May 8 2007
Cost of Apollo Moon Program ( in 2007 Dollars):
Cost of the War in
April 27 2007
Welcome to the 'Greenest' Website on the 'Net
Well, well, well. Treehugger.com says that sites that use black
backgrounds for their pages are more environmentally friendly.
So, I guess I am 'saving the planet' after all, since I've had the incredible
foresight to use black backgrounds for all my pages for the last 10
years. Pity about all those other sites that don't! Including
Treehugger.com themselves. Thanks for poisoning the planet,
Erm, that's a joke by the way. And a Simpson's reference.
April 22 2007
What Happened To All The Honeybees? AKA this week's
End Of The World scare.
Apparently the world's about to end because honeybees are
vanishing in the USA. It's apparently all caused by GM crops
or cell phone transmissions or whatever the boogeyman of
the week is.
Never mind that this has happened several times before (in the
seventies for example) and in any case honeybees are not
native to the USA.
But apparently we're all doomed because Albert Einstein
once said that if the bees die then the human race will be
wiped out within four years.
Ah yes, that would be Albert Einstein the internationally famous
bee expert? Just because he was a great physicist doesn't
mean he was an expert on everything. Sir Isaac Newton
was obsessed by the occult and alchemy (yes he believed
you could turn lead into gold through chemical means).
April 6 2007
Australia's Leading Sceptic Is Sceptical About You-Know-What
A leading Australian sceptic of man-made climate change is
Ian Plimer, a professor of mining geology at the University of
Adelaide. The fact that the Earth's atmospheric temperature
is rising at the same time as humans emit more greenhouse
gases is a correlation, and not a causation, he points out:
"The Earth's temperature rose by 0.7 per cent in the 20th
century, but there was also an increase in piracy. Does that
mean piracy causes global warming?"
If Al Gore calls climate change an inconvenient truth,
Plimer asks unfashionable questions.
April 1 2007
Entire Year Vanishes Into Internet Vortex
Don't you just hate it when you show up at your favourite website
and an entire year has vanished into one of those Bermuda Triangle
Style Internet Vortexes? I know I do!
February 26 2006
1975 – Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Global Cooling
You just couldn’t make this stuff up! I’ve asserted in past entries that it
was the common consensus just thirty years ago that the then-current global
cooling trend would soon see the planet plunged into a new Ice Age. Well, we
all know how that worked out… But don’t take my word for it, here is a real
magazine article from Newsweek about the forthcoming global cooling
crisis: Newsweek article 28 April 1975
My point? Simply that it’s foolish to extrapolate future climate trends on the
basis of a few years’ data. There is still little understanding of exactly
why the global temperature dropped between 1940 and 1975, and let’s face
it, it could start happening again tomorrow. What’s the bet that it if does happen
that global warming pundits claim that the cooling is a side effect of global
February 4 2006
2005 - Warmest Year On Record? Or Not? Oh, what the hell, the satellite data only goes
back to 1982.
Yeah and 2006 will be the “warmest year on record” according to someone. Then
2007 will be, and 2008 and… You see where I’m going here? Eventually we’ll
get bored with it all and some new environmental catastrophe will be deduced.
In any case, even if
0.1 of a degree difference in temperature by 2050. That’s not going to make a
damn bit of difference! I think it might be time to admit that we don’t know how
to effect climate change, and even if a ‘better method’ is discovered, what if
(heaven forbid) the cure is worse than the disease?
Efforts to lower temperature might be too successful and trigger an ice age
instead. I don’t imagine that we really think that global freezing would be
preferable to global warming?
October 6 2005
Irish Bogs Disprove Solar Warming Hypothesis?
To be sure, to be sure, never let it be said I didn’t print both sides of the story here.
New Scientist has a report that casts doubt on global warming sceptics’ claims that
warming might be caused by increased solar activity. Still, I’m unimpressed
by statements like “while there are cyclical changes in both climate
and the sun's activity, there is no obvious link between the two”. After all
there is no “obvious link” between CO2 levels and climate either (see below)
and I don’t see New Scientist printing that!
Despite that Irish Bog study, I prefer to rely on good old logic. Increased
solar activity will make the climate warmer. Decreased solar activity
will make the climate cooler. Kind of obvious if you think about.
Obviously other things can affect the climate too, but I’m a little dubious
about a study that can’t show a link between solar activity and the Earth’s
climate! So what exactly was it that caused the climate to change before
the Industrial Revolution? Burning witches?
October 3 2005– Part 3
Report On Increased Solar Output Supressed/Ignored?
I bet you didn’t read this report in your newspaper after it was published on
September 30. Never mind, you can read it here, I don’t suppress information
for political/ideological reasons.
October 3 2005– Part 2
Unusual Hurricane Activity? Not on Planet Earth!
Too often I have read unsubstantiated claims that the last few years have
had an unusually high number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes. I doubted it
so I obtained the statistics for Atlantic hurricanes since 1851. Sure enough
the last few years show little difference from the 1930s. Nothing like the facts!
Of course the hurricane activity in the last 15 years is higher than the hurricane
activity in the 15 years when there was least hurricane activity. Exactly what
you should expect!
Yes another media lie exposed! Note in particular the hurricane non-activity
October 3 2005
Do CO2 levels Correlate To Global Temperature?
The Historical Data says “No”
So much for wild claims that we are seeing record high temperatures or record
high levels of CO2. You will note additionally the lack of connection between CO2
levels and temperature. Of course over millions of years there have been other
factors: different arrangement of landmasses (due to continental drift), varying
amounts of solar radiation, large meteoric impacts, massive volcanic activity
etc. Note the end of the Ordocivian era, where an Ice Age occurred whilst levels
of CO2 were over 4000 ppm, or more than 10 times what they are now.
You may also wish to refer to this paper, Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels
. The author notes no long-term correlation between
CO2 and temperature, although he leaves open the possibililty that short-term
shifts in CO2 levels might show a correlation. But then he would, wouldn’t he,
because the current dogma insists there must be one. One thing everyone seems
to agree on is that CO2 levels have been relatively low over the last few hundred
thousand years (until recently). In other words, the planet has seen four Ice Ages
and corresponding warm periods without any significant change in CO2 levels. One
definitive and unarguable conclusion must be that CO2 levels CANNOT be the
main cause of temperature fluctuations! The fluctuations in CO2 levels that did
occur always occurred after a temperature increase, not at the same time, or before
as would be expected. An effect must follow a cause, therefore if CO2 historically
rises after a temperature increase then it is the temperature increase that causes
the rise in CO2 (and not the other way around). So, I hear you ask, ”Has there been
any similar increase in temperature in recent times that could have triggered that
current rise in CO2?”
Well, yes of course there was. Between 1900 and 1940. But what caused the
rise in temperature?
I had a chat with a friend who is doing a science degree, majoring in Geology. He
pointed out that one sub-discipline of Geology is Paleoclimatology. So who better
offer an opinion than a Paleoclimatologist:
Ah yes, the Sun. It’s all coming back to me. The Sun heats up the Earth.
<sarcasm>Funny how we forget that after we all became supergeniuses in 1976.
Cause and effect, anyone?
No one can explain how global temperature rose before CO2 levels did, except by
allowing that we are still seeing a rebound from the low temperature levels
of the "Little Ice Age"
September 28 2005
Big Questions #1
Global Warming: Science or Religion?
Some hard questions are not being addressed by those who maintain that
Global Warming is caused mostly by human activity and is not a natural
Why did the average global temperature drop significantly between 1940 and
1970? It’s not as humans ceased all industrial activity during this time! In fact, there
was a major World War followed by an economic boom in many Western nations
accompanied by a vast rise in the use of motor vehicles. This should have
resulted in a temperature rise not a fall, according to the models adopted by
Global Warming pundits.
The warmest year in recent times was 1998. Every year since then has been
cooler. In other words, there has been a cooling trend since 1998. This does not
match any of the dire predictions made by Global Warming pundits. Amusingly
the warmest decade in
was… the 1930s. Unfortunately, that sort of Australia
statistic is one that you are unlikely to hear from any of your Global Warming
pundits. To be fair a seven year tend may not be statistically significant, but the
18 year trend from 1980 to 1998 probably isn’t either.
Are temperature readings showing a temperature rise even valid? What exactly
are we measuring here? We see many alarming news reports showing
melting glaciers, shrinking ice caps and so on. Water is less dense than ice,
hence when ice melts the sea level will rise. So has there been a dramatic
increase in sea levels in the last 25 years? Despite various claims in the media
there is no evidence whatsoever that sea levels have risen at all. The reality
is that ice melts. Ice has been melting ever since the end of the Ice Age. This
is in fact normal. Most reports showing that vast areas of the
Antarctic ice sheets have disappeared are using extremely selective data. Again
I will state that melting ice on the scale that has allegedly occurred
would have already caused significant rises in sea level. If these rises were
occurring there would be regular reports about the rise, just as we see regular
reports tracking the size of the holes in the Ozone layer. The big difference is:
there really are holes in the Ozone layer.
Has it ever been this warm before during human history? The answer is yes,
around 1000 years ago average global temperatures were in fact even warmer
than they are today; allowing (amongst other things) the Vikings to colonise
Greenland. The fact that Greenlandwas named “Green” was due to it being
temperate and habitable during that time period. I hope I don’t need to insult
anyone’s intelligence by pointing out that there was no large-scale industrial activity
1000 years ago. Temperatures rose without any increase in CO2 levels.
Undoubtedly there are a whole range of gases in the atmosphere including
CO2, CH4 (Methane) and most significantly, water vapour, that do help the atmosphere
retain heat. Without these ‘greenhouse gases’ our planet would be a frozen
snowball. That’s science.
I have seen some absolutely ridiculous predictions about what conditions will be
like on Earth by 2020 (that’s a mere 15 years). I am willing to make very
substantial wagers on those predictions being about as accurate (and scientific)
as Nostradamus’. I will be printing some of these predictions in future postings
on this site.
Some counter –arguments considered:
The level of CO2 has risen from under 300 ppm to 380 ppm since 1900. Surely
this can be directly correlated to the rise in temperature? Well, for one thing, there
is that inconvenient temperature drop of around 0.4C between 1940 and 1970.
Second, ppm means ‘parts per million’. So, 380 parts per million equals 0.038%
of the earth’s atmosphere. It hasn’t been convincingly demonstrated that CO2
levels even do contribute significantly to warming. Clearly we’ve seen in the past
huge global temperature increases that have nothing to with CO2 levels. A gas that
comprises (even now) a mere 0.038% of the earth’s atmosphere (and bear in mind
that it is not a poison and is in fact necessary for many biological processes in
nature) may not have much of a bearing. It seems to me that there is no
scientific validity to the argument that rising CO2 levels are causing rising temperatures.
It is poor logic to assume that Global Warming is proven and that every statistic supports
it; that is no better than claming the Moon landing was a hoax or that the Universe was
created in 4004 BC.
What about all the hurricanes lately? Here’s a statistic that will blow your socks off.
The year with the most hurricanes was… (wait for it, wait for it) … 1933. The
most costly hurricane in terms of human lives (and what better measure is there?)
was in 1900. Somehow people managed to get through to 1901 and 1934 without
worrying about Global Warming.
But there have been significant changes in the climate in various parts of the world,
isn’t that proof of Global Warming? No, that’s just like the argument “There’s
something in this photo Buzz Aldrin took that I can’t explain, therefore the Moon
Landings were a hoax” or “Here’s a photograph of something in the sky I can’t explain,
Therefore we really are being visited by spacecraft from another planet”. Changes
in the climate really just mean that the climate changes. All by itself. It’s not even
proven whether all the industrial activity by the human race since the 1700s would
even equal the impact of ONE large volcanic eruption (eg, Mt St Helens, or for that matter
Krakatoa). All that being said, I’m all for cleaner power, less pollution and most
important more energy efficiency. But let’s get there rationally, and not by turning
environmentalism into something akin to Scientology.
But President Bush and his supporters don’t believe in Global Warming, so it must
be true! No doubt Bush doesn’t believe the Earth is flat either. Are you going to
join the Flat Earth society? The fact that some rich (mostly) white folks would
benefit from Global Warming being ignored makes no impact whatsoever on the
validity (or otherwise) of the idea. Politics doesn’t change the facts. Bush may have
lied about some things, but that doesn’t mean that everything he says is therefore
a lie. Believing in something just because George W. Bush doesn’t makes you
just as dumb as you think he is.
Are you being paid by Big Oil or some other energy concern to promote their views?
I wish! But if I could command that kind of money do you think I’d be wasting my time
running this pissant website?
But, but, but… Lots of important sounding people say that really bad things are
going to happen! Should I be really scared? They were probably the same
people who predicted that planes would drop out of the sky at when the
clock ticked over to 2000, then power would fail, and our civilisation would descend
into anarchy. That sounds pretty stupid now doesn’t it? I was working in IT at
the time, and was involved in a project to identify and fix areas of Y2K risk.
I told plenty of people (outside of the business) ‘off the record’ that there was
nothing to be worried about – the scaremongering was completely ridiculous
and anybody who knew the first thing about computer hardware could have seen
that. Obviously Y2K all worked out pretty well, so where’s my fucking medal? Oh yes,
you don’t get medals for saving the world from non-existent threats.
