Saturday, August 06, 2022

In which the pond keeps wanting to do a Tootle when confronted by the dog botherer and nattering "Ned", but then came the chance to share a lobster with our Gracie ...


As noted in the comments section, the venerable Meade's Friday Weekly Beast is a herpetological treasure, and yesterday the pond sipped long and hard on memories of the magic water man, and the new "shape of water", followed by the Currish snail's wedding "scoop" instructions going live, and the Terror doing some splendid thugby league bum sniffing at the expense of the Dominator. 

The news that the chump Champ's show was on the skids was just cream and raspberries on the cake, showing he's just not up to doing the crazy like that madly rowing up shit creek Dean.

The pond also couldn't resist following the link and ended up at The Conversation devouring Don't fall for the snake oil claims of 'structured water'. A chemist explains why it's nonsense.

One thing led to another and before the pond knew it, it was reading an actual scientist, scribbling under the header Record coral cover doesn't necessarily mean the Great Barrier Reef is in good health (despite what you may have heard)

Of course, with a diet of reptiles and Riddster, the pond only hears nonsense, so was astonished to see Zoe Richards signing off with ...

... My study, published last year, examined 44 years of coral distribution records around Jiigurru, Lizard Island, at the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef.

It suggested that 28 of 368 species of hard coral recorded at that location haven’t been seen for at least a decade, and are at risk of local extinction.

Lizard Island is one location where coral cover has rapidly increased since the devastating 2016-17 bleaching event. Yet, there is still a real risk local extinctions of coral species have occurred.

While there’s no data to prove or disprove it, it’s also probable that extinctions or local declines of coral-affiliated marine life, such as coral-eating fishes, crustaceans and molluscs have also occurred.

Without more information at the level of individual species, it is impossible to understand how much of the Great Barrier Reef has been lost, or recovered, since the last mass bleaching event.

Based on the coral cover data, it’s tempting to be optimistic. But given more frequent and severe heatwaves and cyclones are predicted in the future, it’s wise to be cautious about the reef’s perceived recovery or resilience.

Caution? Since when has the blithe climate science denialism offered by the reptiles ever been in need of caution or science?

But having left the reptile track and wandered in the meadows with Tootle, the pond must confess that it's really hard for the pond to focus on this day's reptile offerings ...

But in the spirit of a guzzle of mead, the pond will do its best, and what better way to test intestinal fortitude than a dose of the dog botherer, which in scientific terms, is worse than a dose of the clap...

Ah the mask thingie. Usually that's a feature of Killer Creighton's pieces, and it made the pond wonder what had happened to the Killer in recent times. Probably adopted the US habitat and gone native on hols during August ... what with it being more than passing hot in assorted parts of the country and with the likes of WaPo running this sort of story with this sort of news about the rise of billion dollar disasters... (paywall affected)

Sorry, sorry, the pond was doing another Tootle. Back to the climate science denialism, and a bit of mask phobia to go with it ...

Meanwhile, in another country ...

Indeed not, Zeb, Lismore might have something to say about that, but the pond must return to the climate science denialist who purports to care about the planet, while doing nothing about anything much ...

Whenever the dog botherer comes up with a fatuous bit of rhetorical nonsense such as "the reality. The science", the pond sometimes wonders why it embarked on herpetological studies in the first place. 

But then the pond remembers the heroic example of the venerable Meade... there is something to be learned from this tattered drivel, if only to take to heart a reminder that there's a big world out there, and much to read, and the very last place you want to start is with the dog botherer if you want to get to actual science involving actual scientists ...

So with renewed heart the pond tackled the penultimate gobbet ... which, spoiler alert, features as splendid a piece of gobbledegook as the pond has read in recent times:

"This is not to advocate against any action but to support a cautious approach that weighs costs against benefits."

What a mealy mouthed luddite he is, and here it comes ...

The notion of the dog botherer as truth teller, as opposed to a village idiot yammering into the wind, is simply too much to bear, so the pond thought it might slip in an infallible Pope at this point ...

That bald pate is unnervingly like the dog botherer's and meanwhile in another country ...

Well the dog botherer is here to help with a precedented unprecedented level of hot air ...

And there you have it, and the pond is glad that it referred to an actual scientist regarding the reef ... and as for masks, the dog botherer can feel free to shove one up whichever orifice is to hand, but right at the moment, the pond's partner's office staff has been whittled down to a jot above zero thanks to the ongoing plague ... but then the dog botherer is just as happy to fuck people with a supply of endless mask phobia reptile stupidity, as he is to help fuck the planet ...

And after all that prime dog botherer bullshit, the pond needed a break, and so to our Gracie ... and trouble in mill, or at least Victoria ...

What a relief it is to read about the misfortunes of others. Things haven't been going well in NSW for the Dominator and the cockroaches, and so this sort of news from those south of the border is just the sort of tonic the pond needs ...

When not celebrating the latest in magic water, the local rag is full of gloom ...

Please Gracie, on with the distraction, and a mention of lobster feasts would be much appreciated ...

It never gets old ...

... and it does help take the pond's mind off living in a state where any day you might wake to discover that you've become one of Kafka's ungeheueres Ungeziefer ...

So thanks to our Gracie for the light relief, and the pond's only sorrow is that there's just one gobbet to go ...

Indeed indeed, but the pond has no viable alternative, it must for its bonus climb the Everest known as nattering "Ned", this time even more shameless in constructing a column out of borrowed things ...

Before the pond gets going full bore on this celebration of the mighty deeds of the speaker in tongues to imaginary friends, it should make clear that it harbours no sympathy for dictator Xi and his current extraordinary temper tantrum.

The pond woke this morning to hear a lickspittle lackey on the BBC world service speak of "democracy with Chinese characteristics", such an epic pile of bullshit to describe a dictatorship that for a moment the clock radio found itself in dire peril.

If they hadn't fucked over vibrant Hong Kong so hard, the pond might have had a shred of sympathy, but it's plain enough what would happen to Taiwan should the crypto-fascists get hold of it, and do their not so crypto fascist thing ...

But all that said, it helps to be able to say this to dictator Xi's face, something that the new government can do ... and even the reptiles have noted ...

The pond feels safe in saying that the speaker in tongues comprehensively fucked a response to China's belligerence, and no amount of retrospective reptile nostalgia for the good old days will alter that.

But as usual, the pond is missing the deeper point. This outing by "Ned" is actually just a book tour to plug a tome by simplistic Simon and his hollow-chambered chum, and the more "Ned" goes on, the more shameless it will become ...

So soon for the revisionism and the hagiography? Well it's probably easier than contemplating the sort of dragon tripping that now must be done ...

Sorry, sorry, back to the extended book blurb ...

Might not "Ned" and the authors raise in their book blurbing the mood of the Australian public towards the speaker in tongues?

You see bully boy posturing against a giant only feels credible if you've got a few magic beans in your pocket, but when it came to the speaker in tongues, there was sweet fuck all outside the rhetoric and the posturing ... and now there's this redemptive attempt at reptile revisionism ... not least idle blather about the Australian Chinese community, while anybody not tone deaf realises what actually went down thanks to the idle posturing and posing ...

