Wednesday, December 21, 2016

More wildfires ahead for Tasmania's wilderness as globe warms (?)

Warmists seem determined to turn physics on its head.  The report below is based on global warming causing lower rainfall.  I quote from the underlying bureaucratic report:  "The major impacts projected to occur from climate change are related to increases in vegetation and soil dryness and flammability".

But it's basic that warmer water evaporates more vigorously.  That's why your kettle gives off steam. And that evaporated water comes down soon after as rain.  So warmer oceans should bring MORE rain, not less. Soils should be WETTER, not dryer!  Science flies out the window with Warmists.  Warmism is a cult, not science

Would it have made any difference if this bureaucratic report had undergone peer review?  Probably not

Tasmania's globally recognised and protected wilderness faces a growing threat of bushfire.

That's the worrying revelation of a new report looking at the impact of climate change on the 1.6 million-hectare Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

"This report concludes that the risks of bushfire to the TWWHA will increase in coming years under the influence of climate change," author Tony Press wrote in the document published on Tuesday for the state government.

With less than a month until the mid-January anniversary of devastating fires which ravaged about 19,800 hectares of unique and aged temperate rainforest, Dr Press and a team of experts have made a number of recommendations.

"It is likely that climatic conditions like those in 2016 will re-occur, and other aspects of fire risk will also increase," he said.

"It is therefore important to take the lessons learned from the 2016 bushfires, and the climate projections referred to in this report, to prepare for a future where fire management in the TWWHA is expected to be more challenging.

"The increase in bushfire risk has already started, and changes to management are needed now and well into the future."

Across January and February Tasmania recorded thousands of lightning strikes which started multiple fires in dry conditions, with 145 known blazes affecting almost 127,000 hectares.

It took more than 6,500 local, interstate and overseas professional and volunteer firefighters and up to 40 aircraft, as part of a coordinated effort costing an estimated $52 million.

It also sparked a senate inquiry.

"Increased spring and summer dryness, lower rainfall, higher temperatures and increased occurrence of lightning fires, combined, pose a major challenge to fire management in the TWWHA and the long-term protection of its natural and cultural values," the report said.

Eighteen recommendations include improvements or a review of prevention, preparedness, response and recovery methods.

The state government said changes have already been made ahead of the 2016-17 bushfire season.

"It's important to understand that fires within the TWWHA have happened before and the January event was not an isolated occurrence," a ministerial statement read.


Muslim, 22, accused of bashing his girlfriend's two-year-old had been with the toddler's mother for 'six weeks' - as he fronts court over 'shocking' attack

The man who allegedly bashed a two-year-old girl in a 'shocking' assault had only been dating the toddler's mother for six weeks, police say. Mohammed Khazma, 22, was arrested at Fairfield in Sydney's west just before 5pm on Monday and charged with reckless assault causing grievous bodily harm.

He did not come up from the cells during a brief appearance at Parramatta Local Court on Tuesday. He did not apply for bail and it was formally refused.

The man had been living with the mother, and they had only been together for six weeks, Daily Telegraph reported NSW Police said.

The mother discovered the girl on Monday afternoon at a home in Guildford West and then drove with the child to a relative's home, police said on Tuesday.

Neighbours described how a woman pulled up at the front of a home on Monday screaming 'you've killed my baby'.  She reportedly collapsed with the toddler unresponsive in the back of the car.

Emergency services were called and paramedics commenced CPR on the child who had gone into cardiac arrest.

Acting superintendent Glen Parks said the mother is 'very upset' and is helping the police investigation.  'This is going to be a long process and we need to work with her,' Supt Parks told reporters. He described the assault on the girl as 'shocking'.

'It is a human instinct to care for the young and the vulnerable and when instances like this occur it is often very difficult to comprehend,' he said.  'Any incident like this is very difficult.'

A NSW Police spokeswoman said the girl remained at Westmead Children's Hospital in a critical and unstable condition.

