The media equivalent of global warming

James Freeman:

Last month this column noted that the actions of the New York Times suggest that the people who put out the newspaper don’t think burning carbon is as dangerous as one would think from reading their product. How else to explain their marketing effort to persuade well-heeled readers to increase emissions by travelling the globe aboard a barely-filled Boeing ? And now, one particularly industrious Times reader submits evidence of another reason to resist the paper’s climate faith. In this case the skepticism about global warming comes not from refusing to take the paper seriously but from taking it too seriously.

Anyone old enough to have been a Times reader in the late 1980s may recall a series of stories that helped educate the public on how cool our planet used to be. Here’s one report from March of 1988:

One of the scientists, Dr. James E. Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, said he used the 30-year period 1950-1980, when the average global temperature was 59 degrees Fahrenheit, as a base to determine temperature variations.

The paper returned to the topic in June of that year, and reminded readers of the planet’s colder past:

Dr. Hansen, who records temperatures from readings at monitoring stations around the world, had previously reported that four of the hottest years on record occurred in the 1980’s. Compared with a 30-year base period from 1950 to 1980, when the global temperature averaged 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature was one-third of a degree higher last year.

The following year, the paper reported a new record high in global temperatures and affirmed its climate history, which seemed to be the consensus view—at least among scientists quoted by the Times:

The British readings showed that the average global temperature in 1988 was 0.612 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the long-term average for the period 1950 through 1979, which is a base for comparing global temperatures. The average worldwide temperature for that 30-year period is roughly 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the British researchers said.

In 1991, the Times reported yet another record high, and published yet another reminder of how cool the planet used to be:

The Goddard group found that the record average surface temperature for the globe was eight-tenths of a degree Fahrenheit above the 1951-1980 average of 59 degrees. The British group found it seventh-tenths of a degree higher than the 1951-80 average.

By that point a reasonable consumer might have been ardently hoping to return to that magical era in which global temperatures averaged just 59 degrees. But in the ensuing years it must have been difficult for Times readers to stay hopeful. As the years and then the decades rolled by, The Times routinely reported record or near-record highs as global temperatures appeared to march ever higher.

In January of this year, the newspaper published a feature entitled, “How 2016 Became Earth’s Hottest Year on Record.” The Times noted the disturbing news that “2016 was the first time that the hottest year on record occurred three times in a row.” And things could be about to get much worse. “We expect records to continue to be broken as global warming proceeds,” climate enthusiast Michael Mann told the Times.

Is there any way to return to the salad days of 59 degrees? Well, it turns out to be easier than you might think. In January, as the government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was reporting the third consecutive year of record highs, it noted that the average global temperature in 2016 had surged to a sizzling… 58.69 degrees.

Over the years researchers seem to have concluded that the planet was not as hot as they thought. Oops.

The most important facts in the climate debate are subject to frequent revisions. This doesn’t mean the global warming thesis is wrong, but it argues for skepticism. The Journal’s Holman Jenkins noted in 2015:

By the count of researcher Marcia Wyatt in a widely circulated presentation, the U.S. government’s published temperature data for the years 1880 to 2010 has been tinkered with 16 times in the past three years.

While waiting for the science to settle, this column’s advice to Times readers is to go ahead and fly around the world on the newspaper’s luxurious jet—if you don’t mind the company.

Presty the DJ for July 24

Today in 1964, a member of the audience at a Rolling Stones concert in the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, England, spat upon guitarist Brian Jones, sparking a riot that injured 30 fans and two police officers.

The Stones were banned from performing in Blackpool until 2008.

Today in 1965, Bob Dylan released “Like a Rolling Stone,” which is not like said Rolling Stones:

Today in 1967, the Beatles and other celebrities took out a full-page ad in the London Times calling for the legalization of …

… marijuana.

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for July 24”

41 years ago, and nevermore since

The first game of the NFL preseason is the Hall of Fame Game. Unless it gets canceled due to bad turf …

… or bad weather, as in 1980 when the Packers–Chargers game in Canton, Ohio, ended during the third quarter due to lightning. (Spoiler alert: Maybe that’s happened before …)

The Hall of Fame Game opening the preseason is a tradition of the past 40 years. It may seem hard to believe now, but the game before that used to pit a team of college all-stars (which means other teams’ early draft picks) against the defending NFL champion.

The game was played at Soldier Field in Chicago (from whence came the baseball All-Star Game), back when (until 1971) Da Bears played not there but at Wrigley Field. Soldier Field could seat up to 100,000 until renovations installed end-zone seats that cut off the huge bowl of the original stadium.

