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Foundlings: A pre-modern social welfare system

I actually knew a foundling once so it's really quite recent history. It reflected a time when food was much less abundant than it is now in a modern capitalist society.  Lots of people had to battle to feed their families.  There was even some real starvation.

Under those circumstances, a father wanted to be sure that the kids he was feeding were all his.  And the only way he could achieve that was by forging all sorts of bonds which would ensure that his wife slept only with him.  Marriage was a public agreement that she would do that and he would provide for the resultant kids.  And the society generally co-operated with that.  There were all sorts of norms for female behaviour that made it punitively difficult for her to stray.

But the sex drive being what it is, women did sometimes stray. The woman and her lover of course did the utmost to hide her lack of virtue but that became difficult when a baby popped out.  The social disgrace was enormous and even the woman's family would not support her lest they to fell into disgrace.

So how was she to support herself and the babe?  She could hardly go to work with a new baby and the poorhouse would close its doors to her.  The poorhouse was the Victorian social support net for those who could not support themselves.  So on many occasions the baby had to be disposed of in some way.  A common way was for the mother to wrap the baby up warmly and leave it on the doorstep of one of the great houses.

When one of the servants opened the door of the house next morning, the babe was found.  And there was generally some sympathy for it among the servants.  The cook (who had access to food) or some other kindly person would informally "adopt" the babe and see to its needs. It became a foundling.

The master of the house would not always be told imediately but, when he was, he would generally accept it as a fait accompli and wash his hands of the matter.  As long as his dinners were not interrupted and the cleaning was done, he could allow the servants the occasional folly. But he would not acknowledge the baby in any way.

But babies grow up eventually and the legitimate children in the house would sometimes notice another child in their environment and might even get to play with it. So if the child had some virtue -- a clever brain or a pleasant manner, say -- this would become generally known to all -- eventually even to the master.  And for the inculcation of virtue, the foundling would quite often be included in the children's lessons.

Children of a great house were not sent to a school.  They were taught at home by a tutor or a governess.  A tutor mainly taught Latin and a governess generally taught French but there was some general education included.  So foundlings often got a better education than children brought up in a poor household.  And there were occasions, when the foundling displayed some talent or other, that the master of the house would give some acknowledgement to the foundling -- taking personal credit for having taken in the foundling.

So it was a very hit-and-miss social safety net but its results for the child would fall within the range of what many legitimate children experienced at the time.  That it didn't starve was a significant achievement.

Having a great house nearby was not always available so an embarrassing babe would be left on the doorstep of what was apparently a prosperous couple -- with uneven but not too terrible results.  The foundling I knew was actually unaware for most of her life that she was a foundling.  She was brought up no differently from the other children of the family.  It is normal for babies to be treasured.

There are of course still foundlings of a sort in the Western world today.  A babe is left at a hospital by a distressed mother and modern social welfare measures grind into gear.

In history and in literature there are many stories about foundlings, starting with Moses.

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The NYT resurrects lake Poopo again

And I say it is a lot of poop.  I don't use rude words very often but sometimes the opportunity is too tempting.  Lake Poopo really is called that.  It is a lake in South America that lacks water at the moment and Warmists like to say the water has all gone away because of global warming. So the NYT has up a big picture of the dry lake bed.

But NYT readers must be mostly scientific illiterates. Given their Leftism I can believe it.  It's High School science that warmer waters give off more evaporation which eventually comes back down as more rain.  So any real global warming would fill Poopo up!  Drought suggests global COOLING!

What is actually happening is that the growing population in the region  is diverting the water from the rivers that flow into Poopo and using the water for irrigation and domestic purposes.  The NYT is just completely dishonest about it in the usual Leftist way

The article underneath the picture of Poopo is below.  It says that the governments of the world are finding it too hard to stop global warming but that at some unknown time in the future they may get serious about it.  Rather a waste of print, it seems to me. A lot of Poopo, even


In 1988, when world leaders convened their first global conference on climate change, in Toronto, the Earth’s average temperature was a bit more than half a degree Celsius above the average of the last two decades of the 19th century, according to measurements by NASA.

Global emissions of greenhouse gases amounted to the equivalent of some 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year — excluding those from deforestation and land use. Worried about its accumulation, the gathered scientists and policymakers called on the world to cut CO2 emissions by a fifth.

That didn’t happen, of course. By 1997, when climate diplomats from the world’s leading nations gathered to negotiate a round of emissions cuts in Kyoto, Japan, emissions had risen to some 35 billion tons and the global surface temperature was roughly 0.7 of a degree Celsius above the average of the late 19th century.

It took almost two decades for the next breakthrough. When diplomats from virtually every country gathered in Paris just over two years ago to hash out another agreement to combat climate change, the world’s surface temperature was already about 1.1 degrees Celsius above its average at the end of the 1800s. And greenhouse gas emissions totaled just under 50 billion tons.

This is not to belittle diplomacy. Maybe this is the best we can do. How can countries be persuaded to adopt expensive strategies to drop fossil fuels when the prospective impact of climate change remains uncertain and fixing the problem requires collective action? As mitigation by an individual country will benefit all, nations will be tempted to take a free ride on the efforts of others. And no country will be able to solve the problem on its own.

Still, the world’s diplomatic meanderings — from the ineffectual call in Toronto for a reduction in emissions to the summit meeting in Paris, where each country was allowed simply to pledge whatever it could to the global effort — suggest that the diplomats, policymakers and environmentalists trying to slow climate change still cannot cope with its unforgiving math. They are, instead, trying to ignore it. And that will definitely not work.

The world is still warming. Both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported last week that global temperatures last year receded slightly from the record-setting 2016, because there was no El Niño heating up the Pacific.

While the world frets over President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement, I would argue that the greatest impediment to slowing this relentless warming is an illusion of progress that is allowing every country to sidestep many of the hard choices that still must be made.

“We keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome,” said Scott Barrett, an expert on international cooperation and coordination at Columbia University who was once a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Climate diplomats in Paris didn’t merely reassert prior commitments to keep the world’s temperature less than 2 degrees above that of the “preindustrial” era — a somewhat fuzzy term that could be taken to mean the second half of the 19th century. Hoping to appease island nations like the Maldives, which are likely to be swallowed by a rising ocean in a few decades, they set a new “aspirational” ceiling of 1.5 degrees.

To stick to a 2-degree limit, we would have to start reducing global emissions for real within about a decade at most — and then do more. Half a century from now, we would have to figure out how to suck vast amounts of carbon out of the air. Keeping the lid at 1.5 degrees would be much harder still.

Yet when experts tallied the offers made in Paris by all the countries in the collective effort, they concluded that greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 would exceed the level needed to remain under 2 degrees by 12 billion to 14 billion tons of CO2.

Are there better approaches? The “climate club” proposed by the Yale University economist William Nordhaus has the advantage of including an enforcement device, which current arrangements lack: Countries in the club, committed to reducing carbon emissions, would impose a tariff on imports from nonmembers to encourage them to join.

Martin Weitzman of Harvard University supports the idea of a uniform worldwide tax on carbon emissions, which might be easier to agree on than a panoply of national emissions cuts. One clear advantage is that countries could use their tax revenues as they saw fit.

Mr. Barrett argues that the Paris agreement could be supplemented with narrower, simpler deals to curb emissions of particular gases — such as the 2016 agreement at a 170-nation meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, to reduce hydrofluorocarbon emissions — or in particular industries, like aviation or steel.

Maybe none of this would work. The climate club could blow up if nonmembers retaliated against import tariffs by imposing trade barriers of their own. Coordinating taxes around the world looks at least as difficult as addressing climate change. And Mr. Barrett’s proposal might not deliver a breakthrough on the scale necessary to move the dial.

But what definitely won’t suffice is a climate strategy built out of wishful thinking: the proposition that countries can be cajoled and prodded into increasing their ambition to cut emissions further, and that laggards can be named and shamed into falling into line.

Inveigled by three decades of supposed diplomatic progress — coupled with falling prices of wind turbines, solar panels and batteries — the activists, technologists and policymakers driving the strategy against climate change seem to have concluded that the job can be done without unpalatable choices. And the group is closing doors that it would do best to keep open.

There is no momentum for investing in carbon capture and storage, since it could be seen as condoning the continued use of fossil fuels. Nuclear energy, the only source of low-carbon power ever deployed at the needed scale, is also anathema. Geoengineering, like pumping aerosols into the atmosphere to reflect the sun’s heat back into space, is another taboo.

But eventually, these options will most likely be on the table, as the consequences of climate change come more sharply into focus. The rosy belief that the world can reduce its carbon dependency over a few decades by relying exclusively on the power of shame, the wind and the sun will give way to a more realistic understanding of possibilities.

Some set of countries will decide to forget Paris and deploy a few jets to pump sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere to cool the world temporarily. There will be a race to develop techniques to harvest and store carbon from the atmosphere, and another to build nuclear generators at breakneck speed.

It will probably be too late to prevent the Maldives from ending up underwater. But better late than never.