The man is due to appear in Parramatta Local Court on Tuesday.


Trump-style political disaffection taking hold in Australia, review says

Australia is starting to see the beginnings of popular disaffection with the political class which has led to the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote, according to the authors of a major academic review of the 2016 federal election.

Key measures, including satisfaction with democracy, trust in government and loyalty to major parties, are at record lows among Australian voters while party leaders are suffering sustained falls in popularity unlike any other period in recent history.

The Australian National University has been tracking post-election voter sentiment since 1987, and its lead researcher Ian McAllister warned Australian politicians they should address the dissatisfaction because it was a clear trend.

“Dissatisfaction with democracy, lack of trust in politicians, these are reaching historic lows,” McAllister said.

“What it looks to me like is you are seeing the stirrings among the public of what has happened in the United States of the likes of Trump, Brexit in Britain, in Italy and a variety of other European countries.

“Now it’s not a crisis of democracy but what you are seeing is the start of something which has happened overseas. It’s coming here and I would have thought this is a wake up call for the political class that they need to start addressing this or it will continue.”

The latest survey was based on 2,818 people over three months beginning on the Monday after the 2 July election. It has been conducted on a similar basis for 30 years and some of the measures have been tracked back to 1969.

The most recent study found:

    only 26% of people think the government can be trusted, the lowest level since it was first measured in 1969

    40% of Australians were not satisfied with democracy in Australia, the lowest level since the period following the dismissal of Gough Whitlam in the 1970s

    a record low level of interest (30%) in the 2016 election

    a record low number (34%) who followed how to vote cards, a drop of 10% since 2013

    74% think the government makes little difference to household finances

    69% think government policies make little difference to the country’s finances.

On a leadership evaluation out of 10, the three most recent prime ministers – Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull – measured lower than five in the review.

Previous prime ministers, including Bob Hawke, John Howard and Kevin Rudd scored above five, but not Paul Keating, who scored below five. Of prime ministers since the 1980s, Hawke and Rudd enjoyed most popularity, scoring over six.

As leader of the Nationals in 2016, Barnaby Joyce scored lower (4.13) than his predecessor Warren Truss (4.34) in the 2013 election while Greens leader Richard Di Natale (4.13) scored higher than his predecessor Christine Milne (3.81).

Bill Shorten was evaluated more poorly than any other major party leader since the study started asking the question in 1993. The study rates leaders on nine characteristics; compassionate, trustworthy, inspiring, honest, strong leadership, sensible, competent, knowledgable and intelligent.

When compared with Malcolm Turnbull, Shorten only rated better than the prime minister for compassion. In seven of the nine characteristics, Shorten rated more negatively than any previous major party leader throughout the 1990s and 2000s, since the question was asked.

But Turnbull scored lower than any previous election-winning prime minister covered by the survey on characteristics of compassionate, sensible, strong leadership and honest. He scored second to lowest for election winners on trustworthiness (Gillard was lowest) and competence (Abbott was lowest).

McAllister said voters were clearly frustrated at the lack of connection with politicians and broken promises. He named Labor’s broken promise on the introduction of a carbon tax and the Coalition’s broken promise not to change superannuation policy.

He said the practice of government ministers leaving parliament to take plum postings or related jobs had fostered distrust among citizens. “Voters tend to disapprove of this sort of activity and there’s actually quite a lot of it in Australia compared to other countries,” McAllister said.

“We don’t have rampant corruption in the political system in Australia … but we have a lot of this grey area where politicians are perceived to be getting a lot of perks. And in a situation where economic performance is not doing very well, where people are under economic pressure, this is something that grates with a lot of people.”

The study also found attitudes becoming more liberal on various social and economic policies in the past 30 years. For example, there has been a steady decline since 1987 in the percentage of Australians who would prefer to pay less tax while there has been a relative increase in the percentage who favour more government spending on social services.

There is majority support for constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians, marriage equality and legalised abortion. There has been a long-term decline in support for the reintroduction of the death penalty for murder and the continued criminalisation of smoking marijuana.

Immigration and asylum seeker policies were more important to voters at the 2016 election than any other election since the so-called Tampa election in 2001, when John Howard ordered commandos to to steer MV Tampa out of Australian waters.

While immigration and asylum seeker policy were in the top 10 issues, Australians have maintained a positive attitude towards the immigration program with a majority agreeing immigrants make Australia more open and cultured and are good for the economy. Only 30% believe immigrants take jobs from local-born workers and 37% believe they increase the crime rate.

One of the study’s authors, Jill Sheppard, said as the major parties moved closer on economic policies, voters looked increasingly to social issues to determine their vote.

“As voters are increasingly not finding economic differences between the parties – they are increasingly not believing parties can make a difference to the household finances or to the country’s finances in this recent election – that social issues will increasingly play a role in the next few Australian elections,” Sheppard said.


James Ruse Agricultural High School tops the HSC for the 21st year running

The student body at James Ruse is almost entirely Asian.  They're smarter to start with and work hard as well

Selective school James Ruse Agricultural High School has taken out the first spot in the Higher School Certificate for the 21st consecutive year, with an extraordinary 73 per cent of exams taken at the school scoring in the highest band.

Perennial top 10 finishers Baulkham Hills in north-western Sydney came in second spot, while North Sydney Boys took out third, just pipping their neighbours North Sydney Girls.

Sydney Grammar was the top private school at No.6, while Cheltenham Girls was the highest ranked comprehensive public school in the top 100, coming in at No.53.

Within the top 20, independent girls school Wenona gained 17 places, Normanhurst Boys gained 14 places and Reddam House and Conservatorium both leapt nine places into this year's top 10.

The biggest falls in the top 20 this year went to PLC (Croydon), which plunged 16 places and Girraween, which dropped 12 places to fall out of the top 10, and Sydney Girls, which has historically come within the top five, but this year dropped 10 places, from third to 13th.

More than 67,000 students today received their individual marks in their Higher School Certificate, and a record 55,961 of them are eligible for an ATAR, which they will get tomorrow.

James Ruse school leader Justin Wu made the honour roll in five subjects. About 4 per cent of students did not meet the minimum standard and will not get their HSC this year.

About 80 per cent of students took a mathematics course, and 90 per cent took at least one STEM course.

Tom Alegounarias, the head of BOSTES, said the achievement of students receiving their HSC today was a positive counterpoint to the recent bad news around Australian student results in international sample tests like PISA and TIMSS.

"If you're a top achiever in the HSC you're regarded amongst the top achievers in the world, you will go direct from the HSC to places like Oxford, Princeton, Cambridge, Harvard," he said. "If you are outstanding in this credential, you are meeting the best standards in the world.

"That's why it's different to the sampling examinations, because there's no test effect, and everyone steps up to the HSC.

"You'll remember from your own experience, as do I, that you may have been uneven in your attentiveness between Years 7 and 9 and 10, but when you cross that line at the beginning of year 11, you know this is serious, you've got the senior uniform on and you're ready to show what you can do."


Post-truth, and other such falsehoods

Piers Akerman

In the weeks that followed first Brexit and then Donald Trump’s election to the US Presidency it seemed that many in the West thought the world had passed the point of peak civilisation.

In fact, those rending their clothes and crashing on the sidewalk in screaming tantrums were merely reflecting the embrace of post-truth behaviour which, according to the Oxford Dictionary (which gave the term its Word of the Year award) describes circumstances where emotions and personal beliefs are more influential than facts.

Facts and truth are so last century, which is when, again according to the Oxford Dictionary observers, post-truth was first used in an essay by playwright Steve Tesich in the Nation.

Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Dictionaries, told an interviewer: ‘It’s not surprising that our choice reflects a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse. Fuelled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment, “post-truth” as a concept has been finding its linguistic footing for some time.’

