Posts tagged ‘The Age’

July 2, 2011

Jo Chandler: “When science is undone by fiction”

Excellent Jo Chandler piece in the Age of 29 June, about many things, including the nonsense that was Climategate.

Meanwhile, in real news, the journal Nature Geoscience published a paper by American and British scientists that found West Antarctica’s Pine Island glacier is now melting 50 per cent faster than in 1994.

In an effort to better understand the hidden mysteries of ice sheet dynamics, which have obvious implications for every coast on the planet, the team also sent a submarine beneath the floating portion of the ice. It found the glacier had broken free from the ridge that once grounded it, allowing warmer waters to circulate and melt it from beneath. This had long been the theory – now they had some observed evidence.
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The hastening retreats of the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers have been closely monitored by scientists for decades. Their collapse is a nightmare cited as one of the tipping-point scenarios scientists most fear – potentially pulling the plug to drain the western ice plateau, and possibly even destabilising the sleeping giant next door: the East Antarctic ice sheet.

The uncertainties of these processes are to blame for the wide, wild variations in anticipated global sea level rise – the hottest, most disputed topic in forecasts for a warmer world. So you might imagine that this latest insight would merit a mention. But it didn’t make the cut for publication in any Australian newspapers.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/when-science-is-undone-by-fiction-20110628-1gp26.html#ixzz1QveU94bP

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May 29, 2011

Blanchett, Turnbull and the whole damn soap opera

On a day when the Climate Institute begins a gamble on the power of celebrity (Cate Blanchett) to help create the support needed for a carbon tax, (cue Pavlovian attack by Murdoch press, as David Horton says) we have more on the Abbott (sceptic/direct actioner) versus Turnbull (patrician/trading scheme supporting) spat.

This, about the leaked chastisement of Turnbull et al for missing votes in the Housefrom the Age, is extraordinary. (Or perhaps not extraordinary at all, which is the problem.)

A parliamentary steward ferried the draft version of the email to Mr Abbott before the end of question time. The rest of the leadership group – Mr Pyne, Mr Hockey and Deputy Leader Julie Bishop – quickly became aware of its contents.
Mr Pyne and Mr Abbott examined the document before Mr Abbott walked the piece of paper to his chief of staff, Peta Credlin, who was seated in the Opposition Leader’s adviser’s box.
The growing tension between the Liberal Party’s most senior members reignites earlier leadership rivalry. Mr Hockey had been the favourite in a three-cornered leadership contest in November 2009, but he lost out when Mr Abbott deposed the then leader, Mr Turnbull, by a margin of only one vote. A source said the once-fractured relationship between Mr Turnbull and Mr Hockey had improved significantly in recent months.

Holy Cow. And this clown (Abbott) sees himself as Prime Minister material? This, this is his statesmanship?

Meanwhile, the Imperial masters have sighed knowingly at the behavior of the colonials. The Economist writes

The reformers who laid the basis of Australia’s present success had the intelligence and courage to take action when it was needed. Will the same be said of the current generation of politicians? It is by no means certain.

Asked for a response, former Green Senator Natasha Stott Despoya said that it was unfair to call the interactions between Labor and Liberals Punch and Judy. Unfair to Punch and Judy that is, since “At least Punch and Judy had a narrative. There were lessons for children in it. It’s a morality tale. That’s more than you can say about Australian politics right now. Certainly, in terms of a lack of vision, a lack of long-term visionary approaches to seemingly intractable social, political, economic, environmental problems – yes, The Economist has probably got it right.”

I’ll leave the last word to Laura Tingle, the Australian Financial Review’s excellent (e.g here) political editor. She concludes her May 26 piece “Long and the short of PM’s game” with the following observation.

“The two sides of politics are a bit like punch drunk boxers flailing wildly at each other and most often landing punches on themselves. on drunk people landing most punches on themselves…”