The Australian's War on Science 58: Quote Mining

The Australian has a daily column called Cut and Paste which should more properly be titled Quote Mining. Consider this recent effort:

Heed the bureau. John Quiggin in The Australian Financial Review yesterday:

Tragically, while only a few people have been silly enough to ignore the Bureau [of Meteorology]'s warnings about this cyclone, a great many have ignored equally dire warnings about the long-term impact of climate change, including more extreme weather events. Climate models that have predicted the warming of the past two or three decades are dismissed as spurious. Worse still, the bureau and other bodies have been accused of faking or fudging data to promote their case for motives that range from the venal (more funding for climate research) to the sinister (obscure plots for global domination).

BOM website:

Since [the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2001 report] there has been a growing number of studies that indicate a consistent signal of fewer tropical cyclones globally in a warmer climate.

Look! How clever! The BOM contradicts Quiggin! Except, of course, that if you read their site, they don't. Look:

There have been three recent studies producing projections for tropical cyclone changes in the Australian region. Two suggest that there will be no significant change in tropical cyclone numbers off the east coast of Australia to the middle of the 21st century. The third study, based on the CSIRO simulations, shows a significant decrease in tropical cyclone numbers for the Australian region especially off the coastline of Western Australia. The simulations also show more long-lived eastern Australian tropical cyclones although one study showed a decrease in long-lived cyclones off the Western Australian coast.

Each of the above studies finds a marked increase in the severe Category 3 - 5 storms. Some also reported a poleward extension of tropical cyclone tracks.

So there might be a decrease in overall numbers, but there is likely to be an increase in the severe storms. The ones like Yasi. Funny how Cut and Paste didn't paste in any of that.

Cut and Paste continues with this:

Changing climate? Ross Garnaut at the National Press Club Address, July 4, 2008:

The draft report has a rather prosaic title, Draft Report. It almost had an exciting title. When our team in Melbourne finished the draft of the draft a few weeks ago, we held a naming competition and the winner by acclamation was No Pain, No Rain. But we are a conscientious lot; someone said, No Pain, Greatly Reduced Rain and someone else: No Pain, Probably Greatly Reduced Rain.

Or changing forecast? Garnaut yesterday:

The odds seem to favour the proposition that cyclonic events will be more intense in a hotter world.

Ha ha! Gotcha! Garnaut changed his forecast! Except that if you read Chapter 4 of the 2008 report you find this:

Tropical cyclones are likely to increase in intensity and to generate greater
precipitation in their vicinity.

Little wonder that the person responsible for this dishonest quoting hides behind a cloak of anonymity.

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I emailed Cut and Paste yesterday about this column and pointed out exactly the same thing.

The various commentators are not "search(ing) for a climate change connection" - Cut and Paste is searching manufacturing an inconsistency.

The OZ reckons the sum total of Quiggin's 'extreme weather events' must add up only to their number of tropical cyclones. Dumb stuff.

What worries me is that The Australian is generally considered to be "influential". Are our leaders so stupid that they put any trust in a publication that lies continually? (Don't answer that!)

Thanks Mark B, I have saved your Monkton Myth's post for future reference.

It seems that the today's letter writers at The Australian share similar views to Bolt , Cut and Paste and Friday's editorialist who couldn't couldn't resist concluding:

'Already claims are emerging, some more credible than others, that the cyclone was partially a result of man-made greenhouse gases. Economist Ross Garnaut cautions that "if we are seeing an intensification of extreme weather events now, you ain't seen nothing yet". We await definitive scientific evidence, noting that a category 5 cyclone last crossed the Queensland coast in 1918.'

Wer ought to start a competition here based on finding an area of public policy about which The OO/Limited News is unwilling to lie or hasn't misrepresented.

Internetz to the person with the most surprising example.

By Fran Barlow (not verified) on 04 Feb 2011 #permalink

One thing that has baffled me from deniers is there constant call of "it can't be global warming because there were bigger floods in 1893 and Cyclone Tracey did more damage!". Is it just me or did I miss the memo where a greater likelihood of extreme events has to be translated to MOST EXTREME EVENT EVER!!! A Category 5 cyclone of Yasi's size is extreme. The Brisbane floods were extreme. Even excusing EVERYTHING else (such as Wivenhoe/cyclone-proofing/luck of Yasi not hitting Townsville dead centre etc) they are still extreme events.

I also note that The Oz managed to find an engineer to say that global warming doesn't cause La Nina in yesterday's piece on Page 5? Maybe 7. I was pleased to note that he could work out that global warming doesn't cause La Nina. Because that would be daft. Exacerbating La Nina and El Nino, of course, are entirely different questions. But go The Oz for managing to find an engineer denier for their piece. They must have a list somewhere, honestly.

I cancelled my subscription to the Oz and have refused to read it since ... when? ... the Mabo decision.

Keep up the good work for as long as you can stand it. It *will* get to be too much for some of you.

Let history record that Pupert Murdoch is the owner and Chris Mitchell the editor of the mighty Oz, and that therefore all credit for otherwise unattributed verbiage goes to them. The subject piece is of the calibre of work you'd expect from Mitchell.

"Pupert"?! Whatever.

The Australian does seem to be odds with itself today with an editorial supporting the carbon tax. The article, however, never deviates from its financial imperative.

As we see in Cut and Paste, the Australian never asks the right questions. Matt Granfield does in âCoincidence or Climate Changeâ on ABC Unleashed. He has some good quotes from Andrew Ash, director of the CSIROâs Climate Adaptation Flagship.

"The fact that the two biggest natural disasters on record to hit Queensland have occurred within three weeks of each other is not a coincidence.
It is a direct result of the Pacific Ocean being warmer than we've ever known it to be".

"While the flooding events and cyclones experienced this year aren't caused by climate change, the record warm ocean temperatures provide
conditions more conducive to exacerbating these naturally occurring events associated with La Nina,"

News Corp rules apply: more always equals bigger and bigger equals more, so less equals smaller.

Adelady @8. You're right. I did renew my sub to The Oz this year, because I like to read a paper I disagree with, but the standards have plummeted so rapidly in the last couple of years that I don't think I can stomach lasting the rest of my subscription. There's a cancellation on the near-horizon, judging by the ever-increasing distaste with which I view the articles. I don't mind disagreeing with almost all of the opinion in it. Disagreeing with almost all of the journalism is becoming too much for me.

Opps I was too busy trying to work out how to use Markdown in post 11 that I misquoted Dr Ash's comments from the article. The quotes should be

"The record warm temperatures are most likely a combination of La Nina and additional warming from human activities."

"While the flooding events and cyclones experienced this year aren't caused by climate change, the record warm ocean temperatures provide conditions more conducive to exacerbating these naturally occurring events associated with La Nina."

The best part is that, like Monckton, Cut and Paste drives paranoid alarmist pseudoscientific junkies absolutely crazy.

Cut and Paste also missed the increased water content in the atmosphere. Melbourne is experiencing a hugely disruptive tropical downpour that is being supplied from the remains of the recent Queensland cyclones. The cooler air down here has seen the large cloud masses dumping huge quantities of water.

Which reminds me. When is Spencer going to change this picture.

http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/evaporation-precipitatio…

Evaporation and precipitation are not always so picturesque.

There's plenty of wiggle room in the tropical cyclone AGW debate for sceptics to exploit. The usual ruse is a decline in absolute numbers, especially those making landfall in Queensland. But the latest analysis paints a complex story indeed with cyclones making landfall over eastern Australia strongly tied to decadal variability in the SPCZ, ENSO and the IPO. Also "some" part of the decline in landfalls may be a weakening in the Walker circulation with has anthropogenic drivers. Callaghan and Power also warn that a change in the IPO (as has recently occurred) may see a large change in cyclones making landfall. i.e. a sudden increase again *http://www.cawcr.gov.au/meetings/fd/SPCZ_workshop_Apia_presentations/Po…* And it is the cyclones making landfall in Australia that get the public and press attention.

The other game of chicken is to play "worst ever" as the benchmark of proof so they'll point out Mahina and paleo cyclones.

*http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/queenslands-cycles-of-hav…*

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahina_Cyclone_of_1899*

So a very complex story AGW making tropical cyclones fewer but more intense and generally less likely to make landfall (Walker circulation) but decadal variability (IPO x ENSO) maybe causing 30 year trends up or down??

What we can say is that sea surface temperatures in tropical Australia have been trending up over 30 years and this year's La Nina had "some" record elements.

Do the public understand all this? Is it in the Australian's interest to explain?

The best part is that, like Monckton, Cut and Paste drives paranoid alarmist pseudoscientific junkies absolutely crazy.

Shorter Graham (with a bit of name calling tacked on for good measure):

It's OK to make stuff up if it's our side that does it.

So Graham, you have no problem with being lied to as long as it suits your political agenda?

Heck, i coulda forecast a Yasi. Just read the research. Seems we will be gettin bigger badder cyclones no matter what the global warming fundamentalists want...

"...Jonathon Nott is an expert on the incidence of super cyclones. By analysing ridges of broken coral pushed ashore by storm surges, he has catalogued the incidence of super-cyclones over the past 5000 years.

In a paper published in the scientific journal, Nature in 2001 his research shows the frequency of super-cyclones is an order of magnitude higher than previously thought.

Nott's work puts into perspective current debate about whether climate change is responsible for the extreme weather events in Queensland.

Over recent centuries, massive cyclones have been relatively common. And after an extended period of relatively little activity their return is overdue regardless of rising global temperatures..."

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/queenslands-cycles-of-hav…

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 05 Feb 2011 #permalink

>"There is no clear signal as yet but that does not mean it isn't affecting us."

Whoops, left that bit out.

Flying dingbat:

> And after an extended period of relatively little activity their return is overdue regardless of rising global temperatures

Gambler's fallacy, dude. This is what happens when the Australian adds in their own spin to a scientist's work -- they make silly errors.

@22;"...This is what happens when the Australian adds in their own spin to a scientist's work -- they make silly errors..."

Do tell Frank. What were the silly errors ?

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 05 Feb 2011 #permalink

@24, "Gamblers Fallacy"

zoot, i'm just a dumb ol hill farmer, perhaps yer better tell me what is the relavence of the gamblers fallacy to the Oz article ?

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 05 Feb 2011 #permalink

Well shucks Flying (I can calls ya by ya first name caint I?), as an old muleskinner meself I never did go in for that book learnin'. What if'n you tell me why it's not relevant.

@26; "Well shucks Flying (I can calls ya by ya first name caint I?), as an old muleskinner meself I never did go in for that book learnin'. What if'n you tell me why it's not relevant"

errr, zoot, i did not introduce the gamblers falacy to the thread. If yer dont understand it zoot, perhaps its best left to Frank to explain...

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 05 Feb 2011 #permalink

GSW quotes Chantal Valentine:

Despite the fact that the first thing drummed into any economics student...

Erm, economics?! This would be the same discipline that doesn't count the value of ecological services because they are "externalities", and that doesn't count the cost of pollution and waste for the same reason?

And the same discipline that subscribes to the fantasy of perpetual economic (and population) growth?

Ah, that economics. Riiight, there's some hard science, towering over physics...

And Valentine's waffle is no sharp insight into statistical usage. It's trivially simple stuff to which any undergrad science student would be exposed. I suspect that she might belong to that subset of economists that make more broadly-educated economists, with whom I am acquainted, cringe.

For what it's worth, these same science undergrads also know about correlation versus causation (it's no arcane economic secret), and how experimental designs and cofactor analyses can help to pinpoint most likely cause.

And GSW, your confession:

Don't know.

says it all...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 05 Feb 2011 #permalink

Perhaps a slight rewriting of the quote may help the Flying Farmer understand how Gambler's Fallacy pertains to it:

"Over recent centuries, Tasmanian Tigers have been relatively common. And after an extended period of relatively little activity their return is overdue regardless of rising global temperatures..."

By Quiet Waters (not verified) on 05 Feb 2011 #permalink

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

@30;
Perhaps a slight rewriting of the quote may help the Flying Farmer understand how Gambler's Fallacy pertains to it:"Over recent centuries, Tasmanian Tigers have been relatively common. And after an extended period of relatively little activity their return is overdue regardless of rising global temperatures..."

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Hmmm, lets have a look-see at Tas Tigers...

"Tasmanian Tiger... Intensive hunting encouraged by bounties is generally blamed for its extinction" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thylacine

...Oh, i see now. The traditional mega cyclones we got over the last five thousand years were sent extinct by bounty hunters 150 years ago. Therefore the suggestion here is any current mega cyclones aren't natural...

Heh, lets see what Frank has to say....

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 05 Feb 2011 #permalink

Flying whatever:

"Gamblers Fallacy"

zoot, i'm just a dumb ol hill farmer, perhaps yer better tell me what is the relavence of the gamblers fallacy to the Oz article ?

It's also known as the law of averages. There ain't no such thing but "The Australian" journos don't seem to know that.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 05 Feb 2011 #permalink

Australian:

> And after an extended period of relatively little [cyclone] activity their return is overdue regardless of rising global temperatures

Wikipedia on Gambler's Fallacy:

> [...] if a fair coin is tossed repeatedly and tails comes up a larger number of times than is expected, a gambler may incorrectly believe that this means that heads is more likely in future tosses.[2] Such an expectation could be mistakenly referred to as being due [...]

"Overdue"... "due"... Flying Binghi don't see relevance. Flying Binghi farmer. Flying Binghi don't see fallacy in Australian article. Flying Binghi know science is scam.

Flying Binghi:

If you really didn't see the relevance of the Gambler's Fallacy comment to the Australian article Binghi, then maybe you should consider whether you are out of your intellectual depth commenting on this blog. But I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you are just trying to provoke.

Mr Binghi, what ever natural factors contribute to cyclones, there is an clear link between warmer oceans and more powerful more intense weather. Hence the IPCC predict an increase in intensity of events as the oceans continue to warm. That's the science that the Oz is desperately trying to down play.

See their quote excising at the top of this thread.

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

@35 Frank;
Ooh. FB farmer. FB don't read. FB see link to Wikipedia article; FB ignore. FB don't read. FB see link to Wikiipedia article again; FB ignore. FB don't read. FB only read Australian. FB avoid Wikipedia because Wikipedia Marxist. FB farmer. FB know Marx is bad. FB know climate science is scam. FB only read Australian. FB farmer. FB see Wikipedia, FB grab gun. FB wise. FB follow Galileo.

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Hmmm, interesting. Frank, why do you claim i did not read the wikipedia link ?

Frank, the claim i "avoid" wikipedia is debunked by my previous post #33 which supplies a wikipedia link on the Tas tiger. I think that is all i need to finish up replying to post #35...

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 06 Feb 2011 #permalink

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

@36 Frank;
"Overdue"... "due"... Flying Binghi don't see relevance. Flying Binghi farmer. Flying Binghi don't see fallacy in Australian article. Flying Binghi know science is scam.

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Frank, yer right, i don't see the "relevance" as yer haven't covered why it is relevant.

Looking forward to 'enlightenment'...

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 06 Feb 2011 #permalink

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

via Malcolm #37

If you really didn't see the relevance of the Gambler's Fallacy comment to the Australian article Binghi, then maybe you should consider whether you are out of your intellectual depth commenting on this blog. But I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you are just trying to provoke.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Heh, Malcolm, what a provoking way with words you have.

Malcolm, reading the posts directed my way prior to yours i were thinking i were well out of my depth here. Though that's no worries, i'm more the altitude sort.

.

By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 06 Feb 2011 #permalink

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

via jakerman #39

what ever natural factors contribute to cyclones, there is an clear link between warmer oceans and more powerful more intense weather. Hence the IPCC predict an increase in intensity of events as the oceans continue to warm. That's the science that the Oz is desperately trying to down play.

See their quote excising at the top of this thread.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

jakerman, as a national news paper i think the Oz is probably attempting to offer some calm balance in the climate debate.

As to cyclones. Reading the Garnaut report (referenced in the thread starter post) i see some contradictions, confusion almost...

Pg111,5.2.4 "Tropical cyclones in Australia are subject to multidecadal variability in frequency and intensity.....it becomes difficult to draw definitive conclusions on whether observed changes in tropical cyclones can be attributed to climate change"

Now we have Garnaut claiming that cyclone Yasi were caused by global warming! I think i know where the desperation is...

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 06 Feb 2011 #permalink

Binghi, the thing that the Oz and you don't appear to get is that the term a 1 in 100 year event is a probability. i.e. every year there is a 1% chance that the event will occur. If it didn't happen the previous year the probability for the next year is still 1%, and if it did happen the previous year the next year is still a 1% chance. Just like flipping a coin. To say that we are overdue a probabilistic event and therefore the likelihood of it occurring in the near future is more likely is a fallacy. Also known as the Gamblers Fallacy.

Binghi,

Garnaut isn't "claiming that[sic] cyclone Yasi were[sic] caused by global warming", but that the intensity of cyclone Yasi was exacerbated by record Western Pacific Ocean temperatures, which are the likely result of global warming.

Do you see your mistake? No?

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 06 Feb 2011 #permalink

What is this all about? That we don´t believe what scientists claim in their predictions? Or do we have to wait until another flood or cyclone will destroy our houses? We know nothing about it. Yes, the probability that is the only thing that is certain here. So what for do I have to pay taxes, to support the scientific research if I wonât have early warning to save my life? I don´t understand all this...

Binghi writes,

>*As to cyclones. Reading the Garnaut report (referenced in the thread starter post) i see some contradictions, confusion almost...*

Mere opinion that contradicts the facts, note this is the Australian's War on Science #58 and the count is not an exhaustive list.

>*Now we have Garnaut claiming that cyclone Yasi were caused by global warming! I think i know where the desperation is...*

LB [calls out](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/the_australians_war_on_science_…) your desperation on this on.

