Daily Archives: August 18, 2009

Member of Australian parliament calls for population control

Labor MP calls for population control

abc.net.au | Aug 18, 2009

A Federal Government backbencher says the world’s rising population is to blame for the most serious global problems.

Labor Member for Wills Kelvin Thompson has told Parliament that global warming, water shortages and even terrorism and wars can be traced back to overpopulation.

Mr Thompson recently linked terrorism with Australia’s immigration levels, suggesting a smaller intake would allow more time to assess applications.

He says there is a strong case for population control if world governments are to deal effectively with environmental, economic and social problems.

“It is time for governments and policy makers around the world to come to their senses and take steps to stabilise the world’s population,” he said.

“It needs to happen in every country, including here in Australia – especially here in dry, arid Australia.”

Mr Thompson has also taken aim at his own city of Melbourne, saying planners have tried to prevent urban sprawl with high-rise development to accommodate the increased population.

“What they don’t realise is that it isn’t halting any urban sprawl at all – suburbs continue to march out onto the horizon,” he said.

“Melbourne is becoming an obese, hardened-artery parody of its former self.

“There is something intangible but important about the personal space of a backyard.

“I believe the children who grow up in concrete jungle suburbs are subject to more bullying and harassment and are more vulnerable to traps like crime and drugs.”

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Homeless man catches fire after being Tasered by police

LancasterEagleGazette.com | Aug 18, 2009

LANCASTER — A homeless man who allegedly resisted arrest Monday night is in the Fairfield County Jail after being shocked with a Taser and catching on fire.

Lancaster police were called out to the 1700 block of North Memorial Drive around 8 p.m. to investigate a report of a man inhaling an aerosol can and then running out in traffic.

Officers said they spotted a man, later identified as Daniel Wood, 31, allegedly placing the end of a can in his mouth and then taking off running.

One officer was able to catch Wood and pushed him to the ground, according to a Lancaster police report.

While struggling with Wood, a second officer pulled out his Taser, shouted a warning, and stunned Wood.

One of the officers then spotted a flame ignite on Wood’s chest, and the two officers at the scene patted out the flame.

Wood was transported to Fairfield Medical Center for treatment of burns to his chest and then taken to the Fairfield County Jail.

Wood was charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and abusing harmful intoxicants.

A third of nurses will refuse to have the swine flu jab because of concerns over its safety

30 per cent would not say yes to the vaccine, while 33 per cent said maybe. Just 37 per cent said they would definitely have the jab.

Daily Mail | Aug 18, 2009

By Daniel Martin

Up to a third of nurses will say no to the swine flu jab because of concerns over its safety, a poll has found.

NHS workers are first in line for the vaccine, but a survey of 1,500 nurses found many will reject it.

Last night a Government scientist condemned the results saying nurses who do not have the jab are putting patients at risk.

Nevertheless the poll, by Nursing Times magazine, will raise questions over the Government’s planned mass vaccination programme.

Of 1,500 readers, 30 per cent would not say yes to the vaccine, while 33 per cent said maybe. Just 37 per cent said they would definitely have the jab.

Of those who said they would refuse the jab, 60 per cent said their main reason was concern about the safety of the vaccine.

A further 31 per cent said they did not consider the risks to their health from swine flu to be great enough, while 9 per cent thought they would not be able to take time off work to get immunised.

Some 91 per cent described themselves as frontline nurses.

One told the magazine: ‘I would not be willing to put myself at risk of unknown long-term effects to facilitate a short-term solution.’

Another added: ‘I have yet to be convinced there is a genuine health risk and it’s not just Government propaganda.’

But Professor David Salisbury, the Department of Health’s director of immunisation, reckoned it was unfortunate nurses would ‘knowingly leave themselves at risk’.

He added: ‘They have a duty to their patients and they have a duty to their families. I think you solve those responsibilities by being vaccinated.’

And Chief Nursing Officer Christine Beasley insisted: ‘Frontline nurses will be absolutely crucial in the height of a pandemic without them, patient care will suffer and the NHS will be stretched.

‘Getting the vaccine will protect nurses and their patients. That’s why we’re offering frontline nurses the vaccine as a top priority.’

The jab, currently being fast tracked, will not be fully tested before it is administered.

There will be no tests at all carried out on children under three, even though babies and children at high risk will be among the first to get the vaccine.
There are also concerns the jab can cause Guillain Barre Syndrome, which can lead to paralysis and even death.

A mass swine flu vaccination in the U.S. in 1976 caused far more deaths than the disease it was designed to combat and the Health Protection Agency watchdog has asked doctors to be on the lookout for cases of GBS.

Last week Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson announced the jab will be given to high-risk groups with asthma or diabetes, as well as health workers.

Some 14million will be covered by the first wave of the vaccination programme.

Ethicist worried swine flu vaccine may be more dangerous than the virus itself.

Shafer says the evidence from the southern hemisphere suggests swine flu is no more lethal than the seasonal flu. So he wonders why a mass vaccination program is being considered.

