We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Professor Turney’s expedition was supposed to repeat scientific investigations made by Douglas Mawson a century ago and to compare then and now. Not unreasonably, it has been pointed out Mawson’s ship was never icebound. Sea ice has been steadily increasing, despite the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s gloomy forecasts. Had the expedition found the slightest evidence to confirm its expectation of melting ice caps and thin ice, a major new scare about the plight of the planet would have followed. As they are transferred to sanctuary aboard the icebreaker Aurora Australis, Professor Turney and his fellow evacuees must accept the embarrassing failure of their mission shows how uncertain the science of climate change really is. They cannot reasonably do otherwise.

The Australian

24 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    “They can not reasonably do otherwise”.

    Sadly I do not think they are people who value reason very highly.

  • Regional

    Strayans are a omnipotent nation:
    Former Fairfax senior writer and frequent ABC commentator Margo Kingston predicts:
    Our climate change denial govt will lie to destroy the planet.
    Fauxfacts makes the Guardian look like nancies when it comes to agenda driven reporting.Let’s hope so. These slow news days lately are really getting me down.

  • RRS

    Science is always uncertain.

    Individuals and groups participating in its enquiries, out of egotisms, desires or fantasies, may often claim or sense “certainties.” But Science, to be Science requires openness to refutations.

    None of that is new to the experience of man dealing with encounters with what has been his unknown but discovered ignorance.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    It occurred to me the other day that one of the more alarming features of the whole CAGW cult is that it causes me to cheer whenever I see evidence against the planet getting warmer, since it makes them look like fools. In many respects this is not a wise thing to do.

    A warm period gave us the Roman Empire. A cold period gave us the Dark Ages.

    If indeed the planet is entering a cooling phase, this is not a good thing. This is a very bad thing.

    One of the worst things the cult of CAGW have done is distract us so much we are failing to prepare for the potentially hard times ahead, either because we don’t believe they are coming, or because we’re distracted by cheap point scoring.

  • Mr Ed

    Well, they are ‘under pressure’ now, here’s a rap song for them from none other than Vanilla Ice.

  • A warm period gave us the Roman Empire. A cold period gave us the Dark Ages.

    I think the Dark Ages came about due to the collapse of Rome after the corrosive effects of price controls and increasing economic rigidity reduced their ability to maintain their standing army.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    I think that’s one of the reasons the Roman Empire collapsed Perry, but the fact that it was bloody freezing was one of the main reasons humanity reverted to a Bronze Age level of technology for the best part of 1000 years.

    A favourable climate might have allowed mankind to retain the technological advances made during the warm Roman years. I also question whether the Roman Empire could have arisen had the climate not been so favourable during their tenure.

  • Brother J

    Anthony Watt of Watts Up With That was asked for assistance with procuring and interpreting weather data for the stranded ship.

    I also pointed out that the Australian scientists on-board were climatologists, and not operational weather forecasters, and finding this sort of weather data probably wasn’t in their skill set.

    And they’re trying to tell us what the weather is going to be like decades from now?

  • Fraser Orr

    @Brother J
    In fairness, no they are not. They are trying to tell you what the climate will be like.
    However, as Chicago, where I live, is once again buried in feet of snow, and the charts continue with 15 years of failed predictions, my question for the AGW crowd is “When does weather become climate?”

    I remember when Al Gore predicted that the North Pole would be ice free in five years, climate scientists rushed quickly to distance themselves from the claim. God forbid they actually make a falsifiable statement.


  • Mr Ed

    Climate Scientists, Christian Scientists, Domestic Scientists, Scientists.

    The qualifying word is negatory, but at least domestic scientists can cook.

  • As has been mentioned previously…

    Welcome to Gilligan’s Iceberg!

  • Stonyground

    I noticed that the report on BBC radio news described this ship-full of climate alarmists as tourists. No mention of any scientific mission to assess how different conditions were from the time when a previous explorer visited the area 100 years ago.

  • Thornavis.


    It’s an interesting question that, the possibility of the ending of the warm period that coincided with the Roman Empire being at least partly the reason for its collapse and the Medieval Warm Period was certainly one of increased agricultural production and cultural achievement. However when one considers that the harshest period of the Little Ice Age was also a time of economic growth and the beginning of the Enlightenment it doesn’t seem clear what major effect, if any, climate has on society. One thing we can say is that most of us would certainly prefer to live in warm times and if the catastrophic scenarios beloved of alarmists are rubbish, which it seems they are, then what is there to worry about ? I don’t think sceptics make enough of this point, which would probably have more of a resonance for the average person than the scientific arguments, it’s certainly something I make a point of emphasising when trying to persuade others that the CAGWers are wrong.

  • Julie near Chicago

    What Fraser said. On both points.

    The “weather forecast” is notoriously a “definite-maybe” sort of prediction, but Near Chicago we are sort-of promised some chilly days ahead, with the lowest highs being -9˚F and -7˚F and lows comfortably below -20˚F. Now that’s on the cool side even for around here (if it comes to pass), and we did get an additional 8″ or so of snow to see out 2013 and welcome in 2014.

