Tag Archives: Australia

Australia to create its own space agency

The new colonial movement: The Australian government has announced that it plans to create a space agency.

Despite persistent calls for a national space agency, the current government took no steps until last July, when Arthur Sinodinos, the federal minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, set up an expert review group to study the country’s space industry capabilities. To date, the group has received nearly 200 written submissions and held meetings across the country.

Facing calls for action last week from the participants at the Adelaide meeting, Acting Industry Minister Michaelia Cash announced that the working group will develop a charter for the space agency that will be included in a wider space industry strategy.

Australian space policy as mirrored Great Britain’s for the past half century, in that both countries refused to spend any government money for space. However, creating a new government agency is not the same as creating a thriving private space industry. It will be the strategy here that will matter. In Great Britain the strategy initially for its new space agency was for the government to run everything. Soon however it shifted instead to encouraging private competition. We shall see what Australia does.


Successful test of Austrialian 3D printed rocket engine

Capitalism in space: A privately-funded 3D printed rocket engine, built at Australian university, has successfully undergone its first test firing.

The engine also tested an aerospike nozzle, which is theorized to significantly increase engine efficiency but to date has never been flow.


Australian weather bureau caught tampering with temperatures

The weather bureau in Australia has been caught tampering with temperatures measured by its weather stations, changing them so that cooler temperatures were warmer than what was actually measured.

Meteorologist Lance Pidgeon watched the 13 degrees Fahrenheit Goulburn recording from July 2 disappear from the bureau’s website. The temperature readings fluctuated briefly and then disappeared from the government’s website. “The temperature dropped to minus 10 (13 degrees Fahrenheit), stayed there for some time and then it changed to minus 10.4 (14 degrees Fahrenheit) and then it disappeared,” Pidgeon said, adding that he notified scientist Jennifer Marohasy about the problem, who then brought the readings to the attention of the bureau.

The bureau would later restore the original 13 degrees Fahrenheit reading after a brief question and answer session with Marohasy.

The bureau claimed that software had automatically and incorrectly thrown out the record-setting 13 degree temperature, and say they are reviewing that software now.

This story actually broke in early July, in Australia. I read the initial posts about it then, but somehow never got around to posting the story. When this story appeared today in the U.S. press, I didn’t report it initially because I thought I had already done so, but reader Keith Douglas’s request that I do a post forced me to search Behind the Black and discover that I had never reported it.

Regardless, it is worth reading the initial story from Australia, as it clearly documents what happened and shows that outright temperature tampering surely appears to be going on.


Australia to consider forming its own government space agency

The new colonial movement: The Australian government is studying the idea of forming its own space agency.

With ever-increasing dependence on satellites for communication and navigation, an Australian space agency could oversee the launch of satellites.

But, initially, an Australian space agency’s main role would be to help keep jobs and $3 billion of spending in Australia rather than flowing overseas. The agency would also help Australians take advantage of satellite technology, especially for farmers.

This proposal is actually all about the requirements under Article VI of the Outer Space Treaty. If Australian companies wish to do anything in space, the treaty requires Australian to have some legal framework in place to regulate that activity. The regulations can merely rubber-stamp an approval for any private operation, but they must exist. Without them Australian companies will be forced, for legal reasons, to go to elsewhere to make their space endeavors happen.


Irreplaceable plant specimens destroyed by Australian customs.

Do the paperwork! Because the proper paperwork was not completed, and then mailed to the wrong address, Australian customs officials destroyed six daisy specimens, some collected in the 1700s.

Earlier this week, many botanists learned about the destruction of six type specimens of daisies—some collected during a French expedition to Australia from 1791 to 1793—which the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Paris had mailed along with 99 other specimens to the Queensland Herbarium in Brisbane, Australia.

After the package arrived in Brisbane in early January, the specimens were held up at customs because the paperwork was incomplete. Biosecurity officers asked the Queensland Herbarium for a list of the specimens and how they were preserved, but the herbarium sent its responses to the wrong email address, delaying the response by many weeks. In March, the officers requested clarification, but then incinerated the samples. “It’s like taking a painting from the Louvre and burning it,” says James Solomon, herbarium curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

According to Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, which enforces biosecurity rules, part of the problem was that the samples had a declared value of $2—and its agents routinely destroy low-value items that have been kept longer than 30 days. Michel Guiraud, director of collections at NMNH, says his museum’s policy is to put minimal values on shipments. “If it is irreplaceable, there is no way to put an insurance value on it,” he says.

It appears that the fault here is not entirely limited to Australian customs. Both the Paris and Brisbane museums appear to have been very sloppy in this matter.

The result, for now, is that some research organizations are now ceasing all shipments to Australia.


Largest ancient meteorite impact found?

The uncertainty of science: Scientists doing geothermal research in Australia have discovered evidence of what they think is the largest known impact zone from an meteorite on Earth.