Welcome Binghi! What an interesting surprise!

As opposed to your regular commentary on the pilots forums on PPrune where you get supported by a lot of conservative-minded flyers who can do aviation, but who know virtually nothing (with a couple of exceptions) more than the average joe about science, here you will find quite a few people who actually do science for a living and are highly qualified to speak on scientific matters.

Unfortunately you exhibit here, as over there, the same conceptual problems I embarrassingly find with many of my aviation compatriots: having their generally strongly conservative political inclinations and type A personalities strongly flavour their interpretation of scientific facts. This doesn't mean I think you're dumb. Just that even if you see it with your very own eyes, I'm confident you still won't believe it.

In simple terms Binghi, the crux of the article here is that The Australian severely quote-mined a Bureau of Met report on cyclone trends to imply that the Met Bureau predicts lesser cyclone numbers and nothing else - and that's good, right? And it contradicts what the "warmists" say, right?

No it isn't. And no it doesn't. Reading the full article gives context. The studies find a probability of increased severe storm activity, increased cyclone intensity (as opposed to frequency) and so on from greenhouse warming. Predicted ramifications of a warmer atmosphere and warmer oceans for the intensity of any sort of rain events are not all that controversial.

Then they go on to totally misinterpret Ross Garnaut, clearly not even bothering to read his 2008 report which would've prevented this embarrassing (for them) mistake.

The Australian is, unsurprisingly, trying to manufacture conflicts where they don't really exist. All because they can only be bothered reading the first two lines of an 8 paragraph article from the Bureau of Meteorology. If you go back through Tim's other articles on The Australian, you'll see they have a long, distinguished history of concocting complete nonsense about the scientific evidence on AGW.

Ohhh, begone foul stench @20, @23.

What is so difficult about appreciating that a) drought conditions may become more frequent (due to, hotter climate, perhaps???) and more prolonged; b) when the droughts eventually break, the typical breaking factor of la Nina brings larger, more intense cyclonic activity, and larger flooding events; c) that a) and b) are statistically observable only on fairly long timescales, but are consistent with the currently understood science behind various major climate/meteorological phenomena?

Clearly a single event isn't by itself incontravertible proof of one thing or another; a sequence of them that matches our understanding of the climate science, on the other hand, lends credibility to the whole AGW thing - it certainly cannot diminish it. The global temperature trends already do that; the CO2-equivalent increases in various greenhouse gases from human activity already do this.

In fact, it is probably more difficult to "prove" that there are cycles of cyclonic activity in Australia than it is to "prove" that cyclonic activity will become more intense, if not more frequent, in Australia's future. While there are paleo-data showing previous extreme flood events (the sedimentary record, coral, etc), this is not in dispute. Whether that data is remotely useful in establishing that the current epoch is entirely "natural" is another thing again.

One of the great many things that AGW does have in its favour is that 30+ years ago the sceptics - some of the same names as now - screamed that it was too early to tell, that another 20-30 years of data was required (ie global temperature data), etc. Well, more than 30 years has gone by and the trend upward is statistically significant; that is why, among other reasons, the IPCC declared in 2007 that the evidence supporting AGW was considered "very likely", meaning at least 90% confident.

The wiggle room keeps reducing but still they shriek...

By Donald Oats (not verified) on 06 Feb 2011 #permalink

Gambler's Fallacy: while it is true that the gambler's fallacy is a common logic error in the application of statistics, it is not necessarily entirely relevant to the cyclone "cycle" fallacy. The main factor is that climate has memory effects; la Nina and el Nino are examples of that, as they depend in part upon the climatic conditions preceding them, albeit most likely on time scales of less than a decade. This links the events in question, although there are of course many time series statistical methods for extracting information from such data.

However, I'm blowed if I can see how detecting a 40 year cyclone cycle could be any easier and more reliable than detecting a long term trend is. Saying we are "overdue" is to assume the result, namely that cyclonic activity follows a well-defined and detectable cycle (over time).

As an unrelated comment, it is of course possible for our unlucky gambler to use the historical data to update his or her notional probability of winning. In other words, perhaps the coin is loaded to land on heads less often than on tails. As more and more bets are made, data builds up and may be used to assess the bias if any. Of course, if the unlucky gambler copped the 1913 (that's the year) run of blacks on the Roulette table, and he/she tried to update the odds of black vs red, they would eventually have gotten creamed. Incredibly rare runs do happen - just incredibly rarely.

Whether Gambler's Fallacy applies directly or not, it is a great example of how it is best to leave the climate stats to the professional climate science statisticians, rather than leaving it to the Cut-n-Paste section of the Australian.

By Donald Oats (not verified) on 06 Feb 2011 #permalink

Well, in an important breakthrough for their credibility, The Australian today got commentary on scientific consensus by a man described as a media commentator.

I guess it's an improvement from getting comments on sea level rise from a dude on the beach. Like how getting diagnosed with pneumonia is an improvement on getting diagnosed with the bubonic plague.

[quote]as a national news paper i think the Oz is probably attempting to offer some calm balance in the climate debate.[/quote]splutter, splutter, wipes sprayed coffee of screen.

Funny, and here I was thinking this was a serious scientific blog and we get a comedy gem like that.

By Mobius Ecko (not verified) on 06 Feb 2011 #permalink

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

via, clay #44

"Binghi, the thing that the Oz and you don't appear to get is that the term a 1 in 100 year event is a probability. i.e. every year there is a 1% chance that the event will occur. If it didn't happen the previous year the probability for the next year is still 1%, and if it did happen the previous year the next year is still a 1% chance. Just like flipping a coin. To say that we are overdue a probabilistic event and therefore the likelihood of it occurring in the near future is more likely is a fallacy. Also known as the Gamblers Fallacy."

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

clay, i don't think the Gamblers Fallacy applies to the Oz article. When the full article is read there is a bit more back grounding as to why Jonathon Nott says we are overdue -

"...What the longer term records show, however, is that the frequency of extreme cyclones follow a predictable long-scale pattern.

