Monday, February 16, 2015

From fifty shades of blue to fifty shades of reptile science in the lizard Oz ...

First the set-up:

Then the gag:

So why not make a blue tie joke, seeing how women are endlessly abused for their television dress sense. And what's that rat lurking behind the arras? (And more David Rowe blue ribbons here).

Last week, ostensibly at the start of good government, which starts everyday, because just yesterday, good government stumbled and fell, the commentariat took to running listicles.

Bernard Keane in Crikey was typical, though it was only early in the week:

(Behind the paywall here).

Now let's read on.

Over the weekend, a mournful Philip Ruddock dared to suggest that the man determined to learn communication skills had failed to communicate with him about his performance and his subsequent sacking.

And today things continued on this petty pace.

Abbott has, and will continue to revert to the gutter, drumming up alarums about national security, because banging that drum means fear of damned furriners will help him keep his job.

But what about the furriners he's let into the camp tent?

...the move has angered some MPs, with one senior Liberal telling The Australian he was stunned by the appointment and believed it may “shift the alleg­iance’’ of some Abbott loyalists. 
“This was another captain’s pick, there was no consultation with the senior leadership team,’’ the MP said. “Scott is not culturally Liberal, and everybody knows it — he is Nat. He was preselected on the Nationals Senate ticket in Queensland in 2006 and is only a Liberal MP by virtue of the 2008 merger of the two parties in Queensland and that his electorate was deemed as a Liberal seat.’’ 
Another MP said: “I think it’s a little bit strange that we’ve got someone who is more associated with the Nationals … than the Liberal Party in that new position, particularly when you’ve got a very good Nationals party whip in Mark Coulton, who they all love. 
“If the whip’s there to provide feedback back up the chain, they need people who have the confidence to confide and communic­ate (sic) with them. I don’t think anyone has any issues with Scott but that will be something he’ll have to overcome.” (the reptiles of Oz, google for more if you like).

Sheesh, a pesky furriner and a Queenslander.

Well that's what you get when you cultivate paranoia and xenophobia as a way to secure your leadership ...

And then there was that other result on the weekend, which Keane could have added to his listicle:

Government unrest grew on Sunday following a damaging cabinet leak that Mr Abbott and his chief-of-staff Peta Credlin had pushed for a six-month wait for the dole for young Australians against the advice of relevant ministers Kevin Andrews and Eric Abetz.
New Social Services Minister Scott Morrison has indicated that the policy will be abandoned after failing to secure the support of the Senate crossbench. (Fairfax here).

Yes, the crazed speaking in tongues controller of the gulags is now able to position himself as soft and cuddly up against the PM and the PMO, who for all their blather about the pieties of future generations being made to pay, seem intent on making the current young generation suffer and starve ... easy enough to do, when Abbott admitted to terrible failings and being a terrible failure on the weekend.

He apparently didn't have any idea that he might be on the nose with some of his colleagues or presumably even the electorate, an heroic achievement given the polls and the months of rumbling. Even the pond can't sustain that high altitude level of delusionalism, if only because of fear of nose bleeds, and being discovered wearing the emperor's new clothes.

That Abbott should attempt to dump his profound ignorance on Ruddock almost makes the pond feel sorry for the desiccated coconut. Almost.

What else today?

Well the magic water man sees politics as a dice game. It's all luck, scribbles Paul Sheehan for Fairfax with In leadership's revolving door, luck matters a lot.

How stupid does Sheehan's thesis get? Well John Hewson was Paul Keating's luck, and Mark Latham was John Howard's luck ... and not going against Peter Costello was Kevin Rudd's luck ... and Rudd v Gillard was Tony Abbott's luck ...and so on ...

Yes life is luck and luck is life, and it's about the same as saying life's a lucky dip or a box of chocolates or some other inanity, and it gets the pond no closer to its business plan of a lottery win.

 But also what it demonstrates is that Sheehan is a very lazy writer, and this sort of puffery allows for an inane rear view mirror summary of the past few decades of federal politics through an abysmally silly prism ...

No need to read that turgid gibberish unless you want to lose a few IQ points ... or understand why Sheehan might once have thought he was lucky to have discovered magic water.

So what else?

Well the pond is tired of Abbott's relentless demonising of one issue after another, so perhaps it's time to look further afield, and what better way to do it than to study the reptiles in yet another climate change uproar, wind turbine renewable energy sub-division.

You see, over the years the reptiles have been engaged, not just in determined climate denialism, but also in determined undermining of wind farms.

Yes, it's not just jolly Joe Hockey that fears and loathes them ... though jolly Joe carrying on like a barking mad luddite led to a nice little meme:

But back to the reptiles, because this morning they're confronted by twin demons.

