On Friday, Maurice Newman, the chair of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, wrote a frothing opinion article in The Australian newspaper (paywalled). It reads more like a Evangelical Christian teenager’s blog than an op-ed by an adult with a job, but basically follows the delusional UN world order climate hoax script found on American survivalist websites and other reputable sources of scientific knowledge. Of course, it is not a crime to be a delusional conspiracy nut. And if tin foil hat sales are what we need to preserve our aluminum industry, I’m all for it. But having one of the PM’s chief economic advisors carry on this way is like having the head of the Canberra Deep Space network decrying the moon landings as a hoax. It is like the health minister saying that vaccines cause autism, or that fucking virgins cures AIDS. The only way it makes any since at all is if The Australian has transformed into a joke newspaper like The Chaser. Except that it isn't actually funny. If the Prime Minister expects his Business Advisory Council to be taken seriously, he should replace the chair with someone who actually has a grip on reality. Because it is difficult to have confidence in a person who publicly espouses lunacy.
Saturday, May 09, 2015
Sunday, May 03, 2015
Saturday, May 02, 2015
As anyone who follows science-related social media knows by now, a PLOS journal recently rejected a paper by Dr. Fiona Ingleby, based partly on a reviewer who stated that the paper needed a male co-author. This is appalling, and the response so far is that PLOS has removed the handling editor and removed the (anonymous) reviewer from there reviewer database.
Friday, May 01, 2015
Back in the days before Tumblr and facebook and twitter, people wrote blogs, read other blogs, and collate series of posts about common themes into link compilations called "Carnivals." These days, most carnivals have dies out, due to the death of independent blogging, the loss of attention span to microsocial, and the increasing automation of trend formation. But a few still live on, and one of them is the Carnival of Space. Here is number 403.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Related post: Viewing Imaginary Spacecraft from the Ground"
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Canberra is not the ideal climate for chestnut trees. The annual rainfall here is about half what it is in the eastern US, and there are soil fungi in some areas which will kill their roots. Never-the-less, after a few years of false leads, last autumn, I managed to get my hands on a few seedlings. I planted three in my yard. The first, planted in the chook pen, leafed out in spring, but never really grew much, and during the February-March dry spell, it turned brown and shriveled up.
The second tree is in the western corner of the yard, where it is exposed to both the hot westerly winds and the cold southerlies. While it didn't grow much, It did hang onto its leaves until the first cold night, and it is now changing color. I don't know how it will cope with the native acacias around it, and whether their shade will help reduce evaporation or their competition for moisture will hinder, but it seems to have made it through the first year.
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
“A `wife’ can be male or female. Whether they’re a man or a woman, though, the main thing wives are is a cracking professional asset. They enable the busy full-time worker to experience the joy and fulfillment of children, without the considerable inconvenience of having to pick them up from school at 3pm, which - in one of the human experience’s wittier little jokes – is the time that school ends, a time that is convenient for pretty much no one. Having a wife means that if you get caught up at work, or want to stay later, either to get some urgent job finished or to frown at your desktop computer in a plausible simulacrum of working in order to impress a new boss while actually reading buzzfeed, it can be done. Many wives work, but they do jobs that are either part-time or offer sufficient flexibility for the accommodation of late-breaking debacles.“In the olden days, wives were usually women. Which is funny, because nowadays wives are usually women too.
The book is easy to read and extremely witty. Longtime readers of this blog will know that in the 9 years or so that I’ve been blathering here, I have had two children and four jobs, with weekly working hours varying from 1.5 to 7 days/week, in both office, lab and FIFO working environments. As my wife also works, figuring out how to juggle it all has been one of our greater challenges over the past few years. So I found the content insightful and interesting, if not a bit sobering. The sad fact of the matter is that there is no magic “have-it-all” solution. Each week only has 168 hours, and they all need to be covered. At the same time, this book makes it abundantly clear that, in many cases, it is women who are covering many of those hours, often by default.
Posted by Chuck Magee at 10:20 PM