Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Everything is caused by climate change

They give no reasoning for their claim below. It is just a reflex twitch. A hundred years ago they would have said: "It's the Jews" -- with equal lack of logic

SCIENTISTS have found the world's first hybrid sharks in Australian waters. Leading researchers in marine biology discovered 57 animals along a 2000 km stretch from Queensland to NSW.

The predators are a cross between the common blacktip shark and Australian blacktip shark, two related but genetically distinct species.

The scientists say interbreeding between the two shark species is a sign the animals are adapting to climate change. They also warn that hybridisation could make the sharks stronger.

Dr Jennifer Ovenden, of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, said: "Hybridization could enable the sharks to adapt to environmental change as the smaller Australian black tip currently favours tropical waters in the north while the larger common black tip is more abundant in sub-tropical and temperate waters along the south-eastern Australian coastline."

She added: "Wild hybrids are usually hard to find, so detecting hybrids and their offspring is extraordinary. To find 57 hybrids along 2000km of coastline is unprecedented."

Dr Jess Morgan, a researcher at the University of Queensland researcher, told The Australian that it was unusual for sharks to breed in this way. "Sharks physically mate, which is usually a good way to make sure you don't hybridize with the wrong species," she said.

Colin Simpfendorfer, of James Cook University's Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre, said: "The results of this research show that we still have a lot to learn about these important ocean predators."


Aunty's leftish drift still needs to be corrected by its deeds

When minding grandchildren at the beach in shallow water, there is not much to do except listen to the radio. And so it came to pass that on Christmas Day, with earpiece attached, I switched on the ABC Radio National Artworks program.

There was a discussion about the latest inner-city fashion of yarnbombing, whereby a certain sect of radical feminists engage in adorning public places with graffiti of the knitted genre. Artworks' sympathetic coverage concluded with a certain Casey Jenkins telling the program how she recently travelled to Vatican City and attached her home-knitted "lesbian fling-up" to the Basilica. The ABC reporter and presenter appeared to approve of such action.

Apparently Jenkins is on a campaign to advocate the use of what she terms "the C word" and to proclaim the "loveliness of non-reproductive sex". Which is all well and good, provided that she was more catholic (in the universal sense of the word) in her targeting. Artworks' favourite yarnbomber took her campaign to the Vatican and the Pope. She did not protest at the Haj in Saudi Arabia or outside Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's office in Tehran. Catholicism is an easy target. Islam is not. The program was so terribly twee. And so predictably Radio National.

On Christmas Day, Radio National also re-ran Julie Rigg's MovieTime review of The Iron Lady, which is directed by Phyllida Lloyd. Rigg described Margaret Thatcher, the subject of the film, as "a tyrant". Rigg also expressed her disgust that, during the Falklands War, a British submarine sank an Argentine ship, the Belgrano. But she expressed no concern about the British sailors who had died when the Argentine air force, controlled by the military dictators in Buenos Aires, sank Royal Navy ships.

When reviewing The Iron Lady on ABC 1's At the Movies earlier in December, Margaret Pomeranz also felt the need to declare that "most of us" thought that Thatcher's decision, when prime minister, to change Britain "wasn't a good idea at the time". David Stratton, the co-presenter of At the Movies, concurred. It was another example of an ABC program in which everyone agreed with everyone else, in a fashionable leftist sort of way.

The likes of Jenkins and Pomeranz and Stratton have a right to be heard. It's just the overwhelming voice of the public broadcaster is left-of-centre, or leftist, and so few right-of-centre, or conservative, voices are heard.

Maurice Newman, who was the best ABC chairman in recent memory, stepped down at the end of 2011 after the Gillard government declined to extend his term. When ABC chairman, Newman drew attention to what he described as a "group-think" within the public broadcaster. Not surprisingly, Newman's critique was criticised by ABC types, led by ABC's Media Watch presenter Jonathan Holmes. However, any sample of ABC programs will reveal an over-representation of left-of-centre views and a gross under-representation of conservative positions.

The ABC managing director, Mark Scott, is a distinct improvement on his predecessor. However, as one of Australia's highest paid public sector employees, who earns significantly more than the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, his performance should be critically assessed.

In October 2006, shortly after he took up his position, Scott addressed the Sydney Institute. While defending the public broadcaster, he did concede that there was "a sense that the organisation has issues with balance and fairness". Most importantly, Scott acknowledged that "there needs to be a plurality of opinion" on the ABC. In 2006, the ABC did not have one conservative presenter or executive producer on any of its key TV or radio programs - although many on the left held such positions. Five years later, nothing has changed.

In 2006 Scott called for "further diversity of voices" on the ABC. Recently the public broadcaster announced a range of new talent as presenters for its TV and radio programs in 2012. The list includes academic Waleed Aly, The Chaser's Julian Morrow, journalist Andrew West and comedian Josh Thomas. All are talented. Not one is a conservative.

There is no conspiracy here. It's just that in the ABC, as in universities, politically like appoints like. Mike Carlton, who is not a critic of the public broadcaster, last August depicted ABC functions as events "where almost everyone seems to be married to, living with or divorced from somebody else in the room".

Nor is it a case of the ABC being pro-Labor. In fact, as K.S. Inglis documents in his 2006 book Whose ABC?, the prime minister who was most critical of the ABC's lack of political balance was Labor's Bob Hawke - not the Coalition's John Howard. At issue was the public broadcaster's coverage of the first Gulf War.

Scott's view that the ABC should engage in "soft power", and represent Australia's international interests through broadcasting, has been sanctioned by the Gillard government. It awarded the Australia Network contract to the ABC in perpetuity without competitive tendering. The problem with the existing service is not merely that it is boring. It also reflects the ABC house culture of criticising both Labor and the Coalition from the left.

Regular ABC viewers/listeners know that the predominant position heard on the public broadcaster is to criticise Labor or the Coalition on human rights matters (asylum seekers, same sex marriage, anti-terrorism legislation), on foreign policy (the Australian-American alliance, Israel) and on economic reform (labour market deregulation).

The appointment of even one prominent conservative as a presenter of even one significant ABC program would not resolve this long-standing imbalance. But it might indicate that Scott's promise was about to be implemented, albeit half a decade after it was made.


Electricity cost shock for Victorians

VICTORIANS need to urgently educate themselves about the looming surge in electricity prices this year, or face bills so high many will struggle to pay them, the chief of an energy price comparison service says.

Power use surged yesterday, after temperatures in Melbourne hit 39.6 degrees at 6pm. Today the temperature is forecast to hit 35 degrees, after an overnight low of 24.

The spike in electricity use followed power prices in Victoria jumping on New Year's Day, by an average 10 per cent.

Much of this increase was on the charge to consumers for simply being connected to the grid - meaning users will now pay more regardless of whether they cut their power use or not.

And, according to Ben Freund, chief executive of price comparison service company GoSwitch, another jump of about 10 per cent is likely to follow on July 1, when the carbon tax begins.

The new tax, combined with mandatory renewable energy targets and chronic under-investment by power companies in infrastructure, will cause prices to rise further across Australia. "We are looking at the doubling of the cost of power in five years' time," Mr Freund said. "At that point people will start getting into serious hardship."

Victoria had the advantage of around 70 per cent of its homes being connected to natural gas, giving many consumers an alternative if power bills rose too steeply, Mr Freund said. "Consumers will be blase about it for a while, and then they'll get their bill for summer and be shocked," he predicted.

"Then they'll get their winter bill, and by that stage they will be paying a carbon tax and they will be really shocked."

Also likely to have an impact on future electricity price rises will be the introduction of smart meters to every home in Victoria, which will measure energy consumption every 30 minutes, rather than every three months.

The new meters will allow for time-of-use tariffs to be charged, allowing energy retailers to charge more for using electricity at times when everyone wants to use their power, and less at low-demand times.

Energy Minister Michael O'Brien has guaranteed this new way of charging will not happen until next year, and that those who wish to stay on fixed charges will be able to do so.

But Victorian Greens MP Greg Barber warned that anyone who had considered the $2.3 billion smart meter rollout a ripoff so far needed to be aware of what was coming.

"You can't put people on time-of-use pricing unless they've got instantaneous access to information about how much they'll be paying for the power they are using," he said.

To do so would be like "a pub that shuts off happy hour at 7pm without telling you, then hands you a bill for 800 bucks at the end of the night", he said.

A spokesman for Mr O'Brien said yesterday that the moratorium on time-of-use pricing would remain in place until next year.


Only 4,000 homes hooked up to white elephant

Figures from NBN Co show take-up of the National Broadband Network is behind schedule, with only 4,000 households connected to the high-speed network at the end of 2011. That figure is well behind an initial target set by the Government to have 35,000 households connected by June last year.

The Opposition's telecommunications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull says it is further evidence of the Government's poor policy execution. "Well it's pathetic," he said. "It would be comical, this very low take-up, missing their targets by so much.

"They said themselves that they were going to have 35,000 customers connected to the network by June last year, and yet they have only 4,000 connected, only 2,315 of which are connected to the fibre network. "So this is a shocking shortfall."

NBN Co has attributed the shortfall to delays in the rollout while it waits for Telstra's structural separation approval, which will clear the way for it to use the telco's underground infrastructure.

But Mr Turnbull says that is a poor excuse. "The reality is that they have not been able to deliver the connections they said they would," he said.

"There are plenty of areas in Australia where the Telstra infrastructure was either available on a temporary basis if you like, before the final agreements were entered into, or areas where the Telstra infrastructure, such as green fields sites, was not relevant in any case."

Telecommunications analyst Paul Budde says NBN Co is right to wait for the Telstra deal to be approved by the ACCC, which is likely to occur next month. "That now gives NBN Co the opportunity to roll out the NBN [much more quickly] with the assistance of Telstra," Mr Budde said. "So, yes, there was a backlog, but because of the contract signed with Telstra, all indications are that that backlog will disappear over 2012, and that the company will be on target for 2012."

"2012 will be the test year," he added. "If we were to talk about this a year from now and it is still a disappointment, then I think we would have a problem. "I think that if you could get the 500,000 rollout, roughly that's what they are looking at.

"So if you start looking at 400-500,000 people that are able to get access to it, then I would think you start looking at at least 100,000 people that should be connected to the network around that time."


1 comment:

Paul said...

It may not be "the Jews" causing climate change but Goldman Sachs certainly want global carbon trading.