Chinese diplomacy:

Shirley Colless writes: Re. “The art of doing business (and avoiding trouble) in China” (Friday, item 2). Just what is it with Malcolm Turnbull that he acts/roars like the bull in the China shop over the detention of a person who holds both Chinese and Australian citizenships? He might as well be waving a copy of Lord Palmerston’s Civis Romanus Sum speech of 1850 and looking to send in the gunboats to teach those pesky Orientals a lesson.

As I remember it, the last Occidental gunboat led to something called the Yangtze incident. It is now evident that the “normal” rules of Occidental business, that is, you can get away with blue murder with industrial espionage without involving ASIO, MI5, MI6, the KGB or the CIA, the Official Secrets Act and other such sanctions, do not apply where a nation in absolute control of its businesses sees the wellbeing of those businesses as fundamental to the security of the state.

Unlike Kevin Rudd, Turnbull has spent no time enmeshed in the intricacies of international diplomacy, and it shows. If he remains in the running to be the Prime Minister of Australia it would seem that he needs a crash course in Diplomacy 101.

A climate change mirage:

Martin Gordon writes: Re. “Rudd scores global coup on carbon capture” (Friday, item 1). How much more newsprint has to be wasted announcing and reannouncing the G8’s 2050 carbon dioxide reductions target “mirage”? I use the term mirage as the figures seem to get bigger and bigger but recede further off in time.

Rudd is talking the same talk, and the Copenhagen meeting later this year, relies on major polluters like China, India, Russia and Brazil coming on board. If the performance against Kyoto is any guide a lot of talk but little action (actual achievement of reductions).

Diary of a Surgeon:

Scott Bell writes: Re. “Diary of a Surgeon: this is not a spectator sport” (Friday, item 10). How fascinating to see such a discussion in Crikey. As an old medical fart and retired GP, I suspect Guy Maddern, who I believe, is interested in professional standards and evidence based appraisal for new surgical procedures, must have thought long and hard before committing to public print.

And what are we to make of Simon, who, in spite of sensible advice and guidance, “was so enthused by the offer…” that he ended up involved in the most stressful procedure of his life. I wonder if Simon also conferred with his medical defence organisation, [as well as the professor of surgery], prior to departure?

And what was their advice? And what did Simon do with that advice … And what does this whole experience say about Simon’s insight, his ability to self assess, his risk analysis competency, and his professional decision making standards and capability…

The SMH:

Keith Binns writes: Re. “Guy Rundle’s Friday drive-bys” (Friday, item 14). Nice to see Guy Rundle agreeing with me on Annabelle Crabb (her peace on Gillard was the best thing I’ve read for ages) but also on conservative writers in the SMH. The worst thing about them, of course, is that they tell you nothing new.

The wonderful Ross Gittins, for example, always mounts an argument with evidence. You can agree or disagree but he presents a case. Devine et al engage in propaganda and polemic which you agree with if you like it and dismiss if you don’t.

There is no way to engage with them as they are on a religious quest which does not brook any disagreement or require objective truth to back it.

First Dog on the Moon:

John Peak writes: Re. John Taylor (Friday, comments) who wrote: “I know I’m stupid but can someone explain yesterday’s First Dog to me? I may send this e-mail to you every day for the rest of my life.”

First Dog does reflect his own life (and ours) on occasions, and that story struck a cord. I recognised it as something real, and I was and remain moved by it.

May FD be around for you to send that e-mail for the rest of your life.

Climate change:

Jim Catt writes: Tamas Calderwood (Friday, comments) encapsulates all that’s wrong with the climate change sceptics. He has selected a set of observational data that supports his position and ignored the masses of data that don’t.

As Barrie Pittock puts it in his recent book Climate Change: The Science, Impacts and Solutions:

…if we have ten sets of observations pointing to global warming (land temperatures, ocean temperatures, sea ice, glaciers, snow cover, plant flowering dates, bird distributions, dates of river ice break-up, bore hole temperatures, melting permafrost) and one which does not (some satellite data), do we simply conclude that the 10 sets are wrong or do we look critically at the reliability of all the evidence and decide which is more likely?

Genuine scepticism is welcomed in science — indeed it is critical to the advancement of knowledge. However, what Mr Calderwood offers is not genuine scientific debate but political argument dressed up in scientific guise.

Perhaps he should read Mr Pittock’s book — it’s readily available.

Kerri Worthington writes: Just for fun, I got my computer to translate this latest offering from Tamas Calderwood:

I just find it so damn hard to rouse from my lethargic global-warming-slacker ways when there is no actual warming. Anyway, yawn, be sure to wake me for the apocalypse when the temperature starts rising…

I translated it into traditional Chinese and then back into English. (I got the idea off Spicks and Specks). Here’s how it came back. I think it’s far cuter than the original:

When actually has not been warm, I detected difficultly it awakens from my slow global warm sluggard mode very much. When in any event, the temperature of ignition rises, the yawn, definitely wakes I for