Tuesday, May 22, 2018

University Professor Sacked for Telling-the-Truth about coral

by Jennifer Marohasy

BACK in 2016, when I asked Peter Ridd if he would write a chapter for the book I was editing I could not possibly have envisaged it could contribute to the end of his thirty-year career as a university professor.

Considering that Peter enrolled at James Cook University as an undergraduate back in 1978, he has been associated with that one university for forty years.

Since Peter was fired on 2 May 2018, the university has attempted to remove all trace of this association: scrubbing him completely from their website.

But facts don’t cease to exist because they are removed from a website. The university has never challenged the veracity of Peter’s legitimate claims about the quality of much of the reef science: science on which billions of dollars of taxpayer-funded research is being squandered. These issues are not going away.

Just yesterday (Friday 18 May), Peter lodged papers in the Federal Court. He is going to fight for his job back!

If you care about the truth, science and academic freedom, please donate to help bring this important case to court.

It doesn’t matter how little or how much you donate. Just make sure you are a part of this important effort by donating to Peter’s GoFundMe campaign.

Peter deliberately choose to frame the book chapter about the replication crisis that is sweeping through science.

In this chapter – The Extraordinary Resilience of Great Barrier Reef Coral and Problems with Policy Science – Peter details the major problems with quality assurance when it comes to claims of the imminent demise of the reef.

Policy science concerning the Great Barrier Reef is almost never checked. Over the next few years, Australian governments will spend more than a billion dollars on the Great Barrier Reef; the costs to industry could far exceed this. Yet the keystone research papers have not been subject to proper scrutiny. Instead, there is a total reliance on the demonstrably inadequate peer-review process.

Ex-professor Peter Ridd has also published extensively in the scientific literature on the Great Barrier Reef, including issues with the methodology used to measure calcification rates. In the book he explains:

Like trees, which produce rings as they grow, corals set down a clearly identifiable layer of calcium carbonate skeleton each year, as they grow. The thicknesses and density of the layers can be used to infer calcification rates and are, effectively, a measure of the growth rate. Dr Glenn De’ath and colleagues from the Australian Institute of Marine Science used cores from more than 300 corals, some of which were hundreds of years old, to measure the changes in calcification during the last few hundred years. They claimed there was a precipitous decline in calcification since 1990

The LHS chart suggests a problem with coral growth rates – but the real problem is with the methodology. When corals of equivalent age are sampled, there has been no decline in growth rates at the Great Barrier Reef – as shown in the RHS chart.

However, I have two issues with their analysis. I published my concerns, and an alternative analysis, in the journal Marine Geology (Ridd et al. 2013). First, there were instrumental errors with the measurements of the coral layers. This was especially the case for the last layer at the surface of the coral, which was often measured as being much smaller than the reality.

This forced an apparent drop in the average calcification for the corals that were collected in the early 2000s – falsely implying a recent calcification drop. Second, an ‘age effect’ was not acknowledged. When these two errors are accounted for, the drop in calcification rates disappears

The problem with the ‘age effect’, mentioned above, arose because in the study De’ath and colleagues included data from corals sampled during two distinct periods and with a different focus; I will refer to these as two campaigns. The first campaign occurred mostly in the 1980s and focused on very large coral specimens, sometimes many metres across.

The second campaign occurred in the early 2000s due to the increased interest in the effects of CO2. However, presumably due to cost cutting measures, instead of focusing on the original huge coral colonies, the second campaign measured smaller colonies, many just a few tens of centimetres in diameter.

In summary, the first campaign focused on large old corals, while, in contrast, the second campaign focused on small young corals. The two datasets were then spliced together, and wholly unjustifiable assumptions were implicitly made, but not stated – in particular that there is no age effect on coral growth…

Dr Juan D’Olivo Cordero from the University of Western Australia collected an entirely different dataset of coral cores from the Great Barrier Reef to determine calcification rates. This study determined that there has been a 10% increase in calcification rates since the 1940s for offshore and mid-shelf reefs, which is the location of about 99% of all the coral on the Great Barrier Reef.

However, these researchers also measured a 5% decline in calcification rates of inshore corals – the approximately 1% of corals that live very close to the coast. Overall, there was an increase for most of the Great Barrier Reef, and a decrease for a small fraction of the Great Barrier Reef.

While it would seem reasonable to conclude that the results of the study by D’Olivo et al. would be reported as good news for the Great Barrier Reef, their article in the journal Coral Reefs concluded:

"Our new findings nevertheless continue to raise concerns, with the inner-shelf reefs continuing to show long-term declines in calcification consistent with increased disturbance from land-based effects. In contrast, the more ‘pristine’ mid- and outer-shelf reefs appear to be undergoing a transition from increasing to decreasing rates of calcification, possibly reflecting the effects of CO2-driven climate change."

