Seeking the Limelight

With the media spotlight on his ill-fated and indeed ill-considered “expedition”, Professor Chris Turney has got plenty of publicity. He was not exactly shy of the camera even before departure, as a series of videos about the planned voyage produced and posted here at the The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia shows:

turney 1

By my reckoning there are over 80 minutes recorded of the jocular professor.

turney 2

One video does address the question “How the Australian Antarctic Expedition 2013–2014 was funded“.  He explains the role of Google (a Doodle4Google competition) in funding with a place on the expedition for a teacher from the overall winner’s school (got to keep those sponsors happy.  He also talks about the cost of the berths for the 30 tourists joining them.

He was taking to students, but in the same style roundly criticized by Bishop Hill’s Fool in Chief post (“he does not come over well”).  He may yet live to regret his excessive archive of ramblings.

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6 Responses to Seeking the Limelight

  1. Typo patrol here, Verity: “He also talks about the cost of the births for the 30 tourists …” 😉

    [Reply – fixed – thank you – thinking phonetically again. V.]

    But speaking of “births” … FWIW, my take on this … uh … stillborn … mission is somewhat similar to your “pantomime” take, although I have dubbed his PR stunts as Turney’s Ice Follies.

    As for his “ramblings” … I just watched/listened to his 31:21 minute “Introduction”. It was sooooo incredibly bad it was painful! And did you take a look at his accompanying Powerpoint presentation?! Yuck! What an amateurish mish-mash of self-promotion!

    I had seen the ABC Lateline videos a few days ago. One can well imagine that there must have been a good number of cuts in order to make him look/sound somewhat less incompetent (and incoherent?!) than he really is.

    But I noticed earlier today, that yesterday he was whining via the Guardian. His “revisionized” account concludes:

    In spite of the situation we found ourselves in, the AAE had a conversation with the public about science, exploration and Mawson. There really does remain a passion for these subjects. Sadly though, there seems to be a few people who have just caught the last few days of the conversation.

  2. Another Ian says:


    The age of poetry is not past – e.g this one

    “woz says:
    January 7, 2014 at 9:24 pm
    Also moved by the muse!

    (Mod – apologies if there are words here that trigger autospam – I don’t post often enough to be familiar)

    With humble apologies to Lewis Carroll

    Brave Chris Turney often paced on the deck,
    Or would make hockey sticks in the bow:
    And had often (Chris said) saved the whole ship from wreck,
    Though none of the sailors knew how.

    The group was complete, with kids and a wife,
    Plus some warmingist scientists all experts –
    Each a drip under pressure – all headed for strife
    (These are better described as just “spurts”!)

    Of course no contingent so brave and undaunted
    Could venture too far without Press.
    So the Guardian sent and so proudly then flaunted
    Reporters to add to the mess.

    “We’ll show those deniers!” bold Chris Turney cried
    As he landed his party on ice;
    “We know without doubt that the ice has all fried
    So the beaches will all be quite nice.”

    “We’ll show those deniers!” he’s now said it twice
    That alone should encourage the crew.
    “We’ll show those deniers!” he’s now said it thrice:
    What he tells you three times must be true.

    The poor Russian crew shook their heads in dismay;
    Their care-filled advice all ignored.
    “The ice? You are wrong. It’s not melted away!
    Your theories are totally flawed!”

    Ignoring this wisdom and pressing on blindly
    The Turney contingent went boldly
    Into the ice field that proved not to be kindly
    And an ending that beckoned them coldly.

    At deniers Chris Turney continued to jeer
    As lots of “selfies” with penguins they took.
    But it soon became clear that no heat would appear.
    AGW was not looking good.

    They hunted till darkness came on, but they found
    Not a beach or a palm tree. Those asses
    Tried so hard to find things in the air or the ground.
    But no sign of those greenhouse gasses.

    In the midst of the search – trying hard not to play,
    In the midst of their laughter and glee,
    Climate Change had softly just vanished away—
    For CC was “just normal”, you see.

    And then the thick ice that was lurking around
    Surrounded the vessel and trapped it.
    There was just no way out. An escape must be found.
    We can’t sail through this ice so compacted!

    Saviours from Australia and China came fast
    And a Yank ship – a real show stopper.
    But the ice was so tough – the world looked on aghast
    As the group came so close to a cropper!

    But luck doesn’t mean that you need half a clue
    As this ship of fools demonstrates clearly.
    The bad weather eased – out the warmingists flew
    Leaving ship and the crew to pay dearly.

    There are lessons that thinkers can gain from this tale
    Lessons we ignore at our peril.
    Use the scientific method. It’s hearty and hale.
    All other approaches are feral!

    Just remember, “It’s warm!” was the sound in their ears,
    And they tried to believe they were hot.
    But it wasn’t too long before laughter and jeers:
    And the ominous words “No it’s not!”

  3. Another Ian says:


    And this

    From comments at

    Ruth says:
    January 2, 2014 at 9:04 pm
    Here is something I wrote on JoNova’s blog:

    Thanks to Robert W Service for the inspiration!

    There are strange things done in the midnight sun
    By the men who moil for fame;
    The Climate Change has bedfellows strange
    That would make your brain go lame;
    The Southern Lights have seen queer sights,
    But the queerest they ever did bear
    Was the climate geeks on the Akademik
    Who got stuck in the ice-not-there.
    Now Chris Turney was from New South Wee, where the gum tree stands and grows
    Why he left his home in the South to roam ‘round the Pole, God only knows.
    He was always hot, (no matter what), and often channelled Mao;
    And he’d often say in his arrogant way “The Ice has Melted now.”
    On Christmas Eve with Argo’s leave they were slow to find the trail
    Talk of your cold! Through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
    If eyes they’d close, then their lashes froze till sometimes they couldn’t see;
    It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to tweet was Chris Turney.
    And that very night, they got a fright – their ship was in sea ice;
    And the blogs were read, and the wind they said was blowing up a vice;
    Chris Turney claimed it was “Climate Change” – the Ice had Up and Went;
    The rest had napped and they were trapped in their own experiment.
    “Sea ice has waned due to climate change, but here it’s building up!
    We have found this has changed – they all explained, there’s fresh water all about!
    And don’t you know, the seawater below, well, we can almost drink it.
    This ice which packs will have impacts so fast – you wouldn’t think it.”
    The Snow Dragon and had also come, and got stuck in the same sea ice;
    The Astrolabe tried and Turney cried so they hailed the Australis.
    The sea ice grew and tempers brewed, and those onboard got sick;
    The wind was blamed on Climate Change; that’s why the ice was thick!
    The days went by and my oh my; the media had dissed
    The simple fact the ship was packed with climate scientists!
    They tried to show the melting snow would strike our hearts with fear
    And we would back the carbon tax – if truth was far, not near.
    Now a promise made is a debt unpaid and the sea has its own stern code.
    In the days to come – though the papers were stum, we learned to love that load
    Of childish geeks and climate freaks who danced and sang and stuff.
    They howled their woes to ice and snow, and proved their warming bluff.
    The choppers came and came again – the rescue on and off;
    The Australis and the Chinese ship were struggling in a trough
    Of water cold near the South Pole so they could pluck them out
    Of their own vice in the snow and ice – “not supposed to be about.”
    These scientists were more like kids when they begged for help from Watts;
    To give the fools some weather tools, to extract them from a spot
    Of danger here and trouble there – to save them from themselves!
    The choppers came in just in time to pluck from icy shelves.
    There are strange things done in the midnight sun
    By the men who moil for fame;
    The Climate Change has bedfellows strange
    That would make your brain go lame;
    The Southern Lights have seen queer sights,
    But the queerest they ever did bear
    Was the climate geeks on the Akademik
    Who got stuck in the ice-not-there”

    (Robert Service was known as the Canadian Kipling.)

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