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Some thoughts about mooted changes to Media ownership law in Australia

 

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People are creatures of habit and it is only that so many people are habituated to buying the news papers that any are still being sold at all. Just take any kind of commute on public transport and consider how many people are reading a paper and how many are staring at a screen instead. Some certainly may be playing games or even watching video but I expect that they will be out numbering those who are still reading dead tree editions of the MSM.

Then there is the things in the paper that people buy them for, most papers are not exclusively about politics and current affairs anyway, so some readers will be buying the paper for its coverage of sport, lifestyle or even just for the crossword puzzles.  My point is that the political classes (in particular those from the left ) just look at the raw sales figured and they think that every reader of the Herald Sun is in the thrall of Rupert Murdoch and that the owners dictate to their readers directing their opinions. The reality is that all media entities write to their audience. If they don’t their audience wither away quite quickly.  With the coming of the internet this is even more how things work Online entities are even more in an endless quest for readers so you have to play to what your readers want rather than thinking that you can manipulate their thinking. I have been writing a blog for nearly a decade now and I have noticed just how quickly particular readers flit in and out its the same now with the way that people read things online from the likes of Murdoch, Fairfax or even the Guardian People don’t just get their news from one source any more no matter what the subject is they will read what several sources say about it and then make up their mind. This behaviour is the same when it comes to broadcast TV people flit form one channel to another seeking different perspectives. My argument is simple, if the media  consumers have changed their habits then perhaps there is something in the notion that media diversity laws from the last century should perhaps reflect those changes as well.

Cheers Comrades

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One for Richard

I dedicate this vid to Richard Ryan, our resident Islamic fan boy who takes great delight at the prospect of the global caliphate.

Cheers Comrades

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Tallarook, Gillard, Rudd, Greece, Spain, Fukushima, Jo Chandler, and the sizzle of snags on a barbie

Things are crook in Tallarook as the whole world seems to be in a worrying spin of decline and crisis.Close to home it looks like Ray’s hopes of a love resurrection for Labor may be on very rocky ground indeed with polling now showing that his blessed Kevin Rudd would not hold his seat at the next election:

Click for the awful truth about Labor’s prospects

But there’s more as the expected crisis in the euro zone is coming to a pustular head as panic stricken Greeks and Spaniards attempt to protect their savings by withdrawing their money from the banks which is precipitating the gamblers on the stock market to likewise run screaming from the markets:

Don’t Panic!!!!

Meanwhile Brendan O’Neil explains to us just why the Green panic about Nuclear energy is hurting Japan in a far more serious way than the tsunami disaster at Fukushima with more set to die in Japan’s sweltering summer than met their end as a result of the reactor crisis.

link to search result to avoid Paywall

Closer to home though it seems that Jo Chandler has been busy following the Fuzzy Wuzzy twitter-verse again as she gives us a rather patronising exposition of PNG politics where she waxes lyrically about the potential for “activists” to influence the results of the election through social networking. Maybe someone should explain to her that maybe good governance and an end to endemic corruption might just be more efficacious to that country rather than more idiots taking to Twitter:

Click for the whole patronising source

Well that’s what I have found on this morning’s trawl of the world’s news and views. Not quite sure that I can do better in terms of unifying this into something that is internally consistent as an argument beyond my initial observation that “Things are crook in Tallarook” But then that is just the way that I see things this morning. On a brighter note I’m off to a Barbie at the other end of the known universe (Cleveland ) today which should be  a nice day out in my sports car with my daughter .
Cheers Comrades

Their new challenge is to shape policy for everyone.

The Greens here in Australia are approaching the political turning point that their precursor in Germany is also having to deal with, namely with electoral success comes greater scrutiny and the dichotomy  between the hard left activists who have put on the green coats that they hope  will hide their Che Guevara tee-shirts and those with more moderate views comes sharply into focus :

Policy for Everyone

For the first time in its history, Germany's Green Party is preparing to lead a state government. But far from basking in the glow of success, deep divides between party conservatives and ideological leftists are bubbling to the surface. Is the party ready for major political responsibility?

The party faces a test. Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster has raised the party’s profile, poll numbers and election results, the Greens have had to prove that they are capable of addressing issues other than renewable energies, women’s rights and the phase-out of nuclear energy. After long cultivating their image as a special-interest party, their new challenge is to shape policy for everyone.

Both Social and Christian Democrats have decades of experience in this regard. Instead of party-convention sound bytes, pragmatic decisions are needed, as is the courage to make unpopular decisions and the willingness to support one’s leadership, even in critical times. The real question today is whether the Green Party, 31 years after its establishment, has grown up.

In Stuttgart, the party will soon experience the constraints that come with ruling as the strongest party. Resistance is already forming within the Greens. The party’s left wing fears that the Greens could turn into a normal, middle-class, centrist party. And the result is a growing dispute over the party’s direction, pitting as ever the party’s realist wing versus the left wing.

The realists are claiming Kretschmann’s success for themselves. They want to grow the Greens into a major party and expand its programs to appeal to as many middle-class voters as possible. They are already dreaming of further successes and do not shy away from considering a possible future coalition with the center-right Christian Democrats. They see the Greens as Germany’s new center.

The leftists in the party see all the excitement over Kretschmann more as a risk than an opportunity. They want to prevent the party from sacrificing traditional content to gain even more voters in affluent suburbs.

Read the piece from Der Spiegal as it gives us an interesting insight into the problem that our Greens also face because with electoral success comes the obligation to represent all voters  and  the far left nutters  that they are selecting to represent them in the parliament may well condemn them to an eternity of irrelevance.

Cheers Comrades

“Okay, this hurts, but it must hurt in order to make things more secure, more robust. Evolution through crisis.”

If you area Climate Change sceptic like I am you just have to love the collapse of the European carbon trading scheme because it so clearly demonstrates that it is little more than a glorified ponzi scheme where traders make a quid buying and selling something that does not have any relationship to any real commodity.

 

The European commission has put an indefinite freeze on carbon markets. Photograph: John Giles/PA

The European commission‘s emergency suspension last week of trading in carbon allowances to put a halt to rampant theft of credits by hackers has been extended indefinitely until countries can prove their systems are protected from further fraud.

While the suspension had been expected to end last night, Brussels now says that the freeze in trades had been imposed to give the commission executive some breathing space to figure out what to do.

“The suspension last week was only a transitional measure to give the commission and member states the time to assess the situation and decide the way forward,” the commission’s climate spokeswoman, Maria Kokkonen, said.

“Okay, this hurts, but it must hurt in order to make things more secure, more robust. Evolution through crisis.”

A total of 30 countries that participate in the Emissions Trading Scheme, Europe’s flagship climate change policy, must now send assessments of the situation performed by independent monitors.

 

 

Its amazingly like the AGW argument: “all sound and fury signifying nothing ”

So here is a challenge for or resident Warministas like JM or PKD:

Please explain just how such schemes are supposed to affect the climate again because this one seems to have failed…
Cheers Comrades

The validation process

Our Warminista friends have been rather quiet lately about “runaway global warming’ mainly because their credibility has been shot to pierces over the Cliamategate scandal and the fact that the weather has simply not been playing ball with their dire predictions at all. Nowhere is this more so than in the United kingdom, Europe and North America where we have seen three years of colder than usual winters. Now I expect that warming fools like our resident J(trust me I’m a scientist but I won’t tell you what I am qualified in)M will insist that what we are seeing here is “weather” and that it is not the same as “climate”, well frankly I think that JM is talking out of his over rated (by himself) arse.

Back in November, when the Met Office was still doing its “mild winter” schtick, Corbyn said it would be the coldest for 100 years. Indeed, it was back in May that he first predicted a snowy December, and he put his own money on a white Christmas about a month before the Met Office made any such forecast. He said that the Met Office would be wrong about last year’s mythical “barbecue summer”, and he was vindicated. He was closer to the truth about last winter, too.

He seems to get it right about 85 per cent of the time and serious business people – notably in farming – are starting to invest in his forecasts. In the eyes of many punters, he puts the taxpayer-funded Met Office to shame. How on earth does he do it? He studies the Sun.

He looks at the flow of particles from the Sun, and how they interact with the upper atmosphere, especially air currents such as the jet stream, and he looks at how the Moon and other factors influence those streaming particles.

He takes a snapshot of what the Sun is doing at any given moment, and then he looks back at the record to see when it last did something similar. Then he checks what the weather was like on Earth at the time – and he makes a prophecy.

I have not a clue whether his methods are sound or not. But when so many of his forecasts seem to come true, and when he seems to be so consistently ahead of the Met Office, I feel I want to know more. Piers Corbyn believes that the last three winters could be the harbinger of a mini ice age that could be upon us by 2035, and that it could start to be colder than at any time in the last 200 years. He goes on to speculate that a genuine ice age might then settle in, since an ice age is now cyclically overdue.

Is he barmy? Of course he may be just a fluke-artist. It may be just luck that he has apparently predicted recent weather patterns more accurately than government-sponsored scientists. Nothing he says, to my mind, disproves the view of the overwhelming majority of scientists, that our species is putting so much extra CO? into the atmosphere that we must expect global warming.

The question is whether anthropogenic global warming is the exclusive or dominant fact that determines our climate, or whether Corbyn is also right to insist on the role of the Sun. Is it possible that everything we do is dwarfed by the moods of the star that gives life to the world? The Sun is incomparably vaster and more powerful than any work of man. We are forged from a few clods of solar dust. The Sun powers every plant and form of life, and one day the Sun will turn into a red giant and engulf us all. Then it will burn out. Then it will get very nippy indeed.

 

Weather is to climate in the same way that the one millimetre mark is to the the one Metre mark on a measuring stick, it really is just a matter of “scale” because when you get enough “weather” measurements and consider them together you get climate. Surely this is an uncontentious observation on my part?   You see I can’t get past the fact that despite the claims that “this is one of the hottest years on record” we have experienced a rather cooler and somewhat wetter year here in my part of the world and that I have been consistently seeing reports of record cold temperatures in the northern hemisphere so I wonder just how the “hottest year” claim is arrived at because as far as I understand how averages work if large parts of the planet have experienced extraordinary cold weather this year  then it must be the case that more of the planet has had extraordinarily warm weather  for longer periods than usual  but I have heard no such reports of longer and hotter summers … well at least not enough to balance out the reports of colder and more severe winters

I freely admit my limitations on the science and the maths but I do know that those who make dire predictions and prognostications about the weather and climate require more than just a bit of luck which is why we see most predictions drawn on a scale larger than the seer’s lifetime. That way the prognosticator can safely sell their predictions to the world knowing that they will never have to answer the obvious questions when they are shown by events to have been on the wrong track.

Personally I reckon that the next couple of Christmases will be just as white as the last few in the UK and I base that on nothing more than a sort primal “I feel it in my water”  instinct unlike the sort of assertions we  get from our Warminista friends I admit that I could be entirely wrong and that with humility we all have to accept that the only  true validation of any prediction comes in the fullness of time.

Cheers Comrades

 

Guest post by Dr. Hans Labohm nicked from Anthony Watts

This Post is unashamedly nicked from Anthony Watts because I liked it and I’d like to consider what it is saying about the Warminista faith. I some how don’t think that either Anthony or the Dr Hans Labohm will mind if I help spread the good word by putting it up in the Sandpit.


 

WWF scare tactic ad, not working

The upcoming climate change (and wealth redistribution) summit in Cancun – coupled with Bjorn Lomborg’s ongoing publicity campaign for his new film – makes one thing painfully obvious. The fight against the delusion of dangerous man-made global warming remains an uphill struggle.

For decades the climate debate has been obfuscated by cherry-picking, spin-doctoring and scare-mongering by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other climate alarmists, including the environmental movement and mainstream media. Their massive effort to overstate the threat of man-made warming has left its imprint on public opinion.

But the tide seems to be turning. The Climate Conference fiasco in Copenhagen, Climategate scandal and stabilization of worldwide temperatures since 1995 have given rise to growing doubts about the putative threat of “dangerous global warming” or “global climate disruption.” Indeed, even Phil Jones, director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and one of the main players in Climategate, now acknowledges that there has been no measurable warming since 1995, despite steadily rising atmospheric carbon dioxide.

People are paying attention, and opinion polls in many countries show a dramatic fall in the ranking of climate change among people’s major concerns. They are also beginning to understand that major rain and snow storms, hurricanes and other weather extremes are caused by solar-driven changes in global jet streams and warm-cold fronts, not by CO2, and that claims about recent years being the “warmest ever” are based on false or falsified temperature data.

