On the edge of the cliff

With the closure of Liddell power station we have crossed the line into uncharted territory.

Now it actually matters whether the wind blows continuously, or at last between sunset and sunrise. 

it does not, although continental wind droughts have only been studied since about 2010 when Paul Miskelly and others started to look at the information from the windmills which are the most useful instruments for detecting them.

The outstanding contributor has been blogging under the name of Tony from Oz since 2018 and his thousands of records on all forms of generation must represent one of the most remarkable single-handed and unfunded research projects of all time. 

The BOM might have issued wind drought alerts but their system which was installed in the 1990s collected wind velocity measurements hourly and reported the data as averages for weeks, months and the year. The longest wind droughts max out around three days they only reduced the score for the week without actually revealing periods when there was effectively no useful wind.

The big question is how the meteorologists managed to avoid seeing and warning about the consequences of  the European Dunkelfauts that last for weeks. They only got an entry in Wikipedia in 2021!  Mariners and millers on land must have experienced them for centuries. Interest has been aroused since Germany and Britain are  now embarked on serious deindustrialization due to the Dunkelfauts plus the closure of coal and nuclear (in Germany.) There were clear signs of impending disaster at least a year before the Ukraine invasion.

So the plans for replacing coal with wind and solar need to be re-jigged to take account of these now well-recognized wind droughts and lulls.

Roundup Autumn 1990

In the Centre for Independent Studies quarterly Policy magazine.


DE Soto. Only about 5 per cent of Peruvians belong to labour unions and more than 60 per cent are operating as entrepreneurs in the informal or black ecoqomy. Informal operators do not regard themselves as either the private or the public sector because they see the former as the beneficiary of privileges handed out by the latter.

Hook. Serious moves are under way to politicise the study of the humanities in the United States. These tendencies are reflected in the social studies texts proposed by some education reformers. Traditional texts are to be replaced or supplemented with books composed by women, coloured people and other representatives of the ‘oppressed classes’. Special courses will be provided by members of these disadvantaged groups. This amounts to a massive program of historical revisionism and cultural affirmative action.

The debate hinges on a blatant extension of the term ‘political’ to include any difference of opinion whatever. Consequently, people who suggest that
history and literature texts do not need to be studied as essentially political documents are accused of covering up their own political interests in the status quo. Hook identifies this as a part of a sinister tendency to politicise the truth itself, as though truth were decided by power and influence. Unfortunately, corrective action will need to have a political dimension the radical reformers have successfully captured positions of political power and influence.http://www.the-rathouse.com/Rafe_s_Roundup_1989-91.pdf

Michael Novak. Novak identifies several valuable moral traditions that were called forth by democratic capitalist institutions in the early American colonies. These include civic responsibility, personal economic enterprise, creativity and a certain kind of communitarian living embodied in a myriad of voluntary associations. On a more sombre note, he reminds us that capitalism depends on a moral framework that is under threat from relativism in the intellectual realm and from social engineers in the political and social arena. ‘It would only, take a generation of citizens who have forgotten their founding principles and all the lessons of experience to set in motion a precipitous and calamitous slide’.

AND THERE ARE MORE 1989-1991 1994-1996 1997-1999

Rafe’s Roundup 15 May

Drop in and see what the usual suspects are up to

CIS   The Energy Realists     The Conservative Vagabond Jo Nova    The Monarachists Quadrant on line The Free Press

IPA Climate and energy program      The Sydney Institute

Mannkal     Menzies Research Centre    Taxpayers   Alexandra Marshall 

Advance Australia     Australian Inst for Progress Bettina Arndt

REMEMBERING JOHN HYDE. His book Dry: In Defence of Economic Freedom tells the tale of the long march to establish sensible economic policies in the lucky country. On line at the IPA. We have been marching backwards lately, so good luck for the future!




The four papers in The Spectator are behind a paywall. They can be downloaded as PDF files. These papers support Champions Law which states that RE will not work due to the conjunction of three facts.

1 The grid must have a continuous input of power to meet the demand.

2. Nights with little or no wind destroy the continuity of RE input.

3. There is no feasible or affordable grid-scale storage to bridge the gaps.

There is a lot of literature on the energy density of RE and studies of the comparative cost which refute the CSIRO GenCost claim that RE is comparatively cheap. Nobody in the street is going to bother with those stories. They just need to know the three facts which can be demonstrated quite easily to anyone who is concerned about the way things are going. Pretty soon that will be everyone!

KARL POPPER Beautifully illustrated Twitter thread on The Open Society and Its Enemies Never mind the text, enjoy the pictures!

The Censorship Industrial Complex

An important post by Jo Nova on the Censorship Industrial Complex, an echo of the Military Industrial Complex that grew up after WW2 and an advanced form of the Climate Industrial Complex that spread fake news and started to get serious about censoring dissident voices.


To simplify the message that wind and solar power are unsustainable, focus on three things.

1. The need for continuous input to the grid to meet demand.

2. Nights with little or no wind destroy the continuity of adequate input of wind and solar power.

3. There is no feasible or affordable grid-scale storage to bridge the gaps.

Shellenberger and others write about energy density, the amount of land needed for RE compared with coal and other forms of conventional power but nobody in the street will be bothered with that amount of detail.

As to the cost, the usual suspects appeal to the CSIRO GenCost study to prove that wind and solar are dirt cheap compared with other sources. There are devastating criticisms of the study that nobody in the street will read so try the “hybrid power system” argument, based on the unsustainability of RE (as per the three features).

Because RE is not sustainable, conventional power will have to be kept in reserve for ever – giving us a hybrid power system which has to be more expensive than conventional power alone.

South Australian RE fails again (as usual)

At sunrise this morning SA was importing almost a third of its demand from Victoria because wind was only providing 9% (capacity factor 3%). Local generation was 86% gas.

Across the NEM wind was providing 8% of demand with CP 19%.

Chat GPT review of Popper’s OSE

Question. Write a 2000 word review of The Open Soceity and Its Enemies by Karl Popper

The money quote. He warns that any attempt to suppress intellectual freedom, whether through censorship or propaganda, will inevitably lead to the suppression of all other freedoms, and ultimately to the destruction of the open society itself.

Karl Popper’s seminal work, “The Open Society and Its Enemies,” has been widely regarded as one of the most influential works of political philosophy of the 20th century. First published in 1945, the book presents a powerful defense of democracy and an eloquent critique of totalitarianism. Popper argues that the open society, which is characterized by a plurality of opinions and a commitment to critical inquiry, is the only form of society that can ensure individual freedom and prevent the abuse of power. In this review, we will explore the key themes of the book and assess its impact on contemporary political discourse.

Popper’s defense of the open society is based on his epistemological theory, which holds that knowledge can never be certain, but can only be tested and refined through a process of critical inquiry. In the open society, individuals are free to criticize and challenge existing beliefs, and to propose new ideas and theories. This process of critical inquiry leads to a continual refinement and improvement of knowledge, and is the basis of scientific and technological progress. As Popper puts it, “we are all, no doubt, born dogmatists; we all think that we know, or can know, the truth. But it is only by recognizing our fallibility and subjecting our beliefs to critical scrutiny that we can arrive at a more objective understanding of the world.”

Popper argues that the closed society, by contrast, is characterized by a dogmatic adherence to a set of beliefs or ideology. The ruling elite in a closed society seek to maintain their power by suppressing dissent and controlling the flow of information. This leads to a stagnation of knowledge and a lack of innovation, as individuals are not free to challenge existing beliefs or propose new ideas.

Popper argues that the open society is the best safeguard against the abuse of power because it provides a framework for the peaceful resolution of conflicts. In an open society, conflicts are resolved through rational debate and persuasion, rather than through force or coercion. The open society, therefore, is not only the most just society, but also the most stable and secure.

Popper’s critique of totalitarianism is particularly powerful. He argues that totalitarianism is based on the belief that some people have access to absolute truth or knowledge, and that this belief inevitably leads to the suppression of dissent and the abuse of power. Totalitarianism, in other words, is the opposite of the open society, because it seeks to impose a single ideology or worldview on society, rather than allowing for a plurality of opinions and beliefs.

One of the most striking aspects of Popper’s argument is his emphasis on the role of intellectual freedom in the open society. Popper argues that intellectual freedom is the foundation of all other freedoms, because it is only through the free exchange of ideas and the open discussion of competing theories that we can arrive at the truth. He warns that any attempt to suppress intellectual freedom, whether through censorship or propaganda, will inevitably lead to the suppression of all other freedoms, and ultimately to the destruction of the open society itself.

Popper’s emphasis on the importance of intellectual freedom has had a profound influence on contemporary political discourse. His argument has been used to justify the protection of free speech and academic freedom, and to criticize attempts to impose political correctness or restrict the free exchange of ideas. Popper’s argument has also been invoked in debates about the role of the media in democratic societies, with many commentators arguing that a free and independent press is essential for the functioning of the open society. [SEE COMMENT BELOW]

One of the most interesting aspects of Popper’s argument is his view of democracy as an imperfect system, but the best one available. Popper recognizes that democracy is not a perfect system, and that it is susceptible to the same kinds of abuses of power that he critiques in totalitarianism. However, he argues that democracy is the best system available because it provides a framework for the peaceful resolution of conflicts and the protection of individual freedom. Popper emphasizes that democracy is not a static system, but rather one that is constantly evolving and adapting to new challenges.

Popper’s argument has been criticized by some commentators for its emphasis on individualism and its neglect of the role of collective action in political change. Critics argue that Popper’s focus on the importance of individual freedom neglects the fact that many social and political problems can’t be solved by individuals

FOR SOME STRANGE REASON CHAT GPT ONLY WROTE 673 WORDS and seemed to finish in mid-sentence.


You might think if The Open Society “has been widely regarded as one of the most influential works of political philosophy of the 20th century and “it has had a profound influence on contemporary political discourse” there would be a lot more freedom of speech around these days. As for the claim “His argument has been used to justify the protection of free speech and academic freedom, and to criticize attempts to impose political correctness or restrict the free exchange of ideas.” I don’t think I have ever seen his name introduced for that purpose in recent times.

In fact Popper has been practically absent from reading lists and courses on campus for several decades, based on my survey of the (then) 21 Australian universities in 1987, followed by a search of philosophy departments in some 130 universities around the world in 1997.


Bring back the dandy

Generally dandys don’t get a very good press but a conservative hippy has come to their defence.

This prompts a memory of Sir Roderick Murchison, a great entrepreneur of science. This is a review of a book about his life and work, in a collection of papers on the theme Making Science Pay. The main theme is to challenge some widespread views about science and scientists, especially the effectiveness of Big Science driven by government funding.

The first paper dates from the time when the Australian university system was being radically expanded and bureaucratized under central direction in the hope of greater administrative efficiency and better economic returns from teaching and research. That was a cruel joke and it would have been clearly perceived as such in the light of experience in the US reported by Jacques Barzun from the 1940s to the 1960s . A companion volume on Australian society at large is Australiana.

Getting back to the book on Murchison (1792-1871.)

He served in the Spanish campaign against Napoleon but the end of hostilities in 1815 destroyed his hopes for military glory. Relegated to a backwater in Ireland he diverted himself with riding, hunting, drinking bouts and visits to London where he paraded as a dandy. He also attended lectures by Sir Humphrey Davy at the Royal Institute for Science.

This unlikely combination of activities won him the hand in marriage of a cultured lady, Charlotte Hugonin, only daughter of a wealthy general. She encouraged him to develop more refined interests in the course of a prolonged Continental tour. He undertook prodigious walking expeditions and showed a keen eye for country and a willingness to describe it in detail. Back in England he reverted to fox hunting on his country estate until the problem of debt and a partridge shooting expedition with Sir Humphrey Davy inspired him to turn to Science.

The couple moved to a rented house in London until the death of Charlotte’s father some years later enabled them to occupy a mansion in Belgrave Square. This, at page 15 (circa 1842) is the last mention of wife, family, or social life in the book. The strangest feature of this biography is the complete absence of any sense of the subject as a flesh and blood man (or a person) living a life among people.