Tonight is the 41st anniversary of the final All-Stars game, which ended in chaos.

ABC-TV carried the game in the midst of its Montreal Olympics coverage. (With the Hall of Fame game the next afternoon.)

Presty the DJ for July 23

Today in 1963, high school student Neil Young and his band, the Squires, recorded in a Winnipeg studio a surf instrumental:

Today in 1965, the Beatles asked for  …

The number one single — really — today in 1966:

Today in 1979, Iran’s new ruler, Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini, banned rock and roll, an event that inspired a British band:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for July 23”

Presty the DJ for July 22

Birthdays start with the indescribable George Clinton of Parliament Funkadelic:

Rick Davies played keyboards for Supertramp:

Estelle Bennett was the older sister of Ronnie Spector, and both were part of the Ronettes:

Don Henley of the Eagles:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kslHr7_9Zac

Science tries to explain art

Gizmodo begins:

Some songs stick to your soul like ectoplasm. Whether you’re at the club or Chuck E. Cheese, sometimes you hear a certain song that brings you back to a moment in your life you’d forgotten. Good music is fun but ephemeral—the best music stays with you forever, sometimes a little too long. Seriously, stop buying Phish t-shirts.

Obviously, all art—and taste—is subjective. But is there one song—or one kind of song—that’s generally more enjoyable? Recently, author Tom Cox tweeted some musings on the philosophy behind what makes the “best song ever.”

Cox tweeted:

There is no concrete best song ever. The best song ever is an ever-shifting concept, coloured by weather, hope, disappointment and the moon.

That got a large amount of response, including, bizarrely:

No it’s Africa by Toto

Personally, I think “Africa” isn’t even Toto’s best song; this is:

Toto’s Steve Lukather then tweeted …

No .I hate the song myself! lol But It has been VERY good to us $$ wise. We GET the joke guys! That song is a wild card song..

… followed by …

I mean how can you hate something that has been so good to you. I WILL say I never sit around the house playing it!

Cox then tweeted;

The best song ever right now is Cisco Kid by War but only here and only for a while.0

And then the entire Internet felt the need to chime on what they think is the best song of all time, blah blah blah. Or was it …

The flood of responses prompted Gizmodo to try to apply science to what is certainly unscientific:

This week on Giz Asks, we talked to neuroscientists and music enthusiasts about why our brains just can’t get enough of certain songs.

Scientists included King’s College’s Daniel Glaser …

Is there any way to scientifically determine what makes a “good” song? Why or why not?

The best way to test a song is still a human. We can measure how people respond to songs in a bunch of ways including brain scans, measures of chemicals in the the brain, including dopamine (which is associated with the internal reward system reward, perhaps you give yourself a pat on the back for selecting a great playlist). Actually measuring foot tapping or the smile muscles is probably just as good as most more ‘scientific methods.’

Are any chemicals released in our brains when we hear songs we enjoy (e.g. dopamine)?

We still don’t have good models to enable us to describe what makes a good song yet alone artificially create one. Deep learning networks may be able to develop an artificial ‘classifier’ that would learn what an individual likes and predict whether a new song would be a hit or miss for that individual. But I’m not sure if that would be scientific because in the end even the people who build the network don’t know what lies beneath its decision.

Do certain musical genres influence people’s brains differently?

On genres, the interesting thing is that how you hear music is determined by your early life experience up to two years or for some musical elements six months. Beyond that age your brain is kind of fixed for things like quarter tones or off-beats so if you want your kid to dig a particular style make sure they get exposed to it early.

… New York University’s Amy Belfi …

There’s some interesting research that shows that people fall on a spectrum in terms of their “musical hedonism.” A small group have what you’d call musical anhedonia, so these are people that don’t like music at all. It’s not that they get a viscerally negative reaction, it’s just that they don’t really listen to it, they don’t really get music, they don’t really respond in a viscerally positive way to it.

Most people in the world do respond positively to music. There are people on the other end of the spectrum who are hyper hedonic and really, really, really love music and get really jazzed about it. Part of it is an individual difference or a personality trait of how much you respond to music. So that’s a big part of it: people who respond to music more overall, and then people who respond less to music no matter what it is.

Are there any qualities that make a song “good”?

The challenge in psychology, but especially when we’re looking at music, is the fact that there’s individual differences. Taste is so varied in terms of music. In several studies about musical chills or really positive responses to music, they have the participants in the study bring in their own music to listen to. So you would have to have a comparison of highly pleasing music versus non-pleasing music. So the highly pleasing music is totally different from one person to another.

