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Reviving Wind Turbine Syndrome is just what you’d expect from a PM without a Science Minister

So it appears we are to be treated to another pointless examination of a manufactured controversy in the name of health science. One can only guess at the motivations for the Federal Government announcing a NHMRC-led review of the science around the purported health effects of wind farms, but you can be sure it’s not being driven by scientific curiosity.

In fact this review is probably the most futile bit of spending yet announced in the term of the Abbott administration and is exactly the sort of tomfoolery you might expect of a cabinet which has no room for science. Why? Because there is no controversy about the so-called Wind Turbine Syndrome. It doesn’t exist as a thing. It has not, as the philosophers might say, been reified.

Wind turbines have no health effects on the surrounding populations. That’s not just my personal opinion. It’s the overwhelming scientific consensus. The book is closed, the story is written, the circus has folded its tents and moved on.

It would, however, potentially suit the Abbott Government politically to keep this manufactroversy going. The conservative side of politics in this country has a well-documented preference for fossil fuel production, largely based on economic arguments and the hope of carbon capture technology to reduce carbon emissions from current coal-fired power stations. Using fringe science to advance political ends is nothing new, but this is not a political comment column so I don’t propose to stray too far from discussing that science.

The proverbial musty tomes of medical history are full of such exotic diagnoses as Railway Spine or the Vapours) not to mention Fan Death in South Korea. Why not investigate those as well? After all, it has been a long time since the NHMRC had a look at them as well.

This facetious rhetorical question has a serious answer. Why does it seem ridiculous to have a Government enquiry into Fan Death, which is after all reported as the 5th most common cause of serious injury during summer in Korea, according to the Korean Consumer Protection Board?

I submit that there is no scientific justification for any further investigation of ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’ just as there is no reason to investigate Fan Death or Railway Spine, because they are not real diagnoses. They are cultural responses to new or unfamiliar technology. I would support an academic investigation into the sociological aspects of the phenomenon as it may help us understand how to prevent useful and essential renewable energy technology from being hindered by groups of sincerely deluded activists. But a scientific investigation? A complete and utter waste of my tax dollars, as it will not alter either the scientific consensus or the tiny, one-track minds of the denialists.

And as for the Chief Scientist’s report on assessing the ‘evidence’ supporting homeopathy and other implausible treatments, don’t get me started. The UK parliament produced the defintive smackdown on homeopathy in 2010, but for some reason the Government is stalling the report which many (including myself) hope will stop these treatment being paid for with funds from the 30% Private Health Rebate (ie tax dollars). The delay in implementation is meant to allow for more ‘consultation with industry’. Again, it’s certainly not to allow for any more scientific input, as the supporting evidence consisted of tumbleweeds 2 years ago when it started, and it’s tumbleweeds all the way down still.

The most unsavoury aspect of this announcement is more subtle. The younger Bush administration in the USA became notorious for its disregard for the scientific process. They forced policy to drive evidence, rather than the other way around. They purportedly dictated the preferred outcomes of major environmental studies using funding threats to hold the scientists hostage. They cut funding from scientific programs that seemed ‘pointless’ to scientifically illiterate pollies and bureaucrats. The ideologically-driven ban on stem-cell research by the Bush administration set the USA back a decade in major biotech research, which also meant that the industry created by this innovation left their shores.

Mr Abbott clearly signalled his intentions prior to the election to curb free enquiry and direct research funds to ‘useful’ areas. Now he has commissioned a large scientifically futile project at his own behest, so we would be naive not to expect more of the same.

Australia cannot afford the luxury of a scientifcally illiterate body politic for very long. From the stump-jump plough and Coolgardie safe to the invention of WiFi, we have had to use technological solutions to the difficulties of living in this country. We have punched well above our weight for a very long time thanks to our outstanding record of scientific innovation, which has been enabled by solid support from Governments which have always judged it (rightly in my view) to be a critical path to keeping and improving our quality of life.

Until now, it seems. When junk science can be used as a prop in a political debate, and jobs in outdated and harmful industries are valued more highly than jobs in the industries of the future. It’s not too late for the PM to reverse this apparent willingness to use bad science as a political tool, and to unwind his Government’s disregard for the proud track record of Australian scientific innovation but until then we will pay the price for his War on Smart.

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243 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

    1. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Makes you wonder what sort of role the Newman's had in convincing Abbott to hold a review - and what sort of role they will have in the findings and any action taken.

      No - actually I am not wondering at all. I am 100% certain.

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    2. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Mike, I have no doubt this government is actively encouraging the most backward thinking form of "culture", I imagine there are at least several lobbyists within this circle. Everything they are doing indicates no planning for CC, the environment, and renewable energy. Oh for an iPhone at the right moment

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    3. Elisabeth Meehan

      General Practitioner

      In reply to Notta Mehere

      I agree fully with the general thrust of the argument, however I am a bit in doubt as the whether or not the NHMRC report is the one the Abbott government is actually considering now.

      From my reading (please correct me if I am wrong) the NHMRC report was completed in 2009, and found no credible links to adverse health. They did, however, suggest they do ongoing monitoring.

      My understanding is that they have done another report, which Tony Abbott has declined to release.

      In the interim, he has appointed an alternative panel of review, presumably hoping to get a different result.

      I believe the NHMRC is reputable, the chairman is Professor Bruce Armstrong, who has an impeccable reputation, had done a great deal of work on tobacco, and has no conflict of interest. The other members of the NHMRC panel have also been required to reveal any possible conflict of interest.

      I am about to check this again, and would welcome correction if I am wrong!

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    4. Elisabeth Meehan

      General Practitioner

      In reply to Elisabeth Meehan

      I have done some checking, it appears the NHMRC reported first in 2009 - no health effects.

      They then did a "rapid review" completed in 2012 - this is the one the govt will not release, I can only assume because it came to the same conclusion.

      Please see the NHMRC web site, and there are excerpts from an SMH article here:

      Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/government-to-seek-independent-review-of-the-health-impact-of-wind-farms-despite-earlier-findings-20140126-31gz4.html#ixzz2rxuak7ky

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  1. George Michaelson

    Person

    interesting you use reification: I would have said its most definitely become reified, because its a concept without evidence, yet persists. its "thing"ness is precisely because of its reification.

    Would that it was solely evidence-based, made from other atoms of information. Alas, not so. it is, because .. it is.

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    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to George Michaelson

      Precisely George ... this is what happens when a good man goes wandering off into foreign lands like philosophy without a map.

      Fortunately such a route map is available at the font of all human knowledge http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reification ... and the good man Michael here will see at an instant that Wind Turbine Sydnrome fits the criteria for a reified phenomenon with absolute precision.

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    2. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter - In the comments to Clive's article you got upset about one of your posts being deleted. If it was just your post being deleted I would agree with you.

      But perhaps you were responding to a post which deserved deletion, and your post was deleted just because it didn't make sense without the first deleted post. I had one of my posts deleted from this discussion and that is why my post got deleted.

      Of course I should send you a Private Message and not post this diversion here - but TC doesn't have such a feature, so this post is the only way I can communicate with you.

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    3. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      When have my posts ever made sense Mr Wilbur-Ham? I am deeply offended by this spurious allegation. You are clearly trying to confuse me with someone else again.

      I have been in contact with the offending extreme moderator and made some suggestions regarding the concept of original sin, plenary indulgences and the excessive collateral damage arising from the need to delete one offensive post. With any luck we might see the string of indignant though fact-loaded replies left intact with only…

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    4. Michael Vagg

      Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University School of Medicine & Pain Specialist at Barwon Health

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I think that Wind Turbine Syndrome is reified as far as the wingnut element goes but not for everybody else...

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    5. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      It seems a bit like "extreme pruning". I guess it is easier and faster to delete an entire thread than zero in on the one or few that were say abusive etc.

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    6. Mike Jubow

      Forestry nurseryman at Nunyara Wholesale , Forestry consultants, seedling suppliers.

      In reply to Michael Vagg

      Michael, don't the homeopaths have a pill for wind turbine syndrome? I am informed they do, so what's the problem?

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    7. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      The church of the flying spaghetti monster has been used in the USA to make the point that if intelligent design should be taught to present the other side or so that all views can be aired, then clearly the flying spaghetti monster should be taught as well.

      I wonder what would happen in reality here if someone did submit a homeopathic solution to wind turbine syndrome to the enquiry? It would challenge the enquiry as to how it dealt with science vs non-science.

      I really think you are onto something here!

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    8. Elisabeth Meehan

      General Practitioner

      In reply to George Michaelson

      I saw a relevant TV program (ABC of course!) visiting a rural community where some of the farmers had opted into a scheme to be paid to have wind farms on their properties, while neighbouring farms had not.

      The fascinating thing about the program was the fact that those who had received money were happy, those who hadn't were very angry, and "suffered" from headaches, and non specific feelings of un-wellness.

