September 1st, 2009


I don't *think* that's what he said?

In article:,27574,26012795-29277,00.html, August was hottest on record for Australia (we're just exiting Winter) but "it's not climate change, it's just hot."

What the?

Reading the article, I'm not sure the journo understood what was explained to him.

AUSTRALIA just sweated through its hottest August on record.

But it's not climate change, it's just hot.

The Bureau of Meteorology says August was almost 2.5 degrees Celsius warmer than normal across the country.

The bureau boffins described it as "most extraordinary" as temperatures crept above 38 degrees in some areas.

And winter as a whole came within a whisker of being the warmest of record - it was just 0.01 of a degree cooler than the record-holder, 1996.

Blair Trewin, a climate scientist with the bureau, said the warm weather was caused by a lack of large frontal systems sweeping up from the southern oceans, which would have brought cool air.

Instead, persistent high pressure systems hung about the subtropics.

Dr Trewin said the heatwaves were caused more by natural variability than by climate change.

Climate change had pushed up temperatures by about 0.8 of a degree over the past century but August came in at more than two degrees above average.
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"The set-up we had this month would have given us an extremely warm month whether it happened 100 years ago or it happened now," Dr Trewin said.

"There's a lot of natural variability but you've got a climate change signal on top of that."

And there's no end in sight to the warm weather - the Bureau is forecasting a hot, dry spring.

That's because of warm conditions in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Emphasis is mine.

It's not about looking at isolated incidents of extreme weather. And Trewin didn't say climate change wasn't a factor, in fact he actually said you need to add natural variability and climate change together.


Link between cannabis use and onset of schizophrenia

Interesting piece on abcnews - here - on a study that failed to show a link between cannabis use and the onset of schizophrenia.

Professor Joseph Rey of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sydney, who's [sic] previous research has identified a link between cannabis and schizophrenia, is sceptical [sic] of the study's results.

He quite rightly points out that not showing a link doesn't mean there is no link.

That's true.

Personally though, I've looked at a lot of these studies - cannabis is an option for diseases like cancer and Crohn's that offers limited side effects [1] that is not prescribed in Australia because it is illegal. My own critical analysis of the studies that show a link between cannabis and the onset of schizophrenia don't seem to ask the right kinds of questions to conclusively rule out massaging the results.

Interesting that here:

This latest study, led by Dr Martin Frisher of Keele University, examined the records of 600,000 patients aged between 16 and 44, but failed to find a similar link.

"An important limitation of many studies is that they have failed to distinguish the direction of association between cannabis use and psychosis," the authors write in the latest edition of the journal Schizophrenia Research.

600 000 is a pretty darn big sample size.
And see that bit that they looked at? The DIRECTION of association - that's the bit that always annoys be that is left out of other studies.

They point out that "although using cannabis is associated with a greater risk of developing psychosis, there is also evidence of increased cannabis use following psychosis onset."

They argue if cannabis use does cause schizophrenia, then an increase in cannabis use should be followed by an increase in the incidence of schizophrenia.

According to the study, cannabis use in the UK between 1972 and 2002 has increased four-fold in the general population, and 18-fold among under-18s.

Based on the literature supporting the link, the authors argue that this should be followed by an increase in schizophrenia incidence of 29 per cent between 1990 and 2010.

But the researchers found no increase in the rates of schizophrenia and psychosis diagnosis during that period. In fact, some of the data suggested the incidence of these conditions had decreased.

Interesting study, indeed.

[1]I went through all kinds of side effects from the drugs I was given for Crohn's - one of which left me this sensitivity to all kinds of sulfurs that now gives me hives. I have hives today in fact. Thanks orthodox medicine!


Benji just lost 50 cute factor points - I just discovered he ate through the Foxtel cable AND the TV aerial today. So much for feeling sorry for him that it was rainy outside. That's the thanks I get. He'd better hope it's a warm dry spring, I'd say!

AND I just have hives all the time now. Been hanging out till 10pm - now! yay! - to have the strong antihistamines that work but make me sleepy. Itchy itchy itchy, even my eyelids are itchy. Boring, bland for me for a while again. Thought it had gotten better but no. Even tomatoes are giving me hives now, normally they only do when I am very sensitive so ... yeah. Yay. More boiled eggs and unflavoured rice in my future.

Bed. Now.