Tags: john quiggin

13 Feb 2009, Comments (2)

Bushfire Housing: Pass it on

Author: Helen

Someone has developed a not-for-profit website to facilitate temporary housing for victims of the fires. I haven’t had time to check it out myself, but it’s via a trustworthy IRL source. He says:

A friend of mine has been involved over the past week in developing a not-for-profit website to facilitate temporary housing for victims of the fires. It’s up and running (three cheers for agile web development!) and available at:

bushfirehousing.org

They are looking for people to offer up a spare room/bed/couch through the site, and are promoting the service by word of mouth – please spread the word!

Also, John Quiggin’s donation thread is continuing through the weekend. My donation recommendations are here and here.

24 Jun 2007, Comments Off on More Intelligent than Britney Spears

More Intelligent than Britney Spears

Author: Helen

Congratulations to John Quiggin on his five-year blogiversary. Five years is a long time for a blog– I only discovered it in 2003, and it’s still a must-read. Here’s a repost of something I wrote in 2005 about why academic blogs like JQ’s are so valuable for the rest of us non-academics.

Someone like me — two kids, fulltime job, busy life– reads an article quoting fearfully respectable pundits from fearfully brainy-sounding think tanks, universities and consultancies. I probably read it during my half hour lunch, or on the weekend in between chauffeuring and sprog manintenance duties. I do not have time to put my busy life on hold to acquire a degree in science and to thoroughly research everyone’s background and work (although once you get into the habit, a google is always good.) What a normal working stiff like me needs is a bearded professor ™ in the room to tell us when people are trying to gaslight us on one topic or another.

Quiggin and Immanuel Rant unpick the disengenuities for us. [Unfortunately, Rant is no longer with us.] Tim Lambert, who is on the Professor’s blogroll, is also great for these Bad Science moments, although I don’t know if he has a beard or not.

Now that I’ve pulled up that old post, I’ve noticed the similarity between what I’ve said and what Hilzoy has said recently (see previous post). I think it’s a concern for a lot of people.

I’m not sure quite how bearded John is since the World’s Greatest Shave – he’s also a great donater and raiser of funds for good causes – but he is still a great bullshit detector and explainer of complex issues. Long may he blog.

(The title of this post was an endorsement from Jason Soon of Catallaxy, which is proudly published on John’s sidebar.)

16 Feb 2005, Comments (0)

Wombat Coprolites

Author: Helen

Ian Plimer, geology professor at Melbourne University and climate change sceptic, has a hilarious piece in the SMH yesterday claiming environmentalists are against data. …Data is an evil that demystifies the romance of nature. Environmentalists are like creationists. Really! They only operate by warm fuzzy storytelling and a yearning for the past, y’know.

I’d like to know what Tim Lambert and John Quiggin, the CSIRO and the IPCC would say about that. I think it’s pretty damn cheeky and he could only imagine he could get away with it if he thinks the SMH-reading public has no capacity for critical thought whatever.

Although I applaud Prof Plimer’s efforts fighting creeping creationism*, I think he’s hardly “divorced from value judgment” (his words) when it comes to environmentalism. He doesn’t own up, in the article, to his links to the mining industry (his areas of expertise cover what to dig up, and where.) Neither does he mention his links to right-wing think tanks, the Institute of Public Affairs and the Lavoisier group in Australia, and the astroturf site Envirotruth, which is operated by the National Center for Public Policy Research, which “…advocates private, free market solutions to today’s environmental challenges”. Digging it up and shipping it out, in other words.

Professor Plimer has fun portraying environmentalists (and us laypeople who agree with preserving ecologically significant areas) as stupid. His assumption that noone will check his biases proves he really does believe we are stupid.

*Note, the reviewer agrees with Plimer’s conclusions but is pretty underwhelmed by his scholarship.