      Interesting. . .

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    9. Lorna Jarrett

      PhD, science educator and science advocate

      In reply to Elisabeth Meehan

      Prime example of why the Libs want to take a wrecking ball to the ABC.
      I am still fuming about Ian McDonald complaining that the ABC presented "one viewpoint" on climate change and never invited Bob Carter on to "give balance", and gave "weeks and weeks of coverage of allegations about the Navy, and never once reported on all the times they're doing an excellent job.
      Mate: "balance" does not mean giving equal airtime to widely-discredited fringe views; and (without meaning any disrespect to the Navy), people doing the job they're paid to do, is not news.

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    10. Neville Mattick
      Neville Mattick is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grazier: ALP Member at A 4th Generation Grazing Station

      In reply to Elisabeth Meehan

      This is a great article that exposes the agenda of the Abbott Government as COALition // "its the Liberal way to make YOU pay".

      You are correct Elisabeth ABC 7:30 had the segment and like so many Country Mum's the facts are told as they are:

      GREG HOY: Some people worry that it (a Wind Farm) can upset sheep.

      NOEL HARTWICH, WOOL FARMER: I don't think that ever happens.

      LYN HARTWICH: That's just a myth. http://bit.ly/XD3t4t

      Mythical is exactly what it is to save the Coal Fired assets and distributors from the clean and cheap alternative.

      Australians' have rocks in their heads to support that disaster - just go outside in South Eastern Australia any time lately and try to work in this crazy heat - get away from the A/c to feel what is happening to our Environment - try to fight a wild fire - how long have we left at this rate?

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  2. Miles Ruhl

    Thinker

    Love it Michael: "manufactroversy"

    I'm going to borrow that little nugget in future if you don't mind as it's perfect really!

    "Science is a left-wing conspiracy" is a feeling which runs deep in the Abbott cabinet.

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  3. Ben Marshall
    Ben Marshall is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Writer

    Great overview Michael. It's frankly nice to hear a clear voice of reason amidst the howling insanity of the Coalition's war on science.

    As I've commented elsewhere, the extreme Left seem to own the anti-vax madness, but the far Right own just about every other area of anti-science, especially when it's environment-related.

    Though I share the frustration that ideology drives the Coalition's decisions on these sorts of issues, I still struggle to understand what the ideology is and why some Conservatives have made it an article of faith to choose disbelief over acknowledgment of evidence. Does it frustrate ordinary Conservatives that a minority of their tribe, and our elected government, are behaving in this way? Are they still angry science killed God? Has God been replaced by worship of the 'invisible hand of the market' that we should obey without question or imposition of Earthly regulation? I struggle to understand.

    How do moderate Conservatives feel about this?

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    1. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Ben Marshall

      Moderate conservatives probably have a reliquary box on their office desks, each containing the relic thumb of the invisible hand of the market.
      It seems to have been this way for some time.

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    2. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to James Hill

      I myself have exactly such a sacred collection - a pile of some 15 thumbs bought sight unseen from reputable sources over years of study. A simple inlaid box of fine marquetry - obviously empty to the untrained eye - yet in truth chockers with the opposable digit of free marketry.

      I must admit I was suspicious as the thumb tally rose over the expected one - but never having seen the invisible hand on the job who was I to query its non material anatomy. I'll believe anything apparently.

      Perhaps we could have a Royal Commission into the anatomy of the invisible hand.

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    3. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Ben Marshall

      What I find strange in the comments both here and at The Guardian is that we almost never hear from any rational Conservatives.

      Of course a rational Conservative can exist - there are plenty of differences in values which can be the source of political disagreements.

      So where are these rational Conservatives? And why is it now usual for the comments from the right to be nonsense and non-science?

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    4. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      If I understand correctly, Malcolm Turnbull may be one such person. Expressing scientific rationality while remaining on the front bench must required concentration - truly ''treading a fine line''.

      There appears to be no reason, intrinsically, why financial conservatism would require science denial - except, perhaps, for industrial vested interests.

      Interestingly, there is no widespread denial of coalminers' lung disease - but, rather, a thought that this was a consequence of industrialisation. Labour laws and mining methods moved on with the times, and harm has been (partially) mitigated. Why not take the same mitigation approach to AGW?

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    5. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      It is a fine line that Malcolm has had some difficulty in following at times Ms Sue : http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/abbotts-climate-change-policy-is-bullshit-20091207-kdmb.html

      Now aside from this being the only time in living memory that Granny Herald has used the word "bullshit" in a header, the utter thrashing Malcolm metes out would suggest that he had lost sight of that hair- thin line for a moment there....

      It's deleted from Turnbull's blog now - but not from the SMH site - a journal of record ... and one well worth remembering.

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    6. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thanks for that link Peter - I wish it could have taken a greater pride of place during the election campaign. An opportunity lost by Labor and the Greens I suspect.

      Nonetheless it should certainly be shown to every Australia citizen right now - pushed through their letterboxes, placed into newspaper advertisements, on TV, on the internet. Make sure everyone knows just what a hypocrite and liar our current PM (and a shudder goes down my spine when I say that) really is.

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    7. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Worth remembering that Malcolm was supporting the CPRS which he had negotiated with Labor.

      If the CPRS has passed then we would be locked in to a carbon price of about $1 per tonne until about 2020.

      One main purpose of the CPRS was to "give business certainty", and the CPRS was designed not just to put a price on carbon, but to give business the certainty that this price would never become high enough to worry about.

      The Greens summarised this as "locking in failure" which is why they were correct not to vote for it.

      Certainly Malcolm doesn't wallow in non-science like many of his colleagues, but Malcolm also ignored the real science by supporting the CPRS.

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    8. Ronald Ostrowski

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Turnbull, is a party apparatchik, such as existed in European communist and fascist regimes of times past, who leaves his intellect, principles and morality at home when he goes to work for the Abbott cause. Our bovine media are even worse in not facilitating a robustly informed public conversation on this planet threatening issue of climate change. The sheer abundant space given to non-scientific hypotheses of denying what 97% peer reviewed scientist have agreed upon is staggering, and reminiscent of the shrill ignorant conversations had when Galileo was alive. Even the ABC has apprently decided that intellectual thinking take a back seat to emmotive and sensationalist reporting with a political agenda. When I was a kid my parents made me watch the ABC because it was educational. Well, not these days.

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    9. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Ronald Ostrowski

      i remember reading recently that was something that Maurice Newman insisted that the ABC do, in the interest of "balance" of course, amazing how much "balance" you can throw in when you shift the pivot. doesn't bode well for his COA.

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    10. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Robert McDougall

      When the ABC online reported that the BoM had said that 2013 was the hottest year on record, the ABC decided to provide balance by having a short "what do you think" link which, not surprisingly, was half filled with climate change deniers saying their usual nonsense and non-science.

      The balance on Q&A on climate change was 'interesting'. As one Labor economist put it, 'Labor have taken action on climate change and that is the end of the issue'. The other side was the Liberal and IPA view that it was crap. Pretty much absent on Q&A was the scientific reality that a huge amount more needs to be done than Labor put into place.

      Balance between Liberal and Labor views? Maybe.

      But the reality of climate change was pretty much ignored.

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    11. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Howard's recent assertion of the primacy of politics over science might be a guide, Michael.
      Science is a serious rival, and Howard will be quite aware that his former boss, Malcolm Fraser, "read" Political Science at Oxford.
      And what a thorn in the side of "Howardism" has that "empowered" individual has proven to be.
      There could be some fear and loathing behind this "war" on science, aren't Deimos and Phobos the companions of the god of war, Mars?
      And aren't fear and hate being peddled by said conservatives in contradiction of Christ's promise that "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free"?
      There is no contradiction between Christianity and "knowledge" or "science", but there certainly might be a conflict with the right is might religion of the conservative "worshipers" of IOVE OPTIMO MAXIMO.
      You know Michael, the ones who cut down all those "Sacred Groves" worshiped by those original "greenies"?

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    12. Elisabeth Meehan

      General Practitioner

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      I agree.
      There is also nothing "economically rational" about denying the science of climate change.
      Loss of agricultural land, creation of deserts, needing more desalination plants, loss of tourism to wilderness areas, higher costs of energy as burning fossil fuels becomes more expensive, losses caused by bushfires, floods, cyclones, extreme weather events etc etc etc will all cost a great deal of money, and I am not the first person to point this out by any means.
      The problem seems to be a deeper…

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    13. Elisabeth Meehan

      General Practitioner

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      The science programs on the ABC frequently feature aspects of global climate change, as it impacts on virtually every aspect of the natural world.
      When scientists speak there is no question of "debate", "controversy" or balance, the evidence for climate change is overwhelming, as is the human cause of it.

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    14. Elisabeth Meehan

      General Practitioner

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yes, it was a tragic tail of failure to communicate what can be a positive, and empowering message about what can be done, and how Australia can benefit from renewable energy and conservation of arable land.

      We need a genuinely committed and inspiring orator!

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  4. David Kelly

    logged in via Facebook

    Great OpEd.

    Somewhat sadly I'm awaiting Abbott to announce studies into vaccines and autism, whether there really was moon landings in the late 60's and early 70's, and perhaps even revive the hoary old chestnut of Harold Holt being spirited away in a submarine?

    It is just plain embarrassing to see how blind this new Government is to proven science. (… and blind to so much more besides)

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    1. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to David Kelly

      David why stop there, the planets cooling, we're entering the next ice-age, no other countries are serious about climate change, and we don't have to have any renewable sources of transport and energy. They're going to create many jobs and cut red-tape. And they above all other political parties understand economic matters. Abbott's spent too much time in the sun.

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    1. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      The sound of all those reviews being slapped on the cabinet room table might generate more infrasound than the average wind-farm!

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    2. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      What's obviously needed as a matter of urgency is some serious NHMRC research on mass politically motivated hysteria.

      The US Psychology Association (APA) commissioned an excellent report on the psychology of climate change a few years back http://www.apa.org/science/about/publications/climate-change.aspx which is well worth a squizz for anyone interested in the issue from any perspective.

      Investigating windfarms and spinning things in general probably isn't a health issue of much significance ... but the epidemic of mass hysteria on this and other issues most certainly is. There must be a cure.

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    3. Mark Amey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      Perhaps they can do that double blind, controlled trial of vaccine efficacy/safety, that the Anti-vax mob are demanding...oh, hang on, it was done, back in 1954. Stupid facts getting in the way of rants.

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    4. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      There has been some research on the differences between conservatives and liberals. Very interesting results showing not only do these people think differently but in some cases even the brains are slightly different.

      I believe that in the US the conservatives legislated that no further government funding is allowed to go to such research.

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    5. David Tuck

      Scientist

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      6 things our moral judgements are made on: care/harm, fairness cheating, liberty/oppression, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion and sanctity/degradation.
      Liberals rely almost entirely on the first three foundations when making moral judgements. In contrast, conservatives rely on all six.

      From: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. (Jonathon Haidt, 2012)

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    6. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to David Tuck

      What is missing from this list, and is most pertinent to the conversations here, is 'rationality and evidence / belief and ideology'.

      On Crikey someone once said to me "You might think that I'm evil, but I don't see why I should change my life just so that things don't get bad for others later". This was in relation to action on climate change.

      Yes, his values were the opposite of mine - I did think he was evil.

      But he was refreshingly honest and rational - no pretending that the science of climate change was wrong, no irrationality.

      I did think him evil, but I respected his honesty. An honesty I've almost never seen since by those who attack rationality and evidence.

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    7. Michael Mihajlovic

      Retired

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Michael,
      I salute your your comment on honesty and evidence, but, I think you respondent's reasoning was flawed. He failed to consider that those "others" were not only his fellow human beings but more importantly his own and his relatives' descendants and he was in a position to make the sacrifices to help them. Further, if the positions were reversed, would he like to be treated the same way?

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    8. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Michael Mihajlovic

      Michael Mihajlovic - I agree with you. That is why I think my Crikey respondent was evil - he didn't care for others.

      What I respected with him though is that he didn't dress up his 'evil' values with all the climate change nonsense we have seen here for years.

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    9. Michael Mihajlovic

      Retired

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Michael, you are perfectly correct. I was merely making the observation (perhaps clumsily) that whilst your respondent was very frank about his views, which is commendable, he was a little shot on reasoning.

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  5. Michael Gardiner

    Lecturer at USQ

    "...you can be sure it’s not being driven by scientific curiosity"

    This, from the first paragraph, says it all.

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  6. Mike Swinbourne

    logged in via Facebook

    Michael

    The link you provided in the article to the Telegraph story that "Abbott vows to cut futile research" was interesting, given the thrust of this 'new' enquiry.

    If you look at the NHMRC website on the health impacts of Wind Turbines, they state this:
    "....there is currently insufficient published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects...."

    On that basis you would have to conclude that, unless there have been some new papers published in the past 3 years or so which have found a link, that the position of the NHMRC remains extant and there is no need for a new study to be conducted. This is especially true given that Abbott has vowed to 'cut futile research'.

    So on what possible grounds - other than the fact that the man is a pathological liar, hypocrite, science denier and in the pay of mining and fossil fuel interests - can there be for a new study? Oh... wait.... I think I just answered my own question.

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    1. Roger Simpson

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      I remember saying when GW Bush vacated the US presidency that it was a sad day for comics. Alas these forums are evidence that TA has taken the mantle of village idiot so we can again practice our amateur (yet very good) comic routines. Thank you for your comments Mike, I laughed.

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    2. Tim Benham

      Student of Statistics

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      ``"....there is currently insufficient published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects...."

      On that basis you would have to conclude that, unless there have been some new papers published in the past 3 years or so which have found a link, that the position of the NHMRC remains extant and there is no need for a new study to be conducted. ''

      Well that is presumably what the NHMRC will do. Check whether there have been any papers published in the last…

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    3. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Tim Benham

      ".....I've noticed a disturbing number of posters and authors here seem to use the site to hyperventilate their personal political feelings rather than the discuss the subject matter...."

      This is on the subject Tim - I'm just trying to understand the motivation for this study, especially given that the PM has already stated that, in order to save money, he would cut out 'futile' research. So on what possible grounds would he waste taxpayers money on this, other than to act like a good little lap-dog for the likes of Maurice Newman, a well known anti-wind farm and anti-science denier?

      "....You don't expect politicians to use Google Scholar or something like that, do you?..."

      I expect politicians to accept the evidence of science, to not waste money and time on ideological agenda divorced from reality, and to at least be honest with the Australian people. What about you Tim?

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    4. David Tuck

      Scientist

      In reply to Tim Benham

      The word 'circlejerk' is inappropriate in this discussion, I doubt that you'd write that on one of your uni papers.

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    5. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to David Tuck

      Circle Jerk is a misnomer, at best you can get what kind of looks like a decagon

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  7. Ronald Ostrowski

    logged in via Facebook

    I imagine the agenda here is to maintain the business interests of the fossil fuel industry. Like Canada, the Australian Government's behaviour in lighting of global trends towards job creating clean energy technology is disgracefully irresponsible and very shorted sighted. As the world arrives to a place where irresponsible countries are brought to account (probably at the 2016 Paris Conference) Australia may find itself suffering serious economic sanctions.

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  8. Dan Cass

    Lobbyist for the forces of good at Dan Cass & Co

    Interesting piece, Michael.

    How far do you think a government without a science minister will go? Is is limited only by the imagination of the Tea Partiest member of caucus - who would that be?

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    1. Michael Vagg

      Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University School of Medicine & Pain Specialist at Barwon Health

      In reply to Dan Cass

      That's it, Dan, the experience overseas with places that don't have a strong, independent science voice in Government pass all sorts of weird laws. Saudi Arabia, for example, as passed a law setting a maximum height for witches to be able to fly! As for the looniest Liberal in parliament, I don't know all of them well enough to speculate, but it might be a good project for a political type to undertake...

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    2. Michael Vagg

      Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University School of Medicine & Pain Specialist at Barwon Health

      In reply to Michael Vagg

      My mistake, it was Swaziland who passed that law. It's Saudi Arabia who has a crack paramilitary police anti-witchcraft unit.

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    3. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Vagg

      Well you rational types might scoff Michael Vagg but I'll absolutely guarantee you that no one has seen any witches hurtling about above the duly mandated limit.. Same in Saudi Arabia ... tough on witchcraft - tough on the causes of witchcraft ... see, it works.

      Cory Bernardi ... takes the loony prize by a good five lengths ... too unhinged even for Cabinet.

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    4. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Cory Bernardi isn't totally looney.

      Part of what he does by being so extreme is to move the centre of the discussion further to the right. Thus what Abbott actually does now appears fairly moderate compared to what Cory said.

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  9. Ross Barrell

    Aikido Student

    Very nice article. Good to see such a clear and concise assessment. I despair every time I think about this anti-science, denialist government. Who knows, maybe they'll have just 2 more years to run.

    What really strikes me is the absence of lunar right trolls in this conversation. What is written here should be like a red flag to a bull to these people. So where are they all?

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    1. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Ross Barrell

      My theory is that some of the trolls are organised - so they get assigned to a thread. Once assigned they will post frequently and amusingly they will keep posting after the thread is long dead as long as there is someone who replies back. (Not only have I seen this many times, I've even been the one keeping it going just to see how long the troll will keep responding).