Imaginatively, this shift from ‘increasing’ to ‘decreasing’ seems to be based on an insignificant fall in the calcification rate in some of the mid-shelf reefs in the last two years of the 65-year dataset.

Why did the authors concentrate on this when their data shows that the reef is growing about 10% faster than it did in the 1940s?

James Cook university could have used the chapter as an opportunity to start a much-needed discussion about policy, funding and the critical importance of the scientific method. Instead, Peter was first censored by the University – and now he has been fired.

When I first blogged on this back in February, Peter needed to raise A$95,000 to fight the censure.

This was achieved through an extraordinary effort, backed by Anthony Watts, Joanne Nova, John Roskam and so many others.

To be clear, the university is not questioning the veracity of what ex-professor Ridd has written, but rather his right to say this publicly. In particular, the university is claiming that he has not been collegial and continues to speak-out even after he was told to desist.

New allegations have been built on the original misconduct charges that I detailed back in February. The core issue continues to be Peter’s right to keep talking – including so that he can defend himself.

In particular, the university objects to the original GoFundMe campaign (that Peter has just reopened) because it breaches claimed confidentiality provisions in Peter’s employment agreement. The university claims that Peter Ridd was not allowed to talk about their action against him. Peter disputes this.

Of course, if Peter had gone along with all of this, he would have been unable to raise funds to get legal advice – to defend himself! All of the documentation is now being made public – all of this information, and more can be found at Peter’s new website.

Together, let’s fight this! Go fund ex-professor Ridd at:


The Institute of Public Affairs published Climate Change, The Facts 2017, and continues to support Peter’s right to speak the truth. For media and comment contact Evan Mulholland on 0405 140 780, or at emulholland@ipa.org.au.

Buy the book if you haven’t already: this is another way of showing your support.

The most important thing is to not be silenced, shout about this! I received an email last week: “Bought Climate Change, The Facts 2017, as requested, to support Peter Ridd. I’m not making any friends at dinner parties at the moment. Stuff ’em.”


No more boys, no more girls - and no more Winnie-the-Pooh or Barbie dolls: Books and toys could be banned from schools due to radical push to make classrooms 'gender-neutral'

This is just ideology.  What proof is there that boys who are deprived of male role-models are better off?  There is none.  It's just Leftist theory. Most role-model researchers say that boys need MORE male role models in our feminized schools

Winnie-the-Pooh books, Barbie dolls, and superhero play are among things children could be banned from after a radical study on 'gender stereotyping'.

A number of Victorian councils will respond to the study by Australian National University, which found educators should avoid using the terms 'boy' and 'girl' and classifying children according to gender.

The study means Melbourne schools, kindergartens and libraries could be without children's classics such as Thomas the Tank Engine, which wouldn't pass the guidelines, Herald Sun reported.

The research found 'prejudice along race and gender lines can be observed' in children as young as three-years-old.  

Girls who played with 'feminised characters', such as Barbie dolls, had fewer career options, while those who engaged with Disney princess toys had more female-stereotypical views.

Meanwhile, boys who watched superhero shows were more gender stereotyped in their thinking, the study found.  

Now councils across Victoria are set to review educational resources, ensuring stories and experiences go beyond 'gender stereotypical narratives'.

Teachers will also be encouraged to not select toys in gendered colours, or to use expressions such as 'boys will be boys', according to the publication.

Manningham City Council already checks books for gender modelling and diversity, while teachers are asked to refrain from calling girls 'honey' and 'sweetie'.

Libraries in Maribyrnong City Council are asked to promote 'gender equity' and to 'challenge gender stereotypes' in their book selections.  

Minister for Women and Prevention of Family Violence Natalie Hutchins told the publication that 'the change needed won't happen' without gender equality. 

But Opposition youth and families spokeswoman Georgie Crozier slammed the possible decision to ban certain books. She said: 'It's crazy. Boys should be boys and girls should be girls.

'Any funding should be focused on interventions to prevent family violence, and not radical gender-based theories.' 


Say No to chuggers

YOU see them everywhere. People in a sloganed T-shirt carrying a clipboard as they stand outside train stations, set up in shopping centres, or even knocking from door-to-door.

They claim to be from a charity organisation and aggressively target members of the public in an attempt to get credit card details under the guise that it is going to a worthy cause.

But in many instances, the charities they purport to work for, never see a cent of your donation.

Charity muggers, or “Chuggers,” are ruthless and will do whatever they need to meet their quota and sign as many people up as they can.

“Chuggers are slugs, they’re dogs. Look I’ve really got no time for them to be honest,” Samuel Johnson told Today.

Johnson, 40, knows all about reputable charity work, co-founding Love Your Sister with his late sister Connie Johnson in 2014.

The Molly actor’s charity raises funds to encourage women to check for signs of breast cancer and improve survival rates. Connie sadly passed away in 2017, but Johnson has continued the charity work raising more than $7 million in funds since its inception.

While a large number of Aussies still sign up via commissioned street workers, studies have found the majority of those people cancel their subscription within the first eight months of sign up.

What they don’t realise is that for the first 12 months, the money only goes towards commission costs, paying the third party that employs the street collectors. So in many cases the charity never actually sees a cent of what you donate.

“They’re not doing anything illegal. But if you’re not prudent about how you give, if you don’t know about the organisation that you’re giving to, then I’d be pretty cynical about how much is actually going to the cause,” said Johnson.

Charities, as good as their intentions are, often don’t have the skills or resources to raise funds themselves. This is why they outsource to a third party, a group who at face value are there to raise money for the charity but on the books are actually making ridiculous profit before the money even gets to the charity. If it gets there.

So in those instances where people cancel because they were pressured into signing up or are bad at saying no and cancel shortly after, the charity actually never sees a cent of the donated money.

It’s worth considering, next time you want to donate to a worthy cause, cut the middle man out and go straight to the organisation themselves.


MPs push to punish AGL for knocking back power station sale

FURIOUS government MPs want to punish AGL for today’s refusal to sell its Liddell power station, with former prime minister Tony Abbott comparing the electrical company to a militant union and again urging it be nationalised.

And MPs repeated accusations AGL wanted to decrease electricity supply to cash in on demand.

“It’s in their narrow commercial self-interest to get the price of power up because that pads their profits,” Mr Abbott told 2GB.

The demands for a government takeover of a private power station are too extreme and expensive to be even considered by the government, but are a measure of the anger among some coal activist MPs.

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said the government should “cart back in” AGL for some tough talk.

The AGL board today revealed it had rejected a purchase offer from Alinta Energy because it “significantly undervalues future cash flows to AGL of operating the Liddell power station until 2022 and the repurposing of the site thereafter”.

“Consequently, AGL has reaffirmed its decision to close Liddell in December 2022 and will continue progressing its NSW generation plan, which includes repurposing Liddell,” the company said in a statement.

“The Australian Energy Market Operator has confirmed that completion of this plan will address the capacity shortfall that may occur as a result of Liddell’s closure.”

Industry players believe Alinta made the offer primarily because the government asked it to, and that AGL was never likely to sell Liddell, its NSW coal-fired power station, which it wants to shut down in four years and convert to running on gas and other fuel sources.

The government argues the loss of the coal-fired generation would create a shortfall that renewable energy could not make up.

Mr Abbott repeated his demand on 2GB today for taxpayers to fund a compulsory acquisition of AGL, and to then offer it for sale to someone who would keep the coal component.

“This is a strike against the national interest by a big business,” he said.

“My very strong view given that the federal government has effectively got responsibility for energy security, the government should compulsorily acquire this power station for the price that Alinta were prepared to pay, and then it should sell it to Alinta, who can operate it.”

Mr Joyce said: “We need to grab AGL, cart them back in and say, ‘This is BS. You’re taking us for a ride. You think we’re fools, and the Australian people are not’.”

Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh scoffed at the threats, which he linked to what he called “an internal fight within the Liberal Party — the coal dinosaur factions who want to see taxpayers’ money go to subsidise coal-fired power plants”.

“That’s not good for energy prices in Australia and it’s certainly not good for our carbon emissions, which have continued to rise,” he told Sky News.

The official government response was to insist AGL guarantee the closure of Liddell would not cause a power shortfall.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg today called the no-sale decision disappointing.

He added that the continuation of Liddell beyond 2022 would benefit consumers and had the backing of some of Australia’s largest manufacturers.

“It is also disappointing because it was AGL’s CEO that first raised the prospect of Liddell’s sale in a meeting with the Prime Minister and other ministers last year,” he said in a statement.

“While the government recognises AGL has put forward a replacement plan, it has only financially committed to a fraction of the projects — namely, a 100MW upgrade to its existing coal fired Bayswater power plant and a 250MW gas peaking plant.

“The government calls on AGL to financially commit to all other stages of its replacement plan.

“Wholesale power prices in the National Electricity Market have declined nearly 30 per cent year on year and AGL’s latest half yearly report announced a 91 per cent, or $297 million, increase in statutory profit after tax for the half. Given this, customers are entitled to expect to see lower wholesale prices passed through to them in the next round of retail price determinations in July.”


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

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