Wind at the choke point on Tuesday 25 Feb

On Tuesday 25 the wind dropped to a very low point across SE Australia and this demonstrated the “choke point” when parts of the grid will die unless sources other than wind can provide practically 100% of demand. Below is the picture across the whole of SE Australia. Wind is the blue band at the top, just to confuse the issue hydro is green unlike the other AEMO display that I usually use where the hydro is blue and the band above it is wind in green.

Wind did not fit into the screen shot. It was 3% from 9 am at 11am and gradually increased to 5% at 6 and 5.5% at 6.30. Field Solar was 7% for most of the day, down to 3% at 6pm shortly before sunset. Rooftop solar is not recorded on this display, the other display indicates that Rooftop pv provides about as much as brown coal between 10am and pre-dinner drinks in the evening.

Below is the picture for South Australia, the wind superpower of the nation. Wind  provided 8% of the local mix from 9am to 11am and rose to peak at 38% at 6pm. For much of the day SA would have topped up with coal power from the east because the demand would have been much the same from 11 to 6 but I don’t have a picture of the Dispatch Overview to know how much was coming and going. The hydrocarbon Gas provided 70% of the local mix at 11am and declined until it peaked over 80% in the evening when the sun went down and the wind faded after six. Not a great day for RE in the RE state!

In Queensland Wind contributed 1% all day and field solar was 8%.

In Victoria Wind provided 7% all day and field solar provided 4%.

In Tasmania that day Hydro was 94%, Natural Gas 4% and Wind 2%.

The point of the story is that on that day the wind contributed  next to nothing across the SE, from 3% in the morning to peak at 5.5% as the sun was setting. Field solar did little better with 7% during the hours of full sunlight. 

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Grumpy Four

Head of Royal Children’s Hospital condemns racism against Asian medicos.

The head of Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital Emergency Department has called out as “racism” the refusal of families to have their children treated by Asian staff members amid fears of a coronavirus pandemic hitting Australia.

Dr Stuart Lewena said the “paranoia” around coronavirus “is acceptable”, but discriminating against medicos on the basis of race is not, citing at least four instances at the Royal Children’s Hospital in recent weeks.

“Whilst at the moment we’ve only seen a few isolated cases Whilst at the moment we’ve only seen a few isolated cases of what we would only view as racism being directed towards some of our staff, we did identify the fact that that was unacceptable,” Dr Lewena said.

We weren’t going to wait until it became a larger problem, and we’re well and truly supporting our staff and getting the message to the community and those who attend our department that we have complete confidence and faith in all staff who work here at the hospital.

“There’s no need to be picking and choosing the doctor who sees you when you attend the hospital, and there’s certainly no need to be making that decision based on their race.

Because Dr Lewena said “recent weeks” when he could have said “month,” let’s assume he meant three weeks. The Emergency Department at The Royal Children’s Hospital treats 250 patients a day. Or 5250 in three weeks. Four of those allegedly refused to be treated by Asian doctors. We don’t know why. Some people prefer to avoid doctors with a poor grasp of English. On this flimsy basis, Dr Lewena rushes to the media to declare a pandemic of racism. Don’t be silly, old China. It probably came up at a department heads’ meeting and you felt you had to publicly ‘care.’ We get it. But don’t insult the people paying your salary with nonsense.

Posted in Ethics and morality, Fake News, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Killing men for art

Victorian Opera's Salome, Vida Miknevičiūtė

From The Age today: Killing women for art? Opera’s 2020 death toll might surprise. Comes with the picture above. This is how it starts.

At the Palais this week Salome looked like she was doing so well. Singing her heart out, John the Baptist’s head in her arms, Herod humiliated, mum proud. Suddenly the king bellowed the command “Man töte dieses Weib” – “kill this woman”. Slain. Final curtain.

A debate gathering steam in the opera world questions whether the art form is at core misogynistic, patriarchal and oppressive, and in need of reform. So The Age decided to check the body count on Melbourne opera stages in 2020 to see if women come off worse than men. The result (spoiler alert) may surprise.

First, the case for the prosecution. Take a roll call of some of the greatest and most-performed masterpieces. Tosca: jumps off a castle, dead. Carmen: stabbed by a jealous lover, dead. Butterfly: humiliated, stabs herself, dead. Violetta (La Traviata) and Mimi (La Boheme): dead, both by tuberculosis. Liu in Turandot: stabs herself after being tortured, dead. Gilda in Rigoletto: stabbed and stuffed in a sack, dead. Salome: dead. Norma: dead. Lucia di Lammermoor: dead.

So just have a closer look at the picture. Why it’s none other than the head of John the Baptist held aloft by Salome having herself sought his death from the king for having undertaken the Dance of the Seven Veils as her side of the bargain. Mere background detail, there just to move the plot along.