Not so fast, Casper. Those most addicted to post-truth are, in my experience, not from the Establishment but from the ranks of NGOs, and other subsidised protest movements; particularly any engaged in pushing the anti-fossil fuel climate change alarmist line, the great open border fallacy and Islam is a religion of peace mantra with its sub-clause (fill in the Islamist terrorist attack de jour) ‘had nothing to do with Islam’.

Trump’s election may well have marked the turning point for these frauds and charlatans given the volume of their protests. Certainly, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s belated revelation that claims that the atrocities of Islamic State ‘have nothing to do with Islam’ were actually harming efforts to confront and combat extremism was a welcome and refreshing indication that post-truth was being shown the door at Lambeth Palace.

The Most Rev Justin Welby put the mullahs (and leaders of other religions) on notice that that they had to ‘stand up and take responsibility’ for the actions of extremists who profess to follow their faith. He didn’t elaborate in his speech, in Paris in late November, on which other religions are known to incite their followers to murder and self-destruct, possibly because the church remains firmly in the mystery business, but his argument that unless people recognise and attempt to understand the motivation of terrorists they will never be able to combat their ideology effectively was more direct than most of the platitudinous murmurings we’ve heard from those who have addressed multicultural, multi-faith happy-clapping gatherings over the past 20 years.

Global figures ranging from the dead duck US President Barack Obama to former UK Prime Minister David Cameron historically waved the ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ flag but Mr Cameron at least reversed himself after the massacre at the Paris Bataclan nightclub and associated attacks which left 130 dead.

The Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, blamed ‘causative factors’ such as ‘racism, Islamophobia, curtailing freedoms through securitisation, duplicitous foreign policies and military intervention’ for the acts but not the ideology.

Rather at odds with Archbishop Welby’s view that it’s essential to recognise extremists’ religious motivation in order to get to grips with the problem.

Which makes me wonder whether our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull actually engaged in constructive conversation with his Muslim guests at the dinner he publicly hosted last year at Kirribilli House, among them Waleed Aly, the award-winning media figure who has described terrorism as just an ‘irritant’.

Mr Turnbull, who appears to be Christian-fluid, shifting between branches and discarding elements of social teachings as they suit, has publicly hardened up significantly since he took office after years of ridiculing his predecessor, Tony Abbott’s, hard-line on extremism.

It may take another Lindt Café or Sari Club attack to shift his soft inner-urban compassionista approach further toward reality.

Archbishop Welby believes it’s time for countries across Europe to recognise and rediscover the ‘Judeo Christian’ roots of their culture to find solutions to the mass disenchantment which led to the Brexit vote in the UK and the rise of anti-establishment leaders in the Continent and beyond. This would be an anathema to Mr Turnbull who regularly delivers encomiums to multiculturalism.

Archbishop Welby on the other hand not only lashed out at the ‘centralisation, corruption and bureaucracy’ rooted in Brussels, but also said Europe appeared to have lost its original vision of how economics could improve people’s lives rather than ‘economic structures enslaving human beings’. But it was his remarks on terrorism which particularly caught my eye, delivered to an audience which had experienced multiple attacks since Bataclan.

‘If we treat religiously-motivated violence solely as a security issue, or a political issue, then it will be incredibly difficult – probably impossible – to overcome it. A theological voice needs to be part of the response, and we should not be bashful in offering that. This requires a move away from the argument that has become increasingly popular, which is to say that Isis is “nothing to do with Islam”, or that Christian militia in the Central African Republic are nothing to do with Christianity, or Hindu nationalist persecution of Christians in South India is nothing to do with Hinduism. Until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, we will see no resolution.’

Quite a turnaround for the Rev. Justin Welby – one which had me reaching again for the Oxford Dictionary which provided the new term ‘adulting’ which it defined as the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.

What we used to call acting maturely, a concept alien to the social media enthusiasts of the post-truth generation.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

No comments: