Wouldn’t know if their a**e was on fire

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”

156 thoughts on “Wouldn’t know if their a**e was on fire

  1. @Julie Thomas
    Julie as ZM says, history is different now and has been for quite a while. I did a lot on Aboriginal history and social history in the 1990s when I was doing my MA prelim, and wrote my MA on the meanings of maternity in twentieth century Australia (experience, policy and health systems) – so it’s not like you remember.

    In my original BA (so long ago!) I actually studied history and psychology, which you could do at Adelaide Uni in those days – it was an interesting combination.

  2. I hope this is the appropriate thread for this comment. We have to ask why the right wingers wouldn’t know if their backsides were on fire when it comes to AGW and other contemporary issues. My wife mentioned reading about some research which found left-wingers experienced more distress when shown images of human suffering and right-wingers experienced less distress. I haven’t found this research so I have no idea what it is and how valid it is.

    Even if this is part of the picture, I don’t think it is the complete picture. To take my own case, I am not really a kind, philanthropic or sympathetic person. I am not much moved (if at all) by distant human suffering resulting from natural causes. On the other hand, I am repelled by direct gratuitous exploitation and cruelty when I see it near at hand. This split is not entirely logical but I am talking emotions here not logic. So my left-wing stance owes little to my human kindness. There is not a great deal of that in me or at least there is less than average. (Anyone who has read me over time will know what a misanthrope I am.)

    What particularly irks me is the COMBINATION that anti-humanitarian action (like stop the boats) is also bad economic policy. The thought of us nationally paying (wasting) extra money to be pointlessly cruel when we could pay less money to be kind stikes me as particularly irrational.

    I might be that odd case, a relatively cold, unsympathetic person who happens to be left-wing. This indicates to me that being unsympathetic by nature is not enough to be a rusted on right-winger, one must also be illogical or have one’s logic seriously interferred with by further emotions. Paranoia seems a good candidate in this case.

  3. Fire and Wildlife conference Nov 9 – See inside for Video re Victoria’s disastrous fire and forest policy

    Video and transcript inside This film, made for the conference exposes the lived experience of corrupt, stupid and lethal Victorian forest and fire management, despite and because of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. The name of the film, “Firebug Economy,” comes from Jill Redwood’s description of a desperate way of making money out of fires by people in the declining logging business. In the film Jill also talks about the low flammability of old growth forests and the horrible synergy of forest removal, wildlife loss, and global warming, greatly accelerated under Victoria’s ‘planned burns policy’. Government policy has been stealthily converting old growth forests into plantations. Is the final aim is to sell them for farmland and urban development as Victoria burns?Please come to the Pause and Review conference in Melbourne 9th Nov 2014 at Kindness House, 288 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy Melbourne. Starts 10am. Contact: Maryland Wilson 0417 148 501. Jill Redwood of Environment East Gippsland is famous for leading the first ever successful case by an environmental organisation against a government logging firm. In this film we find that the trees granted protection in the famous EEG court case against VicForests have since been vengefully felled.

  4. Catastrophic fire conditions are predicted for parts of SA tomorrow with temperatures predicted to hut 44C in some areas.

    This is early November – what are January and February going to be like?

  5. @Ikonoclast
    I’ll reply at length, with pleasure. I’ve tonight returned from Gough’s state ceremony, yesterday, at Sydney Town Hall. What came shining through, for me, was Gough’s intolerance of the sheer irrationality of prejudice and bigotry of any kind. He, like many other deeply egalitarian Australians, thought it was just mad. So, I reckon you are in good company. My guess is that Gough wasn’t cuddly either. I heard Freudenberg say that Gough always touched his shoulder before giving a speech, of any sort, for ‘luck’, he said. In my eyes that’s as far as touch went in those days. But what a huge contribution those undemonstrative men made to Australia 🙂

  6. @Ikonoclast

    I find that sad — not in general, because what you do is more important than your motives — but sad for you. Warmth towards others, the capacity for empathy and so forth brings joy to most folk. There’s no free lunch of course. If you empathise, then the pain of others brings sadness and vicarious pain. Not feeling anything at all is probably the most emotionally stable condition, but then, why bother living at all if one feels nothing? Dead people also don’t suffer pain or experience the joy found in the happiness of others.

    While I speak a great deal of reason and the structures needed to underpin equitable collaboration, for me, this isn’t simply about getting a tidy paradigm. It’s about human possibility and honouring the lives of all my fellows.

    I can’t prove that that should move you of course. This is something you either accept or you don’t, but absent that axiom I can’t imagine why I’d bother with politics at all.

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