      So perhaps the organiser has missed this thread, and it will not be blessed by 30 posts by a troll.

      Or perhaps it will be spotted soon and this post will be attacked as being totally without foundation and the trolling will begin.

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    2. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Ross Barrell

      apparently "their" mob won and now that "their" mob is in government "they" don't have to explain anything.

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    3. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Robert McDougall

      Maybe they've been granted an extra day off after the long weekend. First time I've been able to read through a whole thread with no "blips"or grinding of teeth.

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    4. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Ross Barrell

      Like Michael, I am sure that some of the trolls are organised and paid to provoke an emotional response which often results in the substantive theme getting derailed.

      This is of course the objective! I am not sure if we should conduct some troll baiting or just ignore them.

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    5. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Robert McDougall

      I think the organisers of the paid trolls may have ramped up their program with the election now that "their" mob as you put it is in government.

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    6. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      ".... I am not sure if we should conduct some troll baiting or just ignore them....."

      I'm all for troll baiting. It gets me moderated away sometimes, but that's the price you pay. As long as the troll reads the comment before it gets moderated my job is done.

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    7. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Mike - the trolls don't care what you write in response. They are trying to influence those who are not as informed as you.

      Much better is that we report posts with non-science in them and before we can think of what to write in reply their posts are deleted and peace and calm returns to the land of TC.

      And this isn't just my fantasy, it has happened today with several posts where I have clicked the link in my email to open up the page and write a response only to find the non-science post already deleted. Oh, what a feeling!

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    8. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      I fully understand that Michael and you are probably correct.

      Once upon a time I used to provide long, detailed and rational posts containing links to journal article etc. But then I found that no matter how mch evidence you provide, it is never accepted and the same old tired denier memes keeping coming up time after time.

      As you say, reporting them and ignoring / not responding is probably the 'right' thing to do. But sometimes I just feel like having a bit of fun at their expense.

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  10. Laurie Campbell

    Scrap metal recycler

    Good article thanks,

    To me it's all about creating market uncertainty for renewable energy elements. It was started as a rural wedge and in Victoria when the LNP got in they used the hook to payout for the rural work done.

    Blaming green energy for electricity price rises is part of the same thing. Removing the carbon tax, renewable energy targets etc it's all about creating a climate of uncertainty for the big investors.

    Talk about an interventionist govt, picking the losers to be.

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    1. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Laurie Campbell

      I read in a blog on the Guardian that the peak electricity usage during the recent Victorian heatwave was less than the peak in the 2009 Black Saturday heatwave.

      I think the explanation is that with so much solar power from domestic rooftops the power distribution network now needs less capacity than before. yet lots of new capacity has been built and our power prices have gone up considerably to pay for it.

      Getting the facts on any issue is increasingly difficult. We live in very strange times.

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    2. Russell Y

      Financial planner

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      I think the Noalition are in for a tougher year than they expected. It seems very likely that Victoria will move back to a Labor/ Green Government. This would allow the natural resources of Bass strait to be more fully utilised. Given the IPA is predominately a Melbourne group, they could go into a bit of a meltdown. I can already hear them screaming about infra sound, commies and goodness knows what else.

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  11. Joe Ros

    logged in via email @exemail.com.au

    i become more and more depressed each day. Then i think Hell only 2.5 years to go.

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  12. Nick Maley

    IT Delivery Manager

    This article is a sustained exercise in Abbott bashing from a commentator determined to give no quarter to an ideological enemy.

    I imagine that the independent review will come to exactly the same conclusion that the NHMRC has come to. There is no credible evidence linking wind farms to adverse health effects. I suspect Abbott, a former Minister of Health, knows this already and is quite comfortable with that conclusion. But to appease a handful of worrywarts in a few sensitive rural electorates…

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    1. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Nick Maley

      One of the amazing things about conservatives is that they rant and rave about money spent on something they don't like but when their side wastes money it is ok.

      And Nick, the case for taking rapid and significant action to lower carbon emissions is firmly secure, and wind farms are one part of the solution. And if you don't accept that then you are equally as foolish and evil as Abbott.

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    2. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      "Foolish And Evil", I think you have discovered the perfect three words for the gentleman in question.
      A fabulous summing up.
      "The Foolish and Evil Tony Abbott again today confirmed the now common public perception of his prime ministerial performance with..."
      Just fill in the latest daily gaffe.

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    3. Michael Vagg

      Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University School of Medicine & Pain Specialist at Barwon Health

      In reply to Nick Maley

      That's very amusing Nick. Perhaps I'll email you before the next election to check if my political opinion has changed.

      Your 'handful of worrywarts' in these 'handful of sensitive electorates' should not need to be appeased if the LNP has already made up its mind. Why pretend that the conservative preference for coal is based on anything else than economics.

      I must say when I drive past Loy Yang and any open cut coal mines for that matter I always stop and soak up the scenery. It's just so beautiful. Give me that over wind turbines any day.

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    4. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Nick Maley

      Nick, the trouble is that your penultimate sentence is simply not bourne out by the facts. Therefore, as it hapens, opponents of renewable energy DO have to clutch at straws to try to demonise it.

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  13. Tim Benham

    Student of Statistics

    The Wikipedia article suggests that at least some patients diagnosed with Railway Spine had PTSD or whiplash, which I believe are currently accepted conditions.

    As to wind turbinosis, the NHMRC's most recent official announcement in 2010 (link below) is far from the dismissal you claim is the overwhelming consensus. "[T]here is currently insufficient published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects" is as strong as it gets. It goes on to recommend that authorities take a "precautionary approach" and keep monitoring the scientific literature on the subject. A follow up review of the literature does not seem inappropriate. It might provide funding to some post grads.

    http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications/new0048

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Tim Benham

      Tim, as a student of statistics, you would appreciate the epidemiological value of a large-scale, long-term live trial...

      Have you ever heard of Denmark?

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  14. Peter Campbell

    Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

    Not one comment from an outraged believer?
    Amazing.

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    1. Ian Darby

      Academic/Researcher at RMIT University

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      Not even a suggestion that it's the iron in the turbines causing the trouble (Tom must be on holiday)

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    2. David Tuck

      Scientist

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      You must have missed Nick's post where he suggested that wind turbines are uglier to look at than open cut mines, and the implication that 'wind turbinosis' is as bad or worse than cancer caused by air pollution.

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  15. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    Abbott: the Murdoch Man of La Mancha.

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  16. Michael Shand

    Software Tester

    Great article and thanks for the links to Fan death - lol's

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  17. George Papadopoulos

    logged in via LinkedIn

    I wonder if Vagg is so sure the Abbott Government is simply doing another literature review.

    I thought the point of the exercise was to do some primary research...

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    1. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair, who said that the honourable PM, is doing another review?

      Apparently Angus Taylor the local MP mentioned that it is to involve an investigative approach - listening to complaints and accepting submissions - something the NHMRC review wouldn't do!

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    2. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      ''listening to complaints and accepting submissions""?

      That's the methodology of a legal inquiry, which is no substitute for scientific evidence.

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    3. In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Comment removed by moderator.

    4. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, If you read the article you would know that we already know that wind turbine syndrome has been shown NOT to be real.

      Are you inserting nonsense and non-science into this conversation?

      Please quicky clarify, otherwise your post may be deleted by the moderators.

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    5. Rosemary Stanton

      Nutritionist & Visiting Fellow at UNSW Australia

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George

      Having been involved with the NHMRC, I can assure you that they do listen to complaints and accept submissions. However, if there is no substance to the complaints and the submissions do not present new evidence, they are dealt with politely but appropriately.

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    6. Rosemary Stanton

      Nutritionist & Visiting Fellow at UNSW Australia

      In reply to Rosemary Stanton

      George

      I should have added that the major problem with this process is that it wastes the NHMRC's time and effort that could be put to better use.

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    7. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Rosemary Stanton

      Rosemary, the NHMRC specifically stated that they would not accept anecdote but only systemically collected data.

      I think that says it all: time for listening to people's complaints and doing what the 2011 Senate Enquiry recommended: research - not just literature reviews

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    8. Elisabeth Meehan

      General Practitioner

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Anecdotes are not evidence.

      I have spent a lot of time listening to smokers tell me about their cousins great uncle who smoked til he was 92, only to be run over by a bus.

      It proves nothing, other than that the teller of anecdotes understands nothing of the scientific method.

      And by the way, literature reviews are they way that scientific research done by many researchers around the world is put together to be understood in a co-herent way.

      The validity and scope of the research is assessed, and conclusions drawn. A literature review updates what is known already. There is no need to re-invent the wheel, just because Tony Abbott doesn't understand how science is done.

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    9. Elisabeth Meehan

      General Practitioner

      In reply to Rosemary Stanton

      Thank you Rosemary for your concise and accurate information.

      George does not state his background, but clearly he has no understanding of what constitutes scientific evidence.

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    10. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Elisabeth Meehan

      Elisabeth, I prefer to use common sense first, as good scientific evidence usually comes well after a problem is identified.

      I hope that we can agree that asbetos caused cancer well before the evidence existed?

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    11. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      And be amazed that, unlilke some others, I do not claim infallibility, and had last year terminated my associated with the Academy after getting an insiders view...

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    12. Elisabeth Meehan

      General Practitioner

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George Papadopoulos, I'm sorry your question makes no sense. If I were to say, "I hope you agree that kangaroos caused kangaroo poo well before the evidence existed?" you would be shaking your head. The question makes no sense.

      To expand that, if a person deeply, strongly and sincerely believes that wind farms are causing headaches, learning disorders etc etc, then what exists, what there is evidence for, is a strongly held belief.

      A strongly held belief is just that, nothing more.

      I might…

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    13. Elisabeth Meehan

      General Practitioner

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair, thanks for the link to Geovital. I'm amazed, dismayed and very saddened. To say more may cause my post to be deleted.

      I have replied to George's post below.

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    14. Blair Donaldson
      Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher & Skeptic

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, do you accept that common sense is unfortunately very uncommon in the general community and that the scientific method is not well understood?

      It's the only reason the mythical wind turbine syndrome persists among a small number of people who in the main have no understanding of how "evidence" is assessed. Surely if they understood objective assessment of data, they would accept findings despite their personal prejudices.

      Of course people like our PM who are driven by a particular ideology…

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    15. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Yes, Blair. I find it very difficult to understand why people refuse to listen to a litany of complaints against wind turbines at an international scale - especially when I can hear the things 35kms away!

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    16. Blair Donaldson
      Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher & Skeptic

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, I think your claim about hearing turbines from 35 km away is fanciful at best and brings into question your objectivity. Here is why and you can check for yourself.

      I have assumed a sound level of 100 dB (way above real levels) at 1 m from the source (turbine) and then provided the second distance ( 35,000 m). You'll see that at 35 km, any sound from the original source is down to around 15 dB. Less than half the volume of a whisper quiet library.

      So, how do you determine the noise from a turbine 35 km away when that sound is drowned out by more immediate sound sources, wind, traffic noise etc?

      Aren't you letting your prejudices against wind energy and your fevered imagination get the better of you?
      http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/acoustic/isprob2.html
      http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/loudness.html

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    17. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair, thank you for your analysis. I just happen to have an accoustician's input and data into my case. And in case you have heard the latest gossip, data was presented at the Cherry Tree VCAT hearing demonstrating that the tonality of the two Hepburn wind turbines is detectable about 30km. I have 60 down the horizon.

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    18. Elisabeth Meehan

      General Practitioner

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      It must be quite painful to have an accoustician's input and data into your case.

      There must be a herbal remedy for that surely?

      (And if two Hepburn wind turbines can be heard at 30 Km, does that mean that 60 turbines can be heard at 900 Kms - or only if they are down the horizon?)

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    19. Peter Campbell

      Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      I also live 35km away from the same wind farm as George, albeit in a different direction, along with a sizeable chunk of Canberra's northern suburbs. I can hear various birds and insects outside, the traffic on the main road several hundred meters away and our dog walking on a timber floor. I can't hear the wind farm 35km away.
      Sometimes I have not slept as well as at other times or had a headache. Has that happened to anyone else in northern Canberra or Queanbeyan (also within range)? Is it more reasonable to blame the wind farm or something else?

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    20. Blair Donaldson
      Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher & Skeptic

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, happy to help any time. Unfortunately you didn't mention the name of your acoustic expert. Please enlighten me so I can verify his expertise? I very much doubt any data presented to the Cherry Tree VCAT hearing on a different wind farm from wind farm opponents is either accurate, honest or objective going by their previous antics. They have form when it comes to fiddling the facts – in case you hadn't noticed.

      In any case I still think your claim about hearing turbines 35 km away is a…

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    21. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Elisabeth Meehan

      Elisabeth, maybe there's also a homeopathic remedy for all those who laugh, mock and ridicule victims of low frequency noise and wind turbine developments...

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    22. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      Peter, do you realise where I live? Not inside a valley tucked away behind the hills north of Canberra, but on the higher hills north of Yass in direct line of sight (save the trees which block the view of this industrial complex).

      The place at times vibrates, head resonates etc etc. It isn't just a bit of noise...

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    23. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      You don't understand George - to cure non-science you need non-science. It is like multiplying two negative numbers creates a positive number.

      So homeopathy is the perfect cure for wind-turbine syndrome.

      But homeopathy wouldn't work against reason.

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    24. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair, in case you're not aware: Sarah Laurie also lives 20km away from the closest wind turbines, but isn't able to hear them either. Does that make her your friend?

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    25. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Nah that's just so wrong MWH ... homeopathy involves ingesting something useless which involves proximity. What George really needs is some long distance healing like Reiki where nonsense healing power can be sent globally by skilled practitioner types.

      As for distance I'm so with George on this .... I live hundreds of miles from Yass ... even further from the offending turbines in question - yet I am beseiged by a constant whining noise ... it's a high pitched hysterical sort of racket going on and on and on ....defies reason, logic and medical science. Rewrites all known physics. I think it's incurable. I'm going to try ear plugs - and just not reading any more unhinged whining.

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    26. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      These days a cocktail of drugs is needed to fight some diseases, so I now think we are probably both right - the best cure would use homeopathy for the short distance angst and long distance Reiki for the more global effects.

      And thus Reiki homeopathy was born.

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    27. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Michael, I wonder who will be laughing at who once the wind industry is checked and out into its place for destroying the health and wellbeing of so many rural residents - those who Chapman considers to be an "insignificant minority"...

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    28. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      What an amazing form of intellectual discussion!. Now let me get a voodoo doll and you tell me if you are feeling any different...

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    29. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Actually George, you are the one who doesn't care about people.

      You totally ignore the reason why we are building wind turbines.
      It's to try to prevent climate change, which will be a lot worse for millions more people than the effect of wind-turbine syndrome even if this was found to be true.

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    30. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Well if you don't question that climate change is happening, then I assume you don't question the need to do something about it.

      Lots of people live by busy roads that make far more noise than a wind turbine. So if tackling climate change causes problems for a very few, then that is a small price to pay.

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    31. ernest malley

      farmer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      PO - I think that you are clouding the issue - the Swagman archetype of our national unAnthem used<I> jumbuck</I> for a kiwi's best friend because it was how the Daragauh described them, spreading over the land like white fluffy things normally in the sky.
      But I agree they are sinister ur-demons, not just their horrid, yellow forward projecting teeth - perfectfor ripping uo the last shreds of grass root - but those nasty, tiny hard cleats they dare to call 'hoof' as it crushes & compacts the ancient soil particles into hardpan which then causes the infrequently returning rain to rush off, without permeating, the soil, cutting and gouging and dispersing....

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    32. Peter Campbell

      Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      "Peter, do you realise where I live? Not inside a valley tucked away behind the hills north of Canberra, but on the higher hills north of Yass in direct line of sight (save the trees which block the view of this industrial complex)."
      It sounds like a lovely location.
      The very long wavelengths of so called 'infrasound' should be unconcerned by a few rolling hills and valleys. Very low frequencies are essentially omnidirectional.
      I have a friend with a house about 2km from the eastern shore of Lake George so about a fifth of the distance you are. I have never heard him complain.

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    33. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      Peter, and there are a lot of "anti-wind" activists who live closer than 35km away from wind turbines but they don't complain either. Does that mean that I am not having a problem?

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    34. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      So I can comfortably assume neither of those who commented on my video can see what wind turbines may be doing to atmospheric currents?

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    35. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      I'm absolutely certain you're having a problem George... but I don't think it's caused by wind turbines.

      I don't like wind turbines myself you may recall ... I think they are inefficient which to an economist translates as ugly. I think they are in the wrong places by and large. I think they are being done on the cheap and lack an adequate rethinking of the grid and the generation system in general.

      But I don't think one has to invent mysterious ailments, acquire superhuman hearing or re-write physics to say any of that.

      That is not an uncommon cloud pattern George - turbines or not. I'd be looking much more carefully at the sheep.

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    36. Blair Donaldson
      Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher & Skeptic

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, I'm well informed about Sarah Laurie and the antiscience she promotes. The rest of your comment is bordering on the insane. Your analogy is bizarre.
      http://barnardonwind.com/2014/02/05/anti-wind-experts-dismissed/

      It seems you fail to understand that the physics of sound makes your claim impossible. Infrasound by definition is inaudible to the human ear and in any case, the sound energy is dissipated so greatly over 35 km that you couldn't detect it anyway.

      You are so focused on turbines that you cannot recognise the fact your imagination is playing tricks with you, rendering you an unreliable witness.

