CHRISTOPHER Monckton was warm. Charming, even. Then his audience asked questions, and the climate changed.
Lord Monckton began his Souths Leagues Club presentation by asking who in the audience thought climate change could be a problem.
He welcomed the raised hands, for these were people who’d come to challenge themselves.
As his slideshow began, Lord Monckton urged the audience to butt in and ask questions at any time. An hour in, someone did.
Hannah Bowrey and Morgan James, a pair of Newcastle University PhD candidates in neuroscience, had concerns with how Lord Monckton had interpreted a graph.
‘‘It depends how you interpret it,’’ Ms Bowrey said.
Lord Monckton: No it doesn’t.
Ms Bowrey: No, it absolutely does.
The viscount wasn’t budging.
Lord Monckton: I imagine you are not yourself a statistician.
Ms Bowrey: Yeah, we both teach statistics at the uni.
Lord Monckton ploughed through the awkward exchange, not engaging the pair.
‘‘Eventually, the scientist who [devised the graph] may well face prosecution.’’
‘‘Sue us,’’ said Ms Bowrey, exasperated.
There were questions at the end, and Mr James asked Lord Monckton how much of his work was peer-reviewed. Things soured further, and the presenter loudly called Mr James, 27, ‘‘a child’’ and a ‘‘liar’’.
We later asked the pair, who weren’t there to represent the university, what they made of their exchange with the celebrity climate sceptic.
‘‘It was clear, and very disappointing, that the evidence that he presented was not grounded in science, let alone logic,’’ they emailed us, wary of their words being scrutinised.
‘‘The peer review process is the most important aspect of the scientific method.’’
Ms Bowrey and Mr James said they’d come ready to hear a range of opinions, and were surprised how quickly they’d been shut down.
FROM now on, if we crave attention, we’ll write about wildlife. Readers tell us about all kinds of critters, like bats, which Maree tells us, fill the Blackalls Park night sky.
‘‘I go out about 7.30 and the sky is covered with them flying from south to north,’’ says Maree.
‘‘My son lives at Kilaben Bay and he hasn’t seen them. I am curious as to where they come from and where they go every night.’’
Meanwhile, at Merewether, Elaine Street has shared her garden with blue tongue lizards for about 30 years. They appeared soon after her house was built in 1979.
‘‘At the start, we used to get slugs around the front door,’’ Mrs Street says.
‘‘Then suddenly we didn’t have any slugs or snails in the garden.’’
We assumed it must have been several generations of lizards, until we read on the Australian Museum website that they’ve been known to live longer than 20 years.
GEORDIE: noun, a person from Tyneside, especially Newcastle [UK].
With that in mind, why is the MTV reality hit Geordie Shore filming its new season in Sydney and not (our) Newcastle?
For those unfamiliar with the antics of our northern cousins, the Guardian describes the show as ‘‘a gaggle of unbelievable idiots stuck in a fancy house and intermittently hosed down with alcohol’’.
That gaggle is now in Sydney to film Geordie Shore’s sixth series, and it looks like Newcastle has been snubbed yet again.
So, MTV producers, why not get them up here? It’ll blow their minds to hear there’s another Newcastle. That’s a whole episode, right there.
Neuroscience PHD students Hannah Bowrey and Morgan James took Lord Monckton to task. Picture: Peter Stoop
Holly, from Geordie Shore.