SOURCE


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IQ: Matzo with sauce get it nearly right

The journal abstract:

The paradox of intelligence: Heritability and malleability coexist in hidden gene-environment interplay.

Sauce, Bruno; Matzel, Louis D.

Abstract

Intelligence can have an extremely high heritability, but also be malleable; a paradox that has been the source of continuous controversy. Here we attempt to clarify the issue, and advance a frequently overlooked solution to the paradox: Intelligence is a trait with unusual properties that create a large reservoir of hidden gene–environment (GE) networks, allowing for the contribution of high genetic and environmental influences on individual differences in IQ. GE interplay is difficult to specify with current methods, and is underestimated in standard metrics of heritability (thus inflating estimates of “genetic” effects). We describe empirical evidence for GE interplay in intelligence, with malleability existing on top of heritability. The evidence covers cognitive gains consequent to adoption/immigration, changes in IQ’s heritability across life span and socioeconomic status, gains in IQ over time consequent to societal development (the Flynn effect), the slowdown of age-related cognitive decline, and the gains in intelligence from early education. The GE solution has novel implications for enduring problems, including our inability to identify intelligence-related genes (also known as IQ’s “missing heritability”), and the loss of initial benefits from early intervention programs (such as “Head Start”). The GE solution can be a powerful guide to future research, and may also aid policies to overcome barriers to the development of intelligence, particularly in impoverished and underprivileged populations.

SOURCE 

Comment:

The above article is in the Psych. Bulletin, a top journal in psychology which is devoted to surveying the research literature on a particular subject and attempting a theoretical integration of it.  Sauce & Matzel, however, don't come up with much. Their concept of gene–environment (GE) networks is really just a rehash of the well-known finding that to maximize your  final IQ you need good environmental influences on top of your genetic given.

Considering that the article is a research summary, it is however interesting how high the genetic given is rated.  They say that measured IQ is 80% genetic. Around 70% is the figure that has mostly been quoted in the past and people who hate the idea of IQ have on occasions put the figure as low as 50%.

The authors are aware that an enriched (stimulating) environment from early childhood on can bump up IQ but they are also aware that the gain is not permanent once the enrichment fades out. Headstart kids, for instance, test as brighter while in the program but revert to an IQ similar to their peers when they get into normal schooling.

But what the authors conclude from that is, I think, too optimistic.  They seem to think that the environmental enrichment should be kept up into much later life.  What they overlook is that all environmental influences tend to fade out  as maturation goes on and by about age 30 environmental influences seem to zero out entirely.  Identical twins reared apart will have very similar IQs at whatever age that is measured but the greatest similarity occurs when it is measured around age 30.

So growing up is a process of your genetics coming to the fore and the advantages/disadvantages of your environment fading out.  So enriching the environment throughout childhood is pissing into the wind.  What you are trying to manipulate will have less and less influence as maturation goes on and it will have NO final influence.

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Australia’s inequality crisis: Oxfam paper

Who said it is a crisis?  The world's most favoured nations where living standards are at their highest all have substantial inequality.  You ALWAYS have inequality.  Even the old Soviet Union had its nomenklatura.  You lift people up by working to increase economic efficiency, not by red-eyed envy of others.

What we read below is just one big paroxysm of hate for those who have done well.  In the usual Leftist way, it is totally one sided, with no mention of the vast amount of tax that rich people pay or their many philanthropic activities.  Mentioning that would undermine the hate.

Nor is there any mention of how people got rich -- usually by providing a new service or an improvement to existing services.  The fact that very rich people keep emerging in Australia simply shows that Australia is a land of opportunity with few barriers to improved economic activity for those who have realistic business ideas and the energy to implement them

Oxfam seems to put out "reports" such as the one below annually. There was a very similar one at the beginning of last year. Oxfam was founded to help the poor but it now seems to be obsessed with the rich



The head of Oxfam in Australia is Helen Szoke, whose surname seems to have been taken from her Czechoslovakian adoptive parents. She had a rather distressed childhood, which probably had some role in making her a lifelong far-Leftist. You will, for instance, not see her telling anybody that Life is getting much, much better for the world's poor, however you want to measure it – whether it's in terms of average incomes, life expectancy, child mortality, disease, poverty, or women's rights. Leftists don't want to know about all that. They feed on grievance

She is a former head of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. Her determinations there always seemed perverse, although carefully put. 


A record number of Australian billionaires amassed an astonishing $38 billion increase in their wealth last financial year – enough money to pay for more than half of Federal public health spending, an Oxfam Australia briefing paper has revealed.

The briefing paper, Growing Gulf Between Work and Wealth, shows the number of Australian billionaires increased by eight to 33 last year – and has more than doubled over the past 10 years – while workers’ wages have stagnated.

Released as the world’s political and business leaders gather this week in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, the Oxfam analysis shows inequality in Australia is higher than at any time over the past two decades. The share of wealth held by the richest one per cent continues to rise, while wage growth for ordinary workers has slowed to record lows – barely keeping up with the cost of living.

“Oxfam is committed to tackling poverty and inequality – but a broken economic system that is concentrating more wealth in the hands of the rich and powerful, while ordinary people struggle to scrape by, is fuelling an inequality crisis,” Dr Szoke said.

“Over the decade since the Global Financial Crisis, the wealth of Australian billionaires has increased by almost 140 per cent to a total of $115.4 billion last year. Yet over the same time, the average wages of ordinary Australians have increased by just 36 per cent and average household wealth grew by 12 per cent.

“The richest one per cent of Australians continue to own more wealth than the bottom 70 per cent of Australians combined. While everyday Australians are struggling more and more to get by, the wealthiest groups have grown richer and richer.”

The Oxfam paper also highlights that the system is broken for workers in Australian global supply chains – trapping people in poverty, no matter how hard they work.

“This economic injustice is nowhere more apparent than in the clothing industry, where the people – mainly women – making clothes for household Australian brands are often paid poverty wages,” Dr Szoke said.

“A handful of the highest paid chief executives in the Australian clothing retail sector earn, on average, about $6 million a year. At the same time, many women working in Bangladesh to make the clothes sold by these brands take home a minimum wage of AUD $974 a year.

“Garment workers earning this minimum wage in Bangladesh – which falls far short of a living wage to cover the basics – would have to work more than 10,000 years to make the same amount that one of the highest paid Australian fashion retail CEOs made in 2017.”

Dr Szoke said to tackle the top end of this inequality crisis, the Federal Government must end cuts to corporate taxes and introduce tougher tax transparency laws that require companies to publicly report on income, profits and taxes for every country in which they operate.

To address the other extreme of the economic divide, Dr Szoke said Australian companies should commit to ensuring at least a living wage to workers in their supply chains – and to publishing a step-by-step strategy outlining how this would be achieved.

“Hard work is no longer a guarantee for a better life – the system is clearly not working for a majority of people,” Dr Szoke said. “The Federal Government and Australian companies cannot ignore this inequality crisis and must act to curtail the widening gulf between the super-rich and ordinary workers.”

Media release received via email

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Ireland: Catholic counsellors must accept gay couples

I think the church should welcome this opportunity with open arms.  The counselling they offer would of course be Catholic counselling, telling homosexuals that homosexuality is an abomination to God and unless they sincerely repent and cease the sinful behavior they will be judged by God in the hour of their death and be consigned to everlasting hellfire.

And whatever problems they have would be solved by prayer and by marrying a good Catholic woman with a wonderful Irish name like Concepta Finnigan and then having at least 8 children in the traditional Irish Catholic manner.  And your present problems will feel like nothing compared to the problems you will find then.

And the session could be ended by telling the sinner that he should say the rosary every day at lauds, prime, terce, sext, none, vespers and compline.  That would be very powerful counselling indeed and would certainly give the homosexual a way ahead.


Catholic marriage counselling agencies could face closure unless they agree to stop “discriminating” against LGBT couples, The Times can reveal.

The government is threatening to withdraw millions of euros of public funding unless the counselling services agree to change their longstanding policy of excluding same-sex couples from their services on religious grounds. It means that groups such as Accord could be facing closure having already had their funding cut by more than 40 per cent three years ago.

At the moment, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs is paying at least €1.6 million to religious counselling groups that have policies of refusing homosexual couples for marriage or relationship counselling

SOURCE

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A bishop, a Cardinal and now a Pope:  Unproven accusations

Leftists are unconcerned about justice.  That is what constantly seems to emerge when accusations of sexual misbehaviour arise. The accuser is automatically believed.  We see it in the flood of allegations that followed the Weinstein affair and we see it in the false rape allegations that have risen to prominence in both Britain and the USA.  The totally made-up allegations that have just cost "Rolling Stone" magazine millions and the false allegations against the Duke LaCrosse team must be in the mind of anyone interested in the state of justice in the USA.  And a string of rape prosecutions recently withdrawn by British police when they looked closely at the evidence show the same rot in Britian.  In all cases the media as a whole reported the accusations enthusiastically and uncritically.