Ethicist worried about rushed swine flu vaccine

CTV | Aug 16, 2009

The race is on to create a vaccine for swine flu, as many infectious disease experts warn that the northern hemisphere could face a “second wave” of H1N1. But some worry the fast-tracked vaccine may be more dangerous than the virus itself.

Across Europe, Asia and the U.S., vaccine manufacturers have begun testing the first batches of the vaccines, with volunteers rolling up their sleeves to try the new formulations for safety and effectiveness. They will be testing different dosages, looking to see if any trigger immune reactions or other possible side effects.

But in his office in Winnipeg, University of Manitoba medical ethicist Dr. Arthur Schafer is worried.

“We’re rushing the vaccines, there isn’t time for them to be properly tested for effectiveness; there won’t be time for them to be properly tested for safety,” he tells CTV News.

The vaccine is being touted as our best weapon against the virus, and hailed as a sort of “magic bullet.” But Schafer notes that the first scientific data will only provide information on the correct dosage and immediate reactions from the shot. Long-term safety data won’t be available when vaccination programs begin in the fall.

“So the claim that we know it to be safe and effective just isn’t levelling with the Canadian public. No one knows that,” says Schafer.

Many remember the ill-advised mass vaccination program in the U.S. in 1976, when millions of Americans and some Canadians got a vaccine for a virus that quickly fizzled out. About 4,000 people became ill after getting immunized, including about 500 who came down with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralyzing though generally temporary neuromuscular disorder.

When anger over the vaccine program reached a crescendo, the program was quickly withdrawn and the U.S. government was left with a $3-billion lawsuit.

The World Health Organization has acknowledged safety issues “will inevitably arise during a pandemic when vaccine is administered on a massive scale. For example, adverse events too rare to show up even in a large clinical trial may become apparent when very large numbers of people receive a pandemic vaccine.”

Still, Schafer says he’s not comfortable with the plan to encourage every Canadian to get the vaccine. He recently let his feelings be known in an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press and says his comments seemed to hit a nerve.

“I’ve had a lot of feedback from scientists around the country who have emailed or phoned to say they are relieved someone is flagging these concerns,” he says.

Shafer says the evidence from the southern hemisphere suggests swine flu is no more lethal than the seasonal flu. So he wonders why a mass vaccination program is being considered.

“There are serious public health issues and issues of ethics as to whether we should be distributing (vaccines) massively to healthy people, including children and pregnant women, when there are really big question marks about their effectiveness and their safety.”

But Toronto vaccine specialist Dr. Allison McGeer says speeding the vaccine through production and testing is necessary.

She says as the safety data comes in, in the coming weeks, and a clearer picture of swine flu’s effects in the southern hemisphere emerges, decisions will be made about who needs it.

“The order is insurance,” she said, referring to the vaccine.

McGeer agrees that open public discussion is needed. She points out that there are risks to any influenza, including swine flu. The vaccine is designed to protect those at risk.

“The recommendation is based on a very careful assessment of what the risks of influenza are, and what the benefits (and risks) of the vaccine are.”

U2 dismiss carbon footprint criticism as ‘unfair’

U2s-The-Edge-at-Wembley-s-002

Eco maniacs … U2’s The Edge at Wembley stadium. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

The Edge has defended the environmental impact of U2’s ‘excessive’ world tour, promising that his band will offset their carbon footprint

guardian.co.uk | Aug 17, 2009

by Sean Michaels

U2’s the Edge has shrugged off environmentalists’ criticisms of his band’s latest tour, calling them “unfair”. Backstage at U2’s record-breaking Wembley stadium gig, the guitarist said that contrary to previous allegations, U2 have every intention to pay carbon offsets on their 360 world tour.

“We’re spending the money on our fans,” the Edge told BBC 6 Music. “I don’t think there’s a better thing you could spend it on.”

That’s not the opinion of many environmentalists. In July, one group claimed that this year’s U2 concerts will have the same environmental impact as flying all 90,000 Wembley attendees to Dublin. The construction and transport of the tour’s set – including three £15m steel “claw” structures – will reportedly emit three times more carbon than Madonna’s 2006 world tour.

“I think it’s probably unfair to single out rock’n’roll,” the Edge said. “There’s many other things that are in the same category.” U2 will “offset whatever carbon footprint we have”, he insisted, though he did not provide details.

U2 faced protesters at Dublin’s Croke Park stadium in July, including both green activists and local residents angry at overnight construction. During concert preparations, as many as 100 trucks wove through the neighbourhood’s narrow streets. Talking Heads’ David Byrne was among the critics, condemning the tour’s “excessive” set and plans for “200 semi trucks crisscrossing Europe”. “It could be professional envy speaking here, but it sure looks like, well, overkill, and just a wee bit out of balance given all the starving people in Africa and all,” Byrne said.

The Edge was more pragmatic, however. “We’d love to have some alternative to big trucks bringing the stuff around but there just isn’t one,” he said.

‘A Tax on Thin Air’

RealClearPolitics.com | Aug 17, 2009

By Robert Tracinski and Tom Minchin

In a potential preview for America, the Australian Senate has just defeated that country’s version of cap-and-trade by a vote of 42-30. Most of the overseas coverage of this event, however, has missed the most interesting feature of the defeat. The BBC report, for example, claims that the bill was blocked because “opposition senators…feared the legislation would harm the country’s mining sector.”