    It’s nice to have real winter weather again. As long as I don’t have to shovel. :>)

    Back to Fraser’s point, however. While I have zero concern that we are overheating the planet (although I do avoid paved areas during the summer heat), we ought to observe that although it may be a bit of a problem to predict the exact course of one particular molecule of H2O in a pot of boiling water, one can be reasonably sure that the water will eventually disappear altogether from the pot. Assuming the absence of a lid, of course. While we also do not understand climate well enough for accurate predictions of it (whatever definitions we make of it), the analogy tells us that being able to understand the overall effect of a confluence of complex processes is sometimes possible even though the details remain cloudy. So to speak. :>)

  • Laird

    I agree with Thornavis. JV’s theory is an interesting one, and I’d like to see Paul Marks’ take on it, but I’m skeptical. I suspect that the end of the Dark Ages had more to do with Gutenberg than with a warmer climate, and that the downfall of Rome had more to do with empire-exhaustion than with chills in the remote regions of northern Europe.

    Anyway, I rather wish the AGW-ists were correct. Fifteen years of colder-than-expected winters is getting old. There are many benefits to a generally warmer climate, a fact which is always completely ignored by the catastrophists. We can certainly better deal with a few inches higher sea level than a shorter growing season worldwide. Cold kills more readily than heat. I say, pump out that CO2! The Chinese may be saving our bacon atmospherically as well as economically.

  • Stonyground

    Expanding upon my earlier post, I think that the BBC coverage of the story has been pretty disgraceful. Isn’t it part of the BBC charter that their news reports are supposed to be balanced? I accept that it is impossible to be totally neutral about everything given that everyone has their own starting point for their take on any story. In this case though, the story has been deliberately skewed to play down the colossal own goal that has been scored by the AGW alarmists. It takes very little imagination to guess how the BBC would have reported the story had a serious melt down of Antarctic ice had been discovered.

  • Richard Thomas

    I understand that it’s starting to emerge that the Dark Ages really weren’t so dark after all. I’m struggling to find a decent link that summarizes but it’s worth searching around a little about the subject.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Richard, I too have heard this disastrous news. Worse, I’m inclined to believe it. None of which speaks to your link issue, of course. :>)

  • chuck

    I understand that it’s starting to emerge that the Dark Ages really weren’t so dark after all.

    A dark age denialist, no less 😉 My impression is that that was another of those revisionist fads that sweep through academia on a regular basis, and that the dark ages were actually, on the evidence, dark. There was a drastic decline in literacy, engineering, and manufacturing technology accompanied by an almost total breakage of trade between the regions of Europe. I think that in England the decline brought the population to a lower civilizational level than it had been prior to the Roman conquest, for many local skills had been forgotten during the days of empire. Think what would happen if petroleum/coal went away. How many could farm with horses, build without power tools, and do iron work with a hammer and anvil? The Amish would become an advanced segment of society.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    The Dark Ages were only thus in Western Europe- the Eastern Empire kept on existing and fighting. And the Roman Empire fell as much due to internal corruption as due to weather. In fact, its’ fall might have been a good thing, as corruption works best in monopolies, and the shattered empire became small, competing, states. And didn’t the world go through a little Ice Age int the 1800s? Why didn’t the world collapse then?

  • chuck

    Why didn’t the world collapse then?

    Lack of barbarian hordes? Speaking of which, what happened to those hordes? The mongols seem to have been the last of the bunch. Maybe gunpowder had something to do with that.

  • Ljh

    Climate change of the nasty cold sort, turned the tribes scraping a living in the glades of the forests north of the Danube and Rhine into economic migrants with the odd bit of pillage thrown in. The Vandals and Visigoths didn’t want to cause the collapse of the Roman Empire just join in without the faintest idea of the admin necessary to keep it functioning. Trade across the Mediterranean continued until the Arab invasion of North Africa after which Western Europe collapsed into a parochial collection of fortified villages.

  • Mr Ed

    The key to coping with any climate is to be able to act economically and to have an accumulation and productive application of capital and technology, so that Arizona may be inhabited by many people if they are able to obtain electricity economically and have refrigeration, air conditioning and water etc. Similarly, in the cold Polar wastes, life may be viable if bearable heating and insulation are available and sustainable. (By ‘sustainable’ I mean ‘economically viable’, not ‘rationed’). In temperate regions, life may be relatively manageable for small human populations absent significant capital. (Noting that the current world population would be unsustainable absent sustained economic activity).

    von Mises said that any socialist system seeks the petrification of social conditions, a society where life is metaphorically set in stone, nothing changes, and it seems that the Warmists pretend that they can engineer a climactic ‘petrification’ with the climate not changing. I suspect that if it were to be suggested to the Warmists that the key to coping with ‘climate change’ (regardless of cause) is the rapid accumulation of capital and economic development, they would betray utter horror at the prospect, as the ‘means’ would be opposed to their desired ‘end’.

    And if warming is so bad, how would northern England cope if glaciers returned to the Lake District? It would not look like this.

  • Rob

    If the people in this ship were climate sceptics and they had ironically become stuck in ice they insist cannot be there, the BBC would have rolling 24 hour news coverage.