My research tends to focus on the response to music rather than the particular qualities of it, since it’s so hard to pick a song that everyone across the board likes, unless you pick a group of participants that have very homogenous taste which is also kind of challenging. If we knew what made the perfect song, someone would be making millions of dollars off it.

… and David Poeppel …

How fast is the typical song?

There are numbers about what’s on average how fast music is, whether or not you like it. Let’s say you take a whole bunch of music—classical, rock, single instruments and ensembles—you can calculate the mean rate. On average, the rate music is played at because is about two hertz—two cycles per second—which translates into 120 beats per minute. Across musical styles and eras, there’s a typical “mean rate” of music, which is kind of surprising. It’s faster than the heartbeat and slower than speech.

Why do certain songs tend to stick with us throughout life while others don’t?

One of the hard things from a scientific point of view is trying to figure out how taste works is to account for the huge range of taste across people and across, even, your own age. Songs from puberty are particularly well-remembered for some reason—like the first time you fell in love, or something. But then, maybe in retrospect you think, “Wow, what the fuck, I liked Blondie?” It shows that even your own aesthetic experience changes pretty drastically over the course of your lifetime.

So from an individual point of view, what makes you happy, stimulated or excited changes even within you over time.

Is the best song of all-time “Africa” by Toto?

Actually, Toto turns out to be remarkably good and sophisticated according to musicians. Toto was a group of hardcore, highly respected studio musicians. They crafted those songs pretty carefully and were incredibly successful with those four albums. And musicians actually really love Toto.

For one thing, “Africa” is slightly more about Africa than the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo” is about an Indiana town.

Silenced sports voices

Two figures in Wisconsin sports media history died last week.

The first is reported by the Wisconsin State Journal:

Don Lindstrom, a former prep and University of Wisconsin sportswriter and columnist for the Wisconsin State Journal, passed away at 92 years old on July 13 in Madison. A cause of death was not disclosed.

The Nebraska native’s newspaper career covered 43 years as a sports editor of the Holdrege (Neb.) Daily Citizen, a sports writer for the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune and finally at the State Journal for 29 years. He retired in 1988.

Lindstrom was honored with selections to the Wisconsin Sports Hall of Fame in cross country in 1995, basketball in 2001 and football in 2002. He received an additional award from the Wisconsin Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. He also was a member of the Baseball Writers of America, earned Wisconsin Sportswriter of the Year nominations and was the ninth president of the Madison Sports Hall of Fame.

Lindstrom also served in the U.S. Navy Amphibious Corps Pacific Theater during World War II. He and his wife, Barbara, would have been married 64 years on Aug. 31.

I read Don well before I knew him, along with late State Journal sportswriter Tom Butler. So when I started covering games and then saw them in the flesh, it was a sign that it one of them was there, the game I was covering was a big deal that night. One wonders if, given media companies’ shedding of employees, if someone will think that after seeing one of today’s sports reporters covering an event.

That included the March 12, 1982 boys basketbail sectional semifinal game between two of the three conference tri-champions, Madison La Follette and Madison West, about which you have read, including …

The scene was wild enough for Don Lindstrom, a Wisconsin State Journal sportswriter who had previously covered approximately 11 million basketball games, to comment thereupon:

“I thought we had lost it,” yelled La Follette Coach Pete Olson amid postgame bedlam. “We worked so hard but I never thought we could do it. These kids are amazing.”

The other is reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Long before the arrival of cable television, decades before people live-streamed baseball games on tablets or checked their cell phones for ScribbleLive updates, this is how you followed your favorite team, when you weren’t actually sitting in the stadium:

You turned on the boxy radio in the kitchen or held a transistor radio to your ear and moved the tiny plastic dial in microscopic increments until the static faded and the station came in, occasionally loud and clear.

In Milwaukee, this rich era of radio produced the likes of Earl Gillespie and Blaine Walsh, Merle Harmon and Tom Collins – familiar, honeyed voices drifting through the air on hot summer nights.

Collins (left) and Merle Harmon, who I once met, probably announcing a Brewers loss.

“You weren’t involved with baseball unless you listened to the radio,” said Eddie Doucette, a member of the Brewers’ broadcast team in 1973-’74.

Yet another link to that bygone era is no more with the passing of Collins, who died Thursday in Wisconsin Rapids of congestive heart failure. He was 95.

Gillespie and Walsh, who called Braves games in the 1950s and ‘60s, and Harmon, who bridged the Braves and Brewers, preceded Collins in death – Walsh in 1985, Gillespie in 2003, Harmon in 2009.

“When you stop and think about all the good guys that have come out of that market, it was really some quality, quality talent,” said Doucette, who gained greater fame as the radio voice of the Milwaukee Bucks. “It was a sad day for me when Merle died. And now Tom. It’s almost the end of an era.”

Like many play-by-play men of his generation, Collins had no formal training in radio. After serving as a Marine Corps gunner during World War II, he returned to his hometown of Neenah and worked as a millwright in the paper mills.

He got his start in radio doing a Sunday morning polka/country music show on WNAM and later did play-by-play for local high school sports teams. In 1959, he took a job with WEMP-AM in Milwaukee, which held the rights to Braves games.

“He came to WEMP as a newsman,” said Collins’ son, Patrick. “He worked his way up to his own morning show before he got into sports. He did the Braves’ pregame show for three or four years before he started doing play-by-play.”

The Braves left Milwaukee after the 1965 season and when the Brewers arrived in 1970, Collins was part of the broadcast team that included Harmon and a young Bob Uecker, who started in 1971 and is still going strong.

“Working with Tom and Merle was a big deal for me,” Uecker said. “I had already done the ‘Tonight Show’ stuff but I was more nervous about doing play-by-play on radio than the appearance stuff I did. I came here with nothing. I never did any games. Everything was a learning experience with Tom and Merle.

“They were great guys. Funny guys, too. I always did one inning of play-by-play, the fifth inning, and one day Tom and Merle introduced me and got up and left. I was begging them to come back and in the sixth inning the engineer said, ‘You better get going, Bob. There’s one out.’ ”

Collins also did the play-by-play for Marquette University basketball games for 15 years, many of them with Uecker. Collins and coach Al McGuire became close friends and went out on top together – the last game Collins called was the 1977 NCAA championship game.

In recent years, Collins suffered from Alzheimer’s, but still worked crossword puzzles in pen. Even after he forgot his grandchildren’s names, he could name the starting lineups for Braves teams.

“He was an unbelievable storyteller,” said grandson Matt Collins. “He had a very vivid memory. If you closed your eyes you felt like you were standing over his shoulder, watching what he was describing.”

Patrick Collins said the family planned to celebrate his father’s life with a “big, old-fashioned Irish wake” in Neenah in late September or early October.

“I was sad when I found out the other day that he passed away, but 95 years, that’s a pretty good run for anybody,” Uecker said. “It’s always sad, the inevitable, but Tom was a longtime friend and we had a lot of laughs. He was a great guy.”

I cannot find Collins’ obituary, so I don’t know if that was his real name. If it was (and even if it wasn’t), he had the perfect on-air name for a Wisconsin media personality. (For those unaware, the Tom Collins drink is gin (to prevent malaria), lemon juice (to prevent scurvy), simple syrup and club soda.)

I don’t recall hearing Collins, who did radio until 1972, did two more years on TV, and then did the Brewers’ first cable TV broadcasts for the SelecTV subscription service in 1981 (available only in the Milwaukee area) with current Red Sox announcer Joe Castiglione. He was more of a broadcaster than a sportscaster in that he was in Milwaukee radio outside the Brewers and, for their last three years of existence, the Milwaukee Braves.)

So why do I recall this announcer, eulogized in the New York Times?

I had never met Bob Wolff, who died Saturday night, but like many people in the New York and Washington sports markets, I knew Bob. To me, he was the television voice of the Knicks during their 1970 and 1973 N.B.A. championship runs. To fans of the Washington Senators, he was the voice of a franchise from 1947 to 1961 (including its first season as the Minnesota Twins) that was invariably awful.

And for just about everyone who listened to him over the course of a remarkably long career, he was that smart, joyful, genial voice who loved what he was doing, who worked hard to appear that he wasn’t working hard, who made you feel that there was a friend behind the microphone. …

Later in 1990, I drove out to his apartment, which overlooked the Tappan Zee Bridge in South Nyack, N.Y. On his dining room table on that autumn afternoon was a single object: a cassette recorder. Inside it was a tape of the radio broadcast of Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, [Don] Larsen versus Sal Maglie of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

“Let’s listen,” Wolff said.

He turned it on and we concentrated as if the game were happening for the first time. Bob leaned toward the recorder as if he had not heard the game — as if he had not called it.

But there was the voice of the then 35-year-old Wolff, calling the second half of the game after Bob Neal had finished the first half. Wolff got the better of the deal. It was enthralling to listen to the game for the first time across the table from this very exuberant man who often told me how he equated calling games to singing, how his voice rose and fell with the events of the game, how he hit his high notes with the enthusiasm of a tenor onstage at the Metropolitan Opera.

He did not declare Larsen’s gem perfect until the final out. But when it ended, he excitedly said, “Man, oh man, how about that, a perfect game for Don Larsen!”

Two years later, he was again in the right place at the right time when he called the 1958 N.F.L. championship game won in overtime by the Baltimore Colts, 23-17, over the Giants. “The Colts are the world champions — Ameche scores!

And if you listen, you will hear his voice begin to crescendo before landing on those last two words. It was a lyric to Wolff, not a call — words to sing, not shout.

These are transitional times in sportscasting. Vin Scully (whose birth date, Nov. 29, was the same as Wolff’s) retired from the Dodgers last year after 67 seasons. Verne Lundquist and Chris Berman have drastically scaled back their workload (and Berman’s wife, Kathy, died in a car crash in May). Brent Musburger left the booth to join his family’s sports handicapping business.

But Wolff’s death ended a remarkable era. He began his career on radio while at Duke in 1939 and ended it with a commentary in February on News 12 Long Island. He had not retired, not at 96, when he still had something to say or an event to cover. No sportscaster has had a longer career — Guinness World Records backs up that claim — and few have had one that was more varied.

A long time ago, Wolff followed with fidelity the advice of his college baseball coach when he asked him what he thought of his chances of playing in the major leagues.

“If you want to make it to the majors,” the coach told him, “keep talking.”

So he did. Wolff was a generalist who called football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and he was a deft and friendly interviewer whose subjects included Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams. One of his more intriguing ventures began on road trips with the Senators: It resulted in the formation of a choral group, with Wolff on his ukulele, and players like Jim Lemon, Roy Sievers and Tex Clevenger singing along.

“We’d be on the train singing, and I’d do some harmony groups,” he told The Washington Post in 2005. “Over time, because guys got traded or retired, I had three different groups, and the last one actually went on the ‘Today’ show.”

In 1995, Wolff soloed in a hotel bar in Cooperstown, N.Y., on the night before he received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting at the Baseball Hall of Fame. He propped his foot on a chair and accompanied himself on “When You’re Smiling,” “Heart of My Heart” and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

After the applause died down, he said, “You folks obviously know talent.”

And as his father sat down, Rick Wolff jokingly said, “Now you know what we grew up with.”

So many of us grew up with him as well: a decent, hardworking sportscaster and entertainer with the heart of a journalist and the soul of a happy ham.

Because Wolff’s list of assignments included the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, held in Madison Square Garden and covered by MSG, formerly carried by USA Network. He also announced the 1958 World Series with Collins’ former Braves partner, Earl Gillespie:

 

Start National Junk Food day with …

I will be on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Ideas Network’s Joy Cardin Week in Review segment today at 8 a.m.

As I keep saying, Joy Cardin and all the other Ideas Network programming can be heard on WLBL (930 AM) in Auburndale, WHID (88.1 FM) in Green Bay, WHWC (88.3 FM) in Menomonie, WRFW (88.7 FM) in River Falls, WEPS (88.9 FM) in Elgin, Ill., WHAA (89.1 FM) in Adams, WHBM (90.3 FM) in Park Falls, WHLA (90.3 FM) in La Crosse, WRST (90.3 FM) in Oshkosh, WHAD (90.7 FM) in Delafield, W215AQ (90.9 FM) in Middleton, KUWS (91.3 FM) in Superior, WHHI (91.3 FM) in Highland, WSHS (91.7 FM) in Sheboygan, WHDI (91.9 FM) in Sister Bay, WLBL (91.9 FM) in Wausau, W275AF (102.9 FM) in Ashland, W300BM (107.9 FM) in Madison, and of course online at www.wpr.org.

My opponent is former state Rep. Spencer Black (D–Madison), thus allowing me to indulge my loathing for my hometown.

This being public radio and a serious show, here is something you will not hear today, from Rick McNeal and Len Nelson of WAPL (105.7 FM) in Appleton, who each Friday morning present the Weenie of the Week (and sometimes second-place Cocktail Frank of the Week):

HELP! I’m having a hard time deciding who should be this week’s Rick and Len Show Weenie of the Week. Remember, to be WotW all you need is to do is to have donesomething “weenie-like” in Wisconsin or specifically affecting Wisconsin during the past week. This week we have six solid possibilities, so far, and I can’t make up my mind. What are your thoughts about which of the six should be our Weenie?

1. The captain who crashed his ship into the Ray Nitschke Bridge in Green Bay Sunday.
2. The still-at-large culprit who stole a rare Russian tortoise from the Menominee Park Zoo in Oshkosh.
3. The Manitowoc alderman who, after allegedly driving drunk, was arrested attempting to climb a 50 foot fiberglass cow.
4. The La Crosse man who called police to report the batch of meth he was sold was bad.
5. The Oshkosh man who reportedly broke into an Appleton home, drank their whiskey and ate their blueberry muffins before taking off his clothes and sleeping naked in the homeowners bed.
6. The reportedly drunk and stoned Manitowoc man who was standing naked in the street and allegedly threatening to “gut his neighbors with a knife” before having his facial and chest hair catch fire when police accidentally hit his cigarette lighter while attempting to taser him.

Your thoughts?

I posted that all six should be Weenies of the Week, not to give each Millennial-style participation trophies, but because each of the six by himself would deserve to be the WOTW. All six of these occurred in the same week. (Who do you call to report bad met, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection?) It would be an offense against humanity if all six were not (dis)honored for their affronts to public decorum.

Presty the DJ for July 21

Today in 1970, after Joe Cocker dropped out due to illness and unable to get Jimi Hendrix, promoter Bill Graham (possibly at Hendrix’s suggestion) presented Chicago in concert at Tanglewood, a classical music venue in Lenox, Mass.:

I would have loved to go to this concert, but I was 5 years old at the time.

The number one song today in 1973:

The number one R&B song today in 1979:

Today in 1980, AC/DC released “Back in Black,” their first album with new singer Brian Johnson, who replaced the deceased Bon Scott:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for July 21”

An inconvenient truth

James Delingpole reports what climate change hysteria is really all about:

Only the abolition of property rights can save us now from the horrors of ‘climate change’, argues an Australian academic.

Dr. Louise Crabtree, a researcher at the University of Western Sydney, makes her claim in a piece for the leftist academics’ favorite online watering hole, the Conversationtitled“Can Property Survive the Great Climate Transition?”

Her question is, of course, purely rhetorical. No, apparently, it can’t:

If our cities are to become more resilient and sustainable, our systems of property need to come along for the ride.

and

We might also need to start thinking about our claims not being static but dependent on the web of relationships we are entwined in, including with non-humans. Some say that First Peoples might have a grasp of property dynamics that is more suited to the times we are entering.

So, making cities green might be the easy part. It remains to be seen whether property law and property systems are up to the task of transition.

This might sound like obscure, pseudo-academic, sub-Marxist gobbledegook. As indeed it is.

It would be nice to console ourselves that this dangerous thesis was written by a left-wing research student of no account.

Unfortunately, as Eric Worrall points out at Watts Up With That? there are people who take this woman’s lunatic redistributionary jottings seriously.

Her bio may raise the question—are we actually paying for this?:

Louise was awarded her PhD in Human Geography from Macquarie University in 2007 and has been with Western Sydney University since 2007. Her research focuses on the social, ecological and economic sustainability of community-driven housing developments in Australia; on the uptake of housing innovation in practice and policy; on complex adaptive systems theory in urban contexts; and, on the interfaces between sustainability, property rights, institutional design and democracy. Her recent and ongoing projects focus on two practical areas funded by a series of competitive research grants—community land trusts and participatory mapping methodologies. Both are being used to simultaneously foster social innovation and equity outcomes on the ground, and explore and build theory on multi-stakeholder governance, decolonisation, property law, resilience and citizenship.

But the scary part is the last bit:

Louise’s work on resilience and governance in community housing was the basis for her receipt of the inaugural Housing Minister’s Award for Early Career Researchers in 2009; in announcing the award, the Hon. Tanya Plibersek described the work as ‘crucial’.

Yes, an actual minister in the Australian government once called this drivel “crucial.”

To most of us here, property rights are not negotiable, they’re one of the pillars of Western liberal democracy.

But to many members of the green movement including this “sustainability” expert Louise Crabtree, they are negotiable. Indeed, that’s what UN’s Agenda 21 is about—wealth redistribution and the erosion of property rights in the name of saving the planet.

Climate for these people is just the pretext. Really it is—and always has been—about global governance.

The irony, as P.J. O’Rourke pointed out in one of his books, is that the capitalist West has been much more environmentally responsible than the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact were. That requires an understanding of history, which apparently is unnecessary for the Gaia worshippers.