"What the record shows is we go through extended periods, hundreds of years, of high activity and extended periods of little activity," Nott says.

"The past 100 to 150 years has been very quiet in Queensland in terms of what happened in the past. The couple of hundred years prior to that were very active..."

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/queenslands-cycles-of-hav…

For a bit more 'media' background to the Oz article, here's an ABC interview with Nott back in 2001 -
http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s382613.htm

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 06 Feb 2011 #permalink

@53: Pretty sophisticated for a dumb ol hill farmer.

If I understand your argument any severe cyclones we get in the next one hundred years or so will be because they are 'due'. The fact that we have raised the amount of energy in the system will be of no account.

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via, luminous beauty #45

"Garnaut isn't "claiming that[sic] cyclone Yasi were[sic] caused by global warming", but that the intensity of cyclone Yasi was exacerbated by record Western Pacific Ocean temperatures, which are the likely result of global warming.

Do you see your mistake? No?"

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

.

luminous beauty, looks to me that Garnaut is the one going to the media with his 'global warming causes mega cyclones' message. Methinks 'Grasping at Yasi' would be a good headline for any article about Garnaut and cyclones...

Via the Oz - "...Ross Garnaut has warned that the severity of the cyclones and floods which have devastated Queensland in the past month could be the result of climate change..."
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/science-suggests-theres-muc…

.

....problem is, the Nott article offers an inconvenient reality. We have had far, far more intense cyclones before present. Were the cyclones of the last 5,000 years caused by 'global warming'.....

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 06 Feb 2011 #permalink

Flying Binghi is as distorting as the Oz.

Flying Binghi writes:

>*Now we have Garnaut claiming that cyclone Yasi were caused by global warming! I think i know where the desperation is...*

Then he changed this to:

>*looks to me that Garnaut is the one going to the media with his 'global warming causes mega cyclones' message.*

Then he quotes the Oz:

>"...Ross Garnaut has warned that the severity of the cyclones and floods which have devastated Queensland in the past month could be the result of climate change..."

What Garnaut actually said:

>*"There's never been a strong assertion in the climate science that you'll get more frequent cyclonic events. There is a strong element in the climate science that you will get more frequent extreme cyclonic events," he said.*

And:

>*Reading science as a non-scientist, I would say that the odds seem to favour the proposition that cyclonic events will be more intense in a hotter world," he said.*

That's it, Lying Binghi didn't quote Garnaut, he quoted The Oz report Sid Maher.

Gaunaut is correct and some feel the need distort what he says.

Julie

So what for do I have to pay taxes, to support the scientific research if I wonât have early warning to save my life?

You are alive aren't you? So the warning seemed early enough ;)

More seriously, for predictions on individual cyclones, look to the metereologists, it's their job to do that.

And the increased chance of exteme cyclones, why is that not helpful? It can help to tighten up building standards, improve flood protection or build more shelters.

But your tax dollars are not wasted: the scientists did more than just find out that cyclone intensity will increase. They also figured out the cause. The good news: we are the cause, so we can do something about it. The bad news: many people are trying very hard to ignore that last bit. Can't blame the scientists for that.

By Anne van der Bom (not verified) on 06 Feb 2011 #permalink

[Flying Binghi](http://i51.tinypic.com/313ni47.jpg).

Your pretence to having competence in technical deconstruction in climatology might be a tad more believable if you could demonstrate that you possess basic competence in the simple HTML tagging process for clearly quoting other people.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 07 Feb 2011 #permalink

> They also figured out the cause. The good news: we are the cause, so we can do something about it.

Can't be said enough.

It makes the nay-saying especially dumb because often the people who say we can't do anything say that this means we MUST adapt.

But isn't "not burning fossil fuels" an adaption, as much as "move London to the Pennines" is?

Strange people.

The national tabloid is such a wonderful newspaper, and you guys should stop slagging off about it.

I recall the headline the day before Yasi hit. Above it was something like, "Biggest cyclone in 93 years to hit". To a normal person, there is nothing wrong with this, but if you've spent too much time hanging around skeptics blogs you realise that "biggest in 93 years" is actually skeptic code for "its been hotter before". I'm betting, with no evidence at all to back me up, that only Rupert's papers prominently displayed "biggest in 93 years".

By John Brookes (not verified) on 07 Feb 2011 #permalink

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

via Mike #48,"...Unfortunately you exhibit here, as over there, the same conceptual problems I embarrassingly find with many of my aviation compatriots: having their generally strongly conservative political inclinations and type A personalities strongly flavour their interpretation of scientific facts. This doesn't mean I think you're dumb. Just that even if you see it with your very own eyes, I'm confident you still won't believe it..."

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

"conceptual problems"

Heh,...yer might want to check yer science there Mike.

Via wikipedia....(if yer believe it) -

"...a form of pop psychology ...The Type A/B theory has been criticized on a number of grounds by mathematicians, medical professionals, and scientists. On the basis of these criticisms, the theory has been termed obsolete by many researchers in contemporary health psychology and personality psychology..."

(Quote via wikipedia - search, "Type A and Type B personality theory")

.

By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 08 Feb 2011 #permalink

OK, so you don't like personality A/B types, FB.

You exhibit here complete idiocy and a trollish behaviour along with a militant wish to remain ignorant and an unwholesome pride in your ignorance.

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

via Mike, #48

"...Reading the full article gives context. The studies find a probability of increased severe storm activity, increased cyclone intensity (as opposed to frequency) and so on from greenhouse warming..."

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

.

"gives context"

Mike, perhaps looking at the various articles over several days gives a better context for any one article. Here's some comments via the ABC from Jonathon Nott who were quoted in an Oz article -

"...Jon's been able to build up a 6,000 year history of cyclones in North Queensland. He's found dozens of super cyclones - enormous storms the likes of which have not been seen within historic times..."

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s382613.htm

.

Now, the global warming spruikers say a warming of the oceans will cause more intense cyclones. From the Nott research we see that there has in the last six thousand odd years been far more intense cyclones then at present. That then tells us that it has been far warmer then today for some periods of time - what caused these warmer periods ?

