That’s the title of a piece of mine the Chronicle of Higher Education ran a little while ago. It’s paywalled but they have graciously given me permission to republish it here.
Channel 9 News yesterday had a story about how the massive worldwide TV audience for G20 news coverage will discover that
* Brisbane has graffiti
* Roma St Transit Centre is ugly.
In reality of course, they will discover that we have a Convention Centre and hotels, providing backdrops for political leaders to pontificate about nothing much.
As I type this, it’s currently 35 degrees, at 9am on an October morning in Brisbane. And, while one day’s temperatures don’t prove anything, a string of studies have shown that the increasingly frequent heatwaves in Australia can be reliably attributed to global warming. We haven’t had an El Nino yet, but according to NOAA, the last 12 months have been the hottest such period on record.
It will be interesting to see what the denialists come up with in response to this combination of record breaking local and global warming. We can safely rule out anything along the lines of “as a sceptic, I like to wait for convincing evidence before accepting a new hypothesis. But, with the steady accumulation of evidence I’m now convinced”. I suspect we’ll get more along the lines of
* Graham Lloyd, reporting a new study by Jennifer Marohasy, showing that the communists at the Met Bureau are artificially pumping hot air through Australian cities to cover up the fact that they rigged the data to show exactly this warming
* The Telegraph, with a front-page story of an old codger saying something like “You think this is hot? Back in ’23, we had heat waves in July so bad that concrete footpaths melted”
* Andrew Bolt will readjust the start dates so he can continue to claim “no significant warming for the past x years”, omitting the crucial word “statistically”
It’s time for another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.
Here’s an assorted list of things that once seemed archetypally American, but have pretty much reached the end of the line. More precisely, there are no new ones, or hardly any, and the existing examples look increasingly down at heel
Nuclear power stations
Feel free to discuss, deny, add to the list and so on.
A new sandpit for long side discussions, idees fixes and so on.
I was contacted by a journalism student here who would some commentary on the rosy projections being made about how the G20 meetings will put Brisbane on the world tourism map, assisted by such initiatives as a month of cultural celebrations (beginning tomorrow) along with “Team Brisbane” and “Global Cafe”. I offered the following response
G20 will provide a short-lived but substantial boost in demand for accommodation and restaurant services in the Brisbane CBD, associated with the arrival of thousands of delegates and media representatives. This will be offset by a negative effect on all other kinds of tourism, not only because of the difficulty of obtaining accommodation but because of the lockdown and other security measures associated with the event, and perhaps with fears of terrorism.
Longer-term effects on tourism, economic growth, and so on will be negligible. International news coverage of G20 will focus on staged events in the CBD, such as media conferences, held in settings indistinguishable from those of any other CBD. Viewers will scarcely be aware that the event is being held in Brisbane, let alone that there are associated cultural celebrations or that Brisbane is a desirable place to visit. A Google search on “G20 cultural celebrations” reveals zero coverage outside (greater) Brisbane, even though the event is starting today.
As regards “Team Brisbane” and “Global Cafe”, I was entirely unaware of these marketing efforts. I suspect that I am typical of the world’s population in this respect.