Jane Fraser, columnist in The Australian , writes a column based on “facts” she got from a chain email:

Back to Plimer. He says he knows how disheartening it is to realise all your savings on carbon emissions have been eaten up by natural disasters. You’ve suffered the inconvenience and expense of driving Prius hybrids, buying fabric grocery bags, sitting up ’til midnight to finish your kids’ “The Green Revolution” science project, using only two squares of toilet paper, putting a brick in your toilet, selling your speedboat, holidaying at home instead of abroad, replacing all those light globes that cost you 50c with ones that set you back $10 . . .

Well, he says, it took just four days to flush all these good works down the drain. In those four days the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland spewed enough volcanic ash to negate every single effort you have made in the past five years to control CO2 emissions.

This is not true. Fred Jourdan (Prof. of Applied Geology, Curtin University of Technology) states:

The eruption in Iceland emitted a fairly small amount of CO2. In fact most recent estimates show that the flights that were grounded by the eruption would have emitted about twice as much CO2 as the volcano itself.

Fraser continues with:

Plimer adds he doesn’t want to rain on our parade too much (not half!), but he should mention that when Mt Pinatubo erupted in The Philippines in 1991, it threw out more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire human race had emitted in its entire time on earth.

This is wrong by a factor of 30,000. Each year humans emit 700 times as much as Pinatubo did.

Fraser continues.

I agree with most of what Plimer says. It makes sense to me.

Not only is it the case that the stuff about volcanoes that Fraser repeats is untrue, Plimer didn’t say it. While Plimer has said things about volcanic emissions that are stupidly wrong, he didn’t write the email that Fraser is quoting. As often happens with chain emails, Plimer’s name got added to the original version of the email at some stage. Factcheck.org debunked an earlier version back in June 2010 when it looked like this:

I know, I know …. (have a group hug) … it’s very
disheartening to realize that all of the carbon emission
savings you have accomplished while suffering the
inconvenience and expense of driving Prius hybrids,
buying fabric grocery bags, sitting up til midnight to
finish your kid’s “The Green Revolution” science
project, throwing out all of your non-green cleaning
supplies, using only two squares of toilet paper,
putting a brick in your toilet tank reservoir, selling
your SUV and speedboat, going on vacation to a city park
instead of Yosemite, nearly getting hit every day on
your bicycle, replacing all of your $1 light bulbs with
$10 light bulbs … well, all of those things you have
done have all gone down the tubes in just the past week.
The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere in
the past week has totally erased every single effort you
have made to reduce the evil beast, carbon.

You can see a version of the chain email with Plimer’s name on it here, where Jerry Pournelle is taken in, and here and here, where bloggers correct the falsehoods.

Fraser does disagree with what she thought Plimer said on one point:

I have one bone to pick with him, however. He adds to his list of moans and groans — and these have absolutely nothing to do with global warming — that he is always in danger of being hit by a car or a bus. …

Me, I worry about being knocked over by cyclists. I know they’re doing their bit for the environment (ha!) but are so dangerous, especially when they’re whizzing along on the pavement and you can’t hear them coming. Blow them all!

I don’t have numbers for Sydney, but in London from 2001 to 2005 there were 534 pedestrians killed by motor vehicles and just one by a cyclist. It’s likely more people were killed by being struck by lightning than being struck by cyclists.

Fraser also has this argument against global warming:

I am not a fan of the idea of global warming, especially after this Sydney winter. It has been the coldest I can remember

Not only is she confusing weather with climate, she’s wrong about the weather. June, July and August have all been warmer than the average for the past 30 years.

Fortunately it should be easy to get Fraser to correct her errors. Since she seems to believe anything that gets sent to her in an email, I’ll just send her an email.

Hat tip: Scribe

Comments

  1. #1 dexitroboper
    August 12, 2011

    Last one to email Fraser wins!

  2. #2 tigtog
    August 12, 2011

    Oh dear. What an embarrassment of email-fail riches. Sadly, she probably won’t be nearly embarrassed enough.

  3. #3 bill
    August 12, 2011

    Talk about Zombie arguments! Truly, the noxiousness of the Murdochracy knows no bounds. And the hysterical and dishonest form of the chain-letter is pitched perfectly for them.

    What was that Schiller ‘against stupidity’ quote frank used on the ‘freeping’ post? “Had we, like brave men / Been vanquished by the brave, we might, indeed / Console ourselves that ’twas the common lot”. Quite. Instead of which we’re being inundated in a sea of muck.

  4. #4 Scribe
    August 12, 2011

    It’s a shamefully inaccurate article written by a ditsy ranga who looks like a bit of a lush. But why is this airhead talking science? This is not her natural milieu. Who gives Fraser her marching orders? Who gives her sub-editor and editor their marching orders? We known that Murdoch is obsessively hands-on with his editors, and contacts many of his organs on a daily basis. Is this malevolent old plutocrat’s face to be seen in this article? I wouldn’t be surprised. (PS, thanks for the hat tip, Tim).

  5. #5 Tom Curtis
    August 12, 2011

    A serious question:

    What is the chance of a class action against the Australian.

    They claim to be a newspaper and to uphold standards of journalistic integrity. As this series shows the later claim is false, and arguably in claiming to be a newspaper they purport to print truths rather than falsehoods. Hence arguably both claims are false advertising.

    There is no question that their actions, to the extent that they influence policy will cause long term harm to all of us.

    Ergo, if there is any justice, they are liable.

    Admittedly I am not a lawyer, and the law has only a passing resemblance to justice so I do not know that a class action could be launched on those grounds.

    Any lawyers care to comment?