A central 'proof' of the global warming crew were the discredited IPCC hockey stick graph which tried to remove the far warmer then today medieval and roman warm periods from the temperature history. Yet here we have with the Australian mega cyclone history a definite proof of periods of time warmer then today. ....though, that's only a 'proof' if a warmer ocean causes more intense cyclones...

.

By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 08 Feb 2011 #permalink

@Flying Binghi
"...spruikers...blah, blah...hockey stick...blah,blah...Roman warm period..."

It's time for a borehole at Deltoid. FB doesn't even rate his own troll thread with that banal crap.

Binghi is a troll. No one could be that stupid.

People are definitely that stupid. Shedloads of them.

By Vince whirlwind (not verified) on 08 Feb 2011 #permalink

Jeebus Lord!! I'm not saying I'm a fan of A/B classifications, Binghi. I'm saying that people in our (yours & mine) industry regularly exhibit what were once seen as "A" type tendencies.

Arrogance. Aggressiveness. Controlling. Impatient. None of these traits are particularly conducive to conducting an intelligent debate on PPrune about global warming, as I have experienced personally myself. I mean, the "debate" there got so dumb at one point I felt my brain seeping out from between my ears. You know, the "Al Gore is a big fat liar" and "it's all a greenie plot to impose a communist world government" arguments. Ho hum.

Anyway, back to the point, Binghi. Let's settle a couple of easy things to start with:

1. Garnaut was misquoted/misrepresented/whatever you want to call it. Simple.

2. The Bureau of Met report was cherry-picked to give an impression which wasn't accurate. Simple. All this is par for the course for our wonderful "teach the controversy" national newspaper.

Now back to the rest of your post:

Now, the global warming spruikers say a warming of the oceans will cause more intense cyclones.

Mate, that's not "global warming spruiking". That's just a fact. Tropical cyclones are warm-core systems. They need warm water to feed them. The more, the merrier.

From the Nott research we see that there has in the last six thousand odd years been far more intense cyclones then at present.

Yes. Every 2 or 3 hundred years you get the right conditions for a super-cyclone.

That then tells us that it has been far warmer then today for some periods of time...

No it doesn't. It means that every 2 or 3 hundred years, you get the right conditions for a super-cyclone.

Jonathon Nott makes no judgement on why these super-cyclones form every 2 or 3 hundred years, nor what global temperatures were at that moment. He researches the history and frequency of them, with a particular view to analysing the impact for insurance and risk management.

If you're lucky (???), with warming oceans and a warming planet, you might every 2 or 3 hundred years now get the right conditions for a super-duper cyclone, as opposed to your common 2-3 hundred yearly boring old super cyclone.

Surprising, The Australian's vile and toxic sexism has won over their vile and toxic climate change/science denialism in making me cancel my subscription.

Dennis Shanahan came out with this today: "Is Australia's first female prime minister "wooden" and unsympathetic because she doesn't have children?"

And my subscription is done. Cancelled. No more. I'll just nick the ALR the first Wednesday of each month from our copy at work, but I can't give any more of my money to a paper that thinks it's acceptable to write and publish that sentence in 2011.

Yeah I read that too Amanda. Though I'm not convinced Shanahan actually meant to imply that was his view on Gillard. In fact reading further into it, I thought he probably disagreed with the moronic "wooden and barren" opinions of Latham, Abbott, et al, but felt the need to have a tilt at her general political performance anyway.

Still, cancelling your subscription to The Australian at least means your brain won't try to self-destruct each time your read a climate change article in it.

Mike: If I could imagine Shanahan ever thinking of asking that question about a male politician, I could think he was being - I don't know. Ironic? Rhetorical? But I could never imagine him even thinking about asking that about a male politician.

It is such a revoltingly hideous, patronising, evil sexist question to ask - so utterly undermining of Julia Gillard BECAUSE she is a woman (not for her performance) that I can't do it any more. Up there with their treatment of Lara Giddings and her unmarried status as the MOST important thing about her becoming Premier (written by a journalist who thinks "upmost" (as in "doing your upmost") is a word). And getting an anti-vaccer's opinion on a story about the autism/MMR study being exposed utterly as a money-grabbing fraud by the BMJ. Relieving myself of the burden of reading everything The Australian publishes to destroy rationality and science and thoughtfulness in regards to any subject is like shucking off a bad dream in the morning.

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

via Mike, #69

"...I'm saying that people in our (yours & mine) industry regularly exhibit what were once seen as "A" type tendencies.
Arrogance. Aggressiveness. Controlling. Impatient. None of these traits are particularly conducive to conducting an intelligent debate on PPrune about global warming, as I have experienced personally myself. I mean, the "debate" there got so dumb at one point I felt my brain seeping out from between my ears..."

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

.

Mike, i've never carried any fare paying passengers. As to the pprune climate debate, methinks there is a fair range of 'types' over at pprune.

One of the biggest killers of pilots is the weather. Understanding the different local climates and possible weather of your route and where yer flying to is a core competency of any pilot that wants to stay alive. This concern for the weather and local climates, plus the fact the 'office' is right at the weather front line, tends to give pilots an interest and a good general knowledge of anything to do with the weather.

From what i've seen reading the pprune global warming related threads them pilots tend to give a good spanking to them global warming spruikers.

...anyway, back here. From reading all the nonsense attack posts directed my way i'm thinkin my time here is limited, so Mike, if you feel your hard done by perhaps yer can come over to the pro AGW theenvironmentsite and tell me all about it...

http://www.theenvironmentsite.org/forum/

By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 08 Feb 2011 #permalink

@70 amanda. Oh well. It had to happen sometime.

"From what i've seen reading the pprune global warming related threads them pilots tend to give a good spanking to them global warming spruikers."

Well as much as a spanking can be administered with a soggy paper towel, yeah. I find myself essentially arguing with a brick wall. You can explain 2 or 3 times why someone's argument is weak or wrong, you can link to evidence of why, yet they'll still come out with "well anyway, Al Gore is a big fat liberal liar, and I don't believe it".

