Media blood sports

"Private security contractors" ... who made the decision? Did Daniel Andrews know about it? Australian media has been in a feeding frenzy over this decision. But why? We have a mixed health system with public and private providers. Has any minister been forced to resign over a botched operation in a Private Hospital? "Who made the decision to use a private hospital?" Did the Premier know? Why didn't they use an army doctor? Will our Government refuse Covid-19 vaccines supplied by private contractors? When anybody chooses an organisation to perform a function, then they should do appropriate checks on whether the organisation is fit for purpose. What counts as "appropriate" depends on the fun

Energy chaos reaches new heights under the political correctness of market forces

If you follow the various high profile 100% renewable energy advocates, Mike Cannon-Brooks, Simon Holmes a Court and anybody in the Greens, you'd probably be wondering why the Australian Energy Market Operators (AEMO) is bothering with a Renewable Integration Study. Isn't it a done deal that renewables can power the grid? Isn't it easy? Adam Morton wrote about RIS in the Guardian back in April, and the take home message conveyed in his opening paragraph was precisely that ... and totally different from the tone of the actual study ... or even of the AEMO press release. Given that the article was published on the same day as the press release and the report with its appendices comprises some

Lies, damned lies and renewable energy statistics!

It's a terrible thing when people misuse statistics, because it gives the whole field a bad name. It feeds the anti-science cover-story that says: "People can prove any bloody thing with numbers!". In this little blog I want to take issue with a graph produced by Simon Holmes a Court (SHAC). Strictly speaking he didn't produce it ... but he tweeted it and the graph says clearly that he supplied the "concept". Dodgy graphs are a particularly dangerous form of statistical abuse, because they carry an air of scientific credibility. The king of picking dodgy graphs to pieces is Albert Cairo. He's a Professor of Visual Journalism at the University of Miami. Cairo has written a few books on the

Playing whack a mole with mining, enrichment and nuclear power

When it comes to the carbon footprint of food, most people have worked out that reducing your carbon footprint involves comparisons. Nothing in a supermarket is carbon neutral ... unless perhaps it is offset somehow ... but some foods have a much lower carbon footprint than others. The same is true of energy sources. And, as with foods, some people find comparison results counter intuitive. I gave a presentation a couple of years back in which I spent considerable time comparing the mining requirements for wind, solar and nuclear power. Despite abundant evidence to the contrary, during the discussion time following the presentation, a member of the audience stood up and proclaimed: "But

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© 2020 Geoff Russell