In fact, the bill was defeated because there is now serious disagreement in Australia on the very existence of human-caused global warming. That’s the backbone behind the collapse of what was supposed to be bipartisan agreement. As Senator Nick Minchin put it in a blistering speech opposing the bill, “this whole extraordinary scheme, which would do so much damage to Australia, is based on the as yet unproven assertion that anthropogenic emissions of CO2 are the main driver of global warming…. The Rudd government arrogantly refuses to acknowledge that there remains a very lively scientific debate about the extent of and the main causes of climate change, with thousands of highly reputable scientists around the world of the view that anthropogenic emissions of CO2 are not and cannot be the main driver of the small degree of global warming that occurred in the last 30 years of the 20th century.”

In a previous article, we have already described this “intellectual climate change” in Australia’s global warming debate, and arguably no one is more responsible for the shift in opinion than University of Adelaide geologist Ian Plimer, whose new book Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science is an authoritative scientific refutation of the claims of human-caused global warming.

The influence of Plimer’s book is particularly interesting because it is not a light introduction to the topic. It is a thick book, chock full of science. Plimer’s prose is spirited, but there’s so much detail it can be a lot take in. Yet that is part of the point of the book. If the book is comprehensive in its scope, that is because everything science has discovered about “history, archaeology, geology, astronomy, ocean sciences, atmospheric sciences, and the life sciences”-Plimer’s list-refutes the global warming dogma.

What has Plimer been telling his Australian readers-including Australia’s top journalists and politicians? Below are excerpts from Professor Plimer’s responses in our interview with him, published last week in TIA Daily.

“The past is the key to the present. Previous rapid and large climate changes were not related to carbon dioxide.

“This has occurred on all scales of time. This century temperature has been decreasing, yet CO2 has been increasing. Over the last 150 years, temperature has increased (1860-1880, 1910-1940, 1976-1998) and decreased (1880-1910, 1940-1976, and 2002 to the present), yet CO2 has been increasing. If CO2 has been increasing, how can CO2-driven warming have driven cooling? Over historical times, there were the Minoan, Roman, and Medieval warmings, when temperature was a few degrees higher than at present. Sea level did not change. Over archaeological time, ice cores show that temperature peaks some 800 years before CO2 peaks, hence CO2 could not have driven temperature rise.

“In geological time, there have been six major ice ages. During five of these six, the CO2 content [of the atmosphere] was higher than now, and for two of these six, the CO2 content has been up to 1,000 times higher than now. If high atmospheric CO2 drives warming, then how could there be an ice age during times of high CO2? Furthermore, two of these six ice ages were at sea level at the equator.

“Over the history of time, climate changes have been driven by galactic, solar, orbital, tidal, and tectonic processes, and there has been no climate change in the past driven by CO2. The [current] rate of sea level change, CO2 release, and temperature rise and fall are well within variability, hence modern times are little different from past times….

“Geologists use integrated interdisciplinary science and look at planetary cycles over the history of time. Anything catastrophic that can happen has happened over the last 4,567 million years, and such events are preserved in the geological record. It is only if time is ignored that we can conclude that humans change climate by CO2 emissions…

“Climatology suffers from the same fads, fashions, dictators, and fraud that other fields of endeavor enjoy. In order to be funded well, climatology needs to be fashionable, and it is. The fundamental causes have been known for a long time, but predictions are only based on computer models that have very incomplete input. The IPCC models of 1990 and 1995 did not predict the 1998 El Nino nor the 21st-century cooling. So how can we use these to predict climate a century in advance?… The models have been spectacularly wrong, yet they are still used with no humility….

“The difficulty for politicians is that science is now politicized in the bureaucracy, universities, and research institutes and in many ways is forced to arrive at a predestined conclusion…. Most scientists are dependent upon governments for research funding, most universities have a large proportion of funding for climate research, and to challenge the popular paradigm is to guarantee [career] suicide. It is really only retired scientists or those few like me who are fearlessly independent who dare to question the popular paradigm [and] put up with the incessant ad hominem attacks….

“Environmentalism has many of the hallmarks of failed European socialism and Western (failed) Christianity. It has a holy book which few have read (IPCC reports), has prophets (Gore) who cannot be challenged, relies on dogma, ignores contrary evidence, has armies of wide-eyed missionaries…; imposes guilt, has a catastrophist view of the planet, and seeks indulgences.”

When asked for his advice to politicians who are asked to make judgments on the science of global warming, he urges them “to understand that all science is contentious, where there is one theory there is a competing theory, and that as a legislator one must look to keeping maximum gainful employment of the electorate.”

As for his advice to those who don’t buy the global warming hysteria, he urges them to “Continually pester your politicians…write letters to the editor and start a groundswell of opinion. This needs to start like a guerilla war in rural, smokestack, and mining areas and to be brought into the cities, where there are queues lining up to make a fortune on cap-and-trade activities.”

He concludes: “A tax on thin air is what we are being asked to approve.”

Today, thanks in part to Professor Plimer, the people of Australia did not approve it.