, etc.

  2. Now let's not get technical Joe. All the Devine is up to is to explain how it was hot in the old days, and now it's hot in the new days, and weather is climate, and climate, for all she knows, means weather, and it's the greenies what done it, except in the old days it was the heat wot done it, which means they're guilty and they're innocent, and anyway who was a greenie in Queen Victoria's Australia?

    Think of wandering into a primary school class, and then pitching it a little lower, and make sure you keep it strictly anecdotal, and use factoids, because they're so much more useful than facts.

  3. Funny how a few days later the max temp record really was broken. Oops.


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