Is News Limited’s chief executive John Hartigan about to “retire”? To be replaced by Courier-Mail MD Jerry Harris because Rupert’s not happy with the pace of online progress at his Australian operations?

Did you notice that the Oz published a letter from the PM on Wednesday but did not allow any online comments? This sort of censorship might be worth investigating … every other letter published is subject to online comment — why not this one?

In the Bundaberg area the small hamlet of Burnett Heads sleeps peacefully on, BUT there is a crisis pending. During the past year the local council began drilling bores in an effort to obtain much-needed water. One place they tried was the Burnett Heads state school. What they found was water ok, but intermixed with methane and oily sludge. Other holes in the area produced the same. All holes were immediately plugged and all equipment plus workers removed. Burnett Heads port was, up until a few years ago, the fuel port for Bundaberg. At first it was thought the contamination would affect the Kolan River, but subsequent investigation by the Burnett Shire Council found it not to be so. In fact, it was leaching into an aquifer in the area. All employees of the drilling crews were forced to sign an agreement not to divulge this information. Council will not own up to it. Apart from the explosive nature, other concerns are it will devalue the land.

And from the Grassy Knoll: Global Warming? Recent research by Henrik Svensmark and his group at the Danish National Space Center points to the real cause of the recent warming trend. In a series of experiments on the formation of clouds, these scientists have shown that fluctuations in the Sun’s output cause the observed changes in the Earth’s temperature. In the past, scientists believed the fluctuations in the Sun’s output were too small to cause the observed amount of temperature change, hence the need to look for other causes like carbon dioxide. However, these new experiments show that fluctuations in the Sun’s output are in fact large enough, so there is no longer a need to resort to carbon dioxide as the cause of the recent warming trend. The discovery of the real cause of the recent increase in the Earth’s temperature is indeed a convenient truth. It means humans are not to blame for the increase. It also means there is absolutely nothing we can, much less do, to correct the situation.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey