Comment by Anthony Watts:
There are many, many, people who I owe a debt of gratitude to, for kindnesses big and small, but, there is one person to who I owe a debt that is much more prominent.
That person is Mr. David Archibald of Perth.
David has been my constant companion throughout the grueling continent crisscrossing pace of the tour, sorting out and correcting details, making sure I was where I needed to be when I needed to be, fighting some idiotic travel battles we faced, and most importantly, helping me hear. This was critical in Q&A after the lectures.
Without him, I would have been lost. He’s a gentleman, a scholar, and I count him as a friend. David, I cannot thank you enough. Read more…
The Australian Lectures by David Archibald
Anthony Watts runs the world’s most popular science blog with three million hits per month. One of the reasons for its popularity is that it possibly the most cheerful science blog, which in turn is a reflection on the owner: positive, productive and thoroughly decent in a Midwestern American way. So when the call came for support speakers for his Australian lecture series, I had no hesitation in signing up for the whole gig, which included, in order, Sydney, Townsville, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Noosa, Emerald, Melbourne, Hobart, Mt Gambier, Hamilton, Ballarat, Narrogin, Perth, Canberra, Wagga Wagga and Coffs Harbour. For me it amounted to 26,000 km of travel.
Richard Fernandez wrote up the Sydney presentation on his blog, Belmont Club:
“But it was Watts’ presentation that stole the show. Why? Not for any superiority in presentation. What distinguished it from theirs was that Watts talk wasn’t really about a logical argument. It was about how to create a logical argument of sufficient authority to challenge the establishment. He was describing an open source research project, though perhaps much of the audience failed to realize it. Watts reeled them in as good speakers do, by telling them a story. He described how he had originally been a Global Warmist who had experienced a Pauline conversion on the most innocent of grounds. He had fascinated by measuring instruments and gadgetry and always had been.”
“Watts’ presentation at the hall consisted of seemingly unending stream of slides from his volunteers showing not just US, but foreign weather stations sited in the most laughable of ways: in the path of jet exhaust, air conditioning heat dumps, fermenting sewage plants, concrete heat sinks, in close proximity to machinery, motors, engines, incinerators and even atop tombstones. He then proceeded to flash a series of infrared images of the same sites showing the surrounds of the temperature stations all lit up. Then he piled Google Earth image upon Google Earth image of the temperature collection sites in winter showing the snow stretching far and away but for the little islands of heat in which the gauges were located. It was a tour de force. He understood the power of irrefutable repetition.”
Brisbane was the most interesting presentation. A prominent consumer of grant money for coral reef “research” waited patiently through our presentations and then was one of the first to ask a question while being photographed by an acolyte he had brought along for that purpose. I amused the audience by using a question about Henry’s Law to make the observation, paraphrasing Samuel Johnson, that ocean acidification is the last refuge of the global warming scoundrel. We had two lots of protestors that night picketing the entrance. We got a standing ovation in Emerald. In Adelaide, one of the audience had driven eleven hours across South Australia, from west of Ceduna, to attend. A lady who had attended the evening lecture in Melbourne wanted to see it again, so she drove four hours across Victoria for the Hamilton lecture, getting home to Melbourne at 2.00 am.
The heat has gone out of global warming as a political issue for the time being, though the Federal bureaucracy is running around as if carbon legislation is still coming. We were told of a seminar for a northern NSW shire council at which Clive Hamilton would be in attendance, so the global warming juggernaut is flick passing speaking fees to its fellow travellers.
While we were on the road, Federal Parliament passed changes to the Renewable Energy Target (RET) Scheme so that windmill operators can shove their snouts back deeply into the public trough, having been displaced by cheap carbon credits from home solar heaters. The moral authority for the RET Scheme comes from the global warming scare. So we haven’t yet stopped the tide of bad legislation. Our lecture tour gave succour to the rational faithful, but real progress in combating the new religion of self-loathing might require the hand of Nature. At the tour’s end I arrived back to a Perth that was having a record run of cold weather. There are reports of frost damage to crops in South Australia. Sea surface temperature is plunging in the eastern Pacific. Nature is coming to the rescue.