  6. #6 Scribe
    August 12, 2011

    Well for a start, where is Media Watch when you need them? You can contact Media Watch by email at mediawatch@your.abc.net.au Telephone: 02 8333 4454

  7. #7 Ark
    August 12, 2011

    @Tom, 5

    I have a better idea – one that I’ve been considering for some time. Tim, I believe you should think about compiling all of your Oz’s War on Science entries over the past few years into an eponymous book. This would be a far better way to hold The Australian to account than taking legal action against them (which would feed into their Galileo complex). Consider the following points:

    1) The target audience for the blogosphere is relatively limited, unless you’re lucky enough to be given blogging space by the Herald Sun or Daily Telegraph. By compiling your entries into a book, you instantly achieve access to a much wider audience – particularly if you get the chance to promote it on TV.

    2) In the US, where I’m from, topical political books are dime-a-dozen; in fact, there’s an entire store in Washington DC dedicated to stocking them. Here, they’re relatively scarce. Therefore, you wouldn’t be trying to compete for space in an overcrowded market, and with a provocative title like “The Australian’s War on Science”, you would instantly stand out from the crowd.

    3) Think about the hissy-fit the Oz had in response to a tweet by Julie Posetti last year. What would there reaction be if an entire book dedicated to exposing their intellectual dishonesty was released? Based on their track record, they might even try the Fox News route of threatening to sue you, instantly propelling your book up the bestseller lists (a la Al Franken).

    Food for thought. Discuss, please!

  8. #8 EoR
    August 12, 2011

    I’m looking forward to Fraser’s next column, in which she relates how she easily made a million dollars simply by helping out the relatives of a dead Nigerian government minister transfer some funds…

  9. #9 John
    August 12, 2011

    Jane Fraser’s column shows such a devastatingly profound lack of scientific knowledge and basic research skills that I’m sure Chris Mitchell has promoted her to chief science reporter by now.

  10. #10 Sean
    August 12, 2011

    I quite like Ark’s idea. I’m sure there’s enough other material from the Australian to fill up a decent-size book if the blog entries aren’t enough.

  11. #11 Ark
    August 12, 2011

    *their, not there

  12. #12 Nick
    August 12, 2011

    Ark @7 is on a winner. Get Bruce ‘Man Bites Murdoch’ Guthrie to write the foreword.

  13. #13 Mercurius
    August 13, 2011

    I once tried to wipe my arse with The Australian, and ended up with more crap than I started.

  14. #14 Lotharsson
    August 13, 2011

    Future dictionary definitions of “fractally wrong” will reference this opinion piece.

    (And Mercurius FTW!)

  15. #15 Bernard J.
    August 13, 2011

    Dear Jane.

    This email has been sent to you because you have been found by God to have lost your ability to understand reality and truth. The Lord has granted you the chance of a miracle however – all that you have to do is to carefully and meticulously follow the instructions below…

    a) Visit, and carefully read, these links:

    1. http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/the_australians_war_on_science_71.php
    2. http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/the_war_on_science/
    3. http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/
    4. http://www.realclimate.org/
    5. http://www.skepticalscience.com/
    6. http://tamino.wordpress.com/
    7. http://www.climateshifts.org/
    8. http://climatecrocks.com/
    9. http://climateprogress.org/
    10. http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/

    b) Consult a real, qualified, experienced, professional, scientist each and every time you have a mind to write about anything remotely related to science.

    c) Forward this email to 10 people you know who deny the reality of the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change.

    d) Repeat steps (a) to (d) every time someone forwards this email to you, and every time you happen to chance upon is whilst you are surfing the web.

    You must complete these instructions within 2 two days each time that you receive them, or find them. If you do not do so to the letter, you will lose an IQ point on each occasion. In addition you will be cursed to Hell for all Eternity, your glorious titian hair will fall out, your house will be visited with plagues of cockroaches and door-knocking Mormons, and you will be recognised by any moderately intelligent and educated person as being a fool and a buffon.

    With loving wishes,

    [...]

  16. #16 Bernard J.
    August 13, 2011

    …buffoon…

    ;-)

  17. #17 bill
    August 13, 2011

    ‘Fractally wrong’ – as in if one drills down through the wrongness one only encounters further, self-similar wrongness? Nice; I must remember that one!

    I’ll also say to Fraser, as a cyclist – bite me! There are already far too many of the consumer occupation’s troops patrolling the streets in their suburban command vehicles who clearly view our lives as cheap; they need no further encouragement in viewing us as second-class ‘illegals’.

    And they’ve no great respect for pedestrians, either. As Tim points out – and consistent with the Australian’s general groupthink – the actual evidence isn’t at all likely to back this claim. And as to common-sense, leaving aside questions of statistical likelihood; what would you rather be hit by – a flat-bar roadie or a flat bed truck?

  18. #18 Amoeba
    August 13, 2011

    Mercurius @ 13,

    Please issue a cats and coffee warning before posting any further. Inhalation of hot beverages etc.

    BTW You owe me a new keyboard.
    ;-)

  19. #19 Ark
    August 13, 2011

    @Sean, 10

    Indeed, there’s plenty more examples out there. However I don’t think a book should be presented as just a whole bunch of blog posts copied and pasted verbatim. It should be structured and organized in such a way that it tells a coherent story, drawing on different posts as necessary. Preferably divided into chapters, some suggestions of which might be:

    The Denial Factory (how the Oz spins, misrepresents, or just plain manufactures a “news” story supporting its anti-AGW stance, and how it is then echoed uncritically in other media and blogs – Stuart Rintoul being a good case study)

    The Soap Box (empirically demonstrating that the Oz’s opinion section gives a voice to denialists which is disproportionate to their scientific credibility and accuracy)

    The Editorial Stance (how the editorial line lurches between grudging acceptance of the facts, casting doubt in the name of promoting “debate”, and outright denial)

    Chris Mitchellgate (about the Twitter/defamation saga)

    Cut and Paste (deserves its own chapter)

    10 Dumbest Things You Will Ever Read in the Oz (such as the “guy on the beach” news story, [this](http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/big-talk-small-stick/story-e6frg6v6-1111116934672) from Greg Sheridan, anyone who quotes Monckton approvingly)

    I think it would make a good read.

