Two Steps in a Lush Lunar Foxtrot

Yes, the title is somewhat abstruse – but I, along with other university choristers, sang an interesting work by that name at the 1974 Intervarsity Choral Festival in Adelaide.

Anyway, as it seems to have been Friday forever, I thought it might be appropriate to reflect on last night’s fascinating Q&A, with the aid of ǢRCHIE’S ARCHIVE.

Empirical Discussion of Malcolm Roberts

Some of us have heard Senator-Elect Malcolm Roberts using the word ‘Empirical’ on numerous occasions.

Last night a whole lot more got to hear him use the word many times during the ABC show, Q&A.

Just what does the word mean and why is it at odds with much of what most scientists say and believe?

The Oxford Online Dictionary has the following definition.

Oxford Online Dictionary

So what Roberts is saying is that you cannot predict anything. If you see something happen and cause an outcome then you can explain it but you cannot use that event to conclude that should the same thing happen again that the outcome will be the same.

So scientists should never predict what MAY happen as a result of certain current conditions.

In Malcolm Roberts’ world anything to do with climate change is unprovable and so should be ignored because it relies on another long word.

Oxford Online Dictionary

In the Malcolm Roberts Universe it seems that any extrapolation is badly unscientific. I won’t insult my readers by quoting examples where we extrapolate outcomes from current data every day. In life or death situations which we simply take for granted. Tried crossing a busy street between traffic lately?

Malcolm, your repetitive use of the word ‘Empirical’ does not show you to be a knowledgeable scientist.

I note that your degree is in Engineering. Applied Science. The lesser brother of Theoretical Science. Yes, you can build stuff, you can play with Meccano with impeccable skill. Yet you have not learnt the skills that are Science. You have not developed a theory from repeated and repeatable experiments. You seem to show little understanding of that essential scientific method.

Every scientific theory relies on extrapolation.

A scientific theory is not something dreamed up at 2am by a group of bored people. It is an explanation garnered from empirical evidence discovered through experimentation, extrapolated within the theory to a predictable outcome then discussed, torn to pieces and accepted or rejected on the evidence and on the logic by others who also know the subject. That is what peer review is all about. Yes, theories do change around the edges but once accepted they are surprisingly robust. Even Newton’s three Laws of Thermodynamics still hold despite the tinkering Einstein provided with his theory of relativity.

I’m sorry, Malcolm, you do not convince anyone with any knowledge of science.

You are just a passing thorn in the side of progress.

221 thoughts on “Two Steps in a Lush Lunar Foxtrot

  1. Just how many simultaneous positions can he dream up?

    Labor has blasted Malcolm Turnbull for saying his position on the racial discrimination law “depends” on what changes are being proposed, and the party says it contradicts earlier assurances that changes are off the table.

    On 3AW radio on Friday, Turnbull said changes to laws prohibiting insulting or offending people based on race were “not a priority” for the government.

    The prime minister said his position on the Racial Discrimination Act “depends [on] how you amend it”, implying he might be open to such changes, provided prohibitions on humiliating and intimidating others were retained.

    The statement on 3AW radio on Friday came after a report that Turnbull expressed “general support” of the Family First senator Bob Day’s push to amend section 18C of the act.

    Day confirmed to Guardian Australia that Turnbull, after becoming prime minister in September, had expressed general support for the senator’s attempt to remove from the law prohibitions on offending or insulting others.

    “We agreed I would not try to bring the bill to a vote because the timing was not right and that I would reintroduce it in the new year [2016],” he said. It then became impractical to reintroduce it because of the early election and other complications.

    Day said Turnbull did not reveal whether he would give Coalition members a conscience vote on the issue, nor whether he had given assurances of support on the bill to conservatives before taking the leadership.

  2. I’ve reached another goal with my wikipedia project this week. That is, I’ve completed putting up the results of all Queensland state elections since 1912. So that’s over 100 years of elections in that state now available to see.

    I’m probably not going to go earlier than that until I’ve reached around that point with every other state, as the Queensland electoral system was kind of weird before that (2-member electorates everywhere, the only party was the Labor party, everyone else was a Liberal/Conservative Independent, etc). But still, it feels good to reach that point.

    I’ll have to come back and put the by-elections in, but that can wait for the moment.

  3. Damn right!

    Julia Gillard has singled out the ABC in an interview about the misogyny weathered by female heads of state, calling its decision to finance a comedy about her leadership bizarre.