The zone is thought to be about 250 miles across, and suggests the bolide split in two pieces each about 6 miles across before impact. The uncertainty is that the evidence for this impact is quite tentative:

The exact date of the impacts remains unclear. The surrounding rocks are 300 to 600 million years old, but evidence of the type left by other meteorite strikes is lacking. For example, a large meteorite strike 66 million years ago sent up a plume of ash which is found as a layer of sediment in rocks around the world. The plume is thought to have led to the extinction of a large proportion of the life on the planet, including many dinosaur species.

However, a similar layer has not been found in sediments around 300 million years old, Dr Glikson said. “It’s a mystery – we can’t find an extinction event that matches these collisions. I have a suspicion the impact could be older than 300 million years,” he said.

In other words, they find some evidence that an impact occurred, but not other evidence that is expected to be found with such an impact. Moreover, the rocks at the sedimentary layer where the impact is found are dated around 300 million years ago, a time when no major extinction took place. Either this impact didn’t really happen, or it didn’t happen when it appears it should have, or it shows that large impacts don’t necessarily cause mass extinctions.


Australia’s climate agency admits to fudging climate data

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM) has finally admitted that it alters the temperatures recorded at almost all the official weather stations in Australia.

They claim that these adjustments are necessary to make the readings more accurate.

Using a process it calls homogenization, ABM has replaced actual temperature measurements with massaged numbers. ABM claims anomalies have arisen in both the historical data and current measurements due to a wide variety of factors unrelated to climate, such as differing types of instruments used, choices of calibration or enclosure and where it was located, and the closure of some stations and opening of others. The ABM argues such factors justify homogenization of the numbers.

Yet somehow, all the adjustments make the present readings hotter and the past readings colder, thus accentuating the illusion of global warming. Nor is this surprising, as the head of ABM has publicly stated his firm belief in global warming, as noted in the article above.

So, shut up and trust their judgment! When they tell you to give up your cars and nicely heated homes, it is just because they want to save the planet.


Cooking the climate numbers in Australia

A comparison of the raw climate data with the adjusted numbers released by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology shows that the adjustments have routinely turned the trends from cooling to warming.

This is the same finding that Steven Goddard and others in the U.S. found when they did the same comparison of NASA and NOAA numbers. In every case the adjustments either cooled the past or warmed the present in order to accentuate the appearance of a warming trend, sometimes in complete contradiction of numbers that had been accepted by scientists for decades.

So, does this mean the climate isn’t warming? No. What it means is we haven’t the slightest idea what’s happening, since the data has now been corrupted so badly that it is almost meaningless.


An Australia test flight of a scramjet engine ended in failure today when the rocket carrying the engine failed to reach the require elevation for the test to begin.

An Australia test flight of a scramjet engine ended in failure today when the rocket carrying the engine failed to reach the require elevation for the test to begin.


An Australian billionaire is building a full scale replica of the Titanic.

Want to relive history? An Australian billionaire is building a full scale replica of the Titanic.

When fully built, the Titanic II will be 270 meters (886 feet) long and capable of holding 1,680 passengers. By modern standards, this is actually fairly small for a cruise ship, especially when compared to newer passenger liners like the behemoth Oasis of the Seas, which measures 360 meters (1,180 feet) long and can hold 5,400 guests.

The Titanic II is set to make the same maiden voyage as the original, traveling from England to New York, by late 2016.


Evidence from a cave in Australia suggests that humans were doing deep sea fishing more than 40,000 years ago

New evidence from a cave in Australia suggests that humans were doing deep sea fishing — with the sophisticated maritime skills such ocean-going requires — far earlier than previously believed, as much as 42,000 years ago.


The science remains uncertain

Two papers published this week by the American Geophysical Union once again indicate that the science of climate change remains exceedingly uncertain. More significantly, the models that try to predict the future of the Earth’s climate continue to appear unreliable, with such large margins of error that it is at this time foolish to make any policy based on their predictions.

diagram of Atlantic currents

The first paper took a close look at the deep water currents in the Atlantic to see if it could track changes to what the authors’ call the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), more generally referred to as the Atlantic conveyor belt. This conveyor belt begins with the sinking of salty dense water in the northeast Atlantic off of Europe and Africa. The deep water current then travels south and into the Indian and Pacific Oceans where it comes to the surface only to flow back to the Atlantic, traveling north along the coast of North America as the Gulf Stream, bringing with it the warm temperatures that make Europe’s climate much warmer than its latitude would normally suggest.

According to most global warming models, higher temperatures should cause the glaciers in the Arctic and Greenland to melt, thereby pouring an increased amount of fresh water into the North Atlantic. This infusion of fresh water is then expected to lower the salinity and density of the Atlantic water, thus preventing it from sinking and thus acting to slow the conveyor belt, and possibly even causing it to shut down. The consequence would be no more Gulf Stream to warm the climate of Europe.

In other words: Disaster! Death! Destruction! All caused by global warming!

Unfortunately for these global warming models, the paper above found no trend at all. The conveyor belt is not slowing, as predicted. To quote the paper’s abstract:
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