Monthly Archives: October 2013

What are the odds on climate science?

TOMORROW, IN MELBOURNE’S hallowed ground, the MCG, the rockin’ and rollin’ Dockers will take on the mighty fighting Hawthorn. Who will win? Good question, and there’s a lot of money riding on it.

But let’s pretend for a minute, that you had a super computer that can run a predictive mathematical model, like the one at the headquarters of the Bureau of Meteorology across the CBD on Collins Street. Never mind what the bookies calculate, this machine can do 53,912 gigaflops when it’s really trying.

What data would you punch into the machine? You’d take assessments of how the teams had fared against each other previously, and how they had fared in the kind of weather we expect tomorrow. But the BoM’s computer can take 23 million pieces of input data. So you could punch in a lot more than just that. You could plug in data about each individual player, their injury history, their playing style, their speed and their accuracy.

Let’s pretend that you found 23 million pieces of information about the teams and conditions to plug into the computer and you programmed it to run a simulation of the game.

It says the Dockers win. How confident would you be about the result? You’re right, Hawks fans, let’s run that thing again…

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No surprises in climate agencies’ dismantling

DURING THE LEAD-UP to the September 7 election, Tony Abbott promised a “no surprises government” and to dismantle the carbon tax. Having been sworn in as Prime Minister yesterday morning, he has wasted no time in implementing those promises.

The yelps of alarm can be heard across the country as today Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced he could commence the closure of both the Climate Commission and the Climate Change Authority.

Leader of the Greens, Christine Milne called it “cowardly”. Contender for leader of the Labor party, Anthony Albanese immediately branded it, “a shameful act”.

But what exactly did we expect?

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