      You are demonstrating the same denial and lack of understanding as our dear leader and his band of wackoloons hiding away in Canberra. Your MO is identical. When the science conflicts with your prejudices, you ignore the science rather than honestly assess your thinking and/or ideology.

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    37. Blair Donaldson
      Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher & Skeptic

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, homoeopathy is non-medicine for magical thinkers. There are no victims of low-frequency noise from wind turbines, there are however, a small number of people who have been hoodwinked by the propaganda spread by Sarah Laurie and others concluding turbines make them ill. The trouble is their evidence is always anecdotal and inconsistent. Some even claim the turbines make them ill when the turbines are in fact, not operating.
      http://ramblingsdc.net/Australia/WindHealth.html

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    38. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair, I refer you back to my comment about the evidence presented at Cherry Tree RE the tonality of two Hepburn wind turbines detected 30km away.

      I don't think all the personal abuse that you hurl serve any other purpose but to complement the image I have of the wind industry.

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    39. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, that's OK if you don't believe my problem is caused by wind turbines. Hope you enjoying your momentary laugh.

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    40. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair, I am amazed at the strength of conviction behind your defamatory comment. Not even Chapman dares to put things that way.

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    41. Lorna Jarrett

      PhD, science educator and science advocate

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      If low frequency noise is indeed the culprit, then what about all the poor people who live close to busy roads or train lines?
      While we're at it, what about all the poor people who (generally) are paying a lot in rent / mortgage to live close to the ocean - have you any idea how much infrasound that thing puts out?
      What about all those people who don't live close to the ocean, but spend whole days on the beach during summer? Shouldn't there be a health warning?

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    42. Blair Donaldson
      Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher & Skeptic

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, there is nothing defamatory about calling Sarah Laurie for what she is. She has demonstrably failed to gain any credibility from any respectable, objective authority or tribunal and in fact, the vast majority of her "evidence" has been dismissed for a variety of reasons. Like you, she doesn't understand basic physics, the scientific method. Nor does she do any genuinely objective research, she just cherry picks data and relies on anecdotes. The links I provided prove my point but as usual you ignore the inconvenient evidence.

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    43. Blair Donaldson
      Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher & Skeptic

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      Exactly. And then we have infrasound in cities that has been recorded at higher levels than can be found near any wind farm.

      Infrasound is just one of many excuses that have been employed over the recent decade by wind farm opponents. I have read some doozies that illustrate how desperate opponents are to demonise renewables, wind energy in particular.

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    44. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      Lorna, what about my poor self and all the infrasound my heart produces...

      Your analysis is quite shallow.

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    45. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair, I assume that by "respectable" authority you refer to the same credibility these authorities bestow on the nocebo hypothesis of Chapman? I see no authority taking his research seriously either...

      Perhaps they only quote his research out of sympathy and keep stating that there is no credible evidence linking wind turbines to illness - not even in the sense of a new technology creating nocebo and fear...

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    46. Lorna Jarrett

      PhD, science educator and science advocate

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Yes, the beating heart does produce infrasound. No, it doesn't prove that my analysis is shallow. In fact, it's another nail in the coffin of the idea that "wind turbine syndrome" is caused by infrasound.

      If the infrasound caused by your own heart doesn't do you harm, and exposure to infrasound from being near the sea doesn't seem to do anyone harm -in fact, most people associate the sound of the sea (and the inevitable exposure to infrasound) with relaxation and wellbeing - then how can infrasound…

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    47. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      Lorna, are you aware that low frequency noise can be used therapeutically and harmfully?

      I think your answer suggests you perhaps could understand such concepts. The ILFN from the wind turbines doesn't feel pleasant or relaxing. It can make my ears resonate to the point of torture, not 1 or 2kms away but 35kms away...

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    48. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair, so no one takes Chapman's research seriously and therefore does not draw upon it. That is also why no one dares to charge Sarah Laurie with crimes against humanity, scaremongering etc.

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    49. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      How far away are the sheep George?

      The nearest sheep to me are over a couple of mountains and about 35ks as the crow flies and they are relentness with their incessant plotting and the grinding of those hideous yellow teeth. I lie awake most nights ruminating ... staring at the ceiling ... feeling their hideous low frequency oscillations rumbling through my synapses, listening to their schemes and mindless gossip.

      If I were you I'd start shooting the buggers before it's too late ... it's them or us George.

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    50. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, can you provide me with your address? I am thinking of calling the police and asking them to check you out... You're a worry.

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    51. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Why would you pour scorn on my views George?

      Admittedly I have no background in DIY home radiation protection like yourself George but if you seriously reckon you can hear the LFOs of turbines at 35ks and that they can affect cloud formation then I reckon I can have my own theories about the woolly conspiracy complete with my own personal physics and night terrors. Be fair.

      Unless you and that Laurie woman are part of the fleecy conspiracy... trying to deflect the public's attention from the real culprits. That'd explain everything.

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    52. Peter Campbell

      Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      "Peter, and there are a lot of "anti-wind" activists who live closer than 35km away from wind turbines but they don't complain either. Does that mean that I am not having a problem?"
      It doesn't mean you are not having a problem, but it also does not mean the problem is due to the cause you suppose. Many people sincerely believe things that are highly implausible at best. People who sincerely believe they have been cured by homeopathy or abducted by aliens or that Jesus speaks to them personally are generally decent honest people who can be relied upon in most other respects.
      What examples like these show us is that we humans are far more prone to beliefs that are inconsistent with reasonable scientific expectation or evidence than we would like to think. A person's sincerity is not sufficient to convince. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

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    53. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, these were your words: "If I were you I'd start shooting the buggers before it's too late ... it's them or us"

      Cardinal sign of paranoia and an act of cruelty.

      Sorry I don't think there is any point continuing our discussion.

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    54. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Rosemary Stanton

      Rosemary, had I made any comment condoning animal cruelty I would have had a storm of condemnation from other readers...

      Says a lot about objectivity.

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    55. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Rosemary Stanton

      One more person condoning animal cruelty within the context of a joke...

      Sounds like I need not respond to your comments either.

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    56. Lorna Jarrett

      PhD, science educator and science advocate

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George,

      Sorry but it's stretching credibility to breaking point that you're "tortured" by sound from a source 35Km away.
      Here's another scenario - you can see the turbines on the horizon. You associate them with infrasound and physical harm, because you have been influenced (harmed IMO) by anti-wind power campaigners, either because they are misguided or because they have an agenda to destroy renewable energy and they don't care who they hurt in the process.
      Every time you see these turbines, feelings of anxiety are activated. Symptoms you have been told to expect, appear. This confirms your worries and feeds a vicious cycle.
      Similarly - try discussing nits with friends or colleagues, and watch them start to scratch. It's almost impossible not to.

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    57. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      No I can't see them on the horizon without the assistance of strong westerly sunlight. And I didn't know they were even there until my neighbours pointed them out (who are having similar problems).

      I think you need to do a little research into how far low frequency noise travels, how poorly it attenuates etc before continuing the discussion any further.

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    58. Lorna Jarrett

      PhD, science educator and science advocate

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Here's a question for you to ponder... how do you know that the turbines are responsible for your problems, and not (say) some closer source of infrasound? How do you know your problems are due to infrasound at all?

      You advise me to do "a little research". Thanks for the advice. Having completed a PhD, I have a better idea than most people of what constitutes research, so unless you have spent several weeks of full-time (8 hours a day) digging into credible sources worldwide, and following up hard-to-get stuff via IIL etc., you haven't even got started. In fact, without a Uni to get you past paywalls, I doubt you could get anywhere much, even if you had the time and the necessary research skills (which we are not all born with).
      Also - I have a degree in physics, so a better understanding than most people of the basic principles underlying the generation and propagation of sound.

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    59. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      Lorna, before I continue, can you confirm whether you understand that noise frequencies at the lower end of the spectrum suffer little attenuation with distance; the projection of sound waves is cylindrical and does not dissipate as according to the inverse square of distance; the stretch of wind turbines spans many kms; weather conditions influence the propagation of noise?

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    60. Lorna Jarrett

      PhD, science educator and science advocate

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Hi George,

      As I've said, I have an honours degree in physics - so yes I have studied the topic in some detail. I hope you won't be offended if I voice my own doubts as to your understanding of the topic, since you haven't given your own credentials.
      Just to check we're on the same page - can you please:
      1. explain what you mean by "little attenuation with distance" and clarify how the attenuation fits with cylindrical wave propagation
      2. provide some calculations showing how the intensity in the immediate vicinity of the turbines compares with that 35Km away, assuming cylidrical propagation?
      3. Detail how exactly you understand weather conditions to influence sound propagation.

      cheers.

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    61. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Whales in the deep ocean demonstrate this limited attenuation most excellently George.

      I live some 45kms from where the whales could possibly be - somewhere near (probably past) the coast. Yet at night I toss and turn with their hysterical hootery and long distance rumblings. At first I thought it was coal trains but we don't have any.

      Between the whales and the sheep it's amazing I get any rest at all.

      The only thing is that like you George I am the only fella that can hear them…

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    62. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      Lorna, since you are so a certain of your physics, then I suggest there is no point debating the matter apart from perhaps coming out here on an evening when the place and region is humming like hell to my ears and provide good explanations why all this started in 2011 and continues since then.

      All I can suggest for the moment is that the infrasound from the two Hepburn wind turbines were detectable 30km away and evidence has been presented to the Cherry Tree VCAT hearing. I don't see why 40 wind turbines wouldn't produce a "symphony" at 35km, and inclusive of higher frequencies.

      As far as weather the chief factor is wind direction and humidity levels, and the presence of an atmospheric inversion.

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    63. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, you do realise that I travel extensively in eastern Australia and only noticed this problem in two locations: Western Victoria with its forests of wind turbines and the Southern Tablelands/Capital region.

      Surely there are sheep in most other parts of Australia...

      But why did I even bother responding to Peter Ormonde - all hahaha and ridicule much like that professor!

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    64. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George - just because you reckon your hypersensitive hearing is somehow focussed on wind turbnines 35 kms away ... sound that no human can actually hear ... why do you have such a closed mind when it comes to a woolier cause?

      You expect - demand - the respect of folks - to be given more than the benefit of the doubt but "special treatnent" ... a one-off - a man alone who can actually hear this inaudible sound. And yet you treat folks like Lorna here with barely disguised contempt - precisely…

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    65. Lorna Jarrett

      PhD, science educator and science advocate

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Hi George,

      I'm certain of my physics because I spent years studying it full-time, sat hours of exams, ran experiments, ran undergraduate physics labs, demonstrated my understanding to numerous acknowledged experts. Some of those (many) years of study and work were tremendous fun, some were sheer slog. None were easy.
      I asked for a few proofs of your knowledge George - I got nothing.
      I am more than keen to learn from those who know more than me - after all, that's how I got where I am today. As soon as you provide some evidence that you have credible knowledge and understanding of this field, I will be all ears. A 2500 word literature review would be enough to demonstrate a basic knowledge (not expertise, mind) - say about 25 publications. You can bung it on Google docs.

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    66. Lorna Jarrett

      PhD, science educator and science advocate

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter,

      It's been too long. I hope you're well and coping with the sheep. I'm not wild about sheep myself, but with freeways a mere 10Km from here, it's the infrasound from those that's got me worried.
      Anyway I'm ducking out of this - it's all good fun but it's not getting my deadlines dealt with.

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    67. Lorna Jarrett

      PhD, science educator and science advocate

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your concern at George's "barely disguised contempt" for my knowledge... but if I curled up and died every time someone didn't respect my knowledge (or taste in clothes or accent) I'd have given up teaching years ago.
      Also, I did my undergraduate degree back in the happy days of student grants. In other words, the government paid me to do it, which goes a long way to my not caring whether George is impressed by it or not (and before the objections come flooding in, I did my first 3 degrees overseas, so the good Aussie taxpayer didn't have to shell out for any of them).

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    68. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      Lorna, that your problem - you are so certain of "your physics"...

      Socrates was at least wise enough to admit that there was one thing he was certain about and that was that he knew nothing.

      If you don't experience what I experience then you can keep profanely trumping your "physics".

      As so much as Peter's insults, I think it complements the gross disregard that you and other show so well.

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    69. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Right - so we have an inaudible noise - that only you can hear - that is making you ill with disorders for which there is no evidence. Same here.

      That normal physics doesn't explain it - in fact physicists won't be able to understand it. Same here.

      That not person around you has any such experience... just you. Same here.

      And you laugh at my sheep theory? It makes as much sense as yours George... exactly as much in fact.

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    70. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Round and around in circles Peter, and your animal cruelty jokes are no issue for you...

      And, don't you worry there are others who also hear the noise... I look forward to the day that they go public.

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    71. Blair Donaldson
      Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher & Skeptic

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, you really need to do something about your lack of perspective and inability to reason honestly or objectively.

      You go right on believing that nobody takes Simon's research seriously if it helps you sleep nights.

      As for charging a well-known self promoter like Sarah Laurie with crimes against humanity, you obviously are not aware of the criteria required for such a charge.

      It's a little tragic that everybody can see the falsities in your claims except yourself. Your denial of abundant contrary evidence, your inability to see the inherent logical fallacies in your assertions illustrates clearly you are beyond reasoning with.

      It's time to move on George.

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    72. Peter Campbell

      Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      My wife was camping not far from the sea (much closer than you are) and heard what sounded like someone chopping wood in the middle of the night. In the morning a national park ranger told her the noise was due to whales.

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    73. Peter Campbell

      Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      "Peter, have you ever read into ILFN sensitivity?"
      Having an acronym does not lend respectability to a concept. Nonetheless I pasted that into google. So "Infrasound and low frequency noise sensitivity" is not something I have paid particular attention to. However, I have a sufficient understanding of physics and physiology to be highly sceptical for all the reasons others here are not accepting your particular explanations for your problems. (I did some undergraduate physics, PhD biochemistry and…

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    74. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      I wonder why they were wanting wood Peter... they are an inscrutable lot.

      If that was down on the South Coast of NSW there are a lot of stories of folks hearing whales at night ... usually orcas ... they come in close and they are hunting ... a clicking noise that herds fish into a ball.

      There are some excellent stories from last century in Eden of orcas coming up river and waking the local whalers - letting them know there were right whales about ... the fellas would set off - catch a few and the orcas got the tongues as payment. Went on for decades apparently. Worth a google.

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    75. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      Peter, there are no sources of noise that sound louder apart from the odd jumbo flying overhead. I struggle to hear the highway. Clearly you refuse to get it.

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  18. Doug Hutcheson

    Poet

    "we would be naive not to expect more of the same". Says it all really. The Mad Monk is earning his sobriquet.

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  19. June Fitzsimmonds

    logged in via Facebook

    To treat Abbott as an idiot is to down size the reason for doing away with science. He had already given the nod to the coal and gas barons that they rule and renewalbles willnot be able to help solve the problem of climate change.

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  20. David Tuck

    Scientist

    I'm surprised that they even bothered to keep the minister for the environment considering that that they scrapped the minister for science and the minister for mental health. None of it seems to make much sense, but I guess that could said for most of the current governments policy.
    On the future of energy, it's strange that no-one seems to be talking about the ITER considering that it's due to start testing early next decade. It's amazing that Australia isn't involved in a joint project like that when it is spending an amount almost equivalent to the cost of the entire project on the new joint strike fighters.

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    1. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to David Tuck

      Fusion (ITER) is a great long term research project.

      But when it comes to reducing emissions to prevent the worst of climate change, fusion (and nuclear for Australia) can't be part of the solution to reducing our emissions by say 40% by 2020.

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    2. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to David Tuck

      Arguably David the Joint Strike Fighter is indeed our real response to global warming.

      The only reason we have a Minister for the Environment at all is that someone is necessary to stop it. And believe me Hunt is to the Environment as Morrison is to human rights and the law.

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  21. Peter Gerard

    Retired medical practitioner

    I agree wholly with your comments on the supposed health effects of wind turbines. This problem has been investigated thoroughly and no link found. You also mention, in passing, your opinion regarding other "implausible treatments" but in the list provided acupuncture is not mentioned.
    In a city near where I live there is a "Health Clinic" run by two practitioners certified by the Chinese Medical Board of Australia. They offer massage therapy and acupuncture. As regards the latter they claim to…

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    1. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      We live in a strange world.

      Did you know (I didn't, I had to look it up to write this post) that Crikey's Poll Bludger tells us that the current state of the polls is: "ReachTEL: 53-47 to Labor - The monthly ReachTEL poll for the Seven Network gives Labor its biggest post-election lead to date, the slow-moving Essential Research also ticks a point in Labor’s favour, ..."

      Well well well before the election the polls were major news always telling us how badly Labor were doing. Now that Abbott isn't in the lead in the polls .... well nothing in the news.

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    2. mauricio hernandez

      labourer

      In reply to Michael Mihajlovic

      I agree 100% could it be? that the business council of australia is running the senate? and therefore government policy against solar and wind, supporting coal instead .

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    3. Neville Mattick
      Neville Mattick is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grazier: ALP Member at A 4th Generation Grazing Station

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Well Michael,

      Polls; they are just a Labor thing, we need to monitor Labor when it is in power to convince the Electorate (as there is no other good reason) that the LNP should be in power to ease you Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) regarding a raft of errors they (Labor) Cause.

