JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Peter Ridd case: James Cook University wins, proving we can’t trust their research as staff can’t speak freely

James Cook University won a Pyrrhic victory at the High Court today. By spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars (how many exactly?), all they have proven is that we can’t trust any research done by that university.

Even if the professors there are being sincere and honest, we will never know whether they are only telling us what their Vice Chancellor, Supreme Ruler Sandra Harding, wants them to say. The government should not be funding this sort of institution. It serves its administration, not the Australian taxpayer.

Two years ago, JCU had already spent $600,000 to make sure all their staff know they can’t criticize the uni.

Peter Ridd was JCU’s best asset until they sacked him. He helped expose manipulated photos of reef fish by a JCU researcher, Oona Lönnstedt, who had already been caught fabricating data in Sweden. Yet JCU “investigated” and sacked Ridd faster than it investigated her suspicious lionfish shots.

Every JCU employee’s work is tainted by this. We will never know what any JCU researcher really thinks, or which results were dropped in the bin, no matter what they say, because we know employees of JCU will be afraid to report bad behaviour, fraud, […]

Nine o’clock horror: Climate change causes shape shifting animals

A postmodern coal-powered Cockatoo is larger, meaner and nastier than any bird photographed in the paleolithic. | Photo by Photoholgic on Unsplash

It’s a new horror to scare the kiddies:

Animals ‘shape-shifting’ as climate warms: study

Paris: Some animals are “shape-shifting” and have developed bigger tails, beaks and ears to regulate their body temperatures as the planet warms, according to a new study.

The Australian parrot, for example, had shown an average 4-10 per cent increase in the size of its bill since 1871 and the authors said this positively correlated with the summer temperature each year.

For one, do bird-bills cool birds? For two, how many parrot bills were measured in 1871 in Australia and do we think we would know if their bills got 10% bigger? For three, there is no “Australian parrot”, there are 56 different species. And fourthly, even if they had got bigger, and we could measure that, which we probably can’t, how do we know it’s not due to “something else” that changed in the last 150 years, like all the orchards, crops, trees and other things we planted? According to some botanists, there are more foreign plants […]

Defund The Academics! CSIRO, Australian Unis had worked with Wuhan Lab too (and they forgot to mention it for 18 months?)

Well here’s a surprise. A year and a half later and now we find out that Australian labs were also helping China?

And tonight, 520 days after China shared the genetic sequence of SARS-2, Australian scientists are suddenly very concerned about how Australia might still be doing gain-of-function work with viruses? Minister Greg Hunt is asking for a “review” of gain-of-function research in Australia? Did he even know?

It’s amazing what the power of a good reporter can achieve. Hail Sharri Markson and The Australian.

For 500 long pandemic days some publicly funded scientists had millions of reasons apparently, not to talk about how the virus might have been a lab leak. These public servants may have been publicly scoffing at the idea the virus may have leaked from a lab, but they didn’t think to mention that they’d worked with bats, and gain-of-function viruses and even the Wuhan lab itself?

They were ethically bound to speak up. Did they say nothing, or did they talk to Morrison and Hunt in private? After which, given the government’s role, possibly none of them wanted to let that bat out of the bag?

Public trust in these institutions might be about to […]

Kim Jong Un Attends Ivy League University To Learn New Brainwashing Techniques

When only the best will do:

Babylon Bee

“I thought I knew all there was to know about communist indoctrination, but I was wrong,” said the ruthless dictator to reporters after sitting through a 2-hour lecture on why fidget spinners are a remnant of Western patriarchal oppression. “Your American college professors have this down to an art!” …

The murderous leader of North Korea plans to go back to his home country and start his own Ivy League school: Kim Jong UNiversity.

Thanks to the Babylon Bee. Click the logo to read the rest.

9.9 out of 10 based on 44 ratings

Australian academics working for the CCP on the side…?

Some Australian researchers visiting China turned out to be effectively Chinese researchers funded by Australians.

What does it mean to be an Australian citizen paid by Australian taxpayers if it’s “OK” to take $150,000 extra from the CCP, plus benefits for the wife and kids, and in some cases also keep that a secret from the Uni in Australia that they work for? How about having a cloned research project in China studying the same high tech topics and producing patents owned by the Chinese government? The “Thousand Talents Plan” has been described by FBI director Christopher Wray as “economic espionage”. It includes military technology, drone automation, AI, biotech, and many high tech areas. To put a fine point on it, some of these researchers are signing up to agreements to obey Chinese laws, and which require them to ask permission from the CCP before they disclose these arrangements to their Australian employers.

We might be tempted to call this all sort of names, but this sort of activity is apparently legal. It’s just a loophole being exploited.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s new report: Hunting the phoenix: The Chinese Communist Party’s search for technology and talent.

Remember Peter Ridd […]

“A climate of fear on campus” — Susan Crockford Polar bear expert excommunicated

Add Susan Crockford’s name to the list of scientists being tossed out of the academic cathedral because they dare speak the truth. University of Victoria give no reasons for suddenly ending her long unpaid role as adjunct professor, but if they had evidence of incompetence, misinformation, deceit or poor performance, you can be sure they would say so.

The academic casualty list includes Peter Ridd, Bob Carter, Murry Salby, Bjorn Lomborg, David Legates, Nick Drapela, Pat Michaels, Mitchell Taylor, and now Susan Crockford. Outside academia those expunged from screens include David Bellamy, Johnny Ball, Phillip Vernier. Forced out of institutes were Caleb Rossiter and Lennart Bengtsson. The threat of RICO investigations drove Roger Pielke into a different career. Read “my unhappy life as a climate heretic“. Likewise Al Gore sacked Will Happer.

Others put up with the bullying and stay silent til they retire like Dr Rex Fleming from NOAA or they report anonymously after working for 40 years at the National Weather Service. Sometimes the bullying even follows people home, like Dr Fisher, economist and former ABARE manager who’s house was egged. All he did was model the costs of climate policies. Art Robinson ran for Congress and his […]

JCU appeals Ridd decision: James Cook Uni vows to waste more funds in quest to stamp out opinions

JCU protects reputations not the reef

….

Despite losing on all 17 points in a case that should never have gone to trial —

Sarah Elks, The Australian:

James Cook University is appealing a decision … Federal Court documents reveal JCU has briefed one of Australia’s top barristers, Bret Walker SC, to argue it was legal for the north Queensland university to sack Dr Ridd last year after he publicly criticised its climate change science.

Physics professor Dr Ridd will on Monday launch an online bid for crowd-funding to help pay his legal costs, asking for an extra $1.5m, after supporters already tipped in $260,000 to help fund his unfair dismissal claim. Dr Ridd has spent $200,000 of his own money.

“It’s diabolically expensive because we expect it to go all the way to the High Court,” he said. “In the end, this is a battle for academic freedom. It’s about not allowing universities to stifle free speech.

James Cook Uni will dig deeper into taxpayer funds instead of doing research, in order to protect the reputation of overpaid bureaucrats:

Liberal senator James Paterson tells Alan Jones: “It looks like, so […]

Peter Ridd versus James Cook Uni — Free Speech on trial in two weeks

Peter Ridd in Brisbane getting ready for the trial.

Peter Ridd’s court case is set for 26 to 28th March in Brisbane. He invites you to watch the proceedings (Jennifer Marohasy says she’ll be there, all three days!). Go on…

If James Cook Uni (JCU) wins, they lose. Whatever happens, the taxpayer lost a long time ago.

On a philosophical note, in my opinion JCU will lose the ethical argument even if they manage to win on some narrow legal definition. If they win, it will mean that a judge has decided that a university has set up legally binding contracts that give them the power to effectively take away the right to intellectual freedom of an academic and silence him/her. That would be something of a pyrrhic victory. The university hierarchy may feel vindicated but the general public, especially those in North Queensland who are most affected by the questionable Great Barrier Reef science, will take a different view. But without getting over-confident, I reckon the chances of us winning are considerably above average, so we will see. — Peter Ridd, March 2019

Ridd’s employment contract says he has the right to speak freely, […]

Fake science on fake fish from James Cook Uni?

Third World Science with First World Funding

Is James Cook University a grants machine or a research institute?

James Cook University reviews ex-student’s ‘fishy’ findings, by Graham Lloyd, The Australian

Oona Lönnstedt has been prolific, writing alarming papers on microplastics, acidification, and reef degradation. But her work looks like a trainwreck. One paper has been withdrawn, in another it was “found that Lonnstedt did not have time to undertake the research she claimed.” She’s been found guilty of fabricating data on the microplastics study. Now Peter Ridd has pointed out that the photos of 50 Lionfish appear to contain a lot less than 50 fish. Images have been flipped, spun or “manipulated” so the same fish appears more than once.

James Cook has done what any ambitious, money-hungry grant troughing institute would do, a very slow investigation of allegedly corrupt behaviour and a very quick sacking of the honest researcher who threatens to expose them. Any respectable Science Minister would freeze all grants to James Cook until this situation was resolved and reversed.

Send your thoughts to The Hon Karen Andrews. Contact her here: karen.andrews.mp AT aph.gov.au. There is a crisis in Australian science. Who is going to […]

Lindzen on why the educated elites are so vulnerable to being fooled

So smart and yet so stupid

Global Warming for the Two Cultures by Richard Lindzen

Prof Richard Lindzen, a giant of the skeptical debate delivered the 2018 Annual GWPF lecture this week talking about two cultures of two different educated elites. Those at the higher intellectual level may be more prone to groupthink than ordinary folk…

The two different kinds of elites and a vast gap between them

Lindzen quotes C.P.Snow who was both a scientist and a writer and who lived in both elite worlds — the scientific and the arts.

C.P. Snow felt only 1 in 10 of the most highly educated in the western world had even a basic grip on physics:

A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have […]