Unfortunately Binghi, a basic understanding of meteorology and weather does not mean someone has any ability for true sceptical analysis and rational thinking on any topic. Coupled with the fact that strongly ingrained political beliefs can alter almost any perception of anything, and you get a recipe for random opinion.

I've had guys who "understand" meteorology argue that predictions of more severe rainfall events in a warming atmosphere are wrong, alarmist, or just fabricated. Seriously, I would've thought they knew the basics of temperature vs vapour capacity. But apparently not. Or at least not when it might conflict with your political opinions.

And in a rare display of realism, we have this in today's Oz...

...written by some dude called AAP.

Al Gore isn't fat...relative to Australians today. Perhaps Al Gore is mean; or Al Gore is average! I'm sure that will be the new catchy Al Gore-isms if the Al Gore is fat loses its appeal.

Well done Amanda, another person who has decided the Australian has jumped the shark and should now sink without a trace. The more people who publicly announce their cancellation, the better.

By Donald Oats (not verified) on 09 Feb 2011 #permalink

the arguments are bad enough, but this

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

is unbearable!

so

blah blah blah

gives

<blockquote> blah blah blah </blockquote>

ah, the magic of html!...

DISCLAIMER - the entity tagging worked in the preview! But if by chance it fails on posting you're looking for

'less than bracket' 'blockquote' 'greater than bracket' yada yada yada 'less than bracket' '/blockquote' 'greater than bracket' with no quote marks

oh well, I reversed them when pasting them back in after they autoconverted on pressing 'preview' (I don't know why, either!)

but that's the code...

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

via bill, #81

oh well, I reversed them when pasting them back in after they autoconverted on pressing 'preview' (I don't know why, either!)

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

.

Didn't come out the way you'd liked eh, bill ...oh well, its "the magic of html" ....Looks like i've got more luck with layout as my posts come out the way i want.

.

...anyway, Bill, i do appreciate your help with understanding the html process.

.

By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 10 Feb 2011 #permalink

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

via Mike, #77

"...Well as much as a spanking can be administered with a soggy paper towel, yeah. I find myself essentially arguing with a brick wall..."

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

.

Hmmm, ...well Mike, the global warming spruikers that turn up at pprune cover all types. There's a couple of long term pro AGW posters, and then there's them name calling types that turn up and say we are all stupid for not 'believing'. When asked for proof them global warming 'true believers' offer up more abuse then disappear...

.

By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 10 Feb 2011 #permalink

Flying Binghi, perhaps you'd care to link us to some of these threads?

Golly gosh, Flying, don't yer arms git tired?

When asked for proof them global warming

Your first lesson (of many) is that global warming is not a mathematical theorem.

The word you're looking for is "evidence".

BTW, there are no lessons to cure arrogance.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 10 Feb 2011 #permalink

Well I've personally never called anyone a name there, Binghi. I have been called a name by someone else though (specifically a "coward"), who then refused to discuss the scientific facts with me any further.

There is no "proof" that a force called gravity actually exists. Just many observations that things seem to be attracted towards each other (including towards the centre of the earth), a theory of why this might be so and how it might work, and of course it offers some predictions like: if you were to walk off a cliff, there is a pretty much 100% chance you will accelerate downwards at roughly 10 metres per second per second until your acceleration is violently and unpleasantly interrupted by something like the ground.

Still no absolute "proof", and I personally choose not to test the prediction above, but rather take it as a matter of "faith" in the overwhelming scientific opinion, if you like. Call me a gullible coward leftie (actually I'm not even a "leftie", but never mind).

With global warming, there are many observations that the planet is warming at an unusual rate. Only the most diehard sceptics debate that, apparently believing that the industrial age started in 1998. We all know why they choose that year.

There is evidence that this appears to be "greenhouse" warming. Incoming and outgoing radiation to/from the earth is measured by ground observations and satellites and supports this hypothesis.

Of all the possible causes of greenhouse warming, only CO2 is changing (increasing) in any significant way. That's indisputable, from direct measurement.

But we've gone further than that even. We've looked at other possibilities, like the old "it's just a solar cycle" argument. But it isn't. That's observed and measured in great detail by ground observatories and satellites. And so on we go through all the sceptical possibilities.

But Binghi, if you refuse to believe actual observations of warming 20th century temps from different sources, and actual observations of radiation flow to/from earth, and actual observations of GHG concentrations, then what will you believe? Absolutely nothing, I suspect. Like gravity, you are never going to get an absolute "proof", yet no amount of evidence will ever be enough for you. But of course gravity doesn't conflict with your political inclinations, does it? So I guess you don't have a problem with that theory.

Amanda @70, are you sure your outrage is not misplaced?

Having children changes people. Mostly for the better.

Gillard's lack of children will remain a gaping hole in the sum of her achievements in her time on earth because, for the vast majority of us, we don't achieve anything more important than raising children.
Fred Hollows, Tim Flannery, Bob Brown, etc... being exceptions that that rule.

Gillard's fairly abysmal performance as a PM doesn't offer much promise of her ever achieving anything more important than having had children would have been.

By Vince whirlwind (not verified) on 10 Feb 2011 #permalink

Gillard's fairly abysmal performance as a PM doesn't offer much promise

This is getting a bit off-topic but it does have an influence on the issue. I agree that Gillard is pretty wishy-washy and I think it's likely that this will become more obvious as time goes by. But then Rudd ended up being wishy-washy as well. You might not have liked some of John Howard's politics but I don't think you could make the same accusation against him. It's a pity the so-called Liberal Party in Australia is controlled by conservatives and so should be called the Conservative Party. If the conservatives could be separated into their own party then Australia might get a much better choice. It's a strange mixture the Liberal Party.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 10 Feb 2011 #permalink

Errrr.....Vince.

My wife is a childless orthopaedic surgeon. Could I have it on the record that raising children for her would be a more important achievement than allowing a person to walk without a zimmer frame or the need of a wheelchair for the rest of their lives? Or the lovely lady the other day who said she was free of excruciating and debilitating foot pain for the first time in years? Or the teenage kid who can now play sport as much as they like, rather than forever watching from the sidelines?