That wretched exorcist has been asking questions, and it concerns the reptiles' resolute denialism:

Note that there's nothing in that splash that says "after it allegedly hounded his company without allegedly reading his report ..."

But that's the reptile way. No saucy doubts or fears, or qualifiers ... just the dirt.

Now if you want to access the report in question, you can find it here, amongst a collection of hysterical fear mongering, and favourable reprints of the work of Graham Lloyd, scribbling saucy doubts and fears for the lizard Oz.

Why was the pond immediately suspicious? Well it was how it was sold:

The report itself is a doorstop – the report runs to 235 pages, with 6 appendices adding another 500 pages or so...

...“The study was required to work backwards from the resident’s observations and see what wind or noise levels agreed with the complaint,” Mr Cooper said. “I don’t think you can get any more objective than that.” Mr Cooper said simple monitoring of each house had cost about $40,000 and complex monitoring with multiple microphones and vibration detectors was $100,000. On-site monitoring of the turbines had cost a further $40,000.

Yes, never mind the science, admire the size, the weight, the appendices, and the cost.

As for the idea that it's wise to accept residents' observations and then work backwards to justify them ...

Can the pond pass on that?

It reminded the pond of all that reporting of Ian Plimer's opus, which invariably focussed on the way it ran some 503 pages and contained some 2311 footnotes. Never mind the depth, feel the width ...

When Lloyd's next in town, perhaps he'd like to drop by the pond in Camperdown and assess the health damages to be derived from planes flying directly overhead every five minutes, dropping polluting avgas and its residue and inducing mental stress and ...

Never mind, the pond finds the rivet-counting an exhilarating game to play. Soon enough the pond hopes to be a qualified rivet-counter, and present a nine hundred page report with a gazillion appendices on the art and the science ...

The point is that there are all sorts of compromises to be made when living in a modern world, and there's something particularly reprehensible in joining with luddite forces to demonise renewables like wind energy.

So here's that Media Watch story, as featured in the lizard Oz and prepared by someone sounding like a Sharri Markson inductee:

Note the blithe way that the report is presented as a "breakthrough study", having been hailed internationally as representing a breakthrough in the study of wind turbines and possible impacts.

No evidence for this is provided, and if you google for the hailers, all you get is the usual suspects, the rabid fringe of outliers ...

Concurrent with this story there came an offering from Graham Lloyd, the man doing more for climate denialism than any other journalist at work in country:

The fascinating thing here is Lloyd's attempt at some fort of balance, possibly as a way of refuting Media Watch, which is clearly on his tail.

But then we come to those two closing pars:

The Schomer peer review said “the results had been presented in a 218-page report augmented by 22 appendices spread over six volumes so that every single detail in the study has been documented for all to see and examine”. 
“The methods and results are totally transparent,” the review said. Dr Schomer said “the very nature of a longitudinal study provides for a finding of cause and effect.”

Yes, never mind the previous bits, like this:

A spokesman for Pacific Hydro, Andrew Richards, said the report “was not a scientifically robust study, not a medical study and that no cause-and-effect rel­ationship is demonstrated by the study”.

Just feel the width, feel those 22 appendices spread over six volumes. Because a longitudinal study by its very nature, provides a finding of cause and effect, and thereby, by its very nature, makes the hunt for a cause-and-effect relationship redundant.

Now if Lloyd had been serious, he might have attempted to winkle out the demonstrable cause-and-effect relationship allegedly offered by the study.

But he's not a serious journalist. His game is saucy fear and doubt, and emphasising any report that helps him in that game, giving it space and access to the pages of the lizard Oz.

And in turn that leads to government grants to research the impact of wind farms and their turbines, and if that happens, why where there's smoke, there must be fire, and so we all can continue to enjoy the destruction of the Hunter Valley, and the Liverpool plains, because coal is just fine and dandy ...

Exactly the same sort of nonsense has been peddled by the anti-vaccine crowd especially in the United States, what with Rand Paul and with the facilitators and the quislings and the fellow travellers at Fox helping it along.

How far has American gone on its journey?


Which brings us to this thought in luddite Australia, offered up by Cathy Wilcox, and more Wilcox here.

Oh well, maybe just some zingers and Micallef as consolation ...



    The first few comments sound like paid trolls.

  2. Hounding, hounding!

    Media Watch is almost as bad as News of the World. But never fear, the Murdochians will keep an eye on that sort of thing.

  3. Hey Dot, do you think it's time you updated the banner at the top of your blog? I can think of a sterling new addition to you rogues' gallery of loons.

    Now for a suitable pic...


    1. do you mean the prime loon? The one who came here with his parents to make themselves a better life and bugger the rest of us? The one who took us all for mugs?

    2. The pond has a deep affection for all the loons at the top of the page. It would be a desecration, heresy, or at least unseemly to conflate these likeable characters with tawdry images of Chairman Rupert or the pugilist. Besides, is it fair to elevate such rogues into the pantheon? How would Tony Perkins feel jostling cheek to jowl with the pugilist? Of course, he'd feel slighted, maybe even defamed ...

  4. Abbott: ""We are a free and fair nation. But that doesn't mean we should let bad people play us for mugs, and all too often they have. Well, that's going to stop,"

    Abbott's nightmares are not reality. Who are the "bad people" that are playing "us for mugs"? He should perform the following test:

  5. Cathy Wilcox is brilliant. She has a recent great cartoon show crying kids behind razor wire with Abbott outside the fence screaming at them "Stop this nonsense! You're just trying to embarrass me!"

  6. " Six people living in three nearby houses had complained about headaches, ringing ears and chest pressure they said was caused by the 29 turbines."....

    Six people in three houses, all no doubt in agreence with each other...all within sight of the turbines, or at least in complete knowledge of their operations...SIX people!!??...that isn't a thorough survey, THAT's a cluster opinion!

    No doubt those same six people would agree that it is stiff-shit for those hundreds of thousands living down-wind from a coal-fired power station.

    1. Anon, quite so. I used to live next to the main Newcastle-Sydney rail line and every hour day and night coal trains rumbled down the line, leaking dust and waking us up with their infernal diesel rumble which actually shook your stomach.

  7. A severe dent in Bond's, Smiley's etc. image.

    "MI5 accused of covering up sexual abuse at boys’ home"

  8. DP, knowing your ongoing interest in Caterism, I have to share this gem quoted by Jeff Saprrow in the Grauniad today (

    "This is not a musical masterclass but hot, sweaty manual labor; by the end one senses it is not so much applause that Tognetti craves as an ice cold Victoria Bitter. […] That is not a bow in Tognetti’s hand but a blade, for he does not play his Guarneri del Gesu, he shears it. This is music as Tom Roberts would have painted it; cotton sleeves rolled up, dirt under the fingernails, a clay pipe in the back pocket; there will be no interval in tonight’s performance, just a twenty-minute smoko."

    I just hope this does not come to the attention of the company carrying the insurance on the Guarnerius.

    1. What a fantastic, wonderful quote. At last the Caterist lets out the inner pseud ponce poseur, and what a wanker it is ...
      The pond liked it so well that we googled it, and thus far it's only on the Graudian and here, thanks to you Anon, but the pond would love to know the source. If there's a nugget like this to be found, maybe there's a gold mine of drivel nearby!

  9. DP do you know the divine Arethra's cover of "It ain't necessarily so"?

    1. Yeah I know. It should be Aretha. But her parents are to blame.

  10. I don't know. The Gooderer Government/Abbott 3.1/Master and Commander of His Destiny rerererererererererererereboot seems to be going very well.

  11. Table of Contents: Responding to Climate Change

    Why Do Some People Do “More” to Mitigate Climate Change than Others? Exploring Heterogeneity in Psycho-Social Associations

    ..Yet, the exclusion from the analyses of environmentally inactive respondents should be acknowledged as a significant methodological and practical limitation that cautions against generalizing the present study's findings to environmentally inactive people—around 40% of EU-27 citizens [10]–[11]; this is important because environmentally active vs. inactive population segments are likely to differ in what drives extra (i.e., broader and greater levels of) mitigation behavior... Concluding Remarks 8.The study has implications for promoting more ambitious behavioral responses to climate change, both at the individual level and across countries.

    Voluntary Climate Change Mitigation Actions of Young Adults: A Classification of Mitigators through Latent Class Analysis

    ..It is a remarkable challenge to engage the Inactive in climate change mitigation. This group possibly includes individuals who have negative environmental views, low level of knowledge, non-environmental priorities, and a perception that their behavior does not contribute to climate change... According to our results, campaigns could be particularly targeted at single or divorced men and women without tertiary degree.

    Understanding Libertarian Morality: The Psychological Dispositions of Self-Identified Libertarians

    ..Political and social psychologists often study ideology on a unidimensional liberal-conservative spectrum, but the real world is clearly more complex. As psychologists advance in studying the personality traits associated with liberalism and conservatism, our findings confirm the value of this approach and extend its reach by describing a heretofore-neglected yet politically important group – libertarians.

  12. Note the PM of Denmark is an attractive, slender blonde. Will we be treated to praise for her sterling qualities from Dame Janet?


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