In various parts of the world, the climate debate displays different features. The US and other parts of the non-European Anglo-Saxon world feature highly polarized and politicized debates along the left/right divide. In Europe, all major political parties are still toeing the “official” IPCC line. In both arenas, with a few notable exceptions, skeptical views – even from well-known scientists with impeccable credentials – tend to be ignored and/or actively suppressed by governments, academia and the media.

However, skepticism about manmade climate disasters is gradually gaining ground nevertheless.

In my own country, The Netherlands, for instance, it has even received some official recognition, thus dissolving the information monopoly of climate alarmists. The Standing Committee on Environment of the Lower House even organized a one-day hearing, where both climate chaos adherents and disaster skeptics could freely discuss their different views before key parliamentarians who decide climate policy.

This hearing was followed by a special seminar organized by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences, using the same format but focusing on scientific topics. The Academy will soon publish a report about this seminar.

Europe often brags about its emission trading scheme (ETS), regarding itself as the vanguard of an international climate policy. In the European view, the Copenhagen climate summit should have produced a worldwide extension and sharpening of its ETS. But the vast majority of countries in the world refused to follow Europe’s example, so the meeting turned into a fiasco. Its follow-up in Cancun at year’s end will surely produce a similar result. And for good reason.

Contrary to official claims, Europe’s experience with ETS is dismally bad. The system is expensive and prone to massive fraud. More importantly, it serves no useful purpose.

The European Environmental Agency tracks Europe’s performance regarding the reduction of CO2 emissions. Its latest report states: “The European Union’s greenhouse gas inventory report … shows that emissions have not only continued their downward trend in 2008, but have also picked up pace. The EU-27’s emissions stood 11.3% below their 1990 levels, while EU-15 achieved a reduction of 6.9% compared to Kyoto base-year levels.”

On the face of it, the scheme seems to be pretty successful. However, much of the downward trend was due to the global economic recession, not to the ETS. Moreover, both climate chaos proponents and climate disaster skeptics agree that the scheme will have no detectable impact whatsoever on worldwide temperatures – perhaps 0.1 degrees – though this crucial piece of information has been carefully and deliberately shielded from the public eye.

What about renewable energy as an alternative? Consider these EU costs for various sources of electricity in cents per kilowatt-hour: nuclear 4, coal 4, natural gas 5, onshore wind 13, biomass 16 … solar 56!

Obviously, the price tag for renewables is extremely high, compared to hydrocarbons. The additional costs can be justified either by imminent fossil fuel scarcity (the “oil peak”), which would send petroleum and coal prices through the roof, or by the threat of man-made global warming. But on closer inspection neither argument is tenable.

The authoritative International Energy Agency does not foresee any substantial scarcity of oil and gas in the near to medium future, and coal reserves remain sufficient for centuries to come. As to global warming, the absence of a statistically significant increase in average worldwide temperatures since 1995 obliterates that assertion.

Meanwhile, recent peer-reviewed studies indicate that increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere (natural or man-made) have minimal effects on climate change – while others demonstrate that, on balance, this plant-fertilizing gas is beneficial, rather than harmful, for mankind and the biosphere.

All this argues for a closer look at the cost/benefit relationship of investing in renewable energy projects, to prevent a massive waste of financial and natural resources on unreliable and thus uncompetitive forms of energy. Since every cloud has a silver lining, the ongoing economic crisis might give extra impetus toward that end.

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Hans Labohm is a former professor at the Dutch Institute of International Relations and guest teacher at the Netherlands Institute for Defense Studies. He has been an IPCC reviewer and has written extensively on global warming, petroleum economics and other topics.

Cheers Comrades

(there you go JM now we can get back to arguing about our favourite topic 😉 )

Half a million page views at the Sandpit

I know that statistical miles stones are really meaningless but that does not stop you feeling pretty good when you reach them. Well if you keep an eye on the hit counter at the bottom of the page some time today I expect that you will see the counter tick over t0 the magical “500,000” mark . That is pretty good for a modest blog written as a bit of fun .

Thanks very much to all of those who take the time to read what I and my friends put up  here and a special thanks to all of those who take the time to comment and argue with what is on this web-page. Commentary and argument is the life blood of blogging and long may it keep pumping at the Sandpit.

Cheers Comrades

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