  20. #20 AmandaS
    August 13, 2011

    The Weekend Oz also contains a letter from Garth Paltridge wherein he (a) mispresents uncertainty and how she is done and (b) invents imaginary climate scientist friends who all mutter to him in dark corners that they are all sceptics really but are too politically correct to mention it. Presumably Paltridge is too politically correct to name them or the corridors in which they lurk.

    I’d link to it, but the weary contempt in which I hold the Oz has sapped my will to HTML.

  21. #21 Robert Murphy
    August 13, 2011

    Down goes Fraser! Down goes Fraser! Down goes Fraser!

  22. #22 :Lionel A
    August 13, 2011

    Strewth Tim so Jerry Pournelle and Chaos Manor are still going. I lost track of that when the printed edition of BYTE bit the dust.

    Whatever, that email under his link Climate and volcanos is almost a carbon copy of that which I have been repeatedly sent by a correspondent in Australia. I am having a tough time convincing him of the fallacies within as no amount of explanation, citing of sources where the science is expounded, on-line or printed matter, seem to have any effect. All evidence to the contrary appears to fall on stony ground.

    It would seem that many of our protagonists, or even antagonists for that matter, have the mindset of Wendy Wright

  23. #23 Marion Delgado
    August 13, 2011

    Tim:

    I vote for a book on The Australian‘s War on Science, too. :)

  24. #24 James Haughton
    August 13, 2011

    I love the idea of an “Australian’s War on Science” book.

    Might I suggest, given its grassroots origins, that Tim could use Kickstarter or IndiGoGo to raise funds and preorders from the blogosphere if he doesn’t get any bites from the university presses – given the number of researchers The Oztrayun has burned over the years, at least one uni should be willing to take the project on – or you could try Pluto Press.

  25. #25 Marion Delgado
    August 13, 2011

    It’s old hat to say “this is a new low” but it really is. It’s internet trolling in print.

  26. #26 Robert Day
    August 13, 2011

    My letter to Review, which I doubt they will print, but still…

    I should like to submit a letter for your news& views section.
    Please forward this to Jane Fraser as well, for her information.

    Like Jane Fraser I am “not a fan of the idea of Global Warming” (Review
    13-14 August). Few sensible people would be fans of the idea that
    industrial civilisation is gradually but inexorably altering the world’s
    climate for the worse. That does not mean that it is not happening, alas.
    The world cares little for our hopes and desires, but it is responding
    to our actions. Ian Plimer’s reassuring assertions about volcanoes
    outweighing human activity make sense to Jane. It is a pity that they
    are not true. The biggest volcanic eruption in the last 50 years, Mt
    Pinatubo, emitted about 42 million tonnes of CO2. Human activities emit
    about 500 times that, every year. I am sorry to rain on Jane and Ian’s
    parades, but sometimes the truth hurts.

  27. #27 Edwin
    August 13, 2011

    Fraser gets 8/10 for this one. Excellent fabrication of “facts”, bonus points for not verifying the source of the e-mail. Deduction, however, for not mentioning climategate or the MWP.

  28. #28 Sean
    August 13, 2011

    Ark @19

    Yeah, I was originally going to expound a little on some ideas for how the book could be organized. Definitely would want to at least edit and clean up the blog posts.

    I was figuring organizing by scientific subject: AGW, DDT, whatever other subjects Tim may have covered. But your idea for categorization is a bit more clever than mine : )

  29. #29 adelady
    August 13, 2011

    Edwin, nuh. No 8/10 from me.

    Where oh where is the obligatory cry of ‘Al Gore is fat’ may I ask. Omitting compulsory elements from a routine should be heavily penalised.

    3/10 by my reckoning.

  30. #30 Jeremy C
    August 13, 2011

    Tim,

    You could always sound out a few publishers and get their response. A thing in your favour is that the material is already collected for the book and available for them to have a read and so appreciate what the book would look like.

    However, there is one small problem. The Australian is going to jack up one heck of a lot at rights to reproduce its stuff in a book that will lay open how ridiculous an organ it is and even if it doesn’t the various contributors who will be exposed will almost certainly jack up. Remember it is *The Glass Jaw of the Nation* we are talking about here.

  31. #31 Tom Curtis
    August 13, 2011

    I’ld certainly lay money down for an Australian’s War on Science book by Tim.

    Jeremy C, so long as the quotes are short, the Australian can’t do anything about the use of their material.

  32. #32 Steve L
    August 13, 2011

    Death by chain mail, it shall be.

  33. Ark:

    compiling all of your Oz’s War on Science entries over the past few years into an eponymous book [...] would be a far better way to hold The Australian to account than taking legal action against them (which would feed into their Galileo complex).

    Let me be the first to disagree. The lying liars that write for the Australian have been breaking the law with impunity. The only way to stop such impunity is to make them face a lawsuit that they can’t simply wish away.

    Sure, the inactivists will scream Galileo. So what?

    — frank

  34. #34 Möbius Ecko
    August 13, 2011

    Please, what email address do I use to get it to Jane Fraser?

  35. #35 Fran Barlow
    August 13, 2011

    Let me add my name to the chorus of people suggesting that the War on Science series would be a good idea, though I think merely limiting it to The Australian might be too narrow. The tropes they run have been running have acquired wider circulation in other media territory. There’s also scope to look at the way in which sections of the political class have bought into the disinformation campaign spearheaded by the Murdochracy.

    You can include me in the no doubt large number of folk who’d be happy to proof your draft texts and make suggestions, do indexing etc. I have some experience in academic editing.

    If you haven’t thought seriously about this, I’d urge you to do so.

  36. #36 Superman
    August 13, 2011

    Please, what email address do I use to get it to Jane Fraser?

    Following the usual format used at the paper, it’s fraserj@theaustralian.com.au. Also try letters@theaustralian.com.au and they may forward it to her.

  37. #37 Fran Barlow
    August 13, 2011

    Robert Day said:

    Like Jane Fraser I am “not a fan of the idea of Global Warming” (Review 13-14 August). Few sensible people would be fans of the idea that industrial civilisation is gradually but inexorably altering the world’s climate for the worse. That does not mean that it is not happening, alas.

    Quite right, of course. I can’t imagine any sensible folk liking the idea, and as you point out, our preferences, sensible or not are entirely moot. Physics isn’t giving us a vote in the outcome.

    Putting aside the fact that the suggestion is radically at odds with available data, if it were the case that volcanic emissions were as large as she repeats, then rather than being a comfort,this would be even worse news. AFAIK, there is currently no feasible means of controlling emission of CO2 from volcanoes, and so, by definition, such emissions would need to be deducted from the general budget within which all of humanity must ultimately live if we are to have a reasonable prospect of stabilising global temperatures at no more than 2degC above pre-industrial temperatures by 2100.

    This would in practice be a challenge orders of magnitude greater than the challenge we are now facing, and given that so far, we haven’t done anything on a global scale that looks adequate to that challenge, Fraser would in effect, be proclaiming something very much like an end of days scenario. Perhaps this does indeed make sense to her, but she surely can’t be “a fan” of it. If indeed one eruption in Iceland can set us back 5 years then rather than facetious remarks about hazards from cyclists, she ought to be proclaiming the need for society to develop the technology to stifle the output of volcanoes, and to batten down the hatches for catastrophic warming and massively more acid seas in the interim. That CO2 must go somewhere, and the current non-atmospheric sinks are nowhere capacious enough to accept it. She also ought to be arguing for even more strenuous measures to stifle anthropogenic emissions, since these at least we can somewhat control.

    Of course she doesn’t — either because she hasn’t thought beyond the fatuous chain mail letter, or more likely, because she is simply a reckless loudmouth running the line of the Murdochracy, which is plainly seeking to protect the interests of extractive industry and polluters more generally.

  38. #38 V. infernalis
    August 13, 2011

    Count me as another who would love to see an AWoS book. I’d also volunteer to help with such a project in any way I can.

  39. #39 V. infernalis
    August 13, 2011

    Addendum to #38 – even if a full-length book isn’t in the cards, when this series hits 100 (and it will), I think a compendium is in order.

  40. #40 Ian Enting
    August 13, 2011

    How about looking for the positives.
    At least the cartoon above the column is funnier than the denialist crap that John Spooner draws for The Age.

  41. #41 Arie Brand
    August 13, 2011

    And when we are in the business of sending emails we might send one to the ABC, protesting against the disinformation Piers Akerman was allowed unprotested (except for a groan by David Mar) to come up with in this morning’s “Insiders”. Akerman claimed that NASA-figures showed that the climate had been cooling. He also protested against Mar’s characterisation of CO2 as a pollutant saying, inter alia, “that the trees love it”.

  42. #42 Acacia
    August 14, 2011

    Adelady (# 29), she also omitted Tim Flannery, Kate Blanchett and their respective waterfront properties, 2/10 from me.

  43. #43 MikeH
    August 14, 2011

    There is a part public article on The Australian editor Chris Mitchell in this month’s issue of [The Monthly](http://www.themonthly.com.au/power-rupert-murdoch-and-australian-s-editor-chief-united-states-chris-mitchell-sally-neighbour-3589) by Sally Neighbour.

    He sounds like your typical work place bully.

  44. #44 Peter Reefman
    August 14, 2011

    I agree with Frank #33. We shouldn’t be laughing at how stupid the article is, we should be searching for any way possible of getting her and the Oz (and the rest) into court for this blatant and incredibly damaging lying.

    Things like this are exactly what’s driving public opinion, which in turn is driving political inaction, which of course is why things are going from bad to worse.

    It’s time some lawyer/activists started standing up.

  45. #45 John
    August 14, 2011

    I wonder if Plimer has contacted The Oz for being blatantly misquoted, or whether he’ll overlook it because the lies support his conclusion.

    Who am I kidding, of course we know which course he’ll pick.

  46. #46 Jeremy C
    August 14, 2011

    A bit OT but…..

    Whats with the sudden re-emergence of the’temps-have-been-cooling-since-1999′ meme as mentioned @41 re Insiders.

    Its suddenly popping up all over the place again.

    Can anybody tell me why this has popped up again and why now?

  47. #47 Jeremy C
    August 14, 2011

    A bit Ot again, sorry, but…..

    @ 41. Thanks for the heads up about Insiders. I streamed the clip and it was very a important clip as both Piers Akerman and David Marr were in complete agreement as to why Abbott the Impotent and deniers can easily win in Australia. It made sense and we have to heed comments liek that. In short, for anyone who didn’t watch it the way the denialists will win is by not letting up (fanatics never do). That means we can’t give up and so should encourage Tim to keep calling out every denialist no matter where they are.

    BTW That insiders clip was a very, very good example of why this government should never, never, never have used the word ‘pollutant’ to label greenhouse gases as Akerman was able to slap Marr about the face with it verbally and Marr was shot down very, very quickly. Fanatics will always look for ways to trap us, that’s the nature of a fanatic.

  48. #48 Ark
    August 14, 2011

    @ Frank, 33 and Peter, 44

    I see your point, and believe me, I would like nothing more than to see Chris Mitchell and his cronies cop a big fat lawsuit. But we have to think strategically. Lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming, and in cases like these, can easily be framed as an “assault on free speech”, which I fear will resonate with the public given the current unpopularity of the carbon tax.

    What we have to do is turn the tide of opinion against The Oz. To the layperson, it has a cloak of respectability by virtue of being the only national broadsheet. Disseminating Tim’s message into the general public will help strip away that cloak, and given their record of hypersensitivity to criticism, may prompt them to score a few more own goals for us.

    I’m not ruling out your option entirely; I just believe that at the moment it isn’t the optimal use of our time and resources.

  49. #49 adelady
    August 14, 2011

    There’s another issue about The Oz. For my generation, the old-fart baby boomer generation, our first response to this publication was one of joy. We abandoned the stuffy old ‘Advertiser’ in SA with glee. The Oz was a breath of fresh air in the fossilised state-based broadsheets.

    Many of my friends still buy it because they got the habit. I cancelled my subscription way back at the time of the Mabo decision. Most others just grumbled that they disagreed with the editorial line at the time. They still grumble at current editorial policies – but it’s a bit like having good old drink-sodden Uncle Bert at Xmas lunch and family weddings. You know he’ll embarrass everybody with his outrageous mumblings on various topics as the day progresses, but he’s one of the family.

    I really, really like the idea of publishing a compendium of the scientific faux pas. And MediaWatch and the rare other critical media commentators really need to be reminded to keep up the pressure.

    It’s pretty well a given that the rusted on readers won’t change. The big issue is reminding people who aren’t fully committed that there are good reasons to get your information elsewhere.

  50. #50 John
    August 14, 2011

    It was only a couple of years ago that Akerman was denying the existence of Co2 in the atmosphere altogether.

  51. #51 john byatt
    August 14, 2011

    .

    Mungo ” the Australian, the newspaper that invents the news.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed

    .

  52. #52 john byatt
    August 14, 2011

    Mungo”And as a footnote, let me record that I have been grossly verballed by The Australian’s Sneer-and-Smear section, Cut and Paste. Okay, so I’m not Robinson Crusoe, but this was a particularly sleazy exercise by the paper’s anonymous crapulator. By selective cutting he/she/it removed all my criticism of The Australian from last week’s column and re-edited it as a paean of praise. In response I sent the following missive:

    Given The Australian’s constant self-obsession I always expected that this week’s column in The Drum would earn a mention in the Sneer and Smear column aka Cut and Paste. But even I was impressed by the lavishness of malice and dishonesty in the way it was selectively quoted. At least the treatment confirms two long-held suspicions: the paper’s much (recently) paraded Code of Journalistic Ethics, is, like John Howard’s Code of Ministerial Conduct, purely optional; and The Australian’s paranoid need for self-justification is now completely off the planet. Mungo MacCallum.

    This was neither published nor acknowledged. The Australian – the paper that invents the news.”

    Mungo MacCallum is a political journalist and commentator.

  53. #53 factoid
    August 15, 2011

    Getting Your Science From A Blog
    As usual, the lemmings here don’t fact check anything.
    As long as it confirms your ideology, why bother?

    Did any of you actually check the claim about Sydney weather?
    Did you find it odd that Lambert selected the Sydney Airport weather station?
    I doubt Fraser has an apartment on the tarmac, next to jet engines, acres of concrete and a temperature gauge!

    The Observatory Hill weather station data show that for June and July, max temp was exactly average. Minimum temperature was below average in July and above average in June.

    Lambert is “wrong about the weather. June, July and August have” not “all been warmer than the average for the past 30 years.”

    “Fortunately it should be easy to get” Lambert “to correct his errors. Since he seems to believe anything that” he writes in his blog, I’ll just post it on his blog.

  54. #54 jakerman
    August 15, 2011

    The industry that purchased [this denier-bot](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/the_australians_war_on_science_71.php#comment-4811754) should demand refund!

  55. #55 Factoid's Nemesis
    August 15, 2011

    Factoid’s a liar, just like his favourite newspaper is.

    According to
    *http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/dwo/201107/html/IDCJDW2124.201107.shtml*
    The mean max temp for July at Observatory Hill was 17.4.
    The mean min was 8.6

    According to
    *http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_066062.shtml*
    The long-term averages for these measurements are 16.3 and 8.0 respectively.

    So July mean max was 1.1 degrees higher than the long-term average, while mean min was 0.6 degrees higher than the long-term average.

    I can’t even be bothered checking June – we can see already that “factoid” just like his heroes Plimer, Carter, Mitchell, Jo Nova, etc…, is both incompetent and wrong.

  56. #56 Factoid's Nemesis
    August 15, 2011

    Yep, same story for June:

    long-term average min/max is 16.9/9.3.
    Jun 2011 averaged 18.0.10.3, 1.1 degrees and 1.0 degrees above the average.

    So, I guess these details about the weather prove that the Deniers are complete morons. Espceially “factoid” who is a laughable idiot.

  57. #57 jakerman
    August 15, 2011

    >Not only is she confusing weather with climate, she’s wrong about the weather. June, July and August have all been warmer than the average for the past 30 years.

    Mean max temp for 1981-2010: Jun=17.8, Jul=17.1, Aug=18.7

    Mean max temp for 2011: Jun=18.0, Jul=17.2, Aug=20.3

  58. #58 factoid
    August 15, 2011

    Nemesis “is both incompetent and wrong.”

    Nemesis can’t even read that the average temps nominated by Lambert are for the period 1980-2010.

    Nemesis does “prove that the Alarmists are complete morons. Espceially “nemesis” who is a laughable idiot.”

  59. #59 jakerman
    August 15, 2011

    Factoid, unless you want to represent denialist as both ignorant and opinionated I suggest you present some counter facts that challenge those presented by Tim.

    Your assertions are not convincing when they are contradicted by the facts presented.

  60. #60 Lotharsson
    August 15, 2011

    factoid has *got* to be a Poe, right?

    > Nemesis can’t even read that the average temps nominated by Lambert are for the period 1980-2010.

    True! And neither can anyone else – except perhaps factoid – because it’s just not true.

    When one clicks through to the page on historical averages that Tim linked to, it clearly says “Period **1981**-2010″. There’s no “1980” about it. If you’re going to call someone a “laughable idiot” for apparently misreading, it helps when you don’t misread yourself.

    And factoid hasn’t shown that Fraser’s idea that it was an abnormally cold winter is anywhere *near* reality, instead quibbling (incompetently) about comparisons with average temperatures.

    Why, it’s almost like factoid would like to redirect debate away from Fraser’s bogus claims – to something, else, anything else!

  61. #61 SteveC
    August 15, 2011

    Lotharsson:
    factoid has got to be a Poe, right?

    Seemingly not

  62. #62 jakerman
    August 15, 2011

    >I am not a fan of the idea of global warming, especially after this Sydney winter. It has been the coldest I can remember

    Short memory, the last time Sydney winter was this cold was [2010](http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/hqsites/data/temp/maxT.066062.winter.anom.txt).

  63. #63 jakerman
    August 15, 2011

    Rather than winter anomaly I meant to link to winter [temperature](http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/hqsites/data/temp/maxT.066062.winter.txt).

  64. #64 factoid
    August 15, 2011

    Here you are children.
    All the facts you need:

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_066062.shtml

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/dwo/201106/html/IDCJDW2124.201106.shtml

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/dwo/201107/html/IDCJDW2124.201107.shtml

    Note that this isn’t a simple mistake by Lambert.
    You have to go out of your way to select Sydney Airport instead of Sydney data.

  65. #65 MFS
    August 15, 2011

    factoid,

    You are providing links that show exactly the opposite of what you claim. Both June and July were warmer in 2011, according to [your links](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/the_australians_war_on_science_71.php#comment-4812802), than the June and July averages in the link you presented. How exactly can you claim the opposite?

    Can you read?

    I think this beats Tim Curtin’s “If the oceans acidify we can use them for drinking and irrigation” claim…

  66. #66 rhwombat
    August 15, 2011

    So factoid is the troll formerly known as tones9, of Crikey notoriety. Figures – ’cause tones can’t. I think we should shoot it and look for Negri bodies.

  67. #67 factoid
    August 15, 2011

    MFS you are the one who can’t read.
    The averages link was from the wrong period.
    Here is the link
    http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/cdio/cvg/av?p_stn_num=066062&p_prim_element_index=0&p_comp_element_index=0&redraw=null&p_display_type=statistics_summary&normals_years=1981-2010&tablesizebutt=normal

    Now I’ll spell it all out for you:

    Observatory Hill

    Mean Max Temp
    1980-2010 June 18.0 July 17.4
    2011 18.0 17.4

    Mean Min Temp June 9.8 July 8.7
    2011 10.3 8.6

  68. #68 adelady
    August 15, 2011

    No, no, no, MFS. That oceans thread stands proudly alone on its mysterious little island of manic illogic, forever.

    Factoid is trying to build another – but from more pedestrian incomprehension of simple data. There may be a truly original barmy idea in development, but we’ve not yet seen it.

  69. #70 Lotharsson
    August 15, 2011

    > All the facts you need:

    …to demonstrate that factoid hasn’t got a leg to stand on, even as he insults others for “getting it wrong”.

    As MFS says, they show that 2011 is quite a lot warmer than the “Use all years of data” average for Observatory Hill – a far cry from Fraser’s “coldest in memory”. (And this is using factoid’s preferred data source!)

    Factoid appears to be engaging in clown-trolling – providing self-refuting evidence.

    Smarter trolls, please.

  70. #71 jakerman
    August 15, 2011

    At least factiod, through one of his lenses, sees the fallacies of cherry picking, and getting science from blogs.

    Pity his focus of criticism is not at those who abuse these fallacies to the utmost.

  71. #72 Scribe
    August 15, 2011

    Factoid, u iz idiot.
    Proof: image

  72. #73 Lotharsson
    August 15, 2011

    > At least factiod, through one of his lenses, sees the fallacies of cherry picking, and getting science from blogs.

    True, that.

  73. #74 Scribe
    August 15, 2011

    For Factoid.
    http://cache.hostmyjpg.com/73f64879ea_factoid.png

    A picture is worth a thousand words.

  74. #75 factoid
    August 15, 2011

    You guys don’t get it.
    A personal anecdote from Fraser is irrelevant.
    It’s a personal experience, and not scientific.
    Nor was it claimed to be a scientific statement.

    However Lambert claimed to be presenting Sydney weather data when in fact he was not.
    That is scientific and intellectual dishonesty.
    Whilst he complains about the scientific integrity of others.
    And none of you notice or care.

  75. #76 Nick
    August 15, 2011

    Imagine how scathing the analysis when Factorrhoid gets around to dealing with Plimer’s bullshit.

    I guess we’ll hear the ‘oid say things like @64: “Note that this isn’t a simple mistake by Plimer.You have to go out of your way to ignore numerous studies,the views of such bodies as the AAS,the USGS,the CDIAC and the Geological Society of the UK,use fake references and fail to correct the errors at proof stage,then fail to print a corrigendum.”

    Yeah,don’t hold back,Factorrhoid. You da man…

  76. #77 Mikem
    August 15, 2011

    Umm so factoid, Sydney Airport weather data is not representative of Sydney? OK. Whatever.

    No matter where you take the data from in the Sydney area factoid, it does not support the contention that this winter has been unusually cold compared to the long term average, and even if it did (which it doesn’t as pointed by numerous posts above), it is hardly representative of “the world” as much as I like to think Sydney is the centre of the universe.

    This seems to be the problem with folk like yourself. A couple of real chilly weeks in Sydney during the middle of winter and global warming has been proven to be a scam. Large portions of the USA cook in an unusually intense heatwave, or wildfires rage through Siberia, and it’s just a trivial piece of irrelevant news. Weird eh? Especially your comment about “as long as it confirms your ideology”. How deliciously ironic.

  77. #78 Ark
    August 15, 2011

    @ factoid, 74

    What makes Observatory Hill right and Sydney Airport wrong? And you may have noticed that the all of the 30-year averages for June, July and August are higher for OH than SA, blowing to smithereens your conjecture about airport weather stations overestimating the temperature. Care to elaborate?

  78. #79 bill
    August 15, 2011

    Factoid, all you are succeeding in doing is proving that you cannot marshal facts and will not accept them if they contradict your beliefs. As is stands you could scarcely look sillier. The rest of your schtick is what psychologists refer to as ‘projection’. Oh, and you’re Aaaaangry.

    I challenge you; astonish us all and admit that it is actually you that is wrong.

    (That sound you are not hearing is me holding my breath…)

  79. #80 Acacia
    August 15, 2011

    Factoid, you have a bizarre choice of pseudonym, given it takes less than a minute to establish the monthly temperatures from BOM.

    On another note Tim has provided us with an excellent resource in the war on science and I admire his fortitude and bravery in taking on the Murdoch Empire.

    It would be a fascinating read if someone could catalogue, in one volume, the climatic misdemeanours of the editor-in-chief and his minions. I would be intrigued to see some background on the various journalists, including the hacker who creates cut and paste, and some quantitation of the news bias even just to compare cold to warm weather stories.

  80. #81 jakerman
    August 15, 2011

    Factoid writes:

    >*And none of you notice or care.*

    Its like the tobacco advocate complaining that we don’t care that smoking reduces weight gain.

    Factiod is guilty of meta-cherry picking, he’s working very hard to cherry pick the cherry picks.

  81. #82 Mikem
    August 15, 2011

    @80

    Factiod is guilty of meta-cherry picking

    You must begrudgingly admit, the real hardcore denialists have a proven ability to invent stunning new science and data analysis techniques. Many of these techniques have not even been dreamed of by the scientific establishment, and certainly are not lacking in creativity.

  82. #83 Fran Barlow
    August 15, 2011
  83. Ark:

    > I see your point, and believe me, I would like nothing more than to see Chris Mitchell and his cronies cop a big fat lawsuit. But we have to think strategically. Lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming, and in cases like these, can easily be framed as an “assault on free speech”, which I fear will resonate with the public given the current unpopularity of the carbon tax.

    But does it actually resonate with the general public, or is that itself merely another of the inactivists’ bogus framings?

    > I’m not ruling out your option entirely; I just believe that at the moment it isn’t the optimal use of our time and resources.

    Then in your opinion, at what moment will a lawsuit finally be a good use of our time and resources? How will writing another book — when there are already so many other books — move the climate movement towards a stronger position, towards a position where it can finally bring forth a lawsuit against the denialists at the Australian to make them answer for their lies?

    If not now, when?

    — frank

  84. #85 Jeffrey Davis
    August 15, 2011

    If the Denialists have moved from the denying the phenomenon (AGW) to defaming non-public personalities (and scientists aren’t public personalities) the time for lawsuits has arrived. It’s as simple as that. Individuals aren’t punching bags.

  85. #86 J.L.
    August 15, 2011

    Even as someone in the northern hemisphere, a book about the continuous dishonesty of one big australian newspaper would be a very interesting (though depressing) read. First get the info widely spread and then potentially get them into legal trouble – though others might already do it for you because of the attention from the hypothetical book.

    I strongly disagree about that it would be better if the potential book would expand to other publications as well.
    Use a clear and attention-grabbing target. Editing the articles to fit better together in a single book is also good, of course.

    If you want to write about other publications as well in book format, it is far better to have a series with about different publications (or category of publications if you e.g. have a lot of text about different, small local papers), possibly publishing sequel volumes about any specific publication when you get enough new material – if you can be bothered.

  86. #87 Bernard J.
    August 15, 2011

    I’m another who’s been thinking for the last dozen or so Wars on Science that a book or a documentary would be an interesting exercise.

    If a book, the words “First Edition” should be conspicuous on the cover…

  87. #88 James Haughton
    August 15, 2011

    With respect, Frank, you’ve been calling for other people to go to the trouble, expense, and reputation risk of slinging lawsuits in all directions for a long time now.
    Unless you’re prepared to bankroll such action personally, why not take a breather, eh?

  88. #89 MFS
    August 15, 2011

    factoid,

    It doesn’t matter which way you read it: Sydney Airport temperatures for [June](http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/dwo/201106/html/IDCJDW2125.201106.shtml), [July](http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/dwo/201107/html/IDCJDW2125.201107.shtml) and [August](http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/dwo/201108/html/IDCJDW2125.201108.shtml) are STILL warmer than the [30-year average](http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/cdio/cvg/av?p_stn_num=066037&p_prim_element_index=0&p_comp_element_index=0&redraw=null&p_display_type=statistics_summary&normals_years=1981-2010&tablesizebutt=normal).

    It might pay to grow a brain cell or two before attempting a takedown like this, unless you are happy for it to backfire as spectacularly as it has.

  89. #90 factoid
    August 15, 2011

    MFS it doesn’t matter which way you read it, you don’t have a brain.

    Sydney Airport is not Sydney.

    Lambert could not find the desired result in the Sydney data, so he inserted Sydney Airport data.

    That is very deceptive and misleading.

    Fooled you.

  90. #91 savemejeebus
    August 15, 2011

    Factoid, if we all agreed with you, we’d all be wrong. Everyone else, do not argue with an idiot. He’ll drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
    *
    One more.
    Light travels faster than sound. This is why factoid appears bright until you hear him speak.

  91. #92 jakerman
    August 16, 2011

    It was said well [here](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/the_australians_war_on_science_71.php#comment-4812407)

    >And factoid hasn’t shown that Fraser’s idea that it was an abnormally cold winter is anywhere near reality, instead quibbling (incompetently) about comparisons with average temperatures.

    >Why, it’s almost like factoid would like to redirect debate away from Fraser’s bogus claims – to something, else, anything else!

    And [here](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/the_australians_war_on_science_71.php#comment-4814400):

    >Imagine how scathing the analysis when Factorrhoid gets around to dealing with Plimer’s bullshit.

    >I guess we’ll hear the ‘oid say things like @64: “Note that this isn’t a simple mistake by Plimer.You have to go out of your way to ignore numerous studies,the views of such bodies as the AAS,the USGS,the CDIAC and the Geological Society of the UK,use fake references and fail to correct the errors at proof stage,then fail to print a corrigendum.”

  92. #93 Lotharsson
    August 16, 2011

    > Lambert could not find the desired result in the Sydney data…

    That particular claim presumes facts not in evidence. Do you read minds, or are you monitoring Tim’s computers? Or is it OK for you to make claims that you cannot substantiate as quibble about other people’s use of actual facts?

    Oh, and as others have pointed out to you on the Crikey thread, **even** the claim that the desired result is not present in the Observatory Hill data averages for the last 30 years is false. (And to pile on, “the last 30 years” is the **most generous** selection for your case. If you use longer periods the comparison is even more stark.)

    [30 year average max temperature](http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/cdio/cvg/av?p_stn_num=066062&p_prim_element_index=0&p_comp_element_index=0&redraw=null&p_display_type=statistics_summary&normals_years=1981-2010&tablesizebutt=normal) vs 2011:

    [June](http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/dwo/201106/html/IDCJDW2124.201106.shtml): 18.0 vs 18.0
    [July](http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/dwo/201107/html/IDCJDW2124.201107.shtml): 17.4 vs 17.4
    [August (30 years full month vs 2011 first 16 days)](http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/dwo/201108/html/IDCJDW2124.201108.shtml): 18.9 vs 20.4

    You could try to hang your hat on August not being finished yet – but that would be supremely silly given the date the claims were made. So **by your own standards** (“Sydney weather” = Observatory Hill, using last 30 years only), then winter 2011 when the statements were made **is** warmer than the average of the last 30 years.

    (And technically you should perform a gridded reconstruction using all the weather stations in the Sydney area if you’re going to be that pedantic about what represents “Sydney weather” – which you haven’t. But then Sydney Airport’s warmer winter 2011 would influence the results, which you probably are keen to avoid…)

    > That is very deceptive and misleading.

    You have strange standards for “deceptive and misleading”.

    So how about that Fraser character, eh? I’m expecting your condemnation of the clearly incorrect implication that this winter was the “coldest in memory” (proffered as anecdotal evidence for her denialist memes) any day now. Because even *your own interpretation* of the data shows her perception was wrong. So any time you’re ready, let it rip.

    (Oh, wait, on Crikey you’re falling back to “it was just her perception so you can’t legitimately fact check it”. If that’s true, then that’s an admission that your attempts to fact-check Lambert’s fact-check are also moot. When you argue with yourself like that, which one of you wins and how does the loser cope?)

    And how about that Plimer bloke that Fraser approvingly quoted, eh? Still waiting for your tidal wave of outrage at his massive deception. You got an ETA for that?

    No, didn’t think so.

  93. #94 Lotharsson
    August 16, 2011

    What would be amazing – if it hadn’t been seen over and over again in the past – is factoid’s intent focus on a nit (that turns out to be illusory anyway), and the complete lack of perception of the giant boulder of actual bullshit.

  94. #95 Vince whirlwind
    August 16, 2011

    The hilarious part of Factoid’s bullshit is its
    > “it was just her perception so you can’t legitimately fact check it”

    And I thought these Bolt fans hated uni-wanker post-modernist anti-thinking? Looks like post-modernist anti-thinking is their refuge.

  95. #96 factoid
    August 16, 2011

    Lambert must have done detailed research on this nit to go out of his way to deceive.

    He has investigated Fraser’s biography to determine she arrived in Sydney in 1982. Hence the 30 year time frame.
    This was established by Lambert not me.

    The Sydney weather station is not a matter of pick and choose your preferred station. Observatory Hill is the official Sydney data. There is no wiggle room. No way you can spin it.

    So Lotharsson as you prove, June 2011 is not warmer than the 30 year average.

    Lambert has misled with the conclusion and the data source.

    July 2011 is not warmer than the 30 year average.

    Lambert has misled with the conclusion and the data source.

    Lambert’s statements are not ‘perception’ but scientifically false and linked to the wrong data.

    And you are trying to justify it?

    As for Plimer, he didn’t write the chain email, nor the comments attributed to him in it.

  96. #97 Sean
    August 16, 2011

    Would factoid be so cavalier about someone saying “I am a fan of the idea of global warming, especially after this Sydney summer. It has been the hottest I can remember.”?

  97. #98 factoid
    August 16, 2011

    That’s exactly the point.
    Lambert pretends to be fighting for scientific integrity, yet has none himself.

    If the SMH published such an anecdote, would he write a blog post to correct the error?

    Would he and you claim the mere publishing of such an anecdote is anti-science?

    What we can say from this example, is that in such a situation, Lambert is likely to claim that the statement was true, and use the wrong data to prove it.

  98. #99 jakerman
    August 16, 2011

    Factoid, does the Fraser article meet your standards for editorial?

    And if you need assistance with what Plimar wrote, please review [these posts](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/global_warming/plimer/) and tell us who is cherry picking, getting their science from blogs and misleading readers.

    Then we can ask you the same about your judgement of the [Australian's war on science](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/the_war_on_science/).

    Or would you prefer to pursue your exercise in meta-cherry
    picking?

  99. #100 Scribe
    August 16, 2011

    Fuctoid (sic) either gets paid to do this (disrupting blogs that could lead to negative publicity for the Big Polluters), or he’s a trollmeister who thrives on any kind of attention, or he’s one or more of: shareholder in mining industry who thinks he may lose money if AGW is understood by the lumpenproles, or a right wing apparatchik like Nick “I support Big Tobacco” Minchin. In the end though, he’s a big Yawn.

Current ye@r *