When we get to 2020 and the sea levels haven’t gone up I hope we don’t get some
Greenhouse Pundits claiming that they somehow saved the world from almost
Here’s a typical news report, dated today: http://www.physorg.com/news6829.html
Note the assumption in the article that the changes must be proof of Global Warming,
when this clearly is just an assumption.
Also note this quote: “Scientists note the rate of temperature increase from 1976
to the present has been greater than at any other time during the last 1,000 years.”
Which scientists say this? There have been comparable rises in temperature
in the last 200 years let alone the last 1,000. And what about the dramatic drop
in temperature from 1940 to 1970 that lead many people to predict an Ice
Age was imminent? Apparently everybody who lived before 1976 was a gibbering
idiot but we’re all super geniuses now! I think all that has been proved is that a few
people are willing to predict almost anything given a few years of data.
Big Questions #2
The Oil Crisis: Disaster Or A Golden
September 26 2005
Planet Riker says:
“There’s A Bright Future For All You Professional Liars”
Coming up soon on Planet Riker, a review of all the current great lies of the 21st
Century. Cherished yet fraudulent agendas trashed. Ideological drivel exposed.
Popular, yet dangerous, philosophies exposed as transparent frauds. The cost to
my friends? Nothing, except perhaps the loss of some beliefs that weren’t helping
you anyway. It’s all part of the friendly ‘Planet Riker’ service.
September 10 2005
It’s Thinking, Jim. But Not As We Know It.
There ought to be Annual Awards for Stupidity (apart from the Darwin Awards,
which celebrate recklessly fatal moments of stupidity). The suggestion that “Intelligent
Design” be taught in Science Classes would be Nomination #1. Nomination
#2 will be those who bring us The Stupidity That Will Not Die - the Infamous “Moon
Hoax” “Theory”. Unlike ideas that are just downright nutty and wacky, like The Hollow
or (for that matter) The Flat Earth, this notion is (for one thing) deeply insulting
to the astronauts who really did go to the Moon (not to mention the thousands who
worked on the Apollo Program).
My personal suspicion is that the people behind this “theory”’, for the most part,
are simply conmen out to leech money from the percentage of the public stupid
enough to fall for such nonsense. Notice how Bart Sibrel prominently displays his
DVD on his site, never failing to plug it. You might wonder why I bring this up now,
but Mr Sibrel’s DVD is new (note the 2005 copyright date on his website).
None of the supposed evidence of the Moon Landings being a hoax stands
up to even the most cursory examination, and most of it relies on common
misconceptions (eg, “if the sky is black you should see stars”, ignoring
the equally obvious “you don’t see stars when it’s day time”).
The real hoax is claiming to have evidence that historical events never happened!
Worse still, the History Channel regularly shows a “documentary” made by the US Fox
Network on this topic that only presents the one biased viewpoint. Would the History
Channel run a program suggesting that Hitler never lived on the basis of some
pseudo-historian’s claims? No. So why run a piece of pseudo-science that undermines
In case you were wondering, Mr Sibrel is the guy Buzz Aldrin punched when
Sibrel accused him of lying….
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand the truth. If you need a dose
of the truth ask some real rocket scientists. Another ‘Moon Hoax’ pundit was the
late Bill Kaysing. His sole connection with the space program was that he worked
for Rocketdyne (who manufactured the rocket engines used in the Apollo program).
Much is made of this, but Kaysing was not an engineer. He worked in their
publications department and left the company in 1963 (six years before the first
Moon Landing) which hardly makes him an insider or the supposed expert he was
claimed to be. He never had any other connection to the space program.
You also don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that if anyone
had a motive to hoax a
landing it would have been the
suffered a number of setbacks in their manned lunar program and only abandoned
it in early 1969 because of problems with their launch vehicle.
As for why no one has returned to the Moon in over 30 years, and why it is likely to be
a decade (or more) before any one does walk on the Moon again, the answer is
simply because the Apollo program was mind-boggingly expensive and driven
largely by now totally irrelevant Cold War politics.
One of “Hoax” advocates’ main arguments, which I will now refute, is that the
technology for the Moon Missions did not exist back in the 1960s. Supposedly
the fact that now we are currently unable to mount a mission to the Moon is
proof positive that it must have been even less possible back in 1969. Now, I
will answer this simply by noting that in the 1960s the British and French
developed a supersonic passenger airliner called the Concorde. Seven of
these Concordes flew for many years. However the Concordes were eventually
withdrawn from service - essentially they were too expensive, hmm does that
sound familiar? The Russians also had a go at supersonic passenger flight
themselves. Nowadays there are no supersonic passenger aircraft.
Apparently supersonic passenger flight is no longer possible, and if it isn’t
possible in 2005 then can’t have possible with that primitive 1960s technology!
Therefore, by using the same logic the Moon Hoax advocates employ,
the Concorde must have been a Hoax!
Using the same logic one can also prove conclusively that the Pyramids, the
Using the same logic one can also prove conclusively that the Pyramids, the
(Incidentally, if you want see great coverage of the Moon Landings
including loads of high resolution photos: (Click Here)
Well, Isn’t That Super! New DVD Formats Are Stillborn
Sony, the company that brought us the Betamax video format
are set to launch the Betamax equivalent of DVD with a new
format called Blu-ray. This is a new format that can hold several
times the data of existing DVD and also cannot be copied (at
present). However, other manufacturers favour a different, non-
compatible format called HD DVD.
Blind Freddy could see that the world isn’t ready for a new DVD
format. DVD was only introduced in 1997 and only really started to
dominate around 2001. Record companies can’t move the SACD
format to music buyers, and that is playable on existing CD players.
Why on earth would consumers want a new DVD format they can’t
play back on existing DVD players?
Here is one of many news reports on this issue: this one from the
August 26 2005
The Digital Music Revolution, Pt. 2
Welcome to my world. I'd rather have 100 songs that sound like actual music
than 10,000 songs that are digital approximations of what the music used to
sound like. Possibly this is because I don't lead the kind of life where I can listen
to songs all day on earphones. My employers would look askance at such
behaviour. Those mp3 players don't sound very good through a real stereo system;
you might as well hook up a transistor radio to a
amp. No doubt if I Marshall
wished to randomly access the 20000 or so songs in my CD collection I could
load them all up into to some kind of fancy jukebox or just digitise them all onto a
hard disk. Somehow this just doesn't appeal at all. I do have a multi-disc CD
player, but I ended up bequeathing it to my kids in preference to using a single
disc player that can play back SACDs and DVD-As. Not a luddite, I just know
what I like. Besides, my ‘play anything’ disc player was cheaper than an iPod!
Maybe I should get all my old vinyl records out…
August 20 2005
The Digital Music Revolution
I’m must confess that I’m sort of in two minds about these digital music players
really. I suppose all music playing technology has proved transitory, but in this
case I think the current wave of players will be superseded by something even
more mindboggling before we know it.
I'm fairly certain that corporations who are copyright owners will find a way of
rendering the notion of downloads *irrelevant* within a few years. Hell,
they could do it *right now* if the Internet was fast enough and pervasive enough
(and if they were smart enough to pay me large sums of money to tell them how
to do it).
The ‘con’ involved here comes from getting more by getting less. In order to cram the
X thousand of songs onto an iPod or other generic music player the music itself
Is compressed to reduce the file size. This compression works by eliminating
musical content that we supposedly won’t miss.
The alternate digital revolution that is now available is the use of technology to
provide higher quality music with additional features (such as video or surround sound)
on disc formats such as SACD or DVD-A (for the same cost as a CD).
Unfortunately the general public has utterly rejected the notion of higher quality
in favour of the option of cramming more songs into less storage. Here, have 5000
songs – of course they all sound like shit now, but “we” figured that you:
a.) Don’t know
b.) Don’t care
c.) Can’t tell
But now the music is free, Plannie! We can download to our heart’s content…
Anyway who thinks that copyright is going to go away, or that major corporations are
going to lose their grip on a vast money making opportunity are just techno-hippies.
As Randy Newman once said about the original hippy generation: “That Flower
Power stuff was nice, but I knew that money would just steam roller all over everything
in the end”.
If the record companies do come to grips with the whole notion of downloading, well then
I guess it will occur to them that this is a great opportunity to sell the same stuff to people
over and over again. Probably Apple will be thinking the same thing. After all, there’s
only so many songs you can ever listen to, no matter how many million your iPod might
hold. I can just envisage Apple bringing out fancier iPods at some point that can play
fancy new iTunes tracks that the old iPods can’t play… You know, like PS2 vs the
However, I think the notion of downloading to a fixed device is transitory and will be
superseded by something far more attractive to copyright owners. If only I could patent