Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Neither Australia's bush fire preparedness nor anything recent  is caused by climate change

Contrary to the article below, recent increases in bushfire damage have nothing to do with global warming. Since there has been no global warming for over 18 years it CANNOT be true.  Things that don't exist don't cause ANYTHING

The satellites are the only way of obtaining a truly global temperature reading and for the last 18 years they just show random fluctuations around a constant mean. Here's the graph:

And even the terrestrial datasets show no statistically significant global temperature change over the last 18 years.

Global temperatures are anything but uniform, however, and there may have been some local warming in some places which was offset by cooling in other places.  But local warming is not global warming, to be reluctantly tautologous.

What then is going on?  Why the increase in bushfires?  No mystery at all.  Greenies did it.  They have been meddling heavily in forest management.   One particularly pernicious type of interference is Greenie opposition to precautionary burnoffs in winter.  Such burnoffs are easy to keep within bounds and reduce fuel load for later fires.  So any fires that eventuate in warm seasons are much tamer and spread less. 

Why Greenies oppose such burnoffs I am not sure -- some feeling that it "unnatural" would be my guess. They say it is to protect forest critters but the big burns are actually the ones that kill most forest critters.  Many of the critters can escape a small controlled burn and a controlled burn can in fact make some provision for that

Australia risks being under-prepared for longer, drier and more severe bushfire seasons, a report from the Climate Council says.

The national report found that record-breaking temperatures and hot winds will place unprecedented strain on firefighting resources, estimating that the number of professional firefighters across Australia will need to double by 2030.

Australia's bushfire season got off to an early start, when more than 200 fires burned across Victoria in the first week of October, and this week, blazes sparked by lightning and burning have destroyed at least 300,000 hectares in the North Cascade, Western Australia, killing four people so far.

Thursday is shaping up as another fire risk day in Victoria, with hot stormy conditions forecast.

"As a country, we are not prepared ... for the impacts of climate change. This is not a future problem; it is already costing us now," said Amanda McKenzie, Climate Council CEO.

"I don't know any [state] government that has a plan for how they are going to manage the need for more firefighters in the future."

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, maximum temperatures in October averaged 3.44 degrees above the long-run average, and almost all of southern Australia recorded its hottest October, driven higher by a big heatwave across the region.

It is the increasing likelihood of such conditions around the world that the Climate Council report said would challenge Australia's firefighting resources.

"Climate change is impacting on the fire seasons in both hemispheres, meaning that they will increasingly overlap. This has the potential to decrease the capacity to share resources …"

The Climate Council said resources meant equipment as well as hands-on assistance.

For example, some of the largest aircraft in Australia's fleet are leased from international companies and are the same as those contracted to firefighting services during the northern hemisphere summer.In August and September, 72 Australian and New Zealander personnel were deployed to support US firefighters, and 104 were deployed to Canada during the 2015 season.

"It's not just looking at how we share resources between Australia and US. If we have multiple fires happening around Australia, that's where we see very serious situations. That's when you have a very exhausted fire service," said Ms McKenzie.

A spokesperson for the NSW Rural Fire Service said they were aware of research "suggesting climate change could result in longer bush fire seasons and increased demands on resources, including firefighters."

"As the lead agency for bush firefighting and management in NSW, the NSW Rural Fire Service continues to consider the potential for increased fire activity and how it may impact the prevention, mitigation and suppression of bush fires in NSW," he said.

"Irrespective of the cause, the NSW RFS always assesses conditions and prepares based on the prevailing forecast."

Over the past year the ranks of the service swelled to a record 74,516 volunteers, a figure revealed in annual reports of the state's emergency services tabled in NSW Parliament on Wednesday.

"Our services are leaders in emergency management and are doing an outstanding job of meeting the needs of the community during their time of greatest need," said Minister for Emergency Services David Elliot.

"The report does come at an important time, given we have seen an early start to the bushfire season in WA and Victoria."