    Gillard was interviewed for a feature about the “age of public misogyny” that would be ushered in with Hillary Clinton’s presidency, published in the Atlantic and written by Michelle Cottle, a contributing editor.

    Gillard spoke to Cottle in some depth about the sexist attacks she weathered while serving as prime minister from 2010 to 2013, saying that she was surprised they worsened over time.

    “I expected the maximum reaction to my being the first woman prime minister to come in the first few months,” she said. “What I found living through the reality was that the sort of gendered stuff actually grew over time.”

    Gillard singled out the ABC’s decision to fund a four-part sitcom titled At Home with Julia, which parodied her relationship with her partner, Tim Mathieson.

    “They chose bizarrely, in my view, to finance a comedy where an impersonator played me,” she said of the state broadcaster, before going onto note that a similar program had not been made of other prime ministers, before or since.

    • Andreas Poffertje – Andrew Bolt, of course.
      Ponsonby Huffngrind – James Paterson?
      Pancetta Mandibles – Miranda Devine?

    • Do you mean the content, or the ordering?

      The latter is probably due to the difference between replying to a post, and posting a reply.
      Replies appear nested underneath the parent post – but are still at the top of the “most recent” list.

  4. Scene 1 of the new ABC series “At Home With the Turnbulls” . “Dinner for One Cabinet”

  5. Putin-Erdogan Meeting a Dud: No Common Ground on Syria

    Jerri-Lynn here: Erdogan met Putin in Moscow last week but as Helmer explains, failed to achieve any rapprochement in its relations with Russia, despite widespread media claims to the contrary. Both countries remain completely at odds on Syria policy. Turkey continues to turn a deaf ear to wider Russian security concerns: e.g., guaranteeing free sea passage through the so-called Turkish straits, between the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean, and blocking any expansion of NATO or enemy operations that could hinder such access.

    John Helmer is the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. He served in Jimmy Carter’s White House and then with the Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou in Athens. Originally published at The Real News Network.

  6. Why Iran Allowing Russia to Use Airbase Has ‘Great Tactical Importance’

    [ Editor’s Note: The tea leaves had indicated this move was coming, and it might be bigger yet. Things peaked today with articles about the Russian, Turkey, Iran “triangle” coalition against Daesh. The highest level visits have been going on between them for the last ten days to finalize preliminary staff work.

    Turkey announced it would begin bombing ISIS in Syria, after the meeting with Putin, giving the impression that might have been something arranged in that meeting. I have not seen any Russian diplomatic comment on it yet, so we will have to wait and see.

    If you look at the bottom map you will see the TU-23 run from Iran’s Hamadan airbase is not only a straight west shot to Syria, but takes it right over the Iraq battlefield where the bomb bay doors can be easily opened for some “from Russia with love” notes.

    Fighter escort will be much easier now and with a combat radius of a typical weapons load of 1500 miles no refueling is needed.

    We might even see the Iraqis hosting the Russian fighters to reduce their mission airtime. The Hamadan airbase, if you Google map it up, you will see is nestled into the eastern side of the of the mountains with good security both on the ground and radar in the mountains.

    So what we may be seeing here is a “coalition roll out” for the final assault on ISIS, and maybe not only its supply routes but eventually the bases where their supplies are coming from, which could be problematic if Turkey starts bombing ISIS and maybe the Kurd, too, while letting supplies and fighters continue to flow in to anti-Assad factions… Jim W. Dean ]

  7. When too much is barely enough, it seems

    Australian authorities may extend the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 beyond the current area, despite previously asserting the operation would be put on hiatus.

    The new head of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Greg Hood, said this week that officials were planning the next phase of the deep-sea sonar search for MH370 in case the current area turns up nothing.

  8. The “Wounded Boy In Orange Seat” – Another Staged “White Helmets” Stunt

    A boy, seemingly wounded, sits quietly in a brand new, very well equipped ambulance. At a point he touches what looks like a wound on his left temple. He shows no reaction to that touch.

    The two minute video (also here), from which the pic is taken, shows the boy being handed from the dark above to some person in a rescue jacket and carried into the ambulance. There he sits quietly, unattended, while several people take videos and pictures of him. One other kids, not obviously wounded, is then carried to the ambulance.

    As the story is told:

    Mahmoud Raslan, a photojournalist who captured the image, told the Associated Press that emergency workers and journalists tried to help the child, identified as 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, along with his parents and his three siblings, who are 1, 6 and 11 years old.

    “We were passing them from one balcony to the other,” Raslan said, adding: “We sent the younger children immediately to the ambulance, but the 11-year-old girl waited for her mother to be rescued. Her ankle was pinned beneath the rubble.”

    An internet search for “Mahmoud Raslan”, the claimed “photojournalist”, finds no other pictures or videos attributed to that name.

  9. Puffy,

    You aren’t alone. The past fortnight has been peak teaching – seven hours plus masses of preparation plus tutor briefings plus dealing with students . . .

    Next week should be a little more peaceful: only one hour teaching, but intensive monitoring of questions about the first assignment, which was released this evening. It’s due Monday week, but as it is somewhat less complex than the first assignment has been for some years, I hope the students will be slightly less needy.

    To explain a bit more for anyone interested: in this assignment the students have to write a “Discussion” section for a lab report/journal paper on the basis of a research rationale plus set of hypotheses, a reasonably detailed Method section, a bare-bones Results section with all the graphs and tables they need, and with some basic interpretation.

    The Discussion section is ALWAYS the bit where undergraduate students and, indeed many graduate students, fall over in a screaming heap. So, as one of the aims of the subject (apart from introducing students to aspects of atypical cognitive development) is to help them understand how to write to different audiences, it is a useful exercise.

    I must say that the students this year are remarkably engaged; far more so than in the last couple of years, so I am hopeful of some . . . well, a bit of . . . real learning happening.

  10. He’s just a Grunt clone

    Australia’s prospects of meeting its climate change targets have suffered a crucial blow with the failure of land-clearing reforms in Queensland, the state’s environment minister and conservationists say.

    A renewed surge in clearing is expected after Thursday’s defeat of the Palaszczuk government bill that attempted to restore controls on deforestation. The defeat has also dashed hopes of tackling the nation’s fastest-rising source of carbon pollution.

    However, Josh Frydenberg, the federal environment minister, insisted Australia was “on track to meet and beat” the first hurdle of its Paris climate pact commitments, a 5% cut in emissions by 2020.

    Frydenberg’s optimism contrasts with a study released in February showing emissions from clearing in Queensland, after the former Newman government axed controls in 2013, had already wiped gains made under the federal government’s emissions reductions fund.

  11. UN admits role in deadly Haiti cholera outbreak

    The United Nations acknowledged on Thursday that it played a role in the 2010 Haiti cholera outbreak that has killed nearly 10,000 Haitians and infected more than 770,000.

    Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, promised a “significant new set of UN actions” to respond to the epidemic, following a confidential report sent to the UN chief that was critical of the world body’s actions.

    A draft of the report, prepared by New York University law professor Philip Alston, who serves as a special rapporteur advising the UN on human rights issues, said the crisis “would not have broken out but for the actions of the United Nations,” according to the New York Times.

    • Interesting read, having read Niall Ferguson’s “Empire”, I was persuaded by some criticism of his writing to read “Britain’s Empire” by Richard Gott. I quickly saw it as a repudiation of Ferguson and was appalled at the extent of brutality and violence that the British employed across the empire, including Australia.
      The ‘cannonading’ of People in India being one of the most brutal.
      The Belgians and French wer bad but the Brits had their own talents.

  12. ejames

    Not quite a dud. Turkey busy trying to play one off against another.

    “Turkey considering military ties with Russia as NATO shows unwillingness to cooperate – Ankara

    In this sense, if Russia were to treat this with interest, we are ready to consider the possibility of cooperation in this sector,” Cavusoglu said when asked about the possibility of working with Russia in the defense sphere………………..Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has lashed out at NATO, saying the alliance is not fully cooperating with Ankara.

  13. Kaffee,

    While Putin will act in a way that reduces any conflict on Russia’s borders, he sees through Erdogan’s bluff. Helmer has assessed the Turkish situation perfectly:

    He produces these street displays of public support, and at the same time he distrusts his own military forces so much that he not only purges the general, generals staff, he couldn’t bring a military officer in his delegation to Moscow yesterday. Not one military officer does Mr. Erdogan trust enough to bring to the party in Moscow. Sorry, in St. Petersburg. The chief of the Russian General Staff was there but no Turkish counterpart officer.

    But Mr. Erdogan, if he thought he came to Russia to prove that he’s in charge, proved that he’s not even in charge of his own mouth.

  14. eJames,

    We are spoiled by BK’s and Leroy’s almost daily links to must-reads, all of which I do read when time permits. However, I must applaud you for your links on international matters, all of which may (most likely will) have a huge effect on all of us.

    So, thank you from one of the mods, and please accept The Pub’s Golden Echidna Award.

    • Hi Fiona,

      I will post what I find and not reported in our own MSM but I don’t necessarily agree with all that I may post.

    • Were you skewered by an echidna quill?

      Be warned!

      Thank you for that brilliant Queen/Bowie vid – new to me. For all sorts of reasons I dropped out of the pop/rock scene for pretty much all of the 1980s, so from time to time it’s an interesting voyage of discovery.

  15. Binalong day – 12 hours in and out of the lab – the out of the lab hours spent teaching.

    Basketing NOW.

  16. eJames

    Erdogan is definitely “Under Pressure” and Bad Vlad knows he can play merry with him. There will be a price to pay for killing those Russkiy airmen. A particularly dastardly act as that plane was for ground support only and to prove their bona fides the russkiys let it be known that they would not carry any missiles.

  17. Loved the vid back in the day. Vote 1 Bowie.

    And once again a vid that still brings tears to my eyes. LOVE IT.

  18. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. Enjoy!

    Senior police are losing a bit of bark at the Lindt inquiry.
    Mike Seccombe writes at length on how top police failed the siege.
    Michael Gordon analyses what makes Dutton tick.
    Michelle Grattan on how Turnbull’s backbench is muscling up. It’s not just Labor that’s going to play hardball she says.
    Paul Bongiorno calls shame on Abbott and his performance over the “Malaysian solution”.
    The electorate has spoken but it seems Turnbull hasn’t listened.,9374
    Stephen Koukoulas on how the latest set of poor economic data is bad news for Australia.
    Adele Ferguson adds fuel to the fire with respect to the call for a banking Royal Commission.
    The unhealthy influence of hidden political donors.
    Jack Waterford says the jig is up on our outsourced refugee hells in Maunus and Nauru.

  19. Section 2 . . .

    Lenore Taylor says that Dutton has blamed everything else but his rigid policy for what is happening in offshore detention centres. She defends The Guardian against Potato Head’s attack.
    Karen Middleton on the now shifting debate of the argument on refugee policy.
    Wendy Squires appears to think Malcolm Roberts has a bit of a psychological problem.
    Elizabeth Farrelly piles into Lucy Turnbull here.
    Has Turnbull kicked sand in Xenophon’s face ove protectionism? Google.
    James Massola cheerleads for Turnbull and Bishop. A bit too early in the morning for me to read it all.
    Labor accuses Morrison of planning a “humiliating” U-turn on superannuation policy.
    Tony Wright ponders over an interesting speech from Andrew Leigh.
    The AFR on Turnbull’s endless juggling act. Google.
    A lovely Richard Glover article on our daily charades.
    Julia Gillard finally, and rightfully, lets fly at the ABC over its “At Home with Julia” series.

  20. Section 4 . . . Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe takes our leaders to the streets.

    Looks like Cathy Wilcox has had a recent experience at Sydney Airport.

    Simon Letch and Turnbull’s path forward.

    Ron Tandberg uses the Olympics to make a point.
    Alan Moir with an inspired suggestion for the Trump campaign.
    David Pope is upset about tree clearing in Queensland and discovers how it all came to pass.
    Andrew Dyson on Hanson’s political quote of the year.
    Mark Knight is inferring that Uber has a distinct advantage over the traditional taxi industry.

  21. Wacky weather due to global warming again – Melbourne breaks record for hottest August night on Thursday and freezes last evening (well certainly no Neil Diamond)!
    An another race meeting due to flooding cancelled today but my horse has a slight virus anyway. I’ll miss the 8 hours driving to Horsham and back.

  22. Melbourne weather might be wacky, but it’s nothing compared to what’s going on in the US.

    A huge wildfire in California that has been burning for days and so far has seen 82,000 people evacuated. So intense it is causing ‘firenadoes’.

    Disastrous floods in Louisiana, some say the worst in the state’s history,

    And not so bad, but still annoying, it’s been so hot in New York they are having a plague of airborne cockroaches.
    Muggy Leads to Buggy in NYC: Giant Cockroaches Take Flight Amid Humid Weather

  23. Lucy turnbull and Haberfield –

    That interview with Wendy Harmer was dreadful. Lucy clearly knows nothing about anything. It adds to my theory about Lucy being in the early stages of Alzheimers, or dementia and also says a lot about the uselessness of the Greater Sydney Commission. As some of us in NSW feared, it’s just window dressing, a commission with no powers and nothing to do.

    Mrs Turnbull was so very obviously given her head of the Greater Sydney Commission position because she was once, for about five minutes, Lord Mayor of Sydney, a particularly ineffectual mayor, and because she is the wife of the PM. We were supposed to be impressed by her appointment, so impressed we wouldn’t ask questions about what she or her commission would actually be doing.

    Now we know – it’s nothing.

    Lucy is just a figurehead, there for decoration, she is not supposed to do anything or know anything except read the odd prepared speech and cut a few ribbons. Baird cabinet wouldn’t care if a woman with a barely functioning brain was given the job, as long as she had the right pedigree. Lucy is not running the show, as media reports claimed when she was appointed, she’s just there for decoration, and the people of NSW are stumping up for her $130,000 a year salary and the millions being poured into this useless commission.

    Lucy, if she is a genuine head of the commission and not just a famous celebrity figurehead, should be across all the detail. She should be able to explain why heritage homes in Haberfield are being demolished. If she can’t manage that she should resign.

    Why Lucy Turnbull needs to know what’s happening in Haberfield

    Just an extra – The media always tells us Lucy Turnbull ‘stepped down’ from her job as Lord Mayor after less than a year, but that’s not right. Not right at all. Turnbull and her council were sacked by Bob Carr because he wanted to amalgamate two Sydney councils before the March 2004 council elections. Being married to the most litigious man in Sydney obviously inspired Lucy, she called in the lawyers and Sydney City Council threatened legal action and even appealed to the Governor in attempts to save Lucy’s job. It didn’t work.

    Bob Carr had an agenda involving development and a council amalgamation was part of getting what he wanted. Just the same as Mike Baird and his forced council amalgamations this year. Baird has a development agenda too. Nothing much ever changes in NSW when it comes to corrupt behaviour by governments and councils.

  24. Gigilene,

    Lots of us still live here. However, I think we are all feeling pretty flat about things, hence the lack of activity.

  25. On the subject of raffles, I spoke to a guy last weekend who is hooked up with a group of huge professional punters that play percentages. So professional they have multi-floor offices in high-rise CBD buildings.
    Anyway, recently they came across a lottery with a $5M jackpot.
    They outlayed $2M and walked away with the jackpot.

  26. Getting a tad weary of the endless war memorials / war ceremonies / war marches..I ask; Can we not let the horror and despair of those wars finally rest in peace and get on with supporting the living?

    The Fallen.

    A soldier falls at Passchendaele,
    A mother weeps at home.
    In one hundred years between,
    A billion come and gone.

    But who will weep for Ginny,
    Who will weep for Tom,
    A woman beaten dead at home,
    A black man’s lost his son.

    A billion die in poverty ,
    Millions starved or bombed…
    A soldier falls at Passchendaele
    And the nation’s marching on.

    And it’s for this war or it’s that,
    Never for a Billy or a Jan.
    A soldier falls at Passchendaele
    And still we’re marching on.

    They’ll always have us marching,
    Always fighting on.
    For God, King and country,
    Poncierres, Ypres or the Somme.

    A thousand wars “worth fighting”
    And not one lost nor won.
    But still the soldier falls forlorn
    And a mother weeps at home.

    No-one to weep for Madeline?
    None to weep for Paul?
    For all the beaten, busted souls
    A billion, all in all.

    Tho’ we march for glory
    We march and sing the song .
    Marching, marching, bloody marching,
    Seeking a glory so long gone.

    But who will weep for Angeline,
    Who will weep for Sam?
    And for the billion lives between ;
    Raped-cheated-broken-starved and beated…

    Or shall we cry for none?

    A soldier falls at Passchendaele,
    All our mothers weep alone.
    Judge instead the liars brought us here,
    And pray; let our world get moving on.

  27. worth a read if you’re interested in the the long term trends in US politics

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