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(and other nonsense from Australias Bureau of Meteorology, the University of Melbourne and The Conversation). Dr. Bill Johnston Main points. Australias Bureau of Meteorology and climate scientists at the University of Melbourne should know that nowhere on planet-earth could rainfall be less than none! The Bureaus latest Seasonal Summary (winter 2017) spuriously claims rainfall is
A strong and deep earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.4 hit Vanuatu at 20:09 UTC on September 20, 2017. The agency is reporting a depth of 200.2 km (125 miles). Geoscience Australia is reporting M6.3 at a depth of 204 km (126 miles). According to the USGS, the...... Read more
A team of researchers based in Australia and the United States have used historical nautical maps to determine that coral reef loss in the Florida Keys is much more extensive than previously understood. The British empire began mapping its overseas territories in the 18th century, and coral reefs in particular were quite thoroughly documented given the danger they posed to wooden-hulled ships. In the process, these imperial cartographers unwittingly provided a source of high-resolution spatial data on coastal areas that, as it turns out, can still be useful today in establishing historical baselines for the extent of coral reefs and assessing changes to those reef systems over the ensuing centuries. The degree of biologically relevant information recorded varied by cartographer, but the best of these British maps describes the depth, shape, and color of shallow-water corals and distinguishes them from other hard structures such as rocks, the authors of a study published in the journal Science Advances earlier this month wrote. The researchers used nautical charts dating from the 1770s to help quantify changes in the coral reefs of the Florida Keys over the past 240 years. The maps were essential to expansion of the British Empire, and luckily for us, they also included a lot of useful ecological information, according to Benjamin Neal, a postdoctoral researcher at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine and a co-author of the study. Loren McClenachan, a professor at Colby College in Waterville, Maine who led the study, said that,
Veteran journalist Alex Mitchell has condemned the Turnbull governments new media legislation, saying it represented a sweeping victory for the major media owners.
Mitchell will be appearing at the September 27 Politics in the Pub event at the Mullum Court House with Walkley award winner Chris Graham, editor of New Matilda.
They will discuss the establishment and the role of the media.
Mitchell told The Echo, The big players have been given the ability to concentrate their ownership of newspapers, television and radio in the major metropolitan markets.
They have been lobbying for a multimedia monopoly for two decades and the Turnbull coalition has given it to them.
There will be scramble for major media assets in the next six months and I predict we will see single private owners controlling major media in our capital cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Darwin and Canberra.
When media plurality is diminished, and we have few voices, then it is clear that the rich and powerful steal an advantage, and accountability and transparency suffers.
Mitchell was scathingly critical of the concessions to Senate crossbenchers Nick Xenophon and Pauline Hanson. Spin doctors from the coalition and the major media are working overtime to convince people that the new legislation is fair and reasonable when in fact it strengthens private monopoly control.
The $60 million fund to support small publishers is loose change when compared to the billions of dollars that the private investors and hedge funds will make from concentrating media assets and future profits.
Good luck to the small publishers who apply for a Xenophon grant, but I bet most of them will be allocated to loyal proprietors in National Party territory.
As for the official inquiry into...
Searching for water, some tree roots probe hundreds of feet deep and many trees send roots through cracks in rocks, according to a new study led by a Rutgers University-New Brunswick professor. Moreover, the depth of plant roots, which varies between species and soil conditions, will play a key role in plants' adaptation to climate change, said Ying Fan Reinfelder, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Department of Environmental Sciences. "Charles Darwin once wrote, in effect, that the tips of plant roots are like the brains of plants," Reinfelder said. "Roots sense the environment. They sense the water, where there's more nutrients, and they go for these resources. Roots are the smartest part of the plant." Reinfelder and colleagues published their findings online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study demonstrated the relationship between plant roots and water availability. It shows, through observations and modeling, that soil hydrology is the key force driving local and global patterns of root depths.
Guest essay by Eric Worrall Banks have become remarkably coy about demanding carbon tax cash, in return for support for climate investment, but at least one major bank wanted to make sure readers got the hint. Banking on climate change 19 Sep 2017 Andrew Cornell Leaving aside that the energy debate in Australia is almost
In the lead up to the intended 1 October independence from Spain referendum in Catalonia, police have raided the Catalan governments offices of the departments for Economic Affairs, Foreign Relations and the Presidency and arrested officials, including the junior economy minister, Josep Maria Jove.
The day before, a trove of documents were confiscated from the private delivery company Unipost in the Catalan city of Terrasa.
