December 2nd 2017

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL Turnbull redefines terms of marriage vote

CANBERRA OBSERVED Turnbull is running on empty as margin shrinks

GENDER POLITICS Northern Territory proposes recognising fluid genders

ENVIRONMENT Sea levels are not on the rise: research

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Our clinging to the fringe is stultifying development

FREEDOM Where to now after the marriage redefinition vote?

EDUCATION Unions and the ALP have gutted the curriculum

ECONOMICS The West faces tests of its own resilience

CULTURE The mysterious birth of technology

DRUGS AND SOCIETY Addiction and the cultural repression of spiritual values

OPINION Don't stand by as the fight for freedom begins

LITERATURE Britain's Kazuo Ishiguro a worthy Nobel laureate

HUMOUR Whispers from court side

MUSIC Funny tones: Playing it for a laugh

CINEMA Murder on the Orient Express: First-class mayhem

BOOK REVIEW Disentangling the free-market fraud

BOOK REVIEW Not inscrutible, just ambitious


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News Weekly, December 2, 2017

Reviews inform our viewing

As a family with a newborn, we haven’t gone to a movie in months. Before that, it was a once or twice a month occurrence, sometimes feeling like a waste of time if the movie was particularly vulgar or had a plot line that led nowhere.

Then I stumbled upon the reviews by Symeon J. Thompson in News Weekly. I have thoroughly enjoyed not only his reviews but his credibility in judging movies to be worthy of our watching. Movies that I may not have seen, at Symeon’s review, became worthy of watching!

I especially appreciate the infographic regarding the weight of language/violence/sex/nudity. I look forward to when we start bringing our kiddo to the movies and we can feel good about what we watch before we go, because of Symeon’s reviews.

Maggie Walsh,
Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.


Are we all dual citizens?

Peter Westmore’s comments in “Full audit can end dual citizenship fiasco” (News Weekly, November 18, 2017) is well documented. Thank you.

However, although I generally support what Mr Westmore says, I am not sure I quite agree with his words or headline.

What happens while this “full audit” of all members is going on? Which parliamentarian of any of the elected parties is going to be interested in dealing with governmental issues, that is, do what they have been elected to do?

From the beginning of this dual citizenship debacle there has been something “fishy” about it.

As far as I am concerned, every one of us Australians is a dual citizen. All of us are descendants of migrants who moved to Australia (willingly to prosper or unwillingly sent). We all have some ancestor who was a migrant: father, grandfather, great-grandfather. One could go on to first pioneers.

For over 200 years we (migrants) have populated this land. The only natural citizens we know are the original owners who had been here for approximately 40,000 years.

These cannot be deemed to have dual citizenship like the rest of us.

So, this governmental train-wreck seems to me to be orchestrated and intentional for some motive. Its aim seems to me to be to destabilise our government, especially as it appears to affect all parties.

The question I would ask is, “who is behind this attempted destabilisation and what appears to be an ungovernable parliament? And, why?”

Who is behind this? What is it camouflaging? What motivations underpin this attempted destabilisation of our government? I have ideas but …

Anne Lastman,
Vermont South, Vic.


Hypothesis upon hypothesis

Dr Ian Flanigan’s article, “The core of climate science is in the real-world data” (News Weekly, November 17), rightly mentions data to prove hypotheses, and convincingly shows two graphs to disprove the carbon dioxide raises global temperature hypothesis.

There are a couple of problems with this. First, neither graph shows real-world data: each shows interpretations of the data based on numerous assumptions (hypotheses).

Deriving historic temperature estimates from ice cores requires many assumptions. First, how do you date the ice cores? The assumption that so many layers of ice equals so many years requires a leap of faith. It is a reasonable assumption that each layer equals one storm, but how many storms in a year?

Various ancient volcanic eruptions produce ash with layers of ash in the ice of similar composition, which may be OK as far back as 1400 BC, where we have well documented datings of the said eruptions, but extrapolating to “deep time” involves way too many assumptions.

Tree ring dating is well known, but to use it one must know that not every tree produces one growth ring per year, some produce two, three or four, some vary and some in semi-arid regions produce one each time it rains!

Assuming the level of carbon dioxide in a bubble trapped in ice equals the average level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere a long time ago assumes no gas leaked in or out – a dubious assumption. Even solid ice allows some gas in and out, as does rock.

As for estimating temperature aeons ago from an ice core, how many assumptions in that? I have done some statistics. A rule of thumb is anything that involves three assumptions in a row is not a hypothesis worth entertaining. So, that is where the argument rests.

Meanwhile, real-world actual temperature recordings exist back as far as 1750 in the United States (New York City and upstate) and to the mid 17th century in England; and the Royal Navy has taken ocean surface and water temperature measurements since then too.

I have not read of the Navy collating and releasing these measurements. It would be interesting to see these data, but also to know why they have not released them.

I understand temperatures in New York have gone up by 5 degrees Celsius since 1750, but have not risen in upstate New York. A powerful demonstration of the heat-island effect.

Another point worth considering is that models suggest carbon dioxide rises on their own only increase temperature via greenhouse effect a small amount, and there is a ceiling to this effect, as there is with all chemical reactions where increasing beyond a certain level has no further effect.

The climate catastrophists argue there is a “forcing effect” due to interactions of carbon dioxide, but their models suggest certain effect on the middle atmosphere which have not been borne out by observations, as Bob Carter and Ian Plimer have convincingly demonstrated in their books.

Dr Philip Dawson,
Low Head, Tas.

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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm