Opera Australia:

Opera Australia National Publicist Emma Williams writes: Re. “Opera Australia in shifty AGM lock-down” (Wednesday, item 6). For the record — and that’s based on Opera Australia’s records — Dr Andrew Byrne, unlike many other subscribers, did not take up the opportunity to become a Company member when he renewed his subscription last year. That aside, it is true that the Company’s annual general meeting is in Melbourne on 9 April, one of many recent decisions of a Board now led by Dr Ziggy Switkowski. The processes for communicating arrangements — including lead times — were similar to those followed in previous years.

This year it’s Melbourne, next year it’s Sydney, the year after it will be Melbourne — the sort of thing you’d expect of a national, publicly-funded arts company, particularly as it opens its Melbourne Autumn season next week, starting with Mozart’s The Magic Flute, then Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi, Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and finally Sondheim’s masterpiece, A Little Night Music, featuring hometown performer, Sigrid Thornton, in her Opera Australia debut as Desirée.


Kim Serca writes: Your report on Friday noted that new Queensland LNP leader John-Paul Langbroek is a practising dentist. What is Dentism, and what are its dominant beliefs? This is a Christian country and while we welcome people of other faiths I do not want one of them running our great state of Queensland.

Kevin Rudd:

PETA Asia-Pacific Campaign Coordinator Alistair Cornell writes: Re. “Kevin Rudd: the PM who can do no wrong” (Friday, item 3). While I may not agree with Kevin Rudd on many things, the one thing that we can agree on is frustration with not being served a veggie meal. Mr Rudd may have spit the dummy on a RAAF flight at the prospect of having his diet derailed by a fatty meat meal, but who wouldn’t? The good news is that, while the RAAF may be behind the times, airlines like Qantas and other international carriers know that vegetarians’ money is just as good as everybody else’s and are happy to provide vegetarian in-flight meals.

Fliers can find tomato curry with rice on Qantas, soy sausages on Korean Airlines, and oriental ramen noodles on Singapore Airlines. Not only are these meals delicious and healthy, they also drastically reduce your carbon footprint — an excellent way to help keep your flight carbon neutral.

Ironically, it’s easy to eat better than the Prime Minister — you just need to fly commercial.

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “The Ellis view: Kevin Rudd the Chinese lesbian” (Friday, item 4) Reading about Bob Ellis’s loose cannon spray on Penny Wong, I find myself wondering if he thinks she is the Asian cyborg that Pauline Hanson prophesied…

Gerard Henderson:

Cathy Bannister writes: Gerard Henderson (Friday, comments) claims Crikey has been hoaxed by some scallywag posing as Gerard Henderson on Twitter (Thursday, Crikey says). But, if the email for @gerardhenderson is [email protected], then who is mistaken? But wait, there’s more. If [email protected] is happy to have a fake account for Gerard Henderson, then can we trust that the letter published in Crikey is genuinely by Gerard Henderson, or has it been faked as well?

Methinks (with my hurting little brain) that perhaps overt fakery might not be the wisest indulgence for a publication wanting to prove it’s integrity. Assuming you still do…

Brian Mitchell writes: Has Crikey been tricked twice? First it publishes the @gerardhenderson “Scotch Finger” scandal and yesterday publishes a correction from someone purporting to be the real Hendo. I say purporting, because there is no way the real Gerard Henderson would “fall around laughing”. About anything.

Justin Templer writes: I really liked Gerard Henderson’s contribution.

It was funny.

He said he did not write about Scotch Fingers.

I believe him.

Because he uses a new paragraph for every sentence.

He says he does not twit.

Or is not?

I’m not sure.

Climate Change:

Bec Lane writes: Re. “NASA: spotless sun cannot reverse climate change” (Friday, item 18). Antarctica’s ice caps are melting. These ice caps form part of the system that cools the earth. Every country that can is setting up a base in Antarctica. Antarctica is rich in natural resources. Because there are no land rights, thieving nations think it’s fair game. Hasn’t anyone cottoned onto the very possible theory that the ice caps are melting because we’re destroying them in order to get to the resources, thus causing ‘climate change’. That climate change is causing them to melt is pure propaganda. Wake up people. We’re a greedy bunch of barbarians and we will stop at nothing to make money.

When are we going to start acting like the animals we are and treat the earth with respect. Antarctica is the last remaining wilderness. Why can’t we let it live. I think this issue deserves greater investigation and a campaign needs to be launched to get Antarctica onto UNESCOs protection list.

Mark Byrne writes: Ken Lambert (Friday, comments) makes a number peculiar comments regarding the relationship between CO2 and temperature. In referring to the Holocene temperature various. It would be hard to make a more misleading claim than “CO2 rises steadily from about 260ppm to 380ppm over the last 8000 years”

Given Lambert’s fundamental error, little wonder he found it “very hard to find a correlation of steadily rising CO2 and temperature on this short 8000 year time scale”.