This followed last Fridays announcement by the Conservative Mariano Rahoy government in Madrid that it was taking over control of the Catalan governments finances, a move designed to hinder the carrying out of the referendum. It has also taken over the payment of public sector workers, effectively making them employees of the central government.
The Catalan government will lose funds to provide for such things as healthcare, education and public infrastructure.
In addition, the banks have been instructed to control all movements of cash in the accounts and credit cards of all Catalan leaders.
The pro-independence parties won the 2015 regional election and were able to form a coalition government between them, with 72 seats in the 135-seat parliament.
This government has accused Madrid of a totalitarian attitude and unlawful arrests and is challenging its actions in Spains Supreme Court, although the court has already announced that it would not intervene until it had made a ruling.
Catalonias pro-separatist government challenged Madrids actions in Spains Supreme Court, but a court spokeswoman said it was in force and would not be suspended while judges rule on its legality.
Despite the barriers set up, the Catalan government remains defiant and determined to press ahead with the referendum. At least 70 percent of the 7.5 million people living in Catalonia behind this.
For Madrid, the move looks like desperation and it will have repercussions, not only in Catalonia, but in the other regions also seeking their independence. It will also impact across a Spain, where much of the population has turned away from the traditional political parties and politicians and demand a new course for the country.
The post Madrid raids Catalan government to stop independence referendum appeared first on The Pen.
It was never spectacular, but the Australian media scape is set to become duller, more contained, and more controlled with changes to the Broadcasting Services Act. In an environment strewn with the corpses of papers and outlets strapped for cash, calls for reforming the media market have been heard across the spectrum.
The foggy deception being perpetrated by the Turnbull government, assisted by the calculating antics of South Australian senator Nick Xenophon, is that diversity will be shored up by such measures as the $60 million innovation fund for small publishers while scrapping the so-called two-out-of-three rule for TV, radio and press ownership. Such dissembling language is straight out of the spin doctors covert manual: place innovation in the title, and you might get across the message.
As Chris Graham of New Matilda scornfully put it, The Turnbull government is going to spend $60 million of your taxes buying a Senators vote to pass bad legislation designed to advantage some of the most powerful media corporations in the world.
Paul Budde of Independent Australia was similarly excoriating. To increase power of the incumbent players through media reforms might not necessarily have an enormous effect on the everyday media diversity, but it will allow organisations such as the Murdoch press to wield even greater power over Australian politics than is already the case.
As the statement from Senator Xenophons site reads, Grants would be allocated, for example, to programs and initiatives such as the purchasing or upgrading of equipment and software, development of apps, business activities to drive revenue and readership, and training, all of which will assist in extending civic and regional journalism. The communications minister Mitch Fifield went so far as to deem the fund a shot in the arm for media organisations, granting them a fighting chance.
The aim here, claims the good senator, is to throw down the gauntlet to the revenue pinchers such as Facebook and Google while generating a decent number of recruits through journalism cadet-ships. Google, claimed Xenophon in August, are hoovering up billions of dollars or revenue along with Facebook and that is killing media in this country....
On September 17, 2016, the US-led Coalition launched a brutal sneak attack which slaughtered some 80 plus Syrian soldiers on the ground who were fighting ISIS near the city of Deir Ezzor.
In one of the biggest diplomatic failures of all-time, a cowardly US US Secretary of State John Kerry rendered no explanation as to the sustained attack by US and Australian aircraft. However, the motive was clear: as it turns out, the US strike helped ISIS advance against the Syrian Army and hold territory for the next 12 months, until the terrorist cohort was finally dislodged by Syria and Russia last week. According Syrian and Russian officials reporting at the time, Straight after the coalitions strikes, IS militants launched an offensive, adding that fierce fighting against the terrorists ensued nearby.
If these strikes were due to an error in the target coordinates, that would be a direct consequence of the US refusal to coordinate with Russia its fight against the terrorist groups in Syria, said the Russian military at the time.
Listen to this moving audio tribute which was broadcast LIVE during Episode #202 of the SUNDAY WIRE radio show. This memorable clip includes testimonials from Syrians as well supporters of note from Lebanon, Europe and Australia:
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Details on how to apply are at www.radioactivewaste.gov.au. Media Contact: 0438 619 987
National Radioactive Waste Management
Nominations sought for Kimba Consultative Committee
Nominations have opened for the Kimba Consultative Committee. The Committee will give the community the opportunity to have their say about a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.
The formation of the Kimba Consultative Committee is an important next step in the Phase Two consultation and technical assessment process, which is now underway in the Kimba area.
Most of Australias current and future waste stream is linked to the production of nuclear medicines that, on average, one in two Australians will need in their lifetime.
The waste is stored in more than 100 locations around the country, and after landowners volunteered two sites and the community was found to be supportive, Kimba is being considered as the location for the facility where that waste will be consolidated and managed. Barndioota is the other site currently under consideration.
The Committee will ideally be made up of community members with a variety of views on the project, and include business owners, direct neighbours, local government and other stakeholders.
It will meet regularly during consultation as an information sharing source between the Government and Kimba community, providing a forum for:
Bruce McCleary, General Manager of the National Radioactive Waste Management Taskforce, confirmed the details today.
This Committee is a key conduit between the community and the Government, and will reflect the successful model already in place at Barndioota, said McCleary.
There are a number of jobs, business opportunities and community benefits that would come alongside the facility, and this Committee will provide advice to help shape those aspects.
In addition to community engagement, at both sites over the coming months, heritage and technical studies will help determine if the volunteered sites are technically suitable.
A Kimba Community Liaison Officer has also been appointe...
Tomorrow The World Is Going To Try And Ban Nuclear Weapons. Australia Wants To Keep Them. New Matilda, By Rewena Mahesh on September 19, 2017 A global push to save the world from a nuclear armageddon has the backing of more than 120 nations. Australia isnt one of them. Rewena Mahesh explains.
On July 7, a global treaty was adopted at the UN General Assembly to prohibit nuclear weapons. This treaty now sets precedence for a powerful norm that will change the course of history by helping promote disarmament and preventing further proliferation.
This treaty closes a large international law gap, by prohibiting states from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using, or threatening to use nuclear weapons once ratified by 50 states.
That will happen tomorrow, on the 20th of September.
Despite an overwhelming 122 countries endorsing the treaty, strongly and actively supported by hundreds of civic society organizations including the World Medical Association, Medical Association for Prevention of War, the World Federation of Public Health Associations, nine member countries that possess nuclear weapons and most NATO allies boycotted the agreement.
Shamefully, one of those countries absent from negotiations and which played a role in boycotting the treaty is Australia. We fall under the nuclear protection of the USA.
While Australia, possesses no nuclear weapons, it is a major producer and supplier of uranium used in the production of nuclear arsenals for the US and British military and most recently Russia, China and India.
Australia has had a long history with nuclear testing, hosting the British in the 1950s and 60s to conduct 12 major nuclear tests which dispersed radiation across much of the continent. In particular site workers and Aboriginal communities nearby have been suffering the consequences of radiation, seen in high rates of cancer with very little compensation, and a lack of capacity to use traditional land due to contamination.
As a result of Australia hosting the US military and intelligence facilities, such as Pine Gap near Alice Springs, we are offered protection in the face of a nuclear threat, under the extended nuclear deterrence, and thus consider nuclear weapons to be legitimate, useful and necessary despite their devastating and catastrophic effects..
Given the current volatile environment with unpredictable leaders...
Michael Shellenberger will visit Australia in November to promote a rethink on nuclear at a minerals industry conference.
A radioactive wolf in green clothing: Dissecting the latest pro-nuclear spin https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/a-radioactive-wolf-in-green-clothing-dissecting-the-latest-pro-nuclear-spin,10735
LAST WEEK, The Australian excelled itself in uncritically regurgitating nuclear lobby propaganda in the...
Whats your alternative? CommonSpace talks to anti-nuclear expert Dr Tilman Ruff Ahead of the UN signing of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, CommonSpace discusses disarmament with Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Dr Tilman Ruff
THE TREATY ON THE PROHIBITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS was passed by the United Nations in July after being voted for by 122 countries, making it the first legally-binding international agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons.
This historic development came about amid heavy opposition from the nuclear-armed states and rising tensions between the United States of America and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, who have warned that recent sanctions will only accelerate the North Korean nuclear programme.
On 20 September, the ban treaty will be open for signature at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Once the treaty is ratified by at least 50 countries, it should come into force within 90 days.
One among many of the anti-nuclear activists who brought the treaty to this point was Dr Tilman Ruff, co-president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which collectively received a Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts towards disarmament in 1985, and founding member of the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
Robyn Wood, Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 19 Sept 17
On the charge
Trumps First U.N. Appearance Was a Clunker, Slate, 19 Sept 17 But why is the United Nations so worried about bureaucracy at a time like this? By Fred Kaplan President Trump got off to an underwhelming start at the U.N. General Assembly on Monday morning. He sat on a panel flanked by various diplomats, including Ambassador Nikki Haley, who introduced him before he delivered some brief remarks, and it would be charitable to describe the welcoming applause as light.
