Monday, August 27, 2007

Greer lunacy

It's been a gradual process, but Germaine Greer may finally have gone mad. Today, she attacks soft toys. Really. I was going to type "not physically", but can we be sure? A person is capable of anything if they are capable of writing the following:

Though it is 50 years since Elvis warbled about wanting to be someone's teddy bear, most people would reject out of hand the suggestion that a child's cuddly animal was its surrogate sexual partner. But I have certainly seen a two-year-old humping her teddy bear.
And wait for it... wait for it... drumroll...:
Shiver the Polar Bear, a spin-off from the movie Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus, can shiver, giggle and blush. It has fat, bright-red lips and false eyelashes. What it has to do with the majestic creatures that are drowning in the Arctic ocean because of global warming is less than nothing.
YES! A serious challenge here for the title of Most Gratuitous Reference to Global Warming (Would Big Al agree to present it?).

But are polar bears drowning because of global warming? There was a spate of stories about this a couple of years ago. Here's how the Times put it, in a piece headlined "Polar bears drown as ice shelf melts":
The new study, carried out in part of the Beaufort Sea, shows that between 1986 and 2005 just 4% of the bears spotted off the north coast of Alaska were swimming in open waters. Not a single drowning had been documented in the area.

However, last September, when the ice cap had retreated a record 160 miles north of Alaska, 51 bears were spotted, of which 20% were seen in the open sea, swimming as far as 60 miles off shore.

The researchers returned to the vicinity a few days later after a fierce storm and found four dead bears floating in the water. “We estimate that of the order of 40 bears may have been swimming and that many of those probably drowned as a result of rough seas caused by high winds,” said the report.
That's right - there had been a storm. Publishing in Nature (subscription required) earlier that year, 2005, the authors of this study produced one of the most perfect statements of AGW religiosity ever seen:
"We can't say at the moment that there is a trend for polar bears to drown," she says. "But we do expect to see more of this kind of event in the future."

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