Army chaplains to remove ‘conquer’ from 102-year-old motto because it is offensive to Muslims

Has anybody noticed that conquering is what armies are about?  And how ironical that Muslims might be offended by the idea of conquest.  They believe in conquest and the only people attempting conquest in the world today are Muslims:  ISIS

THE Australian Army is removing the motto “In this sign conquer” from the 102-year-old hat badges of army chaplains because it is offensive to Muslims.

The move comes after an imam approved by the Grand Mufti was appointed to join the ­Religious Advisory Committee to the Services in June.

Australian Army chaplains have had the motto on their hat badges since 1913.

A Defence spokeswoman last night denied the motto was being changed because it was associated with the Crusades, when Christian armies fought Muslims in the Holy Land during the Middle Ages.

“The motto of the Australian Army Chaplains is being changed to better reflect the diversity of religion throughout the Australian Army,” she said.  “The new wording on the Australian Army Chaplaincy badge is under consideration and no decision has been made at this time.”

Former army major Bernard Gaynor, whose commission was terminated last year due to his outspoken views, said: “This is political correctness destroying our military heritage.”

Mr Gaynor, who is standing as the Australian Liberty Alliance senate candidate for Queensland, said political correctness in the military was highlighted by the appointment of an imam.

“The government must stop the political correctness. It must dismiss the Defence Imam for his views. And it must put Australia first,” he said.

Military historian Professor Peter Stanley from UNSW Canberra said: “The motto was acceptable 100 years ago but today has crusader connotations.”

Despite the perceived crusader links, he said the motto actually comes from Emperor Constantine’s vision before he won the battle of Milviian Bridge in 312AD and converted to Christianity: “Jewish chaplains already have a separate badge with a Star of David, so Muslim chaplains would not be expected to wear the current badge. They would have one with a crescent.”

Army chaplains are understood to have pushed for the change. Former principal chaplain to the army Monsignor Greg Flynn said: “We have been aware of this coming down the track and most chaplains would agree with the change. It is a reality.”

Professor Tom Frane, former Bishop to the Defence Force, said: “It seems like a crusading motto — triumphal. It is not the first time it has been misinterpreted. If times have changed it is worth another look.”

The army imam, Sheik Mohamadu Nawas Saleem, has previously called for sharia law to be introduced into Australia. He signed a petition supporting radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which has argued in favour of honour killings and said Muslim students should not be forced to honour Anzac Day.

Sheik Saleem works about 40 days a year for the Army and is paid $717 for each one: almost $30,000 a year.  The sheik did not respond to requests for comment.

Sheik Saleem was supported for the role by Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, who this week sparked controversy by failing to come straight out and condemn the Paris terror attacks.

The Defence spokeswoman said: “There are 102 ADF permanent members who self-identify as Muslim. In addition there are 40 Active Reservists who have declared as Muslim.’’


Scouts to ditch pledge to God, Queen and Australia to become ‘more inclusive’

SCOUTS are set to dump the word “God” in its traditional promise amid claims the ­religious reference was making non-Christian members “uncomfortable” while turning others away from joining.

References to being “cheerful” and “thrifty” are also set to be axed, while a pledge to “doing my duty to Australia” will be canned to be more inclusive to other ­nationalities as part of a major review within the nation’s largest youth movements.

In a move set to irk monarchists, an optional promise to the “Queen of Australia” is also to be permanently given the boot as part of the modernisation of the movement.

Scouting families have until the end of the year to complete a survey on the new wording of the movement’s new “law and promise” that will then be recited by members from mid-2016.

A message posted on its website by Scouts Australia chief commissioner Chris Bates said the change of words was about making the Scouts more inclusive.

The existing promise includes the line “I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to my God and to the Queen of Australia”.

However, some younger Scouts were already reciting an adapted version of the promise, contributing to a “silo-effect” between its sections, Mr Bates said.

He said there was a strong feeling some of the wording was not consistent with members’ beliefs or their current use of language. “The result is we are either losing members or some of our members are using words they don’t actually believe in,” he said.

“After much research and discussion, we have provided some new wording for a revitalised promise and law that we believe young Australians will find easier to commit to, and to follow.”

One of the proposed ­options for the new promise includes a reference to being “true to my spiritual beliefs”.

The revised law ditches the need for Scouts to be cheerful, thrifty, courageous and helpful, while retaining the need to be friendly, honest, fair, loyal and trustworthy.

Founded in 1958, Scouts Australia is regarded as the largest youth movement in the nation with almost 70,000 members. Although the ­organisation is open to members of all religious faiths, those who refuse to make the promise to God are not ­allowed to become members.

The Scouts Youth Program Review said feedback from members found many parents preferred non-­religious activities for their children “and have expressed discomfort with the use of the word ‘God’.”

Scouts had the option to ditch the line about “doing my duty to the Queen” a decade ago, with only a few branches retaining the reference. But the review said most members felt the phrase needed to change, with less than 12 per cent wanting it retained.

As for revising the law, young people no longer used words such as “thrifty”. It said scrapping the reference to “Australia” in the promise was in recognition of the global nature of scouting, it said.

“The removal of direct reference of Australia was also seen as recognition of the global nature of Scouting, and making the promise more ­inclusive for citizens of other nations,” the review said.


Rogue union fined for disrupting work on rail crossing

THE militant CFMEU and one of its key players have been fined more than $50,000 for disrupting work on the $140 million Mitcham rail crossing upgrade.

Federal Court Justice Christopher Jessup handed down the fines this morning in a case lodged by the industry watchdog Fair Work Building and Construction.

The judgment found against unionist Joseph Myles and the CFMEU over the unplanned stopwork at the rail site in August 2013. The union was fined a total of $48,750 and Myles was fined $6375.

Myles had threatened to declare “war” on head contractor John Holland for refusing to hire a union delegate as a safety officer on site.

But the union stopped the work of a contractor instead of John Holland.

Justice Jessup said the union did not appear to have respect for industrial law.  “The schedule paints a depressing picture. But it is more than that,” he wrote.  “I am bound to say that the conduct referred to in the schedule bespeaks an organisational culture in which contraventions of the law have been normalised.”


Strange-looking new weapon for the Australian army

It does just about everything except make your coffee. It is a development of an Austrian design from the Steyr company.  Steyr also make a highly regarded sniper rifle. Austria is a politically neutral country but is a notable supplier of highly regarded firearms. Glock pistols are probably the best-known Austrian product there is

Thales has received a contract from the Australian Department of Defence to supply F90 assault rifles to the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Under the terms of A$100m ($73.6m) contract, the company will supply 30,000 F90 rifles and 2,500 SL40 grenade launchers, as well as spare parts and various ancillaries.

Two versions of the rifle will be delivered, including a standard rifle with a 20in barrel, and a carbine with a 16in barrel.

Thales Australia Armaments vice-president Kevin Wall said: "Our soldiers deserve the best possible equipment and the F90 delivers on all counts.

"Enhancing the Austeyr is the most cost-effective way to deliver a capability upgrade, and we've worked closely with defence and army units to design, test and manufacture this world-class weapon.

"The F90 is born from over 100 years of engineering and manufacturing expertise at Lithgow, and this is the latest chapter in Lithgow Arms' long contribution to Australian military operations."

Manufacturing work under the contract is scheduled to be carried out at the company's facility in Lithgow, regional New South Wales.

Deliveries to the ADF are set to commence in the next few weeks and will take place over six years.

In ADF service, the rifle will be known as the Enhanced F88 (EF88), marking a significant enhancement of the original Austeyr F88, a modified version of the Steyr AUG used by the service since 1988.

The EF88 rifle will be equipped with an enhanced day sight, foregrip and a grenade launcher attachment for grenadiers, and is scheduled to be issued more broadly to ADF from 2016 as part of the rollout of LAND 125 Phase 3C - Soldier Enhancement Version 2-Lethality project.

Thales is currently exploring export opportunities for the F90 in various markets worldwide.


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