The previous Australian government's stance against a more aggressive China drove away many Chinese-Australian voters at recent elections who considered the administration's language had licensed racism, a campaign strategist said on Wednesday.
Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison's conservative coalition government lost elections last month after almost a decade in power to the center-left Labor Party.
Labor's campaign director Paul Erickson on Wednesday blamed coalition rhetoric on China for significant vote swings toward Labor in electorates with large Chinese-Australian populations.
The feedback that we got was that there was a view that the government's response to the more aggressive and assertive behavior of the Chinese Communist Party and the government in Beijing came across in the community actually at times as an attack on Chinese-Australians or rhetoric that licensed racism in the community, Erickson told the National Press Club.
Of Australia's population of 25 million, 1.2 million have Chinese ancestry, according to the most recent census.
Senior figures in the coalition government had argued that Beijing had wanted Labor to win the election because Labor lawmakers were less likely to stand up for Australian interests against Chinese economic coercion.
A conservative lobby group Advance Australia had displayed ads on the sides of trucks during the election campaign that depicted Chinese President Xi Jinping casting a vote with the slogan: CCP says vote Labor.
Morrison had labeled Labor's deputy leader Richard Marles the Manchurian candidate, the title of a 1959 novel about the son of a prominent US political family who is brainwashed by Chinese authorities to become an unwitting assassin.
Senior ministers also had pointed to China and the Solomon Islands announcing a security pact during the campaign as an attempt to undermine the coalition's reelection chances.
Labor described the pact as Australia's worst foreign policy failure in the Pacific since World War II. New Foreign Minister Penny Wong will fly to the Solomons on Friday in an attempt to improve bilateral ties.
Former Defense Minister Peter Dutton, who since the election has replaced Morrison as leader of the conservative Liberal Party, argued during the campaign that pro-Labor communication on the Chinese social media platform WeChat was evidence that Beijing wanted the government to change.
Maree Ma, general manager of Vision Times, a leading Chinese-language Australian media outlet, said WeChat exchanges were more positive toward Labor than they had been in the last election in 2019....

And so on, more here, and it was clear that the speaker in tongues fancied he had a great way to demonise his rivals, using international relations for petty domestic politics in the most shameless, short-sighted and stupid way ... but back to the reptile revisionism ...

It all sounds like the speaker in tongues was terribly important, but the cat was belled by that invocation of the Donald ...

Oh never mind, so much winning, the pond never got tired of the winning and now on with the speaker in tongues communing with the mango Mussolini ...

Hang on, hang on, the speaker in tongues had seen no official intelligence from either the US or Australia that gave that credence?

Did no one read the lizard Oz or shameless Sharri?

It's true that the book wasn't that well received in The Graudian ...

...The science Markson cites needs more expert evaluation than this article can wield, but there are many who do not support it. In an interview with her local paper in Sydney, the Wentworth Courier, Markson says that for every scientist who agreed to talk to her, three refused.
One who refused was Prof Dominic Dwyer, the University of Sydney virologist who was part of the WHO team that went to Wuhan in February to investigate the virus origins. His public account of preliminary findings came down strongly for a natural origin.
“I’m surprised it is only three-quarters that declined,” Dwyer says. He has not read Markson’s book, but has seen her articles in the Australian and part of her Sky documentary.
“The science is complex, but the science interpretation in her articles is so bad it is risible,” he says. “I understand such theories arising in the very early stages of the pandemic, but even since the WHO visit to Wuhan early this year there has been continuing emerging evidence for animal links and none for biowarfare.
“People confuse investigations into the origins of the outbreak with assessment of the responses to the pandemic,” Dwyer says. “Many countries can be roundly criticised for their responses to the pandemic, both very early in the piece or even now.”
One who can’t recall any approach from Markson is the Australian virologist Danielle Anderson, now at Melbourne’s Doherty Institute, who from 2016 until November 2019 worked with the WIV on bat viruses. She has spoken highly of the professionalism in the high-containment laboratory, and of its director, Shi Zhengli – someone who evidently also did not speak to Markson.
Anderson was at the Wuhan institute, the only foreign scientist there, when Covid-19 first appeared in the city. If, as Markson writes from unspecified intelligence sources, several WIV staff came down with Covid-19 in November 2019, the cellphone network was shut down mysteriously around the WIV and road access blocked off for several days in October 2019, this all passed Anderson by.
China’s communist leaders are often their own worst enemy, putting secrecy around things no one can really blame them for, and even good things. It makes them sitting ducks for critics such as Markson to put the worst possible interpretation on what they do.
Notably in this book she cites a discussion paper by the Chinese delegation to the UN convention on biological and toxin weapons, warning about the future danger of bioweapons using synthetic pathogens with race-specific infectivity, as a sign that China could be working on such weapons at Wuhan and other places.
Perversely, from the viewpoint of those who endorse Markson’s suspicions, the lesson of the book is that the world’s ideological divides mustn’t stop scientists working together against the frightening possibilities of viruses.
As for the origins of Covid-19, the title of Markson’s book needs a question mark attached.

... but surely the diligent work of the reptiles should have been honoured.

And so to a final gobbet, where the nature of the blurb becomes clear, with a direct plug, with an actual book cover featured.

The pond hopes it all goes well for Pantera Press, which idly boasts that it's a social purpose publisher concerned with books that matter or perhaps even batter, though the pond's sense is that if you lie down with reptiles, you invariably end up with claw marks ...

Thank the long absent lord the speaker in tongues is gone and all that's left is simplistic Simon, the empty Chamber and nattering "Ned" wallowing in nostalgia ... while the pond can end with a wallow in an immortal Rowe ... nine inches? Now that's severe ...


  1. "and before the pond knew it, it was reading an actual scientist..." Now why would you want to go and put in all the hard work of reading an "actual" scientist when you have the Riddle-me Riddster and his IPA flavored bullshit ? Species loss ? No such thing ever happens in the reptile world.

  2. Gracie: "...every democracy needs a good opposition and the Victorian public would benefit from a viable alternative." Then why did the Victorian Liberal Party allow "that Guy" to do a Phoenix revival from self-inflicted ruination ? Have they no sense of self-preservation ? Or just an arrogant belief that given the public's general inattention, they can get away with anything ?

  3. In the early 90s, I was involved in several lots of international negotiations. At that time, it was good to be in the Australian contingent, because we were seen generally as 'honest brokers'. Australians often chaired sessions, and we tended to be included on groups drafting resolutions (which particularly involved identifying points of difference, and trying to resolve, or otherwise allow for them). When Lord Downer was handed the portfolio of foreign affairs, we started to lose that high regard that Australian career diplomats and advisors had held in the international community, partly because of the tinges of narcissism in Downer - if whatever it was did not involve him directly, it was of no importance - and partly because Australia was no longer seen as committed to much of the international environmental and resource negotiation that had been under way for several years. So we were less likely to be active participants in how potential conventions and similar instruments were prepared, so less likely to be able to pick up what other delegations were wrestling with in supporting, or opposing, a developing convention.

    Now, our Dog Botherer (who seems not to have a title to his name this day - not something like 'Realism Editor???) still tells us that he was a big influence on Downer - virtually de facto Foreign Minister, in some of his ramblings on 'Sky' - so, of course, he is not going to acknowledge that a firm national commitment to emissions reduction just might help us get back into the game, be seen as citizens of good will, and better placed to make international instruments more effective.

    We have some ground to make up, but we will not do so if the face we show at international negotiations registers only mirth or dread. We used to be better than that.

    1. Naah, it's just the old reptile truism, Chad: if other people are committing crimes then we should too or we'll miss out on the spoils. Australians as 'honest brokers', as trying to do the right thing just because it's the right thing to do ? You are a sentimental old something, aren't you.

      Now just as a mater of general record, in your years of proximate familiarity with politicians, just how many of any and all sides were really concerned with decency and a modicum of honesty ?

    2. There's always a deal GB, even if it's just a bit of massaging for the ego. The question is really why is there such a race to the bottom, especially on the current conservative side?

      It's not like they have lost their faith, there's no sign there was ever any idealism or desire to do anything other than insert the snout in the trough. You would expect a long period in power to lead to temptation, but it's obvious that relative newcomers are straight onto the grift, which seems to suggest it's the whole point of candidacy.

    3. GB and Befuddled - but starting with comment from Befuddled - I have mentioned before that when I was first called in to the presence of a newly appointed minister, I would try to find out what had motivated them to stand for election - the thing that, hopefully, they wanted to see done in their term, and we - advisors - could show them ways to achieve that. With Liberals that was a very difficult task. Most seemed to think it sufficient that they be elected, and whatever problems came up - they would have the intuition to respond. Neither was there much point in going to written policy documents, which were garlanded with phrases like 'a fair go' and 'opportunities for individuals'.

      Oh, one new minister, female, had listed a particular interest in 'Who's Who' (not THAT long back) as capital punishment. That didn't leave a lot to discuss.

      So, Befuddled is correct - there is always a deal, and often it is little more than a bit of duchessing, or a favourable mention in the print media.

      GB - overall, my feeling now is that within Australia about one politician in five had some integrity - integrity of the kind that I would be prepared to give them information that would help sort an issue, or some subordinate legislation, but I would not want them to divulge to anyone else.

      I would not suggest that there was a particular bias to any one party for that kind of integrity. Labor members, if they had come up through the union strata, usually had a good idea of what a policy should say, and what outcomes to expect of it. Liberals, particularly if they had run a small business - were very difficult to get to see the big picture. If they had been, say, a real estate agent - the issue of the day was seen through a kind of Dale Carnegie prism, with no real sense of a finite outcome.

      At the level I was involved with international negotiations - we were three levels removed from elected politicians, so my comments about 'honest brokers' applied up to career diplomats one-two levels down from ambassadors. Essentially, the task for we minions was to have papers to the stage that none of the content should be up for debate when ambassadors or 'permanent representatives' met to consider them.

      Actual ratification now seems to involve gathering somewhere for a group picture in fancy shirts; the actual 'business' takes about 20 minutes, leaving ample time for side deals, and chats about matters that the great ones did not want to be done through formal communications.

    4. Talking about "race to the bottom", Bef, I guess that covers the GOP far right getting Viktor Orban to come over to tell them how to establish a pseudo-religious autocracy. And they lapped it up, having nobody of that stature in the US.

      So "about one politician in five had some integrity", Chad - that's more than I would have thought. Not because I think the other four are 'evil' particularly, just that thoughts and experiences that might lead to considerations of 'integrity' have never seriously entered their lives. It really is a 'Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends and Influence People' world for them. A world which is entirely transactional and reactive: how, and where, would they ever have developed a concept of comprehensive planning and organising that is really needed. Not to mention any concept of longer timeframes than just one parliamentary term.

      But getting the 'papers' to the stage of mostly painless, and rapid, "formal" ratification isn't such a bad thing, I expect. Can't have bunches of very important persons all over the place seriously arguing about 'important matters' can we. At least not in public where their foibles might become obvious, even to the average voter.

  4. Noddled Neddy, about the dynamic duo's little red (-white-and-blue) booklet: "He [Morrison] believed Australia would need to counter and fill any vacuum China would seek to exploit." What was "he" thinking ? Little Australia to fill the "vacuums" and keep China out. Yeah, sure we will, sure we will So "The book makes clear that intelligence assessments about China from Australia's agencies were instrumental in Morrison's response."

    And what was "Morrison's response" other than to moan and groan and achieve absolutely nothing ? Well, nothing useful or positive anyway, I guess copping a trade closedown from our major buyer doesn't really count.

    1. I got into a bit of strife at a barbeque due to asking pretty much the same question. I might have got some sort of cogent answer, but I didn't.

      It just seemed like another situation where those with experience and expertise were pushed aside in order to appeal to the buttheads. Perhaps the PM took advice on one of his numerous visits to Sporties bar in Launceston (where the tattoos outnumber the teeth). One of the best examples of how to turn a reasonable idea into a disaster - "we need to do something, this is something, lets do it".


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