The sentimentality of all forms of art, best expressed by the line-up for the lifeboats on a sinking ship, women and children first, means the death of men is just so it goes. It’s their lot in life. The final stat in the column is that this year eleven men have died on stage but only three women. But no story line I know of makes the death of some male the emotional centre of the plot. As for women, that’s a different story altogether.

Posted in Cultural Issues | 11 Comments

Casinovirus: addicted unis comp Chinese students

IN Vegas, ‘whales’ gamble so much the house lays on all sorts of complimentary goodies to reel them in: flights, rooms, food, booze, the works. This is standard practice the world over. Core earners for casinos – which is to say, losers – whales are VIPs. Melbourne University – no sawdust joint – likes the idea:

One of Australia’s most prestigious universities is offering cash grants of $7,500 to help Chinese students get around the coronavirus travel ban and resume their studies.

The University of Melbourne is offering the grant to cover eligible expenses including accommodation, airfares and quarantine costs …

The offer comes after the University of Western Sydney and Adelaide University offered students smaller amounts of $1,500 and $5,000 respectively.

The grants could enable students to return to Australia by serving a two-week quarantine period in a third country after leaving China.

More at the link, including reaction from the scheme’s most trenchant and well informed critic – Associate Professor Salvatore Babones from the Centre for Independent Studies. Babones, whose warning about the overexposure of Australian universities to Chinese enrolments was reported last year, regards the cash-for-quarantine plan as dangerous for the students and “morally indefensible.”

Posted in Education, Ethics and morality | 21 Comments

From the “fact check” unit that missed a talking rodent in pants

IN November 2019, the ABC fell for a climate change petition purportedly signed by 11,000 scientists. After I delved deeper into the document itself (via links not provided by the ABC), I found that 2,610 of the signatories described themselves as “student,” “researcher” or “retired.” Scores had qualifications unrelated to the ‘crisis’ they were warning the world about. Andrew Bolt looked again and discovered the petition was also signed by Mickey Mouse. Organisers had sought to hoodwink the public with a bloated, doctored petition. It’s not quite right, in fact, to say the ABC’s climateers “fell” for this dodgy mayday. They accepted and promoted it on faith because it was religiously correct and politically useful.

By stark, disturbing contrast, an ABC probe by two “Fact Check” gumshoes published this morning examines a crisis-sceptical climate petition posted to Facebook by Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly in October 2019. Online editor Matt Martino and his assistant, Christina Arampatzi, sought to contact the 75 Australian signatories by telephone, email and LinkedIn. Their goal was to verify the 75 did indeed sign the petition and ask them about their vocational credentials. After a bizarre snoop-a-thon that must have included hundreds of phone calls and emails, Martino and Arampatzi tracked down only 29. When cold-called using internet-stalked contact details, many signatories understandably refused to speak to the pair (re a petition they signed more than four months ago). Long story short: they are an impressive group with diverse qualifications and experiences. But just like Mickey Mouse and the thousands of phony experts among the infamous 11,000, they’re not “climate scientists.” That’s supposed to be a gotcha that justifies the investigation of private citizens. The state broadcaster is now running background checks on anyone who publicly doubts ‘climate change.’

Posted in Fake News, Media | 28 Comments

Anti-tech silliness

From a long think piece in the AFR:

Decades from now, historians will likely look back on the beginning of the 21st century as a period when the smartest minds in the world’s richest country sank their talent, time and capital into a narrow band of human endeavour – digital technology.

Their efforts have given us frictionless access to media, information, consumer goods, and chauffeurs. But software has hardly remade the physical world. We were promised an industrial revolution. What we got was a revolution in consumer convenience.

… because consumer convenience is a bad thing.


Posted in Technology & Telco | 32 Comments

The funniest thing you’ll read all day

From a long piece in The Australian:

Through its KiwiBuild program, the government pledged 100,000 high-quality, affordable homes across 10 years, half of them in Auckland.

In reality, after 47 houses were built, the targets were scrapped as unrealistic. 

That is an objective failure – people should know better by now to believe such promises.  Nonetheless spectacular – awesome effort.

I also chuckled at this:

The Washington Post observed after Ardern hobnobbed with the wealthy worthy in Davos that, while many were enthralled, ­others saw the NZ PM as being cut from the same poseur cloth as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, only less annoying and with an easier country to run.


“She is regarded as a bit of a show pony who is not delivering,” Australian National Univer­sity professor John Wanna says.

Now that may or may not be true.  But to be fair that is hardly unique to the New Zealand prime minister.

Interestingly enough – the piece today follows another piece that I read in the AFR suggesting that the Ardern government might be in trouble:

A personally popular Prime Minister at home, and uber-popular one abroad, Ardern is now facing one of the biggest challenges of her premiership. The headache is not being caused by the opposition, or a flagging economy, but the behaviour of her own Deputy Prime Minister and Coalition partner, Winston Peters.

It seems that Winston Peters has been involved in some complicated scheme to funnel money to political ends.

Like all electoral law it is a bit murky and complicated, but the basic facts are these: NZ First appears to have operated a foundation to the side of the party that receives donations and pays for party activities, while not declaring those donations to the New Zealand Electoral Commission.

Hard to get excited – but it may be important for some.

I do tend to be a bit suspicious of arguments suggesting a first term (national) government will be thrown out because they are struggling to deliver.  By definition first term governments struggle with high expectation and inexperience. I suspect voters know this and discount those issues when they get to actually voting.

Posted in International, Politics | 19 Comments

Alex Epstein takes the moral case for fossil fuels on campus

What an opportunity! And see how the students responded.

Some of the questions they raised included:
  • Given that we’re already seeing sea level rise hurt places like Miami, should we really be increasing our use of fossil fuels?
  • Aren’t fossil fuels only low-cost because they receive far more in subsidies than renewables?
  • Why do you give fossil fuels credit for cleaner air and water rather than regulation?
  • Aren’t we going to run out of fossil fuels, since they’re a finite resource?
  • Doesn’t air pollution kill 1.3 million people per year in China?
  • What do you think about the mass extinction of over half of the world’s organisms in the past few decades because of temperature changes?
  • If fossil fuels are so great, why aren’t they benefiting places like Venezuela and Iraq?
The Q&A went on for over an hour and there were still several students eager to ask more questions.
The CMU event is a model of what I want to achieve on college campuses: opening the minds of people who expect to disagree with me and also empowering those who already agree with me with a new level of clarity.

The link again.


Some random thoughts. Soon the eyes of the world will turn to Australia to see how a nation with no nuclear power and no neighbours to help out will handle the transition to zero emissions. It will be interesting to see how all the high-profile and outspoken advocates of zero emissions in high places, industry, academia, politics and the media manage the walk back from the train crash.

Chris Kenny fisks Waleed Aly on the German green transition.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe | 9 Comments

Arms Race

DOES it still happen in primary school classrooms? You knew the answer (or thought you did) and maybe let out an “ooh, I know!” Nah-uh. Hands up, please, said Sister. She took her time to choose a hand – all the better to assess her charges and make non limb-raisers either think or feel ashamed of themselves. Eventually even they reached for the ceiling – what choice did they have? – playing the odds they wouldn’t get the call. As the seconds went on, the goody-goody know-it-alls … I mean, your laudable classmates – began to crazily pound the air with their forearms. Finally: “Yes … Paul.” Captain Cook? No, not Captain Cook.

Joe Biden at 0.18: the lame, guilty arm of a pretender. Doesn’t have a clue. Michael Bloomberg (between 0.28 and 0.34): new kid. He’s crying inside, asking why he’s here. Biden is planning to dack him at recess and taken his lunch. Smug Pete Buttigieg at 0.46 wants to talk about maths. This is social studies, Pete. Shoosh. Elizabeth Warren at 0.52 – mmm, interesting. That’s the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it salute of a pet who’s not sure about this one but doesn’t want her fellow front-row savants to sniff any weakness. In the end, the teacher makes a choice: “Bernie.” Communism? No, not communism.

Posted in American politics, Elections | 7 Comments

There is no excuse for murder

There is certainly no excuse for the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children by Rowan Baxter in a murder-suicide.

Nor is there any excuse for the murder of four children by Charmaine McLeod on 27 May 2019 when she deliberately drove her car into a truck, probably causing permanent mental anguish to the truck driver.

Yet these two cases, similar in so many ways, are being treated quite differently. There was a Parliamentary vigil in Canberra for Clarke and her children, but not for the four children of the grieving father James McLeod. His warnings of the likelihood of his former wife committing violence were ignored. The media reports around the time imply that she was suffering depression – as if that was an excuse for the murder – something which Bettina Arndt and Det Insp Mark Thompson were slammed on social media and elsewhere when they suggested that it is too early in the investigation to decide on the guilt of Rowan Baxter and whether he had any defence for his actions (ie: mitigating factors).

In both cases the murderers died at the scene from self-inflicted wounds. But if they had survived and faced Court on charges of murder they would presumably offer a defence or claim some extenuating factor to mitigate their guilt.

Of course there is no excuse for murder, and Thompson should have chosen his words more carefully, but the furore which his comments and those of Arndt have attracted has been rather extreme to the point that the Senate voted for Arndt to have her Order of Australia rescinded.

If we were to go through living recipients of the Order of Australia for things that they said which caused offence there would be many others that would have their order stripped.

What are politicians such as Sarah Henderson, Tim Smith and Jill Hennessy really saying? If Rowan Baxter survived his self-inflicted wounds that he should not be allowed to plead not guilty, or that he should be automatically convicted without the necessity of a trial?

Really it is time for people to calm down, and allow the Police to go after murderers and other criminals who should face the full force of the law provided it is through due process and according to time honoured principles. This social media pile on is so undignified but is typical of today’s society where competitive outrage is a national sport.

Posted in Uncategorized | 52 Comments