      Not least of all Climate Change Mitigation with Renewable Energy and Large Scale Wind Farms - a child of Labor Policy - period.

      So we don't need Polls now in every News Bulletin as the Nation is open for business (as usual).

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    1. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      To be fair, we also have to consider the social benefit resulting from any discoveries made by the review. Yes, the straight cost will be eye-watering and easy to dismiss as political point-scoring, but what if something important results from it all? (Not that I am expecting it to: I am just trying to be fair to both sides.)

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    2. Blair Donaldson
      Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher & Skeptic

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Hi Doug. I have no concerns about reviews when there is genuine doubt about the safety or efficacy of a product or process. The problem with Abbott's proposed wind energy review is that:
      he is not making any genuine attempt to be objective when you look at who he is stacking the board with.
      He has made it plain he doesn't agree with the existing NHMRC findings to date,
      he refuses to acknowledge concerns about climate change,
      he has done/is doing everything to minimise or destroy the RET and…

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    3. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Michael, "the enquiry might be chaired by an ex IPA person". Oh, no! There goes all the credibility it might have had. Why not appoint Alan Jones, or Adrian Blot? Same result. Sigh.

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    4. Blair Donaldson
      Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher & Skeptic

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Also notice that George remains stony silent on the subsidies paid to the fossil fuel industries and the genuine health problems resulting from those industries. Is also curiously quiet about the cost to communities and the environment when power stations go off-line courtesy of natural disasters as we have seen several times in the last couple years at the Yallourn power station when unseasonal heavy rains flooded the mine. The operators were given a licence to pump polluted water back into the nearby river which eventually finds its way into the Gippsland Lakes.
      http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/showers-on-the-way-after-chilly-night/story-e6freon6-1226382189892

      The worst thing that can happen with a wind turbine is that the blade might break. The proposed NHMRC is nothing more than an exercise in time and money wasting from our pseudoscientific PM

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    5. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Perhaps the rot first started when Rudd thanked Garnaut for "one input" into his consideration of what to do about climate change. The CPRS was then pretty much the opposite of what Garnaut recommended.

      Having an enquiry into wind turbines where the science is just "one input" and anecdotal input and business realities hold greater sway will of course lead to an 'interesting' conclusion.

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    6. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      And which industry affect me Blair? Which industry has ruined my peace and quiet, makes my place hum and vibrate?

      I will leave the rest of the world's problems to someone else...

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    7. Blair Donaldson
      Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher & Skeptic

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      In fact George, the Waterloo wind farm has no serious acoustic issues.

      "“Where detectable, noise levels from the wind farm were found to comply with criteria in the EPA Wind Farm Environmental Noise Guidelines…..Background noise resulting from local winds and other noise sources, was shown to contribute to increases in low frequency noise that were comparable with, or higher than contributions from the wind farm”

      http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/collision-of-science-and-sentiment-waterloo-wind-farm-cleared-by-epa-78500

      It's all about science and evidence, something Tony Abbott and yourself refuse to accept when the findings do not meet your prejudices. And that is the problem with the proposed inquiry, if those on the panel have preconceived ideas and do not assess the evidence objectively. Why is that so hard to understand?

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    8. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair, your lack of qualitative analysis is noted. Are screeching babies equivalent to a good dose of symphony?

      In case it has missed the point Waterloo is a site of many noise complaints.

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    9. Blair Donaldson
      Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher & Skeptic

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Maybe if there had only been one or two reviews I could accept there is the possibility of some new evidence coming to light but as far as I'm aware, there have now been 19 or 20 reviews conducted around the world that have found no links between turbines and ill-health. Given that the latest rapid review has been kept on ice by the PM, I'm extremely doubtful that he will accept any information/advice that conflicts with his pro-fossil fuel agenda.

      Certainly we could wait another decade for further information but by then the climate horse will have bolted, if it hasn't already, and we will have wasted more precious time.

      We really only have two choices, we can provisionally accept available evidence and be guided by that to make reasonable, rational decisions or we can give up all pretence of objective assessment and be held hostage by cranks, pseudoscientists and those with vested interests in other industries. I would prefer we took the former option.

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    10. Elisabeth Meehan

      General Practitioner

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      No idea Blair, asking the same question myself. Ditto the similarly stacked "review" of the national curriculum, to ensure more "Judeo Chistian value" and more Anzac day.

      Stand by for creationism in the classroom.

      A "review" of ABC funding - stand by for major cuts in the budget.

      Another round pink batts investigation, lest we forget appears to be the motive there - possibly wants to charge Kevin Rudd with personally causing the electrocutions.

      I'm sure there are more "reviews" I have missed. At what cost, and what benefit?

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    11. Blair Donaldson
      Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher & Skeptic

      In reply to Elisabeth Meehan

      It would seem that Australia is to be remade into the image of the idealised workers paradise as envisaged by big business and Abbott. We will also have the contradictory act of Christopher Pyne demanding children do better at maths and science while at school – possibly with encouragement from the cat 'o nine tails… only to be ridiculed for expecting to get a career in science after they finish their education – because science is clearly the work of the devil and guidance from any empirical, objectively…

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  22. Carol Chenco

    Research Officer

    A great article that is both informative and disturbing. I am truly concerned about where this government is taking us. All I can hope is that the damage will get to a point where these people will be voted out of office. A long wait I know but peer-reviewed scientific evidence and rational thinking don't seem to matter to this government. Amazing really when you think that all we rely on in our day-to-day lives is because of solutions to problems that have arisen out of proper scientific endeavour.

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    1. Neville Mattick
      Neville Mattick is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grazier: ALP Member at A 4th Generation Grazing Station

      In reply to Carol Chenco

      Carol it is a long wait but voters' should act against this destruction of our future now in any way they can.

      The odd point is that my Wife and I have only noticed one Poll on the Prime Minister's rating (or whatever it is) in the MSM since the Federal Election.

      It seemed that when Labor was in power and allegedly in so much strife supporting the Renewable Energy Sector (all progress on large scale Wind Power is a child of Labor) and its "alleged" budget emergency that a new Poll seemed to emerge between the 6AM news on TripleJ and RN's 7AM version every day!!

      Why have the polls suddenly disappeared?

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  23. Christina Macpherson

    logged in via Twitter

    Abbott is NOT stupid. Abbott would promote gay marriage in a wind farm if he thought there was big funding and uninformed voters going for it. Staying TOPP is his goal.

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  24. Christina Macpherson

    logged in via Twitter

    Abbott would promote gay marriages in wind farms if he thought there was campaign funding in it and votes from uniformed people.

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  25. ernest malley

    farmer

    Surely this is the ultimate jesuitical joke (apart from that vile bruderbund's existence) from their best known pupil (failed), that it is impossible to prove a negative.

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  26. Jackie Rovensky

    logged in via email @yahoo.com.au

    No or little published research is not a satisfactory way to judge whether it is needed.
    How would medical research have progressed if that was the case? Would we have continual research into cancer, gene therapy and the understanding of pain and how to deal with it, if someone had not decided to research these and other aspects of human health.
    That people are concerned about health issues they have come across, where there’s a direct correlation between the commissioning of IWT’s and reported…

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    1. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Jackie Rovensky

      So true. The fear of research and the failure to listen to existing complaints is telling. The "coping" mechanism of the pro-wind camp is to put the blinkers on, ridicule, mock, refuse to acknowledge etc etc.

      Those who support the wind industry should very carefully read the following document: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/legosti/old/1166.pdf

      It was written in 1985 by NASA scientists and described the effects of a 2MW wind turbine on people up to 3kms away.

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    2. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Have you got one that examines the effects on folks 35 kms away George? Even better ... anything on the sheep menace at a similar distance?

      And don't dismiss the sheep conspiracy just because you can't hear it ... like you I just might be a particularly sensitive kind of listener... affected by sounds beyond the levels of human or canine ears, or any scientific equipment... keeps me awake at night.

      In short George I'd greatly appreciate any scientific or medical evidence at all that I can be affected by inaudible sounds at such a distance. Any.

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    3. Lorna Jarrett

      PhD, science educator and science advocate

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Frankly I don't have time to wade through 262 pages - but two things pop out:
      1. what has the design of a turbine in 1985 got to do with turbine designs in use today? Unless you can demonstrate that the problems with that turbine persist to the same degree in today's designs, this document isn't of anything more than historical interest. By way of analogy, my uncle had a "mobile phone" in the 1980s. It was the size of a small briefcase, and talked via radio frequencies to the phone system across…

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    4. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      I have no idea ... I'm not really interested in the noise I can't hear from wind turbines ... this is cattle country - far too valuable for windfarms .... it's only that degraded ugly chewed up sheep country that interests me George and whether sounds no one can hear or measure can affect me only amongst all my neighbours at 35kms away.

      That's the claim we're making and that's what needs the verification. Do you have any sciency sort of information that might help or not?

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