Ummm. Just wondering. That's all. :)

Yes. Apology accepted, while I simultaneously apologise for going off topic.

Mike,
I thought I was being reasonably clear with "Fred Hollows[etc.]...being exceptions to that rule". Fred Hollows was a healer. Surely that covers your objection?

And Chris, I totally agree with you - the likes of Tony Abbott should piss off and form their own party instead of trying to hijack the Liberals, because liberals they are not.
The Australian is definitely the primary disinformation vehicle for that nasty little political sect though, and Tim's efforts here have had an impact on its editors' self-perception. Not sure they are capable of actually being embarrassed by the drivel they publish, but they have at least displayed a few bouts of defensiveness - keep up the good work.

By Vince Whirlwind (not verified) on 13 Feb 2011 #permalink

If all the conservatives left the Liberal Party there would be nothing left but an old fax machine and some stationery.

Hence in Australia we traditionally distinguish between "Small-L liberals" and "Big-L Liberals".

There is nothing much "liberal" about the Liberal party and this has been the case for many decades.

Occasionally some concern for human rights or freedom intrudes into their thinking. For the most part, though, it relates to the freedom of rich people from having to pay tax (eg the demise of the resource super profits tax) and the right of businesses to be unconstrained by consequences of their actions (eg opposition to any policy that puts a price on greenhouse gas emissions).

So, yes, the Liberal Party of Australia is very much like the Conservative Party in the UK, even down to the fact that it used to have a leader intelligent and honest enough to accept the reatity of human-caused climate change (although it no longer does, of course).

So, yes, the Liberal Party of Australia is very much like the Conservative Party in the UK, even down to the fact that it used to have a leader intelligent and honest enough to accept the reatity of human-caused climate change (although it no longer does, of course).

Ah yes but there's the difference. The Australian Liberal Party now has a conservative leader but before it didn't. The conservatives are now in control of the party.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 13 Feb 2011 #permalink

Gaz's description of the Liberal Party seems to relate entirely to the 1994-2007, 2009-2011 periods.

Liberal-bashers love to forget that it was Labor that introduced mandatory detention for illegal immigrants; Labor that deregulated the Banks; and that it was Labor that did away with free tertiary education.

Similarly, they would hate to have to remember that Fraser's government increased public spending compared with its incompetent Labor predecessor; actively campaigned against Apartheid; established SBS TV; initiated our refugee resettlement program; and of course resisted its Thatcherite Finance minister John Howard's policy directions.

A Liberal Party without Howard, Downer, Abbott, Costello, that idiot Julie Bishop and sundry other right-wing wannabe-American-style conservatives might be a Liberal Party worth voting for.

And to think that that ex-Australian Rupert Murdoch once used his 'The Daily Telegraph' to help Gough Whitlam's appallingly inept and amateurish government get elected. Hang on, I see a pattern now...

By Vince whirlwind (not verified) on 13 Feb 2011 #permalink

Vince @95:

...it was Labor that introduced mandatory detention for illegal immigrants asylum seekers

and that it was Labor that did away with free tertiary education. (which was introduced by Gough Whitlam's appallingly inept and amateurish government)

There. Fixed it for you.

and that it was Labor that did away with free tertiary education. (which was introduced by Gough Whitlam's appallingly inept and amateurish government)

This is one conventional wisdom we're stuck with regardless of the facts. Nearly every student had a Federal government scholarship before Whitlam took over. Whitlam made very little difference to the cost of tertiary education for the vast majority. In fact, he actually made it a bit more expensive for the vast majority by failing to pay the student union fees that the scholarships previously paid. Tertiary education socialism was introduced by Menzies, not Whitlam.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 13 Feb 2011 #permalink

However you parse it, the Whitlam govt (appallingly inept and amateurish as it was) abolished University fees on January 1 1974. The Hawke govt re-introduced them in 1989. Since Vince was referring to the Dawkins Revolution in his comment, I merely pointed out that the Liberal Party has demonstrated no commitment to free tertiary education.

In my experience (in the early sixties) scholarships were a bit thin on the ground; amongst my acquaintances at Uni only I received a Commonwealth Scholarship. Of course, we were attending UWA, which didn't charge tuition fees at the time.

The Hawke government introduced a policy of people who got a university education paying for at least a part of that education. That meant people who did not get a university education did not have to be taxed so much to subsidise people who did.

Damn commies.

(in the early sixties) scholarships were a bit thin on the ground

Not quite so thin in 1973.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 15 Feb 2011 #permalink

@Flying Binghi
"...spruikers...blah, blah...hockey stick...blah,blah...Roman warm period..."

It's time for a borehole at Deltoid. FB doesn't even rate his own troll thread with that banal crap.

@Flying Binghi
"...spruikers...blah, blah...hockey stick...blah,blah...Roman warm period..."

It's time for a borehole at Deltoid. FB doesn't even rate his own troll thread with that banal crap.

@Flying Binghi
"...spruikers...blah, blah...hockey stick...blah,blah...Roman warm period..."

It's time for a borehole at Deltoid. FB doesn't even rate his own troll thread with that banal crap.

@Flying Binghi
"...spruikers...blah, blah...hockey stick...blah,blah...Roman warm period..."

It's time for a borehole at Deltoid. FB doesn't even rate his own troll thread with that banal crap.

@Flying Binghi
"...spruikers...blah, blah...hockey stick...blah,blah...Roman warm period..."

It's time for a borehole at Deltoid. FB doesn't even rate his own troll thread with that banal crap.

@Flying Binghi
"...spruikers...blah, blah...hockey stick...blah,blah...Roman warm period..."

It's time for a borehole at Deltoid. FB doesn't even rate his own troll thread with that banal crap.

@Flying Binghi
"...spruikers...blah, blah...hockey stick...blah,blah...Roman warm period..."

It's time for a borehole at Deltoid. FB doesn't even rate his own troll thread with that banal crap.