Fifteen years of intensive fieldwork mapping the Silurian sediments in Wales provided the foundation for his scientific reputation. After his early and important contribution, he did not appear to shift his opinion on any matter of theoretical interest. During that time he established close social and working relationships with all the major geologists in Europe. He also began his pursuit of power and influence in the scientific societies, initially the Geological Society where he became the Foreign Secretary in 1828. For many years he was on the council of the Royal Society, also he was a trustee of the British Museum and an active office bearer in practically any other society or club that could advance his interests. If the suitable organisation did not exist he created it. He was a founding member of the Athanaeum Club, the Royal Geographical Society and the British Association for the Advancement of Science. These societies played a major role in directing scientific work, at a time when government involvement did not go far beyond naval mapping and some surveying for strategic materials during times of war.

The book outlines his tireless efforts through committees, patronage, political connections and publicity to expand and co-ordinate worldwide efforts in exploration and data collection. No continent was untouched by his efforts, and those of his friends and disciples in the field. As a testament to his influence, Australia alone contains five Mount Murchisons and two Murchison Rivers, while New Zealand has four mountains and a glacier named after him.

His efforts called for a great deal of energy  and organising ability, also the time that was made available by minimal domestic responsibilities and a supportive wife. He was not a radical but his support for free trade and its corollary, peace, put him at odds with the government in some military adventures, notably the Crimean War. He also encouraged the full participation and recognition of women in the scientific societies, generously acknowledging the efforts of Jane Franklin in Tasmania and other female pioneers.

Rafe’s Roundup 6 May

Drop in and see what the usual suspects are up to

Bettina Arndt and Alexandra Marshall are now on the list of usual suspects.

CIS  The Energy Realists    The Conservative Vagabond

Jo Nova   Quadrant on line  The Free Press

IPA Climate and energy program            The Sydney Institute

Menzies Research Centre   Mannkal Foundation          

Advance Australia   Taxpayers   Australian Inst for Progress

The spectre of power failure is haunting Europe as Britain and Germany demonstrate that modern societies can’t run on wind and solar power. Wind droughts are the fatal flaw in the system and one can envisage a future book titled How Wind Droughts Destroyed Western Civilisation. Think about the consequences of a system blackout if Net Zero policies are pursued to the bitter end in Western Europe and Australia.


Raising ratbags and Corrupting the youth an expose of toxic philanthropists by our favourite ex-communist Tony Thomas (he was very young and naive at the time.)

EDUCATION A survey of what some liberal/conservative groups have been doing, conducted by Mannkal at the request of Rafe Champion.

The aim of this document was to compile a register of resources that are available to advance our efforts to improve education. Categories of activities and outputs that we searched for included published material in written form or available on websites, such as books and articles; activities, such as submissions, deputations, petitions, and letters to senior ministers; and people who are available for advice, talks, consulting, writing, and research on commission.

It is interesting to see the body of work produced by the Rule of Law Education Centre.



The meteorologists are now under investigation, bearing in mind that they bought into the climate emergency narrative long before the IPCC became the major ball carrier.

In 1985, Maurice Strong was serving as the Secretary-General of the United Nations and he wanted an international scientific body to focus on climate change. He proposed the idea of an international panel on climate change to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which were the two UN bodies responsible for climate issues at the time.
Strong’s proposal was supported by the WMO and UNEP and in 1988 the IPCC was established.

Game, set and match.

Thank you Maurice Strong and thank you WMO!


Environmentalism vs “green” power

How much longer can people who claim to care about the health of the planet put up with the wind and solar power industries?

Public opinion in the US appears to be trending our way.

An overwhelming majority of Americans say that conserving local land and wildlife is more important than building new sources of renewable electricity, even if that slows down the world’s response to climate change, according to the inaugural Heatmap Climate Poll, a scientific survey conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group last month.

The poll finds that even though Americans love renewables in the abstract — with 94% endorsing the benefits of rooftop solar and 88% embracing large-scale solar farms — they are skittish about their potential trade-offs. Some 79% of Americans said that new renewable energy should be rolled out “slowly” rather than “quickly” and that the conservation of land and wild animals should be prioritized above rapid greenhouse-gas reductions.

Looking at the link to the survey cited in the paper, it is dominated by the urgency of the climate problem and it is necessary to go to the detailed results of the survey to find question 23 which elicited the opinion that RE should roll out slower to protect the environment. But the emphasis is slower, not stopping!

Not such a great result after all!

And have a look at the answers to question 24.