In fact, the last 10 thousand years has been a period of great stability. Cyclic variations in temperature and CO2, on a global scale, have been relatively small over the period. (The same period in which the environment supported the human development of agriculture and civilisation).Temperature proxies differ slightly in a narrow range, but the best estimate, considering all proxies, is that temperature has been stable for approximately 8 to 10 thousand years. That is until the recent surge in CO2 accelerating dramatically from last century.

Tamas Calderwood (Friday, comments) wants a debate on “is global warming man-made and is it a crisis”. Tamas, the debate has been had over the last century. The medium was the scientific method, and the results are documented in peer reviewed journals. Summary highlights can be found in IPCC publications or those from the National Academy of Science for various nations.

Stephen Morris writes: A warning by the authors of Ken’s esteemed Wikipedia article on climate change precise point is given: “Because of the limitations of data sampling, each curve in the main plot was smoothed (see methods below) and consequently, this figure can not resolve temperature fluctuations faster than approximately 300 years.” and again “the average shown here should be understood as only a rough, quasi-global approximation to the temperature history of the Holocene”.

A very telling insert into the graph that shows for the last 2,000 years (with much lower variation between sources, therefore more accurate) there has been a very large increase in average temperatures particularly for the last fifty years (funny that that wasn’t commented on). Therefore this data produced from ice and sediment cores with moving averages over 300 years response could in no way be expected to show the global warming most people are worrying about which has occurred over the last 50 years – indeed the Industrial Revolution occurred only 200 years ago so even that would not be picked up by this data. Using this data for that purpose is like using a sun dial to time cooking an egg.

Ken says there are “five peaks in temperature warmer than the average” — nonsense since none of the little ‘blips’ in the data would seem to be larger than the large error term involved in averaging the data. Ken’s so called killer point, that no carbon dioxide model has been reported that explains these ‘blips’ then becomes less than convincing. For an excellent description of carbon dioxide levels and the relationship with global temperatures, see the other image produced by the same author as that of the image so admired by Ken. This shows that over the last 400,000 years carbon dioxide levels have moved between about 190 to 280 ppm, with a very close relationship of carbon dioxide and temperatures through the last four ice ages. It also shows that over the last 50 years especially, carbon dioxide levels have moved up to unprecedented levels of almost 400ppm and still climbing rapidly. This increase in carbon dioxide almost exactly corresponds with the large temperature increases over the last 50-100 years.

Air traffic control:

Jim Hart writes: Steve Simmonds (Friday, comments) writes about Ben Sandilands “Planes flying blind at regional airports” (Thursday, item 4) on life in the air at airports like Port Macquarie. Mr Simmonds must have his racial discrimination detector turned up to 11 if he “instantly” thinks Ben is inferring (sic) that student pilots from non-English speaking countries are preparing to attack the Opera House.

Far from being controversial, English language proficiency is totally relevant as an air safety issue. It’s hard enough for any student pilot to follow what’s being said on the radio, to respond correctly and to make the right calls. It’s even harder if English isn’t your first language, or if you are trying to understand another pilot with a foreign accent. Then consider that commercial pilots know what they are doing, but without clear communications they can only hope that everyone else is doing the right thing.

Stop looking for racism, and just see this as an added practical issue in an already difficult environment.

Khmer Rouge trials:

Humphrey Hollins writes: Mr Clugston (Friday, comments) is wrong about my comments on the Cambodian government. Hun Sens regime has many ex Khmer Rouge people from the top down. For instance the current finance minister Keat Chon was also a minister in Pol Pots government, in 1980 he described himself as a minister without portfolio.

There are an estimated eight hundred generals in the Cambodian army, who knows how many are ex Khmer Rouge who did a deal with Hun Sen to lay down their arms. It is well known that Hun Sen is against any more people being charged by the KR Tribunal because he fears that evidence given will incriminate too many people in his administration.

Only two days ago Hun Sen claimed in his inimitable way that should more charges be laid against Khmer Rouge suspects then there would be war.Start reading the Phnom Penh Post online Nial or come and live in Cambodia if you doubt my claims.

Some of the worst crimes in Phnom Penh are being carried out by rich young thugs whose fathers were KR generals or cadres, these youths show the same lack of regard for human beings as their fathers did.

Joel Fitzgibbon, Helen Liu and the Oz:

Samken writes: What have you Crikey people done? One minute The Australian is going on about Fitzgibbon’s relationship with a Australian Chinese Business Woman as though she is evil personified and the next we suddenly have Greg Sheridan writing a piece defending him — and I was able to read half the article without consigning him to the loony bin — and Dennis Shanahan is attacking the Liberals over their anti-Chinese behaviour and going on ‘holidays’ until July. You naughty Crikey people with your April Fools piece by Bernard Keane. You must have touched a Murdoch nerve.

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