And the tendency to believe false stories particularly afflicts the churches. Because a small minority of priests have been unfaithful to their vows, there seems to be a belief that all clergy are predators -- even though many are godly men who have lived lives of great service to their community.

I think particularly of an Anglican Bishop of Brisbane, Peter Hollingworth, whom I knew as a genuine man of God devoted to community service.  He was dismissed from his job because he was "insensitive" to a claim of sexual abuse against one of his priests.  But, knowing the man, I followed the case closely.  And the thing that really got the storm against him going was his simple demand for natural justice.  He wanted evidence of what was alleged.  His "insensitivity" was his demand for evidence.  You are not supposed to require evidence, apparently.  An accuser must always be believed. Given the near miscarriages of justice that I have mentioned above, that is thoroughly evil.  Nobody should be condemned for anything just by virtue of an accusation.  False accusations do happen and lies in connection with sexual matters are common.

Then there is the case of his Eminence, George Pell, the conservative Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney.  It seems clear that one of his priests was a foul abuser and it was therefore held by hysterical Leftists that Pell MUST have known about it.  That evildoers are often zealous to cover up their evil deeds was given no credence.  So just on suspicion an official enquiry was launched to find out what his Eminence knew and when he knew it. That enquiry is still officially afoot but a key accuser in the matter has just died so the enquiry is highly likely to be wound up with no result.

Now we come to Pope Francis, a man of undoubted personal holiness even if his politics are whacko.  There is a long screed below from a Leftist newspaper giving judgment of His Holiness because he too asked for evidence.  Francis was entirely justified in believing his bishop and finding accusations against him to be unsubstantiated.

Surely this has now gone too far. NOBODY should be judged guilty until he has been found guilty in a court of law, and  that includes the clergy.  Leftists hate Christianity so they will always make and support evil accusations against men of God but their own record from the French revolution on reveals them to be the real children of evil.

It's possible that my defence above of three men of God will be held against me as motivated by some church allegiance so maybe I should point out that I am a thoroughgoing atheist with no current church connections.


Let the record show that the promise of Pope Francis died in Santiago, Chile, on Jan. 18, in the year of our Lord 2018.

When Pope Francis slandered victims of sexual abuse, ironically by accusing those very victims of slandering a Chilean bishop who was complicit in that abuse, he confirmed what some critics have said all along, what I have always resisted embracing: Pope Francis is a company man, no better than his predecessors when it comes to siding with the institutional Roman Catholic Church against any who would criticize it or those, even children, who have been victimized by it.

I offer my hearty congratulations to His Holiness, His Eminence, or whatever self-regarding, officious title that his legion of coat holders, admirers, apologists, and enablers insist we, the great unwashed, call him. Because he has revealed himself like no one else could.

By saying he needs to see proof that Bishop Juan Barros was complicit in covering up the abuse perpetrated by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, Francis has shown himself to be the Vatican’s newest Doubting Thomas. And it’s not a good look.

The pope’s outrageous slander of Karadima’s victims is all the more stunning and disgraceful because the Vatican itself had in 2011 accepted the truth of what those victims said and sentenced Karadima to what it called a lifetime of “penance and prayer” for abusing young people. Sounds like how a previous pope “punished” Cardinal Bernard Law for his dutiful coverup of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston by putting him in charge of one of the great basilicas of Rome and giving him digs in a palatial apartment where he was waited on hand and foot by servile nuns. Some punishment. Where do I sign up?

The pope’s remarks drew shock from Chileans and immediate rebuke from victims and their advocates.

And just what exactly would constitute the proof that Pope Francis is now seeking, years after the Vatican accepted the claims of Karadima’s victims, who said Bishop Barros facilitated the abuse by refusing to take action against Karadima even though he knew Karadima was a predator?

Juan Carlos Cruz, one of Karadima’s victims and one of Bishop Barros’s most outspoken critics, put it this way: “As if I could have taken a selfie or a photo while Karadima abused me and others and Juan Barros stood by watching it all.”

Like others who have been physically assaulted by priests and mentally tortured by the craven complicity and inaction of bishops who are supposed to protect their flock from predators in Roman collars, Cruz has ruefully concluded that Pope Francis is no better than the others.

“These people are truly crazy,” Cruz said, “and the pontiff talks about atonement to the victims. Nothing has changed, and his plea for forgiveness is empty.”

Empty. Good word. Describes what an increasing number of Catholic churches in Chile and in many other countries are becoming.

Oh, well, lucky for the Vatican, there are still many places where people are horribly poor, sadly uneducated, and not served by a robust, free press, where deference to the clergy and the majesty of the Vatican is still as thick as the fine robes that some of the worst enablers of sexual abuse hide behind.

It should be noted that, for all the talk of Pope Francis cutting a new path for the Catholic Church, he was elected by a conclave of cardinals that included some of those cynical and criminal enablers of abuse, like the disgraced and disgraceful former archbishop of Los Angeles, Roger Mahony.

SOURCE

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Monarchists’ opposition to a referendum reveals their contempt for democracy (?)

The abusive article below by a JOHN SLATER published in a British periodical with libertarian and Irish sympathies does its cause little good. Abuse and misrepresentation are rarely persuasive. I am in fact quite amazed at the animus in the article. Australian monarchists are mild people driven by none of the passions that seem so common in other political fields, yet we are accused of a "raw disdain for popular democracy" etc.

And he writes as if Australia were still ruled by British officials.  We are not.  The Royal powers in Australia are exercised by the governor general, who is always a distinguished Australian.  One really wonders what the author below is talking about.  I suppose it's because he essentially has no case to make that he resorts to so much abuse.  Abuse is very commonly the resort of those who have no real argument

And he has no real argument because the issue he raises has already been settled.  Far from the monarchy and its supporters being undemocratic, we have already had fairly recently (in 1999) a referendum on whether Australia should remain a monarchy.  The result was a resounding affirmation of our present system.  In defiance of all the talking heads, 55% voted for the Monarchy. Even many people of non-British origin voted for it. In my home State of Queensland nearly two thirds voted for the Monarchy.

The most recent poll I have seen on the matter was in 2014 by ReachTel.  It showed just 39.4 per cent of Australians saying they support a republic.

It is people who insist that we should keep voting until we get the "right" result who are undemocratic and elitist

I have no intention of putting up an argument in favour of the monarchy as I put up rather a good one by someone else on 17th. (4th article). I had my say on the matter some time ago

And in passing I deplore the description of Prime Minister Turnbull as having a "rare fleck of courage".  His unassuming and compromising ways may create that impression but he has had amazing sucess in getting most of his legislative agenda through a very difficult Senate.  It could well be argued that only someone with Mr Turnbull's placatory style could have done that.  He is a good and successful face for Australia.


Almost 19 years since the last major push for an Australian republic, prime minister Malcolm Turnbull started 2018 with a rare fleck of courage by proposing a plebiscite to gauge public support for cutting ties with the monarchy.

For decades, polls have shown that Australians would prefer to have one of their own as head of state over a Brit born into the lap of pomp and privilege. Yet despite this, the PM’s announcement was pilloried by conservatives as a vanity project for an elite that is out of touch with the ‘bread and butter’ issues affecting the lives of ordinary people.

The head of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, for instance, branded the suggestion ‘ridiculous’ in light of the more pressing problems of ‘energy prices, terrorism and ethnic gangs’.

But for all the talk of Turnbull being out of touch, these monarchists are driven by their own brand of elitism, just like their forebears for centuries before them. By fighting even the prospect of giving the public a vote on the future of Australian democracy, monarchists reveal their cynical belief that it’s beyond the wit of the everyman to decide for himself what shape his system of government takes, and who leads it.

This isn’t a debate about Australia’s logo and stationery, as one monarchist commentator glibly put it: a republic is about more than symbolism. As Australia found out in the 1970s, when first-term prime minister Gough Whitlam was sacked and replaced by a flick of governor-general Sir John Kerr’s pen, the powers of the queen’s unelected representative are not merely ceremonial.

Even if part of the case for a republic turns on symbolism, on questions that go to the core of a nation’s identity, symbolism does matter. On that score, the idea of a God-given right to rule, conferred by bloodline, not the ballot box, is completely at odds with Australia’s fiercely egalitarian attitude. Since the Gold Rush of the 1850s, Australia has cast aside the strictures of the English class system and embraced an ethos in which, as one historian famously put it, ‘Jack is as good as his master – and probably a good deal better’. Let’s face it: in today’s Australia, paying homage to a foreign royal family feels like a hangover from a bygone era.

While it is scarcely mentioned, Australia’s democracy is among the oldest in the world. Yet astoundingly, despite being directly elected by the people, its elected officials are still made to swear allegiance to the Queen. A republic would do away with this medieval heirloom and give long overdue recognition to the idea that the sole allegiance of elected officials should be to the people who elected them.

Monarchists frequently justify the relevance of the royals to the modern world by claiming they are role models that serve as an enduring icon of national unity. But once we peel back the pomp and pageantry, the royal family are little different to today’s celebrity class. Between Prince Charles’ eco-pieties on climate change and Prince Harry luxuriating with Barack Obama on the BBC, the royal family is now little different to low-rent reality TV.

Former PM Tony Abbott recently sought to beat down calls for a public vote by saying republicans will never win by running Australia down. He should heed his own words. By thumbing their nose at giving Australians the chance to choose who governs them, the monarchists lay bare their raw disdain for popular democracy.

SOURCE


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Does hate speech lead to hate crime?

That it does is a constant Leftist assumption. So it is no surprise that the authors below have tried to prove it.  And they claim that they have proved it.
   
According to their Table 4, however, the correlations found between speech and incidents are quite low.  A correlation of .236, for instance, indicates only 5.5% of common variance.

The biggest problem however is that they ignore the ancient statistical dictum that correlation is not causation.  That dictum tells you that there might be somewhere a third variable that is causing the correlation between the two variables you are looking at.

And in this case there is a very obvious third variable:  The incidence of refugee misbehavior.  When refugess go on Jihad and kill people (etc.) you would expect that other people would both comment disapprovingly and in some cases retaliate.  So it is not the speech causing attacks on refugees, it is the behaviour of the refugees themselves

The authors below were rather hard-working.  They gathered data from both Germany and the USA in their attempt to prove their hypothesis. I have looked only at the German data but their methodology for their U.S. excursion seems to be the same as in Germany so the same criticisms apply.  Americans are certainly not short of deplorable behaviour from immigrants to complain about.

So to be a bit Scottish about it, their claim is "not proven".  Abstract follows:


Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime

Karsten Müller et al.

Abstract

This paper investigates the link between social media and hate crime using hand-collected data from Facebook and Twitter. We study the case of Germany, where the recently emerged right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has developed a major social media presence. Using a difference-in-differences design, we show that right-wing anti-refugee sentiment on Facebook predicts violent crimes against refugees in otherwise similar municipalities with higher social media usage. Consistent with social media being the driving force, the effect decreases with internet outages; increases with user network interactions; is not driven by the news cycle; and does not hold for posts unrelated to refugees. We find similar evidence for the United States, where President Trump's twitter activity strongly predicts hate crimes against the minorities targeted in his tweets, but not other minorities. We find no effect for the period before Trump's presidential campaign or measures of general anti-minority sentiment.

SOURCE

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New York City sues Shell, ExxonMobil and other oil companies over sea level rise

The "damage" they quote from global warming is the expense of defending the city from sea level rise. Problem: There has been no overall sea level rise in the vicinity of NYC in the 21st century. Sea levels have just bobbed up and down.  So the lawsuit is based on hypothetical future rises rather than on present reality.  Note that CO2 has continued to rise to unprecedented levels over the 21st century but it has not affected the sea level at all so the whole basis of the lawsuit is moot

 

The New York City government is suing the world’s five largest publicly traded oil companies, seeking to hold them responsible for present and future damage to the city from climate change.

The suit, filed Tuesday against BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, claims the companies together produced 11 percent of all of global-warming gases through the oil and gas products they have sold over the years. It also charges that the companies and the industry they are part of have known for some time about the consequences but sought to obscure them.

New York charges in the lawsuit that it is “spending billions of dollars” to protect its coastlines, its infrastructure and its citizens from climate warming.

“To deal with what the future will inevitably bring, the City must build sea walls, levees, dunes, and other coastal armament, and elevate and harden a vast array of City-owned structures, properties, and parks along its coastline,” the lawsuit says. “The costs of these largely unfunded projects run to many billions of dollars and far exceed the City’s resources.”

The suit does not specify precisely how much money it is asking for from the oil companies in what it calls “compensatory damages,” saying that should be established in the case.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio focused on the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, calling it “a tragedy wrought by the actions of the fossil fuel companies.” He detailed the 44 people who died in New York as a result of Sandy, as well as the estimated $19 billion in damage it caused. “That is the face of climate change,” de Blasio said. “That is what it means in human and real terms.”





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Treat women with respect

It was once normal courtesy and gentlemanliness to treat women with respect and conservatives still have some tendency to do so. Feminists too demand respect for women but rarely do anything to inspire or earn it.

For those of us who follow the news closely, there has been the unpleasant experience of reading about a date between a monkey-like man named Ansari and a pseudonymous woman named Grace.

The initial reaction to the story about that encounter told by  Grace was condemnatory.  Mr Ansari pushed himself unforgiveably on her.  Subsequent comments however have been exculpatory of Mr Ansari.  He stopped when he was formally told to so that is OK.

I am the last one to sympathize with feminist complaints and I accept that any comment on the encounter is approaching the limits of the absurd if one does not know the participants concerned -- but I do strongly disapprove of the actions of Mr Ansari.  His actions may, I suspect, have been fairly mainstream but that is in my view no praise of them.

I am of the painfully old-fashioned view that women should always be treated with respect, even if they are not paragons of virtue.  And I have been married 4 times so maybe I am qualified to have a view of such matters. I even came of age in the licentious sixties so that may be an additional qualification.

So I have experienced many occasions on which a rapport seemed evident between myself and a woman.  And such a rapport is a very valuable thing that must be left to develop in its own way and at its own pace.  And if it does end up in bed that is the most natural thing with no need for pressure of any sort.  In that context the behavior of Mr Ansari was simply ugly.  That it may also be common is saddening. For balance, I append below a defence of Mr Ansari by a conservative female columnist:


A young woman approaches a famous comedian at the 2017 Emmy Awards after-party in Los Angeles. The young photographer is excited to meet him, they chat, talk photography, take a few pictures of each other, then she returns to the dance floor with her date. Later in the evening she gives the comedian her number.

That week they exchange a few flirty texts and then agree to meet. She runs various outfits by her girlfriends and settles on a tank top and jeans. The young woman and the comedian meet up, have a few drinks and later that evening they have bad sex on his kitchen counter. And then she outs him in the media, humiliates and destroys him because the sex wasn’t romantic and the man wasn’t Prince Charming. Good grief.

This isn’t female empowerment. This is girl power gone badly wrong. The sexual revolution has given women access to sex and men on demand; it doesn’t guarantee that sex will be great or that men will be romantic. Tinder is not called Tender for a reason. The sexual revolution delivered us the ability to avoid pregnancy when we don’t want to have a baby and, if we don’t want sex, the right to say no. Or to swipe left.

This angry 23-year-old woman, who has chosen to remain anonymous while naming the comedian as 34-year-old Aziz Ansari, had chance after chance that warm evening in September last year to say no to his advances.

Ansari wasn’t coy about his desire. They drank, they kissed. She performed oral sex on him; he performed oral sex on her. She didn’t like what he did with his fingers. But she stayed. He asked her how she wanted to have sex. She didn’t say, ‘Hey, I’m not into this, I’m leaving.’ She didn’t say, ‘Hey, this isn’t what I want after all.’

She stayed. And then she told the world she was uncomfortable with his behaviour, he wasn’t very good at sex and she felt violated.

She says he didn’t read her cues that she wanted something more from the night than his desire for hot, fast sex. This week the young woman spoke to Babe.net, a feminist website “for girls who don’t give a f..k”. She decided on a graphic expose of “the worst night of my life” after the comedian won best actor for his Netflix show Master of None at the Golden Globes last weekend. On the red carpet, Ansari wore a “Time’s Up” pin and said he supported the fight against sexual assault and harassment. For that, in her mind, he deserved to be outed as a lousy lay and an even worse mind-reader.

Babe.net gave Ansari’s anonymous accuser the fictional name Grace. So let’s do the same. Grace told Babe.net that Ansari texted her the next evening saying: “It was fun meeting you last night.” And she replied: “Last night might’ve been fun for you, but it wasn’t for me … You ignored clear non-verbal cues; you kept going with advances.”

“I’m so sad to hear this,” he responded. “Clearly, I misread things in the moment and I’m truly sorry.”

The problem for Grace is she didn’t leave his apartment when she worked out that the night wasn’t the start of a grand romance. She stayed. They watched an episode of Seinfeld on the couch. When he suggested she perform oral sex on him again, she did. No wonder Ansari continued with his advances.

Before she left, she said: “You guys are all the same, you guys are all the f..king same.” She could have left it at that. Or left it at her last text message to him.

If Grace’s other sexual encounters are the same, she needs to ask how is a man meant to know what she’s thinking when she doesn’t make it clear to him? When Ansari didn’t turn out to be Mr Darcy, Grace expected him to be capable of reading her mind. That’s a big enough ask and rather tricky when you’re not sure what’s in your own mind.

Grace could have spent more time getting to know Ansari before getting naked. The idea that sex on a first date would be some magical match of sexual desires between two people who don’t know each other is plain dumb on Grace’s part.

And her whining about bad sex is downright dangerous. Not just for Ansari, who has been humiliated, his reputation being destroyed. Grace’s public shaming of Ansari is dangerous for other men too as they try to discern the unspoken words of a woman’s mind. Didn’t the sexual revolution teach women to speak up, take control, rather than give non-verbal cues?

Claims that Grace relenting is not Grace consenting may sound terribly clever in a women’s studies class but it makes no sense in the real world of sex, or life. Consent is not a checklist done before two people strip naked and then at each stage of sex. All of us relent in so many ways, every day, sometimes about sex, or at work, or negotiating with headstrong children. Relenting can often mean consenting. It’s just a slower way of getting there. When is a bloke meant to know when it’s not consent if we don’t speak up?

Grace’s problem is she can’t accept that her evening of bad sex has no more meaning than just that. It’s like a dud meal in a good restaurant, or a new pair of shoes that look great at first sight but don’t fit as well when you wear them out. It’s like a visit to the hairdresser that doesn’t pan out as expected. That’s all.

In 2009 Lily Allen sang about a bloke who treats her with respect, loves her all the time, calls her 15 times a day, “but there’s just one thing that’s getting in the way, when we go up to bed you’re just no good”.

“It’s not fair,’ sang Allen, “you never make me scream, you never make me scream.”

Complaining about bad sex should have stopped at a funny song. Grace’s clawing need to make her rotten date part of the #MeToo movement is especially dangerous to real victims, women who have been sexually abused, women who have been raped. She disrespects and devalues them.

Sadly, Grace isn’t the first to cheapen the #MeToo cause. Last month a 3000-word piece of fiction in The New Yorker went viral. Cat Person by Kristen Roupenian tells the story of 20-year-old Margot, a college student who flirts with 34-year-old Robert as she serves him popcorn at a movie theatre. They swap numbers, then some flirty texts where both try to be something they’re not. Robert pretends to own a couple of cats because that’s what girls like. Margot tries to be a sweet young thing so as not to scare him off. They go on a date, Margot drinks three beers and takes a swig of whisky and still Robert doesn’t rush things. Much to her chagrin. When they finally have sex, she’s repulsed by his weight, and the sex is disappointing. She doesn’t pull away, because that would require “tact and gentleness that she felt was impossible to summon”. In the days that follow Robert tries to understand where he went wrong, and Margot blows him off in a text.

Cat Person comes with a sting with Robert’s last text to Margot: “whore”. The more potent sting came when a neat piece of fiction about two flawed characters was elevated into revolutionary feminist art by millions of women eager to wage war on Robert.

The reaction to Cat Person is a peek into Western feminism’s fatal flaw: its obsession with the most trivial travails of dating. Here’s a summary: Cat Person is “the story of the year”, it’s “the next step in the #MeToo movement”, a “major cultural touchstone” for women by tapping into our “inner monologue”. It speaks “truth to power”. It is “the most gut-wrenching relatable content I’ve ever read”. Some girls need to get out more.

It’s true that Cat Person captures a lived experience for some. One rainy day last June, a young woman I know bumped umbrellas on a busy city street with a young man she didn’t know. He asked for her number and she gave it to him, more out of awkwardness than interest. He texted her a few days later suggesting a drink. She didn’t respond. He texted again, “will I be seeing you again?” When she didn’t respond again, he texted: “I guess not cause you are a bitch.”

That drew a response from the young woman: “woah, mate, you have no idea what’s going on in my life, I’m simply not in a position to do the whole going out on a date thing. Always act with kindness. x”

The young man started texting again: “When I stopped you on the street it’s not only cause you’re pretty, I’d like to get to know you.” When she didn’t respond, he wrote, “seeing as I can’t have you, can I ask you a question.” Eight minutes later, like the fictional Robert in Cat Person, the young man asked: “What am I doing wrong?”

These two might have followed Margot and Robert — gone on a date, had crummy sex. And so what? Alas, it was inevitable that a fine piece of fiction from The New Yorker last December would become real life, if not this week, then next week. Not just because this stuff happens between men and women, wires get crossed, expectations are often dashed for one or the other. But because the #MeToo movement was always destined to go off the rails of credibility by including silly claims that sully the serious ones.

If complaining about bad sex is the next step in the #MeToo movement, god help us all. It’s not, as some claim, overdue justice to shame a bloke for being bad in bed. It’s not, as others claim, a correction of power when millions of women coalesce on Facebook to support a fictional Margot or a real-life Grace by humiliating a young man for not being a mind-reader. It’s not a worthy form of feminism when guilt is determined by those who shout the loudest on social media platforms. If feminism has settled on this as the new battleground to bring men to heel, then the women’s lib movement is officially out of ideas.

Earlier this month, as millions of young Western women were inhaling the injustice of Margot’s treatment in Cat Person, just as they are rallying behind Grace this week, another young woman stood on a real-life platform in a Tehran street and removed her hijab, protesting against Iran’s treatment of women.

Her target is real injustice, her act one of real girl power.

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Experts say

Ya gotta laugh!  During the temperature rise of 2015/2016, Warmists sedulously ignored the influence of El Nino.  They pretended that the rise was due to CO2 -- anthropogenic global warming.  Now that temperatures are allegedly sinking back, the fall is  all due to El Nino.  To Warmists, having your cake and eating it too is a cinch! Let them eat  cake!

So now they agree with what skeptics said from early 2015 onwards and completely wipe off the recent warming period as irrelevant to their anthropogenic global warming story -- and say that 2017 is still warm even AFTER El Nino has gone.  But wait a minute!  How do we define the El Nino period except via temperature?  According to their own GISS data, temperatures (J-D) broke upward in 2014 and have stayed high ever since.  So who decided that 2017 was not influenced by El Nino -- which is the whole point of the article below?  Nobody knows. What we see below is the product of shifty definitions, nothing else.

In theory, you could detect El Nino by a detailed examination of sea levels but as we see here measuring sea levels is a mug's game.  By choosing different reference points you can get widely different results.  The earth is not a bowl and water does not lie flat on it.  And I won't mention the matter of hokey "corrections" for isostatic balance.

So what appears to have actually happened is that 2014-2017  temperatures have suddenly broken upwards to a new plateau, which is a common natural occurrence in the temperature record.

So say we concede all that they tell us with their array of numbers below.  Say that we really have moved to hotter average temperature levels after the temperature stasis of the first 13 years of the century.  What caused that rise?  Was it CO2?  They offer no proof of that.  It is all "Experts say".  Experts say a lot of things that are often wrong.  And Warmists have yet to make an accurate prediction.  So relying on such "experts" is very cold comfort indeed.  We could just be dealing with some of the many natural phenomena that we don't understand.

And what is the evidence for what "Experts say"?  In the large and colorful article excerpted below I strangely can find not a single statistic for CO2, the supposed cause of global warming. Why? Are the 21st century temperature changes due to changing CO2 levels, as the experts say? Do the temperature changes correspond to CO2 changes?  They do not. Philosopher David Hume insisted that the one precondition for detecting a cause was constant conjunction.  But there is no constant conjunction between CO2 changes and temperature changes.  So one did not cause the other.

Just for fun I have downloaded the CSV data file for monthly CO2 averages from Cape Grim. So is the temperature stasis up to 2013 matched by a plateauing of CO2 levels?  Far from it.  The levels show a steady rise up to the end of 2013 -- continuing to July 2016.  It's only from July 2016 that the CO2 levels get "stuck" on 401 ppm.  They don't resume rising until June 2017.

So what a laugh!  There is NO resemblance between the CO2 and temperature records.  The steady CO2 rise has now resumed and reached a new height in "cooling" August 2017, the last year for which there is data.  No wonder that the Warmist journalist below sticks to "Experts say" rather than dive into that inconvenient data.

Note:  My use of GISS and NOAA data does not constitute an endorsement of it. I use it because Warmists do.  It amuses me to  show that their own data does not support their madcap theory


Last year was the HOTTEST on record without an El Nino: New figures reveal man-made global warming has overtaken the influence of natural trends on the climate

By Daily Mail Science & Technology Reporter Tim Collins

Last year was the hottest on record without the influence of the El Nino weather phenomenon that helps push up global temperatures, a new study reports.

El Nino years happen when a change in prevailing winds cause huge areas of water to heat up in the Pacific, leading to elevated temperatures worldwide.

Including El Nino years, 2016 was warmer and 2017 was joint second warmest with 2015.

The main contributor to rising temperatures over the last 150 years is human activity, scientists have said.

This includes burning fossil fuels which puts heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

They say man-made climate change is has now overtaken the influence of natural trends on the climate.

Experts say the 2017 record temperature ‘should focus the minds of world leaders’ on ‘scale and urgency’ of the risks of climate change.

The El Nino event spanning 2015 to 2016 contributed around 0.2°C (0.36°F) to the annual average increase for 2016, which was about 1.1°C (2°F) than average temperatures measured from 1850 to 1900.

However, the main contributor to warming over the last 150 years is human influence on climate from increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, experts say.

2017 remains close to 1°C (1.8°F) above pre-industrial temperatures of 1850 to 1900.

The Met Office annual average global temperature forecast for 2017 said the global mean temperature for 2017 was expected to be between 0.32°C (0.57°F) and 0.56°C (1°F) above the long-term average.

The provisional figure for 2017, based on an average of three global temperature datasets, of 0.42°C (0.75°F) above the long-term average is well within the predicted range.

The forecast, made at the end of 2016, also correctly predicted that 2017 would be one of the warmest years in the record.

Experts from the Met Office's Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit were involved in the findings.

They produce the Hadcrut4 dataset, which is used to estimate global temperatures.

This found that 2017 was almost 1°C (1.8°F) warmer than pre-industrial levels, measured from 1850 to 1900, and 0.38°C (0.78°F) warmer than average temperatures measured from 1981 to 2010.

That would make it the third hottest on record, including El Nino years.

Figures from a series of different international analyses, including from the NOAA and Nasa in the US, place 2017 as either second or third warmest on record.

Last year's temperatures were outstripped only by the record heat of 2016, and in some of the analyses by 2015.

Both 2016 and 2015 saw a significant El Nino, a natural phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean that increases temperatures, on top of human-induced global warming.

Dr Colin Morice, of the Met Office Hadley Centre, said: 'The global temperature figures for 2017 are in agreement with other centres around the world that 2017 is one of the three warmest years and the warmest year since 1850 without the influence of El Nino.

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#MeToo isn’t enough. Now women need to get ugly (?)

Barbara Kingsolver, who writes at great length below, is a far-Leftist novelist who is in a rage at unwelcome approaches to women by men.  I sympathize with her even though my own politics are very different.  Women are generally smaller than men and must constantly feel vulnerable to some form of attack as they walk down the street.   Usually, they are visibly alert to their surroundings in the street for that reason.  I often feel glad that I am  not a woman for that reason.  I just slouch down the street in no fear of anything.  Being a tall, blue-eyed Caucasian male helps

So what is the solution to the fear in which women must often walk?

Before I look at that, I want to mention a large distinction she glides over.  The one example she gives of unwelcome advances is as follows:

Years ago, as a college student, I spent a semester abroad in a beautiful, historic city where the two sentences I heard most in English, usually conjoined, were “You want to go for coffee?” and “You want to have sex with me, baby?” I lived near a huge public garden where I wished I could walk or study, but couldn’t, without being followed, threatened and subjected to jarring revelations of some creep’s penis among the foliages. My experiment in worldliness had me trapped, fuming, in a tiny apartment.


So where did that occur?  She doesn't say.  Why?  From my reading of her biographical data, it was almost certainly in Africa or among Africans.  And it is no secret that Africans often "won't take no for an answer" from women.  They seem to show no shame in their approaches.  She writes as if all men are like that, when they are not.  I rather resent being lumped in with people who behave in such a stupid and disrespectful way. So she needs to give more attention to context in her writings rather than lumping all men into one basket.

But on to solutions:

There is of course the solution that feminists have thrown back in the faces of men: Traditional courtesy and gentlemanliness.  Women could once feel that they would be respected when they walked down the street and any "cad" would be brought up short by bystanders.  But radical feminists have destroyed that and taught that women should be expected to look after themselves.  Barbara is no doubt glad of that.  She values her independence and wants to be treated as an equal.  She just does not want to pay the price of that.  A small, weak person needs protection but she spurns that.

And there is the Muslim solution:  Wrap your women up in dark clothing so that almost nothing of them can be seen.  It would be amusing to see Barbara in such a wrap.  She would throw it off with fury.

And there is the Japanese solution, where everyone in the whole society acts considerately of one another.  Those little surgical masks you sometimes see Japanese wearing are not for their own benefit but to protect others from getting their infection.  And Japanese schoolgirls can walk down the street of Tokyo at night without fear.  But a large part of that comes from Japan being a very homogeneous society where everyone has a strong sense of belonging to a single national whole -- a sense of belonging to one-another.  Western wisdom, by contrast, preaches diversity.  So no Japanese solution for us.

Then there is Barbara's solution:  Instant aggressive shoutback at any untoward approaches.  It probably does help but Barbara herself admits it is a strain.  Women don't naturally behave like that.  But feminists have left that as the only remaining solution.  I pity them -- but folly will always have its reward.  It is angry Leftist women like Barbara who have put women into their present stressed situation.  And blaming men will change nothing


In each of my daughters’ lives came the day in fifth grade when we had to sit on her bed and practise. I pretended to be the boy in class who was making her sick with dread. She had to look right at me and repeat the words until they felt possible, if not easy: “Don’t say that to me. Don’t do that to me. I hate it.” As much as I wanted to knock heads around, I knew the only real solution was to arm a daughter for self-defence. But why was it so hard to put teeth into that defence? Why does it come more naturally to smile through clenched teeth and say “Oh, stop,” in the mollifying tone so regularly, infuriatingly mistaken for flirtation?

Women my age could answer that we were raised that way. We’ve done better with our daughters but still find ourselves right here, where male puberty opens a lifelong season of sexual aggression, and girls struggle for the voice to call it off. The Mad Men cliche of the boss cornering his besotted secretary is the modern cliche of the pop icon with his adulating, naked-ish harem in a story that never changes: attracting male attention is a woman’s success. Rejecting it feels rude, like refusing an award. It feels ugly.

Now, all at once, women are refusing to accept sexual aggression as any kind of award, and men are getting fired from their jobs. It feels like an earthquake. Men and women alike find ourselves disoriented, wondering what the rules are. Women know perfectly well that we hate unsolicited sexual attention, but navigate a minefield of male thinking on what “solicit” might mean. We’ve spent so much life-force on looking good but not too good, being professional but not unapproachable, while the guys just got on with life. And what of the massive costs of permanent vigilance, the tense smiles, declined work assignments and lost chances that are our daily job of trying to avoid assault? Can we get some backpay?

I think we’re trying to do that now, as the opening volleys of #MeToo smack us with backlash against backlash. Patriarchy persists because power does not willingly cede its clout; and also, frankly, because women are widely complicit in the assumption that we’re separate and not quite equal. If we’re woke, we inspect ourselves and others for implicit racial bias, while mostly failing to recognise explicit gender bias, which still runs rampant. Religious faiths that subordinate women flourish on every continent. Nearly every American educational institution pours the lion’s share of its athletics budget into the one sport that still excludes women – American football.

Most progressives wouldn’t hesitate to attend a football game, or to praise the enlightened new pope – the one who says he’s sorry, but women still can’t lead his church, or control our reproduction. In heterosexual weddings, religious or secular, the patriarch routinely “gives” his daughter to the groom, after which she’s presented to the audience as “Mrs New Patriarch,” to joyous applause. We have other options, of course: I kept my name in marriage and gave it to my daughters. But most modern brides still embrace the ritual erasure of their identities, taking the legal name of a new male head of household, as enslaved people used to do when they came to a new plantation owner.

I can already hear the outcry against conflating traditional marriage with slavery. Yes, I know, the marital bargain has changed: women are no longer chattels. Tell me this giving-away and name-changing are just vestiges of a cherished tradition. I’ll reply that some of my neighbours here in the south still fly the Confederate flag – not with hate, they insist, but to honour a proud tradition. In either case, a tradition in which people legally control other people doesn’t strike me as worth celebrating, even symbolically.

If any contract between men required the non-white one to adopt the legal identity of his Caucasian companion, would we pop the champagne? If any sport wholly excluded people of colour, would it fill stadiums throughout the land? Would we attend a church whose sacred texts consign Latinos to inferior roles? What about galas where black and Asian participants must wear painful shoes and clothes that reveal lots of titillating, well-toned flesh while white people turn up comfortably covered?

No wonder there is confusion about this volcano of outrage against men who objectify and harass. Marriage is not slavery, but a willingness to subvert our very names in our primary partnership might confound everyone’s thinking about where women stand in our other relationships with men. And if our sex lives aren’t solely ours to control, but also the purview of men of the cloth, why not employers too?We may ache for gender equality but we’re rarely framing or fighting for it in the same ways we fight for racial equality. The #MeToo movement can’t bring justice to a culture so habituated to misogyny that we can’t even fathom parity, and women still dread losing the power we’ve been taught to use best: our charm.

Years ago, as a college student, I spent a semester abroad in a beautiful, historic city where the two sentences I heard most in English, usually conjoined, were “You want to go for coffee?” and “You want to have sex with me, baby?” I lived near a huge public garden where I wished I could walk or study, but couldn’t, without being followed, threatened and subjected to jarring revelations of some creep’s penis among the foliages. My experiment in worldliness had me trapped, fuming, in a tiny apartment.

One day in a fit of weird defiance I tied a sofa cushion to my belly under a loose dress and discovered this was the magic charm: I could walk anywhere, unmolested. I carried my after-class false pregnancy to the end of the term, happily ignored by predators. As a lissom 20-year-old I resented my waddly disguise, but came around to a riveting truth: being attractive was less useful to me than being free.

Modern women’s magazines promise we don’t have to choose, we can be sovereign powers and seductresses both at once. But study the pictures and see an attractiveness imbued with submission and myriad forms of punitive self-alteration. Actually, we have to choose: not one or the other utterly, but some functional point between these poles. It starts with a sober reckoning of how much we really need to be liked by the universe of men. Not all men confuse “liking” with conquest, of course – just the handful of jerks who poison the well, and the larger number who think they are funny. Plus the majority of the US male electorate, who put a boastful assaulter in charge of us all.

This is the point. The universe of men does not merit women’s indiscriminate grace. If the #MeToo revolution has proved anything, it’s that women live under threat. Not sometimes, but all the time.

We don’t have unlimited options about working for male approval, since here in this world that is known as “approval.” We also want to be loved, probably we want it too much. But loved. Bear with us while we sort this out, and begin to codify it in the bluntest terms. Enduring some guy’s copped feel or a gander at his plumbing is so very much not a Valentine. It is a letter bomb. It can blow up a day, an interview, a job, a home, the very notion of safety inside our bodies.

It shouldn’t be this hard to demand safety while we do our work, wear whatever, walk where we need to go. And yet, for countless women enduring harassment on the job, it is this hard, and escape routes are few. The path to freedom is paved with many special words for “hideously demanding person” that only apply to females.

Chaining the links of our experiences behind a hashtag can help supply the courage to be unlovely while we blast an ugly reality into the open. The chain doesn’t negate women’s individuality or our capacity to trust men individually, nor does it suggest every assault is the same. Raped is not groped is not catcalled on the street: all these are vile and have to stop, but the damages are different. Women who wish to be more than bodies can use our brains to discern context and the need for cultural education. In lieu of beguiling we can be rational, which means giving the accused a fair hearing and a sentence that fits the crime. (Let it also be said, losing executive power is not the death penalty, even if some people are carrying on as if it were.) Polarisation is as obstructive in gender politics as in any other forum. Sympathetic men are valuable allies.

Let’s be clear: no woman asks to live in a rape culture: we all want it over, yesterday. Mixed signals about female autonomy won’t help bring it down, and neither will asking nicely. Nothing changes until truly powerful offenders start to fall. Feminine instincts for sweetness and apology have no skin in this game. It’s really not possible to overreact to uncountable, consecutive days of being humiliated by men who say our experience isn’t real, or that we like it actually, or are cute when we’re mad. Anger has to go somewhere – if not out then inward, in a psychic thermodynamics that can turn a nation of women into pressure cookers. Watching the election of a predator-in-chief seems to have popped the lid off the can. We’ve found a voice, and now is a good time to use it, in a tone that will not be mistaken for flirtation. Don’t say that to me. Don’t do that to me. I hate it.

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Warming and the Search for Climate Justice for the Poor

A slight temperature rise is THE big problem for the poor?  It might hurt the Filipino farmer below somewhat, who looks like he is harvesting sugar-cane, but how come he is not sitting in the air-conditioned cabin of a big mechanical harvester?  THAT is the real issue.



There are many things the poor need before they need to worry about the climate.  Such as cheap electricity, cheap petroleum products and a government that is repealing laws and regulations rather than adding to them.  That canecutter could be sitting in an airconditioned cabin and harvesting 100 times more cane than he is now if only his government had long ago decided to sit on its hands.  China did it with resounding success so the way ahead for the poor of the 3rd world is clear.  And it has nothing to do with climate


A far-reaching report being drafted by the United Nations' authoritative climate science panel explores in comprehensive detail the environmental justice, poverty and other human rights challenges facing the world as it pursues the urgent and daunting goals of the Paris Agreement.

"In a 1.5 degree Celsius warmer world"—a world we're likely to see by mid-century without a global transformation in the next decade, the latest version of the draft report says—"those most at risk will be individuals and communities experiencing multidimensional poverty, persistent vulnerabilities and various forms of deprivation and disadvantage."

To help protect them, it calls for policies "guided by concerns for equity and fairness and enhanced support for eradicating poverty and reducing inequalities."

In scope, scale and detail—but also in its careful attention to questions of ethics and justice—this report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a landmark work in progress.

The emerging report is more than 800 pages long, heavily footnoted and packed with graphics and sidebars. It lays out as never before "an assessment of current knowledge of the extent and interlinkages of the global environmental, economic, financial, social and technical conditions that a 1.5 degree Celsius warmer world represents." It takes on "complex ethics questions" that demand "interdisciplinary research and reflection."

How, it asks, will a 1.5 degree warmer world impact the human rights of the dispossessed, "including their rights to water, shelter, food, health and life? How will it affect the rights of the urban and rural poor, indigenous communities, women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities?"

The draft report gauges how the half-degree gap from 1.5 to 2 degrees of warming "amounts to a greater likelihood of drought, flooding, resource depletion, conflict and forced migration."

It notes that even if all the nations achieve their Paris pledges, the result will be worldwide emissions in 2030 that already lock in 1.5 degrees of warming by the end of this century. The temperature barrier would likely be broken by mid-century, as Reuters noted in first reporting on the draft study. Even the 2 degree target eventually would fall unless emissions are brought to zero, the IPCC and other agencies have repeatedly warned.

Either way, the outlook is dire, especially for the poor.

"The risks to human societies through impacts on health, livelihood, food and water security, human security and infrastructure are higher with 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming compared to today, and higher still with 2 degrees Celsius global warming compared with 1.5 degrees," the draft concludes.

"These risks are greatest for people facing multiple forms of poverty, inequality and marginalization; people in coastal communities and those dependent on agriculture; poor urban residents; and communities displaced from their homes."

Suitable pathways forward, the report said, must square the circle of energy use and sustainable development—not an easy task, but one that would pay off with a cleaner environment, better health, prospering ecosystems and other benefits. There would be risks for poverty, hunger and access to energy; those must be "alleviated by redistributive measures."
How to Move Forward?

The focus on justice and fairness is enlisted to press for substantial transformations of the energy landscape as emissions from fossil fuels are eliminated and changes in land management, among other steps, are pressed hard.

On the one hand, these remedies "are put at risk by high population growth, low economic development, and limited efforts to reduce energy demand," the report says. On the other hand, the solutions cannot be allowed to burden the poor.

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Cold Facts on the Globe’s Hottest Years

Annenberg fact checking is often recognizably biased so the presentation below has to be taken with a  grain of salt.  So let me supply some salt

But first let me congratulate author Vanessa Schipani on a scholarly piece of work.  It's nice to have a detailed discussion of the numbers for a change.  And she does concede in the end  that the "hottest year" talk so beloved of Warmists is pretty meaningless, which is pleasing.

So she says that it is the long-term trend whch we have to focus on.  So far, so good.

But a trend by itself tells you very little. The interesting question is what causes the trend.  On (rubbery) NOAA figures there has been a slight trend over the last 150 years but are the details of that trend favourable to the global warming theory?  They are not.  So we have to move on to matters that Vanessa does not consider. In particular, was the trend in temperature matched by a trend in CO2 levels?  That the two trends do coincide is the essence of the global warming theory.

To examine the question, we have to ask what are our start and finish points of any trend we want to examine.  It is an old truth of chartmanship that you can prove almost anything by a judicious selection of start and finish points.  Every such decision will have a degree of arbitrariness but some are less arbitrary than othrers.

During my research career I did a lot of factor analysis, generally principal components analysis. I even remember centroid analysis! And you can generally get quite a few factors out of  a modern analysis.  But how do you decide which factors are likely to be important?  A very common procedure is to look for the "natural break" in an ordered series of eigenvalues -- sometimes called a "scree test".  And looking at any series of numbers can involve a decision of that nature.

So, in the case of the terrestrial temperature series we can see on a number of occasions such "natural breaks".  One of them is, quite simply, the 21st century.  The 21st century temperatures bob up and down but display no overall trend.  There is NO global warming in the 21st century so the trend up to that time appears to have run its course.  It is certainly true that El Nino pushed up temperatures in 2015 and 2016 but El Nino is not a product of anthropogenic global warming and its influence has by now just about petered out, leaving the 2017 temperature very close to the pre El Nino average, which gives us temperature stasis back.

And note that CO2 levels did NOT rise during the El Nino warming event.  I monitored the CO2 figures from both Cape Grim and Mauna Loa right from the onset of the warming -- beginning roughly in August 2015.  And I noted that the 400ppm peak had been reached BEFORE that warming event and then plateaued during the warming event.  There was no rise in CO2 levels accompanying the rise in temperature.  So the temperature rise COULD NOT have been caused by a CO2 rise -- because there was no CO2 rise. And it's now in the journals that CO2 levels plateaued in 2015 and 2016.

So El Nino did not merely contribute "part" of the 2015/2016 warming event, it contributed the WHOLE of it.  So if we remove the influence of El Nino, we can see that there has been NO anthropogenic global warming for the whole of this century.  The levels of CO2 have influenced nothing.  Warmist theory is wrong


Sen. James Inhofe misleadingly claimed that the statistics behind the globe’s likely hottest years on record — 2014, 2015 and 2016 — were “meaningless” because the temperature increases were “well within the margin of error.” Taking into account the margins of error, there’s still a long-term warming trend.

Inhofe, a longtime skeptic of human-caused climate change, made his claim Jan. 3 on the Senate floor.

Inhofe, Jan. 3: The Obama administration touted 2014, 2015, and 2016 as the hottest years on record. But the increases are well within the margin of error. In 2016, NOAA said the Earth warmed by 0.04 degrees Celsius, and the British Government pegged it at 0.01 Celsius. However, the margin of error is 0.1 degree, not 0.01. So it is all statistically meaningless and below the doom-and-gloom temperature predictions from all the various models from consensus scientists.

Since Inhofe cites data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the British government, we’ll concentrate on their analyses.

According to NOAA, 2016 was the warmest year on record for the globe since record keeping began in 1880; 2015 ranked the second warmest year and 2014 the third warmest. There are uncertainties in those rankings, however.

As we explained in 2015 when then-President Obama proclaimed 2014 “the planet’s warmest year on record,” such a definitive claim is problematic. For instance, while NOAA found then that 2014 had the highest probability of being the warmest, there remained statistical odds that other years could have held that distinction. But as we explained, scientists are more concerned with long-term trends than any given year.

And 2017 is on track to be another warm year. On Dec. 18, NOAA said 2017 could end up being the third warmest on record, based on data for January to November. NOAA spokesman Brady Philips told us the agency will release information on the year as a whole on Jan. 18.

NOAA ranks years by looking at how much their average temperatures differ from the 20th century average — what scientists call a temperature anomaly.

Based on the agency’s analysis, the average temperature for 2016 was 0.94 degrees Celsius (1.69 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th century average of 13.9 C (56.9 F). The margin of error for 2016 was plus-or-minus 0.15 C (0.27 F).

NOAA explains that a margin of error takes into account the “inherent level of uncertainty” that comes with “[e]valuating the temperature of the entire planet.”

The agency adds that the reported temperature anomaly — 0.94 C in the case of 2016 — “is not an exact measurement; instead it is the central — and most likely — value within a range of possible values.”

For example, that range, or margin of error, would be 0.79 C (1.42 F) to 1.09 C (1.96 F) for 2016. Scientists at NOAA are 95 percent certain the temperature anomaly for 2016, or for any given year, will fall within the margin of error.

As Inhofe notes, NOAA scientists found that the average temperature for 2015 was 0.04 C less than 2016’s at 0.90 C (1.62 F) above the 20th century norm. The margin of error for 2015 was plus-or-minus 0.08 C (0.14 F), which means the range for 2015 is between 0.82 C (1.48 F) and 0.98 C (1.76 F).

The difference between 2015 and 2014, however, was wider. The average temperature for 2014 was 0.74 C (1.33 F) above the 20th century mean, or 0.16 C (0.29 F) less than 2015. The range for 2014 is between 0.59 C (1.06 F) and 0.89 C (1.60 F).

So the margins of error for these three years do overlap. When we requested evidence from Inhofe’s office, spokeswoman Leacy Burke sent us links to articles that reiterate the senator’s claim that the temperature increase in 2016 was within a margin of error – meaning, again, that while 2016 is most likely the warmest on record, other years that fall within that margin, including 2015 and 2014, could be the warmest. Still that doesn’t mean the statistics are “meaningless.” Over the long haul, data show an increasing trend, as the chart below shows.

“Overall, the global annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.07°C (0.13°F) per decade since 1880 and at an average rate of 0.17°C (0.31°F) per decade since 1970,” says NOAA.

Similar to NOAA, the U.K.’s Met Office, the country’s national weather service, reported that 2016 “was one of the warmest two years on record, nominally exceeding the record temperature of 2015.” The agency also found that 2014 likely ranked the third warmest year.

Both NOAA and the Met Office note that human-caused global warming isn’t the only force behind the record temperatures.

Peter Stott, then the acting director of the Met Office Hadley Centre, said: “A particularly strong El Niño event contributed about 0.2C to the annual average for 2016, which was about 1.1C above the long term average from 1850 to 1900.” El Niño is a naturally occurring interaction between the atmosphere and ocean that is linked to periodic warming.

Stott added, “However, the main contributor to warming over the last 150 years is human influence on climate from increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

The Met Office’s numbers differ slightly from NOAA’s, in part, because the agency uses a different reference point.

NOAA ranks years based on how much their average temperatures differ from the 20th century norm. The Met Office uses the temperature average between 1850 and 1900 or between 1961 and 1990.

Using that latter reference point, the Met Office found 2016’s temperature anomaly to be 0.77 C, plus-or-minus 0.1 C, which was only 0.01 more than 2015’s temperature anomaly.

So Inhofe is right that the British government’s margins of error for 2016 and 2015 overlap.

But Grahame Madge, a spokesman for the Met Office, explained in an email to us why it’s important to look at the long-term trend — not just the difference between two years, as Inhofe did.

Madge, Jan. 6: When looking at global temperature rise it helps to look at the way the stats and figures are framed. For example, 2016 was the warmest year since pre-industrial times. However, it was only marginally warmer than the previous year, which was also a record. When viewed as parallel years, however, they really stand out in the long-term record. … We try to focus on the long term when presenting information. You can make a desert seem like a lush wetland if you only show the oasis.

NOAA also explains the difference between looking at single years versus the long-term trend: “As more and more data builds a long-term series, there is less and less influence of single ‘outliers’ on the overall trend, making the long-term trend even more certain than the individual points along it.”

In other words, if scientists found that the globe had just one year with an exceptionally high temperature average, they may not be convinced that global warming is occurring. But if data show that the planet has experienced a number of record warm years in a row, it suggests the warming trend is real.

In fact, NOAA says there’s only a 0.0125 percent chance of seeing three outliers in a row — and the Earth has seen many more record warm years than three.

NOAA writes that 2016 “marks the fifth time in the 21st century a new record high annual temperature has been set (along with 2005, 2010, 2014, and 2015) and also marks the 40th consecutive year (since 1977) that the annual temperature has been above the 20th century average.”

So while Inhofe was right that the margins of error for temperature measurements in recent years overlap, that doesn’t negate a long-term warming trend or render the temperature anomalies “meaningless.”

SOURCE

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The Bottom of the Ocean Is Sinking

The work noted below got its results by comparing an approximation to an estimate so is doubly guesswork. And since the decline found consisted of only eight hundredths of one inch we must allow for it being no more than an error of measurement

So I don't think I really have to mention it but the article is a crock in other ways too.  Where are the "melting ice sheets and glaciers" that they refer to?  96% of the earth's glacial ice is in Antarctica and that is  GAINING mass overall, not melting.

And if the earth's oceans are "swelling", we should be seeing big sea level rises.  But in lots of places worldwide sea levels are FALLING (e.g. here). It is only very dubious "corrections" for isostatic movements in Northern Europe that turn the falls into apparent rises

And that the isostatic adjustments are a crock is shown by the fact that there are substantial sea level falls even in isostatically stable parts of the world

Below is the raw sea level record from Stockholm, Sweden, showing a steady fall.  No wonder they called on isostatic assumptions to "correct" it!



The ice age ended long ago.  Assuming isostatic rebound from it still in the 21st century is totally implausible.

The whole article simply depends on conventional assumptions which are not supported by the evidence


The bottom of the ocean is more of a "sunken place" than it used to be.

In recent decades, melting ice sheets and glaciers driven by climate change are swelling Earth's oceans. And along with all that water comes an unexpected consequence — the weight of the additional liquid is pressing down on the seafloor, causing it to sink.

Consequently, measurements and predictions of sea-level rise may have been incorrect since 1993, underestimating the growing volume of water in the oceans due to the receding bottom, according to a new study.

Scientists have long known that Earth's crust, or outer layer, is elastic: Earlier research revealed how Earth's surface warps in response to tidal movements that redistribute masses of water; and 2017's Hurricane Harvey dumped so much water on Texas that the ground dropped 0.8 inches (2 centimeters), the Atlantic reported.

In the new investigation, researchers looked at more long-term impacts to the seafloor. They evaluated how much the shape of the ocean bottom may have changed between 1993 and 2014, taking into account the amount of water added to the ocean from liquid formerly locked up on land as ice. Previous research into seafloor stretching had omitted that extra water, the scientists wrote in the study.

To do that, they reviewed approximations of mass loss on land, as ice melted and drained into the oceans, and compared that to estimates of sea volume changes. They found that around the world for two decades, ocean basins deformed an average of 0.004 inches (0.1 millimeter) per year, with a total deformation of 0.08 inches (2 mm).

However, there were distinct regional patterns to the seafloor's bending and stretching, and the amount of sag in certain parts of the ocean bottom could be significantly higher — as much as 0.04 inches (1 mm) per year in the Arctic Ocean, for a total of 0.8 inches (20 mm), the study authors reported.

As a result, satellite assessments of sea-level change — which don't account for a sinking ocean bottom — could be underestimating the amount that seas are rising by 8 percent, according to the study.

The accuracy of future sea-level estimates could be notably improved if the sinking of the ocean floor were incorporated into the calculations, "either based on modeled estimates of ocean mass change, as was done in this study, or using more direct observations," the scientists concluded.

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