Then came the clunker. Haley had told the assembled that the new American president sees tremendous potential in the U.N.a cold enough slap at an organization thats been around for 72 years and, for all its flaws, has accomplished quite a bit. But Trump followed that dig with a face-splash of ice water, saying that the real potential he saw was right across the streeta reference to one of his East Side real-estate projectsand noted that the U.N.s presence was what gave it such potential.
ts so typical of Trump to view the rest of the world, even the official assembly of the worlds leaders, as a footnote to the saga of his own wealth.
Trumps remarks, which he read from notes, were brief and inc...
BHP considering Minerals Council exit over lobby groups climate policies
BHP announced it would review its membership of all industry associations, and publish the findings, by the end of this year.
The review comes hot on the tail of a demand by activist shareholders that the miner sever ties with the council, which successfully advocated for the abolition of the carbon price and is currently lobbying the Federal Government to reject a clean energy target.
We are aware that some civil society and other organisations believe that, where an industry body advocates for a position which does not align with our own, we should cease to be a member of that in...
Guardian 18th Sept 2017 Most Britons would not be happy living near the mini nuclear power stations that Rolls-Royce and several other international companies want to build in the UK, a survey has found.
The government has promised the developers of small modular reactors a slice of a 250m funding pot in a race to position the UK as the place where the first generation of the power stations should be built.
Polling by YouGov, however, believed to be the first survey of public attitudes towards the plants, found that 62% of people would be unhappy living within five miles of one.
The poll, commissioned by the climate change charity 10:10, found that only 24% would be unhappy living near an onshore windfarm, which the Conservative party has stymied with tougher planning rules. The figure fell to 17% for community-owned windfarms.
Ellie Roberts, a campaigner at 10:10, said:
These results show just how wildly out of step with public opinion UK energy policy has become. Most small modular reactors (SMRs) would generate less than a tenth of the power the projected Hinkley Point C will provide, but are backed by industry as a cheaper option to big nuclear plants and an opportunity for British firms to be first in a new technology. Harry Holt, the president of nuclear at Rolls-Royce, said: With demand for energy set to rise in the near future, in part due to
the growing popularity of electric cars, we believe that a UK SMR programme is a vital addition to our national infrastructure....
Donald Trump threatens to totally destroy North
Korea in UN speech
President castigates a small group of rogue regimes
Iran nuclear deal an embarrassment to the United States, Guardian, Julian Borger 20 Sept 17, Donald Trump has threatened to totally destroy North Korea, in a bellicose first address to the United Nations general assembly in which he lashed out at a litany of US adversaries and called on righteous countries to confront them.
In an address heavy with echoes of George W Bushs Axis of Evil State of the Union address more than 15 years earlier, Trump said: The scourge of our planet today are a small group of rogue regimes.
If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph, the president said.
He first singled out North Korea, recounting its history of kidnapping, oppression, and missile and nuclear tests....
Ross Gittens article (The Pen 19 September 2017) about the backdoor privatisation of Australian universities has prompted the following comments. To begin with, he is right to suggest that government defunding is causing university administrations to turn towards establishing special relationships with corporations and that this is compromising them as institutions of higher learning.
One can take issue with his favourable comments on the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (which puts students into long-term debt) and the growing shift towards recruiting overseas students. But they are secondary issues to the central one of defunding and turning universities over to corporations.
University education is often thought of as a means, to expand knowledge. After all, individuals attend to gain expertise and those who progress to academia, are supposed to contribute to the expansion of collective knowledge in their chosen field.
A more basic reason for universities to exist, is to train the next generation as the providers of specific forms of labour required by the economy. Australias economy is capitalist and this means, for the most part, meeting the requirements of privately owned enterprises. From this direction, the push is for a quite narrow set of skills and applied knowledge that is specific to the demand of the corporate world.
To expand knowledge, universities must break new ground and stretch the field of theory, as well as pass knowledge to the new generation. They must go beyond immediate economic application and embrace a whole of society approach. Doing these things does not mesh well with the demands of the current market.
In theory and policy, neoliberalism is driving the present changes. This comes from the corporate world and filters through government, seeing that whatever doesnt serve the bottom line of the corporate world is a waste of resources that must be eliminated as much as possible. This outlook is closely tied to the mantra of small government, which has become a cover to divert funds to raise corporate subsidies and other related expenses. Removing funds from universities is part of the package.
Neoliberalism is not a new idea. It is applied orthodox economics in times of relative economic downturn. At these times, the rate of return in investment is in decline, even if the absolute return isnt. It provides incentive for the corporations to socialise costs as much as possible. In every-day language this means to transfer costs to the rest of society.
The means to do this is to raid the public purse. Spending on government services goes down, alongside company tax and personal tax on the wealthiest. At the same time as corporate welfare in the forms of grants, contracts and privatisations and o...
As recently as a few thousand years ago, the Indonesian island of Sumba was home to miniature elephants, giant rats and dragons, according to fossil discoveries reported in a scientific journal last month. The expedition marks the first discovery of a Komodo dragon fossil outside the islets off of Flores, an island east of Bali, prompting one scientist to wonder if the creatures might be reintroduced in Sumba. The report, published last month in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, described fossils of dwarf elephants (Stegodon florensis insularis), rodents as big as cats, and the worlds largest living lizard, the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), the only one of the group that still exists. The island of Sumba in eastern Indonesia. Image by Gunkarta via Wikimedia Commons. Some of these species are estimated to have inhabited Sumba as recently as 12,000 years ago, according to the paper. The expedition took place in 2011 and 2014 when scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) collected fossils from several deposits on Sumba, part of a group of islands tucked between the continental shelves of Asia and Australia. The archipelago, known as Wallacea, was named in honor of the biologist Alfred Russel Wallace, who first identified the borders of species distribution across the region in the 19th century. The region received global attention in 2004 when a group of archaeologists described fossils of an extinct tiny human, dubbed the hobbit, or Homo floresiensis, on Flores, just north of Sumba. The discovery of
Tony Abbott has warned hell vote against the coalition government if it tries to legislate a clean energy target, with up to six backbenchers tipped to follow him.
He has let the government know his position. He wont vote for a clean energy target, a government source told The Australian on Wednesday.
In an opinion piece, Mr Abbott argues the recommendation by the chief scientist for such a target should be dropped.
It would be unconscionable for a government that was elected promising to scrap the carbon tax and to end Labors climate change obsessions to go down this path, he writes.
Mr Abbott claims it is bordering on absurd for a country with the worlds largest readily available reserves of coal, gas and uranium it should have some of the worlds highest power prices.
But thats what happens when policy is driven by wishful thinking and green religion.
On Tuesday, Mr Abbott told 2GB the Turnbull government could send a strong signal to AGL by dumping all subs...
After years in limbo on Manus Island and Nauru, some refugees will soon know whether they will be moving to the US to start a new life.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed on Wednesday US authorities would begin handing out resettlement decisions in the next few days with the first group to leave in coming weeks.
He says the processing of other individuals continues and further decisions by US authorities are expected in due course.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said there would be about 25 from each centre in the first wave, with more extreme vetting to follow.
President Trump had some reservations about it but nonetheless, he is honouring the commitment made by his predecessor and I want to thank you for doing so, he told the Seven Network.
Some refugees received appointment slips on Tuesday afternoon.
People are a bit surprised, some people had given up hope that it would happen, Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul told AAP.
Right now theyre experiencing anxiety and anticipation.
A document on a notice board on Manus Island warns refugees every case is different and moves through the required process at different speeds.
Please be patient, the US Resettlement Support Centre document says.
It says more decisions will be issued over coming months.
The Manus Island detention centre is slated for closure by the end of October.
The global energy posture is changing almost as rapidly as a climate increasingly choked with greenhouse gas emissions. And few parts of the world show this emerging trend more clearly than China. In short, China is adding restrictions to both domestic coal production and coal imports even as it is rapidly building new solar generation capacity and moving to ban domestic fossil fuel based vehicle sales.
Cutting Coal as Solar Grows
Recently, China made two major policy moves that have rocked the global energy markets. The first was its recent closing of terminals to coal imports which may result in a net reduction of imported coal by 10 percent during 2017. Since July, China has closed approximately 150 smaller facilities to coal imports. These ports, which China has designated as tier two, are less able to test coal for compliance with Chinas new emissions standards. As a result
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A new ReachTEL poll, commissioned by The Australia Institutes Climate and Energy Program, asked residents of the electorates of Hunter and Shortland about energy policy, including government investment in coal, renewables and the Liddell coal power station.
The Australians story linking excessive renewable energy subsidies to the Moree solar farm, a rich Saudi playboy and the singer Rihanna is very interesting. It is also hopelessly wrong (at least on the renewables bit).
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